Graduate Courses in English at Main Campus
English Graduate Courses
English 551.41 Bad Behavior & the Contemporary American Memoir: Studies in American Literature and Culture since 1900
Dr. Elizabeth Langemak
Drug use, alcoholism, mental illness, taboo relationships, failed parenting: that’s just a short list of bad behaviors confessed by writers of the contemporary American memoir. But is it all true? And if it’s not, does it matter? Students in this course will consider the nature of truth (and its many gray areas) as we work our way through the past twenty five years of highlights, turning points, and experiments in the genre writers use to tell their most personal and traumatic stories. Tandem to this, students will seek to establish a theoretical framework for memoir that takes the history of the genre, as well as the social and political issues that have bent it, into consideration. Course work will include short responses, class presentations, and a seminar paper.
English 556.41 Monsters, Murder, Madness: Studies in British Literature and Culture 1700-1900
Dr. Craig Franson
This course explores the outer limits of humanity, tracking some of the most infamous figures to stalk the British literary imagination. From the gothic horrors of Frankenstein and Dracula to the sensational cases of Jack the Ripper and Dr. Jekyll, the long 19th century (1760-1914) offers a series of extraordinary anti-types—types that both inform and imperil the modern concept of the human being. Over the semester, we will map out the hazy terrain of the un-human, the inhumane, and the insane, asking why such lurid figures have so allured modern readers? What does democracy have to do with monstrosity? Murder with aesthetics? And madness with morality? To answer these and other questions, we will read a broad assortment of literary classics, along with a few mislaid “gems.” Our coursework will accustom you to a range of critical methods, which you will have the chance to employ in a series of projects, papers, and examinations.
English 661.41 Literature and Other Media: Cultural Studies
Dr. James Jesson
It is hard to understand the past century’s literature if we look at the printed page only. In the last hundred years, authors frequently looked beyond publication in books and experimented with a string of new media: phonography, radio, film, tape recording, television, and the Internet, among others. In addition, of course, “traditional” literary works were adapted for performance in each of these media. In this class, we’ll examine how writers used and were influenced by many of these new media. And we’ll explore some theoretical approaches to the translation of literature across media. Our “texts” may include Orson Welles’s adaptations of literature to radio and film, the collaboration of poet W.H. Auden and filmmaker John Grierson in the documentary Night Mail, audiotape “cut ups” created by William S. Burroughs, audiobook selections from Jane Austen’s novels, radio talks by Virginia Woolf and W.B. Yeats, YouTube animations of Billy Collins’ poetry, and the adaptation of Raymond Carver’s short stories in Robert Altman’s film Short Cuts. In addition to these primary works (and some of their printed source texts), we will dip into media theory, beginning with Marshall McLuhan’s groundbreaking work from the 1960s and continuing through more recent translation and adaptation theory.
Stephen Smith, Ph.D.
M.A. in English Programs
1900 West Olney Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19141 USA
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