In a sense, over the last twenty years
the Department of English has become the Department of Reading and Writing, as
the increasing prominence of Creative Writing and Composition and Rhetoric has
moved our attention to the production as well as the discussion of writing, and
as Cultural Studies and a host of other theoretical and critical approaches
have extended the range of what we read, why we read it, and how such readings
will have consequences beyond our own pleasure or profit.
Over the course of the semester, we will
look at a number of texts–poetic, dramatic, fictional, autobiographical,
critical, theoretical–that address us, and therefore presume or require a
response. Close attention will be a constant, but what we focus upon will
change as we determine what we want, or are being asked, to do.
The goal is a more aware, engaged, and
nuanced understanding of what it means for an individual, a culture, or an age
to read and write; and, ideally, this understanding will prove useful in your
other English classes.
Sophocles, THE THEBAN TRILOGY; William Shakespeare, A MIDSUMMER NIGHTʻS DREAM; Samuel
Beckett, WAITING FOR GODOT; Jane Austen, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE; Alison Bechdel,
FUN HOME; R. Zamora Linmark ROLLING THE R’s; THE BEDFORD HANDBOOK OF LITERARY
TERMS; and a sizable amount of additional literary, critical, and theoretical
reading, supplied by the instructor.
A series of short critical, theoretical, methodological
and bibliographical papers, performance reviews, memorization exercises,
regular e-mail postings, and a final examination. Attendance at certain arts
and cultural events will be required as well.
Class Format: Lecture/discussion. Mandatory conferences for all assignments.