The literature faculty at the University of Maine-Farmington will offer several special topics courses for Spring 2016. Please see below for descriptions of those courses.
Spring 2016 Topic Courses
ENG 277H/01 Emily Dickinson.(Case)
This course will be an intensive study of the work, life, and writing practices of the
poet Emily Dickinson. While grappling with Dickinson’s poems will be the main
focus of the course, we will also investigate her fascinating biography, her unique
approach to publication, and the role of gender and religion in her work and its
No prior experience with poetry required.
Prerequisite(s): ENG 100; for students in CWR, ENG, SEN, or ELE-Language Arts,
ENG 100 and ENG 181.
ENG 377/01 Worlds of the Victorian Novel. (Darrohn)
How do British Victorian novels evoke complex worlds and welcome readers into
them? How did the diverse kinds of novels that were popular in the Victorian age
enable writers and readers to understand themselves, their minds, their relation
to others, and their place in the world? We will explore the multifaceted worlds–
physical, social, and, especially, psychological–created in a wide variety of
Victorian novels, such as the sensation novel, the multiplot novel, and the
adventure novel, by some of the following writers: Mary Elizabeth Braddon,
Charlotte Bronte, Lewis Carroll, Wilkie Collins, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, H.
Rider Haggard, Thomas Hardy, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Bram Stoker.
Prerequisites: For ENG majors following the catalogs of 2014-2015 or later, ENG
300; for all other students, one 200-level ENG literature course.
ENG 377/02 Ancient Epics. (Brown)
A study of four texts in their entirety–Gilgamesh, the Iliad, the Odyssey, and the
Aeneid–fundamental to the western literary tradition. We will consider the epic
as a (lost) genre, conceptualizions of epic theory from Aristotle to the present
(Bakhtin, Frye, etc.), and consider various adaptations and subversions of the epic
mode, including the mock-epic.
Prerequisite(s): ENG 300 or one 200 level course.
ENG 477/01 Popular Genres. (Johnson)
This course investigates the field of popular genres through examples in a variety
of media (fiction, film, television, comic books, etc.) and through critical readings
in the theory of genre, focusing primarily on the western, superhero, zombie, and
romance genres. For each genre we examine, we will be attentive to the
narratives, character types, conventions, and iconography typical of the genre as
well as to innovation and variation in those forms. We will also look at
intersections between the literary and the popular through books by established
literary artists (such as Cormac McCarthy and Colson Whitehead) who adapt the
conventions of popular genres. As we will see, the line between the literary and
popular is a blurry one, as is the line between one genre and another, and as the
semester progresses we will be increasingly interested in hybridized and
experimental approaches to genre. In the later part of the course, students will
develop independent projects that further the exploration of a popular genre,
either building on the genres studied earlier in the course or branching off into
other popular genres (science fiction, fantasy, horror, melodrama, etc.).
Prerequisite(s): One previous 300-level literature course.
ENG 477/02 Jane Austen and Contemporary Culture. (Gunn)
Reading and discussion of four Austen novels (Pride and Prejudice, Emma,
Mansfield Park, and Persuasion), followed by consideration of Jane Austen as a
presence in contemporary American and European culture, not just in the many
film and television adaptations of the novels, but also in texts like Clueless,
Austenland, Lost in Austen, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, young adult novels
based on Austen, graphic texts, parodies, fan fictions, and the like. Students will
have the opportunity to do independent research into these latter phenomena,
following their own interests. Our goal will be to come to terms with the
explosion of interest in Austen since the mid-1990s and to see this interest in the
context of the reception of Austen’s work since the early nineteenth century.
Prerequisites: One previous 300-level literature course.
Summer 2016 Topic Courses
ENG 277H Jane Austen’s Adolescent Angst (Krueger)
Do you think that you know Jane Austen? If you haven’t read her early writings, you will be surprised at what you will find. Long before Pride and Prejudice was published, Jane Austen had written three volumes of juvenilia (including parodies, poetry, plays, and short fiction), submitted a novel entitled “Susan” for publication (posthumously published as Northanger Abbey), and published a novel (Sense and Sensibility). This course explores Austen’s pre-Pride and Prejudice works in order to give students an understanding of the young, developing writer’s body of work. Readers will encounter a writer who can be immature and sarcastic at times, yet witty and clever at all times. Students will consider both what Austen’s early work shows about the author’s range of style, subject matter, and characterization, and how a look at the younger Austen’s writing produces a full image of the famed writer.
Prerequisite: ENG 100