English and Comparative Literature

The Department of English and Comparative Literature offers courses in modern American and British literature, Asian American literature and culture, Shakespeare, Milton, James Joyce, Victorian literature, Romantic literature, the novel, postmodern literature, and literature and culture.

For questions about specific courses, contact the department:

Departmental Office: 602 Philosophy
212-854-3215
Office Hours: Monday–Friday, 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

Web: www.columbia.edu/cu/english

Undergraduate Writing Program Office: 310 Philosophy
212-854-3886

Writing Workshops

Further courses in both critical and creative writing can be found under Writing.

CLEN G6400 The Long History of Victorian Realism. 4 points.

(Seminar). An investigation into the long British century, from roughly 1850 to 1970, in which realism dwindled from fiction's major mode to a self-consciously minor one-a dwindling, however, in which a current of Victorian realism did not give way to modernism but was instead culvetted beneath it, running uninterrupted through the postwar decades. This realist style- anti-reformist, anti-experimental, anti- sympathetic, stubbornly ordinary in its language- was the enduring mark of Victorian fiction on later generations of novelists. A style of description without revelation, and satire without theses, it emerged as a meditation on historical stasis and limitation at the same time as it was increasingly identified with women and dissident sexualities. We will ask how to study the long survival of an aesthetic mode, and how an aesthetic mode registers its own minoritization. Novels to be selected from among a list that includes Thackeray, Charlotte Brontë, Trollope, Oliphant, Gissing, Forster, Bennett, Orwell, Sayers, Compton-Burnett, West, Powell, Pym, Spark, Angus Wilson, Kingsley Amis, Penelope Fitzgerald; to be accompanied by theoretical and critical readings in the long history of reconsiderations of realism, from G. H. Lewes to Fredric Jameson, as well as readings from Benjamin, Klein, Sloterdijk.

CLEN G653 Feminist Psychoanalysis. 3 points.

Prerequisites: permission of the instructor.
Sigmund Freud, Melanie Klein, Jacques Lacan, Luce Irigaray, Gilles Deleuze, Jacques Derrida,  Juliet Mitchell, Jacqueline Rose, Sarah Kofman.  Cannot do more in 14 weeks. Close reading.  Interviews needed.  Please sign up in Prof. Spivak's office in Jan ’06.  People with real language proficiency will be given preference.  Underlying question:  what is psychoanalysis?  13-page paper.  No incompletes

CLEN G6537 Topics in Theory: Form, Formula, Format. 4 points.

Prerequisites: the instructor's permission.

(Seminar). In this semester's seminar we will cover the major literary, philosophical, and theoretical works related to the long history of formalism. Canonical texts in aesthetic theory from Plato, Hegel, Herder, Lessing, Shklovsky, Roman Jakobson, Leon Trotsky, Percy Lubbock, W.M. Wimsatt, Roland Barthes, Lévi-Strauss, Claude Frederic Jameson, Terry Eagleton, and Susan Sontag will lead us to a more recent body of work from media theorists, literary scholars, and computer scientists including Jean Baudrillard, Alexander Galloway, Sharon Marcus, Caroline Levine, Kathleen McKeown, Donald Knuth, Marjorie Levinson, Franco Moretti, and Johanna Drucker.

CLEN G6840 The Thirties: Metropole and Colony. 4 points.

(Seminar).This course focuses on the tumultuous 1930s, which witnessed the growth of anticolonial movements, the coming to power of totalitarian and fascist regimes, and calls for internationalism and a new world vision, among other developments. Even as fascism laid down its roots in parts of Europe, the struggle for independence from European colonial rule accelerated in Asia and Africa, and former subjects engaged with ideas and images about the shape of their new nations, in essays, fiction, poetry, and theater. Supporters and critics of nationalism existed on both sides of the metropole-colony divide, as calls for internationalism sought to stem the rising tide of ethnocentric thinking and racial particularism in parts of Europe as well as the colonies. We'll read works from the metropole and the colonies to track the crisscrossing of ideas, beginning with writers who anticipated the convulsive events of the 1930s and beyond (E.M. Forster, H.G. Wells, Gandhi), then moving on to writers who published some of their greatest work in the 1930s (Huxley, Woolf, C.L.R. James, Mulk Raj Anand), and finally concluding with authors who reassessed the 1930s from a later perspective (George Lamming).

CLEN UN3906 Poetic Modernism. 0 points.

(Seminar). Modernism can find its roots anywhere from the fall of Constantinople in 1453 to the turn of the 20th century; and it finds them differently depending on whether one refers to "modernism" or "modernity." For the purposes of this class, modernism's beginning will be situated in about the middle of the nineteenth century, in Baudelaire's use of the neologism modernité to describe the new urban (and colonialist) sensibility that emerged in the Paris of the time, and more particularly in the seismic poetic shifts that then began to take place. And although many versions or trajectories of poetic modernism can be traced, we will attempt to follow a series of lines that tie the French version of it to the emergence of diverse American voices. Poets to be discussed will include Rimbaud, Apollinaire, Ponge, Crane, Hughes, Eliot, Moore, Stevens and Williams. Application instructions: E-mail Aaron Robertson (ar3488@columbia.edu) with your name, school, major, year of study, and relevant courses taken, along with a brief statement about why you are interested in taking the course. Admitted students should register for the course; they will automatically be placed on a wait list from which the instructor will in due course admit them as spaces become available.

Spring 2017: CLEN UN3906
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
CLEN 3906 001/21647 M 12:10pm - 2:00pm
612 Philosophy Hall
David Wills 0 17/25

CLEN W3145 Medieval Court Performances. 4 points.

Prerequisites: Instructor's permission

(Seminar). Britain's medieval aristocrats lived in the public eye, staging an array of elite performances including tournaments, coronations, weddings, hunts, and feasts. These performances were memorably lavish and entertaining, but more importantly, they asserted the aristocracy's superiority and power. This seminar will explore an archive of poetic and historical texts concerning the ritual and performative strategies of aristocratic courtship, heraldry, and chivalry. Ecclesiastical courts, in turn, develop an alternate nobility of faith as they elevate saints and condemn heretics. The seminar's persistent areas of inquiry will be into how medieval people conceived and performed their personal identity, and how social groups deployed public performances to claim social authority. Texts will include Chaucer's Knight's Tale, saints' legends, the romances of Silence, The Knight of the Swan, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and the minutes of the trial of Joan of Arc. Course requirements: weekly posts, a midterm paper of about 5 pages, a workshop presentation with annotated bibliography, and a research paper of about 20 pages. Application instructions: E-mail Prof. Crane (sc2298@columbia.edu) with your name, school, major, year of study, and relevant courses taken, along with a brief statement about why you are interested in taking the course. Admitted students should register for the course; they will automatically be placed on a wait list from which the instructor will in due course admit them as spaces become available.

CLEN W3300 Black Paris. 3 points.

(Lecture). An introduction to the deep engagement of peoples of African descent with the City of Light throughout the twentieth century. We will take up the full variety of black cultures that have taken shape in dialogue with Paris, including poetry, prose, journals and magazines, music, and film in English and French by African American as well as Francophone Caribbean and African artists and intellectuals. Our investigation will focus on a series of historical moments central to any understanding of black Paris: the efflorescence of the "Jazz Age" in the 1920s (especially through the many Harlem Renaissance artists who spent significant time in France); the emergence of the Négritude movement in the 1930s and 1940s (in relation to other currents such as surrealism, existentialism, and anti-imperialism); the great age of post-World War II expatriate writers such as James Baldwin and Richard Wright; and contemporary black culture in the hip hop era. Throughout the semester, we will discuss the political implications of thinking about black culture through the lens of Paris, whether at the height of the French colonial empire in the interwar period, during the US Civil Rights movement and the Algerian war of independence, or in relation to contemporary debates around religion and immigration. We will be especially attentive to ways Paris can be considered a culture capital of the African diaspora, through what Baldwin called "encounters on the Seine" among black intellectuals and artists from Africa, the Caribbean, and the United States. Readings may include fiction, poetry, and autobiography by authors such as Langston Hughes, Josephine Baker, Claude McKay, Ho Chi Minh, Aimé Césaire, Léopold Sédar Senghor, Jean-Paul Sartre, Cheikh Hamidou Kane, Richard Wright, James Baldwin, William Gardner Smith, Chester Himes, Melvin Van Peebles, Calixthe Beyala, Maryse Condé, and Marie NDiaye; and literary and historical scholarship by Edward Said, Tyler Stovall, Dominic Thomas, Christopher Miller, Pap Ndiaye, and Bennetta Jules-Rosette, among others. Requirements: weekly short reading responses; one take-home midterm; and one longer final research paper.

CLEN W3720 Plato the Rhetorician. 4 points.

Prerequisites: Instructor's permission

(Seminar). Although Socrates takes a notoriously dim view of persuasion and the art that produces it, the Platonic dialogues featuring him both theorize and practice a range of rhetorical strategies that become the nuts and bolts of persuasive argumentation. This seminar will read a number of these dialogues, including Apology, Protagoras, Ion, Gorgias, Phaedrus, Menexenus and Republic, followed by Aristole's Rhetoric, the rhetorical manual of Plato's student that provides our earliest full treatment of the art. Application instructions: E-mail Prof. Eden (khe1@columbia.edu) with your name, school, major, year of study, and relevant courses taken, along with a brief statement about why you are interested in taking the course. Admitted students should register for the course; they will automatically be placed on a wait list from which the instructor will in due course admit them as spaces become available.

CLEN W3740 The Thirties: Metropole and Colony. 4 points.

Prerequisites: Instructor's permission.

(Seminar). This course focuses on the tumultuous 1930s, which witnessed the growth of anticolonial movements, the coming to power of totalitarian and fascist regimes, and calls for internationalism and a new world vision, among other developments. Even as fascism laid down its roots in parts of Europe, the struggle for independence from European colonial rule accelerated in Asia and Africa, and former subjects engaged with ideas and images about the shape of their new nations, in essays, fiction, poetry, and theater. Supporters and critics of nationalism existed on both sides of the metropole-colony divide, as calls for internationalism sought to stem the rising tide of ethnocentric thinking and racial particularism in parts of Europe as well as the colonies. We'll read works from the metropole and the colonies to track the crisscrossing of ideas, beginning with writers who anticipated the convulsive events of the 1930s and beyond (E.M. Forster, H.G. Wells, Gandhi), then moving on to writers who published some of their greatest work in the 1930s (Huxley, Woolf, C.L.R. James, Mulk Raj Anand), and finally concluding with authors who reassessed the 1930s from a later perspective (George Lamming). Application Instructions: E-mail Professor Viswanathan (gv6@columbia.edu) by noon on Wednesday, April 13th, with the subject heading, "The Thirties seminar." In your message, include basic information: name, school, major, year of study, and relevant courses taken, along with a brief statement about why you are interested in taking the course.

CLEN W3936 Global Bestsellers. 4 points.

Prerequisites: Instructor's permission

(Seminar). Students in this course will join millions of readers around the world who have made the texts on the syllabus into bestsellers. Why is it that travelers have found Khalid Hosseini's novel The Kite Runner featured prominently in airport bookshops in the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Africa? Such popularity on a global scale offers an occasion for critical reflection about the transnational economic forces and cultural politics that shape literary supply and demand. Our specific focus will be on novels, memoirs, and films whose authors come from places outside publishing centers of New York and London (Afghanistan, Haiti, India, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa), yet find massive audiences in the US, UK and worldwide. We will do some reading in literary and cultural theory, and we will attend to the material networks of publishing and distribution, in order to understand how these bestsellers emerge, what kinds of conventional narratives or images of otherness they reinforce, and what new narratives and images they might generate. How can we understand the relationship between these texts popularity and their literary role? What frameworks of evaluation and interpretation are appropriate for such texts? What do these texts tell us about globalization? Application Instructions: E-mail Professor Wenzel (jw2497@columbia.edu) with the subject heading "Global Bestsellers seminar." In your message, include basic information: your name, school, major, year of study, and relevant courses taken, along with a brief statement about why you are interested in taking the course. Admitted students should register for the course; they will automatically be placed on a wait list from which the instructor will in due course admit them as spaces become available.

CLEN W3950 Topics in Theory: Horror, Tragedy, and Spectatorship. 4 points.

Prerequisites: Instructor's permission

(Seminar). Why do we like to watch horror films? tragic films? films with sad endings? Why do we like to look at news of tragedies (or, as Susan Sontag put it, why do we like to "regar[d] the pain of others"?) What do horror and tragedy do for us, or to us? Behind these questions about the meaning of horror and tragedy as aesthetic forms is the haunting question: why do horror and tragedy happen? do they mean anything? Questions about the nature and meaning of tragedy and horror have been at the center of aesthetic thought since the 5th century BC, and remain central to aesthetic, literary, and film theory today. This course offers, effectively, a history of horror and tragedy, moving chronologically, from the earliest dramatic productions to recent films, and from the earliest theories of tragedy to more recent accounts of horror, tragedy, and spectatorship. We will read philosophical texts alongside plays and films from the same era: each revealing the richness of the others and testing the others' limits. Our focus on drama and film allows us to address the central question of spectatorship: what happens when we not only hear a story of horror or tragedy, but when we watch horror or tragedy unfold. Texts include works by Sophocles, Shakespeare, Racine, Mozart, Büchner, Wagner, Georges Méliès Fritz Lang, Bertolt Brecht, Ingmar Bergman, Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, with philosophical writings by Aristotle, Augustine, Boethius, Descartes, Hume, Schiller, Kant, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Freud, Benjamin, Derrida, Judith Butler, and more. Application instructions: E-mail Professor Peters (peters@columbia.edu) with the subject heading "Horror, Tragedy, and Spectatorship." In your message, include your name, school, major, year of study, relevant courses taken, and a brief statement about why you are interested in taking the course. Admitted students should register for the course; they will automatically be placed on a wait list, from which the instructor will in due course admit them as spaces become available.

CLEN W4021 European Literature in the Middle Ages: Cultures of the Book. 3 points.

Prerequisites: Instructor's permission

(Lecture). Our encounter with the modern print text is a relatively impoverished event, compared to the multi-layered sensory experience of the medieval book. Medieval manuscripts display individualized hands, rubrication and marginalia, decoration and illustration, sometimes indications for performance (like musical notation). They negotiate between sight and sound; as Chaucer tells his listeners, paradoxically, if they don't want to hear the Miller's Tale they can turn the page. Manuscripts even smell and feel distinctive, depending on the source and preparation of their parchment, or the material of their bindings. In this course, we will attempt to re-conceive and re-embed some literary (and other) "texts" of the Middle Ages, most of them editorially created in the 19th and 20th centuries, within their original sites in the physical culture of the past: that is, in manuscripts and early printed editions, and in the settings of cultural creation and consumption those codices intimately reflect. Studying individual manuscripts in New York collections (especially Columbia University), in facsimile, and on-line, our investigations will move in two main directions. First, we will learn about some of the major arenas of book production across the high and later Middle Ages-the kind of manuscripts through which most people, most often, encountered the written word. These will include books of private devotion (and often public ostentation) such as Psalters and Books of Hours; classroom anthologies and related collections; annals and chronicles; herbals and bestiaries; romances and lives of saints. Most of these use the two dominant languages of high medieval textual culture in England: Latin and French. Among them will be the "Aberdeen Bestiary" and the Anglo-Norman History of St. Edward the King by Matthew Paris, or possibly Matthew's Life of St. Alban and its manuscript, Trinity College Dublin 177. All these materials will be available in translation. Second, those dominant modes of book culture will provide contexts for investigating manuscripts of what has become the canon of Middle English. For instance, we will study one or more Langland manuscripts, in part via the Electronic Archive of Piers Plowman. We will look at the large and beautifully decorated Ellesmere manuscript of Chaucer, yet look too at Chaucer manuscripts that lay different, more modest claims on his text. Depending on the enrollment and interests of the seminar, we can explore the Middle English Brut Chronicle and Middle English translations by John Trevisa (with important examples at Columbia); dramas whose manuscripts are available on-line, Middle English religious texts, or romances such as Bodleian Douce d.6 (Tristan romances in Anglo-Norman).

CLEN W4050 New Wave Cinema from Paris to Hollywood. 3 points.

(Lecture). The term "new wave" was coined by a journalist to refer to an "outburst" of filmmaking that took place in France beginning in 1959. Although never a movement, and shortlived in terms of whatever aesthetic uniformity it may have had, its effects spread out across various European cinemas and it became the emblem for various American filmmakers well into the 1970s. The class will analyze a (somewhat random) series of such cineastes in an attempt to understand what now perhaps appears, from the current perspective, as one of the last gasps of high cultural production coming up against the reality of corporate necessity. Filmmakers will include Roberto Rossellini, Jean-Luc Godard, Chirs Marker, Louis Malle, Agnès Varda, Alain Resnais, Wim Wenders, Bernardo Bertolucci, Robert Altman, John Cassavetes, Stanley Kubrick, Terrence Malick.

CLEN W4521 Comparative Modern Fiction. 3 points.

(Lecture). In the period since 1965, fiction has become global in a new sense and with a new intensity. Comparison is built into it. Writers from different national traditions have been avidly reading each other, wherever they happen to come from, and they often resist "national" and regional labels altogether. If you ask the Somali writer Nuruddin Farah whether the precocious child of Maps was inspired by Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children, he will answer (at least he did when I asked him) that he and Rushdie both were inspired by Sterne's Tristram Shandy and Grass's The Tin Drum. At the same time, the human experiences around which novelists organize their fiction are often themselves global, explicitly and powerfully but also mysteriously. Our critical language is in some ways just trying to catch up with innovative modes of storytelling that attempt to be responsible to the global scale of interconnectedness on which, as we only rarely manage to realize, we all live. This course will begin with the Sudanese classic Season of Migration to the North, a rewriting of Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness," and will end with the British novelist Zadie Smith. In between we will discuss novels by Gabriel García Márquez, Marguerite Duras, Milan Kundera, W.G. Sebald, Roberto Bolaño, and others. Requirements: two short papers (6-8 pages) and a final for undergraduates; one longer paper (12-15 pages) and no final for graduate students.

ENCS W3806 Classical Myth and English Poetry. 4 points.

Prerequisites: Instructor's permission.

(Seminar). The seminar will focus on the close-reading of poems composed in English which take as their contextual points of departure the mythic traditions of ancient Greece and Rome. The poems studied will come from a range of periods and nationalities, as well as a range of mythic contexts, thus allowing us to explore both the kinds of questions raised by classical mythic traditions and also the ways in which such questions can inform and challenge our assumptions about various English poetic traditions. The syllabus will include poems by Sidney, Shakespeare, Milton, Wordsworth, Poe, Millay, Yeats, Moore, Heaney and Carson, among others, as well as excerpts from the works of classical authors from Homer to Ovid. The course will conclude with an extended examination of Derek Walcott's Nobel Prize-winning African-Caribbean/American poem Omeros. Instructions: E-mail Professor Richard Sacks (sacks@columbia.edu) with the subject heading "Classical Myth and English Poetry seminar." In your message, include basic information: your name, school, major, year of study, and relevant courses taken, along with a brief statement about why you are interested in taking the course by April 13th. For a draft of the syllabus see: http://goo.gl/i7YkmV

ENGL G6003 Early Ecopoetics. 4 points.

(Seminar). What is "ecology" in the Middle Ages, and how and why does it matter in medieval literature?  Do medieval writers understand nature as a privileged and ontologically stable category, or as something constructed and constantly under pressure, both by human industry and poetic making?  Where exactly do medieval poets understand the place of humans to be in the larger cosmos, particularly in relation to other kinds of beings, such as animals, other people, objects, plants or spirits? What does it mean to these poets to think ecologically?

ENGL G6122 America's Shakespeare. 4 points.

Prerequisites: Instructor's permission.

(Seminar). The seminar explores the place of Shakespeare in American literary culture from the Revolutionary War until the present day, with an emphasis on the 19th century.

ENGL G6129 Writing Lives in Early Modern England. 4 points.

(Seminar). This seminar explores the ways in which Englishmen and women made sense of their lives in writing, in the period 1500-1700. We will investigate the genres that we now term "biography" and "autobiography," but which in early modern periods were inchoate, experimental forms. The course will be particularly interested in examining how, when, and why early modern life-writers wrote; how the writing of others' lives (biography) may have influenced how one wrote one's own life (autobiography); the impact of religious doctrines on a sense of one's own life, and on modes of self-writing; the relationship between clearly autobiographical forms (the diary, the journal, the life-story) and other forms of writing (the account-book, the printed almanac, and so on). We will explore the impact of major social, political and religious changes (notably the English Reformation and the Civil Wars, Interregnum, and Restoration) on life-writing of various kinds. The writers studied range from the well-known (Samuel Pepys, Izaak Walton, John Aubrey) to the more obscure, with particular attention paid to non-elite and women writers.

ENGL G6501 Contemporary Fiction in Deep Time. 4 points.

(Seminar). In the past few decades, there has been a major shift in how the concept of cosmopolitanism is used. The concept has been separated off from Western universalism, pluralized, associated with non-elite and non-European constituencies, and qualified by adjectives like "vernacular," "rooted," "already existing" and "patriotic." This shift has been welcomed by scholars, and properly so. But it leaves certain questions unanswered. Among them are (1) if cosmopolitanism remains an honorific, what about the detachment from the society of origin that had been a defining element of it? Is that too still being honored? And (2) if cosmoplitanism has had a revolutionary impact on our understanding of world space, hasn't it also had a less visible impact on our understanding of world time? If the modern geography of core-and-periphery, colonizer-and-colonized is no longer central to the larger time scales in which criticism is working, the moral and political judgments based on that geography will obviously become less central to our practice as well. Will political critique fade away, or will the old political-critical terms and habits be replaced by new ones, better adapted to the expanded temporality in which both cosmopolitanism and the rising field of world literature are now operating? This seminar proposes to run these and related questions through a selection of contemporary novels and other writings distinguished by their experimental attitude toward time, in particular a recognition that stories must now adapt themselves to uncomfortably large and even inhuman time-scales and by their interest in examining the moral and political problems that such time-scales bring with them.

ENGL G6605 Literatures and Medicines of the Early Atlantic. 0 points.

(Seminar). Perry Miller famously titled his history of colonial America The New England Mind (1939; 1953). While it offered an elegant narrative about the nation's Puritan origins, Miller's pithy phrase contained the seeds of its own critique: geographically narrow, monolithic, and limited to what is properly called intellectual history. This course builds on Miller's work to consider what we might call a colonial mind-body problem. That is, we will be attentive to the stories that bind intellectual histories of colonialism to the embodied experiences of life and death in the New World-especially as these emerge from the history and literature of medicine. Drawing on a broad range of genres and forms-including exploration tracts, diaries, histories, sermons, medical pamphlets, natural histories, poems, and novels-we will consider how disparate disease models and dynamic immunological patterns shaped colonial encounters from sixteenth-century Roanoke to early nineteenth-century St. Domingue and Haiti. Our primary goals will be to recognize how medical and caregiving practices structured colonial encounters, to explore the relation between medicine, community, and citizenship in the age of Revolution, and to examine how colonial writers engaged with literary form to explore their place in the world.

ENGL G6606 Reconstructing America. 4 points.

(Seminar). This course is devoted to novels of "the long Reconstruction," which we will be defining as the period of continued struggle to establish full African-American citizenship between the end of the Civil War and the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement. We will consider fiction as a form of advocacy, reform, and reaction, attending especially closely to the challenges these authors raise to such historicizing concepts as "period" and "event" and such narrative dynamics as "teleos" and "decline." Discussion topics will include the continuations and afterlives of slavery post-1863; the ways in which the Civil War was remembered and re-fought post-1865; and consolidations and nullifications of the Reconstruction amendments post-1870. Readings will include primary texts by Twain, Chesnutt, Harper, Dunbar, Hopkins, Toomer, Faulkner, Smith, and Ellison, as well ample literary and historical scholarship. Your work will culminate in a 20-25 page research paper; active participation in seminar discussion is essential.

ENGL G6623 Modernist Epics. 4 points.

(Seminar). In this seminar we will read, in their entirety, the four major 20th century American epic poems: Ezra Pound's Cantos, William Carlos Williams' Paterson, Louis Zukofsky's "A", and Charles Olson's Maximus. Time permitting, we will take side glances at other modernist long poems from poets like H. D. and Melvin Tolson (neither of whom could be said to have penned an epic). This is a reading intensive course, designed to give students a broad familiarization with four of the most imposing works of the last hundred years.

ENGL GU4402 Romantic Poetry. 3 points.

Open to all undergraduates and graduate students.

(Lecture). This course examines major British poets of the period 1789-1830. We will be focusing especially on the poetry and poetic theory of William Blake, William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Lord Byron, Percy Shelley, and John Keats. We will also be reading essays, reviews, and journal entries by such figures as Robert Southey, William Hazlitt, and Dorothy Wordsworth.

Fall 2017: ENGL GU4402
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ENGL 4402 001/74433 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
Room TBA
Erik Gray 3 74/90

ENGL UN3001 Literary Texts, Critical Methods. 4 points.

Corequisites: students who register for ENGL W3001 must also register for one of the sections of ENGL W3011 Literary Texts, Critical Methods.

This course is intended to introduce students to the advanced study of literature. Students will read works from different genres (poetry, drama, and prose fiction), drawn from the medieval period to the present day, learning the different interpretative techniques required by each. The course also introduces students to a variety of critical schools and approaches, with the aim both of familiarizing them with these methodologies in the work of other critics and of encouraging them to make use of different methods in their own critical writing. This course (together with the companion seminar ENGL W3011) is a requirement for the English Major and Concentration. It should be taken as early as possible in a student's career. Fulfillment of this requirement will be a factor in admission to seminars and to some lectures.

Spring 2017: ENGL UN3001
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ENGL 3001 001/17220 W 6:10pm - 7:25pm
702 Hamilton Hall
Michael Golston 4 57/80
Fall 2017: ENGL UN3001
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ENGL 3001 001/62539 W 6:10pm - 7:25pm
Room TBA
Jenny Davidson 4 51/80

ENGL UN3011 Literary Texts, Critical Methods seminar. 0 points.

Corequisites: students who register for ENGL W3011 must also register for ENGL W3001 Literary Texts, Critical Methods lecture.

This seminar, led by an advanced graduate student in the English doctoral program, accompanies the faculty lecture ENGL W3001. The seminar both elaborates upon the topics taken up in the lecture and introduces other theories and methodologies. It also focuses on training students to integrate the terms, techniques, and critical approaches covered in both parts of the course into their own critical writing, building up from brief close readings to longer research papers.

Spring 2017: ENGL UN3011
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ENGL 3011 001/22186 M 6:10pm - 8:00pm
424 Pupin Laboratories
Taarini Mookherjee 0 11/25
ENGL 3011 002/23538 M 6:10pm - 8:00pm
511 Hamilton Hall
Rebecca Pawel 0 11/25
ENGL 3011 003/19467 M 6:10pm - 8:00pm
307 Mathematics Building
Gianmarco Saretto 0 12/25
ENGL 3011 004/21452 M 10:10am - 12:00pm
425 Pupin Laboratories
Seth Williams 0 13/25
ENGL 3011 005/65707 M 6:10pm - 8:00pm
313 Pupin Laboratories
Alexis Fabrizio 0 9/25
Fall 2017: ENGL UN3011
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ENGL 3011 001/21435 M 6:10pm - 8:00pm
Room TBA
0 10/18
ENGL 3011 002/17754 M 6:10pm - 8:00pm
Room TBA
0 7/18
ENGL 3011 003/20144 M 6:10pm - 8:00pm
Room TBA
0 3/18
ENGL 3011 004/14561 M 6:10pm - 8:00pm
Room TBA
0 3/18
ENGL 3011 005/70512 M 10:10am - 12:00pm
Room TBA
0 14/18

ENGL W3253 Victorian Literature: Dickens. 4 points.

Prerequisites: Instructor's permission

(Seminar). This course will examine Dickens' novels within the history of the emotions. Other points of special attraction: middle-class self-formation, the family, interiority (from domestic space to psychic depth), the "metropolis and mental life," sentimentality, humor, disease, America, narrative genius, and the author's ubiquitous inquiries into the contingencies of social and personal goodness. Application instructions: E-mail Prof. Spiegel (mls37@columbia.edu) with your name, school, major, year of study, and relevant courses taken, along with a brief statement about why you are interested in taking the course. Admitted students should register for the course; they will automatically be placed on a wait list from which the instructor will in due course admit them as spaces become available.

ENGL W3505 LGBTQ Literature: LGBT Studies. 4 points.

Prerequisites: Instructor's permission.

(Seminar). The poet Cavafy refers to the pursuit of flesh in a different vein than Wilde's pleasure for pleasure's sake. Cavafy meant a type of championship of carnal pleasure that would reflect on the relationship of the early naked and oiled Greek Olympian athletes. Is there a distinction between the pursuit of athletic pleasure and comradery, and "non team" sexual sports? We use this frame from Cavafy to interrogate a broad range of 19th, 20th, and 21st century world LGBTQ literature. We will use several theoretical works that enlighten our pursuit, including but not limited to Sedgwick, Foucault, Barthes, Butler, Irigaray, Cixous etcetera. Application instructions: E-mail Professor Robinson-Appels (jr2168@columbia.edu) with the subject heading "Drama, Theatre, Theory seminar." In your message, include basic information: your name, school, major, year of study, and relevant courses taken, along with a brief statement about why you are interested in taking the course. Admitted students should register for the course; they will automatically be placed on a wait list, from which the instructor will in due course admit them as spaces become available.

ENGL W3618 Native American Literature. 4 points.

(Seminar). This course will serve as a survey of Native American literature from the 1960s to the present.  We will begin with some of the foundational novels of the Native American Renaissance beginning in the late 1960s, then moving to more contempoary Native-authored drama, poetry, and critical and theoretical essays.  We will examine the ways that these Native authors represent themselves and their communities.  Among these representations are didactic narratives designed to instruct outgroup, non-Native readers to Indian cultures, histories and practices.  However, these texts are also in dialogue with a wide array of other texts from Native and non-Native authors.  Moreover, and more interestingly, we will examine these narratives to understand them from the Indigenous practices that overturn implicit or presupposed aesthetic privileging of European traditions. Application instructions: E-mail Professor Gamber (jbg2134@columbia.edu) with the subject heading "Native American Literature seminar". In your message, include basic information: your name, school, major, year of study, and relevant courses taken, along with a brief statement about why you are interested in taking the course. Admitted students should register for the course; they will automatically be placed on a wait list, from which the instructor will in due course admit them as spaces become available.

ENGL W3709 American Transcendentalism. 4 points.

(Seminar). The class is an intensive reading of the prose and poetry of Emerson, Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, and Emily Dickinson. Through detailed analysis of Emerson's Essays we will try to understand his philosophy as an effort to radically reformulate traditional concepts of identity, thinking, and everyday living, and investigate the politics that guided his philosophical efforts, especially his stance on slavery and his activism against the Cherokee removals. In reading Fuller, we will investigate her thinking on dreams, visions, mental transports and headaches, in order to ask how those experiences come to model her understanding of personal identity, as well as processes of writing and translating. Additionally, we will investigate her political theories concerning the 19th century through the prism of her writings on women. In Thoreau, we will look closely into ideas about the art of living and his theory of architecture, as well as quotidian practices of dwelling, eating or cooking, as ways to come to terms with one's own life. We will pay special attention to Thoreau's understanding of thinking as walking, as well as the question of space vs. time. And we will try to understand how ideas and values of transcendentalist philosophy fashion poetry of Emily Dickinson. Application instructions: E-mail Prof. Arsic (ba2406@columbia.edu) with your name, school, major, year of study, and relevant courses taken, along with a brief statement about why you are interested in taking the course. Admitted students should register for the course; they will automatically be placed on a wait list from which the instructor will in due course admit them as spaces become available.

ENGL W3713 Sentimentalism and its Afterlife. 4 points.

(Seminar). This seminar will focus on the complex relationship between literature and emotion.  By studying sentimental literature in 19th and 20th-century America, we'll examine how works written to portray and evoke feeling could be powerful social and political forces.  We'll read some of the most popular American fiction ever written and study the philosophy that informed a sentimental worldview.  We'll explore the legacy of American sentimentalism, studying the backlash against sentimental literature and investigating the ways that sentimental tropes lasted into the twentieth century and beyond.  Application instructions: E-mail Professor Aaron Ritzenberg (ritzenberg@columbia.edu) with the subject heading "Sentimentalism and its Afterlife seminar." In your message, include basic information: your name, school, major, year of study, and relevant courses taken, along with a brief statement about why you are interested in taking the course. Admitted students should register for the course; they will automatically be placed on a wait list from which the instructor will in due course admit them as spaces become available.

ENGL W3714 Henry James and James Baldwin. 4 points.

Prerequisites: Instructor's permission.

(Seminar). Not well-known is the fact that in the mid-sixties James Baldwin hung a photograph of Henry James above his writing desk, a kind of tribute to the novelist whose writings about the "complex fate' of being an American in Europe deeply influenced Baldwin. The Portrait of a Lady and The Ambassadors were treasured books for Baldwin, who occasionally lectured about them to college audiences. This seminar will examine this initially improbable literary kinship between these two great artists, exploring how a shared commitment to a literary art of complexity and multiple identity, to cultural critique and analysis (Baldwin greatly admired James's The American Scene, his on the ground evocation of early 20th century America) produced such distinctly different bodies of vital work. Baldwin's essays and his novel Another Country will be discussed, as well as the James texts mentioned above. Application instructions: E-mail Professor Ross Posnock (rp2045@columbia.edu) with the subject heading "James and Baldwin seminar." In your message, include basic information: your name, school, major, year of study, and relevant courses taken, along with a brief statement about why you are interested in taking the course.

ENGL W3733 American Public Intellectuals. 4 points.

(Seminar). In his 1837 address to the Phi Beta Cappa Society, Ralph Waldo Emerson asserts that the American scholar is "one, who raises himself from private considerations, and breathes and lives on public and illustrious thoughts. He is the world's eye. He is the world's heart." One hundred and seventy six years later, what does it mean for an American woman or man to take on the role of a public intellectual, or to be cast as one? In particular how have public intellectuals taken on the role to tell us unpleasant or complex truths about ourselves? With the election of Barack Obama to the presidency in 2008, these questions acquired a renewed visibility and weight for Americans, who heard him offer his views on race in his speech "A More Perfect Union." In this course, we will consider how writers from many quarters of American life have extended and complicated Emerson's notion of the public intellectual. We will examine essays, speeches, open letters, and recordings by public intellectuals from the Progressive Era until the present. This course is organized to dramatize both the work of public intellectuals, and to engage with theories regarding the definition and roles of public intellectuals. In particular, we will consider how the essay as a genre adapted formally to the needs of changing publics. Course texts will include work by Randolph Bourne, E. B. White, James Baldwin, Martin Luther King, Jr., Susan Sontag, Edward Said, Cornell West, Barbara Ehrenreich, Rachel Carson, Andrew Sullivan, and Barack Obama. To help us to discuss key issues and themes, we will read short excerpts from cultural theorists on intellectual history such as John Dewey, Richard Posner, bell hooks, Richard Hofstadter, and Cornell West who have posed questions about the rights and responsibilities of the public intellectual inside and outside of academic contexts. Application Instructions: E-mail Professor Wallack (nw2108@columbia.edu) with the subject heading, "Dewey to Obama seminar." In your message, include basic information: your name, school, major, year of study, and relevant courses taken, along with a brief statement about why you are interested in taking the course. Admitted students should register for the course; they will automatically be placed on a wait list, from which the instructor will in due course admit them as spaces become available.

ENGL W3939 Black Drama. 4 points.

Prerequisites: Instructor's permission

(Seminar). "Black Drama" is a survey course on plays written by the black Americans from the beginning of the 20th century to the present. This course includes canonical figures from the African American literary tradition as well as emerging contemporary playwrights. We will cover surrounding historical and cultural context for each play as well as key theories about the purpose of black theater associated with the cultural moment. Although this course is designed to introduce students to black drama in general, one of the key organizing themes will be the black family. The black family is a generative organizing theme that yields to discussions of community, generations and legacy, relationships between black men and black women, sexuality, and gender roles. Using the black family and its extending themes as a touchstone, this class aims to connect black playwrights and put them in conversation in order to consider what makes and shapes the black dramatic tradition. Application Instructions: E-mail Instructor Richardson (enr2108@columbia.edu) with the subject heading "Black Drama seminar." In your message, include basic information: your name, school, major, year of study, and relevant courses taken, along with a brief statement about why you are interested in taking the course. Admitted students should register for the course; they will automatically be placed on a wait list from which the instructor will in due course admit them as spaces become available.

ENGL W3962 Austen, Bronte, Gaskell. 4 points.

Prerequisites: the instructor's permission.

(Seminar). The novels of Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë and Elizabeth Gaskell map much of the terrain for English nineteenth-century narrative. Writing within the tradition of the novel of education, these daughters of Protestant clergymen fashion a fictional discourse posed to explore the liabilities and liberties of a narrative realism that privileges the marriage plot, psychological portraiture, and vocation. Reading these books in two sets of triads (cultures, communities, institutions: Mansfield Park, Villette, North and South; formation and vocation: Emma, Jane Eyre, Wives and Daughters), we will trace how these authors simultaneously invent and resist ideas about privacy, property, duty, subversion, gender identity and realism itself. The last few weeks will culminate in a reading of George Eliot's Daniel Deronda as a powerful response to this literary heritage. Application instructions: E-mail Prof. Cohen (mlf1@columbia.edu) with your name, school, major, year of study, and relevant courses taken, along with a brief statement about why you are interested in taking the course. Admitted students should register for the course; they will automatically be placed on a wait list from which the instructor will in due course admit them as spaces become available.

ENGL W3981 Revolutions in Text and Technology. 4 points.

Prerequisites: Instructor's permission.

(Seminar). Every text we read is a product of technological innovation, and those innovations have profound effects on our culture, politics, religions, and even the ways we conceptualize the self. The Protestant Reformation would have been very different without the printing press. And we couldn't have experienced the rise of the novel without breakthroughs in papermaking. At the same time that textual technologies open up possibilities for change, thinkers from every era caution us about their corrosive influence. Plato's Phaedrus warns that the invention of writing will destroy people's ability to memorize. And today Nicolas Carr asks whether Google is making us stupid. This course examines what arguments around technologies of text reveal about the contested grounds of literature and literacy: who has access to ideas and who controls how those ideas will be shared? In our contemporary moment, when many frame the advent of new media as a new phenomenon, this course asks students to see arguments about contemporary digital texts in light of the rhetoric of new media stretching back to the 4th century BCE. Students will study key moments in the long history of textual technologies: moments when written language, the printing press, the telegraph and radio, the typewriter, the word processor, and e-books were (or are) considered at once revolutionary, liberating, and threatening. Course assignments will give students hands-on experience with various technologies at the same time as they read the arguments others have made about them. In the process, we will study technologies for producing texts as sites of competing claims about access to literature, literacy, and power. Application instructions: E-mail Professor Susan Mendelsohn (suemendelsohn@columbia.edu) with the subject heading "Revolutions in Text and Technology seminar." In your message, include basic information: your name, school, major, year of study, and relevant courses taken, along with a brief statement about why you are interested in taking the course.

ENGL W4103 English Literature 1500-1600. 3 points.

(Lecture). This lecture course examines sixteenth-century English literature in the light of the new religious, social and political challenges of the period.  Texts, primarily poetry and prose, include lyric poetry by Thomas Wyatt, Henry Howard, earl of surrey, and John Donne; sonnet sequences by Philip Sidney and William Shakespeare; early narrative works by George Gascoigne and Thomas Nashe; works of Early English literary criticism; travel writings by Walter Ralegh and Thomas Harriot; as wellas longer texts including More's Utopia and Spenser's Faerie Queene.

ENGL W4501 James Joyce. 3 points.

(Lecture). This is a course primarily on James Joyce's great novel Ulysses. We will spend the first third of the course on Dubliners and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, to be followed by two months to read and discuss Ulysses. In addition to two lectures per week, there will also be a required weekly discussion section, led by a teaching assistant. There is no extra reading or written work required for the discussion sections.

ENGL W4601 Early Caribbean Literature. 3 points.

(Lecture). This course is a survey of American literatures and cultures ranging from the colonial era to the Age of Revolution. Although many of the texts on the syllabus were written in colonies that would eventually become part of the United States, the course itself is not designed to be a literary history of the U.S. Instead, we will put pressure on terms like "American" and "Literary" as we inquire into the theological, political, scientific, and literary issues that framed colonial experiences. Our goal will be to explore the various modes through which colonial encounters were described by foregrounding the local, regional, and Atlantic contexts of the material we read. In particular, we will consider the multiple trajectories of Early American literary history by examining subjects like Exploration and Captivity, Puritan Theology, Antinomianism, the Enlightenment, the Caribbean, Slavery and Emancipation, and Revolution. Our investigations will push us to test the conceptual limits of these categories as we trace their place in emerging discourses of nation. Authors may include: William Bradford, John Winthrop, Anne Bradstreet, Mary Rowlandson, Benjamin Franklin, William Earle, Olaudah Equiano, Phillis Wheatley, Charles Brockden Brown, and Mary Prince. This course satisfies the American, the prose fiction/narrative, and the pre-1800 period requirements for the major.

ENGL W4603 American Literary Realism and Naturalism. 3 points.

(Lecture). The course will provide a trans-atlantic comparative perspective on the emergent world of urban modernity and mass market capitalism, including the pleasures and perils of city life--department stores, prostitution, hotels, railway cars. In addition to some of the great American novelists after the Civil War--Henry James,Stephen Crane, Frank Norris, Theodore Dreiser, Edith Wharton--we will also read the great French novelist Emile Zola and Georg Simmel, the Berlin theorist of urban phenomenology.

ENGL W4605 Post-1945 American Literature. 3 points.

(Lecture). This course surveys major works of American fiction, poetry, essays, literary and cultural criticism written since 1945. It will situate the analysis of literature against a historical backdrop that includes such key events as the Holocaust; the atomic bomb; the Beatniks; youth counterculture; the women's, peace, and Civil Rights movements; the Korean, Vietnam, and Gulf Wars; the energy crisis; globalization; the rise of the internet; and the War on Terror.  We will also consider major literary and artistic movements such as postmodernism, the Beats, confessional poetry, minimalism, the New Journalism, and historiographic metafiction. Lectures will emphasize literature in its cultural/ historical context, but will also attend to its formal/ aesthetic properties.

ENGL W4612 Jazz and American Culture. 3 points.

(Lecture). An overview of jazz and its cultural history, with consideration of the influence of jazz on the visual arts, dance, literature, and film; an introduction to the scholarship and methods of jazz studies.  In this course we start with Ralph Ellison's suggestive proposition that many aspects of American life are "jazz-shaped." How, to begin with, might we define the music called jazz? What are its aesthetic ingredients or forms? What have been its characteristic sounds? How can we move towards a definition that sufficiently complicates the usual formulas of call-response, improvisation, and swing (or polyrhythmical complexity with an Afro-beat)--to encompass musical styles that really are quite different but which nonetheless are typically classified as jazz? With this ongoing problem of musical definition in mind, we will examine works in literature, painting, photography, film, and choreography which may be defined as "jazz works" or ones that are "jazz-shaped": which use jazz as a model or metaphor. What is jazz-like about these works? What's jazz-like about the ways they were produced? And how, to get to the other problem in the course's title--is jazz American? What is the relationship of art to nation? What is the logic of American exceptionalism? What do we make of the many international dimensions of jazz music-of, for instance, itsmany non-American practitioners? What is (or was) a jazz culture? What are (or were) its dates?

ENGL W4623 American Poetry: The Avant-Garde. 3 points.

(Lecture). Survey of American poetry and poetics from 1900-1945. Poets to be discussed include Stein, Pound, Williams, H.D., Loy, Hughes, Toomer, Zukofsky, Oppen, Crane and Stevens.

ENGL W4702 Tudor-Stuart Drama. 3 points.

(Lecture). This course investigates plays that treat historical themes as well as theories of historical and documentary drama. We will consider each playwright's sources and techniques, the historical conditions of each play's first production, and the play's reception history. We will also consider certain suggestive resonances between the disciplines of theatre and history. Plays by Aeschylus, Cervantes, Lope de Vega, Marlowe, Shakespeare, Ford, Schiller, Goethe, Büchner, Shaw, Brecht, Weiss, Churchill, Parks, and others.

ENTA UN3701 Drama, Theatre, Theory. 4 points.

Prerequisites: Instructor's permission.

(Seminar). Theatre typically exceeds the claims of theory. What does this tell us about both theatre and theory? We will consider why theatre practitioners often provide the most influential theoretical perspectives, how the drama inquires into (among other things) the possibilities of theatre, and the various ways in which the social, spiritual, performative, political, and aesthetic elements of drama and theatre interact. Two papers, weekly responses, and a class presentation are required. Readings include Aristotle, Artaud, Bharata, Boal, Brecht, Brook, Castelvetro, Craig, Genet, Grotowski, Ibsen, Littlewood, Marlowe, Parks, Schechner, Shakespeare, Sowerby, Weiss, and Zeami. Application Instructions: E-mail Professor Austin Quigley (aeq1@columbia.edu) with the subject heading "Drama, Theatre, Theory seminar." In your message, include basic information: your name, school, major, year of study, and relevant courses taken, along with a brief statement about why you are interested in taking the course. Admitted students should register for the course; they will automatically be placed on a wait list, from which the instructor will in due course admit them as spaces become available.

Fall 2017: ENTA UN3701
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ENTA 3701 001/72362 W 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Room TBA
Austin Quigley 4 4/25

The University reserves the right to withdraw or modify the courses of instruction or to change the instructors as may become necessary.