LARTS 325 – Shakespeare: The Tragedies
William Shakespeare’s tragedies feature astonishing figurative language, intriguing plots, complex, multi-faceted characters, and themes that speak to the core of human experience. This course will set the tragedies Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, and King Lear in the social-political context of Elizabethan England and will examine the plays’ major themes and patterns: the tragic characters’ increasing isolation from identity and society, the complete divestiture of self and the inversion of order, the conspicuous waste of talent and feeling, and the glimpses of transformative understanding among the ruins. We will also examine the effect of the tragic ‘process’ upon audiences past and present and explore ways to make Shakespeare’s language come alive for today’s audiences. Students will also have the opportunity to act scenes in class and to set passages to music. (2 credits) Keppel  

LARTS 326 – Women and Literature
This course examines the writing of British and American women within a social and cultural context, paying particular attention to issues of race, ethnicity, class, and gender. (2 credits) Gatlin  

LARTS 345 – Transcendence and Entrapment: Nineteenth-Century American Literature
In pioneer narratives, American Indian stories, tales and poems from New England and the Southwest, Transcendentalist essays, and African-American slave narratives, writers of nineteenth-century America explore the tension of transcendence and entrapment. This survey course focuses on how writers imagine transcendence – of literary conventions, of cultural norms and codes, of racial or gender-based identities, of geographical constraints, or of culture itself in a realm of nature or spirit–even while they detail the entrapments of culture, nature, place, identity, and the human mind. Authors will include Black Hawk, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Washington Irving, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Edgar Allen Poe, Kate Chopin, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, and Emily Dickinson. (2 credits) Gatlin  

»LARTS 349 – Contemporary American Poetry
This course will examine various styles, methods of writing, and groups of poets that have made contemporary poetry ‘contemporary,’ emphasizing the ways in which contemporary poetry records the workings of the mind and the ways it breaks down the hierarchies of language. Reading and listening to the work of some of the most innovative poets of our time, we will think about their choices in syntax, placement of words, speaker, imagery and figurative language, levels of diction, point of view, and word choice, and listen for tone, sounds, line breaks, and rhythmic effects. (2 credits) Lepson  

LARTS 384 – The Theatre of the Absurd
This course examines themes, theories and techniques relevant to the Theatre of the Absurd, the culmination of the 20th century modernist eruption in European theatre and an influence on the nontonal languages of composers such as Feldman, Berio, and Glass. Characters caught in the relentless, abstract circularity of the Theatre of the Absurd find themselves in a constant state of restlessness, overwhelmed by an intense need to do something but with no clear sense of what or why. Ultimately they must come to grips with the fact that they have no reality beyond the illusion that is their lives–that they are merely fictional characters playing their parts in an absurd, ‘tragicomic’ play. Students will read and attend plays by Beckett, Ionesco, and Pinter and will have the opportunity to collaborate with students in the Music Theory course, Order and Chaos in Music Since 1945 (THYU 329). (2 credits) Keppel  

LARTS 446 – Reading, Writing, and Race: Contemporary American Ethnic Literature
This course explores the cultural and literary politics of reading, writing, and race, with a focus on recent Native American, Mexican American, Asian American, and African American literature. We will examine what readers (including ourselves) expect of “ethnic” writers, what writers expect of their readers, and what writers expect of other authors. We will also ask how race impacts reading, how authors address cultural “insiders” and “outsiders,” and why “ethnic literature” is given a distinct category in American literature. (2 credits) Gatlin  

LARTS 448 – Ethics and the Environment in American Literature
This course examines how social categories of race, class, and gender shape encounters with the environment. Reading American literature from industrialism to the present, students will consider the unique ways that poets and fiction writers protest urban and workplace pollution, or express feelings of vulnerability in nature, while they also raise questions about national belonging. Although we will discuss difficult problems, including worker oppression, lynching, and pesticide poisoning, we will also look at writing as a powerful tool of hope and resistance. (2 credits) Gatlin  

LARTS 455 – The Animal in Literature
This course investigates the power and the limitations of literary depictions of nonhuman animals. Students will explore the insights and misunderstandings literature communicates regarding the perspectives of animals, the ways our ideas about animals shape ideas about humanity (and vice versa), and the roles animals play in our creation of fiction and poetry. Students will read literature from different historical periods and cultures, and they will consider the ways that writers engage multiple disciplines – the physical sciences, psychology, sociology, ethics, and philosophy – to describe animals. (2 credits) Gatlin  

LARTS 463 – Beyond Reality: Postmodernist American Fiction
This course examines problems of authenticity and inauthenticity raised in postmodernist American fiction and criticism written from 1965 to the present. Students will explore what it means when postmodernists declare that nothing is “authentic” – true, valuable, or real. They will consider the role of literature in a world where texts may supersede reality; ponder what it means to think of the world and our identities as representations or cultural myths; and reflect on ways to find–or make–meaning when all foundations of knowledge are challenged. (2 credits) Gatlin  

LARTS 475 – Essentials in African American Literature I: Invisible Man
This course provides an in-depth study of a single text: Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man. Students will read this critically important work from three perspectives: as a commentary on race and race relations in America from the Civil War to the 1940s; as an acute psychological study of the dual consciousness shaped by that history; and as a literary masterwork, part of a novelistic tradition reaching back to Dostoyevsky and beyond. (1 credit) Klein  

LARTS 476 – Essentials in African American Literature II: Beloved
Students will have the opportunity to read one of the modern classics in American Literature – Toni Morrison’s Beloved – in the context of both 19th century American History and our own modernist understanding. Analyzing and discussing critical historical studies, traditional slave narratives, and Abolitionist writings such as Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, students will first explore the conditions of slavery, then look more closely at efforts to escape from – and ultimately to abolish – it. With that as background, we will then examine Morrison’s modern novel, focusing not only on its vision of slavery, but on its alignment of slavery and the psychology of women, on its sense of emotional guilt and horror, and on its meaning to today’s readers. (1 credit) Klein