Fall 2010 Courses - Graduate

English GRADUATE SEMINARS FOR FALL 2010

201 M 1900-2145 Eastwood
201C M 1900-2145 Soldofsky
203 R 1900-2145 Taylor
215 R 1600-1845 Stork
232 T 1900-2145 Harris
240 R 1600-1845 Karim
241 T 1600-1845 Altschul
253 M 1600-1845 Engell
256 R 1900-2145 Wilson
259 W 1600-1845 Cullen

201 Materials and Methods of Literary Research (Prof. Fleck)

This course introduces graduate students to the resources, techniques, and standards of scholarly
work in the discipline of literary studies. Together we will study the role of the individual
scholar within the academic community, and explore various theoretical approaches and forms of
scholarly activity. Students will learn to find, use, and evaluate a variety of different resources,
both electronic and in print.

201C Materials and Methods of Literary Production (Prof. Soldofsky)

This course introduces Creative Writing graduate students to the resources, traditions,
techniques, and culture associated with the field of Creative Writing both inside and outside
academia. The class will study the role of the individual writer within the literary and academic
communities, and explore various forms of literary activity that commonly support "the literary
life." A creative writer's work is both a personal journey toward increasingly masterful artistic
expression as well as an increasing understanding of what the literary world requires of a writer
as a professional. In 201C students will learn to use dominant and alternative literary magazines
and publishers, book review indexes, academic journals, and online and other electronic
resources. Students will produce a brief annotated bibliography of a contemporary writer
(following MLA 7th Edition Handbook style); write a book review (for a magazine you have
researched); a personal literary essay to present at an academic or literary conference; and a book
or MFA thesis proposal. By means of this course, they will learn to apply their knowledge of
these real-world tasks to their own writing, in their other courses, and in fulfilling the MFA
requirements. This course is a co-requisite for students in the MFA program to be taken with
their first graduate writing workshop or first graduate literature seminar. The course fulfills the
Graduate Studies requirement in written communication.

203 Narrative Craft & Theory: Parallel Novels (Prof. Taylor)

In this graduate literature seminar, we will read a selection of contemporary novels that extend or
run in parallel to classic works of fiction. The reading list will likely include
Twain's Huckleberry Finn and Jon Clinch's Finn (2007); Bronte's Jane Eyre and Jean Rhys' Wide
Sargasso Sea (1966); Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway and Michael Cunningham's The Hours (1998). In
each case, we will read both the original novel and the "parallel novel," attempting to discern
what advantages or disadvantages the contemporary author enjoyed in placing his or her work in
a world created by someone else. We will also read a few examples of so-called "fan fiction" and
try to determine how these less-acclaimed works differ from their laureled cousins. The reading
load for this course will be approximately one novel per week. Written work consists of weekly
response papers of 500-1000 words and a seminar paper (or creative project) of 3000-5000
words.

215 Seminar in Myth and Symbolism (Prof. Stork)

A survey of the near Eastern, Greco-Roman, Judeo-Christian, Celtic and Norse mythologies most
relevant for research on literature in English. Some attention to fairy tales, and other world
mythologies. Lots of interesting reading and a great range of possible paper topics.

232 Seminar in Romanticism: William Wordsworth in Conversation with his Friends (Prof.
Harris)

William Wordsworth, 1770-1850. Author of Lyrical Ballads and The Prelude. Husband to
Mary. Friend to Samuel Taylor Coleridge (sometimes). Collaborator with sister, Dorothy. Father of
five children and the Romantic Period.

We know these things about William Wordsworth, but what of the relationships, cultural
change and social upheaval that surrounded him during his sixty-year career? Why is he lauded as
the literary lion of the Romantic Period? Can we study the impact of his personal relationships with
other authors such as Felicia Hemans? Does his literary genius impact the generations of Victorians
who would live alongside and supersede his poetic triumphs? In this course, we will explore not
only the life of William Wordsworth, but also his literary legacy. We will also question his
reputation as this literary lion by reading the contemporary poets who influenced him, e.g.,
Charlotte Smith, Felicia Hemans, Samuel Coleridge. In this seminar, we will not necessarily
dismantle the hero worship surrounding Wordsworth but will instead re-orient his literary status.
By the end of the semester we shall see that Wordsworth was not a single man, writing alone,
fathering a literary movement. Instead, he is both a community and part of a community of
authors, poets, novelists, short story writers and essayists who were responsible for eventually
welcoming the Twentieth-Century Modernists.

The class will be theoretically informed with a New Historicist and Textual focus. For this
reason, "literature" will be taken in the broadest sense of the word. This means that you'll gain a
sense of the historical, social, cultural and political that surrounds the production of literature. You
will also have an opportunity to gain some experience in archival work --in other words, you get to
touch some nineteenth-century books and newspapers. Because Wordsworth lived right into half of
the Victorian Period, we'll ignore artificial periodization and briefly discuss Wordsworth's
influence on Victorian poets (Tennyson) and copyright law. (Wordsworth would be appalled at
Google's latest project!) For those MFA students, if you've taken a class with Alan Soldofsky, you
will have heard him refer to the Romantics in conversation with Robinson Jeffers and the Beat
Poets.

Readings include creative as well as non-fiction writings, including authors' letters,
Coleridge's poetry, Wollstonecraft's Letters, Dorothy Wordsworth's Grasmere Journal, Charlotte
Smith's sonnets, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and a treatise on the 1842 Copyright Act (which
Wordsworth helped to create). Both Marilyn Gaull's English Romanticism: The Human Context
and digital representations of late eighteenth and early nineteenth-century culture will orient our
historical context. This course serves as both an introduction to Romantic studies as well as an
exploration of particular themes within its literature. Assignments include a primary sources
essay, short essay and oral presentation, long research essay and weekly reading responses.

240 Poetry Writing Workshop: Poetry as Spiritual Journey (Prof. Karim)

In this graduate poetry workshop we will attempt to understand and realize in our work, the close
link between poetry and the journey of the spirit. We will draw inspiration from poetry of many
great spiritual and religious traditions--from poet-mystics like Rumi and Hafez of Iran, to Basho of
Japan, to the great Chinese poets Lao Tzu and Li Po as well as Christian mystics such St. Thomas
Aquinas and Blake. Beyond the explicitly spiritual and religious poets, we'll also read the works of
other contemporary poets who transform the human experiences of love, loss, death, joy,
revelation, and beauty and capture them in language and various poetic forms. We will have a daily
practice of poetry writing and will have regular workshop of poems. We will also visit several sites
of spiritual contemplation--these might include visits to the Buddhist Church of San Jose, Filoli, the
Coast, or Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco. By the end of the course, you will have
amassed a formidable collection of poems, and a journal where you've reflected on the spiritual
journey of your writing practice.

241 Fiction Writing Workshop (Prof. Altschul)

This is the most advanced fiction workshop offered at SJSU. Students will benefit from the careful
feedback of a community of writers with varied perspectives and aesthetics, so that they may start
to see their work from the outside and begin to revise their original ideas and approaches. By
closely reading the work of other students and articulating their responses, students will hone their
analytic skills and strengthen their sense of what makes a good story. Workshops will avoid the
"diagnosis" of "problems" with a text and instead focus on readers' experiences with a story and
their understanding of the writer's goals and strategies.

255: Seminar in Thematic Studies of American Literature: American Romanticism (Prof.
Engell)
In this seminar, we will read texts by six American writers:

Ralph Waldo Emerson: selected essays and poems
Henry David Thoreau: Walden and selected essays
Walt Whitman: numerous poems
Emily Dickinson: numerous poems
Nathaniel Hawthorne: selected tales and essays, and The Scarlet Letter
Herman Melville: Moby Dick
Each seminar participant will give six oral presentations, each accompanied by a handout and a
two-page essay. Each participant will also complete a research essay of 12-15 pages.

256 Twentieth Century British Literature (Prof. Wilson)

The first half of the course will be devoted to a study of novels by Conrad, Joyce, Lawrence,
Woolf, Beckett, and Amis. The second will cover the poetry of Yeats, Auden, Thomas, Larkin,
Heaney, McGuckian, Carson, and Muldoon

259 Studies in Composition Theory and Pedagogy (Professor Cullen)

English 259 is a prerequisite or co-requisite for Teaching Associates and is highly recommended
for any student, M.A. or M.F.A., who contemplates teaching writing someday. The course will
address a broad range of topics in composition studies, including how students write and revise,
how teachers evaluate compositions, and how instructors can design effective courses for a diverse
student community. The seminar will address both highly practical issues (grading, plagiarism)
and those with a more theoretical flavor (liberating education, second-language acquisition,
competing philosophies of composition). The required reading load will be relatively light by
graduate seminar standards, so expect to do very substantial independent research. Major
assignments will include a seminar paper/project, a presentation, and observation of at least two
college writing classes. I also expect to incorporate a number of very brief (10 minutes?), ungraded
practice teaching sessions in which you can learn and try out a few very specific classroom
strategies in a no-risk setting. Our primary text will be Cross-Talk in Comp Theory, edited by
Victor Villanueva. We will meet Wednesday afternoons from 4 to 6:45 p.m.