"To men I shall speak wisdom where none speak a word on earth; though sons of land-dwellers now eagerly seek after my tracks, I sometimes hide my path from everyone." Riddle 94 of the Exeter Book. In following the dark tracks of the Old English writers who left their almost unrecognizable English words on tenth-century vellum, we will have to acquire skills and tools. This course will ask you to learn the Old English language, but translations will also be provided for most of the texts as a guide only. With these in hand, we will explore the dark world of Anglo-Saxon writing for its illuminations, but our emphasis will be on loss, love, hardship, riddle, wisdom, and the spiritual and magical powers of writing in a culture that stood on the cusp of orality and literacy. Texts: King Alfred, The Chronicles, Aelfric's "Preface to Genesis," "The Wanderer," The Seafarer," "The Wife's Lament," "Wulf and Eadwacer," "Gnomes," "Enigmas," "The Battle of Maldon." Applicable English Cluster: Medieval Studies. Fulfills the pre-1800 requirement for the major.
Medieval Drama is essentially a course in religious comedy - bawdy, pious, threatening, salvific comedy. The course begins with a brief look at Christian liturgical drama, then traces the origins of vernacular folk drama through the mystery cycles to the humanistic writers and Tudor drama of the 16th century. We will read two Corpus Christi cycles (the York and N-Town plays), along with excerpts from others (Chester and Towneley, particularly the Wakefield master), three saints and conversion plays, a couple of morality plays, some examples of humanistic drama, and conclude with Marlowe's Dr. Faustus and/or Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus. We will examine the plays in terms of their stagecraft, their message and performative values, their comic genius, and their cultural significance. Some attention will be devoted to iconography and parallels of representation within the plays and other literary and fine arts. We will make a day trip to Toronto later in the semester to see a couple of productions at the Center for Medieval Studies. Texts: David Bevington, Medieval Drama; Clifford Davidson, York Corpus Christi Plays; Douglas Sugarno, The N-Town Plays; Richard Emmerson, Approaches to Teaching Medieval Engish Drama; Russell Peck, Heroic Women from the Old Testament in Middle English Verse; Saint Bonaventura, The Mind's Journey to God; and the Middle English Pearl. Applicable English Clusters: Medieval Studies; Plays, Playwrights, and Theater. May be used to fulfill the pre-1800 requirement for the English major.
The course will explore the full range of Shakespeare's theater, including history plays, comedy, tragedy, and romance. We will be approaching the plays from many angles, looking at their extravagant language, the movement and structure of their plots, their invention of complex, conflicted human psyches, their self-conscious theatricality, as well as their ways of joining together play and earnest, tragic and comic tonalties. Weíll be probing the plays' fascination with madness and delusion, their use of ghosts, witchcraft, and magic, and their penetrating explorations of human history and politics. Lectures will consider Shakespeare both in his own time and in ours, in order to understand why his work still speaks to us so powerfully, why modern writers and directors often cannot get Shakespeare out of their heads. The reading list will include Romeo and Juliet, Richard II, Twelfth Night, The Merchant of Venice, Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Coriolanus, Antony and Cleopatra, and The Winter's Tale. Course Work: two shorter and one longer essay and a final examination. Also fulfills pre-1800 requirement for the English major. Applicable English Clusters: Great Books, Great Authors; Plays, Playwrights, and Theater.
This course surveys the emergence of American literary culture, with a special emphasis on the relationship between print and other forms of media. We will consider a broad range of American writing from this period, from the jeremiads of English Puritan reformers to the literature of the American revolution. Our literary readings will range from sermons and captivity narratives to canonical classics like Franklin's Autobiography, yet along the way, we will also consider a wide range of media, from epitaphs, broadsides, and songs to more ephemeral forms of communication like rumors and gossip, natural soundscapes, and animal noises. Topics of discussion will include oral culture, magic and sorcery, cross-cultural interaction, and political revolution.
This course examines the problem of possession, romantic and economic, in the nineteenth-century British novel. What is the connection between marriage and romance with other forms of possession such as land, money, or things, in the nineteenth-century British novel? In addressing this question, we will discuss how narrative devices and genres like the marriage-plot or national tale offer vehicles for novelists such as Walter Scott, Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Charles Dickens, and George Eliot to explore the linkages between romance, sexuality, property, and capitalism. Other key topics for the class will include (but not be limited to) nationalism, the woman question and the problem of separate spheres, changes in class structure, and British imperialism. Applicable English Cluster: Novels.
From orphans and the working poor to prostitutes and “homosexuals,” Victorian literature is filled with representations of individuals who were either marginalized within or neglected by British middle-class society. This course examines novels, prose, and poetry from the Victorian period that depicted such individuals and, in the process, engaged contemporary political debates on sexuality, education, women’s rights, and industrialism (to name a few). The course will explore how Victorians saw their own society as something that needed to be “formed” or “reformed,” both through governmental social reforms and by reshaping individual moral character. Authors to be studied include Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Elizabeth Gaskell, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, John Ruskin, Matthew Arnold, Oscar Wilde, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Christina Rossetti, and Alfred Lord Tennyson.
The course covers the period roughly between World War I and World War II, dealing with the rich creativity we associate with Modernism. We will read and discuss such writers as Eliot, Faulkner, Hemingway, Dos Passos, Steinbeck, etc., studying not only the works but some of the major trends in art, culture, and knowledge that make the modern period so important and exciting. The method will be a combination of close reading, lecture, and discussion with (probably) one short paper and one longish paper. Not open to freshmen. Applicable English Clusters: American and African American Studies; Modern and Contemporary Literature.
In this class we will read widely in the writings by these three crucial figures in American nineteenth-century literature. We will relate their work to their cultural and historical moment, and also consider how they become founding figures both in an American literary and poetic tradition and also in the transatlantic development of modernism.
A study and exploration of the major movements of twentieth-century drama—naturalism, expressionism, surrealism, epic theater, absurdism. Possible author list: Anton Chekhov, Eugene O'Neill, Tennessee Williams, Bertolt Brecht, Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter, Edward Albee, David Mamet, Caryl Churchill, August Wilson, Sam Shepard, Paula Vogel, Suzan-Lori Parks, Yasmina Reza.
This course will study the major discourses of contemporary literary and cultural theory, including Marxism, psychoanalysis, deconstruction, gender and race studies, queer theory, new historicism, post-colonial criticism, and cultural studies. The goal will be not only to become conversant in these discourses, but also to explore a number of them in great depth. Course requirements: attendance and three five-page papers.
What is an author? This course begins with the premise that the answer to this question is anything but self- evident. How does the literary ideal of the author as solitary genius—as sole creator of a unique, original work of art—correspond to the actual practices of ordinary writers? And, for that matter, how does it correspond to the actual practice of even the great authors (Shakespeare, for example) it purportedly describes? Was such an ideal ever anything but a myth? What role do editors play in the practice of authorship? When does an editor count as a co-author? How do market factors and modes of publication affect what and how an author writes? How has our understanding of authorship changed in a world of virtual authors and virtual texts? How do we make sense of the journalistic scandals (involving authors, editors, and sources) that seem to have become so prevalent today? What happens when readers become authors, as in zines? For some time now, debates have raged, in both the academy and the popular media, about the nature and practice of authorship. Looking at examples drawn from both literature and journalism, this class will examine a number of sites of these debates: collaborative authorship; ghost writing; editorial theory and practice; forgeries and hoaxes; plagiarism; cult or celebrity authorship; pulp fiction, best-sellerdom, and popular authorship; authorial practices in media other than print (film, electronic and digital media, etc.); vanity presses and on-demand publishing; copyright law; readership and reception. Students will have the opportunity to do original research and pursue case studies of their own choosing.
This course uses literature to analyze social behavior and discursive practice, specifically processes of inclusion and exclusion. How communities are constructed, around what signs and sets of practices, and the role that exclusion plays in defining a community are topics we will explore. What does it mean to belong? To be excluded? And just how stable are these categories? Literature from a variety of traditions, historical periods, and genres will provide examples, case histories, and a vocabulary with which such social and discursive phenomena can be discussed. Texts include Beowulf, John Gardner's Grendel, Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, Seamus Heaney's The Cure at Troy, Amin Maalouf's In the Name of Identity, Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye, Peter Shaffer's Equus, Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own, Richard Wright's Black Boy, and more.
Beginning with a discussion of what race can signify, this course will examine representations of racialized subjects in nineteenth- and twentieth-century American literature. We will focus on the relationship between racial constructions and the development of a national identity through a broad collection of works including novels, memoirs, essays, films and documents issued by the U.S. government. Students will explore the nature of racialized identity, the possibilities of passing and hybridity, definitions of citizenship, the relationship between class and race, opposing constructions of whiteness and blackness and the "browning" of America. We will conclude the course by expanding our discussion of race to include other forms of social difference, including those of language, culture, religious practice, education and generational values to understand how race operates beyond simplistic designations of color.
English 452: Theater in England will be conducted in London from Tuesday, December 29, 2009, through Saturday, January 9, 2010. Students should arrive in London no later than the evening of December 28. They may return on Sunday, January 10. We will see approximately 18 plays. We will not know what the full spate for-the coming year will be until next November, but you can be certain that we will be seeing the best of what's available in the world's theater Mecca. Last year we saw Patrick Stewart and David Tennant in Hamlet, Derek Jacobi in Twelfth Night, Michael Gambon and David Bradley in No Man's Land, Ralph Fiennes and Clare Higgins in Oedipus, and such award winning productions as August: Osage County, Nick Stafford's War Horse, and La Cage aux Folies. We saw several world premieres such as David Hare's Gethsemane, Marina Carr's The Cordelia Dream, Zorro, the Musical, and Emma Rice's Don John, along with brilliant productions of Sondheim's A Little Night Music, T.S.Eliot's rarely performed Family Reunion, Neil LaBute's In a Dark Dark House, and Stephen Daldry's Billy Elliot. Many in the group sat with the choir at Westminster Abbey to hear the Collegiate Singers perform Tomas Luis de Victoria's Missa 0 magnum mysterium. I have no reason to believe that this coming year will be any less rich than this past season. You can go online to see what we have done in the previous seventeen years. One thing for sure: We will see a terrific lot of theater and get to know London like an old friend. There will be ample time to visit such museums as the National Gallery, the old and new Tate Galleries, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the British Museum, the Royal Academy of Art, the Courtauld Institute, the London Museum, the Museum of Natural History, and historical sites like the Tower, Dickens' House, Parliament, and the Inns of Court. You can witness the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, explore Covent Garden, Camden Town, the antique shops of lslington or Portobello Market, and go to Harrods. And you will be able to sample the atmosphere of many a historic pub, like the Sherlock Holmes. You might also want to hear evensong at St. Paul's Cathedral and/or Westminster Abbey and attend free lunchtime concerts at St. Martin-in-the-Fields. We will stay at the Harlingford Hotel, 61-63 Cartwright Gardens, a couple of blocks from the British Museum and the new British Library. The course is restricted to 23 students and carries four credits. The fee will be $2500.00, which includes tickets to all plays and housing. Students must obtain passports and make their own travel arrangements to and from London. If you wish to see what students have seen on previous years go the Web site for the course where you can investigate various aspects of the seminar—syllabuses from 1992 to the present, student journals, information about the Harlingford Hotel, in Bloomsbury, where we always stay, the London Theatre scene in general. You may obtain the application form from the English Department or Professor Peck. You need permission of the instructor to register. See Professor Russell Peck (phone 275-0110 or 473-7354).
This course will explore the developments in world cinema—industrial, technological, social and political—in the second half of the sound period (1959 to the present). What brought about the collapse of the Hollywood studio system? What's new about the French New Wave? What do we mean by "Third Cinema"? How do different national cinemas influence each other? Requirements: mandatory weekly screenings, participation in class discussions, weekly film journals, and three take-home exams.
The course will deal with a selection of films directed (and some also written) by the highly regarded contemporary director, Martin Scorsese. We will proceed in roughly chronological order, examining the growth and development of his career, his characteristic manner and matter, his successes and failures. We will also discuss the concept of the auteur as it applies to his work. Applicable English cluster: Media, Culture, and Communication.
The course examines diasporic Chinese cinemas from the People's Republic of China (PRC), the Republic of China on Taiwan (ROC), Hong Kong (HK), and perhaps even the U.S. and Canada, from the 1960s to the present. We will pay special attention to the migrations of individuals (actors, actresses, directors, cinematographers, and others) and to texts (the films and in some cases television programs). We will cover a wide variety of genres, including epic, martial arts, action, thriller, comedy, and drama. The majority of our films are in Mandarin Chinese and all are subtitled in English. Some experience with film studies, especially world cinema, and Chinese history will be helpful but not required. Outside screenings of films are required. Applicable English cluster: Media, Culture, and Communication. Not open to students who took Eng 267, Topics in Media Studies: Chinese Cinemas, in fall 2004.
Recently the large-scale dissemination of erotic and pornographic literature and film has begun to affect the majority of the population in the West. There are two main issues in the course: 1) the history of the changing genres of erotica and the social changes taking place because of its wide dissemination; and 2) the proposition that if societies were different little harm and much good would come from the inclusion of erotica in people's reading and viewing habits: erotic materials, by removing sex from the realm of the forbidden and viewing it as a species of everyday life, can contribute to the education of both sexes and people of all sexual tastes and preferences. Readings in the course will concentrate on classical, early modern, enlightenment, and contemporary erotica, with attention to the contemporary debates about pornography begun by the activism of MacKinnon and Dworkin. Of particular interest in this critique is the claim that erotic materials encourage the practice of violence against women and children, and help to promote a culture dependent on the use of force and violence. The course reviews the current debate on pornography and sexually explicit language as a context for viewing the history of the more familiar erotic materials from classical times, to the Renaissance and 18th century, to D.H.Lawrence, and Erica Jong. Film showings Thursday evenings 7-10.
This new workshop will offer students a chance to write creatively in the genres of fiction and creative nonfiction. As we explore the murky border that separates the two, we'll be looking for qualities that are shared by both genres, and we'll examine the ways their defining differences are reshaped in inventive prose. In particular, we'll focus on the imaginative representation of real places in fiction, travel literature, and autobiography. The reading list will include a diverse group of writers, including Thoreau, Barry Lopez, Bruce Chatwin, James Joyce, Isak Dinesen, Italo Calvino, and Annie Dillard.
Advanced creative writing workshop in poetry. Work by various contemporary poets will provide the framework for explorations into technique and poetic narrative. Students' poems will be discussed weekly. Students will be expected to do extensive reading and research on their own and to keep a poetic journal. Assignments will be given, but there is a lot of latitude for students who wish to design a poetic project or work on a series. Permission of instructor is required (submit 3-5 typed poems, preferably before the first class). Applicable English Cluster: Creative Writing.
RESEARCH SEMINAR. This course–part of the Kauffman Entrepreneurial Program–will address the popularity of the outlaw hero Robin Hood within the popular culture of the English-speaking world during the last half millennium and more. We will start by reading the earliest materials, and establishing a usable, repeated pattern for the noble outlaw’s identity. We will also read secondary materials on media history (ballads, wood cuts, performance art, pulp fiction, tabloid biographies, antiquarian history, folklore, children’s literature, and modern media like film, TV, and the internet), justice and law-breaking, the nature of male bonding, and more. About a month into the course we will concentrate our attention on the appropriation of Robin Hood by American popular arts in the decades from 1880-1920, including children’s books, stage musicals, and silent cinema. This part of the course will culminate with students’ participation in the Seventh International Congress on Robin Hood Studies, to be held at the UR in late October. At this point, students will also begin to take on individual research projects, using books, illustrations, advertisements, comics, film, video, and other artifacts to establish the meaning and appeal of Robin Hood in particular cultural contexts. Students will conduct their research, assemble, sort, and analyze their data, and present their findings in digital formats; there will be extensive instruction and exercises to assist this work with primary sources, and with issues of scanning, editing, formatting, and sharing work. The primary medium for presentation and collaboration will be Blackboard, supplemented by a plug-in Wiki that will allow each student to manage and present work on a variety of pages, shared either in a “Humanities Lab” in Morey Hall or remotely. Where appropriate, instruction in site management and advanced apps such as DreamWeaver, Photoshop, and InDesign will be offered. Class members will have access to unparalleled collections of books, images, and other materials in Rochester, and to unexplored photographic archives at the George Eastman House. Those materials produced at a sufficiently professional level will be incorporated into Robin Hood: A Digital Archive, a website currently under construction at the UR. The development of this website will potentially engage students in website design, market research (ie, who will come if we build this website? with what constituencies in mind should we design it?), and issues of property rights in the private and public domains. This process of research and investigation, of assembling and editing materials, of preparing texts and images for non-academic audiences will form part of the entrepreneurial focus of the course. Ultimately, the course, like the site, will attempt to enable mixed audiences to have digital access to those material objects and practices that provide the basis for reconstructing our understanding of popular culture over the last 500 years, insofar as Robin Hood and outlawry provide a focus.
RESEARCH SEMINAR. This seminar stipulates the following issues as underlying problems of Western civilization: pederasty, slavery, censorship, heresy, witch-hunting, androcentrism and misogyny, violence against children, and war. It studies literary treatments of these issues as well as some nonliterary texts. Emphasis is on how literature (and our responses to it) dealing with these problems reaches forms of understanding that are distinct from what is given by critical and historical accounts. The seminar addresses how the different problems overlap and continue in contemporary societies. We will ask how they are rationalized and treated as normal or as strange aberrations, though rarely as practices that constitute civilization. The seminar proceeds in two phases. The first part, of seven or eight weeks, articulates the themes. Modern readings come from Virginia Woolf's Three Guineas, Kafka, Morrison, Ibsen, Dostoevsky, and Freud's commentaries on the problems of civilization. Classical readings will likely include: Plato's Symposium and Republic, Aristotle's biology, Aristophanes' Lysistrata, Sophocles' Oedipus Rex. The second part of the course asks members to present research proposals related to one or more of the stipulated problems. Readings and discussions in this part of the course are determined by the students' research projects.
RESEARCH SEMINAR. This course examines major critical issues surrounding the horror genre, through close study of Classical Hollywood, post-Classical, and international horror films, and readings in critical theory. Issues to be explored include boundary transgression and bodily abjection in the construction of the horror monster; gender, pregnancy, and the "monstrous feminine"; social Otherness (race, class, sexuality) as monstrosity; the figure of the serial killer and the shift from classic to modern horror; the grotesque and the blending of comedy and horror in the zombie film; international horror (especially Japan) and cross-cultural influences with Hollywood. As a research seminar, the course will involve the development of a substantial research project.
Malory, His Sources, and His Influence will focus on the position of Malory's Morte d'Arthur in the development of the Arthurian legends and will consider the Morte both as one of the great books of all literature and as the most important Arthurian text for the English-speaking world. Malory draws on two traditions, a chronicle and a romance tradition, which have their roots in the works of Geoffrey of Monmouth and Chrétien de Troyes. These Arthurian antecedents as well as the sources of Malory's great book—including parts of the Vulgate and Post-Vulgate cycles of French romances, and the Alliterative Morte Arthure and Stanzaic Morte Arthur—will be read, and the ways in which Malory combines the two traditions and adapts and adds to his sources will be discussed. Malory played an important role in shaping later Arthurian literature. Some of the major works influenced by the Morte, including Tennyson's Idylls of the King and Twain's Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, will also be read. And the adaptation or reinterpretation of the Morte in film, art, and popular culture will be considered. But the central concern of the course will be a reading of the Morte itself.
This seminar considers the interpretive significance of death on the English Renaissance stage. We will trace across Shakespeare's works and those of other English Renaissance playwrights instances of a tragicomic sensibility, varied in its form of expression but consistent in the imaginative address it extends to its audience: whether expressed as the play's governing inclination or inflection or as a counterpoint to those governing tendencies, whether embodied in a single character or discernible in the relations among characters, each of these tragicomic moments invites us to inhabit those many "third things" that remain perpetually on the horizon.
Death is indispensable in the crafting of the plays' common address. Depictions of death in English Renaissance plays range from the macabre to the mundane, the sensationalized to the sanitized, and yet those depictions share an oddly and insistently elusive quality. If we recall for a moment those in English Renaissance plays who are marked for death, the supposed dead who return to remind us (often more than once) that they are "not yet quite dead," the dead bodies that function as props, or the characters' tortured attempts to devise a language equal to the spectacles of death they encounter, we see quite quickly the considerable interpretive demands that staged death places both on the characters in the plays and the audiences who view them.
It is not simply that in Renaissance society, on stage and off, the precise moment of death was a puzzling and compelling object of scrutiny but that this Renaissance preoccupation with the physiological and psychological indeterminacy of death provided English playwrights with a resource for staging an encounter with the ineffable—with, for instance, the simultaneous reign of deposed and usurping monarch or the coexistence of otherwise incompatible forms of authority. This encounter is marked for English Renaissance audiences by the visual distortions and temporal dislocations that give shape, however briefly, to a mingling of the supposedly discrete worlds of the tragic and the comic. Across the plays' local differences and generic particularities, an essentially apostrophic turn to the staging of death encourages the audience to immerse itself in what the plays often elsewhere insist is an unsustainable tragicomic sensibility, its texture and imperatives best described by the worlds that we briefly are permitted to inhabit and the habits of thought that we are encouraged to sustain.
Our readings will include plays by Beaumont and Fletcher, Cary, Ford, Jonson, Kyd, Marlowe, Marston, Middleton, Shakespeare, and Webster. The course requires either two shorter essays (one due in the middle of the semester, the other at the end), or a research proposal (due in the middle of the semester) and a longer seminar paper (due at the end of the semester).
This seminar will examine the rise of the poetic series (as opposed to the poetic sequence) in modernist writing. Often, this distinction is used polemically; modernist dorks write the poetic sequence while cool postmoderns write the poetic series, a more flagrantly open-ended variety of long poem that courts the aleatory and disdains the provisional closure of individual lyric utterances. But while this distinction may be useful in describing the shapes of individual poems, the polemic won't stand up to scrutiny. Concentrating on three modernist writers, T. S. Eliot, Marianne Moore, and Ezra Pound, we will examine the long poems they wrote throughout their careers, concentrating on those that appeared just before, during, or after the Second World War: Four Quartets, The Old Dominion, and The Pisan Cantos. We will also survey their careers prior to the publication of these later poems, asking why and how these poems needed to take the shapes that they did; if there ís time, we will also look at poems by George Oppen and Susan Howe, postmodern poems that built on this modernist inheritance.
This graduate seminar will examine the fictions of the automatic, clockwork, grown, or digital human that we find from antiquity to contemporary immersive worlds, and which inspires our horror and/or admiration. Such a being poses the eternal questions about selfhood, identity, culture, and abjection, and it has acquired many names over the centuries: moving statue, automaton, robot, android, cyborg, and, presently, avatar in computer gaming (from the Sanskrit: an incarnation of a deity, and by extention a representation of a user). By representation I mean a simulacrum, a re-presenting in simpler or "virtual" form that which we consider "real" and the course will revolve around this matter of reality and its controversies played out in different cultures. So what it means to be "like" a man (Gr. andro-eides), but not quite, raises complex questions about the "virtual" as opposed to the "actual." What deceits of technology are condensed in a mythos of the false human? What selves in us get abstracted when we role-play in computer games or involve ourself with other users in Second Life? What are our mythologies of technology, the transhuman, the "singularity" that Ray Kurzweil promotes and that occupy so much of our fiction? What does the virtual mean? Almost? Incomplete? Fake? We will start with the medieval tale from Burma called "Romavisaya," which I will put on reserve for you (to be discussed on the first day), look at the posthumous robots assigned to learned men (Simon Magus, Albertus Magnus, Robert Grosseteste, Rabbi Loew of Prague, René Descartes, Thomas Edison), read/view some choice science fiction and film in Eastern and Western cultures along with critical commentary, and explore technological dreams and immersive VR ("virtual reality").
Since Roland Barthes and Michel Foucault proclaimed "the death of the author" in the late 1960s, the subject of authorship has been hotly debated in literary and cultural studies. Rather than being quietly buried, however, "the author" has been given new life and a precise historical dimension in a range of scholarly work in both literature and other disciplines. Looking at such issues as the gendering of authorship, the history of publishing and the literary marketplace, readership and reception history, the institutionalization of authorship in author societies and university curricula, and the effects of the new electronic technologies on the way we think about the processes of artistic creation, this course will explore the rich body of critical work that has recently emerged on the subject of authorship. We will consider both the impact of this work on the reinterpretation of canonical writers and the tools it provides for reading and revaluing forms of authorship that have not readily fit traditionally accepted categories. Course readings will combine critical and theoretical discussions of authorship with attention to particular literary texts (from a wide range of historical periods) that highlight and focus particular issues and problems in conceiving and reconceiving what we once called "the author." Students will be encouraged to design research projects around authors and works of their own choosing.