The online version of the Caltech Catalog is provided as a convenience; however, the printed version is the only authoritative source of information about course offerings, option requirements, graduation requirements, and other important topics.
Hum/En 5. Major British Authors. 9 units (3-0-6). For course description, see Humanities.
Hum/En 6. American Literature and Culture. 9 units (3-0-6). For course description, see Humanities.
Hum/En 7. Modern European Literature. 9 units (3-0-6). For course description, see Humanities.
F/En 30. Introduction to Film. 9 units (3-0-6). For course description, see Film.
En/Wr 84. Writing About Science. 9 units (3-0-6); third term. Instruction and practice in writing about science and technology for non-specialist audiences. The course considers how to convey complex technical information in clear, engaging prose in a variety of contexts. Readings in different genres (newspaper journalism, creative non-fiction, and advocacy) raise issues for discussion and serve as models for preliminary writing assignments. A more substantial final project will be on a topic and in the genre of the student’s choosing. Includes oral presentation. Satisfies the Institute scientific writing requirement and the option oral communications requirement for humanities majors. Instructor: Hall, S.
En 85. Writing Poetry. 9 units (3-0-6); third term. Students will develop their poetic craft by creating poems in a variety of forms. The lecturer will provide guidance and direction, supervise class discussions of students’ works, and assign outside reading as needed. Students may apply one term of En 85, 86, 87, 88, and 89 to the additional HSS requirements, and all other courses in this series will receive Institute credit. Instructor: Hall, J.
En 86. Fiction and Creative Nonfiction Writing. 9 units (3-0-6); second term. The class is conducted as a writing workshop in the short-story and personal essay/memoir form. Modern literary stories and essays are discussed, as well as the art and craft of writing well, aspects of “the writing life,” and the nature of the publishing world today. Students are urged to write fiction or nonfiction that reflects on the nature of life. Humor is welcome, although not genre fiction such as formula romance, horror, thrillers, fantasy, or sci-fi. Students may apply one term of En 85, 86, 87, 88, and 89 to the additional HSS requirements, and all other courses in this series will receive Institute credit. Instructor: Gerber.
En 87. Introduction to Screenwriting. 9 units (3-0-6); offered by announcement. The course will focus on format, structure and basic story elements of a feature length screenplay. Students will read samples of successful screenplays, discuss their own ideas, learn how to formulate an outline, and be given exercises to help them develop their first act. Students may apply only one term of En 85, 86, or 87 to the 108 unit HSS requirements. Additional courses in this series will receive Institute credit toward graduation. Not offered 2013–14.
En 89. Writing The News - Journalistic Writing. 9 units (3-0-6); second term. This class explores journalistic writing — writing that pays close attention to fact, accuracy, clarity and precision. It examines various aspects of the craft, such as reporting and interviewing, theme and scene, character and storytelling. It looks closely at how traditional print journalism offers up the news through newspapers - their structure, rules, process and presentation. It looks at new media, its process and principles. It also explores long-form journalistic writing. Students will produce numerous stories and other writing during the class, including profiles, issues, and reviews. Several of these will be offered for publication in The California Tech. There may be visits by professional journalists and off-campus excursions, including an outing to the Los Angeles Times. Instructor: Kipling.
En 98. Reading in English. 9 units (1-0-8). Prerequisite: instructor’s permission. An individual program of directed reading in English or American literature, in areas not covered by regular courses. En 98 is intended primarily for English majors and minors. Interested students should confer with an English faculty member and agree upon a topic before registering for the course. Instructor: Staff.
En 99 ab. Senior Tutorial for English Majors. 9 units (1-0-8). Students will study research methods and write a research paper. Required of students in the English option. Instructor: Staff.
En 113 ab. Shakespeare’s Career. 9 units (3-0-6); first, third terms. A survey of Shakespeare’s career as a dramatist. The first term will study his comedies and histories; the second, his tragedies and tragicomedies. Students will need to read one play per week. Not offered 2013–14.
En 114 ab. Shakespeare. 9 units (3-0-6); second term. A close study of Shakespeare’s plays with an emphasis on his language, dramatic structures, characters, and themes. Each term will concentrate on a detailed consideration of three or four of Shakespeare’s major plays. The first term is not a prerequisite for the second. Not offered 2013–14.
En 115. Shakespeare’s Contemporaries. 9 units (3-0-6); third term. English Renaissance drama is generally recognized as one of the greatest periods of the European theatre. Although Shakespeare is primarily responsible for this preeminence, some of his contemporaries were also outstanding playwrights. This course will study comedies and tragedies by a number of them, including Thomas Kyd, Christopher Marlowe, Ben Johnson, Thomas Middleton, and John Webster. Instructors: Pigman.
En 116. Milton and the Epic Tradition. 9 units (3-0-6); first term. Epic poetry is a competitive and self-referential genre. Virgil imitates and revises Homer, Dante makes Virgil his guide through hell and most of purgatory before leaving him behind, and Milton transforms the entire epic tradition. Since Milton’s engagement with and criticism of the epic are essential elements of Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained, we will focus on his dialogue with Homer, Virgil, and Dante and their differing conceptions of heroism. Instructor: Pigman.
En 118. Classical Mythology. 9 units (3-0-6); first, third terms. Why did the Greeks and Romans remain fascinated with the same stories of gods and demigods for more than a thousand years? On the other hand, how did they adapt those stories to fit new times and places? Starting with the earliest Greek poems and advancing through classical Athens, Hellenistic Alexandria, and Augustan Rome, we consider the history of writing poetry as a history of reading the past; the course also serves as an excellent introduction to ancient literary history at large. Readings may include Homer’s ‘Odyssey,’ Hesiod, Aeschylus, Euripides, Apollonius Rhodius, Ovid, and Seneca. Not offered 2013–14.
En 119. Displacement. 9 units (3-0-6); third term. The literary fascination with people who change places, temporarily or permanently, over a short distance or across the globe, in works dating from our lifetimes and from the recent and the remote past. How readily can such stories be compared, how easy is it to apply traditional categories of literary evaluation, and, in the contemporary world, how have poetry and prose fictions about migration survived alongside other media? 21st-century works will receive considerable attention; other readings may include Virgil, Swift, Flaubert, Mann, Achebe, Nabokov, Didion, Morrison. Instructor: Haugen.
En 121. Literature and Its Readers. 9 units (3-0-6); second term. The course will investigate readers who have made adventurous uses of their favorite works of literature, from Greek antiquity through the 20th century. Sometimes those readers count, at least temporarily, as literary critics, as when the philosopher Aristotle made Sophocles’ Oedipus the King the central model in his wildly successful essay on the literary form of tragedy. Other readers have been even more experimental, as when Sigmund Freud, studying the same play, made the “Oedipus complex” a meeting point for his theory of psychology, his vision of human societies, and his fascination with literary narrative. It will discuss some basic questions about the phenomenon of literary reading. Does a book have a single meaning? Can it be used rightly or wrongly? Instructor: Haugen.
En 122. Early History of the Novel. 9 units (3-0-6); third term. The realistic novel is a surprising, even experimental moment in the history of fiction. How and why did daily life become a legitimate topic for narrative in the 18th century? The realistic turn clearly attracted new classes of readers, but did it also make the novel a better vehicle for commenting on society at large? Why were the formal conventions of realistic writing so tightly circumscribed? Authors may include Cervantes, Defoe, Richardson, Fielding, Sterne, Walpole, Boswell, and Austen. Not offered 2013–14.
En 123. The 19th-Century English Novel. 9 units (3-0-6); first term. A survey of the 19th-century novel from Austen through Conrad, with special emphasis upon the Victorians. Major authors may include Austen, Shelley, Dickens, Eliot, Thackeray, Gaskell, Brontë, Collins, Trollope, Stoker, Hardy. Instructor: Gilmore.
En 124. 20th-Century British Fiction. 9 units (3-0-6); third term. A survey of the 20th-century British and Irish novel, from the modernist novel to the postcolonial novel. Major authors may include Conrad, Joyce, Woolf, Forster, Lawrence, Orwell, Amis, Lessing, Rushdie. Not offered 2013–14.
En 125. British Romantic Literature. 9 units (3-0-6); second term. A selective survey of English writing in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Major authors may include Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Keats, Percy Shelley, Mary Shelley, and Austen. Particular attention will be paid to intellectual and historical contexts and to new understandings of the role of literature in society. Not offered 2013–14.
En 126. Gothic Fiction. 9 units (3-0-6); third term. The literature of horror, fantasy, and the supernatural, from the late 18th century to the present day. Particular attention will be paid to gothic’s shifting cultural imperative, from its origins as a qualified reaction to Enlightenment rationalism, to the contemporary ghost story as an instrument of social and psychological exploration. Issues will include atmosphere and the gothic sense of space; gothic as a popular pathology; and the gendering of gothic narrative. Fiction by Walpole, Shelley, Brontë, Stoker, Poe, Wilde, Angela Carter, and Toni Morrison. Film versions of the gothic may be included. Not offerered 2013–14.
En 128. Modern and Contemporary Irish Literature. 9 units (3-0-6); third term. The development of Irish fiction, poetry, and drama from the early 20th-century Irish literary renaissance, through the impact of modernism, to the Field Day movement and other contemporary developments. Topics may include the impact of political violence and national division upon the literary imagination; the use of folk and fairy-tale traditions; patterns of emigration and literary exile; the challenge of the English language and the relation of Irish writing to British literary tradition; and recent treatments of Irish literature in regional, postcolonial, and global terms. Works by Joyce, Yeats, Synge, Friel, O’Brien, Heaney, Boland, and others. Instructor: Gilmartin.
En 129. Enlightenment Fiction. 9 units (3-0-6); second term. What was the fate of fiction in an Age of Reason? Historians have questioned whether a conventional sense of the Enlightenment adequately accounts for European culture in the 18th century, and the literary imagination can seem particularly unsuited to generalizations about progress, optimism, reason, and social order. This course will consider experimental narratives and philosophical satires from the English and Continental tradition, as well as early Romantic responses to the Enlightenment. Readings may include Defoe, Sterne, Voltaire, Diderot, Mary Shelley, Hoffman, and fairy tales from the brothers Grimm. Instructor: Gilmartin.
En 131. Poe’s Afterlife. 9 units (3-0-6); second term. This course focuses on Edgar Allan Poe and the considerable influence his works have had on other writers. Authors as diverse as Charles Baudelaire, Jules Verne, Jorge Luis Borges, Vladimir Nabokov, John Barth, and Philip Roth have used Poe’s stories as departure points for their own work. We shall begin by reading some of Poe’s s classic short stories, including “The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym,” “The Purloined Letter,” and others. We shall then explore how and why Poe’s stories have been so important for authors, despite the fact that his reputation as a great American writer, unlike Hawthorne’s and Melville’s, for example, is a relatively recent phenomenon. Not offered 2013–14.
En 132. American Literature Until the Civil War. 9 units (3-0-6); first term. The course will analyze the literature of this period, from the Puritans through Melville, to determine how various writers understood their relationship to a new world of seemingly unlimited possibility. Authors covered may include Mary Rowlandson, Benjamin Franklin, Hannah Foster, Harriet Jacobs, Emerson, Thoreau, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Hawthorne, and Melville. Instructor: Spires.
En 133. 19th-Century American Women Writers. 9 units (3-0-6), second term. This course will analyze many of the most popular novels written in the 19th century. How might we account for their success in the 19th century and their marginalization (until recently) in the 20th century? Why were so many of these texts “sentimental”? How might we understand the appeal of “sentimental” literature? What are the ideological implications of sentimentalism? Authors may include Stowe, Warner, Cummins, Alcott, Phelps, Fern, etc. Not offered 2013–14.
En 134. The Career of Herman Melville. 9 units (3-0-6), second term. The course will focus on Melville’s works from Typee through Billy Budd. Special emphasis will be placed on Melville’s relations to 19th-century American culture. Instructor: Weinstein.
En 136. The Fiction of Charles Dickens. 9 units (3-0-6). An overview of the Great Inimitable’s fiction, concentrating on four texts representative of different phases of his novel-writing career and their relationship to the changing world of Victorian Britain: Oliver Twist, Dombey and Son, Bleak House, Our Mutual Friend. Not offered 2013–14.
En 137. African American Literature. 9 units (3-0-6); second term. This course analyzes some of the great works of American literature written by African Americans. This body of writing gives rise to two crucial questions: How does African American literature constitute a literary tradition of its own? How is that tradition inextricable from American literary history? From slave narratives to Toni Morrison’s Beloved, from the Harlem Renaissance to Alice Walker, from Ralph Ellison to Walter Mosley, African American literature has examined topics as diverse and important as race relations, class identification, and family life. We shall analyze these texts not only in relation to these cultural issues, but also in terms of their aesthetic and formal contributions. Not offered 2013–14.
En 138. Twain and His Contemporaries. 9 units (3-0-6); third term. This course will study the divergent theories of realism that arose in the period after the Civil War and before World War I. Authors covered may include Howells, James, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Twain, Sarah Orne Jewett, Jacob Riis, Stephen Crane, and W. E. B. DuBois. Not offered 2013–14.
En 141. James and Wharton. 9 units (3-0-6); first term. The course covers selected novels, short fiction, and nonfiction writings of friends and expatriates Henry James and Edith Wharton. It will consider formal questions of style and genre as well as the literature’s preoccupation with describing and defining American modernity, despite the authors’ shared ambivalence toward their native country. Students will read as many as, but no more than, five novels. Texts covered may include The Portrait of a Lady, Daisy Miller, The Ambassadors, selections from The Decoration of Houses, The House of Mirth, The Custom of the Country, and The Age of Innocence. Instructor: Jurca.
En 145. American Ethnic Literature. 9 units (3-0-6); second term. From the idea of the melting pot to contemporary debates about multiculturalism, the costs and benefits of assimilation have been crucial to understanding what it means to be American in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. We will be reading novels, autobiographies, sociology, and other texts that describe the struggles of newcomers to adapt to an alien culture while also, often, trying to negotiate a meaningful relation to their native culture. Authors covered may include Anzia Yezierska, Maxine Hong Kingston, Frank Chin, Richard Rodriguez, Philip Roth, and T. C. Boyle. Not offered 2013–14.
En/F 160 ab. Introduction to Classical Hollywood Film. 9 units (3-0-6); first, second terms. This course introduces students to Hollywood films and filmmaking during the classical period, from the coming of sound through the ’50s. It will cover basic techniques and vocabulary of film analysis, as we learn to think of films as texts with distinctive formal properties. Topics include the rise and collapse of the studio system, technical transformations (sound, color, deep focus), genre (the musical, the melodrama), cultural contexts (the Depression, World War II, the Cold War), audience responses, and the economic history of the film corporations. Terms may be taken independently. Part a covers the period 1927–1940. Part b covers 1941–1960. Not offered 2013–14.
En/F 161. The New Hollywood. 9 units (3-0-6); second term. This course examines the post-classical era of Hollywood filmmaking with a focus on the late 1960s through the 1970s, a period of significant formal and thematic experimentation. We will study American culture and politics as well as film in this era, as we consider the relation between broader social transformations and the development of new narrative conventions and cinematic techniques. We will pay particular attention to the changing film industry and its influence on this body of work. Films covered may include Bonnie and Clyde, The Wild Bunch, The Last Picture Show, Jaws, and Taxi Driver. Instructors: Jurca.
En 179. Constituting Citizenship before the Fourteenth Amendment. 9 units (3-0-6); second term. What can a slave’s narrative teach us about citizenship? How did the new nation identify citizens when its Constitution seemed so silent on the matter? And how did one tailor’s pamphlet result in one of most massive restrictions of free speech in U.S. history? Our goal over the semester will be to sketch a story of African American literary production from the latter half of the eighteenth century to the Civil War and to tease out, through this literature, developing understandings of citizenship in the United States. We will read letters, poems, sermons, songs, constitutions and bylaws, short stories, and texts that simply defy easy categorization. We will also spend several sessions becoming familiar with key newspapers and magazines-Freedom’s Journal, Frederick Douglass’s Paper, The Anglo-African Magazine, Christian Recorder, and The Crisis-to deepen our understanding of the kinds of things people were reading and writing on a regular basis and the kinds of arguments they were making. Writers up for discussion may include: Frederick Douglass, James Madison, Harriet Jacobs, Henry David Thoreau, Sojourner Truth, and David Walker. Instructors: Spires.
En 180. Special Topics in English. 9 units (3-0-6). See registrar’s announcement for details. Instructor: Staff.
En 181. Hardy: The Wessex Novels. 9 units (3-0-6); third term. This course will examine the body of work that the late Victorian novelist Thomas Hardy published under the general title The Wessex Novels, that is, the sequence of works from Far from the Madding Crowd to Jude the Obscure. The six main novels will be read critically to give a sense of the totality of this greatest British regional novelist’s achievement. Not offered 2013–14.
En 182. Literature and the First Amendment. 9 units (3-0-6); third term. “Freedom of speech,” writes Benjamin Cardozo in Palko v. Connecticut (1937), “is the matrix, the indispensable condition, of nearly every other form of freedom.” We will go inside the matrix, focusing on how it has affected the books we read. This is not a course in constitutional law or political philosophy, but an opportunity to examine how American literary culture has intersected with law and politics. We will investigate the ways in which the meanings of “freedom,” what it entails, and who is entitled to it have changed over time. Possible topics include the obscenity trials surrounding Allen Ginsberg’s Howl and James Joyce’s Ulysses, crackdowns on anti-war propagandists, and the legal battle between Hustler publisher Larry Flynt and televangelist and Moral Majority cofounder Jerry Falwell. Instructor: Hunter.
En 183. Victorian Crime Fiction. 9 units (3-0-6); first term. In 19th-century Britain, for the first time in human history, more of a nation’s citizens came to live in urban areas than in rural ones. This result of the Industrial Revolution produced many effects, but in the fiction of the period, one of the most striking was an obsession with the problem of crime. Victorian authors filled their novels with murder, prisons, poisonings, prostitution, criminals, and the new figure of the detective; in this class we will look at the social history, publishing developments, and formal dilemmas that underlay such a response. Authors studied may include Dickens, Collins, Braddon, Conan Doyle, Chesterton, and Conrad, among others. Not offered 2013–14.
En 185. Dickens and the Dickensian. 9 units (3-0-6). The adjective “Dickensian” makes an almost daily appearance in today’s newspapers, magazines, and other media sources. It is used to describe everything from outrageous political scandals, to Bollywood musicals, to multiplot novels. But what does the word really mean? And what part of Charles Dickens’s output does it refer to? This class will consider some of Dickens’s most famous works alongside a series of contemporary novels, all critically described in “Dickensian” terms. The main concern will be equally with style and form, and 19th-century and present-day circumstances of production (e.g., serialization, mass production, Web publication, etc.). Authors considered (aside from Dickens) may include Richard Price, Zadie Smith, Monica Ali, and Jonathan Franzen. Not offered 2013–14.
En 186. The Novel of Education. 9 units (3-0-6); second term. What does it mean to be educated? This class will consider this question via a series of novels that take us from secondary school to the university, and from the nineteenth century to the present. Concentrating on British literature, with its compelling tendency to focalize historical anxieties about class, race and social reform through depictions of formal schooling practices, we too will consider these issues as we enter classrooms and eavesdrop on faculty conversations. At the same time, there will be ample scope to engage with more abstract questions about power, pedagogy, and alienation, and we will use our reading’s rich stock of schoolyard bullies, boarding school mean girls, struggling scholars and power-mad professors as the concrete anchor for such considerations. Authors read may include Dickens, Bronte, Waugh, Amis, Spark, Lodge, Ishiguro and Zadie Smith. Instructor: Gilmore.
En 187. Introduction to Medieval English Literature. 9 units 3-0-6; first. This course offers a tour of major (as well as some minor) genres and works written in Britain prior to 1500. Far from a literary “dark age,” the Middle Ages fostered dramatic experiments in narrative form, bequeathing to modern literature some of its best-loved genres and texts. We will practice reading in Middle English—the language of Chaucer and his contemporaries—while we concentrate on the following questions: how did these texts circulate among readers? How do they establish their authority? What kinds of historical and cultural currents to they engage? Texts may include the lives of saints, the confessions of sinners, drama, lyrics, romances, selections from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, and Malory’s Morte Darthur. Readings will be in Middle and modern English. Not offered 2013–14.
En 188. Medieval Romance. 9 units (3-0-6); second term. The medieval term romanz designated both a language, French, and a genre, romance, dedicated to the adventures of knights and ladies and the villains, monsters, magic, and miles that stood in their way. This course explores key examples from the twelfth through the fifteenth centuries, while also examining evolutions in the form. We will consider how romances figured love and desire as well as negotiated questions of law, territory, and cultural difference. Authors and texts may include Chrétien de Troyes, Marie de France, Gawain and the Green Knight, Arthurian legends, outlaw tales, and hagiography. Readings will be in modern English translation, with Old French and Middle English available for the adventurous. Not offered 2013–14.
En 189. Literature and Law in Medieval England. 9 units (3-0-6); first term. This course examines one of the most exciting and transformative periods in legal and literary history, the later Middle Ages. In England, this era witnessed the rise of lawyers, the advent of trial by jury, and the amassment of the common law. It saw kings fall, peasants revolt, and religious dissenters condemned for heresy. But it also saw the development a sophisticated legal system and, alongside it, a burgeoning literary tradition. This class examines that literary tradition while also tracing some key legal developments of the period. We will read poetic texts together with relevant legal materials, including law codes, trial transcripts, and statutes. As we gain a basic introduction to medieval legal topics, we will also consider how poets represent and appropriate law, analyzing, for instance, how the figure of the witness informs genres like romance and hagiography. Certain readings will be in Middle English, but no previous experience with the language is required. Instructor: Jahner.
En 190. Chaucer. 9 units (3-0-6); second term. This course devotes itself to the writings of the diplomat, courtier, bureaucrat, and poet, Geoffrey Chaucer. Best known for the Canterbury Tales, Chaucer also authored dream visions, lyrics, and philosophical meditations. This course will introduce you to some better-known and lesser-known works in the Chaucerian corpus, while also exploring questions central to the production and circulation of literature in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. What did it mean to “invent” a literary work in late medieval England? How did Chaucer imagine himself as a writer and reader? What are the hallmarks of Chaucerian style, and how did Chaucer become the canonical author he is today? We will read Chaucer’s works in their original language, Middle English, working slowly enough to give participants time to familiarize themselves with syntax and spelling. No previous experience with the language is necessary. Instructor: Jahner.
En/H 193. Cervantes, Truth or Dare: Don Quixote in an Age of Empire. 9 units (3-0-6); second term. Studies Cervantes’s literary masterpiece, Don Quixote, with a view to the great upheavals that shaped the early modern world: Renaissance Europe’s discovery of America; feudalism’s demise and the rise of mass poverty; Reformation and Counter-Reformation; extermination of heretics and war against infidels; and the decline of the Hapsburg dynasty. The hapless protagonist of Don Quixote calls into question the boundaries between sanity and madness, truth and falsehood, history and fiction, objectivity and individual experience. What might be modern, perhaps even revolutionary, in Cervantes’s dramatization of the moral and material dilemmas of his time? Conducted in English. Instructor: Wey-Gómez.
En/H 197. American Literature and the Technologies of Reading. 9 units (3-0-6); second term. This course explores the material forms of American literature from the colonial era through the nineteenth century. We will study how and by whom books and other kinds of texts were produced, and how these forms shaped and were shaped by readers’ engagement with them. Possible topics include the history of such printing technologies as presses, types, paper, ink, binding, and illustration; the business of bookmaking and the development of the publishing industry; the rise of literary authorship; the career of Benjamin Franklin; print, politics, and the American Revolution; and manuscript culture. Instructor: Hunter