Graduate Course Offerings

Tentative 2017-2018 Courses 

Note: English 6999 (Master's Research Essay) is available every semester, though students are encouraged to take this course in the Spring semester.

FALL 2017

English 7003: Trends in Contemporary Critical Theory (required course) (Nancy Pedri, Wednesdays, 1 - 4 pm)

Book and Glasses

 

 

 

 

 

This course explores trends in contemporary literary theory as they have developed over the past three or so decades. A critical overview of major schools of thought will guide discussions about the role of theory in critical reading practices. Significant attention will be given to how the work of contemporary theorists can inform and enrich the reading of literature, making the practical application of theory central to the course.

English 7063: The Coen Brothers: American Pasticheurs (Andrew Loman, Tuesdays, 10 am - 1 pm)

Bowling Alley

“Pasticheurs”: an inflated term that the Coens would certainly pop. But insofar as pastiche is, in Richard Dyer’s words, art “that imitates other art in such a way as to make consciousness of this fact central to its meaning and affect,” the term is plainly apt.

In this course we’ll explore the poetics of imitation in the Coens’ films. We’ll situate these films in relation to other recent pastiches (e.g., Todd Haynes’ Far from Heaven; Gus Van Sant’s Psycho). And we’ll explore varieties of pastiche in the Coens’ films, from the generic pastiche of the neo-noirs Blood Simple and The Man Who Wasn’t There to the homages to Capra and Sturges in The Hudsucker Proxy and O Brother Where Art Thou? We’ll relate pastiche to adaptation by discussing No Country for Old Men and True Grit. We’ll explore the relationship between the Coens’ films and imitations of them like Zhang Yimou’s A Woman, a Gun, and a Noodle Shop and the FX series Fargo.

The course will require students to watch at least two films a week or (in the case of the literary adaptations) watch a film and read the novel it’s based on. In addition to these requirements, students will be expected to read selected works of theory and criticism in preparation for the weekly seminars.

English 7086: Women, Wandering, Writing: Worldly Women and Imaginative Geographies (Valerie Legge, Thursdays, 10 am - 1 pm)


Horseback Rider and MountainThis course will examine a number of travel narratives written about remote regions of Canada and North America by unusually intrepid women: Frances Rooney's Working Light: The Wandering Life of Photographer Edith S. Watson, Grace Gallatin Seton-Thompson’s A Woman Tenderfoot, Elizabeth Taylor’s The Far Islands and Other Cold Places, Mary Schaeffer’s A Hunter of Peace and Clara Vyvyan’s The Ladies, the Gwich’in and the Rat. These narratives may be viewed as “worldly texts” constructed by experienced, well-travelled women. Often these women presented the places visited as “exotic geographies" (Edward Said, Culture and Imperialism). In Orientalism Said suggests that literature (especially travel literature) contributes to the formation of imperial attitudes and helps empires rule distant lands and unruly people: “From travelers' tales ... colonies were created and ethnocentric perspectives secured” (117). This was accomplished in a variety of ways: through the use of rhetorical figures and through the imposition of western beliefs and attitudes. Central to Said's argument is the notion that stories about strange regions of the world often enabled writers to assert their own sense of cultural superiority and to privilege their own cultures and histories.

English 7090: Creative Writing: Fiction (Lisa Moore, Thursdays, 7 - 10 pm)

WINTER 2018

English 7003: Trends in Contemporary Critical Theory (required course) (Nancy Pedri, Tuesdays 10 am - 1 pm)

Books and Glasses

This course explores trends in contemporary literary theory as they have developed over the past three or so decades. A critical overview of major schools of thought will guide discussions about the role of theory in critical reading practices. Significant attention will be given to how the work of contemporary theorists can inform and enrich the reading of literature, making the practical application of theory central to the course.

ENGL 7150: Writers, Readers, Publishers, and the Evolution of Authorship (Agnes Juhasz-Ormsby, Wednesdays 10 am - 1 pm)

Assemble of Foules Woodcut

This course explores how concepts of authorship have changed from the medieval period up to the digital age. We will examine how various economic and social influences have redefined the concept of the author and authorial activity throughout the centuries. These influences also include the agents of book production (writers, readers, printers, publishers, and patrons) and technological changes (the printing press, industrialization, and digital technology).

Image: Geoffrey Chaucer, Parliament of Fowls, London: Wynkyn de Worde, 1530

English 7069: Public Intellectuals in Canada (Joel Deshaye, Thursdays 1 - 4 pm)

Microphone

This course is about not only developing as a thinker but also addressing others as an “intellectual,” and it focuses on Canadians who have taken on that role from the rise of television in the 1950s and the subsequent expansion of the educated public, through the conservative media's growing interest in public intellectuals in the 1990s, to the internet age and the emerging changes to concepts of privacy and publicity today. In the context of ongoing debates about the purposes and outcomes of graduate education, this course asks students to reflect on how they can use modern media and three key forms—the essay, the talk, and the blog—to critique and contribute to society as intellectuals inside and outside of academe.

English 7100: Love and Power / Sex and Violence in Medieval Romance (William Schipper, Wednesdays 2 - 5 pm)

Medieval Curtains

This course will examine some aspects of how Sir Thomas Malory portrays and uses central notions of Love/Sex, and Power/Violence in his Morte Darthur. His book, completed about 1475, near the end of the War of the Roses, is replete with such motifs: knights of the Round Table who kill innocent maidens for no apparent reason, violent combat on massive horses with predictable results, or seductive women with nothing but evil intentions. There is one famous seduction scene (among many) featuring Lancelot, who thinks he is about to commit adultery with Queen Guenevere, but is really about to sleep with a woman besotted with Lancelot called Elaine (see the image above). The result of this union is Galahad, the most perfect knight, who is one of only three to attain the Holy Grail. Much of this turmoil of activity (war, battle, infidelity, betrayal) is played out against a background that begins with a scene in which the king, lusting after the wife of one of his dukes, becomes, in the satisfaction of his lust, the father of King Arthur. And when Arthur becomes king he is faced with civil war and insurrection.

The main text will be Sir Thomas Malory, The Morte Darthur, ed. Helen Cooper (Oxford). But we will also examine scenes in other medieval texts, such as Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Chaucer’s “Wife of Bath’s Tale” (his only Arthurian tale). The sole surviving manuscript of Malory has no illustrations to speak of, but the scribes, probably following an exemplar that was produced under the supervision of Malory himself, use ink colours in a way that emphasize some of the more violent scenes in the book.

Image source: Le livre de Lancelot du Lac (France, ca. 1401-1425); Paris, Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal, MS 3480. p. 33

English 7201: Creative Writing: Poetry (Mary Dalton, Mondays 1 - 4 pm)

Medieval Flying Object

English 7201 is designed to develop the poetry-writing skills of those who have demonstrated some level of achievement in writing poetry thus far, as well as of those who are now embarking upon the writing of poems. A command of craft is fostered through the creation and revision of a set of poems in particular forms. The editing of others' poems is an important component of the seminar process.

SPRING 2018

TBA

List of past graduate courses

Contact

Department of English

230 Elizabeth Ave

St. John's, NL A1B 3X9 CANADA

Tel: (709) 864-2530

Fax: (709) 864-2552

becomestudent@mun.ca