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ENG 391

Authors: Advanced Topics

In-depth study of one or more writers. Examples include Joyce, Morrison, Samuel Johnson, and Henry James.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

Fall Semester information

David Alvarez

391A: Authors: Adv. Topics: Jane Austen

An in-depth study of Jane Austen's novels, this course will examine Austen's formal innovations in representing character, ethical judgment, and sensibility, contextualizing them in relation to discourses of Enlightenment and earlier women writers. We will also examine what Austen has to say about marriage, love, and happiness (it's not simple). Finally, we will try to understand the "Jane Austen Phenomenon" of the last twenty years by analyzing recent films and adaptations of her work.


Michael Sinowitz

391B: Authors: Adv. Topics: James Joyce

James Joyce's importance in the development of contemporary literature cannot be overestimated. In his first book, Dubliners, a collection of short stories that can be seen as forming a novel from its parts, he changed the way people wrote short stories. His second major work, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, marks one of the earliest and most significant uses of the narrative technique now known as stream-of-consciousness. His next novel, Ulysses, forever left its mark on literature and opened up the world to the breadth and scope of possibility inherent in the novel as a form. Joyce boasted that Ulysses would keep scholars busy for a hundred years, but, with his last major work, Finnegan's Wake, he seems to have underestimated the difficulty. His novels are smart, and full of comedy, high and low. We will focus primarily on three of Joyce's major prose works, Dubliners, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and Ulysses. We may dabble a little in Finnegan's Wake now and again, but that novel is a matter for another course. Our readings will be supplemented by relevant discussions of Joyce's work, and some contextualizing works on Irish history. We will spend the first half of the course focusing on the two shorter works. For the second half of the class, we will focus almost exclusively on Ulysses, going through this epic novel at a gingerly pace.


Fall Semester information

Deborah Geis

391A: Authors: Adv. Topics: Playwright Suzan-Lori Parks

Suzan-Lori Parks, the first African American woman playwright to win the Pulitzer Prize in drama, is a fresh, challenging, and always surprising contemporary voice in the theater. This course examines her significant collection of plays, beginning with her early dramatic experiments like Pickling and Imperceptible Mutabilities of the Third Kingdom, continuing to her "Abraham Lincoln" works (including The America Play and the Pulitzer-winning Topdog/Underdog), and culminating in her most recent theatrical projects such as 365 Plays. We'll also look at her other projects, including screenplays, fiction, and music. Since this is an "S" course, students should expect to participate actively and to give a series of oral presentations.


Spring Semester information

Marion McInnes

391A: Authors: Adv. Topics