Upcoming Courses



Graduate Seminars

6220 Seminar in Shakespeare

  • 101 - MW 2:00-3:15 Professor John Curran

Course Title: Shakespeare: His Contemporaries and Greatness

Course Description: In this seminar we investigate the issue of greatness as it seems to be reflected in Shakespeare’s drama. The idea of individual human greatness has accounted for much of the attention Shakespeare’s characters have enjoyed, but more recently they have been deemed interesting to the extent he undermines or interrogates this concept. Does Shakespeare cast his characters as “great”? What is greatness? What theoretical, political, or theological implications does it carry? In considering these questions with regard to Shakespeare’s characters, we also consider his own greatness. What makes him stand apart in our minds from his fellow Renaissance dramatists? Does he capture greatness better than they? Or does he rise above them for complicating the idea in ways they cannot? We will concentrate on Shakespeare’s histories and tragedies, examining each play in tandem with an analogous selection from another dramatist. Selections will include plays by Marlowe, Jonson, Beaumont and Fletcher, Middleton, Chapman, Massinger, and Webster.

6300 Studies in the Restoration and 18th Century Literature

  • 101 - TTH 9:30-10:45 Professor Stephen Karian

    Course Title: English Verse Satire 1660-1750

    Course Description: This course will explore the major verse satirists of the period 1660-1750: Dryden, Rochester, Swift, Pope, and Johnson. We will situate their major works in the context of the wide range of satiric poetry in this period, including the sub-genres of burlesque, lampoon, and imitation. To gain a broad understanding of satiric writing in this period, we will also read satires by lesser-known poets. We will read and discuss important secondary materials relevant to the verse satires of these authors and to satire generally. Doing so will provide students with critical and theoretical frameworks for the study of verse satire and will equip them to write academic papers about this material.

    Readings: Major satires such as Dryden's "MacFlecknoe," Rochester's "Satyr Against Reason and Mankind," Swift's "Verses on the Death of Dr. Swift," Pope's "Rape of the Lock" and "Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot," Johnson's "The Vanity of Human Wishes," other satires by these poets, and other satires by other poets of the period. Secondary readings will include influential critical essays about the theory of satire.

    Assignments: Class discussion, oral presentations, a scholarly book review, and a seminar paper.


6500 Studies in 20th Century British Literature

  • 101 - TTH 12:30-1:45 Professor John Boly

    Course Title: W. B. Yeats, W. H. Auden, and Seamus Heaney: Dissolving, Diffusing, Dissipating in Order to Recreate?

    Course Description: Is Coleridge right in his famous proclamation that the poetic imagination is an echo of the primary perceptual drama through which the mind transforms haphazard impressions into coherent meanings? And if so, then might there be a route back from Xanadu to Porlock, from the poetic imagination to that pragmatic, preposterous, pig of a world presuming to call itself reality? In this seminar we will study the varied efforts of three late romantic poets to investigate, or even make good, on early romanticism’s outrageous epistemological dare: W. B. Yeats, W. H. Auden, and Seamus Heaney.

    Assignments: Two essays and two exams.


6600 Studies in American Literature to 1900

6700 Studies in 20th Century Literature


6820 Studies in Modern Critical Theory/Practice















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