Spring 2024 English
We don't know what we love when we love God, says Augustine. But do we really know what we love when we love anything? This course examines the discursive constructions of the love object from antiquity to now, dwelling on some important medieval texts, from the troubadours to "courtly love" poems. We look to medieval negative theology and queer and trans theory for critiques of--and ways of thinking beyond--the (hetero)normativity of the love object in the Aristotelian and Lacanian traditions in particular--the one entangled in the configuration of medieval love, the other in medieval scholarship on love.
This course focuses on the texts that were the most widely circulated literary forms of the eighteenth century, the Psalms of the Hebrew Bible, and their adaptation in the eighteenth century into congregational hymns (hymns meant to be sung by an entire congregation and not just by choristers or soloists). We read hymns by Isaac Watts, John Newton, William Cowper, and Anna Letitia Barbauld, and look at some contemporary criticism (by Robert Lowth and Joseph Priestley) to think about how the diffusion of Psalm-based hymns across large groups intersected with and contributed to the development of literary criticism.
This class asks questions like these: How do these novels transform the pursuit of economic interests into dramas of romantic and erotic desire? How are fascinations and anxieties about foreign races brought home to the domestic scene? What is the relation between verbal facility and social class in the Victorian novel, and how is this relation represented? How does the form of the Victorian novel extend, intensify, and expose the systems of social surveillance that developed in the 19th century? How does the Victorian novel imagine its relation to other fields of knowledge?
This course is on the structure and form of the modern manifesto, its role in the shaping of a poetics of decolonization and the making of postcolonial literature. Starting with Marx's Communist Manifesto (1848), the course focuses on the manifesto as a linguistic and performative genre connected to the experience of disenchantment. We closely read the manifestos of the early modern avantgardes (Futurism and Dadaism), explore the work of the genre in the poetics of the New Negro (Alain Locke), and end with its appropriation by anticolonial writers from the 1930s to the 1960s (Surrealism and the Black Arts Movement).
This course offers a rare chance to study great works of medieval German Romance together with early modern English epic-romance. The two traditions do connect, not only through European-wide romance narrative culture, but also through growing Anglo-German cultural interaction. We address three major, world-class narrative poems, and also extracts from others and many far shorter works (songs, lyric poems, mystical and aesthetic treatises) in the light of historical and theoretical discussion of sexual difference, dissidence, erotic knowledge, and their religious and political indices.
The seminar focuses on the literature, art, and culture of New York in the 1960s. Six writers guide our inquiry: Hannah Arendt, James Baldwin, Amiri Baraka, Jane Jacobs, Frank O'Hara, and Susan Sontag, but we read widely and engage a range of media and scholarship. We also pay special attention to the little magazines of the period, especially the magazines associated with the mimeograph revolution.
Required weekly seminar for all English Department PhD students teaching for the first time at Princeton and scheduled to precept during the Spring 2024 semester. Balancing pedagogical theory with practical tips and collaborative discussion, the seminar helps students meet the challenges of their first semester in the classroom while also preparing them to lead their own courses. Topics include: integrated course design (preparing lesson plans; leading discussions; lecturing; teaching writing; assessment and grading); writing recommendations; and managing students, faculty, and time.
Spring 2024 Cross Listed
Narratology and theory of the novel, related but distinct traditions in literary theory, have in the twenty-first century moved away from their respective formalist/structuralist and literary historical roots, and converged in the post-print era on questions of ethics. This seminar offers an opportunity to explore the new ethical narratologies alongside recent theories of the ethics of the novel.