1. University of Virginia
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Graduate Course Descriptions - Spring 2018

Creative Writing

ENCW 5310 - Advanced Poetry Writing II

Section 001
R 200-430 (Bryan Hall 233)
Instructor: Debra Nystrom

Restricted to Instructor Permission.

This workshop is for students with a good deal of prior experience in writing and revising poetry. The class will involve discussion of student poems and of assigned reading, with particular attention to issues of craft.  Students will be expected to write and revise six to eight poems, to participate in class discussion and offer detailed notes in response to other students’ work, to keep a work journal, to attend several poetry readings, to turn in close-reading responses to three assigned readings, to write one longer paper and participate in a group presentation.

Instructor Permission is required for registration.  APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS:  Sample of student work (4-5 poems) to be submitted IN A SINGLE DOCUMENT (either electronically in Word, or a hard paper copy) --by three weeks before the beginning of classes next semester-- to Professor Nystrom’s email address at dln8u@virginia.edu or to her English Dept. faculty mailbox in Bryan Hall’s faculty lounge; submissions should include a cover sheet with name, year, email address, telephone number, major, prior workshop experience, and other workshops to which you are submitting.   Every effort will be made to notify students of acceptance during the week prior to the beginning of classes, so that students may finalize their schedules in SI

ENCW 5610 - Advanced Fiction Writing II

Section 001
R 700-930 (Bryan Hall 310)

ENCW 7310 - MFA Poetry Workshop

Section 001
M 200-430 (Dawson's Row 1)
Instructor: Rita Dove

ENCW 7610 - MFA Fiction Workshop

Section 001
T 100-330 (Dawson's Row 1)
Instructor: John Casey

Medieval Literature

ENMD 5200 - Beowulf

Section 001
TR 1100-1215 (Bryan 334)
Instructor: Peter Baker

In this course we will read Beowulf in Old English, with careful attention to various contexts: the culture (literary, artistic and material) that produced and consumed the poem, sources and analogues, early medieval Christianity, and more. Work for the course will include two papers, in-class reports, and occasional tests (as needed). Because Old English, an extremely archaic variety of English, cannot be read without training, a prerequisite for this course is ENMD 5010, Old English, or an equivalent course taken at another school.

ENMD 8559 - Chaucer's Dreams: Presence, Immersion, and Virtual Experience

W 1000-1230
Instructor: Elizabeth Fowler

This is a course with its center in Geoffrey Chaucer’s four dream poems, The Book of the Duchess, The House of Fame, The Parliament of Fowls, and The Legend of Good Women.  At its periphery will be writings about visionary experience by other poets, devotional mystics, neurologists, literary critics, and VR developers as well as the ingenious visionary apparatus made by medieval sculptors, painters, and masons. Dreams were a way for Chaucer to think about making fictions and about what it is to have spatial, temporal, and mock-sensory experience by means of using objects and instruments such as books. Our goal will be to parse the strategies of the code we call “poetry” for producing effects like immersion and presence. All this is directly relevant to the aesthetic (sensory and artistic) issues that confront virtual reality developers now. We will be interested in how specific forms and gestures of language (image, metaphor, tense, deixis, and so on) can be configured to produce the cognitive, emotional, and sensory effects of virtual experience. We will also talk about Chaucer’s other ambitions as he explores “presence,” including his philosophical, political, theological, and aesthetic engagements. You may join us even with no prior knowledge of Middle English; you can get a jump start by visiting the Harvard Chaucer website and browsing through the materials that introduce Middle English there: https://chaucer.fas.harvard.edu/ and http://sites.fas.harvard.edu/~chaucer/pronunciation/ .

Renaissance Literature

ENRN 8500 - Studies in Renaissance Literature

Section 001 - Renaissance Tragedy and Tragicomedy
MW 200-315 (Bryan Hall 334)
Instructor: Katharine Maus

This class is designed to be an introduction to English Renaissance tragedy and the hybrid genres related to it--"dark comedy" that veers close to tragedy, and tragicomedy as it developed in the early seventeenth century. Reading: one play per class. Writing: a substantial final paper, 20-25 pages long.

Restoration and 18th-Century Literature

ENEC 8500 - Transatlantic Eighteenth Century

TR 200-315 (New Cabell 594)
Instructor: John O'Brien

The eighteenth-century Anglosphere was resolutely transatlantic. In this course, we will read with an eye towards calibrating our critical and historical lenses to see this more clearly than the traditional distinctions between “British” and “colonial American” literatures tends to do.  Readings will include Behn’s Oroonoko, Franklin’s Autobiography, Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, Equiano’s Interesting Narrative, Grainger’s The Sugar-Cane, Winkfield’s The Female American, and Earle’s Obi, among many others. Students are responsible for a review of a book or essay in the field and a course term paper. 

19th-Century British Literature

ENNC 8500 - Topics in Nineteenth-Century Literature

Section 001 - Bicentennial Austen
TR 930-1045 (New Cabell 038)
Instructor: Alison Booth

International recognition of the bicentennial of Austen’s death generates more than usual attention to a perennial favorite, after decades of critical studies and adaptations in the later twentieth century.  Even literary scholarship is newsworthy at this juncture in Austen’s reception history.  Taking in Austen’s biography and historical milieu, we will focus on each of Jane Austen's six published novels and other writings, while being alert to the methods, evidence, and questions we use to frame the works and the biographical record.  How has the acclaim of Austen modified across the generations? What significant cultural issues do her novels confront and temporarily resolve? What have been the rewards of biographical, historical, narratological, feminist and queer, material-culture, digital-humanities, or other approaches to Austen? While our course will include concentrated viewing of several films, we also will browse through the Austeniana of tourism, “sequels” in print, and Web sites. Students will draft a conference presentation, propose and/or prototype a digital or visual project, and write an essay that could be expanded into an article.

Modern and Contemporary Literature

ENMC 8559 - New Course in Modern and Contemporary Literature

Section 001 - Multiethnic American Fiction
TR 200-315 (Pavilion V 109)
Instructor: Caroline Rody

American authors from a wide range of backgrounds have infused contemporary American fiction with new stories.  This course will observe transformations of literary form, discourse, plot, and character in an era of cultural and linguistic multiplicity; global migration; contested notions of racial, gendered, religious, sexual, and national identity; and rising interest in both ethnic histories and possibilities for cross-ethnic encounter.   Secondary material will include critical and theoretical essays.  Primary texts will be drawn from the novels and stories of some of the following writers:  Carlos Bulosan, James Baldwin, John Okada, Grace Paley, Alfred Kazin, Lore Segal, Toni Morrison, Maxine Hong Kingston, Bapsi Sidhwa, Louise Erdrich, Sandra Cisneros, Bharati Mukherjee, Jhumpa Lahiri, Chang-rae Lee, Gish Jen, Nathan Englander, Mat Johnson, Edwidge Danticat, Galina Vromen, Karen Tei Yamashita, Nam Le, Rabih Alameddine, Nicole Krauss, Junot Diaz, Mohsin Hamid.

ENMC 9500 - Studies in Modern and Contemporary Literature

Section 001 - Poetry in a Global Age
MW 330-445 (New Cabell Hall 168)
Instructor: Jahan Ramazani

How does poetry articulate and respond to the globalizing processes that accelerate in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries? In this seminar, we will consider modern and contemporary poetry in English in relation to theories of globalization. The writers we will explore range from modernist poets like Eliot, Yeats, H.D., Moore, and Claude McKay to contemporary poets of Ireland, India, Africa, Britain, and the Caribbean, such as Heaney, Walcott, Arjun Kolatkar, Karen Press, and Daljit Nagra. Requirements include active participation; co-leading of discussion; and two conference-length papers (8-10 pages). Our texts will be from volumes 1 and 2 of The Norton Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Poetry, third edition, as supplemented by other poems and critical and theoretical texts.

American Literature to 1900

ENAM 9500 - Seminar in American Literature

Section 001 - Black Is…Black Ain’t': Currents in African-American Literary and Cultural Theory
T 200-430 (New Cabell 038)
Instructor: Maurice Wallace

This seminar aims to familiarize graduate students of literary, American, African-American and cultural studies with recent interventions and debates in African American literary and cultural theory.  We begin with a parsing of the current terms and positions associated with that philosophical orientation (and its history) toward black life and death in literature, music and art somewhat reflexively referred to as Afro-Pessimism and its cousin-discourse, Afrofuturism (What Saidiyia Hartman’s words mean in this dual register?: “I, too, live in the time of slavery, by which I mean I am living in the future created by it.”).  From there we take up fictional, poetic and filmic explorations of just this question by Hartman in Ralph Ellison, Octavia Butler, Colson Whitehead, Nathaniel Mackey,  Toni Morrison, Arthur Jafa.  In the light of these reflections, we will pay considerable attention to new readings on race and/as disability, sound studies, black visual culture, and (the political economy of) what Stefano Harvey and Fred Moten call "black study” as they bear on the Afrofuturist/Afro-pessimist question.  Other vital readings by Sylvia Wynter, Fred Moten, Frank Wilderson, Jared Sexton, Cedric Robinson, Sara Jane Cervenak will inform this inquiry into what is not  but nothing other than black speculative criticism.

Section 003 - The Novel and the Romance
TR 1100-1215 (Bryan Hall 312)
Instructor: Emily Ogden

The term romance has a daunting capaciousness: it has meant a courtly medieval fiction, a fanciful story, a nation-founding myth, an erotic novel, and a knowing modern revival of one of the above. The common denominator here is escape: the flight of a simple reader into a simpler time. In American studies in particular, romance connotes an escape from the political. The “romance thesis of American literature,” advanced by Lionel Trilling, Richard Chase, and others, held that American fiction favored psychological themes at the expense of political engagement. That view has been roundly criticized by the New Americanists. But could romance be a useful term again? What do nineteenth-century writers mean when they distinguish the romance from the novel? Does the contempt for escape encoded in dismissals of the romance itself have a history—one bound up in secular imperatives to be rational and clear-sighted—and might critics want to analyze that history rather than repeating it in a new form? We will ask these and other questions through examination of a small group of novels, probably including Tabitha Tenney’s Female Quixotism, Charles Brockden Brown’s Edgar Huntly, James Fenimore Cooper’s Last of the Mohicans, and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Blithedale Romance. Rather than reading a critical article for each novel, we will take the long view of the critical conversation on a couple of novels, starting with the founders of American literary study and continuing through the New Americanist moment to the present. The course will include some discussion of the history of American studies as seen through the lens of the romance debate.

Genre Studies

ENGN 5559 - The Narrative Situation

W 330-600 (New Cabell 303)
Instructor: Christopher Tilghman

What does the narrator know and how does he/she/it know it? Where is the narrator; when is the narrator? Through what evidence on the page do we know that he/she/it is present, or absent?  This course is about the fundamental choices – made either explicitly or implicitly – open to a writer in selecting and developing the appropriate narrative mood and voice for telling his or her story.  Our focus is on the structure of narrative, and the reading list attempts to give examples of the types identified by narrative theorists.  We’ll begin with a very quick survey of theoreticians such as Gérard Genette, Gerald Price, Dorrit Cohn, and Monika Fludernik and then read a dozen or so novels, most of them novella length.  The list will probably include Abbé Prévost's Manon Lescaut, Edouard Dujardin’s We’ll to the Woods No More; Knut Hamsun’s Hunger; James’ What Maisie Knew; Mann's Death in Venice; Robbe-Grillet's Jealousy; Berlin Childhood around 1900 by Walter Benjamin;  The Street of Crocodiles by Bruno Schulz;  selections from the Recherche du temps perdu; as well as a handful of more contemporary works, including Muriel Spark’s The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Toni Morrison’s Jazz, and Ben Lerner's Leaving the Atocha Station.

ENGN 8520 - Form and Theory of Poetry

Section 001
T 100-330 (Bryan Hall 334)
Instructor: Gregory Orr

ENGN 9500 - Seminar in Literary Genres I, II

Section 001 - The Novel in Theory & Practice
MW 330-445 (New Cabell 485)
Instructor: Stephen Arata

We will read seven or eight novels drawn from the past three and a half centuries. We will also read a healthy and diverse assortment of novel theory, also drawn from the past three and a half centuries, though most of it will come from the past 50 years. The novels will be chosen primarily for their formal innovation or for their influence on the development of the novel. The theoretical works will be chosen with an eye to laying out the major movements in novel theory. The central theoretical question we will address is: what—if anything—distinguishes “the novel” from the many other kinds of prose fictional narrative that have circulated (and continue to circulate) in western societies since the end of the seventeenth century? Requirements: informed engagement with the readings and with your colleagues, one or two brief in-class presentations, one 6-8 pp. essay due midway in the semester, one 15-18 pp. essay due at the end of the term.


ENCR 8559 - New Course in Criticism

Section 001 - Philosophy and Literature: Wittgenstein, Cavell, and the New Romanticism
TR 200-315 (Bryan Hall 312)
Instructor: Walter Jost

Of late the two philosophers in question here have begun to exert considerable influence at the crossroads of philosophy, literature, and criticism, providing an alternative to theoretical approaches to all three, an alternative grounded in so-called ordinary language philosophy.  This course is designed for those with limited exposure to philosophy who are motivated to seek out new possibilities for advanced study of ideas and methods in literary criticism.  We will undertake select readings from the works of these authors and others, placing them in traditions of British and American romanticism, transcendentalism, and pragmatism.

ENCR 8640 - Critical Methods

M 630-900 (Bryan Hall 300)
Instructor: Rita Felski

Critical method is the point at which literary, philosophical, or political theories intersect with specific techniques of interpretation and argument.The aim of this course is to give students an introduction to traditional and current debates in the methodology of literary and cultural studies in ways that will directly aid their own future thinking and writing.

ENCR 9650 - Introduction to Textual Criticism and Scholarly Editing

F 930-1200
Instructor: David Vander Meulen

This course in textual criticism deals with some of the fundamental problems of literary study and of reading in general: if a work exists in multiple forms, and with different wording, what constitutes "the text"?  How are such judgments made and standards determined?  How are verbal works as intellectual abstractions affected by the physical forms in which they are transmitted?  If one is faced with the prospect of editing a work, how does one go about it? How does one choose an edition for use in the classroom?  What difference does this all make? The course will deal with such concerns and will include: a short survey of analytical bibliography and the solution of practical problems as they apply to literary texts; study of the transmission of texts in different periods; and considerations of theories and techniques of editing literary and non-literary texts of different genres, and of both published and unpublished materials.  The course Books as Physical Objects, ENCR 5650, provides helpful background but is not a prerequisite.

Special Topics in Literature

ENSP 8559-001 - Literature and Science

M 1100-130 (Dawson's Row 1)
Instructor: Mary Kuhn

Description: This course explores important moments in the co-evolution of literary and scientific forms from the nineteenth century through present day. How do scientific ideas, concepts and disciplines shape literary forms and styles? And how does science rely upon literary conventions? Topics may include observation, empiricism, the experiment, the scientific institution, objectivity, networks, and data. The course also provides an introduction to some of the ideas and methodologies of STS (Science and Technology Studies).

ENSP 8559-002 - Voice in Writing and Media

R 330-600 (Cocke Hall 101)
Instructor: Stephanie Ceraso

What does it mean to have a “voice” as a writer or critic? How do notions of voice change when we think of writers and critics as authors of analogue or digital media? In this seminar we will explore key theories and concepts of voice in writing and media, focusing on questions of authenticity, embodiment, identity, performance, disability, ethics, and more.


ENPG 5400 - Counterpoint Seminar in Teaching Modern Literature

T 630-900 (Ruffner Hall 177)
Instructor: Natasha Heny

This course offers future elementary, middle, high school teachers of English the opportunity to reflect on their own college learning of the subject; it teaches those future teachers how to convert that earlier learning into the stuff of K12 teaching. Specifically, course looks back at ENGL 3830, the last part of the English Department's 3-semester survey required for majors (or equivalent courses that future teachers may have taken elsewhere) Prerequisites: ENGL 3830 or its equivalent or permission of instructor.

ENPG 8800 - Pedagogy Seminar

W 1100-1150 (Bryan Hall 330)
Instructor: James Livingood

This course prepares first year doctoral students for the teaching they will do here at UVa in both literature classes and the writing program. Covers topics such as classroom management, leading discussion, grading papers. Limited enrollment.