Loyola University Chicago

Department of English

Fall 2013 Graduate Course Descriptions

Fall 2013


Intro to Graduate Study (ENGL 400)

Section: 800 #2134
Instructor: J. Kerkering
3.0 credit hours Lecture
T 7:00 – 9:30PM LSC

This course introduces incoming graduate students to important issues in the profession of literary studies. It offers insights into current critical theories and methodologies as well as discussion of research techniques and bibliographic methods. Students will write weekly response papers and annotated bibliographies, one short paper (6-8 pages), and a longer final paper (10-12 pages).

Media and Culture (ENGL 415)

Section: 801 #5071
Instructor: S. Jones
3.0 credit hours Lecture
M 7:00 – 9:30 PM LSC

Novelist William Gibson, who coined the term “cyberspace,” has for a few years now been saying that “cyberspace is everting”—turning itself inside out and colonizing the physical world. The eversion is a major shift in the collective imagination of the digital network, from a place apart to a part of the world, from a transcendent virtual reality to a ubiquitous and (literally) mundane mixed reality. With the eversion, it’s now taken for granted that digital data is everywhere, all around us in the physical world. The rise of the new digital humanities around 2004-2008 was one significant response to this cultural shift, which was predicated on the rise of mobile platforms, mass digitization, casual gaming, augmented reality, and the geospatial turn (made possible by the turning off of selective availability to satellite data in 2000). In this seminar we’ll examine representations and manifestations of the eversion in works of diverse media, across multiple platforms. We’ll take an eclectic theoretical approach, drawing on media archaeology, cultural studies, digital humanities methods, and literary criticism, reading works by authors and artists and designers such as William Gibson, H. P. Lovecraft, Vernor Vinge, China Miéville, Robin Sloan, Jonathan Safran Foer, Amaranth Borsuk, Franco Moretti, Lisa Gitelman, Matthew Kirschenbaum, N. Katherine Hayles, Matthew Fuller, Ian Bogost, Phil Fish, Eric Zimmerman, Kelly Goeller, Bruce Sterling, and James Bridle, among others. Seminar participants will experiment with online platforms for publication, make frequent informal presentations, go on field trips, and participate in hands-on workshops. Watch Jones’s Website for syllabus, etc., when they become available.

Topics in Romanticism (ENGL 470)

Section: 802 #5072
Instructor: J. Cragwall
3.0 credit hours Lecture
TR 4:15 – 5:30 PM LSC

“But Los, who is the Vehicular Form of Strong Urthona”: On Not Understanding Blake.

One William Blake is the author of Songs of Innocence and Experience, some of the most anthologized and widely taught poetry in English.  Another Blake is responsible for MiltonJerusalem, and the Four Zoas, formations that make Finnegans Wake seem an exercise in plain English.  This is a course on the latter Blake, for people with an interest only in the former. 

The course assumes no special competence or familiarity.  In fact, our subject is really the failure of competence and specialization Blake induces even in professionalized readers.  So we’ll consider not Blake’s texts, so much as our experience of reading them, in all the bruised wonder of this experience.  We won’t “figure out” Blake, let alone “decode” him—we’ll try to theorize, not resolve or dismiss, our confusions.  What sort of work does Blake’s difficulty do?  What kind of history does it have?  What kind of politics?  Theology?  And what is lost when Blake is “understood”?  What sorts of knowledge miss the point entirely?  And what does it mean to be presented with texts that resist the communication of information, which problematize the basic assumptions of language?

We’ll read widely in other eighteenth and nineteenth-century texts in order to historicize the experience of reading Blake, with special focus on self-consciously “simple” as well as “esoteric” Protestant Christianities.  But we’ll also study the more recent history of reading Blake, and its role in the professionalization and disciplinarity of English itself.  What has it meant over the last two centuries to read Blake, casually as well as professionally? What has been at stake in these readings—and what makes reading Blake, understanding Blake, and, critically, not understanding Blake substantially unique?  

Victorian Poetry (ENGL 476)

Section: 803 #5073
Instructor: F. Fennell
3.0 credit hours Lecture
W 7:00 – 9:00 PM LSC

“Victorian [In-][Re-]novators:  Arnold and Hopkins”  

The topic focuses our attention on two Victorian poets who shared the view of nineteenth-century British poetry which many readers hold today:  that it had become too derivative, too dependent on its Romantic inheritance,  too “pretty” and thus too removed from everyday life.  One of these poets, Matthew Arnold, sought to take poetry to an earlier time, to renovate it by bringing it back to its classical roots both in style and in subject matter.  The other, Gerard Manley Hopkins, while also drawing on Greek roots, sought to innovate, to create a new poetic idiom, the kind that we later came to call Modernism (he was for a long time the earliest poet included in the Oxford Book of Modern Verse).  While the course will examine briefly the other major poets, e.g. Tennyson and the Brownings, our detailed attention will be directed to Arnold and Hopkins:  what was their project, why did they undertake it, how successful did they turn out to be.

Modern Poetry (ENGL 481)

Section: 804 #5074
Instructor: D. Chinitz
3.0 credit hours Lecture
R 7:00 PM – 9:30 PM LSC

This course will investigate the process by which different ways of creating a modern poetry arose in dialogue with and, sometimes, in reaction against each other. We will investigate such competing and synergistic concepts as Decadence, Symbolism, Imagism, and High Modernism, and the conceptions of modernity, the cultural politics, and the poetic techniques associated with them. Such rubrics, of course, hardly define a neat field, and we will see that conflicting impulses frequently coexist within the work of a single writer, and that one category of modernism often blurs into another. While considering modern poetry from this generally literary-historical perspective, the course is also structured as a survey of such key figures as William Butler Yeats, Marianne Moore, Ezra Pound, Hilda Doolittle (H.D.), Wallace Stevens, William Carlos Williams, and T. S. Eliot.

Contemporary Literature (ENGL 485)

Section: 805 #5075
Instructor: P. Jay
3.0 credit hours Lecture
MW 4:15 – 5:30 PM LSC

This course will explore the representation of critical theory, scholarship, research, and literary criticism in contemporary fiction. The novels we’ll be reading are engaged at various levels of specificity with semiotics, deconstruction, postcolonial theory, Foucault, multiculturalism, feminism and women’s studies, affect and aesthetics, reading and narratology, textual and biographical scholarship, Shakespeare studies, and sexuality. Novels I plan on using include A.S. Byatt’s Possession  (1991), Jeffrey Eugenides’s The Marriage Plot (2012), Teju Cole’s Open City (2012), Zadie Smith’s On Beauty (2007), Ben Lerner’s Leaving the Atocha Station (2011), Penelope Lively’s How it All Began, (2012), Arthur Phillips’s The Tragedy of Arthur (2012), and Patricia Drucker’s Hallucinating Foucault (1996). While the novels will get our primary and sustained attention, there will be some assigned readings in criticism and theory as well (certainly Barthes’s A Lover’s Discourse in connection with Eugenides, some essays on multiculturalism in connection with Smith, some essays on aesthetics in connection with Lerner, and some Foucault). Requirements will include two shorter critical essays (7-8 pages) and a final seminar paper (18-20 pages)