Fall 2023 Graduate Courses
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Eng 600 Introduction to Graduate Studies
Bondurant M 3-5:30
**Required for First Year English Graduate Students in All Programs**
This course is an introduction to theory and methods for graduate study, with an emphasis on the impact of theoretical schools of thought on the evolution of the profession. Z grade.
Eng 679 Form, Craft and Influence: Poetry and The Novel
Ginsburg T 3-5:30
This course will examine short novels which eschew traditional narrative structure in favor of modalities borrowed from poetry: the fragment, formal repetition, juxtaposition, associative logic, the image, lyric utterance, sonic play. We’ll read books at the intersection between poetry and the novel, including novels-in-verse, novelistic poetry collections, novels in conversation with particular poems/poetic forms (such as Louisa Hall’s novel Speak, which adapts the poetic form of the sestina for its structure), fragmented lyric novels, and novels written by poets. We will explore questions about how poetry enlivens and broadens possibilities for fiction, and vice versa. Readings will likely include books by Hall, Clarice Lispector, Ha Jin, Jenny Offill, Marguerite Duras, Honoree Jeffers, Alice Notley, Kiki Petrosino, and others.
Eng 680 Fiction Workshop
Wang W 6-8:30
This graduate fiction workshop aims to be both generative and revision-driven while striving to be as inclusive as possible. You will turn in at least two stories or novel chapters (totaling at least thirty pages). The first workshops will focus on generating fresh work, and students are invited to submit fiction that is new or raw. The second workshops will focus on personal aesthetics and intended audience, placing a premium on discussing what the work tries to do and how successful it is in achieving its effects. Finally, there will usually be enough time left at the end of the semester for most students to receive a third workshop. These workshops will focus on revision, and students are encouraged to dramatically revise (re-envision) one of their earlier stories and bring it to the workshop again.
Eng 682 Poetry Workshop
Skeets Th 6-8:30
Course taught by the 2023-2024 Grisham Writer in Residence.
Eng 711 Studies in Shakespeare: Shakespeare and the Natural World
Raber T 6-8:30
This course will investigate Shakespeare’s works in conjunction with a set of early modern non-Shakespearean primary texts, along with theory and criticism that take a broadly ecocritical view of Shakespeare and his world. Theorists like Timothy Morton have argued that in order to enact an environmentalist agenda we must discard the word “Nature,” which distances and obscures the complex material enmeshments of environments, human beings, and countless other organisms, by aestheticizing, objectifying, and othering them, making ‘nature’ a romanticized space outside of modernity. Yet dismissing “N/nature” as a mere bugbear, or an unequivocal obstacle to clarity about our current ecological needs, discounts the weight the word and the idea had for Shakespeare and his contemporaries and constrains the kinds of questions and answers we can explore. Is nature irredeemably trapped in the predicament of metonymy and metaphor—in other words, is there truly no there there? How might pre-Romantic conceptions of the natural world complicate the current discourse about “ecology without nature” initiated by Morton? Does dismissing the idea of “nature” (or, as theory does in other instances, the idea of a “world”) expand our horizons, or does it leave us with a paucity of imaginative and creative literary tropes? We’ll tackle these questions and others while learning about the climate, weather, animals, trees, gardens, bodies of water, and landscapes, that make up the Shakespearean natural world(s). The written work of the seminar will include weekly responses to the readings and a 15 page essay composed in stages to allow for research and revision prior to final submission.
Eng 715 British Literature of Restoration: What’s (So) Funny?
MacKenzie W 3-5:30
This class will investigate eighteenth-century humor/laughter/comedy/wit, in theory and in practice. It will also inquire about twenty-first century versions of the same aesthetic and social categories. With the assistance of theoretical and critical work by Freud, Bergson, Bakhtin, and others, we will query the socio-political functions and effects of humor, including its implication in discourses about gender, race, class, sexualities, and colonialism. Does the great flourishing of the British satirical tradition coincide with any kinds of progressive development? Does humor/laughter have radical potential or potential radicalism? Or is laughter a reactionary aesthetic response? Primary authors will include Behn, Wycherly, Rochester, Dryden, Pope, Swift, Montagu, Addison, Montaigne, Fielding, Sterne, Sancho, and Austen. Participants will present an example of humor (from any historical era, medium, or tradition) and introduce discussion of why they experience it as funny. Completion of the class will also involve a research paper or creative project.
Eng 727 Studies in Modern and Contemporary Literature: Queer 21st Century Book Publishing
Harker T 3-5:30
The digital world has dramatically changed the ecosystem of publication in the 21st century; traditional gatekeepers, including programs in higher education, mainstream publishers, reviewers, and critics, are routinely bypassed by both writers and readers through ebooks, self-publishing, social media networks, and fandom. While this transformation often inspires dire prophecies about the death of the book, Gen Z is reading more than the generations that precede it, with unprecedented access to multiple forms of print. This democratizing impulse of 21st century book publishing has been particularly transformative for queer readers and writers. If previous generations of queer writers struggled to find publishers, evade censors, and find readers, the current moment is a golden age of queer abundance. Never has queer writing been so plentiful and easily accessible.
This class considers some critical conversations about how queer 21st century book publishing has evolved, from 1990s fan cultures and fanfiction, through the rise of ebooks, Amazon, and self-publishing, culminating in consideration of social media networks, including Bookstagram and BookTok. We will read secondary criticism in fan studies, media studies, and book history. The class also considers some key genres in queer 21st century book publishing, including romance, science fiction, and young adult literature. Potential books include Anne Jamison’s Fic: Why Fanfiction is Taking Over the World, John B. Thompson’s Book Wars: The Digital Revolution in Publishing, Mark McGurl’s Everything and Less: the Novel in the Age of Amazon, Kaitlyn Tiffany’s Everything I Need I Get From You: How Fangirls Invented the Internet as We Know It, and Ebony Elizabeth Thomas’s The Dark Fantastic: Race and the Imaginations from Harry Potter to the Hunger Games, as well as case studies from authors Radclyffe, Becky Chambers, Andrew Joseph White, Mia McKenzie and more. The class includes weekly responses and a final 20-25 page seminar paper.
Eng 776 Studies in Southern Literature
Trefzer Th 3-5:30
This seminar engages two forms of representation by linking Welty’s diverse literary output in the form of short stories, essays, and novels written between 1936 and 1972 with the visual culture of her time. This includes her own photography as well as major photo-documentary projects such as the Farm Security Administration archive of the Great Depression, contemporary museum exhibitions, and photographers such as Walker Evans, Berenice Abbott, Doris Ullman, Diane Arbus, and William Eggleston. We seek to inquire how Welty articulates a modernity of vision in fiction and photography specifically through the lenses of gender and sexuality, race and class, disability and ecology but not limited to these critical perspectives. Students are encouraged to explore their own projects connecting Welty’s fiction with any aspect of visual culture.
Course texts include the two Library of America editions of Eudora Welty’s Stories, Essays, Memoir and Complete Novels as well as her photobook One Time, One Place. In addition to relevant biographies and literary criticism, students will also read classic writing on photography by Roland Barthes, Susan Sontag, Walter Benjamin, John Berger, Pierre Bourdieu, Alan Sekula and others. Course requirements include active participation in discussion and one class presentation; an original research project including a prospectus, an annotated bibliography, and a 15 – 25 page seminar paper; as well as a class conference in which students will share their research at the end of the semester. To guide students to further resources, the course will end in a field trip to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History and the Welty House in Jackson.