"Men perish because they cannot join the beginning with the end". Alcmaeon of Cretona (6th cent. BCE). English 112 takes the preSocratic philosopher's warning seriously and attempts to join the beginning (the ancients) with the end (us). A course in the geometry of critical thought, choice, speculation, and reflection, Classical & Scriptural Backgrounds of English Literature explores the ethics of Western Civilization through close reading of the writings of Homer (Iliad and Odyssey), Aeschylus (Oresteia), Sophocles (the Oedipus plays), Euripides (Trojan Women & The Bacchae), Plato (Symposium and other dialogues), Aristotle (Poetics), selections from the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, Virgil (Aeneid), and Dante (Inferno).
This course introduces students to some of the most significant literature from the Romantic, Victorian, and Modern literary periods. Beginning with the outbreak of the French Revolution and ending with World War I, the years covered by this course represent a time of dramatic political, economic, and cultural change. The nineteenth century witnessed the rise of industrialism, rapid imperialist expansion, religious crisis, increasing democracy, and shifts in gender and class identity. In exploring this tumultuous time period, the course will focus on an array of novelists, poets, and essayists who will serve as touchstones for the key political, intellectual, and aesthetic problems of their times (e.g. Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, Dickens, G. Eliot, Browning, J.S. Mill, Arnold, Ruskin, Yeats, and Woolf). Students will not only gain a greater appreciation for individual authors, but they will also be able to situate them within a larger framework of ideas and historical currents.
This course provides a broad overview and introduction to
media. We will cover histories of different types of media (internet, radio,
audio recordings, television, cable, film, journalism, magazines, advertising,
public relations, etc.) as well as various theories and approaches to studying
media. No prior knowledge is necessary, but a real interest and willingness to
explore a variety of media will come in handy. Occasional outside screenings
will be required (but if you cannot attend the scheduled screenings, you may watch
the films on your own time through the Multimedia Center reserves). Students
will be evaluated based on assigned writing, classroom discussion leading,
participation, short quizzes, midterm exam, and final exam. Applicable English
Cluster: Media, Culture
This class provides an introduction to writing poetry and short stories. Students will engage in a variety of writing exercises that will enable them to experiment with poetic and literary forms, develop their voices as writers, and refine their use of language. The course will combine weekly workshops of student writing with close readings of contemporary poetry and fiction. The course will conclude with each student submitting a final portfolio, showcasing the writing they have revised over the semester.
A course devoted to the understanding and execution of dramatic writing that is unique to the theater. Students will analyze and discuss selected readings while writing an original one-act play to be completed by the end of the semester. Meets during one half of the semester only. Contact the Theatre Program at 275-4959 for details. Applicable English Clusters: Creative Writing; Plays, Playwrights, and Theater; Theatre Production and Performance.
The study and practice of longer, more complicated newspaper
and magazine stories, such as investigations and profiles. Emphasis will be on
the consideration of the various techniques of non-fiction writing. Applicable
English Cluster: Media, Culture, and Communication.
Editing Practicum concentrates on the newspaper editing process, including specific copy preparation skills and overall management. Among topics included during the term are copy editing; layout and design; news decision-making; organization and management; directing coverage; First Amendment issues; libel and ethics; editorials and opinion; photo selection and graphics. Students meet weekly to discuss reading and interview assignments; critique current issues of Campus Times; participate in writing and editing projects; periodically hear presentations on specific topics by guest editors and executives of Gannett Rochester Newspapers; and develop detailed reports on key topics in editing. Open, by permission of the instructor, to students who have completed ENG 113 and ENG 114, or who are Campus Times editors or senior staff members. Applicable English Cluster: Media, Culture, and Communication.
Basic public speaking is the focus of this course. Emphasis is placed on researching speeches, using appropriate presentations. ENG 134 contains two quizzes, a final exam, and four speeches to be given by the student. The speeches include a tribute, persuasive, explanatory, and a problem-solving address. Applicable English Cluster: Media, Culture, and Communication. The course utilitizes instructor Curt Smith's experience as a Former White House Presidential speechwriter.
The purpose of this course is to give students an appreciation for and knowledge of critical thinking and reasoned decision-making through argumentation. Students will research both sides of a topic, write argument briefs, and participate in formal and informal debates. Students will also be exposed to the major paradigms used in judging debates. Applicable English Cluster: Media, Culture
Students will build their knowledge of debate theory and practice through varsity level intercollegiate competition and research. Applicable English Cluster: Media, Culture, and Communication.
This course introduces the basic aesthetic and technical elements of video production. Emphasis is on the creative use and understanding of the video medium while learning to use the video camera, video editing processes, and the fundamental procedures of planning video projects. Video techniques will be studied through screenings, group discussions, readings, practice sessions and presentations of original video projects made during the course.
An introduction to Technical Theater and Theater Technology: its materials, techniques, and equipment. Focuses on the principles and practice of set construction; the nature and use of electricity; lighting and sound equipment; tools; production organization and management; and the importance of safety in all areas. Course will include both lecture and significant hands-on experience. Practical laboratory work in association with the productions of the International Theatre Program is included. Applicable English Cluster: Theater Production and Performance.
Acting Techniques focuses on the student’s ability to analyze texts from a performer’s viewpoint; on heightening the actor’s sensitivity to language; on developing the actor’s physical and vocal technique; on building awareness of character and characterization; and on engaging and actively developing creativity and imagination. This is done by constant investigation, rehearsal, and presentation of assorted texts ranging from poetry to contemporary and classical scenes and monologues. No prior acting experience or classwork is required. Applicable English Cluster: Theater.
Voice and Movement for the Actor aims at helping all students (irrespective of their degree—or lack—of actor training or theatrical experience) explore the full range and expressiveness of their speaking voice, and expand their capabilities for expressive movement. The course explores the relationship between text and vocal expression and provides the student with a descriptive system for understanding movement and meaning. Students analyze their own movement profiles as performers, creating characters through clear movement choices, and learn how to embody these characters fully through vocal technique and physicality. Applicable English Cluster: Theater Production.
"'Speke, sweete bryd, I noot nat where thou art!' This Nicholas anon leet fle a fart...” From "The Miller's Tale," Chaucer. Here two men speak to each other literally through their asses, one of them thinking that he's speaking to a woman, the other one thinking that he's got the "upper hand." This course examines discursive relationships in medieval European literature with an emphasis on the carnal. But what is the carnal? Can it have a spiritual dimension? How does the body "speak" and what about; what do fabliaux, romances, allegories, homilies, theological treatises, passion plays and medical texts tell us about medieval society and this fragile flesh? We will read three tales by Chaucer (Miller's, Wife’s, Pardoner's), but also Pearl, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Lanval, Degarre, Gowther, some Old French fabliaux, Saints’ Lives, and medical texts. Fulfills the pre-1800 requirement and the cluster in Medieval Literature.
The course approaches The Divine Comedy both as a poetic masterpiece and as an encyclopedia of medieval culture. Through a close textual analysis of selected cantos from Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso, students learn how to approach Dante's poetry as a vehicle for thought, an instrument of self-discovery, and a way to understand and affect the historical reality. They also gain a perspective on the Biblical, Christian, and Classical traditions as they intersect with the multiple levels of Dante's concern ranging from literature to history, from politics to government, from philosophy to theology. A visual component including illustrations of the Comedy and multiple art works pertinent to the narrative complement the course. Class format includes lectures and discussion. Intensive class participation is encouraged.
In the eighteenth century the Novel was a new genre, its conventions far from stabilized. As authors experimented with new modes of portraying consciousness and the external world, and explored new ideas about plot, character, and narrative voice, they questioned what the novel could do: how does the novel, as opposed to other genres, approach the relationship between reality and representation? Does it imply a new kind of reading experience? a new kind of reader? Does it owe its existence to certain historical, social, or cultural circumstances? Authors include Aphra Behn, Daniel Defoe, Samuel Richardson, Henry Fielding, Laurence Sterne, and Jane Austen. Counts toward the pre-1800 requirement.
"Romanticism" (1780-1830) names both the thrills of literature in extremis and a new interest in ordinary people. In an era of radical change, writers of astounding talent probed the extremes of imagination and sought new ways of expressing pleasure and pain, fear and grief, perversion and depravation. Their drive to pursue experience to its limits brought them to the dangerous edge where dreams meet reality in "visions.” In other cases they experimented with new ways of capturing everyday life with unprecedented depth and intensity. We shall sample the scope of British romantic writing, such as Blake's apocalyptic fusions of text and designs, Wordsworth's groundbreaking autobiography The Prelude, Coleridge's aborted opium dream "Kubla Khan," Mary Shelley's philosophical gothic novel Frankenstein, and Byron's outrageous comic-erotic satire Don Juan. Our strategy will be governed by four fundamental concepts: sound, sight, metaphor, narrative.
We will investigate the peculiar quality of romanticism and the particular achievement of romantic writers in the United States during the period before the Civil War. Three capacious topics will organize discussions: nature and art, society and history, and individuals and communities. We will read works by Emerson, Thoreau, Fuller, Melville, Poe, Douglass, Hawthorne, Jacobs, Stowe, Whitman, and Dickinson. Of particular interest throughout the term will be the hopes that American romantic artists invested in literature and the imagination as crucial parts of the nation's life and as indispensable resources for America's people. Applicable English Cluster: American and African American Studies.
How does an American become an American? How do new
immigrants adjust to life in the United States while still maintaining ties to
their countries of origin? In this class, we will study contemporary novels,
short stories, and autobiographies that describe experiences of immigration and
assimilation into American life. What is the relationship between the immigrant
and his or her home country and culture? What does it mean to become an
American? We will study how immigration affects changes in language, culture,
values, and social relationships, and also consider how certain narrative
conventions and innovations are employed to describe experiences of
Americanization and alienation from the family homeland. Our exploration of
these issues begins with a reading of Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography, a
canonical narrative of self-development that offers an important point of
contrast to texts written by later Americans.
Autobiography is the foundational genre in the tradition of African-American literature. It is also the genre that both illustrates and represents the process of the construction of identity. Autobiography is not only writing about a life authored by oneself, but also the life of the self made manifest in the form of writing. This course surveys the tradition of autobiographical writings by African Americans, from slave narratives to recent bestsellers, in order to promote an understanding of autobiography as a narrative form shaped by its historical context and the purposes of the author. In addition, the course provides students with insights into various topics in African-American culture and history. Readings include texts by Maya Angelou, Frederick Douglass, Olaudah Equiano, Zora Neale Hurston, Harriet Jacobs, Audre Lorde, Barack Obama, Booker T. Washington, Richard Wright, Malcolm X, and more.
When the now-classic novels of writers like Conrad, Woolf, Joyce, and Lawrence were published in the first part of the twentieth century, readers were shocked by both their style and content. In the face of revolutionary upheavals in social and political life and in the understanding of human psychology and personal relationships, these writers proclaimed the end of fiction as we know it. In this course we will examine what made this work appear so shocking. We will look at the way modernist fiction explores the limits and possibilities of language and representation, and we will consider how this literature changed in the second half of the century with the construction of postmodern and postcolonial identities. A recurring focus will be on the relationship between landscape and inner consciousness, cultural and psychic displacement, and the changing understanding of what constitutes “Britishness” in this turbulent century. Applicable English Clusters: Novels; Modern and Contemporary Literature.
Looking back over the twentieth century, this course will concentrate on the innovative, often wildly experimental writing produced in the period we still call "modernist." We will concentrate on five writers, two of them American (T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound), two of them Irish (W.B. Yeats and James Joyce), and one of English (Virginia Woolf). We will read some of the most beautiful and ambitious works of the century (Eliot's The Waste Land, Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway), but the centerpiece of the course will inevitably be our extended reading of Joyce's novel Ulysses—one of the most difficult, most rewarding books in our language. And while we will consider the individual achievements of all the writers, we will also consider their work in the context of the avant-garde aesthetic and social movements in which these writers participated. Applicable English cluster: Modern and Contemporary Literature.
This is a course about how to read a poem. We will examine poetry's extreme uses of metaphor, its use of languages that are by turns more raw, more plain, and more ambiguous than ordinary prose. We'll be thinking about the force of poetic gesture and poetic voice, about poetry's way of telling a story and its way of keeping secrets, about poetry's immense playfulness, its attention to particularly charged moments of passion and knowledge, and its way of animating the inanimate. We will look closely at the formal tools of lyric poetry— “meter, rhyme, sound-shape, line” —and the use of traditional genres such as riddle, ballad, hymn, ode, and elegy. Readings will concentrate on the work of a small group of poets, including William Shakespeare, John Keats, Emily Dickinson, Wallace Stevens, and Elizabeth Bishop. No prerequisites, no final exam. Applicable English clusters: Major Authors; Poems, Poetry, and Poetics.
Former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky once described Czeslaw Milosz as "an essential American poet—perhaps even the most important living American poet.” When Milosz received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1980, he had already been living in California for twenty years. Exiled from their native Poland, several major poets of the twentieth century, such as Milosz, Zbigniew Herbert, and most recently Adam Zagajewski have spent long periods of time and written poetry in the United States and thereby have become an essential part of American poetry. This class will consider two aspects of this phenomenon: the ways in which contemporary American poets have read Polish poets and, conversely, the way the new generation of Polish poets have read American poetry (most notably New York School poets Frank O’Hara and John Ashbery. (All readings will be in English or English translation.)
This course, “When Cultures Make Contact,” examines two stellar writers in the ranks of both science and mainstream fiction. How they complement each other in representing cultural friction and communication (and how much science fiction presents allegories of political and cultural struggles among different peoples) will be our focus. Both Clarke and Le Guin explore the perilous issues of voyage into foreign terrain: Clarke's novels 2001: A Space Odyssey and its sequel 2010 (an apt year for study), Rendezvous with Rama, and Childhood's End will be read (and film versions analyzed) in conjunction with Le Guin's novels The Left Hand of Darkness, The Dispossessed, The Word for World Is Forest, among other texts by each author. A major theoretical approach will examine the problematics of “personhood"—the assumptions made by the characters about the cultural and moral consciousness of the people they encounter, which directs their treatment of them.
What can fiction tell us about the action of imagination? Who imagines what in the formative novels and stories of the twentieth century? What can we learn from imaginative literature about the idiosyncratic workings of the mind, the expressive potential of language, the relevance of the unreal? These are some of the questions we’ll ask in this exploration of modern and contemporary international fiction. As we read fiction written in English and in translation, we’ll pay close attention to issues of cultural transmission and influence. Authors include Beckett, Kafka, Borges, Woolf, Faulkner, Dinesen, Garcia Marquez, Calvino, and Sebald.
In recent years, we have seen a virtual explosion of writing by women, with women’s novels constituting some of the most widely read and critically admired work being produced today. The global reach of both its authors and audiences has made contemporary women’s writing a truly international phenomenon. We will examine what makes this work especially innovative: its experimentation with new voices and narrative forms and its blurring of genre boundaries. We will look at the dialogue it has established with the past, where it often finds its inspiration, self-consciously appropriating earlier literary texts or rewriting history. We will also consider what special challenges this work poses for its readers. Looking at a range of recent novels by women whose homelands include the U.S., the UK, Africa, India, and the Caribbean, this course, then, will explore the diverse shapes of contemporary women's imagination and attempt to account for the compelling interest of this new body of fiction.
This four-credit intersession course is conducted in London, UK, from December 29, 2009, through January 9, 2010. We will see, discuss, and write on 16 to 18 plays. The itinerary this year will include world premieres of plays by Alan Bennett, John Logan, Lee Hall, and David Hare; Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, Tennessee Williams’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, John Guarre’s Six Degrees of Separation, Tom Stoppard and Andre Previn’s Every Good Boy Deserves a Favour, several musicals, and splendid extravaganzas from the National Theatre such as War Horse and Nation, to name a few. The fee for the course is $2550. Instructor’s permission is required.
An introduction to the history, technology, and cultural significance of motion pictures of the "pre-sound" era, with screenings of 35mm prints accompanied by live music in the Dryden Theatre. Special attention will be paid to the major pioneers, Dickson, Porter, Lumière, Méliès, and Griffith, but the course will include a variety of internationally produced films selected from the world-famous archival film collection of the George Eastman House. Discussion sessions will cover the origins and development of the motion picture industry and its leading genres up to the general introduction of movies with pre-recorded music, sound and dialog, beginning in 1927. Broad issues relating to the transformation of American and world popular entertainment forms and traditions, in relation to the established performing arts of the period, will also be covered. Relevant connections to preserving the world's film heritage will be highlighted and the film restoration facilities of the Motion Picture Department will be visited in the course of the semester. Students will be expected to take a mid-term exam and write one paper. Enrollment limited to 20.
We will screen and study approximately 12 gangster and crime films from the rich genre of such movies. We will also read some related fiction and some critical studies of the form. We will look at films spanning the history of cinema from Little Caesar to The Godfather, examining the devices of the form, those elements that seem to define it, the relation of the subject to the culture, the meaning of the film, and so forth. The course will include lectures and discussion. Applicable English Clusters: Modern and Contemporary Literature; Media, Culture, and Communication.
This course examines the philosophical, aesthetic, and social issues that are central to classical film theory. It traces the historical development of film theory from 1900 to the 1950s. We will begin with thinkers in the period of early cinema, including Germaine Dulac and Jean and Marie Epstein, and then we will examine the development of film theory in the work of later theorists, such as Jean Mitry, Sergei Eisenstein, Dziga Vertov, Siegfried Kracauer, Walter Benjamin, Andre Bazin, and Christian Metz. Weekly screenings of historically contemporary films will allow us to examine the ongoing dialogue between the evolving medium and the developing theoretical discussion.
This course combines a survey of major historical movements and styles in documentary film with an examination of more recent trends and challenges to the tradition. So, in addition to studying the expository political documentary, ethnographic film, and the direct cinema and cinéma vérité movements, we will explore forms including reality TV, mock documentary, and autobiographical film. Screening period: T, 1940 2055.
This course contests its title. There is language and literature/film that records how language has failed as a means of (human) species adaptation toward conflict resolution in domestic and international contexts. This course, following the observations of Virginia Woolf in Three Guineas (1939), tries to document the language/literary connections between domestic violence and war making. In domestic situations, violence is protected by traditions of privacy and male governance of households; in public situations, there has been an inertia throughout recorded history in enacting the ideal announced in Isaiah: “[nations] shall not learn war any more.” In our own society, genres of popular and elite culture teach the necessity and glory of war through literature, film, toys, sports, and ideals of heroic behavior. Our normal ways of speaking still presuppose violence and war as a “last resort” in solving domestic and international antagonisms.
This course investigates technical theater beyond the realms
of Eng 170/171 (Technical Theater). It focuses on work related to the scenic
design and technical production of the semester's Theatre Program productions.
Working in small seminars and one-on-one tutorials, the instructor will assist
students in learning more in the chosen technical areas and about
problem-solving scenic and technical questions raised by the set/s being built.
Course work will consist of supervisory responsibilities, one major and several
smaller research projects. Applicable English Cluster: Theater.
This workshop is for advanced fiction writers who have
completed ENG 121 or have permission from the instructor. The course emphasizes
the development of each student's individual style and imagination, as well as
the practical and technical concerns of a fiction writer's craft. Readings will
be drawn from a wide variety of modern and contemporary writers. Students will
be expected to write three original short stories as well as to revise
extensively in order to explore the full range of the story's potential.
Applicable English Cluster: Creative Writing.
An introduction to the three-act film structure. Students will read and view numerous screenplays and films, and develop their own film treatment into a full-length script.
Presidential Rhetoric, taught by former presidential speechwriter Curt Smith, helps students critically examine the public rhetoric and themes of the modern American presidency. Particular attention will be given to the symbolic nature of the office, focusing on the ability of twentieth-century presidents to communicate via a variety of forums, including the press conference, inaugural and acceptance speeches, political speech, and prime-time television address. Smith will draw on many of these experiences in Washington and with ESPN/ABC Television to link the most powerful office in the world and today's dominant medium. Applicable English Cluster: Media, Culture, and Communication.
Each student in Plays in Production participates fully in the
exciting behind-the-scenes world of theatrical production. Students build sets,
create and make props and costumes, hang and rig lighting and sound equipment,
and create and distribute publicity materials for the plays currently in
production in Todd Theatre. Applicable English Clusters: Plays, Playwrights, and
Theater; Theater Production and Performance.
Day & Time: Evening and Weekend Rehearsals
Location: Todd Theater
First Rehearsal: Tuesday, January 19
Last Performance: Saturday, May 1
Entrance Prerequisites: by audition only
For information on auditions and auditioning visit the auditions page of the website or email the instructor.
Day & Time: Evening and Weekend Rehearsals
Location: Todd Theater
First Rehearsal: Tuesday, January 19
Last Performance: Saturday, May 1
Entrance Prerequisites: by audition only
For information on auditions and auditioning visit the auditions page of the website or email the instructor.
Students in Stage Management will get an in-depth
introduction to and immersion in stage managing a theatrical production. In
addition to class work covering all areas of management skills, safety
procedures, technical knowledge and paperwork, students will be expected to
serve as an assistant stage manager or production stage manager on one (or
both) Theatre Program productions in their registered semester. Applicable
English Clusters: Plays, Playwrights, and Theater; Theater Production and
This is an independently designed course, focusing on
specific theater or theater-related projects, and demanding significant skill
application or acquisition, independent and self-motivated research, including
advanced written work, if appropriate. Topics may include elements of theater
related to production, management, and/or design. Applicable English Cluster:
This is a workshop for students who have completed ENG 117 or
have some experience writing fiction on their own and are ready to concentrate
on more ambitious projects. We'll read short stories by contemporary writers
along with fiction by the students in the workshop, and we'll discuss ways
writers can sharpen the conversation between text and reader. We'll also
consider editing and reviewing techniques. Students will be expected to write
and revise at least three original stories or three sections of a longer work
of fiction. Permission of instructor required.
An advanced creative writing workshop in poetry. Students’ poems will be discussed weekly. Creative writing assignments will be combined with brief essay responses to a selection of contemporary poetry books.
RESEARCH SEMINAR. Overview and examination of postcolonialism and globalization theories. Analysis of films and literary works that illustrate and construct postcolonial and global networks. Some previous experience with theory will be helpful but is not required.
RESEARCH SEMINAR. Using medieval brain diagrams designed to map the avenues of cognition, this research seminar will study ways in which three English authors of the fourteenth century—Langland, Gower, and Chaucer—understand cognition and the relativities of choice. Brain theory, in conjunction with concepts of intuition, is crucial to the beginnings of empirical science which not only flourishes at Oxford at this time but affects literary theory as well: the mind and its choices become the center of attention in romance and dream vision literature, studies in reading, development beyond Aristotle’s concepts of fantasy, imagination, memory, and motive, particularly through the ontological insights of neo-platonists like Boethius, Anselm, and Bonaventure. Perplexing issues of language (theories of metaphor, tropology, plot construction, and mental therapy) inform every phase of the writings of the three writers whose writings will constitute our workshop.
RESEARCH SEMINAR. We will read and discuss a generous sampling of some of the major authors and books of detective fiction, concentrating on the twentieth century. The syllabus will demonstrate the history and development of the form in both England and America. We will also read some of the significant secondary material. The authors may include Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, John Dickson Carr, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Ross Macdonald, and others.
A number of internships are available through the UR International Theatre Program. One of the most popular is our semester-long PR Internship. Theatre PR Interns help create all publicity materials for events in Todd Theatre or events sponsored by the Theatre Program, including drafting press releases, planning marketing campaigns, etc. They distribute publicity materials both on and off campus. Finally, PR interns staff the box office during productions, interacting with the public and the theater personnel. The PR internship is an excellent way to get a hands-on introduction to all the basic elements of public relations and marketing. You'll also interact with artists, directors, journalists and public-relations professsionals as part of the internship. Interns should have good writing skills and be willing to work creatively. Skills in graphic design are a plus. To apply to be a PR intern (or to find out about other internship opportunities), email Nigel, or stop by the Theatre Program offices (Todd 107).