Graduate Courses, Fall 2003

Times and locations of class meetings are subject to change. Consult the UF Schedule of Courses for an explanation of the class period abbreviations.

Course no. Time(s) Course title Instructor
downAML 6017 M 9-11 American Literature to 1900: Mark Twain Leverenz
downAML 6027 R E1-E3 Faulkner’s Masculinities Jones
downCRW 6130 T 6-8 Graduate Fiction Workshop Powell
downCRW 6130 T E1-E3 Graduate Fiction Workshop Ciment
downCRW 6331 M E1-E3 Graduate Poetry Workshop Wade
downCRW 6331 T 6-8 Graduate Poetry Workshop Greger
downENG 6075 T 6-8 Literary Theory Issues: (Tele)Technics (& Identities) Leavey
downENG 6137 T 9-11
Screenings: R E1-E3
Language of Film Turim
downENG 6138 W 9-11 Television Theory Beebe
downENL 6226 M 3-5 Shakespeare’s Theater of Likeness Shoaf
downENL 6246 R 3-5 British Romanticism & Judaism Page
downENL 6256 W E1-E3 Class & the Victorian Novel Gilbert
downENL 6276 R 6-8 Representations of London & the Poetics of the City Wolfreys
downLAE 6947 T 3-5 Writing Theories & Practices Dobrin
downLIT 6037 F 6-8 Confessional Poetry/Confessional Culture Bryant
downLIT 6357 W 6-8 Pleasures of Exile? A Critical Literary History of the Anglophone Caribbean Rosenberg
downLIT 6855 T E1-E3 The Newbery Medal Books Kidd
downLIT 6856 T 3-5
Screenings: M E1-E3
Renaissance Remakes: Film & the Infidelities of History Burt
downLIT 6934 M E1-E3 Black Body Politics: Theory & Praxis Ongiri
downLIT 6934 F 3-5 Commercial Culture Twitchell

AML 6017

American Literature to 1900: Mark Twain

David Leverenz

This course will discuss Mark Twain’s fiction and autobiographical writings. Most of our class time will be devoted to in-depth discussions and close readings of Twain’s major texts:

and selections from Twain’s short stories and his later writings, e.g.,

We will also consider Twain as the first “celebrity author” in the United States. How does his writing both critique and encourage the consolidation of an imperial nation-state after the Civil War? How is Twain a Southern and Western as well as a national writer? How do racial and gender tensions structure and unsettle our reading experiences of his texts? Why did his evocations of regional nostalgia and “bad boys” have such appeal? When and why is he so funny? Why was Joan of Arc his favorite among all his books? Why has Pudd’nhead Wilson leaped into the canon in the last 25 years? In his last years, why did he have a bevy of prepubescent girls whom he called his “Angelfish”? And why, at the same time, do his writings become so bleak, bitter, and cynical about what he called “the damned human race”?

We will also read some criticism analyzing issues of race and gender in several of Twain’s texts, and students will be expected to incorporate relevant criticism into their research projects.

Work required: one comparative close reading, probably in the fourth week (20%), a brief, ungraded oral presentation on textual, critical, or theoretical issues to spark class discussion, a brief prospectus for the research essay, and a 15–20 pp. research essay (80%). Depending on class interest, we may reserve the final sessions for student presentations of their research projects.

Grading will be based entirely on your writing, with one exception: missing more than one class without a valid excuse will lower borderline grades, and missing more than two will lower any grade. An “A” means I think your writing shows dissertation potential by sustaining a complex and original argument with sophistication. A “B+” means strong writing at the Masters level, usually offering original arguments and textual insights, though needing more sustained development and complexity and/or showing problems with grammar and syntax. A “B” means competent writing at the Masters level. Lower than that means some relatively basic problems with either your writing or your commitment to academic work.

Please e-mail me at Ldavid@english.ufl.edu if you have any questions, or come by my office (4362 Turlington); I’m there most days.

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AML 6027

Faulkner’s Masculinities

Anne Goodwyn Jones

In this course, we’ll be reading the often difficult fictions of William Faulkner and, through those readings, asking questions about masculinities in the 20th century U. S. South. In addition to close and careful readings of the Faulkner texts, we will read selections from the history and theory of masculinity, manhood, sexuality, and gender.

Requirements

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CRW 6130

Graduate Fiction Workshop

Padgett Powell

This course is open to MFA candidates in fiction only.

Your job is to write with force and surprise and to tender your efforts regularly and cleanly. My job is to induce criticism which will cure whatever ills are at hand without making the writer ill.

It is difficult to say what is wrong with a piece of fiction in a way that will be at once corrective and palatable to its author. A good professional editor may manage it with a piece not much flawed. I fear, after nearly twenty years trying, that it is rarely possible to do this in a direct way to a more troubled piece of writing for the forming writer then and there. I believe, though, that it is possible, in speaking ostensibly about this or that piece of writing by this or that writer, to speak prescriptively and salubriously toward the bettering of later writing, both that done by an author and by witnesses to his or her ordeal. A general sense of what constitutes good writing is supposed to obtain in the course of our piecemeal daily assaults upon the specific faults and merits of a particular piece of writing.

Objective of course clearly stated at outset: that you leave it writing better than when you entered it. That you put to paper things not said before that surprise us.

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CRW 6130

Graduate Fiction Workshop

Jill Ciment

This course is for MFA degree candidates in fiction only. Basically, it will be run in the ‘traditional’ writing workshop fashion – writer silent while his or her work is discussed. The emphasis this semester will be on structure. Both short stories and excerpts of novels are welcome. Optimally, students will turn in pieces that they have taken as far as they can on their own. The workshop should be a venue to test the waters, to try new things, to present first drafts as well as polished works, but only after the writer has struggled with it to the nth degree. The idea is for students to rigorously challenge themselves. Everyone not presenting work should take their jobs as critics and editors as seriously as they take their own writing. Attendance is important.

My job as mentor is to help each individual student develop his/her drafts into full-fledged fiction. I don’t believe my role is to make students feel better about their writing, but to give students honest criticism.

Reading will be assigned on an individual basis. Everyone, however, is required to read The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Tolstoy prior to the first class meeting.

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CRW 6331

Graduate Poetry Workshop

Sidney Wade

This is a graduate poetry workshop, in which we will focus our attention on the works of Robert Frost, Sylvia Plath, Les Murray, and Anne Carson. Each class will be devoted to the intensive examination of a poem by one of these authors, and students will be asked to write an imitation of the work under discussion. Each student will be responsible for leading the discussion on one of the poems, to be chosen at the beginning of the semester.

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CRW 6331

Graduate Poetry Workshop

Debora Greger

We read. We write. We discuss. We revise.

“One of the more outlandish achievements of Thomas Mann’s daughter, Elisabeth Mann Borgese, was to train an English setter to play piano duets with her. To this end she had a special piano made with no legs and no black notes, and with keys twice as wide as normal. A visitor wrote of one performance: ‘Mrs. Mann Borgese sat down on the floor at the left of the keyboard, and the dog took his place to the right of middle C. They performed two short duets, one by Schumann and the other by Mozart. The dog – although he had good rhythm – made a few mistakes, but she explained this by saying he’d gone for three weeks without practicing while she was away.’”

The Daily Telegraph, London

“I enjoy watching wildlife even more than gardening. For this purpose, I constructed a bird table just outside my study window. It is surrounded by wire and netting to keep out the larger birds and birds of prey, which tend to scare off their smaller brethren. This is not always sufficient to keep them away, however. Occasionally, I am compelled to take out one of the air guns that I acquired shortly after arriving in India, in order to discipline these fat, greedy trespassers. Having spent a great deal of time as a child at the Norbulingka practicing with the Thirteenth’s old air rifle, I am quite a good shot. Of course, I never kill them. My intention is only to inflict a measure of pain in order to teach them a lesson.”

– the Dalai Lama

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ENG 6075

Literary Theory Issues: (Tele)Technics (and Identities)

John Leavey

“More matter, with less art.”– Gertrude, Hamlet (2 ii)

Imagine certain books not read or assumed as defining the field. Imagine then working in the midst of things, perhaps at their foundations. That will be the task of this seminar that concerns itself with (tele)technology and the technology of identity.

Requirements

Readings (to be selected from the following)

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ENG 6137

Language of Film

Maureen Turim

Our goal is to explore the French nouvelle vague and other new wave cinemas as historical and theoretical phenomena. Jean-Luc Godard, Claude Chabrol, Jacques Rivette, Eric Rohmer, and François Truffaut are often seen as the corps of the late 1950s and 1960s New Wave, associated with the journal Cahiers du Cinema. Still other filmmakers such as Agnes Varda, Alain Resnais, and Chris Marker form another aspect of a wave of change sweeping French cinema at this time. We will examine the connection to cinéma vérité as a new documentary style that transformed image and sound gathering and interviewing practices and led to changes in fictional film representation. Europe as an evolving entity undergoing the historic division between West and East will be one context through which we will explore the emergence of New Waves, comparing films in France with those in Czechoslovakia and Poland, for example. We will look at the Japanese new wave, and the way certain films from the US might be seen as part of this movement. We will look at important theorists and critics of this work and ask how its treatment of temporal and spatial relationships might be seen in light of postmodernist theories. Another topic of concern will be the relationship of these films to the new novel, to contemporary art and music, and to theater.

Students will be assigned topics for oral presentation and take turns posting weekly reports on the readings and films a web site for the class. Two seminar papers are assigned; the topics may be either further discussion of texts introduced in class, as suggested by questions I will offer you or a topic agreed upon in advance that concerns a psychoanalytical approach to the student’s area of research. The first paper should be 8–10 pages, the second 12–15 pages. I am looking for careful analysis and original thought presented in well-written essays.

Books available at Goerings:

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ENG 6138

Television Theory

Roger Beebe

This course will focus primarily on developing a theoretical understanding of U.S. television as a specific form of mediation. The course will begin with a general introduction to the primary concepts in television theory before turning to a brief history of the emergence of television both in domestic and in public spaces. We will then take on the issue of reception and the various practices – both authorized and unauthorized – of actual viewers. We will then look at how television fits into the greater cultural apparatus of postmodernism. Finally, we will explore alternatives to television in video art and on the periphery of the broadcast media.

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ENL 6226

Shakespeare’s Theater of Likeness

Al Shoaf

We will read approximately half the corpus plus the narrative poems and the sonnets to study the problematic of imitation as rhetorical and psychological as well as religious and political crux in Shakespeare’s poetics. Students will be responsible for one in-class presentation and one term-paper.

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ENL 6246

British Romanticism and Judaism

Judith W. Page

The subject of Romanticism and Judaism covers mostly uncharted territory, although scholars have recently begun to work in this area. The intersection of Romanticism and Judaism is centrally important to the period because the increasing visibility of Jews in British culture coincides with the revolutionary movements and the political struggles that frame the period, including questions of citizenship, nationhood, and modernity.

This course will focus on several major topics:

  1. the historical, cultural, and religious context of Jews, Judaism, and anti-Semitism in Britain from approximately 1770–1830;
  2. the representation of Jews and Judaism in various texts and genres and the influence of Romantic critical theory on that representation;
  3. Anglo-Jewish writing of the period;
  4. the appropriation and interpretation of the Hebrew Bible in Romantic literature;
  5. and the connection between Romanticism and Judaism as seen in the work of major 20th century theorists and literary critics (Abrams, Bloom, Hartman, and Trilling).

In studying these topics, we will consider such issues as anti- and philo-Semitism, anti-Semitic myths such as the blood libel, the relationship between Christian theology and anti-Semitism, the Anglo-Jewish Enlightenment or haskalah (was there one?), the influence of Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice on British culture, the myth of the Wandering Jew and the reality of Jewish street peddlers, cartoons and caricatures by such artists as Hogarth, Rowlandson, and Gillray, and the changing relationships between Jews and the larger culture during this period.

Primary readings will include (subject to minor changes and availability of texts):

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ENL 6256

Class and the Victorian Novel

Pamela Gilbert

Class identities as we understand them today came to exist, in large part, in the late eighteenth century and early Victorian period. It is a period obsessed both with the possibility of abolishing differences of caste and class and with the attempt to fix them as essential identity categories. This course will be an opportunity to think about class in the Victorian period, and earlier systems underlying and informing it. We will focus on the novel as the privileged literary locus of the elaboration of middle class subjectivity and also as a site wherein the role of class in a newly mobile, industrial and imperial society was explored. We will read a number of Victorian novels and other texts from the period, and will also spend time reading and thinking about works which interrogate and historicize our principal terms.

Reading may include work by some of the following, for example:

Requirements include regular attendance and participation, eight short (1–2 page) responses to the reading, posted to the class email list, substantial contributions to discussion, one full length paper (approx. 20–25 pages), and one turn preparing three discussion questions.

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ENL 6276

Representations of London and the Poetics of the City

Julian Wolfreys

This course will examine the ways in which writers in the twentieth century respond to the demands that London, its spaces, places, and buildings imposes on them in their writing. We will be considering how narrative maps the city, how landscape is translated into a topographics and an architexture, and how the act of writing the city demands a rhetoric of apprehending London not so much as a place, but as that which takes place. We will be asking questions of the texts which we will read such as: in what ways does the city impose itself onto the shape of the novel or poem? What is the relationship of the past to the present, and in what ways does the past refigure or disfigure the present? In what ways is the notion of representation inadequate to the matter of figuring the city? How does one address and speak of that which is ineffable? To what extent does the city resist being read? Does London figure for its writers the site of an obsessive desire? What is the relationship between humour, violence, and melancholia? Is there a definable London character? Taking as a starting point the notion that the city is configured endlessly through writerly deformations, acts of catachresis, and constant processes of becoming, we will consider the relation between materiality, modernity, mapping and memory. The emphasis in the course will not be on the realist or the mimetic, but on the performative, the excessive, the visionary and the apocalyptic.

The course will read across the century, drawing on 6–7 principal texts. Writers who may be considered (depending on availability) include

It is expected that all texts should be read in the summer prior to the course. You should contact me for the final details of the reading list. It may be necessary to purchase a couple of texts via the internet as they are only published in Great Britain.

In addition, there will be a photocopy packet of secondary and theoretical sources, along with a couple of theoretical texts. There will also be film screenings.

Course requirements: one 25–30pp research paper; one oral presentation

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LAE 6947

Writing Theories and Practices

Sid Dobrin

Course description not available at this time.

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LIT 6037

Confessional Poetry/Confessional Culture

Marsha Bryant

What do we mean when we label a text “confessional”? The word has a history of ambiguous and even contradictory meanings that blur boundaries between private and public, shame and exhibitionism. For example, “Confess” can mean...

This course will grapple with these meanings as we explore American confessional poets in three contexts:

  1. as a postmodern literary movement;
  2. as an emergence from postwar culture;
  3. as a model for contemporary confessional culture.

Our texts will include poetry by Robert Lowell, Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath, John Berryman, and Ted Hughes; Kaysen’s recent memoir Girl, Interrupted; talk shows; and a course packet. Assignments will include an ad analysis, a conference paper proposal, a seminar paper, and a teaching report.

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LIT 6357

Pleasures of Exile? A Critical Literary History of the Anglophone Caribbean

Leah Rosenberg

In Pleasures of Exile, his 1960 analysis of anglophone Caribbean culture, George Lamming asserted that the emergence of “a dozen or so novelists in the British Caribbean... between 1948 and 1958” was one of the three most important historical developments in the region, the other two being “the discovery,” and the abolition of slavery and the subsequent importation of indentured labor. These new writers, he asserted, invented anglophone Caribbean literature “without any previous native tradition to draw on.” This is a startling claim given the fact that short stories, novels, and poetry written by anglophone Caribbeans were published by local newspapers and by metropolitan presses since the late 19th century. The goal of this course is to investigate canon formation in the anglophone Caribbean and in so doing to place Lamming’s claims in the context of a history of debates over the definition and purpose of literature in the Caribbean. In addition to these debates, we will examine a broad variety of canonical and non-canonical literary texts as well as theoretical writings on canon formation outside of the Caribbean. Writers will probably include:

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LIT 6855

The Newbery Medal Books

Kenneth Kidd

On June 21, 1921, publisher Frederic G. Melcher proposed to the American Library Association that a medal be given for the most distinguished children’s book of the year, suggesting that it be named in honor of the eighteenth-century bookseller, John Newbery. Since 1922, the Newbery Medal has been awarded annually to books of assorted themes, genres, narrative complexities, and ideological tendencies. The first such award in the world, the Medal has had a profound impact on the field of children’s literature, on K-12 education, and on children’s publishing. Strangely, there’s been almost no research on the Newbery canon and its discontents. Hence this course, which takes up that canon on its own and vis-à-vis both the larger scene of twentieth century writing for children and the even larger scene of “cultural production.” The Newbery books emerged out of the early twentieth-century heyday of children’s book publishing, selling, and reviewing. We’ll thus address the tension between newer, mass-market methods of book distribution and a more genteel and singular sense of literature. Fundamental to our concerns will be debates about canonicity, culture, cultural capital, modernity, identity politics, and the public sphere. We’ll examine the professionalization of library science as well as teaching, with particular attention to the development of the literary curriculum in public schools (about which little has been written). Critics have accused the American Library Association of racist book-award practices, and we’ll address those accusations in light of the segregationist trajectories of children’s literature. We’ll also consider Jack Zipes’ recent argument that the so-called culture industry and corporate tyranny have effected a “homogenization” of children’s literature.

We’ll read at least two, possibly three Medal books per week. A complete (and chronological) list of the Newbery Medal Winners and Honor Books can be found at the website of the American Library Association: http://www.ala.org/alsc/newbpast.html. Critical readings will include selections from

Required are a short essay, an oral presentation, and the usual seminar paper, as well as regular attendance and participation. There will be no exams.

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LIT 6856

Renaissance Remakes: Film and the Infidelities of History

Richard Burt

In this seminar, we will examine a number of films made in the U.K., U.S., France, Italy, and Spain, mostly from the late twentieth century, that “remake” the Renaissance. The aim is to triangulate these films in relation to academic remakes of the Renaissance, on the one hand, and, depending on the film, in relation to primary historical documents, literary and artistic works, on the other. As we cover debates over historical fidelity and authenticity among historians and over adaptation among literary and film critics as well as debates over gender and sexuality among art historians and literary critics, we will examine academic and cinematic dialectically in light of each other, attending to the move from national to post-national cinemas and the digitalization of historical documents and film. We will also consider the cinematic remake process as a paradigm for literary and historical adaptation, how the medium of film represents the process of literary composition or painting, and how cinema constitute the unconscious academic remakes of the Renaissance.

Films will include The Return of Martin Guerre and Sommersby, The Devils, Artemisia, The Borgias, Dangerous Beauty, Elizabeth, The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, Mary, Queen of Scots, The Baby of Macon, Marquise, Le roi danse, Vatel, To Kill a King, The Rise of Louis XIV, Mad Love, Queen Margot, among others.

In addition to Xeroxed essays, texts will include Natalie Davis, The Return of Martin Guerre; selections from Catherine Fowler, ed., The European Cinema Reader; Guerrilla Girls, Guerrilla Girls’ Bedside Companion to the History of Western Art; Ann Rosalind Jones and Margaret Rosenthal, eds. and trans. Veronica Franco: Poems and Selected Letters; Janet Lewis, The Wife of Martin Guerre; Lucy Mazdon, Encore Hollywood: Remaking French Cinema; Margaret Rosenthal, The Honest Courtesan.

For more information, see the course WWW site, at <http://www.clas.ufl.edu/~rburt/RenaissanceRemakes/>.

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LIT 6934

Black Body Politics: Theory and Practice

Amy Abugo Ongiri

This class will examine the current cultural and theoretical discourse relating to the production and consumption of the Black body in literature, film and theory.

We will consider the politics of representation in relationship to questions of masculinity, violence, the Black female body as spectacle, the body in relationship to constructions of urbanity, and the Black body in a transnational economy. Texts examined might include The Color Purple (film and novel), Gayl Jones’ Corregidora and Eva’s Man, Julie Dash’s Illusions and Daughters of the Dust, Fatima El Tayeb and Angelina Maccarone’s Everything Will Be Fine, Ngozi Onwurah’s The Body Beautiful and Coffee Colored Children, Toni Morrison’s Beloved, Branwen Okpako’s Dirt Eater, Raoul Peck’s Profit and Nothing But and Lumumba, and Stephanie Black’s Life and Debt. The course will address recent theoretical positions articulated in African American, Literary, and Film Studies by scholars such as Saidiya Hartman, Phillip Brian Harper, Hamid Naficy, Elizabeth Alexander, Wahneema Lubiano, Kimberle Williams Crenshaw and Paul Gilroy.

Requirements:

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LIT 6934

Commercial Culture

James Twitchell

While the pre-Information-Age narratives used to cluster around abstract concepts like nationalism, ancestry, history, art, and afterlife, the dominant modern stories cluster around such stuff as cigarettes, sugar water, beer, and car tires. Think of it: Even the simplest things like meat patties, coffee, denim, sneakers, gasoline, water, credit cards, television networks, batteries, and airplanes have deep drum-rolling stories behind them. The stories are linked into cycles, modern sagas, some lasting for generations, some changing every few months. These stories are called brands and they are, like it or not, the culture that we truly share.

Unlike most other stories, modern brands are not written down. They appear in advertising, in packaging, in logos, in slogans and in other seeming ephemera. They are just “out there” in the cultural ether, social constructions without much tell-tale debris. We know them, yes, but we’re not sure how. In this course we study the history and culture of branding.

Some Books