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Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences

Advanced Topic Seminars

english department

Advanced Topic Seminars provide our students with the opportunity for imaginative, intensive discussion and research on some of the most exciting subjects in the study of English today. While the content of these seminars varies--some take up topics in history and culture; some, the life and work of individual writers; some, interdisciplinary topics or contemporary theory-- each seminar trains students in critical thinking and independent research. Students interested in writing Honors theses are encouraged to take at least one ATS. Limited to 15.


English Electives Offered Fall 2017


Fulfills the pre-1900 requirement

In this course, we will read “like Victorians” by reading four Victorian novels in their original serial installments: Wilkie Collins’s thriller The Woman in White, Anthony Trollope’s delightful Framley Parsonage, Charles Dickens’s classic Our Mutual Friend, and Charlotte Yonge’s moralistic The Clever Woman of the Family. Each was published monthly or weekly between 1859 and 1865. As we experiment with serial and simultaneous reading, we will consider these texts as they were first produced and consumed, analyzing their accompanying illustrations, articles, and advertisements. Along the way, we will imagine the experience of reading in a world new to mass literacy.

Maia McAleavey

ENGL5004 ATS: Enslaved Africans (Fall:3.0)

Satisfies core requirement for: Cultural Diversity 
Fulfills the pre-1900 requirement

This class will consider canonical 18th-century novels, plays, and visual and musical texts to explore how they have been revisited and revised in the 20th and 21st centuries. What themes seem most alive and relevant from the eighteenth-century novels and works? How have more recent authors responded to earlier themes and adapted them to serve a more modern context? What happens not only to well-known characters, but also to form, genre, and narrative technique when modern writers take up the earlier stories? What does it mean to read a literary work in its historical context? Out of its context? How do actual readers, embodied and embedded in a particular historical moment, relate to characters and their stories from long ago? How do we process and make sense of the very idea of the literary period? Texts include: Oroonoko; Robinson Crusoe, Foe, Castaway, The Martian; The Harlot’s Progress, Slammerkin; The Rake’s Progress; The Beggar’s, Three Penny Opera; and Mansfield Park.

Elizabeth Wallace


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