Loyola University Chicago

Department of English

Fall 2021 Graduate Course Descriptions


ENGL 400 Intro to Graduate Studies 
ENGL 413 Textual Criticism 
ENGL 433 Seminar in Individual Authors 
ENGL 470   Topics in Romanticism 
ENGL 496 African-American Literature 




ENGL 400 Intro to Graduate Studies 

Section: 100 #1588 
Instructor: S. Bost 
3.0 credit hours  Seminar 
R 5:30–8:00 PM  LSC 

This course focuses on conventions, terminology, and critical practices associated with graduate study in English.  Rather than reproducing the status quo, however, we will interrogate the problems embedded in each of the traditions we encounter and discuss future directions for the profession of English.  We will analyze and practice disciplinary and methodological approaches in class discussion, student-led presentations of literary criticism, a mid-semester reflection paper, a conference paper (on Beloved), and a final exam.  Required texts will include Gregory Semenza’s Graduate Study for the Twenty-First Century; Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan’s Literary Theory: An Anthology, Third Edition;Toni Morrison’s Beloved; and the MLA Handbook.     


ENGL 413 Textual Criticism 

Section: 101 #3932 
Instructor: M. Werner 
3.0 credit hours Seminar 
W 5:30–8:00 PM   Online/LSC 

“In many and Reportless Places”: Emily Dickinson’s Archive 

Between ca. 1854 and 1885 Dickinson composed more than 1800 poems and 1050 letters as well as many fragments in prose and verse. The study of her textual body—the material witness of her radical experiment in lyric address—will lead us to engage questions central to the theory and practice of textual scholarship. In this seminar manuscripts will be our lodestars, catalyzing and focusing our exploration of competing notions of authorial intention; the complex interplay of bibliographical and linguistic codes; the significance of textual variants and versions in the imagination of textual identity; and the challenges of reconstructing and analyzing the temporalities of the writing process. In addition to examining the intricate coordinates of Dickinson’s draft- and fair-copy manuscripts, we will consider the particular challenges and delights associated with editing manuscripts of different genres—e.g., the epistle, the lyric, the extra-generic fragment—and trace the long continuum between private and public documents. Along the way we will also look at multiple scholarly print editions of Dickinson’s works as cultural constructions, time-bound envoi, and autonomous agents and explore the promise and limits of the digital environment as a medium for the textual representation and interpretation of her writings.  

This semester we will not just read together but also talk and edit together. Seminar protocol and assignments are designed to promote dialogue and to marry theory and practice: 

  • Seminar participation: In each seminar, I expect lecture to be followed by lively, informed discussion. Participation is part of your seminar grade.  
  • Short (10-12 minute) mid-term oral presentation of a written paper: At mid-term, you will present a carefully crafted statement reflecting on your textual /editorial ethos: What led you to enter the region of textual scholarship? What textual problems do you find most compelling? What editorial approaches are you most drawn to? What compels you to create new editions, rather than simply rely on the editions of the past?  What readers do you hope will find your work, and what readers may never find it? In what ways do you imagine the textual work you do will have a life beyond you and an effect on the larger world?  
  • Collaborative editing: Across the latter part of the semester, we’ll collaborate on a scholarly edition or a curated exhibition of selected materials from Dickinson’s archive. 
  • Term project (two options): 1) You may choose an element of the collaborative work we’ve been engaged in to refine and develop; or 2) You may prepare a traditional seminar paper on Dickinson composed through the lens of textual criticism.  

Finally, although this seminar will not require participants to develop the technical skills for creating digital editions, I strongly encourage you to explore the ground-breaking work unfolding in the Center for Textual Studies and Digital Humanities and to attend the virtual events sponsored by the Center. 


ENGL 433 Seminar in Individual Authors 

Section: 102 #5231 
Instructor: P. Caughie 
3.0 credit hours  Seminar 
M 5:30–8:00 PM   LSC 

Virginia Wolff 

A single-author seminar is never about a single author. “The lone genius is a myth that has outlived its usefulness,” writes Joshua Wolf in “The End of Genius.” Today we speak more about creative networks than creative geniuses. Rather than a study of Virginia Woolf as an individual artist, this seminar introduces students to the networks of modernism through various theories and forms of scholarship—e.g., transnational approaches, technological approaches, queer theory, affect theory, textual studies and digital humanities—using Woolf’s writings (novels, essays, and the Woolf Online archive). We will focus not just on critical and theoretical approaches to Woolf, and modernism more generally, but also on Woolf as critic and theorist.  

Primary Readings: 

Novels: Essays:  

The Voyage Out (1915) Three Guineas (1938)  

  1. Dalloway (1925)“Modern Fiction” (1919)

To the Lighthouse (1927) “Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Brown” (1924) 

Orlando (1928) “The Artist and Politics” (1936) 

The Waves (1931) “Thoughts of Peace in an Air Raid” (1940) 

Between the Acts (1941) “The Leaning Tower” (1940) 


Possible Secondary Readings:  

Ahmed, Sara. The Promise of Happiness. Duke UP, 2010. 

Berman, Jessica, ed. A Companion to Virginia Woolf. Blackwell 2016. 

Caughie, Pamela L. Virginia Woolf and Postmodernism. U of Illinois P, 1991. 

---, ed. Virginia Woolf in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. Routledge, 2000.  

Detloff, Madelyn and Brenda Helt, eds. Queer Bloomsbury. Edinburgh UP, 2016. 

Ellmann, Maud. The Nets of Modernism. Cambridge UP, 2010 

Mao, Doug and Rebecca Walkowitz, eds. Bad Modernisms, Duke UP, 2006.  

Reinhold, Natalya ed. Woolf Across Cultures. New York: Pace UP, 2004. 

Seshagiri, Urmila. Race and the Modernist Imagination. Cornell UP, 2010. 


ENGL 470   Topics in Romanticism

Section: 103   #5232 
Instructor: J. Cragwall 
3.0 credit hours  Seminar 
TR 3:00–4:15 PM  LSC 

Natural Religion: Romanticism and the Markings of Belief 

This course considers our most conventional sense of Romantic difference: Romanticism as “nature worship.” We’ll start with natural theology, the careful attention to empirical knowledge that was the bedrock of orthodox Protestant theology in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. But as we’ll see, just as English theology domiciled spiritual forms in ever more material grounds, conceptualizing “religion” as “natural,” inevitable and unproblematic, English literature turned increasingly to cases of “naturals”—children, animals, historical and aboriginal peoples—who seemed discomfitingly immune to sacred instincts. This is our real subject, and it’s the ideological condition for the rhetorical and semiotic effects that most characterize what we’ve come to call Romanticism: “nature” and the “natural” are held to be a vast reservoir of peculiarly moralized meaning, and this meaning inevitably deconstructs across the syntax that frames it. This is Wordsworth’s refrain, but it’s not only his: that nature is fitted to the mind, and the mind is fitted to nature, in case after case where this is never the case, in which nature and spirit are both only dim and undetermined senses of unknown modes of being, an unsteady collation of trauma, confusion, and dislocation, promising a coherence that slips away just as it is reached for. The idiomatic syntax of the Romantic line of poetry, in other words, may be also the grammar for religious modernity itself. Readings in Benedict Spinoza, David Hume, Ann Radcliffe, Jane Austen, Erasmus Darwin, and the Williams Blake, Paley, and Wordsworth, among many others, some of whom are not even named William. 


ENGL 496 African-American Literature 

Section: 104   #5233 
Instructor: F. Staidum 
3.0 credit hours Seminar 
T 5:30–8:00 PM  LSC 

Black Queer Theory and the Literatures of Slavery 

In recent years, scholars of African American literature and culture have engaged gender and sexuality in ways that have challenged earlier heteropatriarchal and cishet assumptions about race, liberation, citizenship, diaspora, and identity formation and have made legible those bodies/identities that exist outside of these assumptions.  Nevertheless, and as with literary studies writ large, extending gender and queer interpretive moves to pre-twentieth-century writing has remained controversial and rare. 

In this course, we will focus upon the literatures of slavery (i.e., nineteenth-century ex-slave autobiography, anti-slavery fiction, and twentieth-century neo-slave narratives) in order to explore how early Black writers have wrestled with the ways in which black(ened) genders and sexualities, including the seemingly cisgender embodiments and heterosexual practices of black peoples, were always already queered according to normative, post-Enlightenment racial ideologies. 

The goal of this course is to provide students with a range and breadth of creative and non-fiction works that ground them in the critical sexual and gender frameworks emerging from Black Studies (e.g., Kimberlé Crenshaw’s intersectionality, Hortense Spiller’s ungendering, Roderick Ferguson’s queer of color critique, and C. Riley Snorton’s “mechanics of invention” of blackness and transness), as well as familiarize them with a range of authors and creative traditions from the canonical (e.g., Frederick Douglass) to the largely overlooked (e.g., Julia C. Collins, Harriet Wilson) but equally vital voices offering new perspectives, methods, and perhaps even “solutions.”