Winter 2014 Courses


Prosody & Poetic Form: An Intro to Comp Metrics (CLCV 21313, section 01)

This class offers (i) an overview of major European systems of versification, with particular attention to their historical development, and (ii) an introduction to the theory of meter. In addition to analyzing the formal properties of verse, we will inquire into their relevance for the articulation of poetic genres and, more broadly, the history of literary (and sub-literary) systems. There will be some emphasis on Graeco-Roman quantitative metrics, its afterlife, and the evolution of Germanic and Slavic syllabo-tonic verse. No prerequisites, but a working knowledge of one European language besides English is strongly recommended.

Instructor: Boris Rodin. Day and Time: Wednesdays, 9:30 AM to 12:20 PM


Comparative Literature

Zhuangzi: Literature, Philosophy, or Something Else (CMLT 21851/31851, section 01)

The early Chinese book attributed to Master Zhuang seems to be a patchwork of fables, polemical discussions, arguments, examples, riddles, and lyrical utterances. Although it has been central to the development of both religious Daoism and Buddhism, the book is alien to both traditions. This course offers a careful reading of the work with some of its early commentaries. Requirement: classical Chinese. 

Instructor: Haun Saussy. Day and Time: Fridays, 10:30 AM to 1:20 PM

Towards a Poetics of Philology in Early-Modern Europe (CMLT 27414/37414, section 01)

This course will examine the philological notion of interpolation--the insertion of new material into a text perceived to be faulty or lacking--not only as an operation of textual reparation or editorial alteration, but more importantly as constituting in and of itself a form of literary writing or authorship, whose poetics we will explore. What is, we will ask, the relation between literary scholarship and literary creation? We will concentrate primarily, but not exclusively, on early-modern writings, employing a comparative perspective which will allow the examination of other artistic practices beyond the literary, including music and sculpture. Among the authors to be considered will be Euripides, Pascal, Mme de Svign, Mme Dacier, Furetire, Milton, Swift and Baudelaire. In addition, theoretic readings will be discussed to examine problems such as the coherence and identity of literary texts, the role of the author, and the status of philology and literary criticism.

Instructor: Sophie Rabau. Day and Time: Thursdays, 1:30 PM to 4:20 PM


East Asian Languages and Civilizations

The Shijing: Classic of Poetry (EALC 26500/36500, section 01)

Course description not available.

Instructor: Edward L Shaughnessy. Days and Times: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3:00 PM to 4:20 PM



Poetry and Being (ENGL 12300, section 01)

This course involves close analysis of poems from a variety of periods, exposure to various critics' perspectives on literary form, and a series of theoretical readings on creativity, play, and emotion, which we will place in dialogue with our interpretations of individual poems. Theoretical areas to be explored include psychoanalysis and cognitive psychology.

Instructor: Lisa C Ruddick. Days and Times: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3:00 PM to 4:20 PM

Beowulf (ENGL 15200/35200, section 01)

This course will aim to help students read Beowulf while also acquainting them with some of the scholarly discussion that has accumulated around the poem. We will read the poem as edited in Klaeber's Beowulf (4th ed., Univ. of Toronto Press, 2008). Once students have defined their particular interests, we will choose which recent approaches to the poem to discuss in detail; we will, however, certainly view the poem both in itself and in relation to Anglo-Saxon history and culture in general.

Instructor: Maria C Von Nolcken. Days and Times: Mondays and Wednesdays, 3:00 PM to 4:20 PM

Introduction to Victorian Poetry: Movements and Coteries (ENGL 21921, section 01)

This course will introduce students to major Victorian poets by examining their social and artistic alliances. In some cases, the group context behind the poet we are considering will be quite narrow: for example, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, or the childhood drawing-room games that led to Emily and Anne Brontë’s private imaginative kingdom of “Gondal.” In other cases, we will think in terms of broad movements: Chartist poetry, for example, or the competing ideals of Dissenting, Tractarian, and Catholic poets. The goal of this approach will be to enrich our close analyses of the period’s great poems with a sense of how social status and political affiliations helped to shape them. Although we will consider coteries and movements individually, we will move in relative chronological order, thinking comparatively not only about the poetry we read but also about the dynamics of the separate groups and their individual relation to culture and politics. Poets include (among others) Alfred Tennyson, Emily and Anne Brontë, Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Dante Rossetti, Christina Rossetti, Algernon Swinburne, William Morris, George Meredith, Matthew Arnold, Thomas Hardy, and Gerard Manley Hopkins.

Instructor: Michael Hansen. Days and Times: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12:00 PM to 1:20 PM

The Poetry and Prose of Thomas Hardy (ENGL 23708, section 01)

Course description not available.

Instructor: Rosanna Warren. Day and Time: Wednesdays, 1:30 PM to 4:20 PM

Milton (ENGL 37500, section 01)

This course will follow Milton's career as a poet and, to some extent, as a writer of polemical prose. It will concentrate on his sense of his own vocation as a poet and as an active and committed Protestant citizen in times of revolution and reaction. Works to be read include the Nativity Ode, selected sonnets, A Mask, Lycidas, The Reason of Church Government, selections from the divorce tracts, Areopagitica, Paradise Lost, Samson Agonistes, and Paradise Regained. There will be a mid-term exercise and a final paper.

Instructor: Joshua K Scodel. Days and Times: Mondays and Wednesdays, 3:00 PM to 4:20 PM

Lyric Forms: Blake to Hardy (ENGL 42417, section 01)

This course will study forms of lyric poetry in the poetic practices and the prose reflections of nineteenth-century British poets. Setting aside twentieth century, rather restrictive understandings of lyric, we will attempt to recover the more diverse understandings of lyric's forms, effects, and possibilities with which poets from the late eighteenth to the end of the nineteenth century worked, with particular interest in lyric as a social form, as a sounded performance, and as a visual (both art and print-mediated) experience. Using selected romantic poems as a point of departure (Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience and Wordsworth’s and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, together with Keats’s odes and adaptations of romance and a few of Shelley’s odes), we will follow such forms as the ode, the ballad, the song, and the sonnet through the rest of the century, looking also at Victorian inventions or adaptations of the idyl, the sestina, the rondeau, the ballade, and various forms of dramatic lyric, particularly the dramatic monologue. Victorian poets may include Emily Brontë, Tennyson, Robert Browning, Dante Gabriel and Christina Rossetti, William Morris, Swinburne, Hopkins, and Hardy. We will also consider key essays, short fictions, or reviews (by Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats, Arthur Hallam, J. S. Mill, Browning, DG Rossetti, Hopkins, Swinburne), and modern reflections on the nature of lyric (and of rhyme and meter), particularly from the 1970s-80s, and again from c. 2000 - attempting both to come to a better historical understanding of the term and to attend to shifts in the understanding of lyric, particularly as these have been of interest to modern and contemporary poets.

Instructor: Elizabeth Heisinger. Days and Times: Mondays and Wednesdays, 1:30 PM to 2:50 PM



Goethe: Literature, Science, Philosophy (GRMN 25304/35204, section 01)

This lecture-discussion course will examine Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's intellectual development, from the time he wrote Sorrows of Young Werther through the final states of Faust. Along the way, we will read a selection of Goethe's plays, poetry, and travel literature. We will also examine his scientific work, especially his theory of color and his morphological theories. On the philosophical side, we will discuss Goethe's coming to terms with Kant (especially the latter's third Critique) and his adoption of Schelling's transcendental idealism. The theme uniting the exploration of the various works of Goethe will be unity of the artistic and scientific understanding of nature, especially as he exemplified that unity in "the eternal feminine."

Instructor: Robert J Richards. Days and Times: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1:30 PM to 2:50 PM



Pasolini (ITAL 28400/38400, section 01)

This course examines each aspect of Pasolini's artistic production according to the most recent literary and cultural theories, including Gender Studies. We shall analyze his poetry (in particular "Le Ceneri di Gramsci" and "Poesie informa di rosa"), some of his novels ("Ragazzi di vita," "Una vita violenta," "Teorema," "Petrolio"), and his numerous essays on the relationship between standard Italian and dialects, semiotics and cinema, and the role of intellectuals in contemporary Western culture. We shall also discuss the following films: "Accattone," "La ricotta," "Edipo Re," "Teorema," and "Salo."

Instructor: Armando Maggi. Days and Times: Mondays and Wednesdays, 1:30 PM to 2:50 PM



Russian Poetry Blok to Pasternak (RUSS 34504, section 01)

We will survey the selected poetry of major Russian modernists from 1900 to 1935, including lyrical and narrative genres. Poets covered include: Aleksandr Blok, Andrei Belyi, Viacheslav Ivanov, Nikolai Gumilev, Osip Mandel'shtam, Anna Akhmatova, Velimir Khlebnikov, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Marina Tsvetaeva, Boris Pasternak. In addition to tracing the development of poetic doctrines (from symbolism through acmeism and futurism), we will investigate the close correlations between formal innovation and the changing semantics of Russian poetry. Attention will also be paid to contemporary developments in Western European poetry. Knowledge of Russian required.

Instructor: Robert Bird, Boris Rodin. Day and Time: Wednesdays, 1:30 PM to 3:50 PM 


South Asian Languages and Civilizations

Many Ramayanas (SALC 42501, section 01)

This course is a close reading of the great Hindu Epic, the story of Rama's recovery of his wife, Sita, from the demon Ravana on the island of Lanka, with special attention to the changes in the telling of the story throughout Indian history. Readings are in Paula Richman, Many Ramayanas and Questioning Ramayanas; the Ramayanas of Valmiki (in translation by Goldman, Sattar, Shastri, and R. K. Narayan), Kampan, and Tulsi; the Yogavasistha-Maharamayana; and contemporary comic books and films.

Instructor: Wendy Doniger. Days and Times: Mondays and Wednesdays, 1:30 PM to 2:50 PM


Creative Writing

Beginning Poetry Writing: Topics in Poetics (CRWR 10300/30300, section 01)

In this course, we will explore fundamental concepts in the writing of poetry. We will study traditional poetic forms and approaches alongside currents in contemporary poetry, and will consider the extent to which these may challenge and complicate our own writing practices. Because the course is designed as a workshop, a significant portion of each class will be devoted to the discussion and critique of one another's poems. In addition, we will read essays on poetic craft, history and theory, while exploring the work of many poets both contemporary and past. By the end of the quarter, participants will have generated a substantial portfolio of original work and refined their critical skill as readers of poetry.

Instructor: Srikanth "Chicu" Reddy. Day and Time: Thursdays, 1:30 PM to 4:20 PM

Translation Workshop (CRWR 11504/31504, section 01)

Writing Under the Influence: Exe(o)rcising Translation. There is no language requirement for this unit, in case that’s a concern. The course aims to give students a playing ground in which to redefine their parameters of what a translation is, what translation means (from the Latin translatio, to carry over). Students will write translations from languages they don’t speak, and at times ‘the original’ they translate from may be something not bound down in words, or they might translate from English. We will workshop these translations, exploring the individual (or group) authors’ decisions, choices, strategies. The aim of the course is to challenge and open up notions of: language, authorship, originality, translation, meaning, voice, influence, literality, slang, dialects, equivalence, and their relationship to writing.

Instructor: Amaia Gabantxo Uriagereka. Day and Time: Wednesdays, 2:30 PM to 5:20 PM

Intermediate Poetry Workshop: Poetry of & Off the Page (CRWR 13000/33000, section 01)

Is there a place for poetry in a society in which reading has been declared dead—where at the very least, reading threatens to be replaced by scanning? In this workshop/laboratory, we will explore material whose response is a delirious yes—poetry that revels in charging the confines of the page and book. Exposure to an archive of modernist visual and sound poetry, artists' books, contemporary installation and performance works, and relevant theories of media dislodgment will help us compose our own answers to the (old) question: what forms are poems obliged or inspired to take as language goes viral, in the face of total information, digitization, and post-literary culture? Readings and viewings in 20th- and 21st-century poetry and poetics, visits to local writing-arts collections, and class visits by local artists will help us generate our own works. Students will complete weekly assignments across media, and engage with the writing of their peers formally, while working toward a culminating piece in a medium of their choice: this final piece can take the form of a chapbook, performance, installation, or other pertinent channel.

Instructor: Jennifer Scappettone. Day and Time: Wednesdays, 1:30 PM to 4:20 PM

Thesis Development / Major Projects in Poetry (CRWR 29300/49300, section 01)

This advanced poetry course is for BA and MA students writing a creative thesis or any advanced student working on an extended poetic series or sequence. Because it is a thesis seminar, the course will focus on various ways of organizing larger poetic "projects." We will consider the poetic sequence, the chapbook, and the poetry collection as ways of extending the practice of poetry beyond the individual poem. We will also problematize the notion of broad poetic "projects," considering the consequences of imposing a predetermined conceptual framework on the elusive, spontaneous, and subversive act of poetic writing. Because this class is designed as a poetry workshop, your fellow students' work will be the primary text over the course of the quarter.

Instructor: Srikanth "Chicu" Reddy. Day and Time: Tuesdays, 1:30 PM to 4:20 PM


The course descriptions above are to the best of our knowledge the most recent available. The descriptions from previous years can be found at UChicago Catalogs or on department websites.