Courses

Course Type: Seminar
Term: Spring
Day/Time: MW 11:35-12:50

Close study of Austen's novels, with special attention to the critique of social and literary convention. Enrollment limited to freshmen. Preregistration required; see under Freshman Seminar Program.

Professor: Jill Campbell
Course Type: Seminar
Term: Spring
Day/Time: TTh 9:00-10:15

New forms of electronic communication and their effects on social relationships and individuals' sense of self. Advantages and limitations of these forms in relation to means of communication and intimacy not dependent on electronic mediation. Correspondence by post, in-person conversation and nonverbal communication, social gatherings centered on food, erotic intimacy, group sociability, and silence. Analytical and creative writing assignments. Enrollment limited to freshmen. Preregistration required; see under Freshman Seminar Program.

Professor: Justin Neuman
Course Type: Seminar
Term: Spring
Day/Time: MW 11:35-12:50

The relationship between technology and Anglophone literature from 1893 to 1922. Focus on machines of war, communication, and transportation. Canonical modernists such as Eliot, Joyce, Stein, Kafka, Woolf, and Forster; artistic movements, including imagism, expressionism, futurism, cubism, and surrealism. Enrollment limited to freshmen. Preregistration required; see under Freshman Seminar Program.

Professor: Wai Chee Dimock
Course Type: Seminar
Term: Spring
Day/Time: TTh 11:35-12:50

American literature as a gateway to the rest of the world. Key texts from the eighteenth century to the twenty-first, including works by Olaudah Equiano, Thomas Jefferson, Gertrude Stein, James Baldwin, Monique Truong, Ruth Ozeki, Jhumpa Lahiri, Barbara Kingsolver, Agha Shahid Ali, Cristina Garcia, Junot Diaz, and Dave Eggers. Enrollment limited to freshmen. Preregistration required; see under Freshman Seminar Program.

Professor: Ian Cornelius
Course Type: Seminar/Introductory Classes
Term: Spring
Day/Time: MW 9:00-10:15

What is a way of life? How and why do people try to change their own lives and those of other people? In this seminar, we study logics for governing life, confronting the course title with a series of questions. Who is speaking? To whom? What provokes this demand for change and how will it be implemented?

Professor: Emily Hayman
Course Type: Seminar/Introductory Classes
Term: Spring
Day/Time: TTh 2:30-3:45

Remixes, adaptations, and translations are fundamental to our world, and yet we often assume that they are less valuable than the ideas or works from which they originate. In fields ranging from art to economics to biology, this seminar explores our assumptions about authenticity, originality, creativity, and difference.

Professor: Matthew Hunter
Course Type: Seminar/Introductory Classes
Term: Spring
Day/Time: MW 1:00-2:15

To be American, it is often thought, is to be authentic. Looking at past and present connections between authenticity and American identity, this seminar will treat subjects ranging from the Constitution to advertising and presidential debates.

Course Type: Seminar/Introductory Classes
Term: Spring
Day/Time: TTh 9:00-10:15

“Just fake it!” Fakery can seem the easy way out, but a good faker is an artist, and a good fake is a masterpiece. And every fake needs its audience, able – even eager – to be deceived.

Professor: Rosemary Jones
Course Type: Seminar/Introductory Classes
Term: Spring
Day/Time: TTh 11:35-12:50

What shapes our definition of beauty? Does beauty matter? In this seminar we will explore whether society’s desire for certain kinds of beauty may obscure or distort the potential of beauty to represent or suggest a concept of truth.

Professor: Daniel Jump
Course Type: Seminar/Introductory Classes
Term: Spring
Day/Time: TTh 1:00-2:15

It has long been thought that the capacity to act sets apart the human species from others. But what does it mean to act, both as individuals and in groups? What makes action possible?

Professor: Heather Klemann
Course Type: Seminar/Introductory Classes
Term: Spring
Day/Time: MW 11:35-12:50

What is childhood? What does it mean to have or not have a childhood? And when does it end? Keeping our own experiences of childhood in mind, in this seminar we investigate the concept through a variety of disciplines.

Professor: Heather Klemann
Course Type: Seminar/Introductory Classes
Term: Spring
Day/Time: MW 2.30-3.45

What is childhood for so-called born digital generations? This course explores how developments in technology and communication reconfigure cultural constructions of and dearly held beliefs about youth.

Course Type: Seminar/Introductory Classes
Term: Spring
Day/Time: TTh 2:30-3:45

Who decides what counts as real science, and on what authority? How can non-scientists intelligently evaluate political claims expressed in scientific rhetoric? Examining topics such as objectivity, culture and ethics, this seminar considers the role of science in a democratic society.

Course Type: Seminar/Introductory Classes
Term: Spring
Day/Time: MW 11:35-12:50

Do free markets go hand in hand with democracy? We’ll look for some answers to this big question by asking how the recent financial crisis altered global capital markets and liberal democracies.

Professor: Grant Wiedenfeld
Course Type: Seminar/Introductory Classes
Term: Spring
Day/Time: MW 1:00-2:15

Through the effects of mass media, no athlete is only an athlete, and no game is just a game. We will study how newspapers, radio, television, and cinema shape the meaning of sports in America, with special attention to the origins of football at Yale and to women in sports.

Professor: Joel Silverman
Course Type: Seminar/Introductory Classes
Term: Spring
Day/Time: TTh 1:00-2:15

Examining the culture and rhetoric of paranoia, this seminar analyzes how writers attempt to persuade their audiences.  Course materials will include primary and secondary texts (e.g., movie clips, popular music, art). The goal will be to help you identify and employ the strategies and techniques you will need to write powerful – and ethical – arguments of your own. 

Professor: Timothy Kreiner
Course Type: Seminar/Introductory Classes
Term: Spring
Day/Time: TTh 11:35-12:50

From William Shakespeare to Toni Morrison, literature and politics have long been held to go hand-in-hand. How they do so and to what end, however, remain hotly debated questions. Does literature hold up a mirror to things as they are? Can literature play an active part in social politics? Does literature become propaganda when it tried to do so? How else might we understand the status of politically engaged literature as a work of art? This class will consider the thorny relationship of literature to wider arenas of social politics by closely examining how such questions emerge across a range of genres and historical traditions. We will pay particular attention to the re-emergence of these questions with a vengeance in post-1945 American literature. Texts include Shakespeare’s Othello; Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury; Baraka’s Black Art; Di Prima’s Revolutionary Letters; Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49; and Morrison’s Beloved.

Professor: Merve Emre
Course Type: Seminar/Introductory Classes
Term: Spring
Day/Time: MW 1:00-2:15

“Thou and I are too wise to woo peaceably,” says Benedick to Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing. Beginning with Shakespeare’s classic battle of the sexes, this course charts a broad history of courtship and anti-courtship narratives to ask why the course of true love never did run smooth—and why it so often ended in loneliness, boredom, regret, shame, insanity, and even death. Along the way, we will consider how courtship and anti-courtship narratives refract complex questions about race, class, gender, sexuality, and affect. Texts and screenings include Emma, The Importance of Being Earnest, Melanctha, Giovanni’s Room, Lolita, Pitch Dark, Annie Hall, Play It As It Lays, The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P, and Girls.

Professor: Karin Gosselink
Course Type: Seminar/Introductory Classes
Term: Spring
Day/Time: TTh 9:00-10:15

Since the early 20th century, writers have used the theme of exile to represent the alienation, rootlessness, and fracturing of identity caused by modern life. But exile is also one of the dominant themes of ancient and classical literature, from the Bible and Homer’s Odyssey to Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex and Shakespeare’s King Lear. This course traces the drama—and occasional comedy—of exile across centuries, cultures, and literary genres. We will examine how writers have used exile to explore themes of love and longing; to critique existing societies and imagine new ones; and to register the losses of war the possibilities for reconciliation.

Professor: Paul Grimstad
Course Type: Seminar/Introductory Classes
Term: Spring
Day/Time: TTh 1:00-2:15

Hu, WR (No Final exam)
In this course we look closely at detective stories, novels and films, with attention to the narrative structure of criminal mystery and solution—whodunnit?—and the detective’s art of interpretation. Starting with the proto-detective story Oedipus Rex we then study in detail Edgar Allan Poe’s invention of the genre proper in “The Murders in the Rue Morgue.” We go on to read Poe's first “golden age” inheritors (Conan Doyle's The Hound of the Baskervilles as novella, graphic novel and the recent BBC television version Sherlock; Agatha Christie’s “Poirot” stories); the American “hard-boiled” writers and film noir (The Maltese Falcon); stories and novels in which the reader is invited to assume the role of detective ("Death and the Compass"; The Real Life of Sebastian Knight); non-fiction works which share some of the narrative features of detection (Freud’s “Wolf-Man” case study); neo-noir films (Chinatown) and works that mix detective fiction with science-fiction (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?; Minority Report).

Professor: John Rogers
Course Type: Seminar/Introductory Classes
Term: Spring
Day/Time: MW 2:30-3:45

When Thomas More coined the word “utopia” in 1516, he exploited the way this new term, with its origin in ancient Greek, could mean either “good place” (eu-topos) or “no place” (ou-topos).  Four hundred years later, readers of More would further complicate the meanings of the word by introducing another term, “dystopia,” or “bad place,” applying it sometimes to the newly imagined worlds of science fiction, and sometimes to the ideal commonwealth described by More himself.  Ever since, any alternate world delineated in a work of imaginative literature is susceptible to characterization as a no-place that is either good, bad, or somewhere in between.  In this course we will study some of the great works of English and American literature that are instances of, or intimately engaged with, the genres of utopia and dystopia. We will examine the genre’s self-conscious engagement with earlier works in the utopian tradition, and its abiding investment in the concerns of social discipline, religion, education, marriage, and sex.  We will take it as our goal to develop the critical tools necessary to speak and write meaningfully and compellingly of the myriad, often conflicting, meanings that literature (and, by extension, all writing) can generate.

Readings to include Plato’s Republic, More’s Utopia, Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, Chang-rae Lee’s On Such a Full Sea; short fiction by Jorge Luis Borges and Ursula K. LeGuin; and poetry by Andrew Marvell, Emily Dickinson, and Elizabeth Bishop.

Professor: Anne Schindel
Course Type: Seminar/Introductory Classes
Term: Spring
Day/Time: MW 1:00-2:15

Close study of selected works of nonfiction prepares students to become critical readers and to apply professionals' strategies to their own writing. Readings from such authors as Joan Didion, Malcolm Gladwell, Maxine Hong Kingston, N. Scott Momaday, George Orwell, Brent Staples, Jonathan Swift, Henry David Thoreau, Tom Wolfe, and Alice Walker. Written assignments, involving frequent revision, include autobiography, portraiture, nature writing, cultural critique, and formal argument.

Professor: Edgar Garcia
Course Type: Seminar/Introductory Classes
Term: Spring
Day/Time: MW 2:30-3:45

Close study of selected works of nonfiction prepares students to become critical readers and to apply professionals' strategies to their own writing. Readings from such authors as Joan Didion, Malcolm Gladwell, Maxine Hong Kingston, N. Scott Momaday, George Orwell, Brent Staples, Jonathan Swift, Henry David Thoreau, Tom Wolfe, and Alice Walker. Written assignments, involving frequent revision, include autobiography, portraiture, nature writing, cultural critique, and formal argument.

Professor: Adam Sexton
Course Type: Seminar/Introductory Classes
Term: Spring
Day/Time: MW 1:00-2:15

Close study of selected works of nonfiction prepares students to become critical readers and to apply professionals' strategies to their own writing. Readings from such authors as Joan Didion, Malcolm Gladwell, Maxine Hong Kingston, N. Scott Momaday, George Orwell, Brent Staples, Jonathan Swift, Henry David Thoreau, Tom Wolfe, and Alice Walker. Written assignments, involving frequent revision, include autobiography, portraiture, nature writing, cultural critique, and formal argument.

Professor: Briallen Hopper
Course Type: Seminar/Introductory Classes
Term: Spring
Day/Time: TTh 11:35-12:50

Close study of selected works of nonfiction prepares students to become critical readers and to apply professionals' strategies to their own writing. Readings from such authors as Joan Didion, Malcolm Gladwell, Maxine Hong Kingston, N. Scott Momaday, George Orwell, Brent Staples, Jonathan Swift, Henry David Thoreau, Tom Wolfe, and Alice Walker. Written assignments, involving frequent revision, include autobiography, portraiture, nature writing, cultural critique, and formal argument.

Professor: Briallen Hopper
Course Type: Seminar/Introductory Classes
Term: Spring
Day/Time: TTh 2:30-3:45

Close study of selected works of nonfiction prepares students to become critical readers and to apply professionals' strategies to their own writing. Readings from such authors as Joan Didion, Malcolm Gladwell, Maxine Hong Kingston, N. Scott Momaday, George Orwell, Brent Staples, Jonathan Swift, Henry David Thoreau, Tom Wolfe, and Alice Walker. Written assignments, involving frequent revision, include autobiography, portraiture, nature writing, cultural critique, and formal argument.

Professor: Pamela Newton
Course Type: Seminar/Introductory Classes
Term: Spring
Day/Time: TTh 1:00-2:15

Close study of selected works of nonfiction prepares students to become critical readers and to apply professionals' strategies to their own writing. Readings from such authors as Joan Didion, Malcolm Gladwell, Maxine Hong Kingston, N. Scott Momaday, George Orwell, Brent Staples, Jonathan Swift, Henry David Thoreau, Tom Wolfe, and Alice Walker. Written assignments, involving frequent revision, include autobiography, portraiture, nature writing, cultural critique, and formal argument.

Professor: Barbara Stuart
Course Type: Seminar/Introductory Classes
Term: Spring
Day/Time: TTh 1:00-2:15

Close study of selected works of nonfiction prepares students to become critical readers and to apply professionals' strategies to their own writing. Readings from such authors as Joan Didion, Malcolm Gladwell, Maxine Hong Kingston, N. Scott Momaday, George Orwell, Brent Staples, Jonathan Swift, Henry David Thoreau, Tom Wolfe, and Alice Walker. Written assignments, involving frequent revision, include autobiography, portraiture, nature writing, cultural critique, and formal argument.

Professor: Andrew Ehrgood
Course Type: Seminar/Introductory Classes
Term: Spring
Day/Time: TTh 1:00-2:15

Law has an intellectual structure of its own, and the lawyers and judges who make law and interpret it have peculiar ways of imagining and talking about the world, habits of thought and expression that can mystify the nonlawyer. In this course, you will begin to learn to read and speak and write the lawyer’s language: you will learn to reason and argue in distinctively lawyerly ways about the sorts of problems that lawyers are paid to attend to. And as you acquire and become adept at this odd language, you will also evaluate it, assessing its appeal and usefulness to you as a thinker, writer, and citizen.

Professor: Randi Epstein
Course Type: Seminar/Introductory Classes
Term: Spring
Day/Time: TTh 1:00-2:15

Medical and public health stories shape the way individuals view health and disease, and coverage sometime influences scientific research or health policy. This course will give students the chance to join this conversation by writing about medicine and public health for general audiences. To do this well, students must develop a keen sense of audience as they translate complicated science, explain its ramifications, and provide historical context.
Students will write breaking news stories, blog posts, a researched feature article, and a personal essay. They may also have the chance to interview a patient at Yale-New Haven Hospital.
In class, we will analyze essays, book chapters, and news stories for craft. Students will also explore visual media to hone observational skills, and we’ll visit the Center for British Art for a workshop on observation developed for Yale medical students.
The course is open to science students and non-scientists alike.

Professor: Kim Shirkhani
Course Type: Seminar/Introductory Classes
Term: Spring
Day/Time: MW 1:00-2:15

An examination of how exemplary critics, such as David Foster Wallace, Joan Didion, Adam Gopnik, Henry Louis Gates, Louis Menand, Eula Biss, Kelefa Sanneh, Ariel Levy, and others, use elements of style—diction, tone, narrative structure—as both a mode of investigation and a means of persuasion. Our close attention to how these writers use style as argument will help students develop crucial rhetorical skills especially in light of recent social scientific studies that have affirmed that when it comes to persuading readers on cultural issues, the emotional and experiential are at least as important as the rational or factual.
Units will be organized around readings that highlight a particular stylistic skill—storytelling that makes a cultural point, self-ironic narration, use of metaphor, tricks of perspective, creative though responsible uses of historical evidence, and satire. Students will close read model essays for craft and then craft their own pieces designed to question and persuade not merely with style but by way of style.

Course Type: Seminar/Introductory Classes
Term: Spring
Day/Time: TTh 11:35-12:50

This course is designed for students who have strong opinions about one or more of the performing arts and who would like to learn how to launch those opinions into print—in newspapers, magazines and the blogosphere. Taught by a longtime theater reviewer for The Nation and other publications, this class will encourage participants to write like journalists—-vividly, provocatively and on deadline.
Students will run a class blog on the performing arts, and will attend screenings and live professional performances of plays, music concerts and dance events.

Professor: Barbara Stuart
Course Type: Seminar/Introductory Classes
Term: Spring
Day/Time: TTh 11:35-12:50

In this course we will read essays by the luminaries of the food world; students will explore food from many angles, writing about the economic, political, cultural, emotional, and nutritional aspects that go into what we eat. The units in this course will explore the tension between the elite and the democratic, the professional and the amateur, the foreign and the homegrown, the expensive and the affordable, tasting good foods all along the way. We will view popular food films and discuss how these films reflect our attitudes toward what we eat. Assignments will focus on what might be called the “sub-genres” of the food essay: the factors that shape family meals, journalistic essays based upon certain recipes for beloved foods, cookbooks, and the food memoir. Integral to the course is our food blog, which serves as a forum for our joint food discoveries.

Professor: Ryan Wepler
Course Type: Seminar/Introductory Classes
Term: Spring
Day/Time: MW 11:35-12:50

To present a piece of writing for the express purpose of making your audience laugh takes a peculiar combination of courage and confidence. After all, you aren’t simply seeking to avoid the audience’s displeasure; a humorous work must create pleasure, or else it has failed. The notion that you can give a large number of people the pleasure of laughter when most others cannot takes an abnormally high level of confidence in your ability to perceive, create, and express (or an extreme lack of self-awareness). This class is for students who have the guts and conviction that they can make others laugh, or for those seeking to acquire such confidence by discovering and understanding the comic techniques employed by great humorists.

This course will emphasize four broad elements of humorous writing: texture, tone, character, and narrative. We will focus less formally on the various genres of humor writing (parody, satire, farce, &c.). Above all, this is a writing course. Humor writing demands an exceptionally high level of linguistic grace and precision, as slight differences in expression can mean the difference between a laugh and a groan. A strong emphasis will be placed on crafting sentences elegantly and expressing meanings with exactitude, skills essential not just to writing humorously, but to all genres of writing.

Professor: David Kastan
Course Type: Seminar/Introductory Classes
Term: Spring
Day/Time: TTh 2:30-3:45

An introduction to the diversity and the continuity of the English literary tradition through close reading of four poets from the fourteenth through the seventeenth centuries, Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, and Donne. Emphasis on developing skills of literary interpretation and critical writing.

Professor: Alastair Minnis
Course Type: Seminar/Introductory Classes
Term: Spring
Day/Time: TTh 1:00-2:15

An introduction to the diversity and the continuity of the English literary tradition through close reading of four poets from the fourteenth through the seventeenth centuries, Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, and Donne. Emphasis on developing skills of literary interpretation and critical writing.

Professor: Anthony Reed
Course Type: Seminar/Introductory Classes
Term: Spring
Day/Time: TTh 1:00-2:15

An introduction to the diversity and the continuity of the English literary tradition through close reading of four poets from the seventeenth through the twentieth centuries, Milton, Pope, Wordsworth, and Eliot or another modern anglophone poet. Emphasis on developing skills of literary interpretation and critical writing.

Professor: Ben Glaser
Course Type: Seminar/Introductory Classes
Term: Spring
Day/Time: MW 2:30-3:45

An introduction to the diversity and the continuity of the English literary tradition through close reading of four poets from the seventeenth through the twentieth centuries, Milton, Pope, Wordsworth, and Eliot or another modern anglophone poet. Emphasis on developing skills of literary interpretation and critical writing.

Course Type: Seminar/Introductory Classes
Term: Spring
Day/Time: TTh 11:35-12:50

An introduction to the diversity and the continuity of the English literary tradition through close reading of four poets from the seventeenth through the twentieth centuries, Milton, Pope, Wordsworth, and Eliot or another modern anglophone poet. Emphasis on developing skills of literary interpretation and critical writing.

Professor: Lawrence Manley
Course Type: Seminar/Introductory Classes
Term: Spring
Day/Time: TTh 11:35-12:50

An introduction to the diversity and the continuity of the English literary tradition through close reading of four poets from the seventeenth through the twentieth centuries, Milton, Pope, Wordsworth, and Eliot or another modern anglophone poet. Emphasis on developing skills of literary interpretation and critical writing.

Course Type: Seminar/Introductory Classes
Term: Spring
Day/Time: TTh 1:00-2:15

An introduction to the diversity and the continuity of the English literary tradition through close reading of four poets from the seventeenth through the twentieth centuries, Milton, Pope, Wordsworth, and Eliot or another modern anglophone poet. Emphasis on developing skills of literary interpretation and critical writing.

Professor: Jill Richards
Course Type: Seminar/Introductory Classes
Term: Spring
Day/Time: MW 9:00-10:15

An introduction to the diversity and the continuity of the English literary tradition through close reading of four poets from the seventeenth through the twentieth centuries, Milton, Pope, Wordsworth, and Eliot or another modern anglophone poet. Emphasis on developing skills of literary interpretation and critical writing.

Professor: Jill Richards
Course Type: Seminar/Introductory Classes
Term: Spring
Day/Time: MW 1:00-2:15

An introduction to the diversity and the continuity of the English literary tradition through close reading of four poets from the seventeenth through the twentieth centuries, Milton, Pope, Wordsworth, and Eliot or another modern anglophone poet. Emphasis on developing skills of literary interpretation and critical writing.

Professor: Caleb Smith
Course Type: Seminar/Introductory Classes
Term: Spring
Day/Time: TTh 11:35-12:50

Major works of the American literary tradition in a variety of poetic and narrative forms and in diverse historical contexts. Emphasis on analytical reading and critical writing. Authors may include Melville, Poe, Hawthorne, Bryant, Whitman, Dickinson, Thoreau, Emerson, Douglass, Stowe, Twain, Wharton, Cather, H. Crane, Stevens, Stein, L. Hughes, Paredes, Ellison, O'Connor, Ginsberg, Lowell, O'Hara, M. Robinson, C. McCarthy, Morrison, E. P. Jones, J. D az.

Professor: James Berger
Course Type: Seminar/Introductory Classes
Term: Spring
Day/Time: MW 1:00-2:15

Major works of the American literary tradition in a variety of poetic and narrative forms and in diverse historical contexts. Emphasis on analytical reading and critical writing. Authors may include Melville, Poe, Hawthorne, Bryant, Whitman, Dickinson, Thoreau, Emerson, Douglass, Stowe, Twain, Wharton, Cather, H. Crane, Stevens, Stein, L. Hughes, Paredes, Ellison, O'Connor, Ginsberg, Lowell, O'Hara, M. Robinson, C. McCarthy, Morrison, E. P. Jones, J. D az.

Professor: Melina Moe
Course Type: Seminar/Introductory Classes
Term: Spring
Day/Time: TTh 1:00-2:15

Major works of the American literary tradition in a variety of poetic and narrative forms and in diverse historical contexts. Emphasis on analytical reading and critical writing. Authors may include Melville, Poe, Hawthorne, Bryant, Whitman, Dickinson, Thoreau, Emerson, Douglass, Stowe, Twain, Wharton, Cather, H. Crane, Stevens, Stein, L. Hughes, Paredes, Ellison, O'Connor, Ginsberg, Lowell, O'Hara, M. Robinson, C. McCarthy, Morrison, E. P. Jones, J. D az.

Professor: Karin Roffman
Course Type: Seminar/Introductory Classes
Term: Spring
Day/Time: TTh 2:30-3:45

Major works of the American literary tradition in a variety of poetic and narrative forms and in diverse historical contexts. Emphasis on analytical reading and critical writing. Authors may include Melville, Poe, Hawthorne, Bryant, Whitman, Dickinson, Thoreau, Emerson, Douglass, Stowe, Twain, Wharton, Cather, H. Crane, Stevens, Stein, L. Hughes, Paredes, Ellison, O'Connor, Ginsberg, Lowell, O'Hara, M. Robinson, C. McCarthy, Morrison, E. P. Jones, J. D az.

Professor: Michael Warner
Course Type: Seminar/Introductory Classes
Term: Spring
Day/Time: WF 2:30-3:45

Major works of the American literary tradition in a variety of poetic and narrative forms and in diverse historical contexts. Emphasis on analytical reading and critical writing. Authors may include Melville, Poe, Hawthorne, Bryant, Whitman, Dickinson, Thoreau, Emerson, Douglass, Stowe, Twain, Wharton, Cather, H. Crane, Stevens, Stein, L. Hughes, Paredes, Ellison, O'Connor, Ginsberg, Lowell, O'Hara, M. Robinson, C. McCarthy, Morrison, E. P. Jones, J. D az.

Professor: Brian Walsh
Course Type: Seminar/Introductory Classes
Term: Spring
Day/Time: TTh 1:00-2:15

The epic tradition traced from its foundations in ancient Greece and Rome to the modern novel. The creation of cultural values and identities; exile and homecoming; the heroic in times of war and of peace; the role of the individual within society; memory and history; politics of gender, race, and religion. Works include Homer's Odyssey, Vergil's Aeneid, Dante's Inferno, Cervantes's Don Quixote, and Joyce's Ulysses. Focus on textual analysis and on developing the craft of persuasive argument through writing.

Professor: Ian Cornelius
Course Type: Seminar/Introductory Classes
Term: Spring
Day/Time: MW 11:35-12:50

The epic tradition traced from its foundations in ancient Greece and Rome to the modern novel. The creation of cultural values and identities; exile and homecoming; the heroic in times of war and of peace; the role of the individual within society; memory and history; politics of gender, race, and religion. Works include Homer's Odyssey, Vergil's Aeneid, Dante's Inferno, Cervantes's Don Quixote, and Joyce's Ulysses. Focus on textual analysis and on developing the craft of persuasive argument through writing.

Course Type: Seminar/Introductory Classes
Term: Spring
Day/Time: TTh 11:35 - 12:50

The epic tradition traced from its foundations in ancient Greece and Rome to the modern novel. The creation of cultural values and identities; exile and homecoming; the heroic in times of war and of peace; the role of the individual within society; memory and history; politics of gender, race, and religion. Works include Homer's Odyssey, Vergil's Aeneid, Dante's Inferno, Cervantes's Don Quixote, and Joyce's Ulysses. Focus on textual analysis and on developing the craft of persuasive argument through writing.

Professor: Paul Fry
Course Type: Seminar/Introductory Classes
Term: Spring
Day/Time: MW 1:00-2:15

The epic tradition traced from its foundations in ancient Greece and Rome to the modern novel. The creation of cultural values and identities; exile and homecoming; the heroic in times of war and of peace; the role of the individual within society; memory and history; politics of gender, race, and religion. Works include Homer's Odyssey, Vergil's Aeneid, Dante's Inferno, Cervantes's Don Quixote, and Joyce's Ulysses. Focus on textual analysis and on developing the craft of persuasive argument through writing.

Professor: Justin Neuman
Course Type: Seminar/Introductory Classes
Term: Spring
Day/Time: MW 2:30-3:45

The epic tradition traced from its foundations in ancient Greece and Rome to the modern novel. The creation of cultural values and identities; exile and homecoming; the heroic in times of war and of peace; the role of the individual within society; memory and history; politics of gender, race, and religion. Works include Homer's Odyssey, Vergil's Aeneid, Dante's Inferno, Cervantes's Don Quixote, and Joyce's Ulysses. Focus on textual analysis and on developing the craft of persuasive argument through writing.

Professor: Alfred Guy
Course Type: Lecture & 1 HTBA/Lectures
Term: Spring
Day/Time: MW 11:35-12:25, 1 HTBA

A survey of twentieth- and twenty-first-century science fiction, focusing on how changing technologies produce new ideas about human identity. Emphasis on innovations in science and engineering as well as new forms of social, political, and economic life. Works by Robert Heinlein, Philip K. Dick, Ursula Le Guin, and William Gibson. Not open to freshmen.

Course Type: Seminar/Creative Writing, Course Type: Workshop/Creative Writing
Term: Spring
Day/Time: W 1:30-3:20

Fundamentals of the craft of fiction writing explored through readings from classic and contemporary short stories and novels. Focus on how each author has used the fundamentals of craft. Writing exercises emphasize elements such as voice, structure, point of view, character, and tone.

This course is open to all students, but freshmen and sophomores are especially welcome. The standard creative writing course application is not required for admission to ENGL 134. Interested students should attend the first class for placement information.

Professor: Adam Sexton
Course Type: Seminar/Creative Writing, Course Type: Workshop/Creative Writing
Term: Spring
Day/Time: W 3:30-5:20

Fundamentals of the craft of fiction writing explored through readings from classic and contemporary short stories and novels. Focus on how each author has used the fundamentals of craft. Writing exercises emphasize elements such as voice, structure, point of view, character, and tone.

This course is open to all students, but freshmen and sophomores are especially welcome. The standard creative writing course application is not required for admission to ENGL 134. Interested students should attend the first class for placement information.

Professor: Danielle Chapman
Course Type: Seminar/Creative Writing, Course Type: Workshop/Creative Writing
Term: Spring
Day/Time: W 2:30-4:20

An introduction to reading and writing poetry. Classic examples from Shakespeare and Milton, the modernist poetics of Stein, Pound, Moore, and Stevens, and recent work in a variety of forms and traditions. Students develop a portfolio of poems and write an essay on the poetic craft of poets who have influenced their work.

This course is open to all students, but freshmen and sophomores are especially welcome. The standard creative writing course application is not required for admission to ENGL 135. Interested students should attend the first class for placement information.

Professor: Kevin Holden
Course Type: Seminar/Creative Writing, Course Type: Workshop/Creative Writing
Term: Spring
Day/Time: T 3:30-5:20

An introduction to reading and writing poetry. Classic examples from Shakespeare and Milton, the modernist poetics of Stein, Pound, Moore, and Stevens, and recent work in a variety of forms and traditions. Students develop a portfolio of poems and write an essay on the poetic craft of poets who have influenced their work.

This course is open to all students, but freshmen and sophomores are especially welcome. The standard creative writing course application is not required for admission to ENGL 135. Interested students should attend the first class for placement information.

Professor: Roberta Frank
Course Type: Seminar/Junior Seminars
Term: Spring
Day/Time: TTh 2:30-3:45

An introduction to the language and literature of earliest Norway and Iceland. Texts (to be read in the original) include runic inscriptions left behind by the Vikings, verse of their official skalds, the sometimes irreverent mythological poetry of the Edda, and the sagas telling of the Norse discovery of America.

Course Type: Lecture & 1 HTBA/Lectures
Term: Spring
Day/Time: TTh 2:30-3:20, 1 HTBA

Chaucer's writings explored through the human and physical landscape of medieval London and Westminster. The crowds, sounds, and visual stimuli of the city examined alongside literary genres in which the author wrote, including dream visions, love epic, lyrics, and comic, satiric, and religious narrative. Chaucer's sense of the writer's craft as a means of imagining space and sound and of depicting the emotional resonance of urban street scenes.

Professor: Lawrence Manley
Course Type: Seminar/Junior Seminars
Term: Spring
Day/Time: MW 1:00-2:15

A study of Renaissance masterworks from 1340 to 1635. Focus on classical humanism and its contributions to literature, politics, religion, philosophy, and the arts. Overview of major literary and intellectual developments; key literary genres; the rhetorical mobility and intellectual versatility of Renaissance writers. Techniques of close and contextual reading.

Course Type: Lecture & 1 HTBA/Lectures
Term: Spring
Day/Time: TTh 1:00-2:15

The renaissance in African American culture from 1980 to the present. Great works of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, drama, film, music, dance, painting, photography, and hip-hop by living African American artists. Critical vocabularies and approaches with which to think about questions of genre; writing knowledgeably and persuasively about art across multiple genres and in historical context. Artists include Anna Deavere Smith, Suzan-Lori Parks, Toni Morrison, Edwidge Danticat, Colson Whitehead, Hilton Als, Rita Dove, Terrance Hayes, Bill T. Jones, Kerry James Marshall, Lorna Simpson, Jason Moran, and Jay-Z. Lectures feature public conversations with several of the artists studied.

Also AFAM 194, AMST 194.

Course Type: Lecture & 1 HTBA/Lectures
Term: Spring
Day/Time: TTh 10:30 - 11:20, 1 HTBA

Love, sex, gender, society, and theater practice in Shakespeare's comic genres, from the early farces and romantic comedies to the problem plays and late romances.

Professor: David Kastan
Course Type: Seminar/Junior Seminars
Term: Spring
Day/Time: W 9:25-11:15

Examination of Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth, and King Lear and of the qualities that have determined their distinction among Shakespeare's works. Analysis of each play as a script for performance, a literary text, and a printed object. The inventiveness of Shakespeare's literary imagination; the institutional conditions in which his works were created, played, and experienced. Prerequisite: ENGL 201.

Professor: David Bromwich
Course Type: Lecture & 1 HTBA/Lectures
Term: Spring
Day/Time: MW 10:30-11:20, 1 HTBA

The uses of rhetoric, persuasion, and the making of infectious moods and emotions in literature, political writing, and social criticism. Topics include incitement, description with intent, and epigram and aphorism. Examples are drawn from Shakespeare, Milton, Emerson, Burke, Lincoln, Churchill, Auden, Kipling, Gershwin, and others.

Professor: John Rogers
Course Type: Seminar/Junior Seminars
Term: Spring
Day/Time: T 1:30-3:20

A survey of seventeenth-century poetry and prose, exclusive of Milton. Authors include poets Donne, Herbert, Crashaw, and Rochester; playwrights Webster and Ford; philosophers Bacon, Hobbes, and Locke; essayists Burton and Browne; and fiction writers Cavendish, Bunyan, and Behn.

Professor: James Berger
Course Type: Seminar/Junior Seminars
Term: Spring
Day/Time: T 1:30-3:20

Attempts since the late nineteenth century to imagine, in literature, cinema, and social theory, a world different from the existing world. The merging of political critique with desire and anxiety; the nature and effects of social power; forms of authority, submission, and resistance.

Professor: Jill Campbell
Course Type: Seminar/Junior Seminars
Term: Spring
Day/Time: TTh 1:00-2:15

The conceptualization of consciousness in England from the late-seventeenth through the eighteenth century. Philosophical writings that made "consciousness" a key term in defining personal identity, memory, and culpability; literary forms that variously depict individual and collective consciousness. Texts range from philosophical essays to novels, plays, poetry, and personal letters.

Professor: Nalini Jones
Course Type: Seminar/Creative Writing, Course Type: Workshop/Creative Writing
Term: Spring
Day/Time: W 1:30-3:20

An intensive introduction to the craft of fiction, designed for aspiring creative writers. Focus on the fundamentals of narrative technique and peer review.

Prerequisite: a previous course in English or in another literature.

This course requires an application, which is due by noon on Wednesday, December 10th. The application can be found here.

Professor: Cynthia Zarin
Course Type: Seminar/Creative Writing, Course Type: Workshop/Creative Writing
Term: Spring
Day/Time: T 1:30-3:20

A seminar workshop for students who are beginning to write poetry or who have no prior workshop experience at Yale. Preference given to freshmen and sophomores.

This course requires an application, which is due by noon on Wednesday, December 10th. The application can be found here.

Professor: Langdon Hammer
Course Type: Lecture & 1 HTBA/Lectures
Term: Spring
Day/Time: TTh 11:35-12:25, 1 HTBA

Poets and poetic movements from the second half of the twentieth century in the United States, England, Ireland, and the Caribbean. Authors include Bishop, Lowell, O'Hara, Ginsberg, Plath, Ashbery, Merrill, Larkin, Gunn, Hill, Heaney, Muldoon, and Walcott.

Professor: Amy Hungerford
Course Type: Lecture & 1 HTBA/Lectures
Term: Spring
Day/Time: MW 1:30-2:20, 1 HTBA

American fiction; works by Richard Wright, Flannery O'Connor, Jack Kerouac, Vladimir Nabokov, Philip Roth, Thomas Pynchon, John Barth, Maxine Hong Kingston, Toni Morrison, Cormac McCarthy, Lev Grossman, Alison Bechdel, and Junot Diaz.

Course Type: Lecture & 1 HTBA/Lectures
Term: Spring

The role of literature in constructing representations of America as an idea, a nation, a colonial settlement, and a participant in world affairs. What kind of place America is and who belongs there; the consequences of America's history for its national literature. Emphasis on the ways texts represent and contest social concepts of race and gender difference.

Professor: Carol Jacobs
Course Type: Lecture & 1 HTBA/Lectures
Term: Spring
Day/Time: TTh 11:35-12:25

An examination of concepts and assumptions in contemporary views of literature. Theories of meaning, interpretation, and representation. Critical analysis of formalist, psychoanalytic, structuralist, poststructuralist, Marxist, and feminist approaches to theory and to literature.

Also LITR 300.

Professor: Margaret Homans
Course Type: Seminar/Junior Seminars
Term: Spring
Day/Time: WF 11:35-12:50

Fiction, poetry, journalism, and memoirs by U.S. and British writers from World War I and its aftermath, with special attention to the war's effects on gender, on sexuality, and on literary modernism. Topics include trauma, shell shock, memory and memorial art, violence and subjectivity, the relation of the front lines to the home front, and representations of the injured body.

Professor: Michele Stepto
Course Type: Seminar/Junior Seminars
Term: Spring
Day/Time: M 1:30-3:20

An eclectic approach to stories and storytelling for and by children. Authors include Nathaniel Hawthorne, Louisa May Alcott, J. K. Rowling, Leo Lionni, Laurent de Brunhoff, Dr. Seuss, Maurice Sendak, and children themselves.

Professor: Marc Robinson
Course Type: Seminar/Junior Seminars
Term: Spring
Day/Time: T 1:30-3:20

Study of the drama, performance, and dance theater created in the last ten years, with special attention to work produced in 2014 2015. Readings from both published and unpublished American and British plays, contemporary criticism and theory, interviews, and essays by the artists themselves. Video of works created by companies such as Elevator Repair Service and the Nature Theater of Oklahoma. May include attendance of productions at performance spaces in and around New York City.

Professor: Ben Glaser
Course Type: Seminar/Junior Seminars
Term: Spring
Day/Time: MW 11:35-12:50

Study of the full range of English-language poetics from origins to the present, with emphasis on imitation as well as critical analysis. Additional focus on lyrical style in music, especially hip-hop. Course will include visits from poets and some experimenting with computer-based analysis of performance. Opportunity for hybrid creative-critical work.

Professor: Katie Trumpener
Course Type: Seminar/Junior Seminars
Term: Spring
Day/Time: M 1:30-3:20; Screenings Su 6.00-10.00p

Survey of the British film tradition, emphasizing overlap with literature, drama, and art; visual modernism; documentary's role in defining national identity; "heritage" filmmaking and alternative approaches to tradition; and auteur and actors' cinema.

Professor: Margaret Homans
Course Type: Seminar/Junior Seminars
Term: Spring
Day/Time: TTh 11:35-12:50

Historical survey of works of fiction that have shaped and responded to feminist, queer, and transgender thought from the late eighteenth century to the present. Authors include Wollstonecraft, C. Bronte, H. Jacobs, C. P. Gilman, R. Hall, Woolf, Wittig, Walker, Anzaldua, Morrison, Kingston, Winterson, and Bechdel.

Professor: Justin Sider
Course Type: Seminar/Junior Seminars
Term: Spring

Introduction to the oral interpretation of poetry. The expressive principles of social communication and cultural practice as implemented by performance. Experiences of empathy, pathos, and mood; techniques of embodying, projecting, and breathing; modes of analysis, figuration, and interpretation.

Professor: Jessica Brantley
Course Type: Seminar/Senior Seminars
Term: Spring
Day/Time: MW 1:00-2:15

A history of the medieval book and its social uses, based on materials at the Beinecke Library. Topics include the roles of authors, scribes, artists, and readers in constructing, writing, illuminating, and editing manuscripts.

Professor: Wai Chee Dimock
Course Type: Seminar/Senior Seminars
Term: Spring
Day/Time: TTh 1:00-2:15

Animate and inanimate life forms in fiction and poetry from the nineteenth century to the twenty-first. Viruses and insects, plants and animals, intelligent machines, and extraterrestrial aliens. The complexity and variety of nonhuman ecology.

Professor: Alastair Minnis
Course Type: Seminar/Senior Seminars
Term: Spring
Day/Time: Th 3:30-5:20

Chaucer lived in an age of extreme political, social and intellectual turmoil. This course seeks to investigate his manipulation of certain ‘discourses of dissent’, types of language-use which can only be understood if related to the wider ideological contexts which stamped on them a distinctive—and potentially dangerous—significance. The discourses here chosen relate to the problematic existence of secular values within a theocentric society, authority (auctoritas) both textual and social, the possibility of virtue and salvation beyond the Christian Church, inversions of gender-norms which could put ‘women on top’ if only for precarious textual moments, and the orthodox policing of the relationship between Church authority and human fallibility (a relationship which, for example, on the one hand afforded value to the immoral male priest but regarded gender as a major obstacle to the witness of virtuous women). The course will also feature a consideration of Chaucer’s intellectual stance in relation to the anti-Semitism which was endemic in medieval culture.

The required texts are:

Geoffrey Chaucer: Dream Visions and Other Poems, ed. Kathyrn L. Lynch. Norton Critical Edition. ISBN 978-0-393-92588-3

Geoffrey Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales, ed. Jill Mann. Penguin Classics. ISBN: 9780140422344

We will concentrate on The Book of the Duchess, The House of Fame and The Legend of Good Women, in addition to a substantial selection of Canterbury Tales. (The final syllabus will be determined in light of student interests and preferences.)

Course Type: Seminar/Senior Seminars
Term: Spring
Day/Time: MW 2:30-3:45

Close reading of James Joyce’s Ulysses and selections from Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time. The novels’ modernist context, including questions about subjectivity, attention and distraction, consciousness and the unconscious, and aesthetic form. Issues raised by contemporaneous works in psychoanalysis, psychology, and aesthetic criticism, as well as by recent accounts of modernism.

Professor: Richard Deming
Course Type: Lecture & 1 HTBA/Creative Writing, Course Type: Seminar/Creative Writing, Course Type: Workshop/Creative Writing
Term: Spring
Day/Time: T 2:30-3:45

Writing of prose at the intermediate level. Daily assignments of c. 300 words, a weekly lecture, and a weekly tutorial. Application forms available on the Web by mid-November. Counts as a nonfiction course in the writing concentration. All undergraduate students are welcome to apply.

This course requires an application, which is due by noon on Wednesday, December 10th. The application can be found here.

Professor: Anne Fadiman
Course Type: Seminar/Creative Writing, Course Type: Workshop/Creative Writing
Term: Spring
Day/Time: Th 2:30-5:20

A seminar and workshop in first-person writing. Students explore a series of themes (e.g., family, love, loss, identity) both by writing about their own lives and by reading British and American memoirs, autobiographies, personal essays, and letters. An older work, usually from the nineteenth or early twentieth century, is paired each week with a more recent one on the same theme.

This course requires an application, which is due by noon on Wednesday, December 10th. The application can be found here.

Special Instructions pdf

Please read the course description below, paying special attention to sections highlighted in bold, some of which describe exceptions to the standard application procedure.

In this seminar and workshop, students will explore a series of themes (including love, loss, family, and identity) both by writing about their own lives and by reading British and American memoirs, autobiographies, letters, and personal essays.

First-person writing is a peculiar blend of candor, catharsis, narcissism, and indiscretion. The purpose of this class is to harness these elements with sufficient rigor and imagination that self-portraiture becomes interesting to others as well as to oneself. An older work, written between the late eighteenth and the mid-twentieth century, will be paired each week with a more recent one on the same theme—a coupling designed to erode the traditional academic boundaries between eras and between “ought” and “want” reading. (For instance, when we consider the theme of love, we will read excerpts from H. G. Wells’s On Loves and the Lover-Shadow and Joyce Maynard’s At Home in the World, and write personal essays on an aspect of love, not necessarily romantic.) Readings will include works by Thomas De Quincey, Joan Didion, Dave Eggers, Lucy Grealy, Mary McCarthy, James Thurber, and Virginia Woolf. Our connections to the readings will be reinforced by several author visits. By writing a thousand-word first-person essay every other week, students will face the same problems the authors in our syllabus have faced, though they may come up with very different solutions. Students will critique each other’s work in class and by e-mail. Each student will have at least six individual conferences with me, most of them an hour long, in which we’ll edit your work together.

Students who wish to apply to “Writing about Oneself” should submit the standard Application for Creative Writing and Journalism Courses to the class’s Drop Box by noon on Wednesday, December 10. Please note the following special instructions for English 455 applications:

                1. The standard application specifies “a” writing sample. Ignore that! I can assess your work better if you submit two samples, totaling 5-15 pages. (If the total length exceeds that, please mark the sections to which I should pay particular attention.) You may even submit three if one is very short (for instance, a Daily Themes one-pager).

           2. If possible, your samples should belong to the same genre we’ll be reading and writing (“non-non”–nonacademic nonfiction). Personal essays, other nonacademic essays, and literary journalism would all be appropriate. (If fiction is your strength, one but not both of your samples may be a short story. Similarly, if you’re a playwright, one sample may be a scene from a play. The other sample should be non-non.) Choose pieces that give your literary style a thorough airing. Cogency will be valued; interminable tomes will cause me to droop.

           3. Your “statement of purpose” should explain some things your samples won’t tell me. The application suggests “a short paragraph,” but you are welcome to write as long a note as you wish. For instance: Why do you want to take the class? What would you contribute to it? What writing experience and honors have you accumulated? (I’ll still consider you if the answer is None and None.) What are you majoring in? (English majors receive no special preference.) Is there anything else that might help me understand you as a writer or a person?

                4. When you list the writing classes you’ve taken, please include the name of the class and the instructor, not just the number.

I am not looking for a particular kind of writer. My ideal class is a mix of experienced journalists and creative writers (usually fiction writers or playwrights), with a couple of students who fit no category but just happen to write beautifully. Although most of its members will likely be juniors and seniors, anyone may apply. There are no prerequisites.

Once English 455 is up on Classesv2, the site may have a bit more information at the bottom of the course description, including the names of a couple of former students who have offered to answer questions about the class.

Professor: Peter Cole
Course Type: Seminar/Creative Writing, Course Type: Workshop/Creative Writing
Term: Spring
Day/Time: TTh 1:00-2:15

Intensive readings in the history and theory of translation paired with practice in translating. Case studies from ancient languages (the Bible, Greek and Latin classics), medieval languages (classical Arabic literature), and modern languages (poetic texts).

This course does not require an application in advance. Interested students should attend the first class for placement information.

Course Type: Seminar/Creative Writing, Course Type: Workshop/Creative Writing
Term: Spring
Day/Time: W 9:25-11:15

A seminar and workshop in the writing of verse. May be repeated for credit with a different instructor.

Also AFAM 483.

This course requires an application, which is due by noon on Wednesday, December 10th. The application can be found here.

Special Instructions pdf

In addition to the short statement of purpose, please provide a longer personal statement (no more than 250 words).

Course Type: Seminar/Creative Writing, Course Type: Workshop/Creative Writing
Term: Spring
Day/Time: T 3:30-5:20

An advanced workshop in the craft of writing fiction. May be repeated for credit with a different instructor.

This course requires an application, which is due by noon on Wednesday, December 10th. The application can be found here.

Professor: John Crowley
Course Type: Seminar/Creative Writing, Course Type: Workshop/Creative Writing
Term: Spring
Day/Time: M 1:30-3:20

An advanced workshop in the craft of writing fiction. May be repeated for credit with a different instructor.

This course requires an application, which is due by noon on Wednesday, December 10th. The application can be found here.

Professor: Nalini Jones
Course Type: Seminar/Creative Writing, Course Type: Workshop/Creative Writing
Term: Spring
Day/Time: T 1:30-3:20

An advanced workshop in the craft of writing fiction. May be repeated for credit with a different instructor.

This course requires an application, which is due by noon on Wednesday, December 10th. The application can be found here.

Professor: Cynthia Zarin
Course Type: Seminar/Creative Writing, Course Type: Workshop/Creative Writing
Term: Spring
Day/Time: Th 1:30-3:20

A seminar and workshop in the contemporary essay. Public versus private voice, the responsibilities of the essayist, and the evolution of writing in the first person. Readings include essays by Joan Didion, Jonathan Lethem, Jenny Diski, Zadie Smith, M. F. K. Fisher, Bruce Chatwin, John Berger, and Oliver Sacks.

This course requires an application, which is due by noon on Wednesday, December 10th. The application can be found here.

Professor: Bob Woodward
Course Type: Seminar/Creative Writing, Course Type: Workshop/Creative Writing
Term: Spring
Day/Time: M 2:30-4:20

English 467b is a seminar that will focus on the practices, methods and impact of journalism. The main attention will be on reporting and writing: How others have done it, what works and what doesn’t. The course is designed not just for those considering journalism or writing as a career but for anyone hoping to enter a profession in which the uniqueness and validity of new information is central to success.  That may be almost everyone. Think of the seminar as a workshop with emphasis on improving your methods for obtaining and assessing information, and then writing it up for others to read.

Each student will be assigned to write a 2,000 word profile of another person in the seminar (selected at random by me).  These profiles should be based in large part on interviews with at least 10 people (parents, relatives, friends, and the person who is the subject of the profile).

Each student will undertake and complete a reporting/writing project (3,500 to 4,000 words). It should examine and assess a Yale, city or state government program, a department, local business, or event.  Reporting will include interviewing human sources who witnessed or participated in events, visiting the scene of the story if possible, and researching from original documents, newspapers, books and the Internet.

Students will read specific articles and books that will be analyzed in occasional short papers and discussed in class. Short papers will several times be edited by fellow students prior to being assessed for a grade. I encourage you to meet and go over your edits in person if at all possible.

I will try to meet or speak by phone frequently with each student individually during the term in order to provide evaluations, assistance on reporting, writing or the final project, and, if sought, career guidance. I will also offer several opportunities throughout the semester for students to gather with me for informal dinners on Monday nights. Since this is only my second year teaching a formal course, it will be a learning experience for me and I hope to get strong feedback from the students as the course proceeds on what is valuable to you—the readings, writing assignments, and class discussion. Some assignments may change based on student reactions and feedback.

Each student should read The Washington Post online (I will arrange for log-ins which will bypass the paywall for everyone in the class) and other newspapers, outlets, or blogs of your choice for at least 30 minutes a day.  We will discuss the central news of the day or week—not just the substance of coverage but what you like or don’t like in the various accounts—during each seminar session. A different student each week will be asked to choose a topic from the week’s news to focus on in our discussion.

Evelyn Duffy, my full-time assistant who has worked on my last three books, will help me with the class. Don’t hesitate to email her (EvelynDuffy@Prodigy.net) with any questions or ideas for improvement you may have.


Fulfills the core seminar requirement for Yale Journalism Scholars. No prerequisites.

Also PLSC 253.

This course requires an application, which is due by noon on Wednesday, December 10th. The application can be found here.

Special Instructions pdf

The seminar is open to all sophomores, juniors and seniors.  The application will consist of two parts.  The first should be a personal statement explaining your interest in the course, your Yale class year, any previous writing courses, your main extra-curricular activities and any journalism or work experience.  The second part should be a writing sample—an article that has been published anywhere or a paper you have submitted for a class.  The application, which is available on the English department website, should be submitted by noon on December 10 by uploading it to my course site on Classes*v2. 

Professor: Donald Margulies
Course Type: Seminar/Creative Writing, Course Type: Workshop/Creative Writing
Term: Spring
Day/Time: T 2:30-5:00

An intensive workshop in advanced playwriting techniques. Discussion of works by contemporary playwrights. In addition to weekly exercises, students write a full-length play. Prerequisite: an intermediate course in playwriting or screenwriting, or with permission of the instructor.

This course requires an application, which is due by noon on Wednesday, December 10th. The application can be found here.

Special Instructions pdf

Playwriting applicants should submit five pages of creative writing in any genre and a letter of intent (no maximum length).

Course Type: Independent/Creative Writing
Term: Spring
Day/Time: HTBA

A writing tutorial in fiction, poetry, playwriting, screenwriting, or nonfiction for students who have already taken writing courses at the intermediate and advanced levels. Conducted with a faculty member after approval by the director of undergraduate studies. Prerequisites: two courses in writing.

This course requires an application, which is due by noon on Wednesday, December 3rd. The application can be found here.

Course Type: Independent
Term: Spring
Day/Time: HTBA

Special projects set up by the student in an area of particular interest with the help of a faculty adviser and the director of undergraduate studies, intended to enable the student to cover material not otherwise offered by the department. The course may be used for research or for directed reading, but in either case a term paper or its equivalent is normally required. The student meets regularly with the faculty adviser. To apply for admission, a student must submit an application and prospectus signed by the faculty adviser to the office of the director of undergraduate studies. Students must apply by December 5, 2014, for spring-term projects and by April 24, 2015, for fall-term projects. Application details and forms are available at english.yale.edu/undergraduate-program.

This course requires an application, which is due by noon on Wednesday, December 3rd. The application can be found here.

Course Type: Independent/Creative Writing
Term: Spring
Day/Time: HTBA

A term-long project in writing, under tutorial supervision, aimed at producing a single longer work (or a collection of related shorter works). An application and prospectus signed by the student’s adviser must be submitted to the office of the director of undergraduate studies by December 5, 2014, for spring-term projects and by April 24, 2015, for fall-term projects. The project is due by the end of the last week of classes (fall term), or the end of the next-to-last week of classes (spring term). Application details and forms are available at english.yale.edu/undergraduate-program.

This course requires an application, which is due by noon on Wednesday, December 3rd. The application can be found here.

Course Type: Independent/Senior Seminars
Term: Spring
Day/Time: HTBA

Students wishing to undertake an independent senior essay in English must apply through the office of the director of undergraduate studies. Applications are due by December 5, 2014, for spring-term essays or for yearlong essays beginning in the spring term; applications are due by April 24, 2015, for fall-term essays or for yearlong essays beginning in the fall term. Application details and forms are available at english.yale.edu/undergraduate-program. For one-term senior essays, the essay itself is due in the office of the director of undergraduate studies according to the following schedule: (1) end of the fourth week of classes: five to ten pages of writing and/or an annotated bibliography; (2) end of the ninth week of classes: a rough draft of the complete essay; (3) end of the last week of classes (fall term) or end of the next-to-last week of classes (spring term): the completed essay. Consult the director of undergraduate studies regarding the schedule for submission of the yearlong senior essay.

This course requires an application, which is due by noon on Wednesday, December 3rd. The application can be found here.

Course Type: Independent/Senior Seminars
Term: Spring
Day/Time: HTBA

Second term of the optional yearlong senior essay. Students may begin the yearlong essay in the spring term of the junior year, allowing for significant summer research, with permission of the instructor. After ENGL 490.

This course requires an application, which is due by noon on Wednesday, December 3rd. The application can be found here.

Professor: Roberta Frank
Course Type: Seminar/Graduate Seminars
Term: Spring
Day/Time: W 9:25-11:15

A close reading of Beowulf, with some attention to shorter heroic poems.

Course Type: Seminar/Graduate Seminars
Term: Spring
Day/Time: T 9:25-11:15

Songs can bring together music and words in powerful and lastingly memorable ways. Our records of song from the medieval period are tantalisingly incomplete, yet this does not prevent medieval song from captivating modern audiences and performers. But how can we be sure that our efforts at reconstruction and interpretation bear any relation to what was imagined, composed and performed six to eight centuries ago? This course will explore the nature of medieval lyrics from a variety of perspectives. Beginning with the dazzling technical accomplishments of the troubadours and trouvères in 12th century France, we will go on to explore the often hidden world of trilingual lyric in medieval England. Authors include Arnaut Daniel, Jean Renart, Adam de la Halle, and Machaut, as well as the Roman de Fauvel and many anonymous and understudied, but inventive English songs and short poems.  Focussing on a selection of lyrics each week (with translations provided where appropriate), we will range widely through many questions and issues: How did some of the earliest song composers from the 12th century onwards appear to conceive of song? Did the words come first or the melody, and how might we tell? Is the origin of a creative composition recoverable? Is there a theory of lyric in the middle ages? Does the new turn to lyric form in contemporary thinking and writing have any relevance to verse surviving from 600-800 years ago? Our material will include lyrics that were recorded not only on parchment and paper, but also on walls and in stained glass, on tombs, in tapestries, and on domestic objects, clothing, drinking cups and rings. Through manuscripts, objects, words, images, and music we will aim to uncover a sense of the inventive freedom at work in the lyric forms of the past.

Also CPLT 581, FREN815.

Professor: David Quint
Course Type: Seminar/Graduate Seminars
Term: Spring
Day/Time: M 1:30-3:20

This course charts out a literary history of epic, focusing on the genre s conservative structures (i.e., its insistent imitation of earlier epics) and on the relationship between ideas of narrative form and political ideology. Poems are related to their historical contexts, both literary and social. In addition to Vergil s Aeneid and Lucan s Pharsalia, the course studies Tasso s Gerusalemme liberata, Cam es s Lus adas, Book II of Spenser s Faerie Queene, and Milton s Paradise Lost, and, depending on student interest and linguistic abilities, may take up other epic poems. There is no language requirement, though students who have some control of the original languages of these poems may find the course more rewarding. Some familiarity with the Iliad and the Odyssey would also enhance their participation.

Professor: Brian Walsh
Course Type: Seminar/Graduate Seminars
Term: Spring
Day/Time: Th 2:30-4:20

This class will contextualize the plays of Shakespeare as products of the Elizabethan and Jacobean theater industry. We will survey the conditions in which the plays were presented, with attention to playhouses, playing companies, audiences, props, lighting, acting techniques, and the full range of activities—music, dance, and other—that accompanied dramatic shows on a day to day basis. We will examine how the form of the early modern theatrical event shaped the content that Shakespeare scrutinized in his plays, content such as politics, religion, gender and sexuality, romantic and erotic longing, Englishness, and historical consciousness. Course readings will include period documents about the theater as well as a range of current work in theater history and performance theory. As a course focused on the dynamics of the live theater event, we will necessarily discuss the problem of analyzing performance—a transient form—from a historical distance. We will therefore also consider recent trends in book history that emphasize the textuality of printed plays, and test the possibilities for performance oriented-criticism that is, perforce, mediated through texts.

Course Type: Seminar/Graduate Seminars
Term: Spring
Day/Time: W 1:30-3:20

This is a class on epistemology, aesthetics, and literary form in eighteenth-century British writing. We will read major works in empiricism and moral philosophy, from Locke to Smith, alongside poetry and fiction in several genres. We'll ask, for example, how do poetry, fiction, and the visual arts recruit and account for perceptual experience or consider material and natural objects? What happens when the empirical psychology of consciousness or the categories of the sublime, beautiful, and picturesque take narrative or poetic form? What sort of ethical models follow from formal or generic decisions, from couplet structure, for example, or point of view? We'll focus throughout on how these topics have been discussed across the history of eighteenth-century studies, and we'll pay close attention to current debates in the field, including those prompted by cognitive literary studies, new formalisms and materialisms, and the digital humanities. Authors include Locke, Pope, Swift, Addison, Thomson, Hume, Burke, Sterne, Smith, Gilpin, and Cowper read alongside recent criticism and theory.

Professor: David Bromwich, Professor: Karuna Mantena
Course Type: Seminar/Graduate Seminars
Term: Spring
Day/Time: T 1:30-3:20

Theorists to be explored include Montaigne, Locke, Smith, Burke, Gandhi, and Arendt, on the phenomenon of empire in relation to political justice and the nature of a social order.

Course Type: Seminar/Graduate Seminars
Term: Spring
Day/Time: M 3:30-5:20

This course will offer an overview of the careers of Charles Dickens and George Eliot by exploring a series of paired texts that will allow perspective on two different approaches to a variety of novelistic modes, including the Bildungsroman, the historical novel, and the political novel.

Pairings:

David Copperfield 1850/ Mill on the Floss 1860

Tale of Two Cities 1859/ Romola 1863

Hard Times 1854/ Felix Holt 1866

Our Mutual Friend 1864/ Middlemarch 1872

Requirements:  One partially annotated bibliography to be circulated and presented to the class, on a topic to be determined in relation to the reading for the week; a short (5 pp) midterm paper; and longer final paper (20-25 pp), which may be an expansion of the midterm.

Professor: Robert Stepto
Course Type: Seminar/Graduate Seminars
Term: Spring
Day/Time: W 1:30-3:20

The visual art, decoration, and illustration of African American books (prose and poetry) since 1900. Topics include book art of the Harlem Renaissance (with special attention to Aaron Douglas and Charles Cullen), art imported to book production (e.g., Archibald Motley s paintings used as book art), children s books (e.g., I Saw Your Face by Kwame Dawes with drawings by Tom Feelings; Ntozake Shange s Ellington Was Not a Street, illus. by Kadir Nelson), photography and literature (e.g., Paul Laurence Dunbar s Cabin and Field, with Hampton Institute photographs; Richard Wright s 12 Million Black Voices). The seminar includes sessions at Beinecke Library and encourages research projects in the Beinecke s holdings, especially the James Weldon Johnson collection.

Professor: Michael Warner
Course Type: Seminar/Graduate Seminars
Term: Spring
Day/Time: F 9:25-11:15

Although the concept of the Anthropocene can be dated in various ways, two of the most important benchmarks seem to be the beginning of industrial production in the late 18th Century and the uptick in CO2 emissions from the mid 19th Century (petroleum came into use during the Civil War).  As it happens, the period between these two moments is also that in which the modern language of the environment took shape, from Cuvier’s discovery of extinction and Humboldt’s holistic earth science to the transformative work of Thoreau and George P. Marsh.  This course will shuttle between the contemporary debate about the significance and consequences of the Anthropocene and a reexamination of that environmental legacy.  We will look at the complexity of “nature,” beginning with the Bartrams, Jefferson, Cuvier, and the transatlantic literatures of natural history; georgics and other genres of nature writing; natural theology; ambiguities of pastoral in American romantic writing (Bryant, mainly), the impact of Humboldt (Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman); westward expansion and Native American writing about land; Hudson School painting and landscape architecture; etc.  We will also think about the country/city polarity and the development of “grid” consciousness in places like New York City (not just the famous grid plan of 1811 but, more tellingly, the new relation to resources that followed the Croton aqueduct and gaslight).  One aim will be to assess the formation and legacy of key ideas in environmentalism, some of which may now be a hindrance as much as a foundation–for example, the idea of nature as a primordial equilibrium from which the human is estranged.  Secondary readings will include classic readings from Leo Marx, Henry Nash Smith, and William Cronon, as well as more recent attempts to reconceive environmental history (Joachim Radkau), ecocriticism (Lawrence Buell), and related fields, as well as science journalism (Elizabeth Kolbert).   We will attend and discuss Dipesh Chakrabarty’s Tanner lectures in February.  Students will be invited to explore a wide range of research projects; and one assignment will be to devise a teaching unit for an undergraduate class on the same topic, since one aim of this course is to generate further teaching in environmental humanities.

Course Type: Seminar/Graduate Seminars
Term: Spring
Day/Time: M 1:30-3:20; Screenings Su 6:00-10:00p

Key films and topics in British cinema. Special attention to the overlaps between literary and visual modernism; attempts to build on the British literary and dramatic tradition; role of cinema (especially documentary) in the war effort and in redefining national identity; postwar auteur and experimental filmmaking; "heritage" films and alternative approaches to tradition. Accompanying readings in British film theorists, film sociology (including Mass Observation) and cultural studies' accounts of film spectatorship and memories. Films by Mitchell and Kenyon, Maurice Elwey, Anthony Asquith, Len Lye, Alfred Hitchcock, Alberto Cavalcanti, Humphry Jennings, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, Carol Reed, David Lean, Karol Reisz, Lindsey Anderson, Richard Lester, Peter Watkins, Kevin Brownlow, Menelek Shabazz, Bill Douglas, Stanley Kubrick, Laura Mulvey, Mike Leigh, Terence Davies, Terry Gilliam, Peter Greenaway, Gurinder Chadha, Derek Jarman, Patrick Keillor.

Professor: Marc Robinson
Course Type: Seminar/Graduate Seminars
Term: Spring
Day/Time: Th 10:00-11:50

Topics include the European inheritance, theater and nation-building, melodrama and the rise of realism, popular and non-literary forms. Readings in Tyler, Dunlap, Aiken, Boucicault, Daly, Herne, Belasco, and others.

Also AMST 681.

Professor: Anthony Reed
Course Type: Seminar/Graduate Seminars
Term: Spring
Day/Time: Th 2:30-4:20

Beginning from the premise that the cultural movements and “styles” labeled “modernism” are international in scope,  this course considers key debates, texts, and institutions that have shaped African American and African diaspora cultures in the 20th and 21st century. Our considerations will include the New Negro movement, Négritude, pan-Africanisms and other modalities of black internationalism, canon formation, and Afro-futurism. Central emphasis will fall on the development of substantively post-colonial practices by which black writers and thinkers have connected modernity as a world historical, political and economic phenomena rooted in a colonial matrix of power and knowledge formation and modernism as a set of aesthetic practices. We pay special attention to the interrelated temporal contours of literary form and the rhetoric of progress in both canonical texts on Western modernity, modernism and postcolonial theory.

Also AFAM 650.

Course Type: Seminar/Graduate Seminars
Term: Spring
Day/Time: W 3:30-5:20

Is literature a technology? How have various developments in technology accompanied the textual experience we identify as literature? What can theories of literary discourse tell us about the rise of technological culture throughout the globe? This course examines these and other questions by reaching back to long-held assumptions about the rise of techne and on through new cultures of computation and networked automation. Readings may include a number of canonical texts in the philosophy of technology (Plato, Leibniz, Adorno, Heidegger, Kittler), theories of literary culture in an age of technology (Jameson, McLuhan, Tichi, Hayles, Liu), and some histories of print and other new media theory (Guillory, Gitelman, Bolter, and others).

Course Type: Independent/Graduate Seminars
Term: Spring
Day/Time: HTBA

Designed to help fill gaps in students programs when there are corresponding gaps in the department s offerings. By arrangement with faculty and with the approval of the DGS.