Boldface letters in parentheses after the course descriptions refer to the program requirements that a course fulfills: (A) gateway, (B) fiction, (C) poetry, (D) drama, (E) pre-1650, (F) 1650–1830, (G) 1830–1940, and (H) literary or critical theory. This applies to undergraduate courses only.

Historicism, Medievalism, and Modernity

Winter 2016-2017


Julie Orlemanski

This course investigates historicist theory and practice, with a focus on the relationship between the Middle Ages and modernity. From nineteenth-century Romantic philology to recent practices of anachronism and amateurism, the medieval period has been integral both to defining modernity and to conceiving historical alterity. The course focuses on historicizations of the Middle Ages written in the last two hundred years but includes case studies as well: we will read medieval texts together with varying historicist accounts of them. Topics include philosophy of history, securalization, rationality, validity in historical interpretion, the historicity of the aesthetic, institutionalization of literary study, and the relation of language and literature. Readings are likely to include texts by Augustine, Hegel, Marx, Burkhardt, Huizinga, Blumenberg, Hayden White, Stephen Greenblatt, and Carolyn Dinshaw, among others. (Med/Ren)

Writing the Blitz: British Literature of World War II

Winter 2016-2017


Maud Ellmann

Readings will include historical and theoretical works along with poetry (Eliot, HD, Lynette Roberts) and fiction (Bowen, Hamilton, Waugh, Hanley, Christie, Storm Jameson, etc.) (20th/21st)

American Literature and the Cold War Consensus

Autumn 2016-2017


Kenneth Warren

In this course we will revisit the so-called “Cold War consensus”—the apparent convergence in American literary, political, and intellectual thought on what one scholar terms “the central belief that the liberal, democratic, capitalist order of the United States represented a more open and humane society than that of the Communist states—in order to in order to assess the role of literature (and various scholarly accounts of that role) in creating or contesting that consensus. Our main texts will be a select group of novels, many of which were published within a few years of one another in the early 1950s, but we will also draw on a variety of other texts, either from that period or focused on it. (20th/21st)