» Please see below for the current semester’s offerings.
Beginning September 2010, the new English curriculum is in effect for all YC and Syms students. Through May 2010, all courses now designated as T2000 under the new English curriculum satisfy the current College Literature requirement ("Literature 1") as the following courses listed under the pre-2009 English curriculum: ENG 2003, 2004, 2005, 2201, 2202, 2611, 2612. ENG 2010 continues to satisfy that same requirement as well.
Any literature course ("T" or "F", 2000 or 3000) will satisfy the College's current 2nd Literature requirement "(Literature 2"); for the sake of breadth, however, an "F" or 3000 level course is recommended.
Courses designated "W" signify writing courses. They DO NOT fulfill either of the College's current Literature requirements, they do, however, count towards the 3-credit writing requirement for the English major. An explanation of the "Traditions" (T) and "Forms" (F) rubrics appears on the last page of this packet.____________________________________________________________________________
ENG 1107: First Year Writing
This writing-instructive course introduces
incoming students to college-level writing through attention to process, voice,
audience, and self-reflection. The course includes attention to Reading
like a Writer and Rhetorical Flexibility, considering how purpose,
audience, and form affect choices all writers make; Argumentation,
exploring different ways to articulate claims, support, and logic for effective
and persuasive interpretations and opinions; Collaboration, working with
others to better understand one’s own learning styles and writing processes; Engagement
with Intellectually Critical Points of View, including using, interpreting,
evaluating, and citing sources; and Revision, developing strategies
for successful revision, while considering the whole of each essay and the
specifics of each sentence. The course also asks students to reflect on
their transitions to college and to New York City, and to consider how the act
of writing sparks curiosity, response, and discovery.
ITC 1001 Recognition PlotsSection 231 MW 3:00 pmDr. Adam Zachary Newton
"Recognition (Gr. anagnorisis), as the name indicates, is a change from ignorance to knowledge, producing love or hate between the persons destined by the poet for good or bad fortune. The best form of recognition is coincident with a Reversal of the Situation (Gr. peripitea), as in the Oedipus [cycle]. There are indeed other forms. Even inanimate things of the most trivial kind may in a sense be objects of recognition. Again, we may recognize or discover whether a person has done a thing or not. But the recognition which is most intimately connected with the plot and action is, as we have said, the recognition of persons - Recognition, then, being between persons, it may happen that one person only is recognized by the other- when the latter is already known- or it may be necessary that the recognition should be on both sides...Two parts, then, of the Plot- peripitea and anagnorisis - turn upon surprise."
This is the famous passage from Aristotle's Poetics, the first extant philosophical treatise to focus on literary and dramatic theory, explaining the plot device called "recognition." Our course will focus precisely on that device and the related one of cognitio (recognition scene), expanding Aristotle's concept across a range of literary genres and periods. We begin with selections from: Homer's Odyssey and Tanakh (Gen. 38, Judah and Tamar; the "leading words" va-yaker/va-yitnaker in the parshiot on Joseph and his brothers, Megillat Ester, etc.).
Among possible texts, we'll read a Breton Lay, Sir Orfeo (14th c.) or a play by Shakespeare, A Winter's Tale; a novel of short stories, Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio; selected dramatic monologues by Robert Browning; the short story "Bartleby" by Herman Melville; Samuel Beckett's drama, Waiting for Godot; Nella Larsen's Passing or Ian McEwan's Atonement. We will look at an opera by Mozart, Le nozze de Figaro. We will also read selections from some critical works, in particular Recognitions: A Study in Poetics by the literary critic Terence Cave and A Course in Recognition by the philosopher Paul Ricoeur.
Questions to be considered in our inquiry:
The overarching goal of the course is to connect its theme of recognition to the process of literary reading itself, in which recognition serves as both means and end.
Requirements: Participation and attendance (50%); one short essay (20%); mid-length final essay plus "Virtual" Final Exam. (30%)
Because this course pilots a new category of general requirement under the new curriculum, "Interpreting the Creative: Works and Frameworks," we will focus with close attention on individual works, in particular their formal and linguistic choices, and how they call for our own recognition as readers.Every course in this category should aim to:
This course pilots the "Interpreting the Creative" requirement within the new curriculum and one of the two literature requirements within the old curriculum.
ITC 1002 Poet Playwrights : Shakespeare Through AngelouSection 331 T 3:00 pm TH 3:45 pmDr. William Lee
Plays and poems usually show up in different courses because the genres seem to diverge. Plays call for performance, poems for public or private reading. Audiences interpret actors; interpretations of dramatic characters; readers interpret lines of poetry, whether formal or free, line by line. Yet many authors have tried their hand at both, sometimes simultaneously. Some have succeeded within one genre but not the other, while others successfully cross over the generic boundaries. Some plays rely partly or exclusively on poetry. Some poems feature dramatic elements ranging from soliloquies to dialogue. And authors often play with distinctions between genres, mixing and matching elements from multiple genres at will. This course will explore works by poet playwrights beginning with Shakespeare, best known as a dramatist but also the author of long narrative poems and some of the best sonnets ever composed, and ending with Maya Angelou, best known as a poet but also a director and playwright. Other authors may include Ben Jonson, Byron, Shelley, T.S. Eliot, and Tennessee Williams.
Because this course pilots a new category of general requirement under the new curriculum, "Interpreting the Creative: Works and Frameworks," we will focus on each individual work, on how poems and plays make meaning, and on how readers and viewers interpret works of each type.Every course in this category should aim to:
Brief lectures will punctuate guided Socratic discussions intended to stimulate genuine thoughtfulness about the means and ends of specific works of literature. Requirements: participation and attendance; two short essays; a focused revision of one of them; a take-home essay exam; and a mid-length final essay.
This course can be used to fulfill the 1st or 2nd semester of the two-semester literature requirement for graduation from Yeshiva College, or it can be used as a course for the major in English.
ENG 2010 Interpreting Texts: Literacy Reading and Critical Practice T2000Section 331 T 3:00 pm TH 3:45 pmDr. Christopher McGahan
This gateway course for English majors and students with a truly serious interest in the study of literature serves as an overview of some of the most prominent theoretical paradigms in the field of literary studies in recent times. Among the examples of theoretical platforms drawn upon in the analysis of literary texts that we will talk about will be those of feminism, postcolonialism and New Historicism. In addition to looking at and discussing works of literary theory deriving from all of these perspectives, our main work in the course will be to consider how all of these varieties of literary reading have been used to analyze texts by Charlotte Bronte, Harriet Beecher Stowe, William Shakespeare, Joseph Conrad, and Chinua Achebe. Course requirements will include a great deal of reading, as well as two papers and two exams to write.
This course can be used to fulfill either the 1st or 2nd semester of the two-semester literature requirement. This course is a requirement for the English major. (Note: This course is designed for English majors and non-majors with a strong background in literature.)
ENG 2010H Interpreting Texts: Literacy Reading and Critical Practice T2000Section 231 MW 3:00 pmDr. Paula Geyh
This gateway course for English majors and other serious students of literature is an introduction to some of the key theoretical approaches that define current literary studies. The course material is organized in clusters of literary, theoretical, and critical texts in order to show how they work together and shape one another. The course begins with Sophocles's Oedipus the King, on the literary side, and Plato's dialogues and Aristotle's Poetics, on the theoretical side. We will see how these works inform one another, establish the Western critical tradition and, against their own grain, open up a critique of this tradition. The course will then examine several important contemporary paradigms of literary criticism using theoretical texts and representative works of fiction by Conrad, James, and Woolf. Among the paradigms we'll be exploring are the psychoanalytic (via Freud and Lacan), Marxist (via Marx, Althusser, and Williams), and feminist (via Woolf, Beauvoir, Cixous, and Butler).
Requirements: Two papers and midterm and final exams.
ENG W1641H Multi Media Writing For 21st CenturySection 261 M 6:30 pm (3 hrs)Dr. Daniel Friedman
They used to say that writing was "thinking on paper." Now that the internet has made paper one platform among many, plenty of scope exists for "thinking in public," using written and spoken words in a variety of different media. In this course, we will look at writing in the following formats:
Each week will vary in content, but the course has three principal aims:
This course fulfills the 3-credit writing requirement for the major but does not fulfill either the 1st or 2nd semester of the two-semester YC literature requirement.
ENG W 1841 Intro Creative Writing: Poems, Stories, PlaysSection 261 W 6:30 pm (3 hrs)Dr. Barbara Blatner
In this workshop, students will write fiction, poetry, play and film scripts, and consider issues of storytelling craft that each genre presents. Technique will be demonstrated with models, student work, and one or two guest writers. In class, students will read and respond to each other's work, examine readings with an emphasis on construction, figures, voice and form, and compose exercises relevant to the week's lesson. Students will attend at least one fiction or poetry reading in Manhattan. In the final class, students will read work produced during the semester. Grades will be based on a final portfolio and class participation.
ENG 2011 Studies In Greek and Roman Literature T2000Section 311 T TH 1:05-2:45 pmDr. Louis Feldman
This is a survey course in the greatest masterpieces of ancient Greek and Latin literature with selections from:Homer's Iliad and OdysseyAristotle's PoeticsAeschylus's Agamemnon and Prometheus BoundSophocles's Oedipus the King and AntigoneEuripides's HyppolytusThucydides's History of the Peloponnesian WarAristophanes's CloudsPlato's Apology, Crito, Phaedo and RepublicVirgil's Aeneid
The emphasis is on the analysis of the virtues that the Greeks and Romans admired and on the solutions that they offer to the question of divine justice. There is a mid-term and a final examination. There is a term paper presenting a critical discussion on a topic of the student's choice comparing and contrasting some aspect of Hebraism with some corresponding aspect of Hellenism. The student will get extensive written comments and suggestions from the instructor.
ENG 2042 John Milton and the 17th Century T2000Section 361 T 6:30 pm TH 6:45 pmDR. Manfred Weidhorn
An introduction to one of the great periods of world literature. Devoted to the major non-dramatic writers of 1590-1670. We begin with the poetry of John Donne, George Herbert, Richard Lovelace, and Andrew Marvell-men who have produced some of the most memorable love poetry and religious poetry in the language. Then we study the essays of Francis Bacon, followed by a glance at his influential philosophical writings and those of Thomas Hobbes. The latter two are important for revealing the impact of the Scientific Revolution on culture, which involves nothing less than the greatest paradigm shift in human history. The last half of the course is devoted to the second greatest poet in English, John Milton. We will explicate the monumental short poem, "Lycidas" and then look at some of his sonnets and at selections from his voluminous prose writings. We will conclude with Paradise Lost, a ten-thousand line epic about Adam and Eve, with which Milton hoped to answer the problem of evil while concurrently matching the achievement of Homer, Virgil, and Dante. Did he fulfill either wish? We read, and you decide. Should any time be left, we will, by way of a coda, look at Milton's late closet drama on Shimshon Hagibbor, Samson Agonistes.
ENG 2054H Extrodinary Victories: LEG and Backwards T2000Section 251: M W 5:00 pmDr. Adam Zachary Newton
This Honors English course will aspire to something completely different (at least as far as English courses at YC are concerned). Taking our point from the brilliant comic book by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neil (1999-2010), The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen that repopulates into its fictional world famous characters from late Victorian prose literature, we will revisit the "homeworlds" from which those characters originally came as we chart their complex restaging in steampunk-infused postmodernity.In addition the Moore-O'Neil comic (Vols 1-3), we will read the following texts:Bram Stoker's DraculaH. Rider Haggard's SheArthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes (selected stories)Robert Louis Stephenso's, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. HydeH. G. Wells's The Invisible Man and The War of the Worlds
Time permitting, we may also sample works alluded to through minor characters in the Moore/O'Neil comic like:Ian Fleming's Casino Royale (the first James Bond novel)Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891)Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels (1735)John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress (1678).
We will also look at some supplementary theoretical and critical texts including:Italo Calvino, The Uses of LiteratureAlberto Manguel and Gianni Guadalupi, The Dictionary of Imaginary PlacesScott McCloud, Understanding ComicsThomas Pavel, Fictional Worlds.
The point? To consider:
ENG 2064 Imagining the American West: Cowboys, Indians & Cannibals T2000Section 261 MW 6:30 pmDr. Jessica Seessel
As a "Traditions" course, this course will look at the ways in which the western United States has been envisioned by explorers (Lewis and Clark, e.g.), politicians (Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt, e.g.) photographers (Edward Curtis, Ansel Adams, e.g.), painters (Georgia O'Keefe, Frederick Remington, e.g.) and writers (Edward Albee, Sherman Alexie, Louise Erdrich, Willa Cather, Wallace Stegner, e.g.). We will pay special attention to the ways in which the traditional visions of the west either reinforce or conflict with the perceived (idealized?) "reality" of the American West.
ENG 2065 20th Century American Novel T2000Section 251: M W 5:00 pmDr. Paula Geyh
This course is an overview of important 20th-century American novels set within the context of the historical moments and aesthetic movements (particularly modernism and postmodernism) of which they were a part.
The novels may include:Edith Wharton's The House of MirthF. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great GatsbyJohn Dos Passos's Manhattan TransferDashiell Hammett's Red HarvestWilliam Faulkner's As I Lay DyingAnn Petry's The StreetThomas Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49Tim O'Brien's The Things They CarriedMarilynne Robinson's HousekeepingArt Spiegelman's Maus I and IIJunot Daz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Requirements: Two papers and two exams.
ENG 2070 Modernisms T2000Section 331 T 3:00 pm TH 3:45 pmDr. Elizabeth Stewart
Beginning in the last decade of the 19th century and lasting roughly through the first three decades of the twentieth, Western high culture underwent a particularly consequential series of crises. In tune with the changes wrought by industrialization, urbanization, and the break-neck speed of technological innovations, the cultures of Europe and the U.S. began to reflect a relationship to the past, to tradition, and to time itself that utterly transformed the way these cultures reflected (on) themselves.
Modernist literature, as just one of the arts, came to be characterized -- in writers like Faulkner or Joyce- by formal fragmentedness as well as other techniques that conveyed cognitive or emotional dissonance. Modern art in general was driven by a pressing need to revolutionize and renew perception, emotion, and in particular, our private and collective experience of time. Given the fleetingness of the past and the accelerated tempo of modernity, literary modernism focused in part on redeeming temporal moments by transforming them artistically into instants that were now full with more private forms of illumination and revelation. In more ways than one, this artistic movement produced a new understanding of the human psyche that, forced to adapt to modern environments where nothing seems to last, nevertheless finds ways of reconfiguring and revitalizing experience for itself. (The fact that the modernist moment coincided with the origins and development of political extremism is not unrelated to these processes, as we will also investigate.)
Why "Modernisms" and not "Modernism"? Modernism was an international movement. It transformed not only poetry, drama, and the novel, but art, architecture, and music, too, as well as the art forms of mechanical reproduction: photography and film. Moreover, it moved beyond the bounds of European, British, and American culture: non-western art and poetry (Chinese and Japanese poetry; African art) helped shape it.
Authors include Charles Baudelaire, T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, H.D., James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Marcel Proust, W.B. Yeats, Franz Kafka, Hagiwara Kyojiro, William Carlos Williams, Wallace Stevens, William Faulkner, Henry James.
ENG 2072 Literature and Psychoanalysis F2000Section 341 T 4:30 pm TH 5:15 pmDr. Elizabeth Stewart
Psychology is the study of mental life -- more archaically, of the soul -- and of how mind and soul impact the functioning of the body. Psychology and, more specifically, psychoanalysis, study the ways in which, mentally, emotionally, even bodily, we become who we are. How we relate to ourselves, to other men and women, to authority, to the supernatural, and how we construct ourselves through narrative, memory, and dream -- these are the main concerns of psychology and some of the themes of the course, just as they are also the common themes of literature.
Freud wrote, "Everywhere I go I find that a poet has been there before me." This course therefore explores the seminal relationship between psychoanalysis and literature -- how psychoanalysis has enhanced the reading and writing of literature and how literature is one of the origins of psychoanalysis. Together, they illuminate the nature of creativity and fantasy.
While psychoanalytic knowledge provides a way into understanding literature as fantasy-construct or dream, literary knowledge so often provides the key to understanding fundamental psychoanalytic concepts, such as that of the fictive nature of identity, the concepts of selfhood and otherness, and of the uncanny.
Texts: Freud, Lacan, Sophocles, Shakespeare, Shelley, Keats, Bronte, Nerval, James, Woolf, Joyce, Beckett, Morrison, Sebald.Films: Spellbound (Hitchcock), Equus (Lumet), Heavenly Creatures (Jackson), Freud (Huston).
ENG 2091 ART OF DRAMA F2000Section 211: M W 1:30 pmDr. Richard L. Nochimson
This course looks at theatrical conventions and techniques to clarify how dramatists convey meaning and hold an audience through study of selected plays from different time periods and cultures.
Students will read approximately 12 plays. Probably two will be classics of the English Renaissance, including one by Shakespeare. Some will be by the great dramatists of the modern period: Ibsen (from Norway), Chekhov (from Russia), Pirandello (from Italy). There will certainly be some plays by contemporary American dramatists (Arthur Miller and more recent playwrights as well).
Students will write two relatively brief papers (no research required) and will keep a journal of informal reactions to the readings. This is a discussion course; active participation is required.
This course can be used to fulfill either the 1st or 2nd semester of the two-semester literature requirement for graduation from Yeshiva College, or it can be used as a course for the major in English.
ENG 3022 Medieval Genres T3000Section 341 T 4:30 pm TH 5:15 pmSTAFF
The literature of the Middle Ages was rich and varied and, not surprisingly, so were the audiences. How would we break down those audiences? Well, we could talk of the religious audience, the courtly audience, the learned, and the popular audience. Different genres might appeal more to specific audiences. In other words, just as writers today write for targeted audiences, medieval writers had specific audiences in mind. In terms of genre, we can talk about lyric poetry, mystery plays, liturgical plays, morality plays, fabliaux, sermons, debate, rules for living a religious life, beast fables, bestiaries, and romance. That by no means exhausts the list. In this course, we will study representative works from the major medieval genres - epic, romance, dreamvision, and drama.
This course can be used to fulfill the 2nd semester of the two-semester literature requirement for graduation from Yeshiva College, or it can be used as a course for the major in English.
ENG 3042 Influences: Frankenstein T2000Section 231 MW 3:00 pmDr. Gillian Steinberg
This course will begin with a study of Mary Shelley's novel and some contemporary critical works that approach the novel. We will then examine a number of works that influenced her writing, including prose by her parents, Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin; verse and prose of the Romantic poets; and 18th century Gothic novels. The last section of the course will feature works influenced by Frankenstein, including novels, poems, graphic novels and films. Students will share with the class one work that demonstrates influence of Shelley's novel. The course also requires three papers and a final exam.
ENG 3074 Discovering Canada F3000Section 361 T 6:30 pm TH 6:45 pmDr. Christopher McGahan
Beyond what they may have learned about Vancouver and British Columbia while watching the recent Winter Olympics, most people in the U.S. know precious little about their thirty-four million neighbors to the north or the culture(s) of the country that they inhabit, and indeed many would be hard pressed to name even a single Canadian author. Such is the case despite the fact that Canadian Alice Munro is a perennial frontrunner for the Nobel Prize in Literature and further, that the country is home to other internationally renowned literary figures like Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje, and Rohinton Mistry. Rather than settling for some properly Canadian remark on this state of affairs (e.g."But that's just the U.S., eh?"), in this course we will instead embark on an enjoyable and serious endeavor to recognize why North American readers, in addition to others around the world, should be concerned to discover the rich and vital contribution to world literature that Canadian writers have made in (especially) the past half century. Withal, our literary travels will be directed towards putting the North back into North America and giving the more northern North its due.
In particular we will concentrate in our reading and discussions on assessing the generative and sophisticated formal strategies that Canada's authors have often employed in their work, especially in the use of satire and parody and in the incorporation of historiographic material. Some major themes explored in the course, all of which we will give much attention to investigating for their relevance to both Canada and (where applicable) to the U.S., are the legacies of the colonial past; the implications of cultural diversity, in all its ever evolving configurations, for conceptions of national identity; and last but not least, the multifaceted effects of bordering on (or some might say, residing in the shadow of) a world superpower.
Our readings will include:Mordechai Richler's The Incomparable Atuk (1963) and "The Street" (1969)Michel Tremblay's Les Belles-Soeurs (1965)Leonard Cohen's Beautiful Losers (1966)Rudy Wiebe's Temptations of Big Bear (1973)Mavis Gallant's "Voices Lost in Snow" (1981)Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale (1985)Tomson Highway's The Rez Sisters (1986)Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient (1992)Alice Munro's "The Love of A Good Woman" (1998) and "The Bear Came Over the Mountain" (1999)David Bezmozgis's "Roman Berman, Massage Therapist" and "Minyan" (2004)Vincent Lam's "How to Get into Medical School, Part I" (2006).
We will also be reading a variety of critical texts by literary scholars responding to some of above-named works. There will be one long paper and two exams to write.
ENG 3075 Approaches to Film F3000Section 261 MW 6:30-8:30 pmDr. Paula Geyh
From the earliest Edison kinetoscopes of the 1890s to Cameron's 3-D Avatar and beyond, the cinema has captivated us and shaped our expectations and understanding of the world. This course will introduce students to the basics of analyzing film. We'll focus primarily on the close reading of elements of filmic mise-en-scene and montage, playing particular attention to how they come together to produce meaning. We'll also briefly discuss film genres and their conventions, and different methods and forms of film criticism.
Course requirements: Two papers and two exams.
ENG 1931H Reading MedicineSection 251 MW 5:00 pmDr. Christopher McGahan
This writing-focused course explores some of the most salient and interesting of the various ways in which the practice of medicine in the U.S. has been represented in literature and cinema since the mid-nineteenth century. Our readings will likely include texts by important American writers like Nathaniel Hawthorne, Walt Whitman, Sarah Orne Jewett, Charles Chesnutt and William Carlos Williams. as well as some more recent critical work by literary scholars. Alongside these readings, we will compose a total of five essays of three to four pages each. The assignment for one such essay will focus on how medicine has sometimes appeared in literary texts as a kind of metonymic stand-in for modernity and modernization. Another will involve comparison of two contemporaneous films, Frederick Wiseman's 1970 documentary Hospital and Arthur Hiller's 1971 dark comedy The Hospital (written for the screen by the great Paddy Chayefsky), to consider the differences in perspective on American medicine in that historical moment that we find in each one. A third will deal with ethical issues in medical research, in conjunction with which we will read an excerpt from a fascinating, recently published work of long form journalism, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, which invites reflection on the ethical concerns surrounding the circumstances of origin and subsequent 'life history' of the HeLa cells so important to modern biomedical science in the last sixty years. (The assignments for the other two essays are yet to be determined.) Finally, if we have time, we may also delve into Anne Fadiman's The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors and The Collision of Two Cultures, an instant classic work of medical ethnography (and great read) published in 1997.
This Freshman Honors Seminar counts in lieu of ENG 1101, the first term of composition. Unlike the seminars in the spring, it CANNOT be used to fulfill either semester of the two-semester literature requirement for graduation from Yeshiva College.
ENG 1931H East/WestSection 341 T 4:30 pm TH 5:15 pmDr. William Lee
We will focus on Eastern and Western works that helped define their societies. We will look back toward the ancient world:Mesopotamian GilgameshHomer's OdysseyChinese poetrySanskrit worksVirgil's Aeneid
Later readings will include:Kalidasa's Sakuntala and the Ring of RecollectionT'ang poetryDante's InfernoPetrarch's sonnetsMachiavelli's Prince
Students will learn how to read attentively, with respect for the text as written and an eye to the interrelationships of genre style, form, and content, and therefore how to understand and appreciate some masterpieces of literature as imaginative verbal creations. At the same time, they will learn to analyze the close relationships between each work and the central assumptions and beliefs of its culture and society. They will be exposed to the rudiments of literary theory textual, reader response, social and cultural in order to understand how assumptions about literature shape interpretations of specific works. Simultaneously, they will learn to write clear, concise, well-organized, well-specified, interesting interpretive essays and therefore to think more analytically and critically. Brief lectures will punctuate guided Socratic discussions intended to stimulate genuine thoughtfulness about the means and ends of specific works of literature. We will see whether or not we can make meaningful overall distinctions between early Eastern and Western works. The main texts will be Volumes A, B, and C of the Norton Anthology of World Masterpieces edited by Sarah Lawall.
Requirements: participation and attendance; three short essays; a focused revision of one of the three; a take-home essay exam; and a 10-12 pp. research paper developed in stages.
ENG 1931H: Conversion and Religious Identity (Mostly) in Medieval LiteratureSection 361 T 6:30 pm TH 6:45 pmSTAFF
In this course, we will read a variety of texts -- autobiographies, plays, travel narratives, films concerned with religious conversion. We will begin by considering how figures such as Paul and Augustine fashion themselves as religious converts, and the centrality of reading and writing to this process. We will then focus on a cluster of texts from medieval and early modern England that explore questions of identity, assimilation, and spiritual authority through vivid imaginary encounters with the religious "other":St. ErkenwaldThe Croxton Play of the SacramentMandeville's Travelscrusader accounts with selections from:The Canterbury Tales (the Man of Law's Tale and the Princess's Tale)The Merchant of Venice
Finally, in written assignments and collaborative projects, we will reflect on "conversion" from the standpoint of our own efforts to inhabit the different intellectual and interpretive domains of Yeshiva.
ENG 1931H Art and Literature in Age of PhotographySection 691 F 9:30 amDr. Elizabeth Stewart
With the birth of photography in 1822 Western painting suffered an identity crisis. Rather than competing with photography in representing the world as it appeared, much painting turned toward the stimulation of other senses and sensibilities and began to explore color, texture, and abstract treatments of space. Literature responded to the emergence of photography, too, much of it, interestingly, in ways that paralleled the new turns taken by painting. Other art and literature was eager to incorporate this product of the new technology of mechanical reproduction.
The course has 4 foci:
Texts by Honore de Balzac, Emile Zola, Andre Breton, W. G Sebald, Walter Benjamin, James Agee/Walker Evans, Susan Sontag, Luc Sante, E.H. Gombrich, and others.
Under the previous curriculum (and like English curricula of the past generally), courses were divided into "survey" courses and "electives," each corresponding to one of the two YC literature requirements. The former set of courses tended to be chronological and anthology-driven: a series of great authors and works arranged according to historical period. The latter courses were, by comparison, more idiosyncratic -- in short, anything that wasn't a survey. The new framework for the English curriculum also divides courses into two kinds. But as questions in interdependent relation, as categories to be interrogated rather than taken for granted, they give a much more integrative shape and cohesion to the major. Courses designated under the question of "Traditions" (preceded by the letter "T') do the work of coverage conventionally assigned to survey courses but are framed as topics courses. In other words, while they are designed to situate texts in literary history and focus on how texts come to be grouped within a literary period (The British Romantic or Victorian or American Antebellum, for instance), their thrust is how texts generate histories and how certain literary histories generate texts, preserving the question of tradition or canon-formation as questions. Courses designated under the rubric "Forms and Practices" (preceded by the letter "F") focus on literature from the perspective of aesthetic form, treat individual authors or juxtapose them, emphasize genre and theoretical perspective in short, they view texts with an eye towards interpretive frameworks other than the historical or chronological. Ultimately, the two large-scale categories of "Traditions" and Forms" create a dialectic, just as all the literature and writing courses you take have an implicit relation to other disciplines and forms of knowledge -- History, for instance, or Jewish Studies, or Sociology.
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New York, NY 10033
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New York, NY 10033
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