2005 - 2006


1201x,y. First-Year English: Reinventing Literary History
[For more information see library research guide]
Close examination of texts and regular writing assignments in composition, designed to help students read critically and write effectively. Sections of the course are grouped in three clusters: I. Legacy of the Mediterranean; II. The Americas; III. Women and Culture. The first cluster features a curriculum of classic texts representing key intellectual moments that have shaped Western culture, as well as excursions to the opera, the theatre, and museums. Offering revisionist responses to the constraints of canonicity, the last two clusters feature curricula that explore the literary history of the Americas and the role of women in culture.—Director and Staff. 3 points. Click here for section times or consult department bulletin board.

1202x. Studies in Writing
Intensive practice in writing, emphasizing drafts, revision, peer response, and individual conferences. Consideration of the conventions of English style, usage, and grammar by means of both informal and formal writing, culminating in expository essays. Recommended for (but not limited to) first-year students and students whose first language is not English. Permission of the instructor required.—Director and Staff. 3pts.

  • Sec. 1 (M W 9:10-10:25) M. Kolisnyk
  • Sec. 2 (M W 2:40-3:55) P. Cobrin
  • Sec. 3 (T Th 4:10-5:25) P. Kain


Registration in each course is limited and permission of the instructor required. A student is not permitted to take two writing courses concurrently.  ENGL BC3101x, 3103x, and 3104y do not count for major credit

3101x. The Writer's Process: A Seminar in the Teaching of Writing
An exploration of theory and practice in the teaching of writing, designed for students who plan to become Writing Fellows at Barnard. Students will read current theory and consider current research in the writing process, and engage in practical applications in the classroom or in tutoring.—N. Piore. Application process and permission of the instructor. 3 points. T Th 1:10-2:25.

3103x, 3104y. Essay Writing
English composition above the first-year level. Techniques of argument and effective expression. Weekly papers. Individual conferences. Some sections have a special focus, as described. Section 3 is offered Autumn semester for students whose first language is not English and who seek an upper-level writing course. 3 points.


  • Sec. 1 (W 2:10-4) - P. Ellsberg.
  • Sec. 2 (M 9-10:50) - J. Runsdorf
  • Sec. 3 (M 11-12:50) this section is cancelled


  • Sec. 1 (Th 11:00-12:50) - H. Schulze
  • Sec. 2 (T 11:00-12:50) - P. Cobrin
  • Sec. 3 (W 11:00-12:50) - P.Devlin

Creative Writing

Registration in each course is limited and the permission of the instructor is required; for courses 3105–3118, submit a writing sample in advance. Departmental application forms are available in the department office, Room 417 Barnard. The signed forms and writing samples must be filed with the Director of Creative Writing, Professor Timea Szell (423 Barnard) before the end of the program planning period.

Since screenwriting is considered part of the Film Concentration, you may apply to screenwriting in addition to either a poetry or prose course. However, you are strongly advised to take only one writing class in any given semester. Two non-film creative writing courses may not be taken concurrently.

3105x, 3106y. Fiction and Personal Narrative
Short stories and other imaginative and personal writing. x:—C. Schutt; y:—T. Szell. 3 points. x: W 6:10-8; y: W 2:10-4:00

3107x, 3108y. Introduction to Fiction Writing
Practice in writing short stories and autobiographical narrative, with discussion and close analysis in a workshop setting.—x: L. Tillman; y:—S. D'Erasmo. 3 points. x: M 2:10-4:00; y: T 4:10-6:00

3110x,y. Introduction to Poetry Writing
Varied assignments designed to confront the difficulties and explore the resources of language through imitation, allusion, free association, revision, and other techniques.—x: M. Hofmann; y: S. Hamilton. 3 points. x: M 4:10-6:00; y: W 2:10-4:00

3113x. Introduction to Playwriting
A workshop to provoke and investigate dramatic writing.—E. McLaughlin. 3 points. M 4:10-6.

3114y. Advanced Playwriting

Advanced workshop to facilitate the crafting of a dramatic play with a bent towards the full length form.—J. Jordan. 3 points. Th 4:10-6:00.

3115x, 3116y. Story Writing
Advanced work in writing, with emphasis on the short story. Prerequisite: Some experience in the writing of fiction.—x,y: M. Gordon. 3 points. Conference hours to be arranged. x: T 4:10-6:00; y: W 4:10-6:00.

3117x. Fiction Writing
Assignments designed to examine form and structure in fiction. Some attention given to the role of the writer in society.—R. Antoni. 3 points. T 4:10-6:00.
Students will have already written a substantial body of work. Prerequisite: Writing sample and interview with the instructor.

3118y. Advanced Poetry Writing
Weekly workshops designed to critique new poetry. Each participant works toward the development of a cohesive collection of poems. Short essays on traditional and contemporary poetry will also be required.—S. Hamilton. 3 points. W 4:10-6:00.


3119x,y. Screenwriting.
A practical workshop in dramatic writing for the screen. Through a series of creative writing exercises, script analysis, and scene work, students explore and develop the basic principles of screenwriting. Either a polished short film script or a preliminary draft of a feature screenplay is the final project. ( Preference given to students concentrating in film. Since this is a Film Concentration course, it does not count as a writing course for those with a Writing Concentration.)x:—D. McKenna; y:—M. Regan. 3 points. x: W 2:10-4:00; y: M 11:10-12:50.
Please note: For Prof. Regan's course in the spring, students must submit a 2-3 page, dramatic writing sample by December 1st. They may be placed in her box in the English Department office (417 Barnard Hall).

3200x,y. Film Production. ( This course is cancelled in the fall but will meet in the spring.)
An exploration of basic narrative tools at the filmmaker's disposal, with a particular emphasis on camera work and editing. Examines basic cinematic syntax that provides a foundation for storytelling on the screen.—L. Engel. 3 points. y: F 10-1.
Prerequisite: ENGL BC 3201x and permission of the instructor. Sophomore standing. Enrollment limited to 12 students. Students must send a one-page application to the instructor via e-mail (lbe1 [at] columbia [dot] edu) explaining why the student wishes to take the course, the foundation work (whether academic or work-related) in film, video, the arts, etc. the student has had, and any final project the student may have in mind. They should also include their affiliation, year of graduation and major or concentration.

3201x. Introduction to Film and Film Theory.
A survey of the history of American and international film and an introduction to film theory, including feminist, psychoanalytic, structuralist, and post-structuralist methodologies. Film contextualized through theory and through the lens of popular culture (advertising, television, music videos) and genre (the Hollywood film, women’s film, action movies, westerns, sci-fi, documentary, “Third World, ” and “alternative” film, etc.) Weekly screening.—M. Regan. 3 points. M 5:40-9:40.

(See 3140y and 3998y for Film Seminar Courses)


Registration in each course is limited. Students need to sign up outside the English Department office, room 417 Barnard Hall.

3121x. Uses of Speech
An introduction to effective oral presentation, including interviewing and public speaking. Emphasis on self-presentation, research, organization, and audience analysis.—P. Denison. 3 points. Enrollment limited to 14 students. T Th 10:35-11:50.


Registration in each course is limited. Students may sign up for theatre courses outside the Theatre office, Room 507 Milbank Hall. See Theatre Department course descriptions for Theatre History (THTR 3150, 3151), Drama and Film (THTR BC 3143), Drama, Theatre, and Theory (THTR 3166), Modernism and Theatre (THTR 3737), and The History Play (THTR BC 3750).

[For information about studio courses in theatre, go to the Theatre Department]

ENTH BC 3136y. Shakespeare in Performance
The dramatic text as theatrical event. Differing performance spaces, production practices, and cultural conventions promote different modes of engagement with dramatic texts. We will explore Shakespeare's plays in the context of actual and possible performances from the Renaissance to the 20th Century. Enrollment limited to 18 students. 4 points.—P. Denison. T 11:00-12:50

ENTH BC 3137y. Restoration and 18th-Century Drama
Performance conventions, dramatic techniques, and cultural contexts from 1660 to 1800. Playwrights include Wycherley, Etherege, Behn, Trotter, Centlivre, Dryden, Congreve, Farquar, Gay, Goldsmith, and Sheridan. Enrollment limited to 18 students. 4 points.—P. Denison. Not offered in 2005-06.

ENTH BC 3139y. Modern American Drama and Performance
Modern American drama in the context of theatrical exploration and cultural contestation. Playwrights include Glaspell, O'Neill, Odets, Johnson, Hurston, Hansberry, WIlliams, Hellman, Stein, Miller, and Fornes. Enrollment limited to 18 students. $60 fee. 4 points.—P. Denison. Not offered in 2005-06.

ENTH BC 3140y. Women and Theatre
An exploration of the impact of women in theatre history—with special emphasis on American theatre history—including how dramatic texts and theatre practice have reflected the ever-changing roles of women in society. Playwrights include Glaspell, Crothers, Hellman, Finley, Hughes, and Smith. Enrollment limited to 18 students. 4 points.—P. Cobrin. Not offered in 2005-06.

Language and Literature

3140x, y. Seminars on Special Themes. 3points. Registration is limited. Sign up on bulletin boards across from the English Department office, 417 Barnard Hall.

3140x: (fall)

  • 1. Contemporary British and Irish Poetry
    A personal survey of recent and contemporary British and Irish poetry, using the 2004 Simic/Paterson anthology as a fairly accelerated point of departure but taking in also Paul Muldoon and Tom Paulin from Nothern Ireland, (the late lamented) Ian Hamilton and Hugo Williams, Christopher Reid, Mark Ford, Vicki Feaver, Jo Shapcott, Alice Oswald, Jamie McKendrick, and Alan Jenkins. An array of distinctive voices, from the ludic to the lyrical to the near-abstract.—M. Hofmann. MW 1:10-2:25.
  • 2. Explorations of Black Literature: 1760-1890
    Poetry, prose, fiction, and nonfiction, with special attention to the slave narrative. Includes Wheatley, Douglass, and Jacobs, but emphasis will be on less familiar writers such as Brown, Harper, Walker, Wilson, and Forten. Works by some 18th century precursors will also be considered.—Q. Prettyman. MW 2:40-3:55.
  • 3. Enchanted Imagination
    Romantic and post-Romantic fantasy that examines the transformative role of imagination in aesthetic and creative experience. Challenges accepted boundaries between the imagined and the real, and celebrates otherness and magicality in a disenchanted world. Authors include Blake, Coleridge, Keats, Mary Shelley, Tennyson, Carroll, Tolkien, LeGuin, Garcia Marquez.—J. Pagano. MW 10:30-11:50

3140y: (spring)

  • 1. Madness and Literature
    Explores the literary representation of "madness" in works ranging from antiquity to the present. Authors include Euripides, Chretien de Troyes, Shakespeare, Swift, Bronte, Dostoevsky, Woolf, Plath, Kesey, and others.—E. Weinstock. T Th 2:40-3:5
  • 2. John Donne
    This younger contemporary of Shakespeare, man-about-town, irreverent wit, who eloped with his employer's niece, wrote amazing lyric poetry in a "new idiom," and struggled to love God and to find "true" religion, and eventually converted from Catholicism and became an ordained priest. We'll read poetry about sex, death, and devotion—and prose he wrote when he thought he was dying, as well as some sermons—and think about what it meant to be an outside Catholic in Protestant England. We may end with two modern plays inspired by Donne: Wit, and Wallace Shawn's The Designated Mourner. —A. Guibbory. T Th 10:35-11:50
  • 3. "To speak of woe that is in marriage: " Studies in the Marriage Plot
    Short stories and novels about marriage and its reversals from the 19th and 20th centuries, including works by Austin, Hardy, James, Tolstoy, and others.—P. Ellsberg. T Th 1:10-2:25
  • 4. Dickinson and Her Era
    Emily Dickinson will be the focus of this study of mid-nineteenth-century American writers—including Emerson, Douglass, Thoreau, Fuller, Hawthorne, Melville and Whitman. In a variety of genres—lyric poems, personal narratives, fiction and the new epic poem—these writers explored the growing powers of the secular self at the dawn of the Civil War.—E. Schmidt. MW 11-12:15
  • 5. Topics in Literature and Film: Memory and Forgetting
    An experimental course that links literature to painting, photography and film, as well as, texts in psychology (Freudian trauma theory and recovered memory). We will explore the role of personal and cultural memory in the creative process through key examples from the Medieval "memory room" to the work of Alain Resnais.—H. Schulze & R. Hamilton. T Th 2:10-4:00.
  • 6. Topics in Literature and Film: The Western and The West
    A celebration and analysis of the American myth and experience through the lens of fourteen Western films. Screenings begin with the earliest colonial experience, explore the high-action taming of the West, and ultimately pose questions about the relevance of the Western in 2005. The course (which features classics like Raoul Walsh's They Died with Their Boots On and Howard Hawks' Red River and revisionist films like Sam Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch and John Sayles' Lone Star) is designed to depict a concise and compelling vision of how the America we know has come to be.—D. McKenna. T 6:10-10:00.

3141x, 3142y. Major English Texts
A chronological view of the variety of English literature through study of selected writers and their works. Autumn: Beowulf through Johnson. Spring: Romantic poets through the present. Guest lectures by members of the department.—P. Ellsberg. 3 points. x,y: T Th 10:35-11:50.

3143y. Middle Fictions: Long Stories, Short Novels, Novellas
Discussion of fictions between 60-150 pages in length. Authors include James, Joyce, Mann, Nabokov, Cather, Welty, West, Porter, Olsen, Trevor.—M. Gordon. 3pts. T Th 1:10-2:25. Not offered in 2005-06.

3144x. Black Theatre
An exploration of Africana-American Theatre as an intervening agent in racial, cultural, and national identity. African and African-American theatre artists to be examined include Wole Soyinka, Efua Sutherland, Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Angelina Grimke, Adrienne Kennedy, Suzan-Lori Parks, Adrian Piper, and August Wilson.—P. Cobrin. 3 points. M 11-12:50

English-Women's Studies ENWS BC 3144y. Minority Women Writers in the United States
Literature of the 20th-century minority women writers in the United States, with emphasis on works by Asian, Black, Hispanic, and Native American women. The historical and cultural as well as the literary framework.—Q. Prettyman. 3pts. MW 2:40-3:55. Not offered in 2005-06.

3148y. Literature of the Great Migration: 1916-1970
Explores, through fiction, poetry, essays, and film, the historical context and cultural content of the African American migration from the rural south to the urban cities of the north, with particular emphasis on New York, Chicago, Boston, and Philadelphia.—Q. Prettyman. 3 points. MW 2:40-3:55.

3149y. Cultures of Colonialism: Palestine/Israel
The significance of colonial encounter, statehood, and dispossession in Palestinian and Israeli cultures from 1948 to the present, examined in a range of cultural forms: poetry, political tracts, cinema, fiction, memoirs, and travel writing. Authors include: Darwish, Grossman, Habibi, Khalifeh, Khleifi, Kanafani, Oz, Shabtai, Shalev, and Yehoshua.—B. Abu-Manneh. 3pts. T Th 9:10-10:25. (No auditors)

3155y. Canterbury Tales
The foundation of early modern literature. Chaucer as inheritor of late-antique and medieval conventions, and as founder of the later English literary tradition. Formalist, historicist, and feminist approaches.—E. Weinstock. 3pts. Not offered in 2005-06.

3158y. Medieval Literature: Performing the Passion in Late-Medieval Culture
Explores the medieval engagement with the gospel story of Christ’s Passion in a range of literary and art historical materials, including poems, plays, visions, and manuscript illuminations. Special emphasis on the symbolics of Christ’s crucified body and the cultural work performed by images of Jesus as mother, child, and lover.—E. Weinstock. 3 points. T Th 11:00-12:15.

3159x-3160y. The English Colloquium
Major writers and literary works of the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, examined in terms of leading ideas in those periods. Required of majors in the junior year. 4 points.
Students may substitute 3 courses--from ENGL 3154-3158, 3163-3164, 3165-3169, or ENTH 3136-3137. This 3140y sec. 2 will also count as a substitution. Students may also take 1 colloquium and 2 substitutions. At least one of these courses must cover Medieval or Renaissance material; at least one material of the 17th or 18th Century. One of these will also count toward satisfying the “before 1900” requirement.

  • I. Imitation and Creation
    New ideas of the mind's relation to the world. New perspectives, the emergence of new forms, experimentation with old forms, and the search for an appropriate style.  x,y:—R. Hamilton. x: T 9:00-10:50; y: W 9:00-10:50.
  • II. Skepticism and Affirmation
    The development of modern concepts of subjectivity and authority. The rise of art and the artist. Humanism and education. Rationalism and empiricism. The tension between belief and doubt. The exploration of the limits and the limitless.  x:—A. Guibbory; y:—M. Jaanus. x: Th 11:00-12:50; y: Tu 11-12:50.
  • III. Reason and Imagination
    Humanism, reformation, and revolution: the possibilities of human knowledge; sources of and strategies for secular and spiritual authority; the competing demands of idealism and experience.  x:—C. Plotkin; y:—T. Szell. x: W 4:10-6:00; y: Th 4:10-6:00.

3163x, 3164y. Shakespeare I & II
A critical and historical introduction to Shakespeare's comedies, histories, tragedies, and romances. 3 points.—P. Platt. x, y: MW 9:10-10:25.
This course requires signing up with the English Department.

3165y. The Elizabethan Renaissance
Literature and culture during the reign of Elizabeth I. Topics include God, sex, love, colonization, wit, empire, the calendar, cosmology, and Elizabeth herself as author and subject. Authors include P. Sidney, Spenser, Shakespeare, Marlowe, and Mary Sidney Herbert.—A. Prescott. 3points. Not offered in 2005-06.

3166x. Seventeenth-century Prose and Poetry
Lyric poetry about love, sex, death, and God in Donne and others (e.g., Herbert, Lanyer, Wroth, Herrick, Marvell, Phillips). Prose about science, politics, religion, and philosophy (e.g., Bacon and Cavendish, Hobbes and early communists "The Levellers") in what has been called the "century of revolution."—A. Guibbory. 3 points. T Th 2:40-3:55.

3167y. Milton
Paradise Lost, Samson Agonistes and selections of Milton's earlier poetry and prose (defenses of free press, divorce, individual conscience, political and religious liberty) read within the context of religious, political, and cultural history, but with a sense of connection to present issues.—A. Guibbory. 3 points. T Th 2:40-3:55

3169y. Renaissance Drama: Kyd to Ford
Major plays of the English Renaissance (excluding Shakespeare), with emphasis on Marlowe and Middleton.—P. Platt. 3 points. MW 1:10-2:25

3171y. The Novel and Psychoanalysis
The novel in its cultural context, with an emphasis on psychoanalysis. Readings in Freud and Lacan. Selected novels from Defoe to D.H. Lawrence.—M. Jaanus. 3 points. MW 11-12:15.

3173y. Eighteenth-Century Literature: the Novel
Originals and development of the novel in England. Topics will include: historical, cultural, and literary influences; narrative innovation and experimentation; sentimentalism; gothicism. some attention to recent theories of the development of the novel. Readings will include Defoe, Richardson, Fielding, Sterne, Mackenzie, Walpole, Austen. Enrollment limited to 20 students. Not offered in 2005-06.

3176y. The Romantic Era
Romantic writers in their intellectual, historical, and political context, with reference to contemporary movements in philosophy, music, and the plastic arts. Authors include Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, P.B. Shelley, and Keats. An emphasis on close reading of the poetry.—R. Hamilton. 3 points. T Th 9:10-10:25

3178x. Victorian Poetry and Criticism.
Poetry, art, and aesthetics in an industrial society, with emphasis on the role of women as artists and objects. Poems by Tennyson, Arnold, Christina and D.G, Rossetti, Swinburne, and Elizabeth and Robert Browning; criticism by Ruskin, Arnold, and Wilde; paintings by the Pre-Raphaelites and Whistler; photographs by J.M. Cameron.—W. Sharpe. 3 points. MW 11:00-12:15.

3179x. American Literature to 1800
The formation and development of American literary traditions. Writers include Bradford, Shepard, Cotton, Bradstreet, Taylor, Rowlandson, Edwards, Wheatley, Franklin, Woolman, Brown. 3 points.—L. Gordis. MW 11:00-12:15.

3180y. American Literature, 1800-1870
The development of a national literature from the late Republican period through the Civil War. Writers include Irving, Emerson, Poe, Fuller, Thoreau, Douglass, Stowe, Jacobs, Whitman, Dickinson.—L. Gordis. 3 points. MW 11:00-12:15.

3181y. American Literature, 1871-1945
American literature in the context of cultural and historical change. Writers include Twain, James, DuBois, Wharton, Cather, Wister, Faulkner, Hurston.—M. Vandenburg. 3 points. T Th 4:10-5:25.

3183x. American Literature since 1945
History, memory, family, death, machines, sex and worry are preoccupations of the texts selected for this course. Authors will include: Thomas Pynchon, Don DeLillo, Paula Fox, Jonathan Franzen, Toni Morrison, Richard Powers, Ishmael Reed and Phillip Roth.—M. Spiegel. 3 points. MW 5:40pm-6:55pm.

3184y. House and Home in American Culture
An interdisciplinary examination of house, home, and family in American life from 1850 to the present. Attention to the interrelation between architectural design, ideologies of family, class identity, racial politics and gender formation. Historical sites include the plantation, the nomadic dwelling, the mansion, the tenement, the apartment, and the suburb.—W. Sharpe. 3 points. M W 9:10-10:25.

3185x. Modern British and American Poetry
The poetry of three decades, 1915-25, 1955-65, and 1991-2001. Poems by Yeats, Eliot, Williams, Millay, Larkin, O'Hara, Rich, Hughes, and others.—W. Sharpe. 3 points. MW 9:10-10:25.

3187y. American Writers and Their Foreign Counterparts
Developments in modern fiction as seen in selected 19th and 20th-century American, European, and English works by Flaubert, Dostoevsky, James, Proust, Gide, Woolf, Faulkner, and others.—M. Gordon. 3 points. T Th 1:10-2:25

3188y, The Modern Novel
Works by Woolf, Joyce, Faulkner, Lawrence, Forster, West, Barnes, and Desani. 3 points.—M. Vandenburg. T Th 1:10-2:25

3190y. Global Literature in English
A selective survey of fiction from the ex-colonies, focusing on the colonial encounter, cultural and political decolonization, and belonging and migration in the age of postcolonial imperialism. Areas covered include Africa (Achebe, Aidoo, Armah, Ngugi); the Arab World (Mahfouz, Munif, Salih, Souief); South Asia (Mistry, Rushdie, Suleri); the Carribean (Kincaid); and New Zealand (Hulme). 3pts.—B. Abu-Manneh. T Th 9:10-10:25.

3191x,y. The English Conference: The Lucyle Hook Guest Lectureship.
Enrollment limited: sign up in the Department office.
Special topics presented by visiting scholars in courses that will meet for two to four weeks during each semester. To be taken only for pass/fail. 1 point. To receive credit for this course students must attend all lectures. Information will be available online.

  • Fall: (ENGL BC 3191x) Psychoanalysis and Literature: Lacan and KleistThis course will examine some Kleistian works from a psychoanalytical point of view. Kleist described how major topics of psychoanalysis, such as unconscious, mirror stage, transference, object a, the peculiar position of femininity, Oedipe and others function. Kleist gives us an example how psychoanalysis can borrow insights, sometimes even concepts, from belletristic literature. Of course, this affinity does not exclude a questioning about limits of comparability. 
    This course will confront four psychoanalytic fundamental concepts (mirror-stage; anxiety; transference; femininity) with some Kleistian works, such as Amphitryon, Schroffenstein Family, About The Gradual Formation of Thoughts in Speaking, The Foundling, The Earthquake of Chili, Käthchen von Heilbronn, and Penthesilea.—P. Widmer. MW Oct. 10, 12,17, and 19th at 6:10-8:00 pm. Deadline to register is 10/12. Sign up on the English Department bulletin board.
    Peter Widmer is a practicing psychoanalyst in Zurich as well as the founder and publisher of RISS. He has taught at the University of Kyoto and at the University of Zurich.
  • Spring: (ENGL BC 3191y) Stage ComedyWe will read four plays: Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Ernest; Alan Ayckbourn's Absurd Person Singular; Joe Orton's What the Butler Saw; and Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing. We will have a double focus-- the plays themselves and the relevant theories of comedy and how they are illustrated by the plays we’ve read.—A. Kaufman. M Feb. 6, 13, 20, 27th, 6:10-8 pm. Deadline to register is 2/13. Sign up on the English Department bulletin board.

3193x,y. Literary Criticism and Theory
The purpose of the course is to provide experience in the reading and analysis of texts and some knowledge of conspicuous works of literary criticism. Frequent short papers. Required of all majors before the end of the junior year. Sophomores are encouraged to take it in the Spring Term even before officially declaring their major. Transfer students should plan to take it in the Autumn Term. Registration in each section is limited. Please sign up on the bulletin board between rooms 403 and 405 Barnard Hall. 4 points. —Members of the Department.


  • Sec. 1 (Th 4:10-6) - C. Brown
  • Sec. 2 (Th 11-12:50) - L. Gordis
  • Sec. 3 (Tu 6:10-8) - C. Plotkin
  • Sec 4 (Tu 2:10-4) - W. Sharpe
  • Sec. 5 (W 4:10-6) - M. Cregan


  • Sec. 1 (M 4:10-6) - J. Pagano
  • Sec. 2 (Tu 4:10-6) - P. Platt
  • Sec. 3 (Tu 11-12:50) - J. Runsdorf
  • Sec. 4 (Tu 6:10-8) - G. Fleischer

3194x. Marxist Literary Theory
Evolution of Marxist criticism from Marx to Jameson and Eagleton. Central questions: What is unique about Marxist cultural analysis? What are the different Marxist schools of criticism? Is there a future for Marxism? Issues considered: capitalism and culture, class analysis, commitment, modernism, and postmodernism, commodification and alienation, and postcolonialism.—B. Abu-Manneh. T Th 11:00-12:15.

3195x. Modernism
Modernist responses to cultural fragmentation and gender anxiety in the wake of psychoanalysis and world war. Works by Woolf, Joyce, Yeats, Eliot, Stein, Hemingway, H.D., Pound, Lawrence, Barnes, and other Anglo-American writers. 3 points .—M. Vandenburg. T Th 1:10-2:25.

3196y. Home to Harlem: Literature of the Harlem Renaissance
Explores the cultural contexts and aesthetic debates surrounding the Harlem or New Negro literary renaissance, 1920-30s. Through fiction, poetry, essays, and artwork, topics considered include: modernism, primitivism, patronage, passing and the problematics of creating a "racial" art in/for a community compromised of differences in gender, class, sexuality, and geographical origin.—M. Miller. 3 points. T Th 1:10-2:25.

3810y. Literary Approaches to the Bible
Interpretive strategies for reading the Bible as a work with literary, historical, and social dimensions. Considerations of poetic and rhetorical structures, narrative techniques, and feminist exegesis will be included. Topics for investigation include the influence of the Bible on later literature, combined with the more formal disciplines of biblical studies.—P. Ellsberg. 4 points. W 2:10-4:00. Enrollment limited to 18. Permission of Instructor Required.

3996x,y. Special Project in Theatre, Writing, or Critical Interpretation
Senior majors who are concentrating in Theatre or Writing and have completed two courses in writing or three in theatre will normally take the Special Project in Theatre or Writing (3996x, y) in combination with another course in their special field. This counts in place of one of the Senior Seminars. In certain cases, Independent Study (3999) may be substituted for the Special Project. Permission of the instructor and the chair required. In rare cases, with the permission of the chair, a special project in conjunction with a course may be taken by other English majors. 1 point.

3992x, 3997x, 3998y. Senior Seminars: Studies in Literature
Required of all majors, these seminars are designed to deepen knowledge of periods, writers, works, genres, and theories through readings, discussion, oral reports, and at least one significant research paper. Written permission of the instructor. Enrollment limited to seniors. 4 points.

ENGL BC 3992x. Senior Post-Colonial Literature Seminar: The literature of the Middle Passage
This course will look at the literature that has been produced as a result of the Atlantic Slave Trade. This includes writings from Africa, Britain, and the Americas which reflects the huge changes in history that have occurred as a result of this process of involuntary migration out of Africa. We will study literary texts by Achebe, Ama Ata Aidoo, Du Bois, Conrad, Equiano, and Baldwin, among others. The course has a study abroad component. Open to senior majors and others by application.—C. Phillips, E. Schmidt, and M. Jaanus. T 9:00-10:50

3997x, 3998y. Senior Seminars: Studies in Literature
Required of all majors, these seminars are designed to deepen knowledge of periods, writers, works, genres, and theories through readings, discussion, oral reports, and at least one significant research paper. Written permission of the instructor. Enrollment limited to seniors. 4 points.

3997x (fall)

  • 1. Fallen Women
    We will follow Eve's legacy from the Reformation to the present. Gendered notions of embodied sin and the acquisition of knowledge, the emblematic associations with the figure Fortuna and Natura, the figure of the prostitute and the redeemed or redeeming women. Readings from the Bible, Augustine, Shakespeare, and Milton but also Defoe, Flaubert, Brontë, Collette and Rhys.—R. Hamilton. T 11:00-12:50.
  • 2. Reading and Writing Women in Colonial America
    In April 1645, John Winthrop lamented the sorry state of Ann Yale Hopkins, "who fallen into a sadd infirmytye, the losse of her vnderstandinge & reason…by occasion of her giving her selfe wholly to readinge & writing, & had written many bookes." Many colonial women were avid readers and writers, composing and publishing poetry, autobiographies, captivity narratives, novels, and commonplace books. Consideration of these texts, including works by Anne Bradstreet, Mary Rowlandson, Phillis Wheatley, and Hannah Foster, as well as texts that reveal women's reading and publication practices, such as accounts of Anne Hutchinson and Milcah Martha Moore's Book.—L. Gordis. Th 2:10-4:00
  • 3. Late Shakespeare: Visions and Revisions
    Shakespeare's late plays as both experimental and revisionary. Topics will include performance and performativity, aesthetics, philosophy, politics, sexuality, and gender, as well as twentieth-century criticism's reconstructions of these final plays. Texts: Measure for Measure, Othello, King Lear, Antony and Cleopatra, The Winter's Tale, and The Tempest.—P. Platt. W 2:10-4:00
  • 4. Gerard Manley Hopkins and Unorthodoxy
    A devout Anglican turned devout Catholic, a Tory who favored Irish Home Rule and expressed an attraction for communism, a double first in Greats at Oxford who retained a fascination for scientific advances, an admirer of Whitman's poetry who would read no more of it because Whitman was "a very great scoundrel," an admirer of male beauty, a priest, and a poet whose poetry disrupted the language of English poetry so radically that it was not judged publishable until nearly thirty years after his death in 1889, Hopkins was first championed by the modernists, then appropreiated by the Jesuits, reclaimed by the Victorianists, and at length recognized as one of the great poets not only of English but of European Poetry. This course will cover his complete works.—C. Plotkin. Th 6:10-8:00.
  • 5. Courtship and Marriage in the Works of Chauce
    Erotic, courtly, and divine love, marriage and power, the connections between and courtship in selected dream visions ("The Book of the Duchess," "The Parliament of Fowls"), Canterbury Tales ("Miller's Tale," "Wife of Bath's Tale," "Merchant's Tale," "Franklin's Tale"), and most important, Troilus and Criseyde. Reading include the biblical Song of Solomon, selections from Ovid's Art of Love, Arab love poetry, troubadour lyrics, Dante's La Vita Nuova, lyrics by Petrarch, Andreas Capellanus's De Amore, poems of adoration to the Virgin, and some mystical religious literature.—T. Szell. W 4:10-6:00.

3998y (spring)

  • 1. Body and Language
    Interpretations of femininity in relation to issues of identification, sexuation, desire, love, and anxiety in various postmodern literary and theoretical (mainly Lacanian) texts.—M. Jaanus. W 2:10-4:00.
  • 2. Film: The Man in the Crowd/The Woman of the Streets
    Examines the American crowd as a trope for modernity and for democracy in American film and works of fiction. Fiction includes works by Hawthorne, Poe, Melville, Whitman, Stephen Crane, Sinclair Lewis, Nathanael West; Films by Chaplin, Vidor, Busby Berkeley, Capra, Kazan, and others; photographs by Weegee and Gursky, and essays by Simmel, Benjamin, Canetti and others.—M. Spiegel. F 11:00-1:00.
  • 3. Black Stereotype and Racial Performance: Negotiations of Identity and Difference
    Exploration of the relationship between stereotypical images of African Americans and their constant rewriting and revision in American literary and visual culture. Topics addressed: blackface minstrelsy, tricksters, passing, standards of beauty, Hollywood, and the art market. Authors include Brown, Stowe, Melville, Twain, Chesnutt, Larsen, C. Johnson, Ellison, and Morrison. Artwork, films, and performance pieces.—M. Miller. T 4:10-6:00
  • 4. Victorian and Modern Drama
    Drama in transition. Changing social structures and dramatic structures at the turn of the century. The relationship between convention and invention in the plays of Shaw, Wilde, Pinero, Ibsen, Chekhov, Robins, and others.—P. Denison. M 11:00-12:50
  • 5. City in Literature
    How did New Yorkers create a self-consciously modern and ethnic brand of American culture? This course will explore literary and artistic representations of the city, especially at nighttime, and the ways in which the city has been used as an arena to explore issues of sexuality, violence, assimilation, alienation, race, cultural difference, and aesthetic form. Reading list and interdisciplinary framework--art, literature, architecture, music, photography, etc.--to be shaped by the students.—W. Sharpe. T 2:10-4:00.
  • 6. Modernist Visions: Conrad, Eliot, Woolf
    Hearts of darkness and light, overseas and at home in London, in the first decades of the 20th century. Gender divisions; images of fragmentation and reconstruction.—C. Brown. W 4:10-6:00.

3999x,y. Independent Study
Senior majors who wish to substitute Independent Study for one of the two required senior seminars should consult the chair. Permission is given rarely and only to students who present a clear and well-defined topic of study, who have a Department sponsor, and who submit their proposals well in advance of the semester in which they will register. There is no independent study for screenwriting or film production. Permission of the Instructor and Department Chair is required. Click here for the form to complete. 4 points.

Additional Courses

CLEN G4653x. Reading Lacan.
Reading Lacan's Seminar VI: Desire and Its Interpretation with Hamlet, Seminar VII: The Ethics of Psychoanalysis with Antigone; Seminar VIII: Transference with Plato's Symposium, Seminar X: Anxiety with selected novels. Emphasis on the relevance of Lacan's thought to literature and culture and on his shift from desire and language to jouissance, love, and poetry.—M. Jaanus. 3pts. M 4:10-6.

CLEN W4122x. Renaissance in Europe: The Erotic in Renaissance Literature
How did Renaissance writers imagine the erotic from serious idealized love to comic sexual dysfunction, from homoerotic passion to marriage. Texts include some background reading in Ovid and Petronius as well as such Renaissance writers as Rabelais, Louise Labe, Donne, and William Shakespeare.— A. Prescott. MW 4:10-5:25.

CPLS BC3147y. Comparative Literature: Renaissance Women Writers
An exploration of women writers on England, France, and Italy from the 15th to 17th century. Poetry, narrative and theater focusing on topics such as love, sex, society, power, and God by Christine de Piza, Marguerite de Navarre, Gaspar Stampa, Louise Labe, Elizabeth Cary, Mary Wroth, Madame de Lafayette, and others.— A. Prescott and L. Postlewate. MW 1:10-2:25

ENGL W3270y. British Literature 1950-Present; Modern British Literature II
This course will trace English fiction (and a few films) from the center and from the margins, from the post-WWII era to contemporary and postmodern preoccupations. Writers will include: Martin Amis, John Banville, Pat Barker, Graham Greene, Kazuo Ishiguro, James Kelman, Ian McEwan, Iris Murdoch, V.S. Naipaul, John Osborne, Salman Rushdie, W.G. Sebald, and films by Carol Reed, Michael Apted, Joseph Losey, Tony Richardson, Mike Leigh, Stanley Kubrick and Stephen Frears.—Maura Spiegel. 3 pts. T Th 6:10-7:25.
Instructions on Applying: This lecture is limited to 40 students; students must submit an application to be considered for admission. Students interested in this course should use the green seminar application cards in 602 Philosophy; fill out the information requested on the card; and deposit it in the appropriate box by 5 pm Thursday, November 10. An admit list will be posted Monday, November 14. Students will be blocked from registering for this course; the department itself will submit to the registrar a list of the students admitted and ask that their names be placed on the official class roster.

page last updated 3/21/13