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Summer and Fall 2019 Course Descriptions

Summer Courses

ENG 551-01: Academic Writing Seminar 

Hybrid (Online plus two Mondays 10 am – 2:30 pm)

Matthew Newcomb: newcombm@newpaltz.edu


Course Description: 

This course is to help students adjust to writing at the graduate level and to improve their understanding of academic writing processes and genres. Students will briefly explore the academic article, the conference paper, the abstract, the proposal, and the book review. Students will create short new documents and revise a previously written document. Special attention will be paid to introductions, conclusions, and situating arguments. Students will practice thinking strategically and rhetorically about academic writing from the level of the word up to a complete document. Student material written for previous courses will be used and revised.

Tentative Required Texts: 

Hayot, Eric. The Elements of Academic Style: Writing for the Humanities.Columbia UP, 2014.

MLA Handbook, 8theditionModern Language Association of America, 2016.

Williams, Joseph and Joseph Bizup. Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace, 12thedition. Pearson, 2016 (Optional)

-Articles via handout or electronic reserve


ENG593: Children’s Literature: Then and Now ONLINE

Professor Fiona Paton, Department of English


Summer Session 4 (8 weeks): May 22 – July 18, 2018

Course Description:

Since the field of children’s literature is so historically and geographically diverse, this course will focus on Anglo-American children’s fiction. Each week, you will read two novels from different time periods, along with a critical article on children’s literature and/or pedagogy. In this rich array of literature, you will find works familiar and unfamiliar, famous and obscure. Although arranged in specific categories, the novels speak to each other across time and place, allowing to us develop a larger conversation about the construction of gender, race, and class in the imaginative worlds created for children. The course requirements include a short interview assignment, a formal reflective paper of eight pages, and weekly blogs on the readings.

Required texts include: Pullman, “I Was a Rat!”; Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets; Forbes, Johnny Tremain; Sewell, Black Beauty; Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables; Anderson, Chains; Lee, To Kill a Mocking Bird; Stone, Dear Martin


Fall Courses

ENG 505-01: Shakespeare
R 5:00-7:50 p.m.

Professor Thomas Olsen: olsent@newpaltz.edu 

Course Description:

This course is a graduate-level introduction to Shakespeare. In addition to a survey-style selection of plays and poems, the course will also focus on the cultural atmosphere of Shakespeare’s age, including topics such as basic theater history, the social relationships between men and women, the organization of early modern economic and political life, the early publication of Shakespeare’s works, and other subjects that bear on the works. The course will also take up issues related to early modern ideas concerning authorship and creativity, as well the ways Shakespeare used earlier sources to write his “original” works, and in turn became a “source” for later authors and artists. Thus, an emphasis will be on cinematic and literary adaptations of Shakespeare, as well as some attention to the sources Shakespeare used in writing his own works.

Poems and plays will be drawn from this list: Venus and AdonisRichard II, 1 Henry IV, Henry V, Titus Andronicus, Coriolanus, Hamlet, King Lear, Othello, The Comedy of Errors, As You Like It, The Merchant of Venice, The Taming of the Shrew, The Tempest, and Twelfth Night (this list may change, especially if there is an area performance of a Shakespeare play; the final list will be sent to registered students toward the end of the summer).

Requirements will probably include two papers of medium length (8-10 pp.), a midterm and/or final examination, a presentation with a partner, and/or other smaller assignments (these expectations are also subject to minor changes and will be finalized on the course syllabus).

Required Texts (ordered @ College Bookstore, but available elsewhere, new and used):

You will need a high-quality edition of the works of Shakespeare. I have ordered the 3rdedition of Stephen Greenblatt et. al, eds. The Norton Shakespeare, in the easier-to-carry 2-volume format (Norton, 978-0-393-26402-9). However, any prior edition in any format of The Norton Shakespeareis acceptable. So are any high-quality 1-volume or single-play critical editions (Arden, Cambridge, Norton, Oxford, Riverside, etc.). Please contact me before making a major purchase; some budget editions will not serve you well for this course and are really false economies.

Russ McDonald, The Bedford Companion to Shakespeare, 2nded. (Bedford, 978-0312248802)

Other readings and materials will be available on Blackboard, YouTube, and Vimeo.


ENG 515-01: Modern Theories of Writing 

Wednesday: 5:00-7:50 p.m.

Matthew Newcomb: newcombm@newpaltz.edu


Course Description: 

This course will both prepare you to teach writing in a theoretically-informed way and involve you in contemporary research and conversations about writing, composition, and rhetoric. While the course will cover some key historical figures for composition studies (Aristotle, Plato, Quintilian), the majority of the time will be spent on key debates and issues in the field of composition studies as it has existed since the first Conference on College Composition and Communication in the middle of the twentieth century.  Those topics will likely include (but are not limited to) the rhetorical situation, theories of argument, the role of composition courses, assessment concerns, new technologies and writing, the role of the author, approaches to grammar and style, public and cultural aspects of writing, and writing across the curriculum.  Many readings will be key journal articles and academic books from the last several decades.  Students will also gain a larger historical understanding of the movements within composition studies and will be encouraged to develop and try alternative theories and strategies in their writing and in their teaching of writing. Students will enact their own research into the field of composition and will prepare materials for teaching writing as well (such as lesson plans, syllabi, textbook reviews, and/or assignment sheets). We will also spend time talking about our current composition courses and sharing ideas for immediate teaching.


Tentative Required Texts:

Berlin, James A. Rhetoric and Reality: Writing Studies in American Colleges 1900-1985.

Southern Illinois UP, 1987.

Miller, Susan. Ed. The Norton Book of Composition Studies. W.W. Norton, 2009.


ENG 522: Modernity and Modernism in Britain

T 5:00-7:50 pm

Professor Stella Deendeenm@newpaltz.edu

The repudiation of their Victorian fathers was only one source of modernists’ determination to “make it new.”  Modernity and Modernism in Britain will explore the political, intellectual, and material currents that led to an explosion of diverse new literary tones and forms arising from the stances of revolution, skepticism and belief, estrangement, eccentricity, expatriation, and recovery. Writers will likely include Pater, Wilde, Strachey, James, Hardy, West, Forster, Yeats, Woolf, Conrad, Anand, Mansfield, Bowen, Benson, Auden. Students will engage in weekly seminar debate, make short oral presentations, and write original and insightful literary criticism informed by research.


ENG 577.01: Studies in English Romanticism - Romanticism & Ecology

T 5:00-7:50

  1. Jackie George

In this course, we will investigate the relationship between British Romantic literature and the environment.  Drawing upon literary works from the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, including (but not limited to) poetry by Charlotte Smith, William Wordsworth, Percy Shelley, John Clare, and John Keats; non-fiction prose by Romantic-era philosophers and scientists; and contemporary works on the practice of ecocriticism, we will investigate the he diverse roles and formulations of nature and the environment in British literature from the Romantic era, as well as Romantic perspectives on the relationship between the human and non-human world.  We will discuss how nature gets defined by the Romantics; how these definitions helped to shape notions of freedom, subjectivity, gender, and nation; and how they continue to inform present-day discourses about sustainability.

Anticipated Texts

  • The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol. D (The Romantic Period), 9th edition
  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau, A Discourse on Inequality
  • Additional primary texts and critical essays will be made available online.


ENG 585.01 Studies in Contemporary Criticism              

M 5:00-7:50

Daniel Kempton: kemptond@newpaltz.edu 

Course Description:

A survey of the concept of intention in literary studies, from biblical hermeneutics to contemporary discourse analysis. We will give particular attention to the shift in the last half-century from intentionalist modes of reading, where the goal is to understand what an author meant to say, to anti-intentionalism, where the goal is to understand the ideological conditions under which the author wrote (and which necessarily escaped the author’s conscious awareness). We will also study the shift in contemporary literary theory from the author toward the reader as the source of meaning. In addition to the books listed below, the syllabus will include the following essays or book excerpts (to be posted on Blackboard): W. K. Wimsatt and M. C. Beardsley, “The Intentional Fallacy”; Cleanth Brooks, “Keats’s Sylvan Historian”; E. D. Hirsch, from Validity in Interpretation; Michel Foucault, from Archeology of Knowledge; Peter Rabinowitz, from Before Reading: Narrative Conventions and the Politics of Interpretation; Judith Fetterley, “On the Politics of Literature”; Annette Kolodny, “Dancing through the Minefield”; Stanley Fish, “Interpreting the Variorum”; Roland Barthes, “Death of the Author.”     


On Christian Doctrine. Translated by D. W. Robertson, Jr., Pearson, 1958.

ISBN: 978-0024021502

Barthes, Roland. The Pleasure of the Text.Translated by Richard Miller, Hill and Wang, 1975. ISBN: 978-0374521608

Iser, Wolfgang. The Act of Reading. Johns Hopkins UP, 1980. ISBN: 978-0801823718



ENG 593-01 The Bible as Literature

M 6:30-9:20 p.m.

Christopher Link: linkc@newpaltz.edu

Course Description:
This course is an intensive, graduate-level introduction to the literary-critical study of the Bible. Through close reading of selected biblical texts, related literary works, and key secondary critical literature, students will examine a number of critical approaches and creative responses to the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, including a brief selection of literary texts inspired by biblical themes, characters, and situations. Graduate students with little or no previous knowledge of the Bible will find the course a useful introduction to this important cornerstone of Western culture and literature. All students—including those with more advanced knowledge of the Bible—will be invited to consider complex matters of textual and intertextual interpretation. The course is conducted as a seminar with lecture material; a significant degree of student participation is expected in daily class discussions.


AnticipatedCourse Texts:

The New Oxford Annotated Bible (with the Apocrypha), 4th Edition, New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Robert Alter, The Art of Biblical Narrative

Phyllis Trible, God and the Rhetoric of Sexuality

John Milton, The Complete Poetry (ed. John T. Shawcross) [recommended text for selections]

C.G. Jung, Answer to Job

Flannery O'Connor,The Violent Bear It Away


ENG 588 Comparative Literature

W 5-7.50

Professor Michelle Woods: woodsm@newpaltz.edu

Course Description:

How can you describe the worst of human evil anduse humor? In this course, we will read novels that engage with the intersection between collective and personal trauma in reaction to historical pressures, genocide, civil war and unrest, and living in authoritarian regimes - humorously. All of the works use humor in its myriad forms to challenge ideologies, to provide voice to oppression and to cope with individual and collective trauma. In using biting irony or slapstick to face the aftermath of the Holocaust, or satire and absurdist logic in facing race and blackness in America, or irony and wryness in thinking about male sexual and paramilitary violence in Northern Ireland, all of these texts also use narrative forms as a resistant force against monological ideological narratives, and the class will explore the use of these forms. We’ll read humor theory, trauma theory, some Bakhtin, and a lot of great novels.

Likely Texts:

David Albahari, Götz and Meyer

Paul Beatty, The Sellout

Thomas Bernhard,The Loser

Roberto Bolaño, By Night in Chile

Anna Burns, Milkman

Bohumil Hrabal, Too Loud a Solitude

Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Olga Tokarczuk, House of Day, House of Night

Jáchym Topol, The Devil’s Workshop


ENG 593-02: 20th Century U.S. Poetry

Thursdays, 5:00 – 7:50 p.m.

Sarah Wyman: wymans@newpaltz.edu

In this seminar, we will consider the way contemporary poets in the United States have engendered voice in their work.  Our comparative study will highlight modes in which Robert Hayden, Sylvia Plath, Frank O’Hara, Louise Glück, and Yusef Komunyakaa respond to the legacy of Modernism.  These celebrated poets establish identity through the creation of personas and the invention of aesthetic worlds in which to locate them. Through a formalist lens, we will investigate verbal and visual patterning as structuring devices.  We will employ primary texts as well as critical articles to investigate poetry’s interface with politics, gender, psychology, sustainability topics, and the visual arts. Students will hone their skills in rhetorical analysis and written expression by completing a major research paper.  Each student will develop this project in stages over the course of the semester.

Required Texts


Louise Glück, The First Four Books of Poems (Ecco, 1995) ISBN 0-88001-421-0

Robert Hayden, Collected Poems (Liveright or Norton) ISBN-13:978-0871406798

Yusef Komunyakaa, Neon Vernacular (Wesleyan UP, 1993) ISBN 978-0-819574534

Frank O’Hara, The Selected Poems of Frank O’Hara (Ed. Mark Ford, Knopf, 2008) ISBN 978-0-307-26815-0 or Vintage

Sylvia Plath, Ariel: The Restored Edition (Harper Perennial, 2004) ISBN 0-06073259-8


ENG 593-03: The Graphic Novel

Tuesdays 5:00-7:50 PM

Pauline Uchmanowicz

Course Description

Descended from the nineteenth-century comic strip, the graphic narrative has emerged in the twenty-first century as a transnational literary tour de force. Our study of the medium focuses primarily on social-realism novels and memoirs. Using a lexicon of comics as well as literary concepts and theories drawn from current scholarship, we will analyze and interpret how images (art), words (story), and technical operations (structure) converge in graphic narratives. General topics include literary-canon formation, visual ideology, and the crisis of representation. The main goal of the course is for each student to design an individual project, resulting in a seminar paper.

Required Texts (available at Campus Bookstore)

Bechdel, Alison. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic. Houghton Mifflin, 2006. 

Clowes, Daniel. Ghost World. Fantagraphics, 2005.

Marchetto, Marisa Acocella. Cancer Vixen: A True Story. Knopf, 2006.

McCloud, Scott. Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art. Harper Collins, 1994.

Moore, Alan, writer. Art and letters by Dave Gibbons. Color by John Higgins. Watchmen. DC

Comics, 1986.

Satrapi, Marjane. Persepolis:The Story of a Childhood. Pantheon, 2003.

---. Persepolis II: The Story of a Return. Pantheon, 2004.

Spiegelman, Art. Maus I: My Father Bleeds History. Pantheon, 1986.

---.  Maus II: And Here My Troubles Began. Pantheon, 1991.

Tomine, Adrian. Shortcomings. Drawn & Quarterly, 2007.

Ware, F. C. Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth. Pantheon, 2000.

A selection of critical and theoretical articles by comics/graphic narrative scholars.