Following are the courses being offered in the Summer 2018 semester. Please check the online class schedule listing for the most accurate scheduling information.

200-Level Courses

M/T/W/Th/F 10:10 a.m. - 12:10 p.m.
Instructor: Butcher

Author Mary Karr writes, "A dysfunctional family is any family with more than one person in it." Whether it's the relationship between parent and child, siblings, or spouses, family relationships have always provided inspiration for great literature. In this course, we will look at families in a range of genres, including graphic memoir, film, fiction, drama, and poetry.

Instructor: Slaughter

Humor is often used as a way to cope, process, conceal, and deal with life's many challenges. This class is titled, #funnynotfunny because we will read a varied selection of the major genres of literature — poetry, fiction, and drama — that use humor in different ways to get to the heart of some of the most elemental human questions and experiences.

400/500-Level Courses

M/W/F 1:00 - 2:20 p.m.
Instructor: Jessee

The Gothic novel is both a specific English literary moment and a set of literary qualities found in American and European fiction to the present day. Most scholars pinpoint the beginning of the English Gothic literary moment at the publication of Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto: A Gothic Story in 1765. Walpole's novel was the first of a prolific list of American and European Gothic novels that were at the height of popularity until at least 1820. These novels helped to create the generic category of "the Gothic" that we see even today in film, TV, and books: the exploration of contemporary taboos, creating an atmosphere of terror. The taboo subjects change over time, but the use of literary affect, of evoking fear and terror, do not.

In this course, we will read a selected group of novels from this height of the English Gothic literary moment spanning 1765-1817. We will explore definitions of "the Gothic" and acquaint ourselves with the literary history surrounding this literary event. We will read these novels closely in order to better understand how this literary moment came to represent an entire genre of storytelling.

Tentative list of works:

  • Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto: A Gothic Story (1765)
  • Eliza Parsons, The Mysterious Warning, A German Tale (1796)
  • Matthew Lewis, The Monk, A Romance (1796)
  • Ann Radcliffe, The Italian, or the Confessional of the Black Penitents (1797)
  • Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey (1817)

Course assignments will consist of three exams and two short essays. Graduate students will also complete a final research essay.

M/W/F 2:40 - 4:00 p.m.
Instructor: Quinlan

The Harlem Renaissance was a major movement in all of the arts-music, literature, painting-in the first half of the 20th century. In literature, it included the work of Alain Locke, James Weldon Johnson, Claude McKay, W. E. B. Du Bois, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Countee Cullen, Jean Toomer, Nella Larsen, and numerous others. In its era, the movement's innovations were appealing and controversial, exciting and disruptive for both black and white cultures. Here we look at the African American experience as it was represented by the aforementioned writers, at the same time keeping in mind the interactive influences of white writers such as Eugene O'Neill, Gertrude Stein, and William Faulkner, the racial hostilities of the time, and the Renaissance's mixed reception in more traditional black communities. We will also focus on how this material might be taught in a variety of classroom contexts.

600-Level Courses

M/T/W/Th/F 12:20 - 2:20 p.m.
Instructor: Grimes

This seminar will focus on the writing of one of the most prolific and influential couples in English literary history: Percy and Mary Shelley. Percy Shelley's poetic work shows an astonishing generic variety, ranging from the delicately lyrical, to the baldly political, to the profoundly mythic. He wrote some of the finest works of all the Romantic writers — "Ozymandias," "Ode to the West Wind," "Adonais," Prometheus Unbound (which Yeats ranked "among the sacred texts of the world"), as well as some fascinating political, philosophical, and aesthetic prose (e.g. A Defense of Poetry). Mary Shelley's strength was in fiction: the central characters and themes of her Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus have resonated with readers since its first publication 200 years ago this year. Indeed, Frankenstein is currently the #1 most taught novel in college classrooms. Her other works are less well known, but they too are richly evocative and well worth a careful read.

For the present seminar, we will spend an intense month of May reading and discussing the works of these remarkable writers. Seminarians will then have the remainder of the summer to complete a research project or term paper.