Courses

FALL 2014

Aspects of the Novel

E.M. Forster’s Aspects of the Novel (1927) is a delightful slim volume that is itself of the same high literary level as the novels that Forster describes. We will read some of Forster’s own work, a selection of the books he writes about, and discuss his observations and theories. Students will write two papers.

  • Annabel Davis-GoffFA2014 | , – | LIT4193.01

 

Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” and Public Action

Since its publication in 1843, Charles Dickens’ allegorical tale about a miserly businessman has never gone out of print. While the novella’s holiday-themed story is widely known, a close reading of the original text reveals sharp criticism of industrial capitalism and its devastating impact on social welfare. In this module we will read A Christmas Carol aloud together and explore its relevance and power today, both as evergreen social criticism and as a literary call to action. We will also explore the issue of hunger in the town of Bennington, Vermont, and engage in a public action project. Like the novella, this module will take place as the holidays approach, during the last three weeks of the term.

  • Brooke Allen; Alison DennisFA2014 | , – | MOD2136.04

 

Early American Literature

From the Puritans’ first unpromising glimpse aboard the Mayflower of this “hideous & desolate wilderness, full of wild beats and wild men,” America has inspired, even required, bold new feats of language and the imagination to capture it in literature. This course will survey the beginnings of the American literary tradition, from the poetry of Anne Bradstreet and the salacious genre of the captivity narrative to the sermons and tracts of America’s first great religious thinker, Jonathan Edwards; we’ll also delve into American fiction from Washington Irving to the Gothic tales of Edgar Allan Poe.

  • Benjamin Anastas FA2014 | , – | LIT2197.01

 

English as a Second Language

This course will provide the opportunity to review grammar, punctuation, diction, and sentence structure with an emphasis on paragraph and essay construction. Additional work is offered in oral expression, aural comprehension, and analytical reading. The instructor may also introduce the interpretation of literature and the writing of critical essays.

  • Wayne Hoffmann-Ogier FA2014 | , – | LIT2101.01

 

Fitzgerald and Hemingway

F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway were arguably the preeminent literary figures in America in the first quarter of the Twentieth century. Their work and their lives were both closely intertwined and dramatically contrasting. Each came from the conservative Midwest. Each enjoyed stunning early success. Each made his permanent mark in a very different fashion as a revolutionary prose stylist. Each was a close observer of social and cultural behavior both at home and abroad, chronicling lives of appetitive wealth, expatriate searching, the exhilaration and tragic costs of war. As well, they were, at various times in their lives, confidants and rivals as they struggled with the equally destructive perils of ambition and addiction. Among their lasting works, we will read The Sun Also Rises, The Great Gatsby, The Nick Adams Stories, The Crack-Up, A Moveable Feast, Tender is the Night, The Last Tycoon, and others.

  • Doug Bauer FA2014 | , – | LIT2275.01

 

Fundamentals of Reading and Writing Poetry

How are poems made? What are poems for? What is the relationship between music, movement, visual pattern, and poetry? What do we mean when we say something is “poetic?” In this course, students will find answers to these questions by reading poems, meeting and listening to visiting poets, writing their own poems, and writing and speaking critically about contemporary and canonical works. This will not be a traditional workshop course, but a hybrid of sorts in which students will gain an understanding of the fundamental work of reading and writing, understanding and appreciating poems. Attendance at all Poetry at Bennington events will be required.

  • Mark Wunderlich FA2014 | , – | LIT2323.01

 

Honors Seminar: Map to a Masterpiece

We’ll be reading some of the principal works that Henry James, as a young aspiring novelist, absorbed and analyzed in the process of actively forming his own aesthetic, culminating in his first great novel, The Portrait of a Lady. It’s a highly various and idiosyncratic tracing and the reading list will reflect it, drawn from among Turgenev’s A Sportsman’s Sketches, Eliot’s Middlemarch, Maupassant’s stories, Zola’s Nana, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, and Emerson’s Self-Reliance, culminating in The Portrait of a Lady itself, where we’ll take note of how the writers James embraced influenced the classic work he wrote. There will be oral presentations and brief written essays, leading to a substantive final paper. Please submit a sample, no longer than four pages, of your critical writing by the end of the day, April 29th, to dbauer@bennington.edu.

  • Doug Bauer FA2014 | , – | LIT4273.01

 

How to Read a Story

The challenge in this class will be to read and then to write critically about great literature with an appreciation of its aims and ambitions, and with earned opinions regarding the writers’ intentions. (In this effort you’ll be reading criticism of the works that will inform but not dictate your own carefully considered views.) All that while also retaining the immediate pleasure of immersing yourselves in the universe of a compelling story. Both these engagements — the delight we take in the tale and the satisfactions we get from delving for its meanings — are necessary if we’re to take away all we can from that which we read. We will likely read — and re-read — Chekhov’s The Lady with the Lap Dog, Hemingway’s Big Two-Hearted River, Carver’s Where I’m Calling From, Munro’s Fits, and Denis Johnson’s The Largesse of the Sea Maiden, stories which beckon us to pay closer than close attention to both the worlds presented on the page and their suggested worlds beyond.

  • Doug Bauer FA2014 | , – | LIT2179.01

 

Pathways: An Introduction to Writing

Beginning writers will explore the steps of the writing process as a path for discovery and communication. Weekly papers explore several modes of writing, including description, nonfiction narrative, and both analytical and argumentative essays. The course primarily emphasizes the art of essay construction by focusing on rhetorical patterns, by introducing research techniques, and by using critical reasoning skills to explore and to amplify ideas. The class routinely uses group editing and other collaborative techniques in a discussion setting and gives special attention to the development of editing and rewriting skills. It also sharpens analytical reading ability through careful analysis of literature. The schedule includes individual tutorials.

  • Wayne Hoffmann-Ogier FA2014 | , – | LIT2110.01

 

Practicum: National Undergrad Literary Anthology

This two-credit course involves reading, selecting, and editing material for plain china, an on-line literary anthology highlighting the work of undergraduate students from across the country. The work will result in a monthly on-line publication of 2014 writing and art. We’re looking for readers/editors in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction; interest in art selection and computer knowledge welcome. This course will be conducted almost entirely on-line, via Skype and Google Docs. Lots of work for two credits; lots of great hands-on experience, too.

  • Rebecca Godwin FA2014 | , – | LIT4360.01

 

Reading and Writing Poetry in the Age of Social Media

This course is a writing workshop designed to investigate, challenge, and use contemporary methods of production and distribution of poetry. Working on the page and online, we will write and read poems in relationship to online culture, popular culture, social media (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram) and platforms of communication such as texts messages, email, YouTube, etc. What does it mean for the poet to be seemingly personal or impersonal on the internet or the page? What does it mean for the poet to withhold, alter, create, and reimagine a history (personal or otherwise) on these platforms? We will study early and modern poetic “brand-makers” such as Walt Whitman, Allen Ginsberg, Anne Sexton, and others. We will think about the internet and poetry as countercultural forces.

  • Alex Dimitrov FA2014 | , – | LIT4254.01

 

Reading and Writing Short Stories

This is a course for fiction writers on how to write a short story, a genre we’ll define using the formula first proposed by Edgar Allan Poe: a work of fiction that can be read in one sitting. Students can expect to read about forty stories over the semester from a wide range of periods and traditions; write frequent exercises to begin the term; and produce two complete stories that will be workshopped. We will study closely how creative choices and the exercise of conscious literary style combine to produce “infinite riches in a little room” (Christopher Marlowe).

  • Benjamin Anastas FA2014 | , – | LIT4219.01

 

Richard Wright and James Baldwin

“As writers we were about as unlike as any two writers could possible be,” James Baldwin wrote of his early mentor and sometimes rival Richard Wright. “We were linked together, really, because both of us were black.” Now that both writers have been canonized, we can read their major works together, side by side, and identify the resonances and irreconcilable differences that make Black Boy and Go Tell it On the Mountain, Another Country and Native Son, just as memorable for readers in our time as they were when they were published. We’ll survey the careers of both American masters as they quarreled with history and found their own principled solutions to America’s race problem.

  • Benjamin Anastas FA2014 | , – | LIT2193.01

 

Shakespeare: The Poetry

In this course we will immerse ourselves in the major works of Shakespeare’s poetry: the Sonnets; his Neoclassical poems, Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece; A Lover’s Complaint; and several poems from the plays. While we expand our understanding of Shakespeare’s themes, strategies, and techniques in the poems, we will examine the critical reception of these works, including biographical, Feminist, Queer Theory, and Post-structural approaches. We will also read a selection of sonnets by past and present masters of the form.

  • Camille Guthrie FA2014 | , – | LIT2218.01

 

Style and Tone in Nonfiction Writing

This introductory course focuses on the weekly writing of extended essays, including nonfiction narrative, personal essay, literary criticism, research writing, and the analytical essay. It gives particular attention to developing individual voice and command of the elements of style. The class incorporates group editing in a workshop setting with an emphasis on re-writing. It also involves the analysis and interpretation of a variety of texts and explores writing across the curriculum. The course concentrates on the effective use of logic and rhetorical patterns in developing a thesis. The schedule includes individual tutorials.

  • Wayne Hoffmann-Ogier FA2014 | , – | LIT2104.01

 

Swift and Pope

This class will concentrate on the Augustan authors Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) and Alexander Pope (1688-1744). We will read many of the two writers’ major works: from Pope, Essay on Criticism, Essay on Man, The Rape of the Lock, The Dunciad, Imitations of Horace, Epistle to Dr Arbuthnot, and Moral Essays; from Swift, Gulliver’s Travels, A Modest Proposal, Journal to Stella, Drapier’s Letters, Battle of the Books, Tale of a Tub, and An Argument Against Establishing Christianity.

  • Brooke Allen FA2014 | , – | LIT4252.01

 

The Comedy of Manners

An examination of a number of English comedies of manners, mostly novels but also a few plays, within their social contexts. Authors we study might include Jane Austen, Anthony Trollope, Elizabeth Gaskell, Oscar Wilde, Noel Coward, Aldous Huxley, P.G. Wodehouse, Barbara Pym, and Henry Green.

  • Brooke Allen FA2014 | , – | LIT2207.01

 

The Romantic Poets

Toward the end of the 18th century, writers, thinkers and artists began to react against the rationalism of the Enlightenment, the coming Industrial Revolution and the political claustrophobia of Europe, and they set out on a new path. The result was the Romantic movement, and it gave us some of the most enduring poetic works. In this course, we will look at both the German and English poets of the Romantic Era, and consider their lives, the contexts in which they wrote, and most importantly, the poems themselves, paying particular attention to the ways in which these writers wrote and thought about the natural world. Poets will include Emily Bronte, John Keats, Shelley, Blake and John Clare, as well as the Germans Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Schiller, the Grimm Brothers, and Hoelderlin. In addition to poems, we’ll read Wuthering Heights, German fairy tales, and we’ll discuss the ways in which this cultural movement opened the doors to environmental conservation, psychology, and nationalism.

  • Mark Wunderlich FA2014 | , – | LIT2249.01

 

The Scriptorium: Critical Theories

Our scriptorium, a place for writing, will function as a class for beginning writers and for those students who want to improve their essay skills. We will read to write and write to read, following the originator of the form, Montaigne. Much of our time will be occupied with writing probatively, as “essai” means trial or attempt. This class will study model examples of theory and criticism, with a focus on culture, gender, and sexuality studies. We will practice various essay structures with the aim of developing a persuasive, well-supported thesis; in addition, we will revise collaboratively and study grammar. Our aim is to learn to write more genuinely and with complexity, imagination, accuracy. Readings may include the following authors: Woolf, Freud, Berger, Foucault, Kosofky Sedgwick, Barthes, Sontag, Haraway, hooks, Mulvey, Butler.

  • Camille Guthrie FA2014 | , – | LIT2227.01

 

William Maxwell: Writer and Editor

William Maxwell was an editor at the New Yorker for forty years; he was also one of the twentieth century’s great American writers. We will read three of his novels and a selection of the stories he edited. These will include work by Mavis Gallant, Shirley Hazzard, and Frank O’Connor. This course is suitable for students of all levels.

  • Annabel Davis-Goff FA2014 | , – | LIT2281.01

 

Writing Landscape

“Nature is our widest home,” Edward Hoagland once wrote, and the workshop would examine why this is so. The course would consider how the cycles, rhythms, and disturbances of the natural world have always had a place in American letters. Some students would have the opportunity to use their observations from and experience in fieldwork as raw material from which to develop finished essays that may touch on a wider sphere of experience; other students would explore what it is about closely observing nature that can breathe life into writing. The exchange between these two realms of interest would be vital to the course and encourage students to evaluate their own ideas about environmental issues and values. Themes, and the personal essays assigned, might address evolving ideas of wilderness; continuity; discontinuity; transformation; scale; displacement and loss. Reading might include works by Henry Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, John Wesley Powell, John Burroghs, John Muir, Wendell Berry, Edward Hoagland, John McPhee, Gretel Ehrlich, and Verlyn Klinkenborg.

  • Akiko Busch FA2014 | , – | LIT2201.01

SPRING 2014

English as a Second Language

Individually designed tutorials provide the opportunity to review grammar, punctuation, diction, and sentence structure with an emphasis on paragraph and essay construction. Additional work is offered in oral expression, aural comprehension, and analytical reading. Tutorials may also introduce the interpretation of literature and the writing of critical essays. Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor.

  • Wayne Hoffmann-Ogier | SP2014 | , – | LIT2101.01

 

Greek Historians as Literature

Precisely where the accounts of the major Greek historians stand in relation to fact is a matter of massive, ongoing scholarly inquiry. However that may be, the works of Herodotus, Thucydides, and Plutarch have always been regarded as brilliant contributions to literary art, albeit in different ways. Herodotus is a raconteur, venturing into the realm of folktale, fantasy, and homespun ethnography. Thucydides (whom we might call a journalist) reconstructs diplomatic overtures and public speeches, fashioning thereby not only a picture of the doubts and ethical quandaries of people in conflict but also a subtle portrait of himself. Plutarch, coming much later, studies character, notably in the case of Alcibiades, the intellectual general whose interests, or vanity, or ideals led him to switch sides in wartime. How is truth established in such accounts? Who is to be believed? How is a story-telling style maintained, and how does it help or undermine the writer’s authority? Influential texts by such authors as Sophocles and Plato will also be discussed, especially those bearing on clashes between the citizen and the state. Prerequisites: Writing sample & permission of instructor.

  • Dan Hofstadter | SP2014 | ThF, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | LIT4187.01

 

Hans Christian Andersen

Hans Christian Andersen (1805-75) is one of the most famous names in world literature, but the Hollywoodization of his most famous stories–not to mention of his own biography–have obscured, for many, the delicate, painful artistry of his incomparable tales. In this class we will read a wide selection of Andersen’s stories, including classics like “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” “The Steadfast Tin Soldier,” “The Little Mermaid,” and “The Snow Queen” as well as many lesser-known ones. We will also read Andersen’s autobiographical “Fairy Tale of My Life” and selections from his diaries. Prerequisites: None.

  • Brooke Allen | SP2014 | TF, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | LIT2285.01

 

Honors Seminar on Twain

According to Sam Clemens himself, “The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.” In this course, we’ll read several “”good books””-along with stories, essays, and letters-penned by one of the most prolific and complex of American writers. One of the funniest, too, so we can expect to have a good time, in the midst of a rigorous reading and writing load. Among the works we’ll read are The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Pudd’nhead Wilson, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, and portions of Innocents Abroad, and Life on the Mississippi, as well as selected shorter works of fiction and nonfiction. Students will keep reading journals, give presentations, and write critically and creatively, including an extended critical paper. Prerequisites: Writing sample (critical essay) and pre-registration interview. Writing sample is due on the first day of pre-registration.

  • Rebecca Godwin | SP2014 | MTh, 8:10AM-10:00AM | LIT4527.01

 

Reading and Writing Poetry

Students will examine the choices other writers make in their work, through reading a range of selections in contemporary and 20th-century poetry. We will also devote time to discussions of prosody, poetic form, and structure. We will then examine the choices we ourselves make in our work and turn in a new poem every week, each generated through a assignment or prompt. Students will write critical response papers, and will prepare a final portfolio of poems at the end of the term. Prerequisites: By May 2 please submit a writing sample of 5-7 poems to Michael Dumanis at mdumanis@bennington.edu. A course roster will be posted on May 7 on the Literature bulletin board on the second floor of the Barn. Corequisites: Students who are enrolled in this course are required to attend Literature Evenings (every second Wednesday, 7pm)

  • Michael Dumanis | SP2014 | W, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | LIT4313.01

 

Reading and Writing Short Stories

We’ll read some 40 stories in this class-mostly contemporary, although we will include a few glorious others-and look for what makes them, well, stories. That’s part one. Part two is writing: first bits and pieces, scenes and dialogue and narrative explorations, and then a couple of polished stories to discuss in workshops and revise. Intensive engagement in reading, writing, and talking is an absolute requirement. Prerequisites: “Permission of instructor. Email creative writing sample of 3 to 5 pages to rgodwin@bennington.edu no later than XXXX. A class list will be posted by XXXX on the Literature bulletin board on the second floor of the Barn. Corequisites: Students who are enrolled in this course are required to attend Literature Evenings (every second Wednesday, 7pm)

  • Rebecca Godwin | SP2014 | W, 8:20AM-12:00PM | LIT4211.01
  • Benjamin Anastas | SP2014 | W, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | LIT4211.02

 

Shakespeare: The Tragedies

We will read and watch six of Shakespeare’s Tragedies, and will read the sources from which Shakespeare drew his material. Students will write two essays, and are expected to participate in discussion based on careful reading of the plays. Please note there will be two evening film screenings, times to be arranged. Prerequisites: None.

  • Annabel Davis-Goff | SP2014 | W, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | LIT2217.01

 

Style and Tone in Nonfiction Writing

This introductory course focuses on the weekly writing of extended essays, including nonfiction narrative, personal essay, literary criticism, research writing, and the analytical essay. It gives particular attention to developing individual voice and command of the elements of style. The class incorporates group editing in a workshop setting with an emphasis on re-writing. It also involves the analysis and interpretation of a variety of texts and explores writing across the curriculum. The course concentrates on the effective use of logic and rhetorical patterns in developing a thesis. The schedule includes individual tutorials. Prerequisites: None.

  • Wayne Hoffmann-Ogier | SP2014 | Th, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | LIT2104.01

 

The Jazz Age Revisited

“It was an age of miracles, it was an age of art, it was an age of excess, and it was an age of satire,” F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote in his epitaph to the Jazz Age. It was something else too: a social and literary revolution, fueled by new communications technology, music, popular entertainment, the end of racial segregation, and a creative renaissance in a neighborhood in Upper Manhattan called Harlem. Modernism, the Bohemians of Greenwich Village and Montparnasse, the lawlessness of the Prohibition era are all a part of the cultural backdrop. We’ll read the leading lights of the literary scene in New York and in Paris (Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, Djuna Barnes) and their counterparts in booming Harlem: Countee Cullen, Jean Toomer, James Weldon Johnson, and Nella Larsen. Prerequisites: None.

  • Benjamin Anastas | SP2014 | MTh, 10:10AM-12:00PM | LIT2304.01

 

The Scriptorium: Ekphrasis

Defined as a “place for writing,” our scriptorium will function as a class to explore the many manifestations of ekphrasis, which can be simply defined as an artistic description of a work of art, a rhetorical device in which one medium of art responds to another. In this writing-intensive course, we will study classical and modern examples of ekphrasis and create our own responses to works of art. While we develop our reading and writing skills, we will learn new ways to do research, integrate evidence, and argue a persuasive thesis. We will ask ourselves these pressing questions: in which ways can we accurately and imaginatively describe a work of art? How can we capture a work’s meaning, form, and effect on the audience? What are the conflicts and possibilities between literature and the visual arts? Texts may include readings from Homer, Ovid, Freud, Keats, Shelley, Wilde, Rilke, Auden, Williams, Loy, Stevens, Barthes, Ashbery, Sontag, Young. Prerequities: None.

  • Camille Guthrie | SP2014 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | LIT2225.01

 

This is Not a Novel: Experimental American Fiction

In this course, we will examine the attempts of various American writers to come up with alternatives to the conventions of realist narrative fiction that have dominated American literary history. We will read writers from the last half-century that have employed with modernist and postmodern techniques as metafiction, resistance of closure, authorial intrusion, collage, indeterminacy, pastiche, stream of consciousness, surrealism, defamiliarization, paradox, and hybridity. Selected writers will include John Barth, Donald Barthelme, Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum, Lydia Davis, Ben Marcus, David Markson, Carole Maso, Tim O’Brien, Thomas Pynchon, and David Foster Wallace, among others. Students will be responsible for weekly critical responses, two longer analytical papers, and several experimental fictions. Prerequisites: None.

  • Michael Dumanis | SP2014 | MTh, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | LIT2211.01

 

Through Syntax to Style: a Grammar of Writing

“Syntax” is the aspect of grammar concerned with the relationships of words in a language, with how they fit together to create meaning. By exploring various English syntactical structures, we will discover a variety of ways to combine the same words to say slightly different things. The course will rely heavily on the linguistic work of Noam Chomsky. We will write a number of short, pithy essays in which syntax and punctuation will make a great difference. The ability to control syntax is critical for all writing, both expository and, more importantly, creative.

  • John Gould | SP2014 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | LIT2169.01

 

Turgenev and Flaubert

Ivan Sergeyevich Turgenev (1818-1883), the great Russian novelist, left his homeland in 1854 and spent most of the rest of his life in Paris, where he died. Though he wrote in Russian, he was also a writer of pan-European cultural connections, his closest friends being Pauline (García) Viardot, a distinguished Spanish-born opera singer and composer, and Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880), the novelist. Our study is devoted to Turgenev and Flaubert in the belief that their ideas about technique, their personal papers, their shared values – and also their conflicts – illuminate both figures. The major works of the two friends will be closely read, as well as diaries, literary reviews, and correspondence, including Flaubert’s letters to Louise Colet, in which he discusses the composition of Madame Bovary, and his exchange with George Sand, the central female writer of the period. Prerequisites: Writing sample and permission of instructor.

  • Dan Hofstadter | SP2014 | ThF, 8:10AM-10:00AM | LIT4204.01

 

Voltaire and Rousseau

Francois Marie Arouet de Voltaire and Jean-Jacques Rousseau were towering figures not only of the age of Enlightenment but of all Western intellectual history. Their subjects ranged from philosophy to politics to religion to history to education; their works remain as readable and provocative as they were 250 years ago. Great radicals in their time who are still politically polarizing today, they did as much as any thinkers have done to bring the modern world into being. In this class we will read a broad range of works, including Voltaire’s “”Letters From England,”” “Philosophical Dictionary,” “Treatise on Tolerance,” “Candide,” “Zadig,” and “Micromegas,” and Rousseau’s “Confessions,” “Emile,” parts of “Julie,” and the major political essays. There will be two papers. Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor.

  • Brooke Allen | SP2014 | TF, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | LIT4143.01

 

Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson

In this course we will examine the work and worlds of these two canonical American poets. We will read the poems and letters of Dickinson and the poems and prose of Whitman, paying special attention to his lifelong masterwork, Leaves of Grass. We will also dip into the biographies of these authors and attempt to place them within the context of 19th century literature and culture. Students will also read, discuss and write critical prose, present research in class and complete creative assignments. Prerequisites: None.

  • Mark Wunderlich | SP2014 | TF, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | LIT2199.01

 

Wounded Literature: Trauma & Representation

This course will be a study of the paradox of trauma literature. Stories that compel their telling, yet are unassimilated and unspeakable, these works grow out of disasters on an individual and/or collective scale. To better understand Anne Whiteheads assertion that writers “have frequently found that the impact of trauma can only adequately be represented by mimicking its forms and symptoms, so that temporality and chronology collapse, and narratives are characterized by repetition and indirection,” we will read representative narratives by authors including Toni Morrison, Juan Goytisolo, Art Spiegelman, Slavoj Zizek, and W.G. Sebald, in conversation with major theoretical contributions by Freud, Herman, Caruth, LaCapra, and Whitehead. This will be a reading and writing-intensive course. Prerequisites: None.

  • Sarah Harris | SP2014 | MTh, 10:10AM-12:00PM | LIT2262.01

 

Writing Essays about Literature

Writing Essays is an introduction to writing clearly-constructed and logically-argued essays in response to reading, analyzing, and appreciating literary genre, including poetry, short stories, essays, plays, and novels. The course offers an analysis of the technical elements in literature: imagery, symbolism, metaphor, point of view, tone, structure, and prosody. The class reviews a variety of strategies for exploring both substance and style through close readings, for effectively incorporating quotations, scholarly research, and critical theories, and, finally, for writing with vividness, energy, and economy. The workshop setting emphasizes collaborative editing and substantial rewriting. Individual conferences are included. Prerequisites: None.

  • Wayne Hoffmann-Ogier | SP2014 | MW, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | LIT2102.01

COURSES OFFERED FALL 2013

Charles Dickens: Novels and Biography

Dickens’ novels are works of approachable genius, transmitted through their comedy, pulsing energy and relentless life. They also reflect fictional shapings of Dickens’ life, obsessions in the man that regularly recur in the art. We will be reading a biography of Dickens, three of his major novels, including the two most autobiographical, David Copperfield and Great Expectations, and some pertinent criticism. The classroom conversation will be a mixture of narrative patterns noted, themes observed and traced, meanings analyzed and proposed, with close reading and regular student participation essential. Prerequisites: None.

  • Doug Bauer | FA2013 | MTh, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | LIT2284.01

 

Don Quixote: “The First and Most Completest Novel”

We will immerse ourselves in the first European novel, Cervantes’ 1605 tale of the wandering knight, his faithful Sancho Panza, and the cast of hundreds they meet along their way through La Mancha. We will read Edith Grossman’s new translation of Don Quixote, as well as biographical sources (such as Cervantes in Algiers, on the author’s years of captivity by the Barbary Pirates), and contextual materials (such as Rosa Menocal’s The Ornament of the World, on pre-1492 Christian-Muslim-Jewish Spain). We will also consider Cervantes’ influence over the centuries, on writers such as Sterne, Diderot, Borges, and Calvino. Prerequisites: None.

  • Marguerite Feitlowitz | FA2013 | MTh, 10:10AM-12:00PM | LIT2182.01

 

Double Portrait: Of a Lady and Her Novel

Well be examining Henry Jamess The Portrait of a Lady from several perspectives, starting with a close reading of the novel itself. As well, well be reading Michael Gorras recently published Portrait of a Novel, which uniquely blends criticism, biography, historical context and earned authorial speculation as a guide to Jamess life during the time he was writing his book and the ways in which his personal experience influenced the particular fiction he was creating. We might also be including other works of fiction and criticism Gorra mentions as relevant to a full appreciation of Jamess masterpiece. Prerequisite: None.

  • Doug Bauer | FA2013 | MTh, 10:10AM-12:00PM | LIT2223.01

 

English as a Second Language

Individually designed tutorials provide the opportunity to review grammar, punctuation, diction, and sentence structure with an emphasis on paragraph and essay construction. Additional work is offered in oral expression, aural comprehension, and analytical reading. Tutorials may also introduce the interpretation of literature and the writing of critical essays. Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor.

  • Wayne Hoffmann-Ogier | FA2013 | , – | LIT2101.01

 

Genres and Forms of Poetry

This course will closely examine various genres of poetry, including the narrative poem, the elegy, the ode, the ekphrastic, the prose poem, the pastoral, the aubade, the list poem, and the erasure. Students will also be introduced to traditional prosody and acquire a familiarity with writing in meter, and will read poetry written in such traditional forms as the villanelle, the sestina, the pantoum, and the ghazal. Each week students will read a collection of poems (or its equivalent) in a given genre. Weekly critical response papers and creative assignments on each of the genres or forms, and one longer critical paper. Prerequisites: Email an attachment of five poems to mdumanis@bennington.edu by April 29th and please specify any poetry courses taken previosuly. Class list will be posted by May 6 on the Literature bulletin board on the second floor of the barn.

  • Michael Dumanis | FA2013 | W, 4:10AM- 6:00PM | LIT4164.01

 

Honors Seminar: George Orwell

Perhaps more than any other writer of his century, George Orwell (1903-1950) combined a penetrating political intelligence with significant literary gifts. In this class we will read most of Orwell’s novels (“Burmese Days,” “Keep the Aspidistra Flying,” “Coming Up for Air,” “Animal Farm,” “1984″) and major non-fiction works (“Down and Out in Paris and London,” “The Road to Wigan Pier,” “Homage to Catalonia”), along with a number of Orwell’s brilliant political and literary essays. There will be two major papers. Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor. Please submit a writing sample by April 29. List will be posted May 6.

  • Brooke Allen | FA2013 | TF, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | LIT4135.01

 

Kipling

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) was the most popular poet and fiction writer of the late Victorian era. He is nowadays, in many circles, the most reviled, perceived as embodying the very spirit of British imperialism. In this class we will explore Kipling’s poetry, short stories, and a couple of longer books (probably “Kim” and “Stalky & Co.”) in some depth, attempting to draw our own conclusions about his literary gifts and his place in the British canon. Prerequisites: None.

  • Brooke Allen | FA2013 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | LIT2192.01

 

Late Twentieth Century British Fiction

1960 to 2000. We will read English and Irish novels which reflect the literature and culture of final forty years of the Twentieth Century. Reading will include Anita Brookner, John Banville, Penelope Fitzgerald, Kazuo Ishiguro. Students will write two essays. Prerequisites: None.

  • Annabel Davis-Goff | FA2013 | TF, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | LIT2195.01

 

Masters of Style

This course is founded on the belief that the way to a writer’s personal style and voice is through the close study, absorption, and imitation of others’. We will be reading and replicating many contemporary master stylists, from Doctorow to DeLillo to Toni Morrison to Denis Johnson to Amy Hempel, and others. In every case, we will conduct a three-part examination of the work being considered: an analysis of the intentions and themes; an oral report concerning some aspect of style; and an original piece that tries to reproduce the writer’s style as closely as possible. NB: The goal here is creative expression through close imitation. It requires students to check their own styles-and their investments in them-at the door. Prerequisites: Email up to four pages of literary critical prose to dbauer@bennington.edu by May 1 at noon. Class list will be posted by May 8 on the Literature bulletin board on the second floor of the barn. Corequisites: Students are required to attend Literature Evenings alternate Wednesdays, 7 – 8pm

  • Doug Bauer | FA2013 | W, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | LIT4362.01

 

Modernist Monuments: Yeats, Pound and Eliot

This course will provide an in-depth exploration of poetry and critical work of three founding figures of English-language modernist literature: William Butler Yeats, Ezra Pound, and T.S. Eliot. We will also, time permitting, consider works by other major authors of the modernist movement, including Thomas Hardy, W.H. Auden and Gertrude Stein. At its inception, the modernist movement seemed to promise “a way of controlling, of ordering, of giving shape and a significance to the immense panorama of futility and anarchy which is contemporary history” (T.S.Eliot). What became of this initial impulse as the modernist movement continued to mature? Students will write critical papers and participate in weekly close readings of key texts. Prerequisites: Please send a statement of interest to Mark Wunderlich at mwunderlich@bennington.edu by April 29. Class lists will be posted by May 6 on the Literature bulletin board.

  • Monica Youn | FA2013 | M, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | LIT4218.01

 

Pathways: An Introduction to Writing

Beginning writers will explore the steps of the writing process as a path for discovery and communication. Weekly papers explore several modes of writing, including description, nonfiction narrative, and both analytical and argumentative essays. The course primarily emphasizes the art of essay construction by focusing on rhetorical patterns, by introducing research techniques, and by using critical reasoning skills to explore and to amplify ideas. The class routinely uses group editing and other collaborative techniques in a discussion setting and gives special attention to the development of editing and rewriting skills. It also sharpens analytical reading ability through careful analysis of literature. The schedule includes individual tutorials. Prerequisites: None.

  • Wayne Hoffmann-Ogier | FA2013 | MW, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | LIT2110.01

 

Practicum: National Undergrad Literary Anthology

This two-credit course will focus on reading, selecting, and editing material for plain china, an on-line literary anthology featuring the work of undergraduate students across the country. The work will result in monthly on-line publication. We’re looking for reader/editors in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction; interest in art direction and computer knowledge welcome. This course will be conducted almost entirely on-line, via Skype and Google Docs. Plenty of work for two creditsit’s also plenty rewarding. Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor.

  • Rebecca Godwin | FA2013 | M, 12:10PM- 2:00PM | LIT4360.01

 

Reading and Writing Poetry: The Poet’s Toolkit

In this course, students will hone and sharpen their poetic craft through an extensive focus on the materials and techniques of their art form. Starting from the basic building block of the poem – the individual word or sound, students will engage in a series of exercises that are designed to deepen their appreciation of structure, craft, and form. We will devote special attention to the ways in which poetry can participate in the characteristic techniques of other artists whose works serve as exemplars for certain formal strategies. In addition to weekly creative writing assignments, students will write critical response papers, and will prepare a final portfolio of poems at the end of the term. Prerequisites: Please submit a writing sample of 5 poems to Mark Wunderlich at mwunderlich@bennington.edu by April 29. Class list will be posted by May 6 on the literature bulletin board. Please note that students enrolled in this course are required to attend Literature gatherines on Wednesday evenings.

  • Monica Youn | FA2013 | T, 6:30PM- 8:20PM | LIT4251.01

 

Reading and Writing: The Novel

What is the novel and how is it constructed? This course will treat the novel, primarily, as an exercise in form, and take students on in-depth tour of the traditions as they have evolved: the epistolary novel, the picaresque, the bildungsroman, the sturdy “realist” or “naturalist” novel, metafiction in its many different guises. We’ll read from the novel’s beginnings in the 18th Century (Richardson, Sterne) through the 19th (Flaubert, Gogol, Henry James, Twain) and the 20th (Virginia Woolf). We’ll also dissect the contemporary meta-fictions of Jeannette Winterson, David Mitchell, and Percival Everett. Students are expected to write frequent exercises in fiction writing and produce the beginning of a novel of their own for a final project. Prerequisites: Students must submit a writing sample to be considered for the class.

  • Benjamin Anastas | FA2013 | MW, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | LIT4326.01

 

Recent Fiction From India and Pakistan

In this class we will look at novels and stories that have been published by Indian and Pakistani writers over the last twenty years, in the context of the history of the post-Partition subcontinent. We will read works by an array of authors, possibly including Aravind Adiga, Rohinton Mistry, Mohsin Hamid, Mohammed Hanif, Mirza Waheed, Amit Chaudhuri, H.M. Naqvi, and Amitav Ghosh. Prerequisites: None.

  • Brooke Allen | FA2013 | TF, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | LIT2132.01

 

Shakespeare: Comedies and Romances

In his comedies (Much Ado About Nothing, As You Like It, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night, etc.) and in his late so-called “romances” (Cymbeline, A Winter’s Tale, Pericles, and The Tempest), Shakespeare presents us with a vision of the stage as a place of transformation and delight, of cognition and recognition. In forests, islands, glades, and gardens, the characters lose and find their lives and loves–and the magic of play-acting, of stage-craft itself, is the medium of discovery. Students will read, discuss, and write about the plays–along the way pondering such questions as: What is Comedy? What is Farce? Why prose, and why poetry? Prerequisites: None.

  • Mark Wunderlich | FA2013 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | LIT2215.01

 

Steal this Book: Literature of the 60′s & 70′s

The 1960s and 70s have been so thoroughly trivialized by the culture wars that Timothy Learys mantra Turn on, tune in and drop out has become the eras defining slogan. But the counter-culture helped produce some of the most genre-breaking literature we have, and this course will dive into the alternative canon for a long, strange trip among the famous, the forgotten, and the just plain weird. We’ll read work by the Beats (Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Hettie Jones), the Merry Pranksters (Ken Kesey) and harder to define misfits like Norman Mailer, Grace Paley, Rudy Wulitzer, and Richard Brautigan. We’ll also read indispensable documents like The Autobiography of Malcolm X, the key works of New Left philosophy, and the SDS’s “The Port Huron Statement,” the manifesto for a youth-revolution that helped make the world we live in. Prerequisites: None.

  • Benjamin Anastas | FA2013 | MW, 10:10AM-12:00PM | LIT2248.01

 

Style and Tone in Nonfiction Writing

This introductory course focuses on the weekly writing of extended essays, including nonfiction narrative, personal essay, literary criticism, research writing, and the analytical essay. It gives particular attention to developing individual voice and command of the elements of style. The class incorporates group editing in a workshop setting with an emphasis on re-writing. It also involves the analysis and interpretation of a variety of texts and explores writing across the curriculum. The course concentrates on the effective use of logic and rhetorical patterns in developing a thesis. The schedule includes individual tutorials. Prerequisites: None.

  • Wayne Hoffmann-Ogier | FA2013 | Th, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | LIT2104.01

 

The Art of Literary Translation

It may be that the closest, most interpretative and creative reading of a text involves translating from one language to another. Questions of place, culture, epoch, voice, gender, and rhythm take on new urgency, helping us deepen our skills and sensibilities in new ways. The seminar has a triple focus: comparing and contrasting existing translations of a single work; reading translators on the the art and theory of translation; and the creation of your own translations. We will also consider translation as an act of bearing witness to cultural and political crisis, and as a means of encoding messages that would otherwise be censored. You will have two options for a final project: a manuscript of original translations, accompanied by an introduction; or an extended literary essay on the issues at play in this course. You may work in any genre, from French, Spanish, Italian, or Portuguese. Prerequisites: Proficiency in French, Spanish, Catalan, or Italian. Please arrange an interview with the instructor prior to October 25.

  • Marguerite Feitlowitz | FA2013 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | LIT4319.01

 

The Making of a Poem

How are poems made? What do we mean when we say something is “lyrical” or “poetic?” How do poets reward readers for the gift of their attention? In this course we will read the work of the poets who will come to campus as part of Poetry at Bennington and look at the strategies they use to shape poems that are distinctive, satisfying and rigorous. We will also examine their poetic antecedents, influences and mentors as a way of understanding their work in larger contexts. Please note that this course is a two-credit, fourteen-week course meeting once a week. In addition to class time, you will be required to attend all Poetry at Bennington events. Prerequisites: Permission of instructor. Please send a brief paragraph declaring your interest in the course to mwunderlich@bennington.edu by April 29. A course list will be posted on the Literature bulletin board by May 1.

  • Mark Wunderlich | FA2013 | F, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | LIT4117.01

 

The New York School of Poetry

This course will serve as an immersion in the work of several major American poets of the 1950s and 1960s, noted for their humor, irreverence, disjunctive experimentation, charm, and wildness, and collectively known as the New York School. We will begin by focusing on the original generation of New York School poets: John Ashbery, Frank OHara, Kenneth Koch, James Schuyler, and Barbara Guest. We will also study the Abstract Expressionist painters who were these poets contemporaries and close friends, discuss connections between New York School poets and the French surrealists of the early 20th century, and examine the New York School against the cultural, political, and social landscape of 1960s New York. We will then trace the influence of the New York School on subsequent generations of writers, reading the work of Ted Berrigan, Joe Brainard, Bernadette Mayer, Eileen Myles, Anne Waldman, Joseph Ceravolo, Hannah Weiner, Dean Young, Joshua Beckman, Dorothea Lasky, and Lisa Jarnot. Students are responsible for presentations, weekly response papers, and two longer critical projects. Prerequisites: None.

  • Michael Dumanis | FA2013 | MTh, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | LIT2198.01

 

The Scriptorium: Critical Theories

Our scriptorium, a “place for writing”, will function as a class for beginning writers for those students who want to improve their essay skills. We will read to write and write to read, following the originator of the form, Montaigne. Much of our time will be occupied with writing probatively, as essai means “trial” or “attempt”. This particular class will examine model examples of theory and criticism, with a focus on cultural studies and popular culture. We will practice various essay structures with the aim of developing persuasive, well-supported thesis; in addition, we will revise collaboratively and study grammar. Our aim is to learn to write more genuinely with complexity, imagination, and accuracy. Authors may include the following: Barthes, Benjamin, Foucault, Haraway, Berger, Sontag, Mulvey, Said, Freud, Tompkins, de Beauvoir, Wilde, Baudelaire, Baudrillard, Kosofsky, Sedgwick, Hooks, and Butler. Prerequisites: None.

  • Camille Guthrie | FA2013 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | LIT2227.01

 

Through Syntax to Style: a Grammar of Writing

“Syntax” is the aspect of grammar concerned with the relationships of words in a language, with how they fit together to create meaning. By exploring various English syntactical structures, we will discover a variety of ways to combine the same words to say slightly different things. The course will rely heavily on the linguistic work of Noam Chomsky. We will write a number of short, pithy essays in which syntax and punctuation will make a great difference. The ability to control syntax is critical for all writing, both expository and, more importantly, creative.

  • John Gould | FA2013 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | LIT2169.01

 

War and Peace

War and Peace, Vanity Fair, and Shirley are novels that are set during the Napoleonic Wars. Charlotte Bronte’s novel is set in a Yorkshire deeply affected by the Peninsular wars, Tolstoy describes both Napoleon’s Russian campaign and the domestic and social life of a huge range of characters, and Thackeray’s greatest novel reaches its climax with the Battle of Waterloo. Students will write two essays. Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor.

  • Annabel Davis-Goff | FA2013 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | LIT4108.01