Extended Descriptions-Graduate

Winter 2020

English 520R: Poetic Meter in the British Imagination (John Talbot)

After a review the basic principles of poetic meter, pupils will be introduced to advanced principles of prosody, with emphasis on meter as one of the hiding-places of poetry’s power. Whereafter: a survey of both current and perennial questions (e.g., how notions of meter have changed through history; the relation of Greek and Roman to English verse forms; how poetic meter has been thought to relate to notions of nationhood, aesthetics, theology, class, gender, and tradition). Primary readings from three-score poets from Beowulf to present, and theorists from the sixteenth through nineteenth centuries; secondary readings including four recent major monographs and various articles. Oral presentation in a mini-conference, as a stage in the composition of a formal conference-length paper.

English 613R/620R: Rhetorical Contexts/Rhetorical Readings of British Renaissance Literature (Nancy Christiansen)

Renaissance literature was written by writers educated in rhetoric.  To read their works as they and their audience would have read them requires that we immerse ourselves, as much as we can, in the rhetorical theory and practice they were immersed in.  In this course, we will become familiar with Renaissance rhetorical theory and practice and then we will interpret Renaissance literature according to this rhetorical lens.  Because this rhetorical context has not been sufficiently understood, most of the scholarship to date on Renaissance literature, culture, education, and rhetoric offers much room for revision. Furthermore, uniting reason, psychology, and ethics, the dominant rhetorical theory of the Renaissance Christian Humanists, found in both educational and literary writings, offers a more comprehensive model to guide textual interpretation and composition than that of any other time period.  Great opportunities for contributions to scholarship, then, lie in these related fields of study.   

English 616: Research Methods in Rhetoric and Composition (David Stock)

This course takes a hands-on approach to introducing graduate students to processes and methods of academic research, from forming research questions and selecting research methods to gathering and analyzing data to reporting and discussing results, all within the context of existing scholarly conversations.

Course outcomes include 1) understanding essential elements of research design and methodology, 2) becoming familiar with the strengths and limitations of various research methods, and 3) designing and/or implementing an original research project.

Assignments align with course outcomes: 1) reading and discussing research studies that model various designs and methods; 2) creating and implementing mini-research projects, individually and in groups, that use various research methods; and 3) proposing and completing relevant portions of an MA thesis prospectus or thesis (e.g., lit review, methods section), or both. While readings come primarily from writing and rhetoric studies, the course content and assignments are applicable to all graduate students, regardless of area of emphasis.

The overall goal of this course is to help graduate students become more intentional and effective in designing and conducting academic research, while helping them make tangible, timely progress on their thesis.

English 617R: Creative Writing Theory (Joey Franklin)

We will identify and study significant theories of creative writing, primarily in fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction.​ Readings will include several major theorists in each genre, as well as theorists whose work focuses more on creative writing and creativity in general. We will look at a variety of issues, including, but not limited to ethics, aesthetics, privilege, originality, and imitation as they relate to creative writing, and students will produce a seminar-length paper that can serve as the first draft of an MFA thesis critical introduction.

English 621R/622R: British Romanticism and the Victorians (Paul Westover)

This course can be included on your program of study as either English 621 or English 622. It’s an exploration of how the Victorians read, theorized, canonized, remediated, and monetized Romanticism. Due to my own research interests, it will place special emphasis on material culture, book history, and commemoration, but students will be able to pursue research projects of their own proposing. They will engage with important scholarship in the field and share their findings in both written and oral presentations. Students specializing in American literature are welcome—Romantic afterlives flourished across the Atlantic—as are students in creative writing and rhetoric.

English 628R: Borderwaters of American Literature (Brian Roberts)

Guided by a water-oriented alternative to Gloria Anzaldúa’s “borderlands” paradigm, this course on US-America’s literary borderwaters focuses on water- and island-oriented writing by US writers ranging from the early twentieth century’s canonical modernists to current writers of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Geographically, the course ranges from writers hailing from the continental United States (Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, Ernest Hemingway, Willa Cather, etc.) to writers associated with the archipelago of islands claimed by the United States (Florence Frisbie of Puka-puka, Vernice Wineera of Aotearoa and Hawai‘i, John Kneubuhl of American Samoa and Hawai‘i, Tiphanie Yanique of the US Virgin Islands and NYC, Jesus Colón of Puerto Rico and NYC). A range of conceptual readings orients students on archipelagoes, oceans, and aqua-centric notions of the Americas.   

English 629R: Translation Studies and Literatures in English (Emron Esplin)

What can a course on translation studies offer a student of English? For starters, it will reveal that our literary canons are grounded on translated texts and that our very language changes as translated texts enter our literary traditions. “English” as a field of study relies heavily on the translation of ideas, theories, concepts, and literary texts from other languages. This course offers an introduction to various theories of literary translation and to the growing field of translation studies. We will examine several versions of key translated texts that form the center of literary study in English—e.g. the Bible, The Iliad, 1001 Nights—we will question the notions of translatability and fidelity, we will highlight the importance of paratextual materials, and we will challenge the hierarchical relationship between “originals” and translations. The final course assignment will allow both for projects that examine texts in two languages (e.g., a Spanish-language original alongside an English-language translation) and for projects that analyze multiple versions of one or more texts in English.

English 630R: Literary Soundscapes (Juliana Chapman)

Can a work of literature be noisy or quiet, musical or cacophonous? Do some literary works embed their own cinematic soundscape? How does reading with an awareness of sound (musical or otherwise) and silence relate to aural memory, audience reception, authorial composition, narrative structure, and interpretation? From classical to modern texts, authors frequently blur the lines between artistic fields, bringing sound, broadly conceived, and music, specifically, into their literary works, those ostensibly silent lines of text on a page.
Together we will read critical and literary works that engage the question of the sonic within the literary, and students will be asked to consider a work of their own choosing in light of the role of sound in the rhetorical, aesthetic, and interpretive work of literature. No prior experience with music or sound theory is required.


English 667: Expanding the Boundaries of the Personal Essay (Joey Franklin)

Joseph Epstein once called the essay “a pair of baggy pants into which nearly anyone or anything can fit.” We’ll test this definition by exploring a variety of unusual neighborhoods in the city of the personal essay, including, but not limited to hermit crab essays, graphic essays, third-person essays, video essays, and audio essays. We will read more traditional creative nonfiction alongside experimental work and explore topics both public and personal. We will use these model essays as guideposts for creating our own essays, and we’ll spend a good chunk of time reading and applying the most recent theories of nonfiction to published work as well as to our own. Students will write and workshop three essay projects during the course of the semester, lead class discussions and workshops, revise two essay projects as part of a final portfolio, and submit one essay from their portfolio to a literary magazine. We’ll also discuss professional development, literary publishing, grad school, teaching, and a variety of other topics apropos of the MFA life.



Fall 2020

English 610R: Composition Pedagogy (University Writing Directors)

English 610 introduces students to current rhetoric and composition theory and pedagogy, paying particular attention to how these ideas influence the teaching of college writing. In this class, students will explore principles and theories they already have experience with and will discover new concepts about writing and teaching writing. The goal of this class is to help students become an effective writing teacher committed to theoretically sophisticated, reflective, and professional teaching. 

ENGL 620R: Renaissance Devotional Lyric (Kim Johnson)

This course explores texts written in response to the religious, ecclesiological, and theological developments of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In particular, it examines the poetry of the Reformation and Post-Reformation era as a site of theological renegotiation and subversion. We will place the work of major lyric authors in the context of Reformation-era controversies involving representation, selfhood, textuality, and materiality to understand how literary texts of the period both reflect and inform the theological culture of the Renaissance.

ENGL 622R: Studying Victorian Studies (Jamie Horrocks)

This course will not be an introduction to Victorian literature and culture per se but an introduction to the study of Victorian literature and culture. We’ll be reading a handful of Victorian texts (by Dickens, Gaskell, C. BrontëC. Rossetti, Kipling, Wilde, Tennyson, Mayhew, and others) in order to get a broad sense of the subjects, styles, events, and questions that intrigued Victorian writers and readers. We’ll supplement this reading with criticism and theory demonstrating some of the critical approaches that modern scholars of Victorian studies have found useful (gender studies, post-colonialism, print culture, urban studies, transatlanticism, etc.). We’ll be reading these works to gain familiarity with the contours of discipline but also to think about the ways in which analytical arguments are formed around literary and cultural texts. Students will be encouraged, but not required, to structure their research and writing in this class so as to be able to participate in the INCS (Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Society) Conference, which will be held in SLC in 2021.  

ENGL 668R: Fiction Workshop (Steve Tuttle)

In this writing workshop, we will make a close reading of multiple models of contemporary fiction together with theoretical texts that will help us, collectively and individually, to better understand the discipline and craft of fiction writing. Students will submit at least three pieces of writing for workshop discussions and several less-formal writing assignments.  

Winter 2021

ENGL 622: Law and Contemporary British and Anglophone Literatures (Peter Leman)

In this seminar, we will examine contemporary British and Anglophone literatures in relationship to the field of Law and Literature. This field has been notoriously heterogeneous throughout its (relatively recent) history, with scholars positing a variety of configurations for relating the two disciplines: e.g., law as literature, law in literature, literature in law, literature as law, law and rhetoric, law and hermeneutics, etc. Though touching on some of the most important of these methods, we will draw heavily upon the late legal scholar Robert Cover’s insight that the law depends upon a deep structure of cultural narratives for its meaning. In thinking through the implications of this claim, we will read cultural narratives by Samuel Beckett, George Orwell, Michael Ondaatje, Margaret Atwood, Brian Friel, Polly Stenham, and others, and consider how their works might be understood in relationship to privacy law, torts, emergency law, international law, constitutional history, and more. 

ENGL 627R: Literary New York and Aesthetic Modernity (Edward Cutler)

This seminar features New York City as a vital capital of literary and cultural modernity in the latter decades of the 19th century. We will consider major New York writers–Walt Whitman, Henry James, and Edith Wharton–and discuss how the uniqueness of modern life in America’s rapidly transforming metropolis, in turn, shapes America’s contribution to an emergent modernist aesthetic. Beyond broadening your awareness of this urban literary-historical context, our seminar will consider theoretical ways to approach the cultural history of capitalist modernity. How does urban experience both intensify social class divisions and open new ways of freely exploring and imagining identity? How do new technologies of production and representation (photography, panorama, voice recording, motion pictures) pressure the conventional visual and literary arts? What, in particular, can the outmoded, discarded, or obsolete ephemera—for instance a short-lived design style like Art Nouveau–reveal to us now, in ways not discernible then, something of the latent dreams and desires of humanity? To pursue such questions, we will consider two influential studies of nineteenth-century capitalism and its discontents: Walter Benjamin’s The Arcades Project and Thorstein Veblen’s Theory of the Leisure Class. Our consideration of these evocative critical and aesthetic materials will strengthen you in your own creative processes and provide texture for your independent conceptual investigations of literature. 


ENGL 630R: What Is the Song Saying? Music and/as Theory (Sharon Harris)

This course takes music and its texts as serious and dialogic modes of discourse and theorizing. Throughout the course, we will return to questions such as these: What is lost or gained when words are conveyed in a musical medium or vice versa? How do words and music communicate, both separately and together? Why, in a specific instance, might an author turn to music or a composer turn to words? What does it look like to interpret music and the texts that are a part of it? What are the differences between reading and hearing? What is meaning in music and in texts? What is the song saying? And, consequently, what are we saying?

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