JUNIOR SEMINARS  The Junior Seminars in criticism are intended especially for moderated Junior Literature majors. The seminars will introduce students to current thinking in the field, emphasizing how particular methods and ideas can be employed in linking literary texts to their contexts. Intended too is a deep exploration of writing about literature at some length, in the form of a 20-25 page paper, developed over the course of most of the semester.



LIT 314

 Women's Bodies / Women's Voices: Victorian to Modern

Natalie Prizel

M            10:10 am-12:30 pm

OLIN 301





Cross-listed: Gender and Sexuality Studies; Victorian Studies  Explaining his own poetic vetriloquizing of Sappho, Victorian poet Algernon Charles Swinburne wrote, “It is as near as I can come; and no man can come close to her.” This course will interrogate what it meant to write in a woman’s voice, to write of a woman’s body, and to work as an embodied female artist in the years between approximately 1840 and 1930 in Britain. The course will include explorations of women’s writing across genres, representations of and by women in the poetry, fiction, and visual art of the period, and a rigorous interrogation and destabilization of the category of “woman” and the “female body” as historical and literary figures. Using methodologies drawn from feminist studies, queer studies, and disability studies, this course will ask the fundamental question: how or what does the word “woman” mean across the nineteenth- and early twentieth centuries? How might the category be useful or not for evaluating the aesthetic and ethical positions of texts, verbal and visual? And how are bodies relevant in thinking through these questions? Texts might include works by: Charlotte and Emily Brontë, William Makepeace Thackeray, Harriet Martineau, Coventry Patmore, Robert Browning, the Pre-Raphaelite and Aestheticist painters, photographers, and poets, Michael Field (Katherine Bradley and Edith Cooper), Oscar Wilde, Virginia Woolf, Ford Madox Ford, William Butler Yeats, and Radclyffe Hall. This course is a literature junior seminar.    Class size: 15



LIT 3019

 Nabokov’s shorts: the art of Conclusive Writing

Olga Voronina

 T  Th     10:10 am-11:30 am

OLIN 308



Cross-listed: Russian  This course will focus on Vladimir Nabokov’s short stories as well as his memoir Conclusive Evidence and the novel Pnin, both of which first appeared in story-length installments in The New Yorker.  We will read “Details of a Sunset,” “Christmas,” “A Guide to Berlin,” “A Nursery Tale,” “The Visit to the Museum,” “The Circle,” “Spring in Fialta,” “Cloud, Castle, Lake,” “Ultima Thule,” “Solus Rex,” “Signs and Symbols,” and “The Vane Sisters.” Keeping our eyes open for the elusive, but meaningful, textual details and discussing the writer’s narrative strategies, we will also trace the metaphysical streak that runs through the entire Nabokov oeuvre. A discussion of all matters editorial will be our priority. We will study Nabokov’s correspondence with Katharine White and William Maxwell, his editors at The New Yorker, and look at the drafts of his stories, now part of the Berg Collection in the NYPL. Our endeavor to understand the Nabokovian process of composition and revision will go hand-in-hand with the work on our own writing.  This course is a literature junior seminar.   Class size: 15



LIT 3036

 Poetic Lineages

Cole Heinowitz

  W         1:30 pm-3:50 pm

HEG 200



Cross-listed: Written Arts  T. S. Eliot famously remarked, “what happens when a new work of art is created is something that happens simultaneously to all the works of art which preceded it.” Taking this statement as our starting point, this seminar will explore the perpetual trans-historical dialogue taking place within Anglo-American poetry and poetics. Tracing the various poetic lineages from the Romantic era to the present moment, we will explore the ways in which conceptions of the power of poetry are transformed by shifting historical, aesthetic, political, and philosophical moments. Throughout our investigations, we will ask: What is the relationship between poetic utterance and political power? What role do subjectivity and emotion play in poetic expression? How do the formal dimensions of language complicate its denotative function? Writers to be considered include Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Percy Bysshe Shelley, John Keats, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emily Dickinson, H.D., Charles Olson, Jack Spicer, Robert Duncan, Clark Coolidge, and J.H. Prynne. This course is a literature junior seminar.     Class size: 15