In addition to the courses and descriptions listed below, the English department will also offer seminars in subjects like Travel Writing, Women’s Writing, Studies in Sexuality, Renaissance Drama and British Modernism.
Introduction to English: Forms of Literature
This course will introduce English majors to the most important genres in English literature. These will range from the classical genres of poetry, prose and drama to the more recent developments in literary theory and new media. Students will receive an overview of the most important developments in genre over the last 2000 years, starting with Aristotle and culminating in hypertext.
Introduction to Literary Theory
An intensive immersion in literary method, this course will complement the class on literary genre. Looking at how texts ask questions, and the assumptions that go into any discussion of life and literature, we will also examine what the most important of these questions have been over the last hundred years, and how theorists like Freud, Derrida, and Spivak, among others, have addressed them.
Early British Literature: 900-1660
Plotting the development of the literature of the British Isles over the centuries, this course will begin with the anonymous text of Beowulf. Moving across important texts and movements through medieval and Renaissance literature to John Milton’s Paradise Lost, this course will immerse students in the early history of British literature.
From the beginnings of American literature in slave narratives and religious sermons to the current work of poets like Robert Lowell and graphic novelists like Alison Bechdel, this course will give students an overview of various modes and genres that have been explored in North America and Canada from the middle of the 18th century to the present.
Literature and Empire: 1660-1947
Starting with the consolidation of the East India Company in the 17th century, this course will examine the wide variety of pamphlets, travel narratives, poems, novels, and prose fictions that pivot on the idea of empire and travel, from Aphra Behn’s Oronooko to E. M. Forster’s A Passage to India. Moving across countries and centuries, this course will study literary and social formations that continue to affect us to this day.
Perhaps the single-biggest literary development of the last 300 years has been the rise of the novel. Tied to the rise of literacy, industrialisation and globalisation, the novel is a polysemous genre that continues to be the most widely-read form of literature today. This course will look at the rise of the novel, its development through realism, modernism, post-modernism, magical realism and the postcolonial novel.
Indian Literatures in English
Staring in the 1980s with Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children, Indian literature in English burst upon the global scene. But Indian literature had already been popular in the earlier parts of the century, from Rabindranath Tagore and Mulk Raj Anand to R.K. Narayan. This course will trace the link from Tagore to Rushdie, A. K. Ramanujam to Nissim Ezekiel and Mahasweta Devi to Arundhati Roy to build a genealogy of Indian literatures in English.
Indian Literatures in Translation
A rich tradition of Indian vernacular literatures is now available in English and allows us to compare Indian literature in English with demotic traditions. From the short stories of Munshi Premchand and Saadat Hasan Manto to the writings of Amrita Pritam and Vijaydan Detha, this course will round-out a student’s immersion in Indian literature.
Expanding the canvas of literature to post-colonial productions of novels, poems and drama, this course will study Anglophone, Francophone and Lusophone literatures from Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the Pacific. From magical realism to existential drama, students will cover rich traditions of literature have been written in response to the conditions of colonialism and post-colonialism.
Global Literatures in Translation
From Marcel Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past to Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha, global literatures of pivotal importance to an understanding of literature have been translated into English. This course will think about the theory and practice of translation as well as study a selection of translated texts from around the world.
With the spectacular growth of national cinemas in all parts of the world – India, Iran, Egypt, Germany, France, New Zealand – global cinema has become a major source for the dissemination of imaginative ideas in different languages. This course will study comparative traditions of film-making and think about the socio-cultural and filmic languages encoded in these productions.
Advanced Critical Theory
In many ways the capstone course of the English major, advanced critical theory will focus on any one aspect of theory as it has developed over the last 100 years.
Topics may include New Media Theory, Psychoanalysis, Marxism, Deconstruction, New Historicism and Queer Theory.