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.

Texts and Evaluation:

Sophocles, The Theban Trilogy

William Shakespeare, Henry IV,
Part 1

Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

Tony Kushner, Angels in America,
Parts 1 &2

Toni Morrison, Beloved

Alison Bechdel, Fun Home

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 will be required. Attendance at
certain arts and cultural events will be necessary as well.


Class Format: Lecture/discussion.  Mandatory
conferences for all assignments.