1. University of Virginia
  2. Arts & Sciences

Special Topics in Literature


  • ENSP 3610 Narratives of Illness & Doctoring

    1530-1645 TR - CLARK 101
    Restricted to Instructor Permission

    Instructor: Marcia Day Childress

    Being ill and practicing medicine are both experiences steeped in stories, narrative being a fundamental way human beings make sense of themselves, their experiences (including illness and loss), and their world. This course at the intersection of literature and medicine looks at (1) stories of patients, families, and physicians about illness and doctoring; (2) analysis and interpretation of illness experience and medical practice; and (3) the growing significance of narrative in theories, models, understandings, and practices of American medicine. Students read narratives of many genres and styles, participate in discussion, make in-class presentations, write short response papers, propose in writing and prepare a substantial longer paper/project, and write midterm and final exams.

  • ENSP 5559 The Poetic Voice

    1100-1330 T - BRYAN 233
    Restricted to Instructor Permission

    Instructor: Debra Nystrom

    Seamus Heaney suggests that poetic voice is something “like a fingerprint, possessing a constant and unique signature.”  Robert Pinsky has said that “the voice of poetry is essential because of its unique place between silence and speech.” “The poet is obliged to let his or her audience know exactly where he or she is coming from,” says Etheridge Knight, so that “the breath of the poet and the people come together via the poem, and this common breathing, from deep in the belly, causes a common motion, a common movement, a common Dance.”  According to Carol Muske, “what takes place in a poem is a kind of conversion process… the reader finally ‘becomes’ the voice speaking the poem.”  In this course we will examine the work and thinking of these and a number of other poets, as we explore the question of what we mean when we use the term “Poetic Voice.”  Requirements will include the writing of both poems and essays, a class presentation, and attendance at several poetry readings.    INSTRUCTOR PERMISSION is REQUIRED.  To be considered for this class, please contact me (dln8u@virginia.edu) by mid-August, letting me know your name, year, email address, and previous poetry/ creative writing courses.  Space will be limited; I’ll post and email the class list a day or two before the semester begins.

  • ENSP 5810 Film Aesthetics

    1100-1215 TR - BRYAN 310

    Restricted to 4th-Years, Graduate Students, Instructor Permission

    Instructor: Walter Korte

    Beginning with the proposition that there exist uniquely cinematic elements of meaning and structure, the course lays the foundation for "visual thinking" in film--a sensitivity to the aesthetic elements intrinsic to the cinema. The course examines structure, modes of expression and varieties of visual coherence in narrative film. Weekly film screenings (7:00 p.m. Sunday), informal response papers, final examination, final paper (15 pages). Texts: Braudy, Cohen Film Theory and Criticism anthology (Sixth Edition), Lehman: Defining Cinema; selected essays.

  • ENSP 5820 The Culture of London Past and Present


    Restricted to Instructor Permission

    Instructors: Clare Kinney & Michael Levenson

    The Culture of London: Past and Present" offers an interdisciplinary approach to metropolitan culture, as an historically embedded object of inquiry. Located in London, it runs for a month each year from early June to early July.  Faculty members from the University direct, teach and lead the class; they are complemented by London-based specialists in architecture, art history, religious studies and contemporary politics.

  • ENSP 5910 Literary Editing & Desktop Publishing

    1830-2100 T - BRYAN 203

    Instructor: Jeb Livingood

    This course introduces students to editing and producing a literary publication, both as they create an independent design project and as they assist in the production of Meridian, a nationally-distributed literary magazine.  Students design a book-length (32 pages or more) publication using Adobe’s InDesign desktop publishing software, and then deliver a hard copy through print-on-demand. Students must be willing to pay $10 to $20 in print-on-demand fees and mailing costs in addition to textbooks.

    To apply for the class, register on the course’s permission list in SIS, explaining your reasons for wanting to take the class and your experience with literature (especially creative writing courses and editing or magazine experience). Then e-mail a sample of your writing (3-5 pages of poetry or 6-12 of prose to jsl9z@virginia.edu. Preference will be given to MFA students, but there will be spaces reserved for other graduate students and upper-level undergraduates.