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Fall 2022 Topics Course Descriptions

LIT 170 is a “Topics in English” and the topic will be “Preparing for a Conference”
Tuesday 3:30-4:50pm (August 30 to October 18)
This is a partial unit course that carries 0.25 units
Professor: Diane Steinberg

Primarily for sophomores, juniors, or seniors who wish to read a paper in English (or a related field) at an external conference. Students will learn how to select a paper for conference presentation, how to take a lengthy research paper and trim it to a 2000 word conference length essay, how to write a conference abstract, and how to make a conference hand-out designed to elicit good questions from one’s listeners. The class will hold several mock conference sessions to which audiences can be invited, and students will be encouraged to take their finished essays and consider submitting them for publication. Permission of the department to enroll. Class may be repeated for credit. Students need not be members of Sigma Tau Delta to present at external conferences.


LIT 360: The British Augustans and Their Rivals
Tuesday/Friday 11:00am-12:20pm
Professor: David Venturo

This course explores developments in English Literature from approximately 1700 to 1820. Over these years, the dominant form of writing shifted from Augustan satire to types of writing that focused more on issues of daily life. The reading will include Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, selected poems by Alexander Pope, John Gay’s Beggar’s Opera, various writings by Samuel Johnson, and William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and of Experience.  We will conclude the course by reading two novels: Jane Austen’s Emma and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. The aim of the course is threefold: (1) to examine the assigned texts closely; (2) to explore major intellectual, cultural, political, and religious issues of the times; and (3) to achieve an understanding of important issues in eighteenth-century studies. 


LIT 370-01 Approaches to Media
Monday/Thursday 2:00pm-3:20pm
Professor: Glenn Steinberg

You’ve learned how to analyze novels and poetry but do you know how to analyze media?  How might some of the cultural theories you have already learned (ecocritical, gender, psychoanalytic, Marxist, formalist) help you to understand, write about, and create content for various media (such as film, advertising, social media, video games, websites, memes, youtube videos, and theme parks)?  In this 2.0 version of Approaches to Lit, students will deepen their understanding of literary theory and learn how the analytical skills that they are acquiring through their English major apply to “the real world” beyond poetry and fiction.


LIT 421: Shakespeare: Comedies and Histories
Tuesday/Friday 3:30pm-4:50pm
Professor: David Venturo

This course explores Shakespeare’s comedies and histories by concentrating on seven plays—four histories, Richard II, Henry the Fourth Parts One and Two, and Henry the Fifth; two comedies, As You Like It and Twelfth Night; and one play that mixes comedy, history, and a little tragedy, Troilus and Cressida.  We will have several goals as we study these plays:  first, to address issues of genre, especially how loosely and flexibly such forms as history, comedy, and tragedy were practiced in Shakespeare’s time; second, to examine Shakespeare’s rhetoric—the amazing language spoken by his characters; third, to historicize his plays by reading them within the cultural, political, and religious context of the times; and finally, to consider them as self-conscious dramas that celebrate their own theatricality and artifice.