ENG 624: Modern and Contemporary Drama
This course will focus on dramatic works from the late nineteenth century to the present. We will begin by examining the innovative realism of plays by August Strindberg, Henrik Ibsen and Anton Chekhov as a prelude to the rise of several other ‘isms’ – the absurdism, surrealism (epic theatre), and existentialism of mid-twentieth century European playwriting in the works of authors like Luigi Pirandello, Eugene Ionesco, Bertolt Brecht, Samuel Beckett, and Jean-Paul Sartre. We will spend the second half of the semester focusing on contemporary theatrical works in Britain and America; these may include texts by authors such as Edward Albee, Sam Shepard, Tom Stoppard, Caryl Churchill, Harold Pinter, Mike Leigh, Sarah Kane, Suzan-Lori Parks, and Tony Kushner. We will be reading these plays in concert with excerpts from theoretical works on performativity and performance theory, such as Richard Schechner’s Performance Theory, Peggy Phelan’s Unmarked: The Politics of Performance, Judith Butler’s Bodies That Matter, and Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed.
ENG 616: Literatures of Settlement--South Africa and Australia
This course is a seminar in Postcolonial Literature and Theory. We will focus primarily on postcolonial texts that attempt to imaginatively rewrite and reconstruct colonial encounters between European settlers and the indigenous peoples of South Africa and Australia during the late eighteenth century and the nineteenth century. We will also focus on texts that, while set in the twentieth century, emphasize the continuities between colonial and postcolonial histories. Given the similarities between the encounters that took place in these regions, coupled with the close affinities between their respective environments and ecologies, the pairing of South Africa and Australia offers an unusually rich basis for comparative analysis. Furthermore, the stark differences between the two regions and Europe posed significant challenges to settlers. We will focus on literature that dramatizes the struggle of settlers to adapt to new, formidable environments and recreate European social, political, economic and cultural institutions.
As we will see, the literature of settlement analyzes the unique difficulties that attend the process of orienting the self with respect to novelty, foreignness, and difference. For the historical phenomenon of settler colonialism was a profoundly ‘unsettling’ experience, both for Europeans and indigenous peoples. The colonial encounter unsettles European identity, along with notions of race, sexuality, gender and class, even the conceptual category of civilization itself. Thus we will analyze the creative process through which twentieth century South African and Australian writers attempt to imagine and come to grips with the histories of their ancestors, not to mention the legacies of settler colonialism as they are thought to impinge upon the contemporary, postcolonial moment.
ENG 651: Romantic Gothic
In this course we will explore Gothic poems and prose of the British Romantic Period (roughly construed as 1776-1837). We will ask why the Gothic had such appeal for the writers of the period, and consider how the Gothic deploys its ghosts, vampires and monsters in the service of discussing the essential political questions of the period. Primary texts will include Austen, Northanger Abbey, Byron, "Manfred," Coleridge, "Christabel," Godwin, Caleb Williams, Hogg, The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner, Polidori, "The Vampyre," Radcliffe, The Mysteries of Udolpho, Wollstonecraft, Maria, or the Wrongs of Woman
ENG 661: E. E. Cummings
The poetry and prose of E. E. Cummings (1894-1962) is both a part of and apart from modernist and avant-garde trends in Anglo-American literature of the first half of the twentieth century. This course will explore how Cummings came to write his funny, lyrical, tender, satirical, idiosyncratic, genre-bending, and typographically-challenging works, placing them in the context of avant-garde and modernist experiments of the time. Close reading of Cummings’ prose and poetry will be supplemented with examples of analogous or influential avant-garde and modernist texts from authors like Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot, and Marianne Moore.
Cummings, E. E. Complete Poems, 1904-1962. Ed George J. Firmage. New York: Liveright, 1994.
---. The Enormous Room: A typescript edition with drawings by the author. 1922. Ed. George James Firmage. New York: Liveright, 1978.
—. The Theatre of E. E. Cummings. Ed. George J. Firmage. Afterword Norman Friedman. New York: Liveright, 2013. [Contains the plays Him, Anthropos, Santa Claus, and the ballet Tom.]
---. EIMI. 1933. Ed. George James Firmage. New York: Liveright, 2007.
---. i: six nonlectures. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1953.
Friedman, Norman. (Re) Valuing Cummings: further essays on the poet, 1962-1993. Gainesville: University P of Florida, 1996. [Recommended only]
Kennedy, Richard S. Dreams in the Mirror: A Biography of E. E. Cummings. New York: Liveright, 1980.
Various articles from Spring: The Journal of the E. E. Cummings Society [on reserve and on line at http://www.gvsu.edu/english/cummings/Index.htm .]
All courses are subject to change.
Please contact us if you have any
questions about the schedule.
Page last modified January 6, 2014