CoursesCourses for the English Major

The Department of English offers a wide variety of courses at the general and advanced levels. Courses are divided into the following sections:

0-99 Lower Division Courses (Freshman, Sophomore)
100-199
Upper Division Courses (Junior, Senior)
200 & above
Graduate Courses

Fall 2024

Lower Division Courses in English (Freshman, Sophomore)

Please note that this list includes both English major preparatory courses and GE courses. 

Critical Reading and Writing

English 4HW; English 4W

Introduction to literary analysis, with close reading and carefully written exposition of selections from principal modes of literature: poetry, prose fiction, and drama. Minimum of 15 to 20 pages of revised writing. Satisfies Writing II requirement.

This course fulfills a preparatory requirement for the English major. Please note that certain designated sections are reserved for Dept. of English majors and minors. All other sections are open to students of all majors.

English 4HW confers College Honors credit. Students participating in the College Honors program may contact a Dept. of English advisor to request a seat in the class.

Literatures in English to 1700

English 10A / Prof. Fisher

Survey of major writers and genres, with emphasis on tools for literary analysis such as close reading, argumentation, historical and social context, and critical writing. Minimum of three papers (three to five pages each) or equivalent required.

 

This course fulfills a preparatory requirement for the English major.

Literatures in English, 1700 to 1850

English 10B / Prof. Cohen

Survey of major writers and genres, with emphasis on tools for literary analysis such as close reading, argumentation, historical and social context, and critical writing. Minimum of three papers (three to five pages each) or equivalent required.

 

This course fulfills a preparatory requirement for the English major.

Introduction to Creative Writing [READ DESCRIPTION CAREFULLY – APPLICATION REQUIRED]

English 20W / TA assignments pending

Designed to introduce fundamentals of creative writing and writing workshop experience. Emphasis on poetry, fiction, drama, or creative nonfiction depending on wishes of instructor(s) during any given term. Readings from assigned texts, weekly writing assignments (multiple drafts and revisions), and final portfolio required. Satisfies Writing II requirement.

Enrollment by instructor consent and NOT by enrollment pass time: Interested students should apply by 8 pm on September 13, 2024. Applications received after this date will be considered only if additional space should become available and may not receive a full review or response. Enrollment preference for English 20W will be given to first and second-year students. Approved applicants will receive a PTE directly from the instructor.

To apply, please prepare a brief (no more than 250 words) note explaining why you wish to take this course, and what previous experience you have with creative writing courses (if any—none required!).

Applications may be submitted through our approved web form, which you can access after July 15 HERE. Students applying to English 20W should enroll in an alternate course during their enrollment passes, and should not assume that they will be admitted.

Please note that due to the volume of submissions, only students selected for the class will receive notification. Please do not email the instructors requesting status updates, as this will only delay the selection process. Questions should be directed to the English Undergraduate Advising Offices via MyUCLA MessageCenter.

Major American Authors

English 80 / Prof. Dimuro

Not open for credit to English majors or students with credit for any courses in 170 series. This course offers a survey of major American authors whose works have shaped a national literature over the last two centuries. Whether in response to war, the institution of slavery, economic inequality, continental expansion, urbanization, and demographic diversity, all these novelists grapple with issues of artistic representation, questions of liberty, personal and national identity, and the ideals and failed promises of American citizenship. Each transformed literary conventions to express their unique visions of the nature of American life. We will read novels and stories from different stages in this literary history, including Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; Chesnutt’s The Marrow of Tradition; Chopin’s The Awakening; Crane’s Maggie, A Girl of the Streets; Dreiser’s Sister Carrie; and short fiction by Cather, Hemingway, and Carver.

American Novel

English 85 / Prof. Mott

Not open for credit to English majors or students with credit for any courses in 170 series. Development, with emphasis on form, of American novel from its beginning to present day. Includes works of such novelists as Hawthorne, Fitzgerald, Faulkner, Ellison, and Morrison.

Topics in American Culture- Narratives: Bodies/Health/Illness

English 87 / Prof. Stern

This seminar will explore a range of literary and media forms that engage with the themes of bodies, health, and illness, including but not limited to memoirs, graphic novels, podcasts, and poetry. Students will learn about the field of health humanities, and the power of narrative in capturing and embodying human conditions associated with health and illness. This course will seek to highlight universal creative expression across a diverse set of writers, scholars, and creatives. This class will be largely discussion based and students will be able to choose a final project in a genre that interest them.

 

This course will be reserved for American Literature and Culture majors on first pass and during summer orientation. Non-majors hoping to take the course for GE or Diversity credit may enroll after September 17.

 

Upper Division Courses in English

Practicum Courses

Please note that these are 2-unit courses. English majors may satisfy 1 English Elective if they take multiple 2-unit upper division English courses (courses must add up to a total of at least 4 units and must be taken for a letter grade). 

Westwind Journal

Undergraduate Practicum in English
English M192.1 / Prof. Wilson

This course is for the staff of Westwind, UCLA’s Journal for the Arts. If you are interested in joining the Westwind staff, please familiarize yourself with the journal at www.westwind.ucla.edu, and come to the first Fall meeting (time and day posted in the Schedule of Classes)!

Elective-Only Courses

English major Electives may be selected from 5-unit upper-division English courses numbered 100 to M191P; Electives are not limited to the courses in this subsection.

Please note that the courses in this subsection satisfy English major requirements as Electives only, and may not be applied to Historical, Breadth, or Seminar requirements.

 

Writing in the English Major: Analytical

English 110A / Prof. Stephan

In this course, designed specifically for English majors but now open to students from all majors, you will learn to build on your skills and abilities as a writer of literary and cultural analyses. You’ll find ways to ask richer literary questions, develop more nuanced analyses of complex texts, and shape your own voice as a writer. We’ll focus on literary arguments and begin with this basic question: what constitutes a good, rich, complex question in literary analysis? What makes a substantial topic that might lead to a top-notch persuasive argument? Because good writing (and thus good argumentation) is also a process, we will practice creation, revision, contemplation, and editing, as well as seeking and giving feedback. Throughout the course, we will workshop writing exercises with the goal of making ourselves and others more comfortable and more successful as writers of good academic prose.

This course counts as an elective for the Professional Writing minor. The course requisite is ENGL 4W. Students in the Professional Writing minor who have completed alternate Writing II credit may contact the English undergraduate advising office to enroll.

First-Person Writing for Aspiring Professional Writers

Variable Topics in Professional Writing
English 110V / Prof. Allmendinger

This course will prepare students who want to submit first-person writings to journals and magazines that publish works by and for young adults.  Examples of such works include memoirs, humor, opinion pieces, and cultural criticism.  We will study the marketplace to discover which outlets appeal to students, how to submit to those publishers, how to write a cover letter, and how to develop relationships with editors.  Most importantly, we will spend the quarter writing and revising potential submissions, with the goal of submitting a piece to the students’ chosen venues by the end of the quarter.  Requirements include attendance and participation, as well as a final revised piece of writing.

This course counts as an elective for the Professional Writing minor. The course requisite is ENGL 4W. Students in the Professional Writing minor who have completed alternate Writing II credit may contact the English undergraduate advising office to enroll.

Literatures in English Before 1500

The Virgin, Wife, and Widow: Dissent and Dominance in the Lives of Holy Women

Medieval Literatures of Devotion and Dissent
English 145 / Prof. Thomas

Stories of holy women – hagiographical narratives – offer a space for thinking through the shifting relationship between the church and the holy woman, between orthodoxy and heterodoxy, as well as between animals and saints. The course extends from the travails of the runaway bride Christina of Markyate and the visions of Hildegard of Bingen to the feats of Catherine of Siena, and the travails of Dorothea of Montau and Margery Kempe. We will read writings about and by holy women (and a couple by holy men) alongside relevant materials on dream-visions, narrative strategies, books of rhetorical composition, digests of law, and other institutional documents on issues ranging from virginity to marriage, from travel to enclosure, from writing to preaching, from secrets shared and secrets betrayed. Questions for discussion include: What make these narratives compelling or powerful? To what extent do formal conventions of storytelling help invent powerful female characters in an otherwise male-dominated world?

Not open for credit to students who have previously completed ENGL 145 or ENGL 184 on the same topic with Prof. Thomas.

Filthy Lucre: The Fraudster, Trader, and Usurer in The Age of Robin Hood and Beyond

Medievalisms
English 149 / Prof. Thomas

Fraudsters, traders, and usurers have been with us ever since humans were infected by what in the Middle Ages was called “filthy lucre.” In this course, we will learn not just about the tricks of their trade but also about the intersection of commerce and literature in texts ranging from the medieval to the early modern. On the medieval side, our readings include some of Chaucer’s works such as “The General Prologue,” “The Shipman’s Tale,” “The Merchant’s Tale,” “The Pardoner’s Tale,” and “The Summoner’s Tale,” excerpts from Piers Plowman, and several Robin Hood narratives such as A Gest of Robyn Hode, Robin Hood and the Potter; on the early modern side, our readings include Gerard Malynes’s Saint George for England, Christopher Marlowe’s Jew of Malta, Thomas Wilson’s Discourse on Usury, and Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice. We will read our literary texts in light of premodern thinking about “filthy lucre” (“turpe lucrum”) found in treatises on usury, equitable exchange, and simony as well as on exchange-rate, the just price and proportion.

 

Not open for credit to students who have previously completed ENGL 149 or ENGL 184 on the same topic with Prof. Thomas.

Literatures in English 1500-1700

Shakespeare: Poems and Early Plays

English 150A / Prof. Watson

An intensive study of Shakespeare’s works up through 1603 , including sonnets, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet, Merchant of Venice, Henry IV Part 1, Henry V, Hamlet, Twelfth Night, and As You Like It. Students will likely write a brief exposition essay and a longer final essay, and will take midterm and final exams. Careful reading of the plays in their original language before class is essential, and active regular attendance is required.

Shakespeare: Major Plays

Topics in Shakespeare
English 150C / Prof. Little

This course provides an upper-division introduction to Shakespeare’s plays by surveying a few of the plays we historically and contemporarily recognize as some of his most consequential plays.  Drawing on dramatic works from the entirety of his career, this course emphasizes the formal and historical properties of Shakespeare’s plays (and stage) as well as the ways Shakespeare’s plays continue to engage questions of race (including whiteness), gender, sexuality, and class, along with questions of religion, philosophy, and politics. How all these questions are embodied, put into bodies, signals for our course the way Shakespeare’s plays have become essential hallmarks for defining both the modern and the global.  Some of the possible texts for our course are A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Merchant of Venice, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth, and The Tempest. Possible requirements for the course include class participation, a term paper, and a midterm and final exam.

 

Not open for credit to students who took English 150C with Prof. Little in Winter 2022, Fall 2022, or Fall 2023.

A Survey of Early Modern Drama (Without Shakespeare)

Theatrical Renaissance: Early Modern Texts and Performances
English 153 / Prof. Little

Allowing Shakespeare to our discussions of early modern English drama has really obscured the fact that the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were teeming with plays and playwrights who could more than hold their own to Shakespeare, if not, for some, surpass him. Some of these plays and creators crossed lines, we can say, that Shakespeare dared not even to approach, as he and they both responded to, shaped, and gave definition to a robust cosmopolitan and emerging global-oriented culture. More than serving as a touchstone for early modern culture so many of the plays of this period have provided some of the literal and figurative materials for what’s called (in Anglo-American culture, at least) “the modern world.” Some of the possible playwrights for our course are Christopher Marlowe, Ben Jonson, John Webster, Thomas Middleton, Elizabeth Cary, and Philip Massinger. Possible requirements for the course include class participation, a term paper, and a midterm and final exam.

Literatures in English 1700-1850

 

Literary London

Literary Cities
English 119.1 / Prof. Makdisi

For most of the 19th century, London had a split identity: glittering districts alongside teeming slums; fashionable gentlemen and ladies living in close proximity to an underworld of rogues, vagabonds, prostitutes, conspirators, ballad singers and thieves. This course will explore literary accounts of London’s dual identity in this period and on into the 20th and 21st centuries, as well as the gradual attempt to bring to order and settle the turbulent urban space: to tame the many resorts of vagabonds, thieves, and outcasts, to “civilize” those regarded as racial others—a process that would continue following the absorption of a wave of South Asian and Afro-Caribbean immigrants in the 1950s and later, and as today’s fast-paced global metropolis continues to deal with stark disparities in wealth and income and bitter racial divisions.  Readings will include fiction, poetry and the visual arts from the 18th century through the Victorian and on to more recent work such as Sam Selvon’s Lonely Londoners, Alan Moore’s From Hell and Laura Oldfield Ford’s Savage Messiah.

 

Not open to students who have previously completed ENGL 119 under the same title and description with Professor Makdisi.

Charlotte Brontë

Individual Authors
English 139 / Prof. Stephan

If you know Jane Eyre, you may think you know Charlotte Brontë, and this course will indeed give you the chance to read (or re-read) her most famous novel and consider it through a variety of historical contexts and critical lenses. In our pursuit of Brontë expertise, we will also immerse ourselves in at least two of her three other published novels, The ProfessorShirley, and Villette, exploring her broad and eclectic range of themes and subjects, including the oppression of women and their need for greater personal, educational, and professional freedom; the problematic notion of Englishness confronted by industrial and social upheaval at home and abroad; the developing role of the woman artist; the reimagining of the fictional heroine beyond conventional ideals; and more. Looking at her juvenilia and letters, biographical material including excerpts from Elizabeth Gaskell’s groundbreaking, mythmaking Life of Charlotte Brontë, and critical responses from the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries, we will piece together a portrait of an enduring author who defies easy categorization.

Later Romantic Literature

English 162B / Prof. Hall

Intensive study of writings by Byron, Keats, Percy Shelly, and Mary Shelley, with collateral readings from such authors as Hazlitt, Hunt, Landor, Clare, Moore, Peacock, Landon, Aikin, Hemans, and Prince.

19th Century Critical Prose: Beauty, Justice, and Social Change in Victorian Britain

English 164B / Prof. Bristow

This course looks at range of conservative, liberal, and radical contributions to debates about single and married women’s rights, democracy and social class, emancipation of enslaved people, emergence of environmentalism, and development of queer aesthetics. Readings are drawn from many different sources, including newspaper journalism, periodical articles, essays, poetry, memoir, and narrative fiction. Key writers include Josephine Butler, Mona Caird, Thomas Carlyle, Harriet Martineau, John Stuart Mill, William Morris, Caroline Norton, Walter Pater, Mary Prince, John Ruskin, and Oscar Wilde.

Bleak House

19th-Century Novel
English 164C / Prof. Grossman

In this course, we will explore in depth Charles Dickens’s Bleak House as a means to think about the novel as an art form and about the history of the British Victorian period, when it was published. This novel experiments dramatically with literary form. It alternates between omniscient and first-person narration. Half is written in the past tense, half in the present. This novel prompted the first known novel by an African-American woman, it traces the connections across gulfs separating the rich from the poor, and it takes on gender in Dickens’s only novelistic attempt at a first-person female narrator. The tale explores personal traumas, philosophical questions of justice, the power of bureaucratic institutions, and much more. You will learn to think critically about the literary form of the novel in this course, and we may read a bit of literary theory to help us to do so. You will also think about the historical period depicted and what it means to you. Please be aware that there is a heavy reading and writing load in this course.

American Literature, 1832 – 1865

English 166C / Prof. Colacurcio

Historical survey of American literatures from Jacksonian era to end of Civil War, including emergent tradition of American Romanticism, augmented and challenged by genres of popular protest urging application of democratic ideals to questions of race, gender, and social equality.

Major American Writers

English 168 / Prof. Mott

This course offers a survey of major American authors whose works have shaped a national literature over the last two centuries. Whether in response to war, the institution of slavery, economic inequality, continental expansion, urbanization, and demographic diversity, all these novelists grapple with issues of artistic representation, questions of liberty, personal and national identity, and the ideals and failed promises of American citizenship. Each transformed literary conventions to express their visions of the place of America in the world. We will read the following works from different stages in this literary history, including Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; Chesnutt’s The Marrow of Tradition; Chopin’s The Awakening; Crane’s Maggie, A Girl of the Streets; Dreiser’s Sister Carrie; and short stories by Cather, James, and Hemingway.

 

Literatures in English 1850-Present

Early African American Literature

English M104A / Prof. Yarborough

Survey of African American literature from the 18th century to World War I, including both oral and written modes (folktales, spirituals, sermons; fiction, autobiography, poetry).  Among the authors covered are Phillis Wheatley, David Walker, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, Frances Harper, Charles Chesnutt, and W. E. B. Du Bois.  M104A focuses on the historical and cultural contexts of the works as well as on diverse strategies for engaging formal aspects of the assigned material.  The class will be conducted in lecture format with TA-led discussion sections.  Requirements include the following: attendance and participation in section, a midterm exam, a term paper, and a final exam.

Chicana/o/x Literature since el Movimiento, 1970s to Present

English M105C / Prof. Perez-Torres

Survey of Chicana/Chicano literature since 1970s, with particular emphasis on how queer and feminist activism as well as Central and South American migration have shaped 21st-century chicanidad. Oral, written, and graphic fiction, poetry, and drama by writers including John Rechy, Gloria Anzaldúa, Los Bros Hernández, Ana Castillo, and Dagoberto Gilb guide exploration of queer and feminist studies, Reagan generation, immigration debates, and emerging Latina/Latino majority.

The Mystery Genre

Detective Fiction
English 115D / Prof. Allmendinger

This course traces the evolution of the mystery genre from the late 18th century to the present.  We begin with the Gothic tradition and Poe.  We continue with the development of the 19th and early 20th century English murder mystery (Holmes and Christie), and the American reaction against these writers (by hard-boiled noir authors, such as Chandler and Hammett).  In addition, we examine some permutations of the genre, including suspense (Hitchcock), horror, the police procedural, and the courtroom thriller.  A local mystery writer will also visit the class.  Requirements include attendance and participation, several unannounced quizzes, and a final 10-15 page paper.

Literary London

Literary Cities
English 119.1 / Prof. Makdisi

For most of the 19th century, London had a split identity: glittering districts alongside teeming slums; fashionable gentlemen and ladies living in close proximity to an underworld of rogues, vagabonds, prostitutes, conspirators, ballad singers and thieves. This course will explore literary accounts of London’s dual identity in this period and on into the 20th and 21st centuries, as well as the gradual attempt to bring to order and settle the turbulent urban space: to tame the many resorts of vagabonds, thieves, and outcasts, to “civilize” those regarded as racial others—a process that would continue following the absorption of a wave of South Asian and Afro-Caribbean immigrants in the 1950s and later, and as today’s fast-paced global metropolis continues to deal with stark disparities in wealth and income and bitter racial divisions.  Readings will include fiction, poetry and the visual arts from the 18th century through the Victorian and on to more recent work such as Sam Selvon’s Lonely Londoners, Alan Moore’s From Hell and Laura Oldfield Ford’s Savage Messiah.

Not open to students who have previously completed ENGL 119 under the same title and description with Professor Makdisi.

“In the Heart of the Hibernian Metropolis”: Literary Dublin

Literary Cities
English 119.2 / Prof. Jaurretche

Using the city of Dublin as our locus, students in this course will read a variety of major works written by Dublin writers. A grounding in Dublin geography, urban study, and history will prepare students to consider various dimensions of Irish experience in the twentieth-century, from its status as a country under British rule through its fight for independence, and ultimate autonomy. We’ll read writers such as Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker, William Butler Yeats, James Joyce, and more.

Poetry of the Americas

Literature of the Americas
English 135 / Prof. Foote

This course will explore how poetry has been integral to constructing what we now think of as “the Americas.” Beginning with the colonial period, we will develop a working poetic lineage of the Americas by exploring literary renderings of key historical moments. While we will attend to the role of poetry in history—including the recording of the Popol Vuh during crisis, and the hemispheric movements of poetry in the 19th century—our emphasis will be on 20th– and 21st-century poetry. What can poetry tell us about how the Americas have been, and still are, imagined? Further, does poetry offer a different construction of the Americas? These are some of the questions we will ask as we address topics such as New World “discovery” and conquest, settler colonialism, borderlands, enslavement and revolution, translation, and the endurance of colonial pasts in the present. We will consider the geographic divisions of the Americas—North, South, Central, and Caribbean—and the ways in which poetry probes geographies and histories of the hemisphere.

 

Not open for credit to students who took ENGL 135 with Prof. Foote in Winter 2024.

19th Century Critical Prose: Beauty, Justice, and Social Change in Victorian Britain

English 164B / Prof. Bristow

This course looks at range of conservative, liberal, and radical contributions to debates about single and married women’s rights, democracy and social class, emancipation of enslaved people, emergence of environmentalism, and development of queer aesthetics. Readings are drawn from many different sources, including newspaper journalism, periodical articles, essays, poetry, memoir, and narrative fiction. Key writers include Josephine Butler, Mona Caird, Thomas Carlyle, Harriet Martineau, John Stuart Mill, William Morris, Caroline Norton, Walter Pater, Mary Prince, John Ruskin, and Oscar Wilde.

Bleak House

19th-Century Novel
English 164C / Prof. Grossman

In this course, we will explore in depth Charles Dickens’s Bleak House as a means to think about the novel as an art form and about the history of the British Victorian period, when it was published. This novel experiments dramatically with literary form. It alternates between omniscient and first-person narration. Half is written in the past tense, half in the present. This novel prompted the first known novel by an African-American woman, it traces the connections across gulfs separating the rich from the poor, and it takes on gender in Dickens’s only novelistic attempt at a first-person female narrator. The tale explores personal traumas, philosophical questions of justice, the power of bureaucratic institutions, and much more. You will learn to think critically about the literary form of the novel in this course, and we may read a bit of literary theory to help us to do so. You will also think about the historical period depicted and what it means to you. Please be aware that there is a heavy reading and writing load in this course.

Major American Writers

English 168 / Prof. Dimuro

This course offers a survey of major American authors whose works have shaped a national literature over the last two centuries. Whether in response to war, the institution of slavery, economic inequality, continental expansion, urbanization, and demographic diversity, all these novelists grapple with issues of artistic representation, questions of liberty, personal and national identity, and the ideals and failed promises of American citizenship. Each transformed literary conventions to express their visions of the place of America in the world. We will read the following works from different stages in this literary history, including Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; Chesnutt’s The Marrow of Tradition; Chopin’s The Awakening; Crane’s Maggie, A Girl of the Streets; Dreiser’s Sister Carrie; and short stories by Cather, James, and Hemingway.

American Poetry since 1945

English 173B / Prof. Stefans

The first generation of American poets to make a large impact in the post-War period include Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Lowell, Sylvia Plath and John Berryman, the latter three of whom are usually classed as “Confessional” poets. By the late 50s, several poets and movements emerged that worked as a counterbalance to writing that was, by their standards, not representative of American life and cut off from contemporary language usage. These included the Beats (the most famous of whom was Allen Ginsberg), the surrealistic New York School Poets (Frank O’Hara, John Ashbery and others) who often sought inspiration in the visual arts, and writers in the 70s involved with the emerging Black Arts, Chicano and Asian American movements (Amiri Baraka, the Los Angeles poet Wanda Coleman and others). Arising in the wake of this generation of “New Americans” were the highly experimental Language writers (Charles Bernstein, Lyn Hejinian and others) who explored the notion of a “poetics” that merged the formal and political. The last week of the course will be given over to considerations of how digital technology (starting in the 90s) has impacted how poetry is created and distributed in the present day. Weekly writing assignments (some creative) and a final paper or creative project required.

US Fiction after the Cold War

Contemporary American Fiction
English 174C / Prof. Huehls

This course examines recent trends in contemporary US fiction, focusing in particular on the past 20-25 years of literary output from US novelists. As this literary period is nascent and in constant flux, we’ll be particularly interested in establishing its thematic and formal departures from postmodernism. The class will examine the period’s critique of its postmodern predecessors and will then investigate various themes and techniques that contemporary authors engage to distinguish themselves and their literary moment. Readings include work by Colson Whitehead, Junot Diaz, Jennifer Egan, Paul Beatty, and Ling Ma.

Ethnic Comedy, Family Drama

Interdisciplinary Studies in American Culture
English 177.1 / Prof. Decker

We examine the intersection of family and ethnicity as staged in comedy and drama in order to consider how literary and TV expressions of laughter, love, and emotional conflict have both reinforced the nuclear family ideal and challenged it by reimagining the American family variously (as single-parent and female-headed; as multi-generational and ethnic). We ask if there’s more to comedy than how many times it makes you laugh, or if accounting for changing times and mores can somehow compensate for jokes that age badly. Situation comedies include Father Knows Best, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Fresh Off the Boat, and Black-ish; TV dramedies include Girls and Louie. Dramatic fiction and autobiography (The Godfather, The Woman Warrior, Autobiography of Malcolm X) will be paired with comic novels (Portnoy’s Complaint, Revenge of the Mooncake Vixen, The Sellout). Telenovela-inspired Chicana literature (Caramelo and So Far from God) will be read alongside TV comedy and drama adapted from Latin American telenovelas (Ugly Betty, Jane the Virgin, Queen of the South).

Funny as Shite: Samuel Beckett and Flann O’Brien

Topics in literature, circa 1850–Research component
English 179R/ Prof. Jaurretche

Some of the most notoriously challenging—and funny–writing of the twentieth-century emerges from the imagination of Samuel Beckett.  The hallmark of his presentation of the human condition is his preoccupation with states of being (or non-being) and decay—including sexual and scatological—and his concomitant desire to invite empathy as well as laughter. This class examines the span of Beckett’s corpus, beginning with his early essays and stories, progressing through major novels such as Molloy, Malone Dies, and The Unnamable, and culminating with his principal plays, including Waiting for Godot, Endgame, and shorter drama.  Our focus will be on understanding Beckett in the context of the main intellectual and aesthetic traditions from which his work is drawn. Topics of inquiry will range from ancient philosophy to modern linguistics as we pursue the mind-body questions at the heart of Beckett’s nothingness. To this end, our course will introduce research strategies necessary for successful writing about modern and post-modern works by teaching students to navigate field-specific databases, identify major critical traditions, and engage one or more methods of research.  Our course will conclude with a reading of Flann O’Brien’s comic novel The Third Policeman.  A masterpiece in its own right, the novel not only spans the greater part of Beckett’s career with its dates of composition and publication (1939 and 1968), but also recapitulates some of his themes while satirizing academic research and methodologies.

 

Not open for credit to students who completed ENGL 179R with Prof. Jaurretche in Fall 2022.

Gender, Race, Ethnicity, Disability, and Sexuality Studies

The Queer American Short Story

Studies in Queer Literatures and Cultures
English M101D / Prof. Looby

Focusing on queer (non-normative) sexualities and genders, and the short story genre (itself a nineteenth-century American invention), this course will ask what their historical relationship has been. Is there something queer, as such, about the short story? It seems to be the case that the genre offered something like a literary laboratory in which queer genders and sexualities—queer identities, but also queer places, attachments, and things—could be explored, perhaps more freely than in the novel. For example, the anonymous 1857 tale, “The Man Who Thought Himself a Woman,” depicted a person we would now call a trans woman, but at the time there was no such label; and the main character was, perhaps surprisingly for that time, treated without negative judgment. Other writers we will encounter include some famous, and some not: Whitman, Jewett, Melville, Alcott and Twain, but also Ambrose Bierce, Constance Fenimore Wilson, Octave Thanet, Mary Wilkins Freeman, Bret Harte, Alice Dunbar-Nelson, Sui Sin Far, Charles W. Chesnutt, Sadakichi Hartmann, George Parsons Lathrop, Augustus Baldwin Longstreet, and Kate Chopin. Students will do original research in digital archives to discover—and share with the rest of the class—additional short stories that may, under a broad definition, be claimed as “queer.”

 

Not open to credit to students who completed ENGL M101D with Prof. Looby in Fall 2023.

Beauty and Deformity: Aesthetics and the Literature of Disability from Shakespeare to the Present

Studies in Disability Literatures
English M103/ Prof. Deutsch

In the first disability memoir in English, William Hay’s “Deformity: An Essay” (1754), Hay, an amateur man of letters and member of Parliament, likens his curved spine to the artist William Hogarth’s famous line of beauty. This course will consider the complex relationship of deformity to beauty, which is not one of simple opposition, from the early modern period to the present day. Beginning with Shakespeare’s Richard III (1592-4) and Francis Bacon’s “Of Deformity” (1597), paying special attention to questions of gender, we will explore how writing about deformity evolves over time, depicts complex subjectivity and constructs disability as identity. Other texts may include 18th-century poems by Alexander Pope and others, fiction by Sarah Scott and Jane Austen, and twentieth-century memoirs by Katherine Butler Hathaway, Lucy Grealy, and Chloe Cooper Jones. Requirements include several discussion posts/short close readings, and a final paper.

Early African American Literature

English M104A / Prof. Yarborough

Survey of African American literature from the 18th century to World War I, including both oral and written modes (folktales, spirituals, sermons; fiction, autobiography, poetry).  Among the authors covered are Phillis Wheatley, David Walker, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, Frances Harper, Charles Chesnutt, and W. E. B. Du Bois.  M104A focuses on the historical and cultural contexts of the works as well as on diverse strategies for engaging formal aspects of the assigned material.  The class will be conducted in lecture format with TA-led discussion sections.  Requirements include the following: attendance and participation in section, a midterm exam, a term paper, and a final exam.

Topic TBA

Topics in African American Literature and Culture
English M104E / Prof. Mullen

Topic & description coming soon!

Chicana/o/x Literature since el Movimiento, 1970s to Present

English M105C / Prof. Perez-Torres

Survey of Chicana/Chicano literature since 1970s, with particular emphasis on how queer and feminist activism as well as Central and South American migration have shaped 21st-century chicanidad. Oral, written, and graphic fiction, poetry, and drama by writers including John Rechy, Gloria Anzaldúa, Los Bros Hernández, Ana Castillo, and Dagoberto Gilb guide exploration of queer and feminist studies, Reagan generation, immigration debates, and emerging Latina/Latino majority.

(Don’t) Take it Personal: Women of Color Writing the Self

Studies in Women’s Writing
English M107A / Prof. S.K. Lee

In this course, we will consider how women of color writers and scholars narrate, theorize, and construct the self in ways that experiment with conventions of the personal essay, memoir, criticism, academic scholarship, and their various overlappings. We will address how women of color writers, speaking from personal experience, put pressure on the expectation to make themselves knowable, legible, and relatable, according to the rigidity of identities founded upon discrete categories of difference. Through an engagement with literary and theoretical texts, students will not just think about writing the self as acts of exposure, confession, and disclosure, but also as willful, ambivalent acts of obfuscation, fabulation, withholding, silence, and opacity. We will not work under the assumption that personal writing is authentic, politically good, or morally right, so much as we will discuss how women of color writers write out of a suspicion, critique, and negation of such assumptions.

 

Not open for credit to students who took ENGL M107A with Prof. Kim Lee in Fall 2021.

Literary London

Literary Cities
English 119.1 / Prof. Makdisi

For most of the 19th century, London had a split identity: glittering districts alongside teeming slums; fashionable gentlemen and ladies living in close proximity to an underworld of rogues, vagabonds, prostitutes, conspirators, ballad singers and thieves. This course will explore literary accounts of London’s dual identity in this period and on into the 20th and 21st centuries, as well as the gradual attempt to bring to order and settle the turbulent urban space: to tame the many resorts of vagabonds, thieves, and outcasts, to “civilize” those regarded as racial others—a process that would continue following the absorption of a wave of South Asian and Afro-Caribbean immigrants in the 1950s and later, and as today’s fast-paced global metropolis continues to deal with stark disparities in wealth and income and bitter racial divisions.  Readings will include fiction, poetry and the visual arts from the 18th century through the Victorian and on to more recent work such as Sam Selvon’s Lonely Londoners, Alan Moore’s From Hell and Laura Oldfield Ford’s Savage Messiah.

 

Not open to students who have previously completed ENGL 119 under the same title and description with Professor Makdisi.

Critical Approaches to Race and Ethnicity in Performance

Performance, Media, and Cultural Theory
English 127 / Prof. McMillan

This course utilizes an interdisciplinary approach to examine U.S. culture writ large, specifically “America” itself, as an imagined and often-contested idea, a trenchant source of belonging and exclusion, through the lens of performance and race. We will examine the manifestation of these ideals across a variety of contemporary textual, media-based, and embodied forms—including visual culture, film, performance art, photography, sports, music videos, fashion blogs, dance, and everyday life. In doing so, we will explore how performers enact “America” and/or the “American dream” and their relationship to it and how artists use performance as a kinesthetic medium to theatricalize race, gender, and queerness. This class will center on introducing students to some of the key writings (and debates) within performance studies, a field of study devoted to a) treating performative behavior, not just the performing arts, as the subject of serious scholarly study and b) expanding our vision of performance, treating it not only as art but as a means of understanding historical, social, and cultural processes. We will explore key questions including: how do we study that which disappears? How do we isolate the ‘strips of behavior’ that we enact daily? And what constitutes the “live”? By situating the study of American culture in an interdisciplinary context, specifically performance and race, this course encourages students to think rigorously, expansively, and creatively about the varied meanings of belonging, identity, and ‘doing’ one’s body

This course qualifies as a critical theory course for students planning to apply to the departmental honors program.

Poetry of the Americas

Literature of the Americas
English 135 / Prof. Foote

This course will explore how poetry has been integral to constructing what we now think of as “the Americas.” Beginning with the colonial period, we will develop a working poetic lineage of the Americas by exploring literary renderings of key historical moments. While we will attend to the role of poetry in history—including the recording of the Popol Vuh during crisis, and the hemispheric movements of poetry in the 19th century—our emphasis will be on 20th– and 21st-century poetry. What can poetry tell us about how the Americas have been, and still are, imagined? Further, does poetry offer a different construction of the Americas? These are some of the questions we will ask as we address topics such as New World “discovery” and conquest, settler colonialism, borderlands, enslavement and revolution, translation, and the endurance of colonial pasts in the present. We will consider the geographic divisions of the Americas—North, South, Central, and Caribbean—and the ways in which poetry probes geographies and histories of the hemisphere.

 

Not open for credit to students who took ENGL 135 with Prof. Foote in Winter 2024.

Charlotte Brontë

Individual Authors
English 139 / Prof. Stephan

If you know Jane Eyre, you may think you know Charlotte Brontë, and this course will indeed give you the chance to read (or re-read) her most famous novel and consider it through a variety of historical contexts and critical lenses. In our pursuit of Brontë expertise, we will also immerse ourselves in at least two of her three other published novels, The ProfessorShirley, and Villette, exploring her broad and eclectic range of themes and subjects, including the oppression of women and their need for greater personal, educational, and professional freedom; the problematic notion of Englishness confronted by industrial and social upheaval at home and abroad; the developing role of the woman artist; the reimagining of the fictional heroine beyond conventional ideals; and more. Looking at her juvenilia and letters, biographical material including excerpts from Elizabeth Gaskell’s groundbreaking, mythmaking Life of Charlotte Brontë, and critical responses from the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries, we will piece together a portrait of an enduring author who defies easy categorization.

Ethnic Comedy, Family Drama

Interdisciplinary Studies in American Culture
English 177.1 / Prof. Decker

We examine the intersection of family and ethnicity as staged in comedy and drama in order to consider how literary and TV expressions of laughter, love, and emotional conflict have both reinforced the nuclear family ideal and challenged it by reimagining the American family variously (as single-parent and female-headed; as multi-generational and ethnic). We ask if there’s more to comedy than how many times it makes you laugh, or if accounting for changing times and mores can somehow compensate for jokes that age badly. Situation comedies include Father Knows Best, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Fresh Off the Boat, and Black-ish; TV dramedies include Girls and Louie. Dramatic fiction and autobiography (The Godfather, The Woman Warrior, Autobiography of Malcolm X) will be paired with comic novels (Portnoy’s Complaint, Revenge of the Mooncake Vixen, The Sellout). Telenovela-inspired Chicana literature (Caramelo and So Far from God) will be read alongside TV comedy and drama adapted from Latin American telenovelas (Ugly Betty, Jane the Virgin, Queen of the South).

Imperial, Transnational, and Postcolonial Studies

Chicana/o/x Literature since el Movimiento, 1970s to Present

English M105C / Prof. Perez-Torres

Survey of Chicana/Chicano literature since 1970s, with particular emphasis on how queer and feminist activism as well as Central and South American migration have shaped 21st-century chicanidad. Oral, written, and graphic fiction, poetry, and drama by writers including John Rechy, Gloria Anzaldúa, Los Bros Hernández, Ana Castillo, and Dagoberto Gilb guide exploration of queer and feminist studies, Reagan generation, immigration debates, and emerging Latina/Latino majority.

Castaways and Containers: Modernity at Sea

Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature
English 118A / Prof. Turner

This course explores the ambitions, challenges, and failures of globalization through the lens of castaway literature, with works spanning from the eighteenth century to the present. In today’s postindustrial economies, labor has been outsourced to other parts of the world, and we depend on global shipping networks to supply us with commodities and to relieve us of our massive outputs of waste. Manufactured goods, raw materials, trash, people, and nonhuman species all circulate the globe via container ships and shipping networks that we rarely consider when we purchase something at a local Target. This course moves back and forth between early modernity and the present to consider the wastes generated by global economic circuits.

 

This course topic is eligible for credit on the Literature & the Environment minor.

Literary London

Literary Cities
English 119.1 / Prof. Makdisi

For most of the 19th century, London had a split identity: glittering districts alongside teeming slums; fashionable gentlemen and ladies living in close proximity to an underworld of rogues, vagabonds, prostitutes, conspirators, ballad singers and thieves. This course will explore literary accounts of London’s dual identity in this period and on into the 20th and 21st centuries, as well as the gradual attempt to bring to order and settle the turbulent urban space: to tame the many resorts of vagabonds, thieves, and outcasts, to “civilize” those regarded as racial others—a process that would continue following the absorption of a wave of South Asian and Afro-Caribbean immigrants in the 1950s and later, and as today’s fast-paced global metropolis continues to deal with stark disparities in wealth and income and bitter racial divisions.  Readings will include fiction, poetry and the visual arts from the 18th century through the Victorian and on to more recent work such as Sam Selvon’s Lonely Londoners, Alan Moore’s From Hell and Laura Oldfield Ford’s Savage Messiah.

 

Not open to students who have previously completed ENGL 119 under the same title and description with Professor Makdisi.

Poetry of the Americas

Literature of the Americas
English 135 / Prof. Foote

This course will explore how poetry has been integral to constructing what we now think of as “the Americas.” Beginning with the colonial period, we will develop a working poetic lineage of the Americas by exploring literary renderings of key historical moments. While we will attend to the role of poetry in history—including the recording of the Popol Vuh during crisis, and the hemispheric movements of poetry in the 19th century—our emphasis will be on 20th– and 21st-century poetry. What can poetry tell us about how the Americas have been, and still are, imagined? Further, does poetry offer a different construction of the Americas? These are some of the questions we will ask as we address topics such as New World “discovery” and conquest, settler colonialism, borderlands, enslavement and revolution, translation, and the endurance of colonial pasts in the present. We will consider the geographic divisions of the Americas—North, South, Central, and Caribbean—and the ways in which poetry probes geographies and histories of the hemisphere.

 

Not open for credit to students who took ENGL 135 with Prof. Foote in Winter 2024.

 

Genre Studies, Interdisciplinary Studies, Critical Theory

The Queer American Short Story

Studies in Queer Literatures and Cultures
English M101D / Prof. Looby

Focusing on queer (non-normative) sexualities and genders, and the short story genre (itself a nineteenth-century American invention), this course will ask what their historical relationship has been. Is there something queer, as such, about the short story? It seems to be the case that the genre offered something like a literary laboratory in which queer genders and sexualities—queer identities, but also queer places, attachments, and things—could be explored, perhaps more freely than in the novel. For example, the anonymous 1857 tale, “The Man Who Thought Himself a Woman,” depicted a person we would now call a trans woman, but at the time there was no such label; and the main character was, perhaps surprisingly for that time, treated without negative judgment. Other writers we will encounter include some famous, and some not: Whitman, Jewett, Melville, Alcott and Twain, but also Ambrose Bierce, Constance Fenimore Wilson, Octave Thanet, Mary Wilkins Freeman, Bret Harte, Alice Dunbar-Nelson, Sui Sin Far, Charles W. Chesnutt, Sadakichi Hartmann, George Parsons Lathrop, Augustus Baldwin Longstreet, and Kate Chopin. Students will do original research in digital archives to discover—and share with the rest of the class—additional short stories that may, under a broad definition, be claimed as “queer.”

 

Not open to credit to students who completed ENGL M101D with Prof. Looby in Fall 2023.

The Mystery Genre

Detective Fiction
English 115D / Prof. Allmendinger

This course traces the evolution of the mystery genre from the late 18th century to the present.  We begin with the Gothic tradition and Poe.  We continue with the development of the 19th and early 20th century English murder mystery (Holmes and Christie), and the American reaction against these writers (by hard-boiled noir authors, such as Chandler and Hammett).  In addition, we examine some permutations of the genre, including suspense (Hitchcock), horror, the police procedural, and the courtroom thriller.  A local mystery writer will also visit the class.  Requirements include attendance and participation, several unannounced quizzes, and a final 10-15 page paper.

Castaways and Containers: Modernity at Sea

Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature
English 118A / Prof. Turner

This course explores the ambitions, challenges, and failures of globalization through the lens of castaway literature, with works spanning from the eighteenth century to the present. In today’s postindustrial economies, labor has been outsourced to other parts of the world, and we depend on global shipping networks to supply us with commodities and to relieve us of our massive outputs of waste. Manufactured goods, raw materials, trash, people, and nonhuman species all circulate the globe via container ships and shipping networks that we rarely consider when we purchase something at a local Target. This course moves back and forth between early modernity and the present to consider the wastes generated by global economic circuits.

 

This course topic is eligible for credit on the Literature & the Environment minor.

Literary London

Literary Cities
English 119.1 / Prof. Makdisi

For most of the 19th century, London had a split identity: glittering districts alongside teeming slums; fashionable gentlemen and ladies living in close proximity to an underworld of rogues, vagabonds, prostitutes, conspirators, ballad singers and thieves. This course will explore literary accounts of London’s dual identity in this period and on into the 20th and 21st centuries, as well as the gradual attempt to bring to order and settle the turbulent urban space: to tame the many resorts of vagabonds, thieves, and outcasts, to “civilize” those regarded as racial others—a process that would continue following the absorption of a wave of South Asian and Afro-Caribbean immigrants in the 1950s and later, and as today’s fast-paced global metropolis continues to deal with stark disparities in wealth and income and bitter racial divisions.  Readings will include fiction, poetry and the visual arts from the 18th century through the Victorian and on to more recent work such as Sam Selvon’s Lonely Londoners, Alan Moore’s From Hell and Laura Oldfield Ford’s Savage Messiah.

 

Not open to students who have previously completed ENGL 119 under the same title and description with Professor Makdisi.

“In the Heart of the Hibernian Metropolis:” Literary Dublin

Literary Cities
English 119.2 / Prof. Jaurretche

Using the city of Dublin as our locus, students in this course will read a variety of major works written by Dublin writers. A grounding in Dublin geography, urban study, and history will prepare students to consider various dimensions of Irish experience in the twentieth-century, from its status as a country under British rule through its fight for independence, and ultimate autonomy. We’ll read writers such as Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker, William Butler Yeats, James Joyce, and more.

History of Aesthetics and Critical Theory

English 120 / Prof. Huehls

A historical survey of literary theory and aesthetic philosophy stretching from antiquity to the nineteenth century. This course covers influential theorizations of literary and aesthetic value. Authors include Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Sidney, Kant, Hegel, and Nietzsche.

 

This course qualifies as a critical theory course for students planning to apply to the departmental honors program.

Critical Approaches to Race and Ethnicity in Performance

Performance, Media, and Cultural Theory
English 127 / Prof. McMillan

This course utilizes an interdisciplinary approach to examine U.S. culture writ large, specifically “America” itself, as an imagined and often-contested idea, a trenchant source of belonging and exclusion, through the lens of performance and race. We will examine the manifestation of these ideals across a variety of contemporary textual, media-based, and embodied forms—including visual culture, film, performance art, photography, sports, music videos, fashion blogs, dance, and everyday life. In doing so, we will explore how performers enact “America” and/or the “American dream” and their relationship to it and how artists use performance as a kinesthetic medium to theatricalize race, gender, and queerness. This class will center on introducing students to some of the key writings (and debates) within performance studies, a field of study devoted to a) treating performative behavior, not just the performing arts, as the subject of serious scholarly study and b) expanding our vision of performance, treating it not only as art but as a means of understanding historical, social, and cultural processes. We will explore key questions including: how do we study that which disappears? How do we isolate the ‘strips of behavior’ that we enact daily? And what constitutes the “live”? By situating the study of American culture in an interdisciplinary context, specifically performance and race, this course encourages students to think rigorously, expansively, and creatively about the varied meanings of belonging, identity, and ‘doing’ one’s body.

This course qualifies as a critical theory course for students planning to apply to the departmental honors program.

Poetry of the Americas

Literature of the Americas
English 135 / Prof. Foote

This course will explore how poetry has been integral to constructing what we now think of as “the Americas.” Beginning with the colonial period, we will develop a working poetic lineage of the Americas by exploring literary renderings of key historical moments. While we will attend to the role of poetry in history—including the recording of the Popol Vuh during crisis, and the hemispheric movements of poetry in the 19th century—our emphasis will be on 20th– and 21st-century poetry. What can poetry tell us about how the Americas have been, and still are, imagined? Further, does poetry offer a different construction of the Americas? These are some of the questions we will ask as we address topics such as New World “discovery” and conquest, settler colonialism, borderlands, enslavement and revolution, translation, and the endurance of colonial pasts in the present. We will consider the geographic divisions of the Americas—North, South, Central, and Caribbean—and the ways in which poetry probes geographies and histories of the hemisphere.

 

Not open for credit to students who took ENGL 135 with Prof. Foote in Winter 2024.

Charlotte Brontë

Individual Authors
English 139 / Prof. Stephan

If you know Jane Eyre, you may think you know Charlotte Brontë, and this course will indeed give you the chance to read (or re-read) her most famous novel and consider it through a variety of historical contexts and critical lenses. In our pursuit of Brontë expertise, we will also immerse ourselves in at least two of her three other published novels, The ProfessorShirley, and Villette, exploring her broad and eclectic range of themes and subjects, including the oppression of women and their need for greater personal, educational, and professional freedom; the problematic notion of Englishness confronted by industrial and social upheaval at home and abroad; the developing role of the woman artist; the reimagining of the fictional heroine beyond conventional ideals; and more. Looking at her juvenilia and letters, biographical material including excerpts from Elizabeth Gaskell’s groundbreaking, mythmaking Life of Charlotte Brontë, and critical responses from the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries, we will piece together a portrait of an enduring author who defies easy categorization.

A Survey of Early Modern Drama (Without Shakespeare)

Theatrical Renaissance: Early Modern Texts and Performances
English 150C / Prof. Little

Allowing Shakespeare to our discussions of early modern English drama has really obscured the fact that the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were teeming with plays and playwrights who could more than hold their own to Shakespeare, if not, for some, surpass him. Some of these plays and creators crossed lines, we can say, that Shakespeare dared not even to approach, as he and they both responded to, shaped, and gave definition to a robust cosmopolitan and emerging global-oriented culture. More than serving as a touchstone for early modern culture so many of the plays of this period have provided some of the literal and figurative materials for what’s called (in Anglo-American culture, at least) “the modern world.” Some of the possible playwrights for our course are Christopher Marlowe, Ben Jonson, John Webster, Thomas Middleton, Elizabeth Cary, and Philip Massinger. Possible requirements for the course include class participation, a term paper, and a midterm and final exam.

19th Century Critical Prose: Beauty, Justice, and Social Change in Victorian Britain

English 164B / Prof. Bristow

This course looks at range of conservative, liberal, and radical contributions to debates about single and married women’s rights, democracy and social class, emancipation of enslaved people, emergence of environmentalism, and development of queer aesthetics. Readings are drawn from many different sources, including newspaper journalism, periodical articles, essays, poetry, memoir, and narrative fiction. Key writers include Josephine Butler, Mona Caird, Thomas Carlyle, Harriet Martineau, John Stuart Mill, William Morris, Caroline Norton, Walter Pater, Mary Prince, John Ruskin, and Oscar Wilde.

Bleak House

19th-Century Novel
English 164C / Prof. Grossman

In this course, we will explore in depth Charles Dickens’s Bleak House as a means to think about the novel as an art form and about the history of the British Victorian period, when it was published. This novel experiments dramatically with literary form. It alternates between omniscient and first-person narration. Half is written in the past tense, half in the present. This novel prompted the first known novel by an African-American woman, it traces the connections across gulfs separating the rich from the poor, and it takes on gender in Dickens’s only novelistic attempt at a first-person female narrator. The tale explores personal traumas, philosophical questions of justice, the power of bureaucratic institutions, and much more. You will learn to think critically about the literary form of the novel in this course, and we may read a bit of literary theory to help us to do so. You will also think about the historical period depicted and what it means to you. Please be aware that there is a heavy reading and writing load in this course.

American Poetry since 1945

English 173B / Prof. Stefans

The first generation of American poets to make a large impact in the post-War period include Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Lowell, Sylvia Plath and John Berryman, the latter three of whom are usually classed as “Confessional” poets. By the late 50s, several poets and movements emerged that worked as a counterbalance to writing that was, by their standards, not representative of American life and cut off from contemporary language usage. These included the Beats (the most famous of whom was Allen Ginsberg), the surrealistic New York School Poets (Frank O’Hara, John Ashbery and others) who often sought inspiration in the visual arts, and writers in the 70s involved with the emerging Black Arts, Chicano and Asian American movements (Amiri Baraka, the Los Angeles poet Wanda Coleman and others). Arising in the wake of this generation of “New Americans” were the highly experimental Language writers (Charles Bernstein, Lyn Hejinian and others) who explored the notion of a “poetics” that merged the formal and political. The last week of the course will be given over to considerations of how digital technology (starting in the 90s) has impacted how poetry is created and distributed in the present day. Weekly writing assignments (some creative) and a final paper or creative project required.

US Fiction after the Cold War

Contemporary American Fiction
English 174C / Prof. Huehls

This course examines recent trends in contemporary US fiction, focusing in particular on the past 20-25 years of literary output from US novelists. As this literary period is nascent and in constant flux, we’ll be particularly interested in establishing its thematic and formal departures from postmodernism. The class will examine the period’s critique of its postmodern predecessors and will then investigate various themes and techniques that contemporary authors engage to distinguish themselves and their literary moment. Readings include work by Colson Whitehead, Junot Diaz, Jennifer Egan, Paul Beatty, and Ling Ma.

Ethnic Comedy, Family Drama

Interdisciplinary Studies in American Culture
English 177.1 / Prof. Decker

We examine the intersection of family and ethnicity as staged in comedy and drama in order to consider how literary and TV expressions of laughter, love, and emotional conflict have both reinforced the nuclear family ideal and challenged it by reimagining the American family variously (as single-parent and female-headed; as multi-generational and ethnic). We ask if there’s more to comedy than how many times it makes you laugh, or if accounting for changing times and mores can somehow compensate for jokes that age badly. Situation comedies include Father Knows Best, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Fresh Off the Boat, and Black-ish; TV dramedies include Girls and Louie. Dramatic fiction and autobiography (The Godfather, The Woman Warrior, Autobiography of Malcolm X) will be paired with comic novels (Portnoy’s Complaint, Revenge of the Mooncake Vixen, The Sellout). Telenovela-inspired Chicana literature (Caramelo and So Far from God) will be read alongside TV comedy and drama adapted from Latin American telenovelas (Ugly Betty, Jane the Virgin, Queen of the South).

 

Creative Writing Workshops

Admission to all upper-division English Creative Writing workshops is by application ONLY. Please read and follow the posted application instructions carefully.

Students do not need to complete an “A” workshop before completing a “B” workshop, and may apply for the level they feel best suits their writing abilities. Not certain which level is most appropriate? Students may apply to both the “A” and “B” workshops in the genres of their choice, and our creative writing faculty will determine placement.

Creative Writing: Intermediate Poetry

English 136A / Prof. Wilson

Course Description:

Not open for credit to students who have previously completed ENGL 136A, 136B, or 136.

In this intermediate poetry workshop, you’ll write a new poem each week, and you can expect many of the same experiences you’d have in any other writing course: discussion of exemplary published work, group work, and peer critique.

How to Apply

Enrollment is by instructor consent. If admitted, you must attend the first class. To apply for the course, submit by e-mail attachment (in one document) three to five of your best poems. In the body of the e-mail, provide your name, UID number, major, class level, and a brief note (no more than 250 words) about your experiences with poetry, literary poets who interest and/or influence you, any other creative writing courses you may have taken (none required!), and any other creative writing courses to which you are applying this quarter.

The subject line of your message should be your last name followed by the course number (example: Frost 136A) and it should be sent to rwilson@english.ucla.edu AND creativewriting@english.ucla.edu.

SUBMISSIONS ARE DUE BY FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2024

Acceptance Notifications

Accepted students will be notified by e-mail.

Due to the volume of submissions, the professor is unable to provide feedback or suggestions regarding the students’ submitted work.

Creative Writing: Advanced Poetry

English 136B.1 / Prof. D’Aguiar

Course Description:

A weekly poetry reading and writing class conducted in the workshop format of practice-based discussions. Students write an original poem each week and read assigned published poems for discussion in class.

The course website requires students to post weekly remarks for each of the original poems set for class discussion. A portion of class time examines examples of published work. Students write one poem on an assigned topic each week and revise their work based on the class commentary.

A final portfolio of revised poems, assigned during the quarter, replaces the usual final exam.

How to Apply:

Students submit four of their original poems (Word Doc) along with two paragraphs about their recent reading of published poetry.

If you are applying to more than one workshop and have a preference, please indicate that preference so we can try to accommodate it.

The subject line of your message should be your last name followed by the course number (example: Oliver 136B.1) and it should be sent to freddaguiar@ucla.edu AND creativewriting@english.ucla.edu.

SUBMISSIONS ARE DUE BY FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2024

Acceptance Notifications

An announcement of the class list of admitted students will be posted in the Department of English main office (149 Kaplan Hall) before classes begin. Accepted students may also receive notifications via email.

Due to the volume of submissions, the professor is unable to provide feedback or suggestions regarding the students’ submitted work.

Creative Writing: Advanced Poetry

English 136B.2 / Prof. Mullen

Course Description:

In this creative writing workshop, students write original poems, a new poem each week, and post weekly drafts for class discussion. Each student also contributes constructive feedback to fellow writers, and makes an oral presentation on the work of a published poet. Criteria for grading include regular and punctual attendance and completion of assignments, participation in discussion with respectful critique of fellow writers, as well as a final portfolio of revised poems. Enrollment is by instructor consent.

How to Apply:

To apply for enrollment, please submit five poems you have written, along with a brief statement about your interest in reading and writing poetry and your previous experience in literature and creative writing courses. Please include your 9-digit UID number and e-mail address. If you are applying to more than one workshop and have a preference, please indicate that preference so we can try to accommodate it.

The subject line of your message should be your last name followed by the course number (example: Gorman 136B.2) and it should be sent to mullen@humnet.ucla.edu AND creativewriting@english.ucla.edu.

SUBMISSIONS ARE DUE BY FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2024

Acceptance notifications:

Accepted applicants will be notified by email before the first class meeting.

Due to the volume of submissions, the professor is unable to provide feedback or suggestions regarding the students’ submitted work.

Creative Writing: Intermediate Short Story

English 137A / Prof. Wang

Course Description:

Not open for credit to students who have previously completed ENGL 137A, 137B, or 137.

Are there stories you are aching to tell but you don’t feel equal to the task? This workshop is geared towards helping you identify and flex the “literary muscles” every great writer needs to develop. Through readings and in-class exercises you will be exposed to new tools, forms, devices, and narrative strategies to experiment with when creating your own stories.

You are required to write two original short stories, and give thoughtful feedback to your peers. You will be asked to bear down and pay strong attention on your own and each other’s writing.

How to Apply:

Please email me one PDF attachment of your short fiction (5- 8 pages, double-spaced) and a brief note introducing yourself. Tell me what you’re reading, the names of your favorite writers and your current creative writing habits. Also, please include your class standing and any previous workshop experience.

The subject line of your message should be your last name followed by the course number (example: Chiang 137A.1) and it should be sent to xuanjuliana@gmail.com AND creativewriting@english.ucla.edu.

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION: FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2024.

Acceptance notifications:

Accepted applicants will be notified before the first class meeting. Unfortunately, due to the volume of submissions, the professor will be unable to provide feedback or suggestions on the students’ submitted work.

Creative Writing: Advanced Short Story

English 137B / Prof. D’Aguiar

Course Description:

The compression of short stories challenges fiction forms. We read, write and discuss short stories in a workshop format to distill the various facets of the art and craft. Published exemplars of the form along with original student work comprise the class reading and discussion.

The course website requires students to post weekly remarks for each of the original stories set for class discussion. A portion of class time examines examples of published work. Students write three stories and revise them based on the class commentary.

Students submit a final portfolio of revised stories at the end of the quarter.

How to Apply:

Students send an example of their short fiction (one short story or an extract from a longer work or a few pieces of flash fiction, or a combination of these, of up to 12 pages) and a paragraph that describes their recent readings of fiction and states if they have had any creative writing class experience.

The subject line of your message should be your last name followed by the course number (example: McDonald 137B) and it should be sent to freddaguiar@ucla.edu AND creativewriting@english.ucla.edu.

SUBMISSIONS ARE DUE BY FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2024

Acceptance Notifications

Accepted applicants will be notified before the first class meeting. Unfortunately, due to the volume of submissions, the professor will be unable to provide feedback or suggestions on the students’ submitted work.

Topics in Creative Writing: Screenplay Adaptation Writing Workshop

English M138 / Prof. Stefans

Course Description:

There is no set way to adapt a novel to film: what makes a novel successful does not succeed in movies without significant alterations in the plotting, tone, beat structure, dialogue and so forth. This class involves some readings in screenplay theory and analyses of previous adaptations (Brokeback Mountain and Arrival in particular). Students will be asked to work with a previously published text which they will choose themselves and continue to adapt throughout the quarter. Grading will be based on evaluation of students’ participation, quality of writing assignments, revisions, and a portfolio of work at quarter’s end. Most sessions will be classic writing workshops; the student is expected to bring in pieces of writing he or she would like to submit to peer evaluation. The portfolio will include a screenplay “bible” that contains a well developed 10-page treatment of a film with clearly articulated plot points, A and B plots, character descriptions, and so forth. The portfolio will also include the first 10-15 pages of the screenplay itself.

IMPORTANT: Students are required to own a screenwriting application that they work on throughout the quarter (you will not be permitted to use a word processor for your assignments).

How to Apply:

To apply to this course, please send a PDF with your name, student ID number, major, year and an introduction describing your previous experience with film/screenplay analyses and creative writing. Please also include some samples of your creative writing (doesn’t have to be screenwriting) to stefans@humnet.ucla.edu.

The subject line of your message should be your last name followed by the course number (example: Gerwig M138) and it should be sent to stefans@humnet.ucla.edu AND creativewriting@english.ucla.edu.

SUBMISSIONS ARE DUE BY FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2024

Acceptance Notifications

Accepted applicants will be notified before the first class meeting. Unfortunately, due to the volume of submissions, the professor will be unable to provide feedback or suggestions on the students’ submitted work.

Senior/Capstone Seminars

Medieval Outlaws, Radicals, Dissenters

Topics in Medieval Literature
English 182A / Prof. Fisher

This course will read literature by and related to medieval outlaws, radicals, and dissenters in medieval England. From the enigmatic economic tactics of Robin Hood, to the social imaginings of the Middle English poem *Piers Plowman* and the Peasants Revolt of 1381, to the rejection of religious orthodoxy by the Lollards, from Margery Kempe’s radical weeping to Christine de Pisan’s *Book of the City of Ladies*, we will read texts in Middle English and modern English translations. The course aims to examine how outlaws and dissenting thinkers made themselves legible in medieval literature, and what was at stake in doing so. There will be two papers: a 5 page paper and a final 15- 17 page paper. There will be a Middle English quiz, a formal 10 minute presentation, and weekly reading responses or other assignments. Class participation, peer feedback, and group work is expected.

Romantic Nature(s) and Culture(s)

Topics in Romantic Literature
English 182B / Prof. Hall

The literary critic Raymond Williams persuasively identified “nature” as “perhaps the most complex word in” English. In this class, we will grapple with how Romantic literature and culture contributed to making “nature” so complex. Drawing on recent work in ecocriticism, gender studies, and Indigenous studies (among other fields), we will consider how different writers represent the relationship between nature and culture, and between human and other-than-human creatures. Authors will likely include: William and Dorothy Wordsworth, John Clare, John Keats, William Blake, Robert Wedderburn, Mary Shelley, Jane Johnston Schoolcraft, and Henry David Thoreau.

James Joyce Seminar

Topics in 20th and 21st Century Literature
English 182F / Prof. Jaurretche

In this seminar we will read Dubliners, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Ulysses, and representative sections of Finnnegans Wake. As Ulysses is the pivotal novel of the twentieth-century, the greater portion of the class will be given over to its discussion.   Our conversations will range from Joyce’s vision of the role of the artist in society, to considerations of the ways in which his work advances textual, gender, postcolonial, ecological, historical, and philosophical scholarship.  Discussion will be based upon close reading of the works, as well as materials generated by members of the class. At the end of the quarter we will introduce Finnegans Wake, with an eye to strategies for interpretation of Joyce’s most obscure text.  Please note: because of the reading load in this course, I ask that you begin reading Dubliners prior to our first session.  We will begin at our first session with a conversation about “The Sisters” and “Araby.”

Immigrant Stories: Literary and Cinematic

Topics in 20th and 21st Century American Literature
English 183C.1 / Prof. Decker

This course examines literary and cinematic representations of the American immigrant experience over the last century. To live between cultures, to experience the confounding processes of racialization and assimilation, to labor to translate one’s deepest interiority into a foreign language––all these aspects of migration make a new imaginative relationship with the world a necessity for the migrant and, as such, are fertile ground for literary exploration and cinematic expression. In this class, we study novels and movies as distinct mediums even as we attend to their affinities, such as an impulse toward narrative storytelling. Among our films, one is from the silent era (Chaplin’s The Immigrant); among our novels, one is a wordless story of sequenced, illustrated panels (Tan’s The Arrival). Other novels include Eugenides’ Middlesex, Thúy’s The Gangster We Are All Looking For, Ozeki’s A Tale for a Time Being, Herrera’s Signs Preceding the End of the World. Other movies: Coppola’s The Godfather, Nair’s The Namesake, Sayles’ Lone Star, Fukunaga’s Sin Nombre.

 

Enrollment will be restricted to American Literature & Culture seniors on first pass. English seniors may enroll during second pass, space permitting.

Carribean U.S. Latinx Poetry and Poetics

Topics in 20th and 21st Century American Literature
English 183C.2 / Prof. Foote

This is a comparative course examining Latinx Caribbean poetry from the 1960s to the present. Through poetry, we will attend to how the Caribbean archipelago extends far beyond its physical geography and into a U.S. Latinx cultural imaginary. In doing so, we will trace poetic counterhistories that critique nationalist and colonial frameworks by thinking through the ways in which history bears on the present. To do so, we will adopt various theoretical frameworks that draw from performance studies, ecopoetics, and translation studies to support our close readings practices. The class is designed to develop students’ skills and confidence in analyzing poetry in general while attending to the particular poetics of the Caribbean. Together, we will think critically about the geographies of Latinx literature—from various locales in the United States to the Caribbean itself—to ask what poetry in particular can tell us about the histories and constructions of these places. The poets include: Richard Blanco, Roque Raquel Salas Rivera, Oliver Baez Bendorf, and Jasminne Mendez among others.

 

Enrollment will be restricted to American Literature & Culture seniors on first pass. English seniors may enroll during second pass, space permitting.

The “Bad” Kids: A New Generation of Asian-American Writing

Capstone Seminar
English 184.1 / Prof. Wang

This Capstone seminar delineates and interrogates the idea of a homogeneous “Asian American Experience” by way of texts that challenge, subvert, or simply chuck that model minority myth out the window. Readings will focus on contemporary Asian American voices publishing within the last five years, writers who are introducing new perspectives, styles and subject matters to the English language literary canon. We will analyze and discuss notions of “bad” and “bad kids” in the works of Asian American writers who portray themes that include but are not limited to: race, ethnicity, boredom, sexuality, mental health, religious marginalization and rebellion. We will also look at issues of class, family, love, and friendship as portrayed by second-generation, first-generation, and one-point-five generation immigrant writers. How do their voices differ and what stylistic and thematic similarities are shared?  The course covers work by Ling Ma, Rachel Khong, Ed Park, Cathy Park Hong, Diana Khoi Nguyen, Hua Hsu and others.

 

Enrollment will be restricted to American Literature & Culture seniors on first pass. English seniors may enroll during second pass, space permitting.