Show Filters

English (En) Courses (2020-21)

Hum/En 20. The Epic Tradition. 9 units (3-0-6): first, second terms. For over 2,000 years epic poetry was the foremost genre of literature. The most prestigious kind of poetry was also unusually competitive and self-referential. Virgil imitates and revises Homer, Ovid mocks and criticizes Virgil's political agenda, and Milton transforms the entire epic tradition. We will focus on the differing conceptions of heroism in Homer's Iliad and/or Odyssey, Virgil's Aeneid, Ovid's Metamorphoses, and Milton's Paradise Lost. Instructor: Pigman.
Hum/En 21. Monsters and Marvels. 9 units (3-0-6): first, third terms. Marvels flourish at the boundaries of literary invention, religious belief, and scientific inquiry, challenging assumptions about natural processes and expected outcomes. From Grendel, the monstrous foe of Beowulf, to Satan, Milton's charismatic antihero, this seminar examines the uses of the marvelous in a variety of texts and genres, including Shakespearian drama, medieval romance, and early travel-writing. Readings may include Beowulf, Marie de France, Chaucer, John Mandeville, Shakespeare, Milton. Instructor: Jahner.
Hum/En 22. Inequality. 9 units (3-0-6): second term. Throughout the history of Europe, America, and beyond, poets and philosophers have asked hard questions about unequal relationships, whether between kings and subjects, gods and humans, men and women, rich and poor, or machines and people. Our authors take no single point of view; our goal is to analyze sophisticated and often surprising arguments and to enter new cultural worlds. Readings may include Ovid, Milton, Sei Shonagon, Machiavelli, Rousseau, and Alexievich. Not offered 2020-21. Instructor: Haugen.
Hum/En 23. Literature and Medicine. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. The relationship between patients and doctors, the ill and the well, involves a constant exchange of stories. In this course we will look more closely at the relationship between medicine and narrative through a selection of fiction, essays and poems that investigate the interplay between doubt and diagnosis, the idea of the case study, the problem of medical responsibility, and the language of pain and illness. Authors covered may include Sontag, Mantel, Conan Doyle, Freud, Woolf, Dickinson, Ishiguro and Shelley. Instructor: Gilmore.
Hum/En 24. The Scientific Imagination in English Literature. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. This course considers three periods of major scientific development-the Renaissance, the nineteenth century, and the modern period- to explore the influence new ideas, discoveries, and theories had on the imagination of English writers. We will look at the early modern interplay between magic and science, Romantic and Victorian debates about evolution, and the twentieth-century advent of modern physics as we confront consistent tropes like the mad scientist, the scientist-hero, and the problem of uncertainty. Authors covered may include Shakespeare, Marlowe, Bacon, Shelley, Darwin, Conan Doyle, Stevenson, Auden, McEwan, and Stoppard. Not offered 2020-21. Instructor: Gilmore.
Hum/En 25. The Human Animal. 9 units (3-0-6): second term. European literature has long been a testing ground for radical new ideas which have come to shape our basic understanding of what it means to be a thinking, speaking and perhaps even autonomous human being. The question of what - if anything - makes us different from animals was debated from numerous points of view: including talking dogs, philosophizing women, bestial men, humanlike beasts, and other creatures that defied the conventions of the time. This course explores some of the key literary texts that shaped this debate and pays careful attention to their cultural environments. Selected readings from Cervantes, La Fontaine, Swift, Rousseau, Buffon, Aikin, and Wollstonecraft, among others. Not offered 2020-21. Instructor: Holland.
Hum/En 26. What Is Imagination?. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. Albert Einstein once said that imagination is everything, and even more important than knowledge. This course invites you to think about - and use - your imagination as we explore how the act of imagining has been viewed over time in the service of memory and creativity, in both the arts and the sciences. Readings will focus on the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and will include Hume, Moritz, Kant, Novalis, Hoffmann, Coleridge, and Wordsworth. Instructor: Holland.
Hum/En 27. Literature and the Problem of Belief. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. "On a huge hill, / Cragged and steep, Truth stands, and he that will / Reach her, about must and about must go." In this verse, John Donne captures the difficult and circling pursuit of truth, the mixed experience of belief: it is at once a knowing and an unknowing. By tracing this pursuit through the writings of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, we can explore how writers discovered belief and grappled with doubt, what inspiration they claimed and how they reckoned with failures of vision as they moved through a world increasingly filled with claims and contradictions of the spirit. In our own pursuit of the experience of belief, we shall read the prose and poetry of Margery Kempe, Montaigne, Herbert, Hutchinson, Milton, Defoe, Blake, Barbauld, and Coleridge. Instructor: Koch.
Hum/En 29. Dream Narratives. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. Dream narratives reveal as much about cultural beliefs and superstitions as they do about techniques of narration and interpretation. This course investigates key developments in the literature on dreams and dream interpretations with examples drawn from the Renaissance through the beginning of the nineteenth century. Selected readings from Boccaccio, Descartes, Calderón, Shakespeare, and Diderot, among others. Not offered 2020-21. Instructor: Holland.
Hum/En 33. Modern Metamorphoses. 9 units (3-0-6): second term. Narratives of metamorphosis have traditionally used their dramatic subject matter-a radical change of form-as a vehicle for social criticism. This course explores the ways in which twentieth-century writers experiment with the concept of metamorphosis to take on the most pressing political and social issues of their day, including slavery, women's rights, and critiques of capitalist excess. Readings to include Kafka, Garnett, Orwell, Tawada, and Erpenbeck. Not offered 2020-21. Instructor: Holland.
Hum/En 34. Literature and Deception. 9 units (3-0-6): second term. In this course, we will be considering lying and other types of deception from the point of view of literature and philosophy, with two main goals in mind: 1) to compare cultural practices of deception at various times in European history and 2) to think in general terms about the ability of a literary text to convey truth and falsehood. Can a fictional text be "true" in any meaningful sense, such as a political one? Or, as many people have thought over time, is it more accurate to think about literature as a beautiful lie? Readings will include the legend of Till Eulenspiegel as well as texts by Machiavelli, Shakespeare, Diderot, and those relating to the Ossian controversy. Instructor: Holland.
Hum/En 35. Major British Authors. 9 units (3-0-6): offered by announcement. This course will introduce students to one or more of the genres of English literature, including poetry, drama, and prose fiction, by studying major authors from different periods. Sometimes the course will cover a wide range of authors, while at others it will concentrate on a few. Authors might include Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Austen, George Eliot, or Joyce. Not offered 2020-21.
Hum/En 36. American Literature and Culture. 9 units (3-0-6): offered by announcement. Studies of American aesthetics, genres, and ideas from the birth of the nation to the present. Students will be introduced to the techniques of formal analysis. We will consider what constitutes evidence in relation to texts and how to develop a persuasive interpretation. Topics may include Nature's Nation, slavery and its aftermath, individualism and the marketplace, the "New Woman," and the relation between word and image. Not offered 2020-21.
Hum/En 37. Modern European Literature. 9 units (3-0-6): offered by announcement. An introduction to literary analysis through a sustained exploration of the rise and aftermath of modernism. What was the modernist revolt of the early 20th century, how did it challenge literary tradition and existing social forms, and to what extent have we inherited a world remade by modernism? While the course will focus on British and Continental literature, writers from other parts of the world whose work closely engages the European tradition may also be considered. Authors may include Flaubert, James, Conrad, Joyce, Woolf, Kafka, Borges, Yeats, and Eliot. Not offered 2020-21.
Hum/En 40. Power, Politics, and Travel Literature: From Travelogue to TripAdvisor. 9 units (3-0-6): second term. This course will investigate the peculiar yet ubiquitous figure of "the tourist" in a world of uneven mobilities fueled and exacerbated by economic disparity, climate change, technology, border conflict, and racism. Guided by postcolonial and critical race theory as well as environmental and feminist frameworks, we will explore and critique the "tourist gaze" as represented in literature and visual culture. Mapping the influential tropes of early colonial travelogues across time and space, we will examine how geopolitical power and structural inequality continue to shape tourism in the global digital era. Possible authors include Njabulo Ndebele, Saidiya Hartman, Jamaica Kincaid, Nicole Dennis-Benn, Dany Laferrière, Farzana Doctor, and James Baldwin. Instructor: Hori.
En 83. History of the English Language. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. This course introduces students to the historical development of the English language, from its Proto-Indo-European roots through its earliest recorded forms (Old English, Middle English, and Early Modern English) up to its current status as a world language. English is a language that is constantly evolving, and students will gain the linguistic skills necessary for analyzing the features of its evolution. We will study the variation and development in the language over time and across regions, including variations in morphology, phonology, syntax, grammar, and vocabulary. We will also examine sociological, political, and literary phenomena that accompany and shape changes in the language. Not offered 2020-21.
En/Wr 84. Communicating Science to Non-Experts. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. This course offers instruction in writing and speaking about science and technology for non-expert audiences. Instruction focuses on how to convey complex technical information in clear, engaging prose and speech in a variety of contexts. Readings in different genres (e.g. the newspaper discovery story, the op-ed, the personal narrative, the explainer talk) raise issues for discussion and serve as models for assignments in these genres. The workshop-style nature of this course relies on drafting and revision in response to peer and instructor feedback. Satisfies the Institute scientific writing requirement and the option oral communications requirement for humanities majors. Instructor: Hall.
En 85. Poetry Writing. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. When William Blake wrote "to see a World in a Grain of Sand," he tapped into poetry's power to model the universe. For instance, once we set up a simile between "world" and "grain of sand", we can test this hypothesis of sameness. How is sand like the world? Where will the model fail? And what might that tell us? Imagery, sensory language, arguments, ideas, and verse form itself can lead poetry toward power and discovery. This pursuit can reach from the page into one's own life. We will work hard together on poems, our own and one another's. Students may apply one term of 85, 86, or 89 to the additional HSS requirements, and all other courses in this series will receive institute credit. Instructor: Factor.
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, or 89 to the additional HSS requirements, and all other courses in this series will receive Institute credit. Instructor: Lepucki.
En 89. Writing the News - Journalistic Writing. 9 units (3-0-6): third 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. Students may apply one term of En 85, 86, or 89 to the additional HSS requirements, and all other courses in this series will receive Institute credit. Instructor: Kipling.
En 98. Reading in English. 9 units (1-0-8): . Prerequisites: 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 103. Introduction to Medieval British Literature. 9 units (3-0-6): first term. 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, dranma, lyrics, romances, selections from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, and Malory's Morte Darthur. Readings will be in Middle and modern English. Not offered 2020-21.
En 104. Imagining the Medieval in the Nineteenth Century. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. Following the Enlightenment and amidst the Industrial Revolution, the late-eighteenth and nineteenth centuries saw a surging interest in the literature, lives, art, and architecture of the Middle Ages. In this course, we will explore how authors represented, invoked, and often idealized the medieval past-with its knights, peasants, saints, and monsters-as a way to think through the challenges-social, literary, political, aesthetic-of their own time. We will read several novels, poems, and treatises, including Henry David Thoreau's essay, "Walking;" Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court; Alfred Lord Tennyson's Idylls of the King; and others. Requirements for the course will include weekly response papers and two essays. Not offered 2020-21.
En 105. Old English Literature. 9 units (3-0-6): first term. "Moððe word fræt." Want to learn how to read the riddle that begins with these words? This course will introduce students to Old English: the earliest form of the English language, spoken in England from roughly the years 450 to 1100. In studying the language, we will turn to its diverse and exciting body of literature, including one poem commemorating the brutal defeat by a Viking army and another based on the biblical story of Judith, who tricks the evil king Holofernes into sleeping with her-but not before slicing off his drunken head. We will also read a variety of shorter texts: laws, medical recipes, humorously obscene riddles. Successful completion of the course will give students a richer sense not only of the earliest period of English literature, but also of the English language as it is written and spoken today. No prior experience with Old or Middle English is necessary for this course. Not offered 2020-21.
En 106. Poetry and the Project of Justice. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. This course explores how contemporary poets grapple with the most urgent questions of our moment: identity, equality, environmental crisis, and justice. In this class, students will gain confidence in reading, discussing, and writing about contemporary poems and will encounter recent and more distant traditions of protest poetry. We will ask how poetic language articulates questions of embodiment, community, law, and memory. The syllabus will focus in particular on writers of color, including queer and indigenous poets, and will include opportunities to attend local poetry readings. Instructor: Jahner.
En 107. 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 Chretien de Troyes, Marie de France, Gawain and the Green Knight, Arthurian legends, outlaw tales, and hagiography. Not offered 2020-21. Instructor: Jahner.
En/VC 108. Volcanoes. 9 units (3-0-6): first term. Long before torrents of lava cascaded down Los Angeles streets in the 1997 film Volcano, volcanic disaster narratives erupted across 19th-century British pages, stages, and screens. This class will examine the enduring fascination with volcanoes in literary and visual culture and the socio-political tensions that disaster narratives expose. Students will analyze Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Tambora's infamous 1815 eruption, James Pain's 1880s pyrotechnic adaptation of Vesuvius's 79AD eruption, and paintings of global sunsets after Krakatoa's 1883 eruption. Additional literary and visual texts may include works by: Felicia Hemans, Isabella Bird, M.P. Shiel, Charles Dickens, Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton, and J. M. W. Turner. Instructor: Sullivan.
En 109. Madness and Reason. 9 units (3-0-6): second term. Madness threatens to dissolve boundaries of the most various kinds: between the human and the inhumane, reality and fantasy, sickness and health. One of the tasks of a literary text is to subdue and contain madness through the construction of rational frameworks. How does a literary text accomplish this? Which strategies, such as the use of irony and humor, are the most effective? What role do insane characters play in literary texts? And when - if ever - should we consider an excess of reason as a kind of madness in its own right? Selected readings from Shakespeare, Voltaire, Goethe, Hoffmann, Büchner, Gogol, and Schnitzler, among others. Not offered 2020-21. Instructor: Holland.
En 110. Sinners, Saints, and Sexuality in Premodern Literature. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. What made the difference between saint and sinner in medieval and Renaissance literature? This class takes up this question by focusing on the unruly problems of embodiment. We will read across a wide range of literatures, including early medical texts, saints' lives, poetry and romance, as we examine how earlier periods understood gender and sexual difference. Questions we may consider include the following: how did writers construct the "naturalness" or "unnaturalness" of particular bodies and bodily acts? How did individuals assert control over their own bodies and those of others? In what ways did writing authorize, scrutinize, or police the boundaries of the licit and illicit? Finally, how have modern critics framed these questions? Possible readings include Aristotle, Freud, Chaucer, Margery Kempe, Christine de Pizan, Sidney, Shakespeare. Instructor: Not offered 2020-21.
En 111. Violence and Reconciliation on the Shakespearean Stage. 9 units (3-0-6): second term. Sir Francis Bacon famously described revenge as a "wild justice," and there are vivid examples of such justice in the drama of Shakespeare and his contemporaries: revenge for political betrayal and tyranny, for sexual infidelities and desires, for religious misbehavior and dogmatism. But what of the experience of reconciliation on the Shakespearean stage? What pathways to concord and peace did these plays offer? This course explores the relationship of violence to the fleeting experience of reconciliation in early modern drama. The plays of Shakespeare, Marlowe, Jonson, Middleton, and Dryden allow us to consider how drama as text and performance engaged and continues to engage playgoers as they watch the religious, social, and political upheaval of their worlds mounted to the stage. Instructor: Koch.
En 113. Shakespeare's Career: Comedies and Histories. 9 units (3-0-6): second term. The first of a two-course sequence on Shakespeare's career as a dramatist and poet. We will read plays from the first half of Shakespeare's career, his comedies and histories. Particular attention will be paid to Shakespeare's use of his sources and to the textual history of the plays. En 113 and En 114 may be taken independently and, usually, are taught in alternate years. Not offered 2020-21. Instructor: Pigman.
En 114. Shakespeare's Career: Tragedies and Tragicomedies. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. The second of a two-course sequence on Shakespeare's career as a dramatist and poet. We will read works from the second half of Shakespeare's career, his tragedies, tragicomedies, and Sonnets. Particular attention will be paid to Shakespeare's use of his sources and to the textual history of the plays. En 113 and En 114 may be taken independently and, usually, are taught in alternate years. Not offered 2020-21. Instructor: Pigman.
En/VC 117. Picturing the Universe. 9 units (3-0-6): second term. Whether you are a physicist, photographer, or bibliophile, grab a warm jacket. The night sky beckons. In addition to observing and photographing our own starry skies, we will study 19th-century literary, artistic, and scientific responses to new understandings of the universe as dynamic, decentered, and limitless. In Victorian England, picturing the universe in literature and recording celestial light in photographs defied the physiological limitations of human observation and fueled larger debates about objective evidence and subjective documentation. Authors studied may include: Anna Laetitia Aikin, Keats, Byron, Tennyson, Hardy, Agnes Clerke, E. E. Barnard, Tracy Smith, and Dava Sobel. Instructor: Sullivan.
En 118. Classical Mythology. 9 units (3-0-6): first term. 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 2020-21. Instructor: Haugen.
En 119. Displacement. 9 units (3-0-6): first 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. Not offered 2020-21.
En 120. What Women Want: Desire and the Modern American Novel. 9 units (3-0-6): second term. The question of what a woman wants animates a central strain of the modern American novel, as do evolving ideas about what women can and cannot have. This course considers female desire-for personal agency and freedom, self- and sexual fulfillment, economic and social opportunity-across a half dozen novels written from about 1880 - 1940, in light of some of the cultural forces that shape and constrain characters' (and real women's) horizons. Authors covered may include Henry James, Edith Wharton, Theodore Dreiser, Anzia Yezierska, Nella Larsen, and Zora Neale Hurston. Not offered 2020-21. Instructor: Jurca.
En 121. Literature and Its Readers. 9 units (3-0-6): first 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? Not offered 2020-21. 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 2020-21.
En 123. The 19th-Century English Novel. 9 units (3-0-6): third 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 2020-21.
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 2020-21. Instructor: Gilmartin.
En 126. Gothic Fiction. 9 units (3-0-6): second 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 offered 2020-21. Instructor: Gilmartin.
En 127. Jane Austen. 9 units (3-0-6): second term. This course will focus on the major novels of Jane Austen: Northanger Abbey, Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, and Persuasion. Film and television adaptations will also be considered, and students may have the opportunity to read Austen's unfinished works, as well as related eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British fiction and non-fiction. Not offered 2020-21. Instructor: Gilmartin.
En 128. Modern and Contemporary Irish Literature. 9 units (3-0-6): second 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. Not offered 2020-21. Instructor: Gilmartin.
En 131. Poe's Afterlife. 9 units (3-0-6): third 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 2020-21. Instructor: Weinstein.
En 134. The Career of Herman Melville. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. The course will analyze Melville's career starting with Typee and ending with Billy Budd. Special attention will be given to Moby-Dick and Pierre. The centrality of Melville's position in American literature will be considered from a variety of perspectives, including aesthetics, representations of race, class, and gender, the role of the audience, and connections with other authors. Not offered 2020-21. Instructor: Weinstein.
En 135. Dickens's London. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. Charles Dickens and London have perhaps the most famous relationship of any writer and city in English. In this course, we will investigate both the London Dickens knew, and the portrait of the city that he painted, by reading some of Dickens's great mid-career novels alongside a selection of primary and secondary historical sources. We will think about the gap-or overlap- between history and fiction, the idea of the novelist as alternative historian, and the idea of the novel as historical document. Historical topics covered may include: the development of the Victorian police force; plague and public health; Victorian poverty; colonialism and imperialism; Dickens and his illustrators; Victorian exhibition culture; and marriage and the cult of domesticity, among others. In addition to written work, students should expect to be responsible for making a short research presentation at some point in the term. Not offered 2020-21. Instructor: Gilmore.
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 2020-21.
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 2020-21.
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 2020-21.
En 145. Literary Constructions of Motherhood. 9 units (3-0-6): first term. This course will examine motherhood as experience and institution-conceived of in vastly different ways-by a diversity of authors, genres, and literary modes to include the historical novel, the poem, the personal essay, the graphic novel, and the epistolary form. Our intersectional approach to a plurality of mothers and motherhoods will highlight the writings, experiences, and embodiments of people of color and immigrants as well as queer and disabled folks. Engaging with popular/visual media, we will study the figure of the mother (biological or otherwise) as bearer of potent cultural myths and enduring stereotypes that continue to haunt contemporary constructions of maternal care. We will also explore community formations that center mothers as agents of political change. Possible authors include Adrienne Rich, Audre Lourde, Toni Morrison, Buchi Emechita, Tanya Tagaq, Jamaica Kincaid, Maggie Nelson, Rivka Galchen, and Alison Bechdel. Instructor: Hori.
En 150. Chaos and Literature. 9 units (3-0-6): second term. We tend to think of literary texts as models of a stable poetic order, but modern and postmodern writers conduct increasingly bold experiments to test the contrary. This class explores how writers from the nineteenth century onward draw upon ancient and contemporary concepts of chaos to test out increasingly sophisticated models of disorder though writing. Readings to include Lucretius, Serres, Calvino, Barth, Stoppard, and Kehlmann. Not offered 2020-21. Instructor: Holland.
En 151. Keeping Time. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. The way in which humans perceive and record time has a discernable history, and literary texts offer us one of the best ways to study it, particularly in times of war and natural catastrophe. With a focus on 16th- through 18th-century European literature, we will examine various techniques of literary time-keeping as they relate to topics such as, fame and mortality, as well as the experience of time's slowness and acceleration. Readings will include selections from Baroque emblem books as well as texts by Montaigne, Milton, Pepys, Defoe, and Rousseau. Instructor: Holland.
En/VC 160 ab. Classical Hollywood Cinema. 9 units (3-0-6): first term. This course introduces students to Hollywood films and filmmaking during the classical period, from the coming of sound through the '50s. Students will develop the techniques and vocabulary appropriate to the distinct formal properties of film. 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. Part a not offered 2020-21. Instructor: Jurca.
En/VC 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 especially in the representation of violence and sexuality. 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. Not offered in 2020-21. Instructor: Jurca.
En/VC 170. Plantation Imaginaries. 9 units (3-0-6): second term. This course will focus on the institution of the plantation across U.S. and Caribbean contexts and trace the circulation of its seductive imageries and imaginaries in the perpetuation of historical erasure and racial inequality. Reading plantations as sites of both unspeakable violence and vital storytelling, we will also explore those alternative imaginaries or recuperations of plantation landscapes through various aesthetic, material, and political interventions. Supported by close analysis of image and text, students will engage in the interdisciplinary study of the plantation as a powerful structural engine of visual culture, design, narrative, and modern life. Possible topics include the works of Kara Walker, Jean Rhys, Harriet Jacobs, Simone Schwarz-Bart, Marlon James, and Gone with the Wind (1939). Instructor: Hori.
En 178. Medieval Subjectivities. 9 units (3-0-6): second term. In the seventeenth century, Descartes penned his famous expression "I think therefore I am!" and thus the modern subject was born-or so the simplified story goes. But long before the age of Descartes, the Middle Ages produced an astonishing range of theories and ideas about human selfhood, subjectivity, and interiority. For instance, writing from prison more than one thousand years earlier, Boethius came to realize that what distinguishes a human being from all other creatures is his capacity to "know himself." The meaning of this opaque statement and others like it will command our attention throughout this course, as we explore the diverse, distinctive, and often highly sophisticated notions of subjectivity that developed in the literatures of the Middle Ages. We will take up questions of human agency, free will, identity, self-consciousness, confession, and secrecy as we encounter them in some of the most exciting texts written during the period, including among others) Augustine's Confessions, Prudentius's Psychomachia, the Old English poem The Wanderer, the mystical writings of Margery Kempe and Julian of Norwich, and Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde. Not offered 2020-21.
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. Not offered 2020-21.
En 180. Special Topics in English. 9 units (3-0-6): offered by announcement. This is an advanced humanities course on a specialized topic in English. It is usually taught by new or visiting faculty. The course may be re-taken for credit except as noted in the course announcement. Limited to 15 students. See registrar’s announcement for details. Instructors: Staff, visitors.
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 2020-21.
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. Not offered 2020-21.
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 2020-21. Instructor: Gilmore.
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 2020-21.
En 186. The Novel of Education. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. This class takes up a set of mostly very funny, mostly 20th century British novels to frame a simple-seeming, yet deceptively complicated set of questions: What does it mean to be educated? Who has access to education? What does an ideal education consist in? And ultimately: What is a university for? As we think through these questions we will read op/eds and investigative journalism in addition to fiction, and we will consider a variety of university-centered topics (determined by student interest) including issues of gender, class, privilege, race, and genius. Authors read may include Sayers, Larkin, Amis, C.P. Snow, Lodge, and Zadie Smith. Not offered 2020-21. Instructor: Gilmore.
En 190. Chaucer. 9 units (3-0-6): first 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 191. Masterworks of Contemporary Latin American Fiction. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. This course studies Latin America's most influential authors in the 20th and 21st centuries, with a focus on short stories and novellas produced by the region's avant-garde and "boom" generations. Authors may include Allende, Bombal, Borges, García Márquez, Quiroga, Poniatowska, and Vargas Llosa. All readings and discussions are in English. Not offered 2020-21.
En/H 193. Cervantes, Truth or Dare: Don Quixote in an Age of Empire. 9 units (3-0-6): third 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-Gomez.
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. Not offered 2020-21.

Please Note

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.