Intro to English Studies

This class serves as an introduction to the study of English. Throughout the course of the semester students will be introduced to a host of literary criticism ranging from Plato and Aristotle, Nietzsche and Althusser, to Henry Gates and Toni Morrison.  The theoretical section of this class will ideally provide students with the background concerning the ethics, the nature, the ontology, and the purpose of writing literature. In this class we will investigate literary relationships by attempting to chart a trajectory in regards to how literature moves and advances itself.  To that end, we will be primarily concerned with what we can call “literary debts” and “revisions.”  So we question, for example: how does the great Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe ultimately revise Joseph Conrad? How do writers of the “Third World” mobilize Shakespeare? Were modernist writers such as Ezra Pound and Gertrude Stein inspired by Black dialectic language and writing?


Required Texts

Morrison, Toni.  The Bluest Eye

Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness

Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart

Sophocles.  The Three Theban Plays: Antigone, Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus

Shakespeare, William.  The Tempest

Aimé, Césaire. A Tempest

Yang, Shawna Ryan.  Green Island: A Novel