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FALL 2016

ENGL 6240: Chaucer


This course is cross-listed with ENGL 4240, and will be a mixed graduate/undergraduate classroom; please see the course description for ENGL 4240 for details.

Students in the graduate section will do the same reading and minor assignments as the undergraduates. They may choose one of three "tracks" for their major assignments (to be decided upon within the first month of class, in dialogue with the professor). "Recommended" tracking below is not prescriptive, and I will entertain alternate project ideas within reason.

Track 1: An appropriately expanded version of the undergraduate requirements (multiple papers of more substance and length; exams). This track is recommended for honors undergraduates enrolling in the graduate section and for MA students who have little or no exposure to Chaucer.

Track 2: Chaucer pedagogy. Students in this track will write one essay, take one exam, and prepare teaching materials (syllabus, assignments, teaching notes, handouts, etc) appropriate to a high school or college-level course in Chaucer. Students will also be asked to lead one full class day late in the semester. This track is recommended for PhD students in related fields and with some exposure to Chaucer who wish to develop a teaching competence in the area.

Track 3: Chaucer, PhD. Students in this track will develop a research agenda which they will pursue in a final essay (with intermediary work, such as short drafts, annotated bibliographies, etc. as deemed appropriate) not unlike that done in a graduate-only course. Because students on this track will be undertaking a fair bit of self-directed research and study, this track is most appropriate for MA and PhD students with prior exposure to Chaucer. This track is also available to PhD students in fields outside Middle English who wish to use their expertise in their home fields (Renaissance, 18c, Victorian, etc) to pursue Chaucer reception in those areas.


ENGL 6430: 18th-Century English Novel


The novel emerged as a recognizable literary genre in the eighteenth century. Borrowing liberally from other forms of prose narrative (satire, romance, fable, tale, parable, biography, etc), the novel nonetheless achieved a distinctive identity that appealed to a broad readership and that served the interests of both individualism and national identity. During the semester, we will chart the growth of the genre from the late seventeenth to the late eighteenth century through a study of representative texts that speak to the novel’s origins, its aspirations, and its versatility.  We will also treat the significant approaches to the “rise of the novel”—in both  18th-century commentary and twentieth-century  theory—through class presentations and lecture. At the conclusion of the semester, you should have a sense of the canon (both traditional and current) as well as the standard critical positions on this “novel” phenomenon and the conditions in which it was developed and began to thrive. We will be reading the following novels:

Aphra Behn, Oroonoko, ed. Janet Todd Penguin Classics 978-0140439885

Eliza Haywood, Fantomina, ed. Alexander Petit, et al Broadview 978-1551115245

Daniel Defoe, Moll Flanders, ed.David Blewett, Penguin Classics 978-0140433135

Samuel Richardson, Pamela, ed. Peter Sabor, Penguin Classics 978-0140431407

Henry Fielding, Joseph Andrews and Shamela, ed. Judith Hawley, Penguin Classics  978-0140433869

Samuel Johnson, Rasselas, ed. Paul Goring, Penguin Classics, 978-0141439709

Charlotte Lennox, Female Quixote, ed. Margaret Dalziel, Oxford World's Classics  978-0199540242

Tobias Smollett, Humphry Clinker, ed. Shaun Regan and Angus Ross, Penguin Classics  978-0141441429

Frances Burney, Evelina, ed. Edward Bloom, Oxford World's Classics  978-0199536931

Laurence Sterne, A Sentimental Journey, ed. Paul Goring Penguin Classics,  978-0140437799

Elizabeth Inchbald, A Simple Story. ed. J. M. S. Tompkins, Oxford World's Classics, 978-0199554720

If desired, graduate students will also pursue a semester-long reading and discussion of Richardson's Clarissa to be held in weekly meetings outside of class. We will decide on this assignment collaboratively the first week of class.


ENGL 6770: American Writing to 1820


One of the founders of what has come to be considered the field of Early American Literature--Perry Miller--once observed that only a crazy person would expect to take aesthetic pleasure from seventeenth- and eighteenth-century American letters. I am that crazy person, and my Quixotic intention is to share my delusions with a group of curious, and sophisticated, readers.  We will begin with William Bradford's c1630 history Of Plymouth Plantation and end with Charles Brockden Brown's Wieland; or The Transformation (1798), encountering along the way some combination of the following writers: Anne Bradstreet, Mary Rowlandson, Cotton Mather, William Byrd, Thomas Jefferson, John Woolman, Thomas Paine, Olaudah Equiano, Benjamin Franklin, and Hector St. John de Crevecoeur.  Diversity in form and in voice is one of the delights of this reading list, as is its chronological scope--a much wider historical range than most graduate classes embrace.  Imaginative agility on the part of the reader is a pre-requisite to addressing the challenges that these writers pose, along with a willingness to share impressions in class discussion.  The word "puritan," however, is strictly off-limits. In the most literal sense, the religious writers on our syllabus considered themselves "nonconformists"--radical Protestants unwilling to "conform" to the dictates of the established English Church.  I propose we read them in the spirit of nonconformity.


I have ordered the following titles (with their ISBNs) for the class:

William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation (9780075542810)

Mary Rowlandson, The Sovereignty and Goodness of God Displayed (9780312111519)

Benjamin Franklin, Autobiography (9780300098587)

Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia (9780140436679)

Hector St. John de Crevecoeur, Letters from an American Farmer (9780140390063)

Charles Brockden Brown, Wieland; or The Transformation (9780140390797)

Olaudah Equiano, The Interesting Narrative of the Life (9780142437162)

In addition to these books, a course packet at Bel-Jean Copyprint on Broad Street will contain additional material from Bradford's history of Plymouth, a few poems and all the prose meditations of Anne Bradstreet, the "General Introduction" and the Life of William Phips from Cotton Mather's Magnalia Christi Americana, and a small sample of Edward Taylor's poems. Depending on how the reading distributes itself across the calendar, I may add Thomas Paine's Common Sense to the syllabus--though I am mindful of Poor Richard's astute aphorism: "Read much, but not many books." It sounds like delightful nonsense, but in fact Franklin is advising us to be meditative readers, not consumers of words. The difference is crucial and will, I hope, guide our discussions throughout the semester. 


ENGL 6800: Forms and Craft


Members of the class will write a series of brief essays (6-8 pages each) distributed across the span of the reading list. I conceive of these as polished reflections on the reading experience at hand, not as embryonic research papers.

Topics Title: Body Moves, Summoning the Body Within: Graduate poetry workshop.

In this course we will be writing with our bodies: feet, eyes, thumbs, arms, fingers, tongue to locate the poem's body on the page.  We will be writing the body politic, sounding the body politic and her pain and pleasure, and we will feel/express/taste/smell the body's moves in our own work as we create new life. Yes, we will be reading aloud.  Texts include: Olio by Tyehimba Jess, WAVE Books, 2016; Handholding: 5 Kinds by Tracie Morris, Kobe Press, 2016; Cell Traffic by Heid Erdrich, University of Arizona Press, 2012; The New Testament by Jericho Brown, Copper Canyon Press, 2014; and Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings by Joy Harjo, Norton, 2015.  


Principal course requirements are workshopping 15 new works written over the course of the semester, and writing a 3-5 page paper on each of the texts analyzing the poet's methods, invoking the authors' craft that yields meaning.  Yes, you must explain the meaning you derive from the images, line breaks, syntax, sounds, etc.  In addition attending the CW department's readings.  The fifteen new works should represent the best of what you have written this semester, not the totality. 


Fulfilling the course requirements, committing to the weekly discussions, attending workshop and readings, commenting on the work, doing the course readings and papers will result in an A.  


See Above.

Makeup Policy

Meet with the professor.


ENGL 8700: Seminar in American Literature


Modernism in the U.S.

This course will explore modernist literature in the United States. We will read key works of American literary modernism and survey some of the current scholarship. As much as possible we will track literary modernism’s engagement with new forms of writing and circulation (little magazines; salons and art galleries; small presses; mass market magazines; pulp paperbacks); modernism in the other arts (the visual arts, music, film, dance); scientific and technological innovations (mass production, psychoanalysis, the automobile, the skyscraper); and historical and political contexts (immigration, migration north, the two world wars, the Spanish Civil War, U.S. imperialism, the great depression, regionalism, the modern city).  But this will be less a survey than a seminar, in that the course will require original research. As the canon has broadened to include popular and mixed-media works, works by lesser-known authors, and little magazines, the importance of various contexts for modernist writing has emerged, alongside the necessity for archival research. To facilitate this kind of engagement, the class will visit and make use of resources at the Hargrett Special Collections library, the UGA library, and the UGA Art Museum. Students will complete three short research projects involving these resources: a paper exploring the connection between a literary work and a work of visual art; a report on a little magazine; and a brief paper on a particular literary edition or collection in the Hargrett. Ideally students will expand one of these papers into their final essay. Students are encouraged (but not required) to attend the meetings of the Interdisciplinary Modernism Workshop and any relevant lectures.


ENGL 8730: Multicultural Seminar

Topics Title: Native American Novel

This course will provide an introduction to the Native American Novel.  We will examine the ways in which contemporary American Indian writers use the oral traditions, religious beliefs, and histories of their tribes to experiment with the traditional novel form.  The novels we will be reading experiment with narrative voice, form, and the traditional function of the novel in an attempt to represent Native viewpoints, communities, and responses to history.  We will explore how these writers appropriate the identity and community-building function of the novel to create new narratives to help Native peoples negotiate contemporary American Indian life.  In addition to discussing Native appropriations of the novel form, this course will introduce students to scholarly debates in Native Studies regarding the role of literature and literary criticism in current Native politics, debates regarding the applicability of postmodern and postcolonial approaches, and tensions regarding the use of sacred stories in literature read by non-Natives.  We will read Native novels alongside critical essays on the novel tradition.  Possible primary authors include: Leslie Marmon Silko, Thomas King, Louise Erdrich, LeAnne Howe, Stephen Graham Jones, Daniel Heath Justice, and Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas.  Possible secondary authors include: Ian Watt, Walter Benjamin, Simon Ortiz, LeAnne Howe, Northrop Frye, Catherine Belsey, Benedict Anderson, Leslie Marmon Silko, and Craig Womack.

This course will appeal to students interested in multi-ethnic literatures, novel theory, and/or genre theory.


Oral Presentation and Annotated Bibliography:  15%

Four Short Critical Response Papers:  30%

Paper Abstract and Class Conference Presentation:  5%

Conference-Length Final Paper:  50%



ENGL 6490E: Shakespeare in the Eighteenth Century

The eighteenth century witnessed the beginning of formal Shakespeare scholarship and criticism. Important (and controversial) editions were produced (by Rowe, Warburton, Pope, and Johnson), and critical assessments were established (by Dryden, Johnson, Lennox and others) Shakespeare’s plays were produced on the Restoration and eighteenth-century stages (some rewritten in interesting ways); actors and actresses (David Garrick, Charles Macklin, Sarah Siddons) became famous for their performances of particular Shakespeare roles. The century also witnessed the beginning of Shakespeare tourism in the Jubilee staged in Stratford in 1769.

This course will take advantage of the online format in exploring each of these categories.


ENGL 6320E: Shakespeare in Context

This ONLINE course encourages students who would like to learn about Shakespeare, his world, and his writing. In particular, the course aims to introduce students to Shakespeare's plays and poems in the context of early modern Europe and of the first print revolution.

In addition to fulfilling all the requirements for undergraduates, graduate students will learn about the history of Shakespearean criticism, textual scholarship, and editorial and performance traditions by reading extensively among scholarly and academic works and theories of literary and cultural production and by producing reviews or responses or abstracts. They will also produce a substantial written project, such as an annotated bibliography, a filmography, a teachers' guide, or a website for actors, in addition to regular short writing assignments.


• Students will become familiar with the plots, characters, themes, and imagery of the plays and poems covered in class, with the Shakespearean stage, and with important aspects of early modern culture and society.

• Students will develop their skills in reading, interpretation, and, as appropriate, recorded or broadcast performance, using web-tools as necessary.

• Students will be able to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding through brief oral or written responses to the plays and to staged or filmed versions of them.

• Graduate students will become familiar with the history of Shakespeare editing, performance, and scholarships in the context of literary and cultural history.

• Graduate students will understand the purposes and ethos of scholarly discourse and discussion and learn how to evaluate and produce scholarly work of their own.

• All students will contemplate how Shakespeare's plays and poems, or more generally the literary and performing arts and humanities, can provide them with what the late critic Kenneth Burke called "equipment for living."


We will read eight plays and some poems by Shakespeare, ranging across Shakespeare's career, genres, and style, and perhaps one play by Shakespeare’s favorite writing partner, John Fletcher. From time to time we may include stage or film performances, multimedia representations, or artistic and literary adaptations of the plays to our discussion. We will also study the historical, social, and cultural contexts of these works, including the history of books and of stage performances. Graduate students will also read substantially in textual and critical scholarship about the poems and plays and about early modern European history and material contexts.


Spring 2016

ENGL 6100: Lexicography


The Word as Bibliography and the Dictionary as Text.

We will begin by reading  and discussing introductory theories and practices of contemporary lexical semantics and lexicographical definition. 

The History of English Lexicography will provide the intellectual and historical foundation of the course.  We shall look at dictionaries from the sixteenth century onwards as a way to discover alternate histories of the book (a comprehensive English dictionary being The Book of Books); dictionaries provide an insight into the cultural, aesthetic, and linguistic heritage of English speaking peoples. By studying particular English words across space, time and text we should be able to trace a history of ideas. And, of course, we shall learn how dictionaries are made and about the people who have made them.


ENGL 6500: Romantics


English 6500 is an introduction to the poetry, prose, and fiction of the British Romantic Period (1789-1830). Writers working during this literary era include William Blake, William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Mary Wollstonecraft, Jane Austen, Lord Byron, John Keats, and the Shelleys.

In terms of our primary texts, we will have a twofold focus, moving from an analysis of poetic and novelistic form to a consideration of its historical production. How were the essays, poems, plays, and novels of the Romantics shaped by events of the day -- events that included the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars? More importantly, perhaps, we will explore the ways in which Romantic-era authors sought to shape history through their art. After all, Percy Bysshe Shelley believed that poets were the "unacknowledged legislators of the World." Throughout the semester we will be examining what Romantic-era authors hoped to "legislate" through their writing.

A survey of Romanticism also offers us the opportunity to consider larger questions of periodization (“What is Romanticism?”) canon formation, and the history of lyric poetry. 


(Likely) Assignments: 1 book review of a recent publication in the field, 1 short essay due at midpoint, and 1 critical essay of 20-25 pages, which will be presented to the class at the end of the semester. I will finalize required assignments once I have a better sense of how many students will be in the class.


(Likely) Texts: The Broadview Anthology of British Literature: the Age of Romanticism; William Godwin, Caleb Williams; Mary Wollstonecraft, Letters Written during a short residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark; Mary Shelley, Frankenstein; Jane Austen, Mansfield Park


ENGL 6890: Research Methods


Libraries and Performance

ENGL 4890/ENGL 6890 or THEA 4700/THEA 6700

       This course is what the student makes it.  Use it to learn a skill for your education, to prepare a project for a potential employer, or to explore a passion. I teach you basic research techniques for humanities and arts, work with you to develop a research project, and help you carry it out. The course is split-level because I welcome both undergraduate and graduate students. It is both a Theatre and an English course, because students do research into performing texts and the process of performance. Students from English, Theatre, Music, and Grady College have taken the course.

       Performance covers a lot of territory, so a student can work with media (television or films), performances of music, plays, or adaptations. A student’s project can be to develop background for a production or to answer an academic research question or to prepare a portfolio of teaching materials or to design an exhibit or . . .  whatever you wish to do. We meet and work in the Russell Special Collections Library, so you get to handle rare books, manuscripts, and Peabody entries.


Description and Organization:

This course was the first class offered in UGA’s new special collections library, working with rare materials connected with plays, and it had enough success that you now get to benefit from what we have learned in previous years. You will learn about the basic work of being a dramaturg (a literary researcher focused on performance) and about the special materials that UGA owns.

If you have ever wanted to do research on the background of a script/screenplay or on past productions, this course will teach you how. We’ll also be talking about how a production company develops new work, how to prepare educational materials for the general public, and how to make a library work for you. You’ll carry out a series of scavenger hunts to learn the tools, as well as reading about the work that a dramaturg does. (This introduction to research tools for Libraries and Theatre will take up about a third of the class.)

In the second third of the class (the “ooo and ahhh” weeks), we’ll get our hands on rare materials and produce background books for real productions. The special materials we’ll see include manuscript materials by such figures as dramatist Tennessee Williams, the 19th-century actress Fanny Kemble, and the character actor Charles Coburn. We can also see original design work and archival posters for major Broadway productions. Finally, we will have access to the incredible riches of the Peabody Awards. In addition, you’ll be exercising your skills and creating background books for the plays that the Department of Theatre and Film Studies plans to present next year. Your other big assignment in this section of the course will be preparing and revising an independent research project proposal for this class.

The final third is devoted to you: you’ll develop an independent project and present it to the class with plenty of guidance and assistance. If you want to develop a one-woman show based on Fanny Kemble’s remarkable story, write an essay about the changes that Tennessee Williams made to a script, examine how a small touring company was the basis for a successful Hollywood career, or investigate the making of Sesame Street or Gone with the Wind, you’re in the right place.


ENGL 8300: Seminar in Renaissance


Disability, Health, and the Early Modern Body

This advanced graduate seminar will consider early modern bodies in the context of disabilities studies, with particular reference to the works of Jonson and Shakespeare. Engaging post-structuralist "body criticism" as well as early modern medical texts, the seminar will also function as a "methods" class for early modern archival research.


Students will journal regularly, read a combination of early modern and contemporary writing about the body and present their work at least twice over the course of the semester. At least one presentation will involve archival research on an early modern text or topic. You will also produce concordances of medical terms as they are used in early modern texts, and as they are used in Shakespeare's or Jonson's works. Several assignments will "scaffold" or build up to a final seminar paper: an abstract; a reading list; annotated bibliographies; a draft; a peer-review assignment; and a revised draft.

I encourage, but do not require, graduate students to engage in a service-learning, outreach, or experiential activity using their work from the semester. At the end of the semester, students may choose to write a seminar paper OR  to generate (in consultation with me) a final pedagogical, service-learning, or creative project that helps them "transfer" their critical and archival skills into the wider world.


• Weekly reflective journals about what you're reading for class, or what you are observing in your service-learning/experiential learning environment. At least one journal will involve the creation of a "concordance" and subsequent analysis of a word as used in the plays we are studying.

• Two oral presentations to the rest of the class; the format is that known informally as "SOAP." In the UK civil service, this stands for "Summary On A Page"; in the world of TEDtalks, etc. this stands for "State Of the Art Presentation." This means that you take your assigned text or topic and read a big stack of books and articles on it and summarize them for your classmates and me on one page (use slides and multimedia if you like, but the basic format is decidedly low-tech). The ideal SOAP will also look forward to future directions for research and suggest avenues for further exploration.

• At least one of your SOAPs will send you to the archive, either to Rare Books (Russell Library) or to EEBO (Early English Books Online). And since this is a class that foregrounds issues of disability and able-bodiedness, at least one of your SOAPs will include a parallel handout that adheres to the National Council for Disability and Access to Education's guidelines (cheatsheets here: You can also consult the British Dyslexia Association's guide to typefaces:

• Final Seminar Paper or Project, broken into stages: A) abstract or proposal for activity, due in Week 3 (for experiential-learning activity) or Week 4 (for research paper) B) reading list or list of informational interviews and resources, due in Week 5 C) annotated bibliography, due Week 8 D) Draft of part of research paper or partial completion of experiential activity, due Week 12 E) Peer-review of colleague's paper or peer-observation of project, due Week 14 F) Final seminar paper or faculty-observed experiential activity, due Week 16


ENGL 8710: Seminar in American Writers

Topics Title: Edgar Allan Poe: Inside Excursions

This seminar will focus on the short fiction of Edgar Allan Poe, on his novel The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, and on his intriguing cosmogony Eureka.  I will order for class use the one-volume paperback collection of Poe's work published by the Library of America, along with a few copies of the two-volume critical edition of the Tales and Sketches that Thomas Ollive Mabbott prepared forty years ago and which are still an indispensable storehouse of information about publication histories and editorial changes that reflect Poe's haphazard working life.  Mabbott's edition has been reprinted in paperback by the University of Illinois Press. Feel free to order those volumes in advance of the class, if you feel so inclined.

I may vary the reading with work by one or two artists who responded to Poe's example with important books of their own. I haven't made up my mind about the titles in this group.  At the beginning of the term I will distribute a list of critical books on Poe published in the last fifteen or twenty years. Each member of the class can expect to have to read and report on one of these, during the course of the term--an exercise that may remind us, for better and for worse, of how little other readers can actually teach us about the impact of an original imagination.

One brief essay from you early in the semester will give me a chance to assess your prose, while giving you an equally illuminating chance to assess the level of editorial meddling in which I engage. The bulk of your grade will reflect your participation in class meetings and the quality of your writing in a final, long essay (not "article" or "research paper") with which the class requirements conclude.


ENGL 8720: African American Seminar

Topics Title: Fade to Black: African American Novels, Page to Screen

This course will use film adaptations to explore the cultural moments and aesthetic development of African American novels. We will start with the genesis of the novel, the slave narrative, and move forward to contemporary works each representing significant periods and genres in black novelistic development. Among the page to screen relationships we will examine are Twelve Years A Slave, Native Son, The Color Purple, Devil in a Blue Dress, and Precious. Some class times will be devoted to screenings.


In addition to an interpretive  research project students will learn how to construct  a film criticism blog and an archival web resource. A detailed description and due dates will be provided at the first class session. Some class times will be devoted to screenings.


1) Himes, Chester. Cotton Comes to Harlem

2) Micheaux, Oscar. The Conquest: The Story of a Negro Pioneer

3) Mosley, Walter. Devil in a Blue Dress

4) Northup, Solomon. Twelve Years a Slave

5) Sapphire, Push: A Novel

6) Walker, Alice. The Color Purple

7) Wright, Richard. Native Son


ENGL 8750: Seminar in Southern Literature

The U.S. South has always been linked in the popular imagination with a bizarre combination of the courtly, the gothic, the romantic, and the grotesque. It has also been the central stage for much of our often tragic racial history. As such, it offers both a central expression of the American experience and an alternative vision. This course will examine the stereotypes that obscure this fascinating region, and seek to penetrate them. The texts we shall read examine slavery, ante-bellum society, and the Civil War, from both black and white perspectives. Reconstruction, the Southern Renaissance, and the rise of the "New South" will be handled in a similar manner in an effort to take the idea of the "Southerner" beyond its usual, monochromatic romanticism.  We shall also consider new theoretical approaches to the region's culture; the effects of recent immigration; and the dawn of "the New Southern Studies."  Authors likely to be considered:   William Byrd, William Bartram, John Pendleton Kennedy, Solomon Northup, Frederick  Douglass,  Victor Sejour, George Washington Cable, Kate Chopin, Charles Chesnutt, Joel Chandler Harris, Zora Neale Hurston, William Faulkner, Erskine Caldwell, Richard Wright, Robert Penn Warren, Allen Tate, Walker Percy, Ernest Gaines, Cynthia Shearer, Alice Walker, Ana Menendez, Roberto Fernandez.  Course requirements:  weekly paragraphs suggesting discussion topics; a fifteen minute oral report; ten page draft of the final paper due at midterm; and the final 20-25 pp. research paper. 


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