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Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences

Fall 2017 Graduate Courses

english department

What use has the theatre had for philosophy, and vice versa?  To what extent can theatre be said to be a philosophical activity?  This course will examine several key intersections between theatre and philosophy, with a particular focus on how theatre translates philosophical questions and predicaments into the language of the stage.  Rather than tracing a chronological history of either activity, we will look at several key pairings, with an emphasis on Shakespeare and modern/contemporary theatre. Our pairings (or triads) may include Plato-as-philosopher and Plato-as-dramatist; Nietzsche and Ibsen; Shakespeare and Ordinary Language Philosophy; Edward Albee and Speech-Act Theory; Beckett, Adorno, and Rancière; Neil LaBute and aesthetic theory; Tom Stoppard and epistemology; Michael Frayn and quantum uncertainty; Caryl Churchill and ethics. We will also examine at least one film. This class does not presume a previous background in either western philosophy or drama. In addition to a formal paper, students will script their own “imagined theatre,” a short piece of inventive critical writing.
Andrew Sofer

Victorian literature was created for newly literate masses amid an explosion of print. In this course, we will read poetry as it first appeared in magazines, consider the emergence of detective fiction, and practice reading aloud. We will read major Victorian novels serially and “sideways,” by examining articles, advertisements, and illustrations alongside the original published parts of our texts (including Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White, Anthony Trollope’s Framley Parsonage, Charles Dickens’s Our Mutual Friend, and Charlotte Yonge’s The Clever Woman of the Family). Critical and theoretical frameworks will include reader response and reception theory, literary sociology, and book history.

Maia McAleavey

Concentrating of contemporary Irish fiction, this seminar examines the confluence of stories representing Irish society since the mid-1980s. We will discuss significant cultural shifts and attempt answers to ongoing cultural questions. These include issues of national identity in an era of globalization, the relationship between tradition and innovation in Celtic Tiger Ireland, and the challenges and contradictions posed by the Northern Ireland Peace Process, as well as issues of gender, sexuality, and ethnicity in the new Ireland. Novelists include Roddy Doyle, Colm Tibn, Patrick McCabe, Emma Donoghue, Mary Morrissy, Anne Enright, Eoin McNamee, Eilis N Dhuibhne, and Deirdre Madden.
James Smith  

Ezra Pound arrived in London in August 1908 determined to absorb the entire tradition of European poetry and to use it to generate something wholly new. In October 1922, T. S. Eliot published in the first issue of The Criterion his masterpiece, The Waste Land, a poem that Pound called “the justification of the ‘movement,’ of our modern experiment….” In this class we will focus on the literature, criticism, and visual art produced as part of the “modern experiment” in which Pound saw himself and Eliot participating between 1908 and 1922. Writers and painters to be studied may include H. D., Eliot, Epstein, Fry, Ford, Gaudier-Brzeska, Hulme, Lewis, Marsden, Pound, Woolf, and others.

Robert Lehman

The "fourth genre" refers to works of nonfiction that contain literary features more commonly associated with fiction, poetry, and drama. We will examine a few pioneers of the form, including Woolf, Thoreau, and Freud, but our study will focus primarily on subgenres of contemporary American creative nonfiction, including immersion journalism; autobiography; graphic memoir; and literary and lyric essay. Readings will include work by creative nonfiction by writers such as Wolfe, Didion, Talese, Dillard, Kincaid, Bechdel, and Slater. Writing assignments will include both academic and creative essays.
Lad Tobin  

In this course we will discuss a selection of the most important works written in England during the 16th century with special reference to their literary and cultural contexts. Works will include More’s Utopia, poems by Wyatt, Sidney, and Shakespeare, poems and speeches by Queen Elizabeth I, plays by Marlowe and Shakespeare, book I of Spenser’s Faerie Queene, as well as relevant critical articles. Requirements will include a short paper, and a longer (18-20-page) paper.
Mary Crane

ENGL8887 Introduction to Advanced Research (Fall, Spring:3.0)

This course will acquaint you with the essential resources to carry out the central tasks of literary scholarship. Bibliography (broadly defined as the investigation of the production, dissemination, collection, location, and identification of literary artifacts) is indispensable to scholarship and criticism of all kinds, just as a critical sensibility guides our choice of what books to look for. You will be guided through the reference works and databases available in the Boston College library and others, discuss the goals, purposes, and future of the field of literary studies, and produce an original project based on archival sources.

James Najarian, Robert Stanton

ENGL8887 Introduction to Advanced Research (Fall, Spring:3.0)

This course will acquaint you with the essential resources to carry out the central tasks of literary scholarship. Bibliography (broadly defined as the investigation of the production, dissemination, collection, location, and identification of literary artifacts) is indispensable to scholarship and criticism of all kinds, just as a critical sensibility guides our choice of what books to look for. You will be guided through the reference works and databases available in the Boston College library and others, discuss the goals, purposes, and future of the field of literary studies, and produce an original project based on archival sources.
James Najarian, Robert Stanton

Desire, for this course on the history of the novel, will lead to formal questions: the construction of plot, the creation of character and calibration of sympathy, the genre’s complex modalities of narration and perspective. Does the tradition offer a progressive elaboration of techniques for representing psychology or interiority? What possibilities does its mapping of social relations adumbrate for how such relations might change? Developing a critical vocabulary for the careful reading of fiction, and focusing especially on free indirect style (represented thought), we will move between a series of 18th- through 20th-century novels and theoretical accounts of the genre.

Kevin Ohi

 

 

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