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

ENGL 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 612R: History of Rhetoric: Rhetoric and Aesthetics (Greg Clark)

What we call “rhetoric”—the theory of communication intended to influence – is interwoven with “poetics,” the theory of aesthetic expression. The reality of communication practice is, more often than not, that those two motives are inseparable. Even the most strategic attempt at practical persuasion has aesthetic appeal, and even the purest form of poetry has rhetorical effect. In the 4th century BC, Aristotle wrote both a Rhetoric and a Poetics. In the 20th century, Kenneth Burke along with Susanne Langer developed a “new rhetoric”—that is, essentially, a rhetorical aesthetic. This course will explore rhetorical and aesthetic motives in landmark texts in order to develop an understanding of rhetoric as aesthetic expression as well as artistic expression as rhetoric. Readings will draw upon key texts in the canonical rhetorical tradition as well as important texts classified as “philosophy” to help students develop ways of understanding the “rhetorical” that enable invention and criticism in the multi-modal communication situation of the 21st century.

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 628R: Culture of Climate Change (Jamin Rowan)

As we settle into life in the Anthropocene, a wide variety of writers and culture makers have responded to the emerging conditions of this new climactic period. Through course readings and independent research, we will have the opportunity to identify and analyze the narrative and formal patterns through which writers and other artists are making sense of the Anthropocene. We will also address the challenges that climate change poses to our conventional understandings of literary history and our traditional analytical approaches to literary study.

ENGL 640R: Fairy Tales and Allied Forms (Jill Rudy)

For decades parents, educators, politicians, and producers have been concerned about how the stories we tell and the media we consume may determine individual values and social behaviors.  Discomfort, if not alarm, about media influence, and intermedial fairy tales, instigates our conversation.  We will study what the fairy tale and other traditional narratives such as myth and legend do for the people who share them. What we seek to learn speaks to current concerns about the relevance of literature and the humanities in contemporary society; why people retell and adapt certain stories; how and why people care about fictional characters, and who owns these wonder tales.  Fairy tales themselves are full of power relationships, influential action, and choices even though it seems that the fairy tale is prone to inevitability (things happen three times, or the protagonist will do what he or she is forbidden to do).  Folklore studies tradition, the artful expression we repeat and vary over time and space that shares knowledge and creates and maintains groups.  Traditional narratives are a particularly powerful form because of the ways people and stories call out to each other through every available communicative means for entertainment and instruction. 

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.

ENGL 669R: Poetry Workshop (Michael Lavers)

This course will be a series of deep and extended dives into some of the greatest poets ever, such as Shakespeare, Marvell, Keats, Dickinson, Eliot, Rilke, Yeats, Czeslaw Milosz, and Zbigniew Herbert. We’ll read widely through each poet’s oeuvre, asking ourselves what their greatest poems are, and why. Writing assignments will be inspired by our readings. The final project will be a revision portfolio of all the poems written during the semester, workshopped once more as a group of poems by the class.

Winter 2021

ENGL 621R: The Daring Muse: Eighteenth-Century Women’s Poetry and Literary History (Billy Hall)

The primary draw for this course on eighteenth-century British poetry written by women are the poems themselves. The poetry of Anne Finch, Mary Montagu, Sara Dixon, Mary Leapor and many more is by turns hilarious and tragic; at times deeply personal and others furiously engaged in public debate, it leaves deep and lasting impressions on nearly any student of literature. We will add to this bounty of literary riches analytical frameworks rooted in literary history, but self-aware and flexible enough to accommodate students with varied critical interests. Anchored in the poetry, students will explore current and emerging approaches to the practice of literary history (feminist literary historiography, historical poetics, computer-assisted text analysis, and more) with an eye to developing facility in the approach that most resonates with their own interpretive and conceptual inclinations. On the one hand narrow and the other broad, the two main goals for the course are to deepen our understanding and appreciation of eighteenth-century poetry, and to reflect on the assumptions that underpin various approaches to writing literary history.

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?

ENGL 668R: Graduate Fiction Workshop (Spencer Hyde)

What is a story cycle? What is a composite novel, and how is that different from a collage? When does a short story become a novella, and does such taxonomy matter? In this workshop, we will study numerous works of contemporary fiction coupled with theoretical texts. Students will submit at least three stories/chapters/experiments for workshop discussion, and write many smaller exercises in an attempt to understand the hybrid nature of form and function.

ENGL 669R: Poetry Workshop (Kimberly Johnson)

A writing workshop represents an opportunity to hear from disinterested persons about the communicative successes and failures of your work.  This course combines traditional workshop discussion of student poems with a larger discussion about the craft and theory of poetry writing.  We will frame that larger conversation by looking at key theoretical texts, exploring issues of craft, and discussing a number of poetry collections, identifying their poetic strategies and assessing the effects of those strategies, and considering the concept of the poetry book qua book—that is, as a coherent document with its own governing arguments.

Each week, we will seek to acknowledge the mutually constitutive labors of thinking, reading, and writing.  We will spend the first 30(-ish) minutes of class discussing a point of poetic theory or craft; the next 45(-ish) minutes discussing a single collection of poetry, and the remaining time workshopping student poems.

Fall 2021

ENGL 600: Introduction to Graduate Studies (Paul Westover)

ENGL 610: Composition Pedagogy (University Writing Directors)

ENGL 612R: History of Rhetoric (Nancy Christiansen)

ENGL 620R: Seminar in British Literature before 1660: The English Literary Renaissance and Modern Film (Brandie Siegfried)

In this course, students will read works by writers such as Edmund Spenser, Elizabeth I, William Shakespeare, Walter Raleigh, Margaret Cavendish, John Milton, and several other significant authors. Pertinent segments from the 1611 King James Bible will also be given close scrutiny. Several of these 16th– and 17th-century literary figures and their works became the focus of film adaptations in the 20th century, and this course will explore the religious, philosophical, and aesthetic aspects of Renaissance literature in relation to their modern film avatars. This course gives special attention to the concept of transposition: the replacement of verbal passages with visual analogues. However, the main focus of inquiry will be the role of imagination in completing the worlds created by literature and film, and the possibility of strengthening, expanding, and deepening our awareness of beauty in relation to these worlds.

ENGL 621R: Seminar in British Literature, 1660-1830: British Romantic Literature (Nicholas Mason)

ENGL 622R: Seminar in British Literature, 1830-Present: Woolf and Motherhood (Jarica Watts)

ENGL 628R: Memory, Nostalgia, and Trauma in Contemporary American Literature (Trent Hickman)

In recent years and in the wake of postmodernist inquiry, critical attention has turned anew not only to the study of how we represent the past but of memory itself–how it is formed, how it is transformed, and how it is deformed by nostalgia and trauma. Even as scholars refocus this discussion in newer terms to speak of the past, they still frequently find themselves concerned in many cases with the representations of the past and memory in its various forms, be they individual, familial, collective, national, environmental, or biological. Our course will familiarize you with some of the seminal theoretical texts on this return to studies of memory in its various forms, introduce you into some of the debates surrounding them, and finally ask you to identify how contemporary American literature incorporates representational strategies which speak to these concerns.

ENGL 629R: Poe and the World (Emron Esplin)

To claim that no other U.S. writer has had as much influence on world literature as Edgar Allan Poe is not to practice hyperbole. Variously proclaimed as a master of the macabre, the inventor of detective fiction, a precursor to science fiction, the inventor of the modern short story, and a dark poet-prophet, Poe’s figure casts multiple shadows on the world. In this course, we will study Poe’s influence on and affinities with writers from across the globe, and we will also analyze how the world has shaped the Poe that we know in the United States today. Our course readings will include a few of Poe’s poems and essays, a large portion of his short fiction, and various poetic and prose responses to Poe from France, England, Japan, Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay. Our course material will focus on Poe the writer, but we will also approach the figure of Poe as a pop culture icon. Our discussions of the other writers in the course will examine their literary relationships with Poe, but we will also explore why each of these authors should be studied in their own right.

ENGL 630R: Theoretical Discourse

ENGL 667: (Pat Madden)

ENGL 669: Poetry Workshop (Lance Larsen)

In this workshop you’ll be writing at least nine poems, nine “small or large machine[s] made out of words” (WC Williams) whose purpose is to take off the top of the reader’s head and leave her so cold no fire will ever warm her (Dickinson). Whether we achieve this collectively remains to be seen,  but we’ll certainly put in the sweat equity. If the seminar is small, each person will workshop six or seven times; if it’s bursting at the seams, four times. In addition, we’ll systematically study half a dozen contemporary poetry collections, complete in-class prompts, and you’ll do a presentation, memorize a sonnet, send out new poems, and talk about your work using a portfolio of twenty carefully curated quotes by other writers. We’ll also meet together two or three times to discuss your progress, and you’ll complete a final portfolio and an analysis essay. Shantih Shantih Shantih

Winter 2022

ENGL 611R: Teaching Advanced Composition (University Writing Directors)

ENGL 613R: Rhetorical Theory and Criticism (Jon Balzotti)

ENGL 616R: Research Methods in Composition (Amy Williams)

ENGL 617R: (Pat Madden)

ENGL 620R: Seminar in British Literature before 1660: Medieval (Juliana Chapman)

ENGL 622R: Seminar in British Literature, 1830-Present: Victorian (Jamie Horrocks)

ENGL 626R: Witchcraft (Mary Eyring)

The early American witchcraft phenomenon has been studied as a manifestation of anxiety surrounding gender and sexuality in the Americas. Certainly it was. But in a much larger sense, witchcraft registered early Americans’ concerns about their relationship to the continent, the Atlantic world, and the globe. In small and often isolated settlements, European colonists in the Americas were in a perpetual posture of defense against anticipated attacks—on their bodies, homes, souls, children, institutions, customs—with no clear sense of the origins or implications of the threat. In this climate, everything in the world, visible and invisible, was suspect. During the most famous episodes in the history of early modern witchcraft, accusers blurred the lines between sinner and saint, stranger and friend, on terms that echoed their constantly shifting status on a globe in flux. Were they Europeans (transmitting centuries of repression and violence) or Americans (entangled with the native inhabitants of their continents and islands)? Witchcraft periodically threw the ongoing tensions of colonial expansion and governance into sharp relief. At stake in these trials was not only the fate of individuals, but also the role that science, spirituality, law, literature, cross-cultural cooperation, and individualism were to play on the dramatic theaters of the New World. In this course, we will trace the concerns of witchcraft in a variety of texts. Our seminar will begin with a study of the European bases upon which the early American witchcraft phenomenon rests, and we will study the animating anxieties as they were manifested, repressed, analyzed, and dramatized in other global contexts. Our sources will include the familiar and conventionally literary—histories, drama, short stories, a novel—as well as journals, letters, newspapers, and a film. 


ENGL 629: Contemporary African American Literature (Kristin Matthews)

ENGL 630R: Theoretical Discourse (Details TBA)

ENGL 667: The Personal Essay Large and Small (Joey Franklin)

How do you write an essay? or a book of essays? Or a six-volume mega-memoir? The same way you eat an elephant. One small bite at a time.  In this course we will study short-form nonfiction as both a stand-alone art, and as a building block for longer works. We will read collected flash-nonfiction and book-length projects that are built of smaller pieces. We will dissect the short form, use what we learn to create our own flash nonfiction, and combine what we create into larger cohesive manuscripts. We will review the contemporary flash nonfiction scene and see if we can come to our own theories of flash-nonfiction. We will workshop our manuscripts, revise like crazy, and submit our work to journals around the country.

ENGL 668: Fiction Workshop (Spencer Hyde)

ENGL 669: Poetry Workshop (Michael Lavers)

ENGL 670R: Young Adult Novel (Chris Crowe)

ENGL  670R is a workshop designed for graduate students who are working on a young adult novel. Students in this course should have read widely in YA literature (ENGL 420 is wonderful preparation).  The seminar will run on a workshop format, so it is essential that every student is prepared to work on a YA novel.  In late fall semester of 2021, every student enrolled in the course must submit a writing sample for me to review. We’ll then meet to discuss the sample and to discuss the individualized required reading to be completed prior to the start of the class in winter 2022.

Fall 2022

ENGL 628R: The Culture of Climate Change (Jamin Rowan)

As we settle into life in the Anthropocene, a wide variety of writers and culture makers have responded to the emerging conditions of this new climactic period. Through course readings and independent research, we will have the opportunity to identify and analyze the narrative and formal patterns through which writers and other artists are making sense of the Anthropocene. We will also address the challenges that climate change poses to our conventional understandings of literary history and our traditional analytical approaches to literary study.

Winter 2023

ENGL 626R: Antebellum Bestsellers (Mary Eyring)

From 1810-1860, Americans read in an unprecedented variety of genres. Still, risk-conscious publishers only printed what they thought would sell. Thus, titles geared toward particular audiences and with demonstrated market appeal dominated the print landscape. In this class, we’ll study titles that caught on with particular force among reformers, the religious, certain political groups, women, young adults, and the middle class. We’ll study a variety of novels—gothic, sentimental, serialized, political—as well as short stories, travelogues, Barbary captivity narratives, a memoir, and a play. We’ll complement these texts with criticism and scholarship that reflect elite and low-brow responses to these texts and register their influence in their moment and across the ages.


ENGL 630R: Religious and Regional Folklore: Latter-day Saints and the Mountain West (Eric Eliason)