Fall 2014 Graduate Course Offerings and Descriptions

Recent course offerings: Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014


ENG 600: Research Methods
Dr. Dabney A. Bankert
0001 Thursday 5-8pm

Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose.
-- Zora Neale Hurston

Course Description:
          English 600 is an introduction to graduate studies in English, specifically to bibliographic research and methods, to academic writing, and to the various kinds of scholarship in which literary critics and scholars engage. It is also an introduction to graduate school and to the fundamental and important distinctions between undergraduate- and graduate-level scholarly research and writing. You will learn how to do different types of research, how to locate and assess research sources for a variety of scholarly problems, and how to develop and refine such problems; in short, how to ask good questions and how to go about answering them productively, rigorously, and eloquently. You will also learn how the scholarly editions you read came to be and how the history of the manuscript and codex informs, if often invisibly, all scholarly work. The course is designed to provide the tools essential to progressing in content courses.

Required Texts:
Please do not substitute and make certain to get these exact editions, with the exception noted for the recommended text:

Harner, James L., ed.  Literary Research Guide:  An Annotated Listing of Reference Sources in English Literary
. 5th ed. MLA, 2008.  ISBN: 9780873528085

The MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing, 3d edition. New York: MLA, May 2008. ISBN: 9780873522977           (hardcover)

Semenza, Gregory Colón. Graduate Study for the 21st Century: How to Build an Academic Career in the Humanities. 2d           ed. Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.  ISBN: 13: 978-0230100336

Kelemen, Erick. Textual Editing and Criticism. New York: Norton, 2009. ISBN 13: 978-0393929423

Parker, Robert Dale. Critical Theory for Literary and Cultural Studies. Third ed.  ISBN: 9780199331161 (publication date           July 2014)

Strongly Recommended:
          Holman, C. Hugh and William Harmon. A Handbook to Literature.  12th ed.  Macmillan. ISBN-13: 978-0205024018 (the most recent (12th) edition is ridiculously expensive, but the 11th edition is a good buy either new or used. Get the most recent you can afford. Another option is The Bedford Glossary of Literary and Critical Terms, decent and inexpensive, but go for Holman if you can.


ENG 620: Studies in Renaissance and Early Modern Literature: Tudor Literature and the History of the Book: 1485-1603
Dr. Mark Rankin (rankinmc@jmu.edu)
Wednesday 5-8pm

          This graduate seminar will investigate the manufacture, dissemination, reading, and use of printed books and manuscripts during the era of the Tudor monarchs (1485-1603). Our governing question will be whether the advent of printing via moveable type during the fifteenth century constituted a necessary precondition for the emergence of new reading and book-making practices associated with the Renaissance and Reformation. In developing their own plausible responses to this question, students will consider ways in which readers, authors, editors, translators, and publishers responded to and utilized elements such as book layout, typography, illustration, and paratext (e.g., prefaces, glosses, and commentaries) as vehicles for meaning. Employing key methods of the history of the book and the history of reading, this investigation will consider how the physical nature of books affected ways in which readers understood and assimilated their intellectual contents.
          We shall investigate these questions within the broader context afforded by current debates within Renaissance and early modern literary studies concerning issues of canonicity and periodization. For many years the term Renaissance literature within the English tradition meant those creative texts produced during and after the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, in particular starting with the poetry of Sir Philip Sidney, Edmund Spenser, William Shakespeare, and their contemporaries and imitators. Many, if not most scholars in this field have historically given little thought to the vast swath of terrain between Chaucer and Spenser, unless it were to offer the occasional nod to the Henrician poets Sir Thomas Wyatt and Henry Howard, earl of Surrey. This bias neglected numerous texts which employ variegated and complex literary forms, and we shall investigate the importance of this period as contributing substantially toward the development of topics which are at the heart of the discipline. They include the nature of authorship, the poetic representation of the self, the use of the medieval and classical past (including literary translation), the materiality of textual forms, and more.
          As a shared point of departure for its theoretical investigation, the seminar will consider verse by John Skelton, Tottel's Miscellany (thie earliest extant complete printed anthology of poetry in English) (1557), and William Baldwin's prose satire Beware the Cat (1552). In addition, each student will be expected to read and learn about one book published in English by William Caxton, England's first printer. By employing methodological practices associated with the study of book and reading history, this seminar will ask challenging questions concerning the practices and methods of literary criticism, the issue of canonicity and literary value, and the varied and fraught ways in which we read.
          As part of their work in the seminar, each student will be expected on two separate occasions to help lead discussion of one of our shared secondary readnigs. In addition, students will each offer one presentation of their individual research project, comlete a book review of a scholarly monograph, contribute substantially to an in-class symposium on Caxton's career, and complete a substantial research project.

          Required texts may include the following:

Baldwin, William. Beware the Cat: The First English Novel. Ed. William A. Ringler, Jr., and Michael Flachmann. San Marino,           CA: The Huntington Library, 1988.
Mark Bland, A Guide to Early Printed Books and Manuscripts (Blackwell, 2010).
Selected secondary readings available via Canvas


ENG 645: Studies in 20th- and 21st-Century British Literature: “Narratives of British and Irish Modernism.”
Dr. Sian White (white2se@jmu.edu)
Monday 5-8pm

          This course explores British and Irish literature from the rise of high modernism through the beginnings of its decline, considering the relationship between literary modernism and the sometimes competing historical and cultural conceptions of modernity. We will interrogate a seeming tension between historical situatedness and the autonomy of the work of art, considering especially modernists’ formal experiments with traditional generic parameters. Our analyses of the literary documents themselves will be bolstered by a grounding in the non-fiction essays and manifestos of artists at the time, and informed by an intensive study of the concepts, vocabularies and methodologies of narrative theory.

          Literary texts for the course might include Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, parts of Ulysses by James Joyce, Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, poems by T.S. Eliot, The Good Soldier by Ford Maddox Ford, stories by Elizabeth Bowen, parts of Berlin Stories by Christopher Isherwood, Voyage in the Dark by Jean Rhys, plays by Samuel Beckett. Theoretical readings might include works about modernity and modernism by Georg Simmel, Joseph Frank, Sigmund Freud, Friedrich Nietzsche, Rita Felski, Raymond Williams, Laurence Rainey; and by narrative theorists such as Gérard Genette, Dorrit Cohn, Mikhail Bakhtin, Susan S. Lanser, Susan Stanford Friedman, and James Phelan.

          As part of their work in the seminar, each student will write short position papers, help lead discussion about secondary readings, compile an annotated bibliography, complete a substantial research project, and give an oral presentation on that project.


ENG 650: Studies in Early American Literature: The Native Presence in Early American Literature
Dr. Laura Henigman (henigmlx@jmu.edu)
Tuesday 5-8PM           

             In 1629 the Massachusetts Bay Colony adopted as its symbol a picture of    an Indian with a scroll coming out of his mouth, reading “Come over and help    us.”    The seal well illustrates how colonial European powers ventriloquized the    voice of the Indian in their own interest and according to their own textual    conventions, creating powerful and persistent stereotypes that we still live with    today.  This semester we will examine the presence of indigenous Americans in    the early periods of contact on the North American continent, both as represented    in European-authored texts and especially as created in the writings of    indigenous people themselves.  Along the way we will consider the impact that    Native American studies has had on the academic study of early American    literature.   We will look at some classic European-authored texts such as    captivity narratives, missionary literature, and Enlightenment naturalist writing.     We’ll spend most of our time, however, studying Native American forms of writing    in the contact zone, examining theories of authorship, literacy, and print culture    that emerge from both early American and Native American studies.    We’ll    concentrate on pre-1900 figures such as Samson Occam, Black Hawk,    Sequoyah, Elias Boudinot,William Apess, Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins, and    others, but we will close with a look at some 20th century Native American writers (Erdrich, McNickle, or Alexie), to suggest ways in which our close study of early American literacies and cultural contact may inform twentieth-century studies as well.         


ENG 675: Reading and Research. 3 credits. Supervised reading and research in a particular topic or field. Admission by permission of the Director of Graduate studies; may not be repeated.

ENG 698: Comprehensive Continuance. 1 credit. Continued preparation for the comprehensive examinations. May be repeated as needed.

ENG 699: Thesis Continuance. 2 credits. Continued study, research and writing for the thesis. May be repeated as needed.

ENG 700: Thesis. 6 credits.Six credits taken over two consecutive semesters. Graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory (S/U) basis.

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