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EH 207-01 - Joseph Taylor

Literature and Culture teaches critical analysis of texts from ancient times through the Age of Discovery. This course introduces students to the methods of literary study through an examination of works in their social, historical, and philosophical contexts. We will examine different genres such as poetry, prose fiction, and drama and oral literatures. These texts will take us from ancient Mesopotamia (Iraq) to ancient Greece, from pre modern Britain to medieval Africa, and from early modern Spain to Renaissance England. Our readings will consist mainly of works in translation but will also include texts first written in English. Our main texts for this course will include the ancient Mesopotamian epic Gilgamesh, the fifth-century BCE drama Oedipus Tyrannus, the Old English poem Beowulf, the epic of medieval Mali, Sundjiata, the fourteenth-century Middle English poems Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and The Canterbury Tales, the sixteenth-century Spanish picaresque novel Lazarillo de Tormes, and Shakespeare's tragedy Macbeth. We will also read other supplemental texts relative to the periods/cultures that produced the main texts.

EH 207-02/03/04 - Lacy Marschalk-Brecciaroli

Topic: "Storytelling Animals: Beginnings to 1605"
“One of the most intrinsic things about [humans],” says author Salman Rushdie, “is that we're storytelling animals. The need to understand the world through our stories is profoundly embedded in human nature." In this course, we will study extant literature from ancient times through the so-called “Age of Discovery.” In particular, we will be examining the history of storytelling, of how stories are told and why they are told, in cultures from around the world. To answer these questions, we will analyze works within their social, historical, and philosophical contexts while paying special attention to the forms of stories and their narrative structures and techniques. Readings will include The Odyssey, The Ramayana, The Thousand and One Nights, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, King Lear, and The Tale of Genji.

EH 205-05/07/08 - Susan Friedman

In this survey course, students will read poetry, nonfiction and fiction by writers from around the world, beginning in the 17th century with the Enlightenment, and ending in the 20th century with Postwar, Postmodern, and Postcolonial Literature. In addition, students will view one film by acclaimed filmmaker Charles Chaplin that brilliantly satirizes the political and social concerns of the World War II era. To better understand literature from this expansive period, students will read a variety of texts, including classics and less widely known, but nevertheless significant works. Class discussion will examine various ways that these writers’ texts represent their personal philosophies, their historical time period, and their countries of origin. We will also explore how these texts are relevant for today’s 21st century readers.

EH 207-06 - Jennifer Stedham

In this survey course that covers about 2,500 years of written works, students will read drama and fiction by writers from around the globe. Beginning with Ancient Mesopotamia, traveling through the Middle Ages, and ending with the English Renaissance, this course will focus on the idea (both ancient and modern) of what it means to be a “hero.” Class discussion will examine various ways that these writers’ texts represent what it means to be a hero, as well as what it means to us today.

EH 207-09 - Ashley Hairston

Literature has the power to entertain us while also building empathy and even changing our worldview. Any literature class should push the boundaries to include texts with which you are not familiar and should furthermore submerge you into cultures in which you are not familiar. Unfortunately, sixteen weeks is far too short a time to critically consider the vast expanse of literature and culture from ancient times to the Age of Discovery. Therefore, for our class, we will be studying some of the more ‘canonical’ works of literature. Nevertheless, each of the works that has been included in our reading list has had a significant impact on the direction of literature. We will read epics such as Gilgamesh and Beowulf, the Greek tragedy Medea, the popular medieval romance Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and we will end the semester with Hamlet. We will have some smaller readings thrown into the mix, but these will be our larger reads.

EH 207-10 - Jennifer Stedham

In this survey course that covers about 2,500 years of written works, students will read drama and fiction by writers from around the globe. Beginning with Ancient Mesopotamia, traveling through the Middle Ages, and ending with the English Renaissance, this course will focus on the idea (both ancient and modern) of what it means to be a “hero.” Class discussion will examine various ways that these writers’ texts represent what it means to be a hero, as well as what it means to us today.

EH 208 01/02/04 - Colleen Noletto

“Between You and Me”: Are human beings isolated islands or integral parts of a greater human landscape? To what extent do our actions influence other people? How do individual characters shape other characters or groups of characters? How do characters shape plots, both their own and those of others? How do others’ stories impact our own? How do friendship, love, family, loyalty, and work intersect? In EH 208, we’ll explore the tension between the solitary and the social, between individual isolation and interpersonal relationships—between friends, partners, families, and professionals—as presented by a variety of authors in multiple genres from the 1700s to the present. Additionally, we’ll consider these texts’ relationship to their respective historical, social, and philosophical contexts, so as to appreciate each author’s contribution to the ongoing literary conversation about interpersonal relationships. Finally, we will discuss to what extent the relationship between author and reader is an interpersonal one. Authors will include Austen, Chekov, Morrison, Ishiguro, Lahiri, Eliot, O’Connor, and Marquez, among others.

EH 208-03 Joseph Conway
EH 208-05 - Lacy Marschalk-Brecciaroli

Topic: "In Other Worlds"
Many of the earliest human stories addressed origins: where we come from, who or what created the cosmos, how our cities, leaders, cultures, and world came to be. But for the last few hundred years, our stories have increasingly become concerned with our future: What will the planet look like decades or centuries from now? What impact will science, technology, global capitalism, and climate change have on the way we live? Is there life or the possibility of living beyond our world? In this course, we will read literature expressly interested in the future or in other realities. Readings may include works by Mary Shelley (The Last Man), H.G. Wells (The Time Machine), E.M. Forster ("The Machine Stops"), Octavia E. Butler (Parable of the Sower), Ling Ma (Severance), and Charlotte McConaghy (Migrations).

EH 208-06/07 - Beth Boswell

Walt’s World: Decoding the Disney Fairy Tale
On December 21, 1937, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs played on the big screen for the first time, offering audiences the very first full-length cell animated feature film in motion picture history. But beyond its title as being “first” in filmic style, Snow White also marks the first narrative reimagining from the man who would become the single most influential fairy tale re-teller in the world: Walt Disney. In this course, we’ll dive deeply into the genre of the fairy tale, exploring origins, derivations, and genre-bending rewrites that make us question what becomes “essential” in those tales ultimately adapted for the screen by Walt and his army of narrative gatekeepers, the “imagineers”. Students will explore the use of critical lenses in literary close-readings, learn procedural differences in analyses for filmic texts vs written texts, and consider the lasting cultural implications for retellings which have become “originals” for generations of readers.

EH 208-09/10 - David St. John

(POST) HUMAN WISHES: Monsters, cyborgs, artificial intelligences and everyday humans populate the readings in this survey of literature since the Enlightenment. The authors we study in this class all propose differing answers to the question of what makes humans "human." In addition to tracing the development of literature across the aesthetic movements of Romanticism, Modernism, and Post-Modernism, this class incorporates writers from outside the western canon that have their own novel perspectives. Texts include Frankenstein (Shelley), The Metamorphosis (Kafka), and Never Let Me Go (Ishiguro), along with shorter readings by David Hume, Sandra Cisneros, Maxine Hong Kingston, and others.

EH 209 H01/02 - Angela Balla

"Unruly Passions": This course investigates how humans attempt to control their appetites, whether emotional, physical, intellectual, or spiritual. Readings include selections from Aeschylus' The Oresteia, Plato's Phaedrus, Ovid's Metamorphoses, Genesis, Paul's epistles, Abelard's and Heloise's letters, Dante's Inferno, Elizabeth I's speeches, Shakespeare's Macbeth, and Milton's Paradise Lost.

EH 210 H03 - Colleen Noletto

Interpersonal Relationships in Literature: Are human beings isolated islands or integral parts of a greater human landscape? To what extent do our actions influence other people? How do individual characters shape other characters or groups of characters? How do characters shape plots, both their own and those of others? How do others’ stories impact our own? How do friendship, love, family, loyalty, and work intersect? In EH 210, we’ll explore the tension between the solitary and the social, between individual isolation and interpersonal relationships—between friends, partners, families, and professionals—as presented by a variety of authors in multiple genres from the 1700s to the present. Additionally, we’ll consider these texts’ relationship to their respective historical, social, and philosophical contexts, so as to appreciate each author’s contribution to the ongoing literary conversation about interpersonal relationships. Finally, we will discuss to what extent the relationship between author and reader is an interpersonal one. Authors will include Austen, Chekov, Morrison, Ishiguro, Lahiri, Eliot, O’Connor, and Marquez, among others.

EH 210 H04 - Beth Boswell

Walt’s World: Decoding the Disney Fairy Tale
On December 21, 1937, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs played on the big screen for the first time, offering audiences the very first full-length cell animated feature film in motion picture history. But beyond its title as being “first” in filmic style, Snow White also marks the first narrative reimagining from the man who would become the single most influential fairy tale re-teller in the world: Walt Disney. In this course, we’ll dive deeply into the genre of the fairy tale, exploring origins, derivations, and genre-bending rewrites that make us question what becomes “essential” in those tales ultimately adapted for the screen by Walt and his army of narrative gatekeepers, the “imagineers”. Students will explore the use of critical lenses in literary close-readings, learn procedural differences in analyses for filmic texts vs written texts, and consider the lasting cultural implications for retellings which have become “originals” for generations of readers.

Questions about English Literature? Contact english@uah.edu