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Graduate Program

Graduate Seminar Descriptions: Fall 2019



Instructor: S. Higley
CRN: 27047
W, 2:oo - 4:40 PM

The literary Fairy Tale, an amorphous and changing genre that emerges from different oral sources, attracts increasing scholarly attention. This course examines the figure of the Fairy itself and its indeterminate world as a site of liminality, category crisis, poetic inspiration and allegory. We will examine its social, political, and moral commentary across medieval, renaissance, and nineteenth-century European literature. A focus will be how the Fairy signals both instability and literary self-fashioning: in the grafting of histories and genealogies with fairy ancestors (Melusine, Historia Regum Brittoniae, The Faerie Queene); in the troubling overlap between civilization and nature (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Undine); or as a site of loss, childhood, poetry, and the rise of “theosophy” in the 19th century (Keats, Yeats, Tennyson, Hewitt, Barrie, Conan Doyle). Throughout time, readers have been fascinated by a “hidden people”—not entirely foreign, evil, or human—who abduct them, deceive them, seduce them, and make them poets.


Instructor: E. Tawil
CRN: 27054
TH, 11:05 AM - 1:45 PM


Instructor: J. Longenbach
CRN: 27020
M, 2:00 - 4:00 PM

At the center of this seminar will be a long, detailed reading of James Joyce's Ulysses, the most difficult and beautiful work of what we've come to call literary modernism. Leading up to our experience of Ulysses, we will read Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (to introduce ourselves to the world of Joyce) and a selection of Yeats's poems (to introduce us to the world of Anglo-Irish culture); following our experience of Ulysses, we will read two works marked deeply by Joyce's influence: Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway and Eliot's The Waste Land.

ENG 550: SECULAR CRITICISM: The Humanities in Truth

Instructor: J. Michael
CRN: 27036
T, 2:00 - 4:40 PM

In this course we will consider the theoretical underpinnings and the history—philosophical and institutional—of critical studies in the humanities. Topics and readings will focus on the relationship of philosophy to criticism, of truth to art, of criticism to aesthetics and politics, of data to belief, and of the human to the natural sciences. Readings may include selections from Heidegger, Plato, Kant, Hegel, Derrida, Sedgwick, Butler, Spivak, Felski, Hayles, Moretti and others.