Film Review: Emma (2020)

With various levels of sheltering in place happening during the recent pandemic, movie studios have starting making recently released films available for viewing at home through a variety of pay services. I had been itching see the new film version of Jane Austen’s novel Emma, directed by Autumn De Wilde (and starring Anya Taylor-Joy as the title character) because I love the novel, and I mostly love the various adaptations of it (and there have been a lot), especially Amy Heckerling’s resetting of the story in 1990s California in Clueless (1995), with Alicia Silverstone as the Emma character (renamed Cher in this version).

I mostly liked Emma 2020, and, if hadn’t read the novel (or seen any of the other movie versions), and didn’t have any of the expectations that I brought to the film, it’s a perfectly fine and enjoyable movie, and if you’ve already seen the movie and enjoyed it, I don’t want to harsh your squee, but, as much as I want to write a breezy and pleasant review, I have a feeling I won’t be able to contain some of the irritation I felt while watching the film—any more than I could prevent myself from jumping up (much to the annoyance of my cats) and yelling, “Oh, no, no no no no no no, oh, hell no” on at least three occasions.

What I really liked about the film were the portrayals of Emma’s father Mr. Woodhouse by Bill Nighy, and Miss Bates by Miranda Hart. These are both minor characters who usually get short shrift in the adaptations, but they are more fully realized characters here, both of whom, I think, get more screen time than Jane Fairfax (Amber Anderson) and Frank Churchhill (Callum Turner), and both of whom deliver the comedy that a romantic comedy needs. Nighy’s Mr. Woodhouse is as vigorously energetic as he is an equally vigorous hypochondriac. His aggressively ordering his servants about with standing screens to shield him from (likely non-existent) drafts is one of the highlights of the film.

Miss Bates, as a character, is known for talking a lot and saying little, which annoys Emma to no end, but, the difficulty with such a character is that she can also become very annoying very quickly to the reader or the viewer, but the performance here by Miranda Hart is deftly comic in multiple ways. And, in the best staged scene from the novel, Emma’s callous insulting of Miss Bates at a picnic, Hart’s performance of confusion, hurt, and embarrassment effectively underscores how “badly done indeed” Emma’s actions have been, especially welcome in a film that otherwise treats its heroine and her mistakes a bit too generously.

At one point, Mr. Elton (who Emma mistakenly believes is in love with her friend Harriet, when it is Emma that he wants to marry) encourages Emma to paint a portrait of Harriet, offering to purchase an appropriate frame for the painting when finished. One of the better moments in the film is the revelation of that frame, which is both expensive and ostentatiously tasteless, and, delightfully, equipped for sound.

Although the 1996 Emma (with Kate Beckinsale) does this as well (and perhaps does it with more consistency), I like the way the film shows us the role of servants in Emma’s world. Especially in the early part of the movie, they are constantly present (even as Emma seems not to notice their existence).

About twenty minutes into the film, we are introduced to a character getting dressed, and my first thought was, who is that?  Is that Frank Churchhill? And here, dear reader, is the crux of the problem with the film for me, as we eventually discover that this is Mr. Knightly (Johnny Flynne) of Donwell Abbey, friend of the Woodhouses, and brother to John Knightly, who has married Emma’s sister Isabelle. And, as Emma and Mr. Knightly comment, the fact that he is a brother-in-law and not a brother means that there is nothing improper about them dancing together, although, it does raise a familial barrier to potential romance, as does a pretty hefty age difference in the novel (close to twenty years?).

Mr. Knightly and Mr. Churchhill are veritable opposites, Mr. Knightly’s steadiness and concern for others contrasted with Frank’s caprice and self-centeredness, his maturity and emotional control a contrast to Frank’s youth and (upon occasion) youthful pique. At no point in an Emma adaption should one ever be  able to confuse one for the other. No, no, no, no, just, hell no.

That difference should be clear from the moment we first see each character. Mr. Knightly should not have the best head of hair in the film, and the most beautifully styled (certainly among the male characters). With his bushy blonde hair and generally youthful appearance, Mr. Knightly looks like he stepped out of a California beach movie and into period clothes. And certainly, any character who has clearly spent two hours in front of a mirror carefully arranging his hair to create a faux-disheveled appearance has no business complaining about Frank Churchill’s vanity and foppishness in traveling to London for a haircut.

When Frank Churchhill appears (Callum Turner), there seems little difference between them (except that Frank’s hair is cut shorter and seems to get little attention from him). To be fair, actor Johnny Flynne is close to being the right age to play Mr. Knightly (he’s a few years older than the 30 year old Callum Turner), and he is significantly older than Anya Taylor-Joy, so the age difference is there between the actors . . . . but that difference doesn’t play on the screen.

After dancing with Emma (after he rescues Harriet from the snubbing by Mr. Elton), Mr. Knightly is so overcome with emotion that, after Emma boards a carriage to take her home, he runs all the way through the grounds by himself, arriving at Emma’s house shortly after she does and watching her enter. And, I’m not sure where the next scene takes place, perhaps he wanders forlornly back to Donwell, but he goes into a dark empty room, where he tosses off his shirt, and throws himself down on the floor in emotional anguish. No, no, no no no no, just hell no. Such adolescent acting out of emotion is completely at odds with the Mr. Knightly that we see in the novel. For that matter, it would be too much for the more emotional Frank Churchhill.

As is the case with the 1996 version of Emma (with Gwynth Paltrow in the title role), Emma 2020 reimagines the novel from a modern perspective, projecting contemporary understandings of individual psychology and social roles onto the characters. As numerous reviewers have pointed out, the film uses clothing to suggest the artifice of social roles, and it uses the removal of clothing to suggest moments when the characters are being their private—real—selves. This is not the understanding of character that informs the novel, but it’s a reasonable interpretation for a contemporary film to take that approach (although, I must admit, I have found the reviews to be a little annoying, as they seem to suggest that the film is correcting a mistake that Austen made, failing to consider that our current sense of the relationship between the individual and society is no more the absolute truth about the way things are than the understanding of Austen’s era).

There’s a hilarious moment in the film when Emma and Mr. Knightly walk through a room, and the camera stays in place after they’ve moved on, and we realize that Mr. Woodhouse is sitting there, so thoroughly surrounded by screens that only a part of his head is visible. I love the way the director keeps the camera in place and lets us find him.

But that scene also seems emblematic of the film’s view of humanity. We are all isolated and alone. And, more than any adaptation of the novel that I’ve seen, there are multiple scenes of the characters by themselves. The letter writing and letter sharing that are central to the novel, part of the technology of the era that enables community and communication, is barely referenced in the film.

For a two hour movie, there are so many elements of the story that are missing, and, as a result, a lot of the characters seem flat and lifeless. Frank Churchhill barely makes an impression, and, with the exception of a delightfully energetic piano performance, Jane Fairfax (Amber Anderson) seems barely there. The friendship that develops between Emma and Frank (they are very much alike in their intelligence, fondness of dancing and games, and possessing a bit too much uncontrolled imagination) in other versions of the story is not developed here. There are also a number of moments (various puzzles and games, Harriet’s destruction of her precious mementos of Mr. Elton) that aren’t there in the film. A film needs to cut things, but other versions of the story have managed to have reasonable running times and still fleshed out the relationships between the characters.

Emma 2020 spends so much time observing the characters in isolation that the relationships between characters seem underdeveloped. This makes sense in terms of the film’s philosophy that humans are only truly themselves in private, and, thus, we spend more time observing those moments. I think that approach works pretty well, even if it’s not what I’m looking for in an adaptation of Emma.

So, if I’m thinking of Emma adaptations that I’ve seen, I believe I would rank them this way.

  1. Clueless
  2. Emma (2009; miniseries, with Romola Garai as Emma and Jonny Lee Miller as Mr. Knightly); with four one hour episodes, the miniseries has the advantage of more time to be more inclusive of characters and incidents from the novel).
  3.  Emma (1996; with Gwynth Paltrow, and, philosophically, very close to the 2020 version, but also very much a romantic comedy, and a very enjoyable romantic comedy, and, also, Ewan McGregor as my favorite version of Frank Churchhill).
  4. I’m going to place Emma (2020) and Emma (1996) as tied. Both are good and worthwhile, but it’s hard to imagine more different versions of the same story. Emma (1996) is more critical of Emma as a character, and is a little creeped out by age difference between Emma and Mr. Knightly, and, thus, really plays up that difference.

Leadership Award


UMF student from Windham honored with International Student Leadership Award

FARMINGTON, ME  (May 15, 2019)—
University of Maine at Farmington senior Tegan Bradley, from Windham, has recently been honored with a Student Leadership Award by the International English Honor Society, Sigma Tau Delta.

She is one of only three recipients of the 2018-19 leadership award.  Introduced in 2008, the competitive Student Leadership award recognizes student members for demonstrating outstanding service and leadership on the chapter level.

Bradley joined the newly installed UMF chapter of Sigma Tau Delta in 2017.  During her time as a member of the honor society, she has served as both treasurer and vice president.

Her outreach to individual members and ongoing dedication to the society’s goal to promote interest in literature, writing and the English language has helped to advance the organization on campus. Her leadership was instrumental in bringing honor society members together to obtain official recognition of the UMF chapter by the University’s Student Senate.

A creative writing major, Bradley was awarded funding through a competitive Proctor & Gamble grant last fall to complete an urban internship in The Telling Room in Portland. She is planning to graduate from UMF next fall and wants to pursue a career in teaching creative writing and publishing.

Sigma Tau Delta has more than 900 active chapters worldwide and inducts approximately 9,000 members annually. The organization presents awards annually in the areas of writing, performance and service.
Photo Caption: Tegan Bradley
Photo Credit: UMF Image

Humanities Spring Reception 2019

Spring was (and, as of May 13, still is) late in coming this year, but the annual Humanities Spring Reception arrived right on time, providing a bit of sunshine (well, emotionally anyway) in a gloomy spring and on an otherwise gray day.






Pre-ceremony and post-ceremony music was provided by English major Cora Curtis.


Faculty member Pat O’Donnell read from her most recent novel, The Vigilance of Stars.

The Spring Reception also provides a chance to acknowledge student accomplishment from the preceding year.


Pictured from left to right, Eireann Lorsung, Annie Moloney, Tegan Bradley, Sabine Klein, and Master of Ceremonies Christine Darrohn.

Two students from the Humanities who received Wilson Scholars awards for Spring semester were recognized: Annie Moloney, Creative Writing/English, whose project “To Touch One Another: Ethical Boundaries of Human Violence” was sponsored by faculty member Eireann Lorsung; Tegan Bradley, Creative Writing, whose project “Hair: A Graphic Narrative” was sponsored by faculty member Sabine Klein.

Currently off campus for a study abroad program in Peru, Andrea Swiedom (Creative Writing/English) was recognized as a Wilson Fellow, for the project “The Recipe Commons,” sponsored by Luann Yetter. As part of her project, Andrea has created an active blog called The Recipe Commons: Telling Stories of Migration Through Food.




Each year, Islandport Magazine sponsors a writing contest. In 2019, several UMF students performed well in the contest, including prize winner (and Creative Writing major) Aimee Degroat (for the story “Down to It”), and honorable mentions Meagan Jones (Creative Writing; standing, to the left), for the story “The Wish,” and Bethany Wicks (Creative Writing; standing, to the right), for the story “Frosted Windows and Salt Stains.”

The Spring 2019 BFA Senior Award went to Kristine Sarasin, who was present but somehow didn’t make it into a photograph by herself, although you can see her in the background behind Megan and Bethany in the picture above.

The UMF English Department offers two yearly awards to students in English, the Maude L. Parks Award and the Eleanor Wood English Scholarship. The Maude Parks Award is given to a junior student at UMF demonstrating excellence in communication arts in the field of English. The Eleanor Wood English Scholarship is awarded to an outstanding junior or senior English Major (including Creative Writing and Secondary Ed-English) who has been a student at UMF during both his/her freshman and sophomore years. It is to be based on academic achievement in the field of English.


Awarded Honorable Mention for the English awards were Kasey Erlebach (English/Secondary Ed-English), Syl Schulze (Creative Writing), and (not pictured) Margaret Pomerleau (English/Secondary Ed-English).

The Eleanor Wood Memorial Scholarship winner was Zoe Stonetree (Creative Writing), above. The Maude L. Parks award winner was Andrea Swiedom (who is still in Peru). Zoe and Andrea were multiple winners this year, as Zoe was also the recipient of the Alice James Books Director’s Chair Fellowship for fall 2019, and Andrea was also named as the recipient of the Beth Eisen Memorial Scholarship.

The reception was also a time to recognize members of the UMF branch of Sigma Tau Delta, the International English Honors Society, including newly inducted members, Rowan Bagley, Grace Barnard, Juliana Burch, Aimee Degroat, Ali Hooper, Jennie Ingall, Meagan Jones, Darby Murnane, Liz Niznik, Billie Rose Newby, Bethany Wicks, and Meaghan Wildes. Also recognized were the slate of officers for 2019-20: Tegan Bradley, President; Billie Rose Newby, Vice President; Liz Niznik, Secretary; and Grace Barnard, Social Media Liaison.

Photography by Bob Bailie.

English Majors Get Jobs

Recommended article by Paul T. Corrigan, “English Majors Get Jobs,” from Corrigan Literary Review: (click on title to to full article)

Over the past several years, I’ve collected stories and advice from well over a hundred duly employed English majors (see “Want a Job with that English Degree?”). Overwhelmingly, they share that their degrees have helped them find meaning as well as money. According to multiple surveys, most employers in the U.S. positively want to hire college graduates with the kinds of skills fostered in English and other liberal arts—with skills in writing and communicating most important of all. But perhaps the most convincing evidence about English majors’ financial prospects comes from recent data on employment and earnings from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. That data, analyzed in several reports, overturns some of the most widespread stereotypes about English majors with the following facts.

Upcoming English Events

December 9

Down the Rabbit Hole . . . to Victorian Fantastical Literature.

All are invited to this gallery of words, images, and music that enables visitors to experience Victorian fantastical literature from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and much more. December 9, 6:00-8:00 p.m. (feel free to drop in any time); Olsen Student Center, North Dining Hall C.

Alice Key in Hand

December 10

Literary Theory Presentations and Roundtable Discussion

Students from ENG 455 will be giving presentations on their final projects for the course on Monday, December 10, from 3:10-6:30, in Lincoln Auditorium in Roberts. The presentations will be organized into three panels. The presentations are free and open to the public.

Monday, December 10

3:10-4:10 On Garland-Thomson’s Staring: How We Look

Kirstin Corey, “The Body: Experience, Prejudice and Perception”

Conor Crandall, “Looking at the Strange in Gulliver’s Travels

Jane Metsker, “Staring in Wilfred

Caitlin Hession, “Scars to your Beautiful: An Analysis on how Society and Self Perceive Breast Cancer Scars”

Curtis Cole, “Ludic Staring: How Video Games Define Visual Communication.”


4:20-5:20 Audio and Visual Texts

Cora Curtis, “Abstraction in Visual and Auditory Art”

Brandon Becker, “Sounds of Horror on Film”

Kristine Sarasin, “Music and Character Depth in Adult Animation”

Belanna Morales, “Communication in Acoustic Spaces: A Sound Studies Analysis of Begin Again

Annie Moloney, “Soundtrack as Collage: An Analysis of Sound and Storytelling in I’m Not There and the Music of Bob Dylan”

5:30-6:30 Musical Performance

Nichole Decker, “Musical Parody, Mickey Katz, and Weird Al Yankowitz”

Hailey Wellington, “Nina Cried Power: Hozier’s Audiotopia”

Juliana Burch, “Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys- An Aural Dystopian Album”

Jessica Leibowitz, “Discovering the Invisible Cities Opera”

Humanities Spring Reception

The Humanities Division at the University of Maine at Farmington recently help its annual spring reception to celebrate the end of the school year and the honor the the past year of accomplishments by students in the Humanities. At the ceremony, we recognized a variety of student accomplishments:

SIGMA TAU DELTA (English Honor Society) newly inducted members:

  • Thandiwe Andrade-Foster
  • Tegan Bradley
  • Carrie Close
  • Christina Kouros
  • Heather Leet
  • Wenyi (Nyx) Lu
  • Dale Rappaneau, Jr.
  • Alison Turtlott
  • Sarah Veilleux
  • Henry Wanat

SIGMA TAU DELTA members who are graduating:

  • Jessica Casey
  • Nicholas Cross
  • ​Christina Kouros​
  • Elizabeth Thompson
  • Alison Turtlott
  • Hannah Zimmerman


SIGMA TAU DELTA officers for 2018-2019:

  • Aurora Bartley (President)
  • Tegan Bradley (Vice President)
  • Curtis Cole (Secretary)
  • Thandiwe Andrade-Foster (Treasurer)


  • Curtis Cole (Wilson Fellow), faculty advisor Daniel Gunn
  • Hannah Calkin (Wilson Scholar), faculty advisor Shana Youngdahl
  • Richard Southard (Wilson Scholar), faculty advisors Michael Johnson and Steven Pane
  • Lauren Stetson (Wilson Scholar), faculty advisor Eireann Lorsung


SUCCESSFUL GRADUATE SCHOOL APPLICANT: Cassidy Marsh (pursuing an M.A. in English at the University of Maine)


Alice James Books Director’s Chair Fellowship for fall 2018: Carrie Close

Islandport Magazine Writing Contest winner: Aimee Degroat (for “Where He Ain’t”)

University of Maine at Augusta Terry Plunkett Poetry Festival Poetry Contest:

  • Third prize: Gail Bello
  • Second prize: Billie Rose Newby

​Urban Apprenticeship Grants​ (funded by Proctor and Gamble):

Tegan Bradley

Zoe Stonetree


Fall 2017: Willy Doehring

Spring 2018: Hannah Calkin



  • Jenna Arcand
  • Conor Crandall
  • Ashley Forshaw
  • Joshua Heath
  • Meagan Jones
  • Elizabeth Kane
  • Emily Marquis
  • Dale Rappaneau, Jr.

MAUD L. PARKS AWARD: Annie Moloney


Editing and Publishing Minor

In addition to offering a major in English, the English department also participates in several interdisciplinary minors, including a recently approved minor in Editing and Publishing.

Editing and Publishing Minor

Students in this minor will develop the knowledge and experience to design, edit, and publish work in a variety of genres through a combination of hands-on learning and course work.  They will gain familiarity with the history, ethics, and business of publishing and have opportunities to integrate these with studies in literature, creative writing, and journalism.  Students will gain experience in both digital and print production and be prepared for careers in a variety of fields within publishing.

Required Courses   

ENG 202 – Editing                                            4   credits

ENG 203—Essentials of Publishing               4

ENG 204 – Studies in Book Arts                      4

ENG 396 or 397 – Approved Internship/Apprenticeship                     (2-4 credits)

(ENG 396/397 may be doubled counted with approval of Editing and Publishing and Major Advisor)

Prerequisites:  ENG 202, 203 or 204

One of the following writing courses (cannot be doubled counted

with major requirements):    (4 credits each)                                4

ENG 200 Professional Writing

ENG 201 Public Writing

ENG 150 Creative Writing

ENG 152 Creative Writing for Nonmajors

ENG 210 Fiction Writing

ENG 211 Poetry Writing

ENG 212 Creative Nonfiction

ENG 213 Journalism

ENG 214 Screenwriting

ENG 218 Writing for the Stage

ENG 277 Writing-Centered Topics courses

ENG 310 Advanced Fiction

ENG 311 Advanced Poetry

ENG 312 Advanced Nonfiction

ENG 314 Advanced Screenwriting


One course in contemporary literature        4

(may be double counted with major requirements)  

Total credits for the Minor:  22-26


Business Communications Minor

In addition to offering a major in English, the English department also participates in several interdisciplinary minors, including the new Business Communications Minor.

Business Communications

The minor in Business Communications is an interdisciplinary program designed to equip students with the knowledge, abilities, and resources that will enable them to communicate effectively across a wide variety of professional situations. The minor includes courses in English and in Business, and is open to students in any major. Students must take at least two courses in English and two courses in Business, including BUS 220 Principles of Marketing. ENG 397/BUS 397 Internship and one additional course in either English or Business are also required.

*Starred courses have pre-requisites not included in the minor requirements.

Required Course:

BUS 220                    Principles of Marketing*                                           4

Four of the following:


BUS 277 / 377    Special Topics in Marketing*     4

BUS 320        Consumer Behavior*                        4

BUS 323        Digital Marketing*                            4

BUS 326        Social Media Marketing*                  4

BUS 337        International Marketing*                 4

BUS 375        Marketing Management*                  4

ENG 200        Professional Writing                         4

ENG 201        Public Writing                                    4

ENG 212        Creative Non-Fiction*                        4

ENG 213H        Journalism*                                      4

ENG 277        Writing-Centered Topics Courses*   4

ENG 312        Advanced Creative Writing*             4


Experiential Learning:

ENG 396/397 or BUS 396/397: Participation in an internship related to the minor during the student’s academic career (2-4 credits),

*Course may not be double-counted for both major and minor.

Total credits for the minor: 22-24

Other courses may be recommended for students, including ART 112A (Digital Imaging), ART 244 (Creative Imaging), PSY 347 (The Psychology of Persuasion), and MAT 120 (Statistics), among others.

Fall 2018 Courses

Fall 2018 Literature Courses

In this course, we will study English poetry, prose, and drama from early Anglo-Saxon lyrics through 1798, with an emphasis on literary, historical, and cultural contexts. The material will be divided into three loose historical clusters—Medieval, Early Modern, and Eighteenth Century—and we will consider a series of related texts in each of these areas. We will also be following three important themes throughout the semester: the constitutive power of literary languages; Christianity as context; and the construction of gender, particularly in the depiction of women.  For fall, 2018, texts will include substantial selections from Beowulf, The Canterbury Tales, and Paradise Lost; Robinson Crusoe; and additional work by Elizabeth I, Donne, Herbert, Lanyer, Congreve, Pope, Goldsmith, Leapor, and other writers.  Prerequisite: ENG 100; for students in ENG, SEN, CWR, or ELE-Language Arts, ENG 100 and ENG 181.

An interdisciplinary study of African American literature examined in the context of music, art, film, and other media representations of African American life that will include a wide range of literary, historical, and cultural materials (from ancient African folk tales to contemporary black writers, performers, and artists).  This semester the course will be part of the 1968 Then and Now Co-Lab and will have a particular focus on the mutual influence of African American aesthetic and political movements: from the Black Arts and Black Power movements of the 1960s to today’s Black Lives Matter movement.  Prerequisite: ENG 100; for students in ENG, SEN, CWR, or ELE-Language Arts, ENG 100 and ENG 181.


This section of American Texts and Contexts will focus on the way memory, history, and trauma have shaped American literature since the Colonial Era. Throughout the semester, we will read novels, personal narratives, histories, dramas, and poetry by such authors as William Bradford, Allison Bechdel, Willa Cather, Louise Erdrich, and Tony Kushner among others. We will consider how authors approach personal and national pasts and how they deal with difficult personal and national experiences.

Prerequisite: ENG 100; for students in ENG, SEN, CWR, or ELE-Language Arts, ENG 100 and ENG 181.


In this course, we will study literature and film that explores the connection between gender and the historical processes of globalization. We will analyze how gender is implicated in the literatures of people and cultures in and between nations, covering topics such as the black diaspora, transnational economics and labor, immigration and migration, water and ecoliterature, tourism and travel and new genres such as petro-fiction and narco-novelas.  Authors might include Monica Ali, Chris Abani, Dionne Brand, Jenny Turner, Bharati Mukherjee, Helon Habila, Yuri Herrera, Mohsin Hamid, and Leanne Betasamosake Simpson. Prerequisite: ENG 100; for students in ENG, SEN, CWR, or ELE-Language Arts, ENG 100 and ENG 181.

This course will feature a range of texts by women from the beginning of the western literary tradition through the present, including Sappho, Jane Austen, Virginia Woolf, Helene Cixous, Gertrude Stein, Robin Coste Lewis, Anne Boyer, and others. We will pay particular attention to the relationship between gender and form and look closely at the way the act of writing is both practiced and thematized in the work of these writers.  Prerequisite: ENG 100; for students in ENG, SEN, CWR, or ELE-Language Arts, ENG 100 and ENG 181.

This team-taught course will introduce students to the fundamental principles of digital and public humanities in a semester-long engagement with the New Commons Project. Students will study the four works featured in the semester in depth, attend all New Commons events, interact with New Commons guest lecturers/performers, and create a digital or public outreach project based on one of the four works. Through the works studied in this course will be drawn from several disciplines, the approach will be Humanities-based, involving discussion about and interpretation of works, close attention to language and meaning, and analysis.

This is an advanced course in eighteenth-century English literature.  We will begin by looking at some of Addison’s Spectator papers to get a sense of the social, cultural, and literary atmosphere of the eighteenth century.  Then we will move on to consider works by Aphra Behn, Daniel Defoe, Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope, Charlotte Lennox, a collection of women poets, Oliver Goldsmith, Samuel Johnson, and Jane Austen.  Texts from this period tend to be comic, satiric, highly rational, socially engaged, and formally sophisticated.  We will, in addition, be reading a series of critical essays, including work written from feminist, historicist, and formalist perspectives, in an effort to develop a preliminary idea of the issues addressed by eighteenth-century scholars and the range of possible interpretive strategies suggested by their work.   Prerequisite: one 200-level ENG literature class.

Study of representative literature from 1798 to 1832, with an emphasis on poetry, gothic fiction, and a theme: “the power of the imagination.” Texts are chosen from the works of writers such as Wollstonecraft, Austen, Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, the Shelleys, and Keats. Prerequisite(s): One 200-level ENG literature course.

An exploration of the concept of environment in American writing from the 19th century to the present, this course will address fundamental questions about the relation between nature and culture at play in American writing about the natural world.  Readings will include ​writings by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Leslie Marmon Silko, Roy Scranton, Michael Pollan, and others.  Prerequisite: one 200-level ENG literature class.

Study of various theoretical approaches used in the analysis of literature, with the emphasis on contemporary developments in literary theory, with a particular focus this semester on semiotics, sound studies, and cultural studies. Texts will include Roland Barthes’ Mythologies, Josh Kun’s Audiotopia: Music, Race, and America, Brandon LaBelle’s Acoustic Territories: Sound Culture and Everyday Life, and Rosemarie Garland-Thomson’s Staring: How We Look.  Prerequisite: one 300-level ENG literature course other than ENG 300.

This course in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century British fiction focuses on representations of the complexity of selfhood in an era of profound intellectual and social upheaval.  We will study examples of late nineteenth-century realist and Gothic fiction and of early twentieth-century fiction that boldly reinvented the conventions of narrative.  As we do so, we will familiarize ourselves with intellectual contexts, such as late Victorian degeneration theory and early twentieth-century psychology; we will study transformations of British society, especially regarding gender roles; and we will consider the impact of global events, particularly the cataclysmic Great War.  Fundamentally, we will ask what forces—psychological, social, and natural—shape and buffet the self, what is the potential for knowing oneself (or one’s selves) and others, and how do different modes of fiction pose and explore such questions.  Our texts will include fiction by at least some of the following: Joseph Conrad, Thomas Hardy, D. H. Lawrence, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Virginia Woolf.   Prerequisite: one 300-level ENG literature course other than ENG 300.