Archived Fall 2023 Courses

ENGL 533 Studies in the Renaissance: Milton and Revolution (co-convened with ENGL 444)
001 In Person
M/W 3:30-4:45 PM
Instructor: Kyle DiRoberto

Now a titan of the canon, John Milton was one of early modern England’s most revolutionary writers. We will study his poetry and prose within the context of the conflicts in which he was a major figure: revolutions in politics, theology, poetics, and philosophy.  One of our goals will be to examine how Milton – and the culture in which he was embedded – constructed meaning; another goal will be to consider why such an examination is important. How does reading Milton’s works enable us to fully understand our own constructed selves? How do his representations of gender, truth, power, and nature figure in the epistemic violence with which he was engaged? And how do those representations continue to inform 21st-century expressions of desire and oppression?

Our class will examine works from the many different genres in which Milton wrote—sonnets, epic, masque, polemical prose tracts, and pastoral elegy. We will consider the richly generative tensions that complicate the author’s oeuvre and character. For example, Milton was a devout Christian, but, according to William Blake, he “was of the devil’s party and didn’t know it.” He was allied with the Puritans yet created some of the most voluptuous verse in the English language. He was a politician who supported regicide and violent rebellion but constructed heaven as a monarchy and Satan as an armed insurrectionist. In the most extravagant and aristocratic genre of his era—the masque, which was predicated on conspicuous consumption and upper-class entitlement—he embedded a proto-socialistic argument for equitable distribution of resources and consumer moderation. In one of the most celebrated epics ever written, Milton repeatedly derided classical epic values and conventional epic heroism. Come and explore this author of conflicting impulses and postmodernity in the early modern era.


ENGL 565 Studies in American Literature to 1900: Affect in 19th-Century American Literature
001 In Person
M 5:00-7:30PM
Instructor: Paul Hurh

This course will study key texts from 19th-century American literature through an affect theory approach that seeks to identify, historicize, and theorize particular affective states—emotions, feelings, moods—in the literature of the period.  To that end, students will read several works and authors that have long held interest for their descriptions or evocations of particular, peculiar, feelings, including works by Herman Melville, Edgar Allan Poe, Frederick Douglass, and Emily Dickinson. We will also read central works in the critical tradition known as affect theory, including authors such as Sianne Ngai, Sara Ahmed, Lauren Berlant, Raymond Williams, Eve Sedgwick, Silvan Tomkins, Rei Terada, and others. 

The animating questions of the course will be: what are the specific feeling-tones of the nineteenth-century United States and how should we understand them today?  Students will complete assignments oriented around a specific historical feeling or tone that they select, establishing the material and social contours of its context and theorizing its importance for clarifying our understanding of its period as well as our own.  Students will produce writing in multiple genres: academic writing for the profession as well as public writing for a more general audience.


ENGL 596A Travel Narratives, Travel Fictions (co-convened with ENGL 496A)
001 Live Online
Tu/Th 3:30-4:45PM
Instructor: Daniel Cooper Alarcón

This course will provide an opportunity to read, consider, and discuss a diverse array of texts we might broadly categorize as travel literature. Our goal will be to identify the conventions of the various manifestations of this genre, as well as the different kinds of cultural work that travel literature performs at different historical moments. As the course progresses, we’ll think about how travel narratives were altered to accommodate new philosophies, ideologies, and artistic movements, and, as I hope the term “travel fictions” suggests, we will think about how and why these narratives often misrepresent, distort, and fabricate notions about the people and places they purport to describe. We will also read a wide range of travel fictions that purposefully raise questions about different types of travel, including exploration, tramping, immigration, and tourism, and we will consider how travel narratives and travel fictions often borrow from one another, mutually reinforcing ideas, tropes, and modes of representation. Finally, we’ll think about how reading and writing have become an integral part of traveling–shaping not just itineraries, but perceptions and beliefs about the places travelers visit.
We will read memoirs, short stories, and essays by Jack London, Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, María Cristina Mena, Jamaica Kincaid, Rudolfo Anaya, and Leslie Marmon Silko. We will also read three novels: The Sheltering Sky (Paul Bowles), Jasmine (Bharati Mukherjee), and Volkswagen Blues (Jacques Poulin). You will be asked to write two medium-length papers and to participate regularly in class discussion. Please note that this course is being offered Live Online for the entire semester.
Students taking the course for graduate credit will be asked to do some additional reading of relevant theory and criticism, and will make a short in-class presentation as well as write a longer final paper at the end of the semester.


ENGL 595A First Year Colloquium
001 In Person 
W 12:00-12:50 PM 
Instructor: John Melillo

“How to graduate-student.” This colloquium meets every other week, and it is a requirement for first year students. Our meetings will include information about the program, an introduction to the profession, and tips on navigating graduate student life.


English 595A Job Workshop 
002 In Person 
W 12:00-12:50 PM 
Instructor: John Melillo

This workshop meets every other week. We will discuss career paths and goals, prepare application materials, and learn about different approaches to the process of going “on the market.”


ENGL 595A Dissertation Writing Workshop
005 In Person
W, 5:00-5:50PM
Instructor: John Melillo

This writing workshop is for students who are ABD and who are at any stage of their dissertation writing. Whether you are working on your initial proposal or your final chapter, we will meet once a week to discuss writing strategies, workshop chapters or sections, and create accountability for your writing goals.