Because it blurs the boundaries between fantasy and reality, romance can be seen as a metaphor for the literary imagination itself. In this course, we will explore the romance genre's flights into worlds of dream and desire to reflect more broadly on the nature and function of literature in its imaginative reinventions and enlargements of reality. Readings will include Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, Apuleius's The Golden Ass, William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Tempest, Hunter Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, selections from Miguel de Cervantes' Don Quixote, the films Pan's Labyrinth and Stalker and brief critical and theoretical readings. In addition to daily readings, course requirements will include brief written responses, discussion questions, and three essays emphasizing close readings and the techniques of literary analysis learned in class.
"English" is a little word for lots of things. Is it literature you want today, or creative writing? film? theater? journalism? debate? Maximum English introduces you to all these areas and to our unique resources for studying and enjoying them--the full range of "English" here at UR. So you'll learn the fundamentals of reading and viewing from the department's own creative writers, its literary and film critics and historians, and its theater directors. You'll enlarge the experience of reading literature and criticism by listening to writers read their own original work and then discussing it with them. You'll experience plays not only as written scripts but as living theatrical events by attending performances and talking to actors, directors, and designers about what they do to bring a play to the stage. You'll encounter works in different media, from the live human voice to printed books, from the stage to film and electronic hypermedia. Maximum English will launch you into real English--the new expanded version. Applicable English Clusters: Modern and Contemporary Literature; Novels; Plays, Playwrights, and Theater; Poems, Poetry, and Poetics.
This course will focus on plays representing each of Shakespeare's major dramatic forms - comedy, history, tragedy, and romance. We learn about the literary and theatrical conventions that would have been second nature to Shakespeare and his audience 400 years ago; consider how Shakespeares writing responded to his audiences cultural, literary, political, and religious concerns; and ask how Renaissance stage practices might help us to better understand his plays and better appreciate why Renaissance audiences found them so compelling. We will discuss, among other topics, Shakespeares method of constructing his characters psychological dilemmas, his depiction of sensational and often violent events, his use of props, his insistent references to contemporary play-writing and performance practices (including the Renaissance tradition of boy actors playing womens roles), and his depiction of relations between ruler and subject, husband and wife, parents and children, and European and non-European characters. Classes will center around careful study of individual plays, including, when possible, analysis of recent interpretations of key passages on the stage or on film. We will proceed through a combination of lecture, class discussion, and small group work. Applicable English Clusters: Plays, Playwrights, and Theater; Great Books, Great Authors.
This course in the classical and scriptural backgrounds to modern English and American literature demonstrates how great books such as Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, Aeschylus' Oresteia, Sophocles' two Oedipus plays, Euripides' Trojan Women and The Bacchae, Plato's Symposium and other dialogues, Aristotle's Poetics, Virgil's Aeneid, the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, and Dante's Inferno define the core of Western Civilization. All of the works we read will be familiar, whether you have read them before or not. That is, they and we are part of the same tradition. They have been rewritten again and again by every generation of writers since classical times. Peck loves this course like his own soul, which, he insists, lurks somewhere in every one of the readings. Applicable English Cluster: Medieval Studies.
This course immerses students in the most challenging, influential, and engaging writings from the earlier periods of English literature. Our aim will be to enjoy and understand these writings in themselves, and then to see their relation to each other and to their larger historical context. Students should leave the course with some real affection for particular writings, and some assured sense of the contours and highlights of cultural history. Our emphasis will be on the careful appreciation of language and texture in representative texts and authors (including Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, Donne, Jonson, Milton, Dryden, Swift, Pope and their contemporaries). Class will proceed by lecture and discussion. Applicable English Cluster: Great Books, Great Authors.
This course will examine developments in American literature and, in particular, the American novel, from the mid nineteenth-century to the late twentieth-century. Our specific focus will be the question of how changing social contexts including the technologies, ideologies, and philosophical perspectives that impact a particular historical moment affect the ways in which Americans understand the nature of identity. We begin with two mid nineteenth-century texts, Nathaniel Hawthorne's The House of the Seven Gables (1851) and Rebecca Harding Davis' Life in the Iron Mills (1861) in order to examine the shift from romanticism to realism, as the self is put into crisis by the potentially objectifying power of daguerreotype technology and the demands of industrialized labor. Framing our discussion with a brief analysis of William James' writings on pragmatism, we will next consider the strategies and implications of realism in Stephen Crane's The Red Badge of Courage (1895) and Henry James' Daisy Miller (1878). The second half of the course will consider the relationship between the objects of consumer culture and American identity, first, in a reading of Theodore Dreiser's novel Sister Carrie (1901), and later, in Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye (1971), a disturbing novel about the far-reaching and destructive effects of a particularly insidious version of the American dream. We will end the term with Don DeLillo's postmodern vision of American life, White Noise (1984). Significant to all of our discussions throughout the term will be the consideration of how identities are constructed within the matrices of race, gender, and class through the peculiar interplay of visual perception and desire.
As an introduction to the art of film, this course will present the concepts of film form, film aesthetics, and film style, while remaining attentive to the various ways in which cinema also involves an interaction with audiences and larger social structures. Throughout the course, we will closely examine the construction of a variety of film forms and styles including the classical Hollywood style, documentary, experimental films, and contemporary independent and global cinemas. We will pay particular attention to the construction of film images, systems of film editing, film sound, and the various ways in which film systems can be organized (narrative, non-narrative, genres, etc. Applicable English Cluster: Media, Culture, and Communication.
This class provides an introduction to the writing of poetry and fiction. Students will experiment with different poetic and literary forms, and will engage in writing exercises to develop and refine their use of images, characters and descriptive language. We will begin by studying the basic components of poetry and the short story. The course will conclude with a workshop in which every student will present material to be reviewed by the entire class.
This course will concentrate on the craft of fiction through readings of published stories and exercises involving tone and voice, culminating in the writing of at least one short story.
This is an introductory course for students who have already begun to write some poetry on their own. Every week students' poems will be discussed in a workshop format. Selected works by contemporary poets (such as Plath, Walcott, Ginsberg, Ashbery, Rich, Heaney, and others) will provide an essential background for examining various approaches and techniques. Specific or "open" assignments will be given weekly. Permission of instructor required. Please submit 3-5 poems to the instructor, preferably before the first class, since space is limited. Applicable English Clusters: Poems, Poetry, and Poetics; Creative Writing.
A course devoted to the understanding and execution of dramatic writing that is unique to the theatre. Students will analyze and discuss selected readings while writing an original one-act play to be completed by the end of the semester. Meets during one half of the semester only. Contact the Theatre Program at 275-4959 for details. Applicable English Cluster: Creative Writing.
Reporting and Writing the News introduces the student to journalistic writing and reporting techniques. Through a variety of classroom exercises, seven major writing assignments and a term paper, students learn to prepare accurate, balanced, complete coverage of a news topic. Students progress from single-source interviewing to news profiles, speech coverage, meetings, more complex formats, and finally, news analysis. Additional writing experience is gained through rewriting assignments, as directed by detailed editing comment. From lecture, textbooks, reading daily and periodical newspapers, the students learn to identify newsworthy topics and to develop appropriate interview techniques to produce clear, objective reports under specific deadlines. Applicable English Cluster: Media, Culture, and Communication.
Basic public speaking is the focus of this course. Emphasis is placed on researching speeches, using appropriate language and delivery, and listening critically to oral presentations. ENG 134 contains two quizzes, a final exam, and four speeches to be given by the student. The speeches include a tribute, persuasive, explanatory, and problem solving address. Applicable English Cluster: Media, Culture, and Communication.
The purpose of this course is to give students an appreciation for and knowledge of critical thinking and reasoned decision-making through argumentation. Students will research both sides of a topic, write argument briefs, and participate in formal and informal debates. Students will also be exposed to the major paradigms used in judging debates. Applicable English Cluster: Media, Culture, and Communication.
An introduction to Technical Theatre and Theatre Technology: its materials, techniques and equipment. Focuses on the principles and practice of set construction; the nature and use of electricity; lighting and sound equipment; tools; production organization and management; and the importance of safety in all areas. Course will include both lecture and significant hands-on experience. Practical laboratory work in association with the productions of the International Theatre Program is included.
An introductory/intermediate course on the materials, techniques and equipment involved in Sound and Lighting as used in theatrical applications. Focuses on the principals and practices of implementation and design. Safety practices will be taught. Course will include lecture, one-on-one tutorials, and hands-on practical laboratory work in association with a production of the International Theatre Program.
Acting Techniques I focuses on developing the students ability to analyze texts from a performers viewpoint; on heightening the actors sensitivity to language; on developing the actors physical and vocal technique; on building awareness of character and characterization; and on engaging and actively developing creativity and imagination. This is done by constant investigation, rehearsal, and presentation of assorted texts ranging from poetry to contemporary and classical scenes and monologues. Attendance at all classes is mandatory. No prior acting experience or classwork is required. Please note: students taking Acting Techniques I are also required to register for a lab class, ENG 174A.
An introductory course on voice and movement for the actor, concentrating on the ability of the actor to maximize the use of the body and voice to express emotion and character.
This is an introductory course focusing on directing for the theatre. The class will guide students through the directing process: from textual interpretation and production conceptualization, through staging and visualization, to working with actors. Please note: students taking Directing are also required to register for a lab class, ENG 180A.
In the eighteenth century the Novel was a new genre, its conventions far from stabilized. These fictions experimented with modes of portraying consciousness and the external world, and tested out various narrative techniques; they thus beg the question of what a novel is. How does it go about its task of representation similarly to, or differently from, other genres? What is the experience it should create for the reader? (Do we read novels to learn about our world or to escape from it? Can novels improve us? Can they be dangerous?) Reading novels by Aphra Behn, Daniel Defoe, Samuel Richardson, Henry Fielding, Laurence Sterne, Ann Radcliffe, and Jane Austen as well as some of the contemporary reactions to them we will consider who, and what, made, and makes, the novel the novel. May be counted towared the pre-1800 requirement for the English major. Applicable English Cluster: Novels.
In 1660, after an eighteen-year ban on theatre, the English playhouses reopened, and quickly proved their vitality. Women acted on stage for the first time, radically changing the dynamics of performance, as well as the way that plays were written. The period also saw the rise of the professional female playwright, as well as the emergence of the Celebrity Actor. Comedy flourished in particular, relishing in bawdy repartee and the figure of the Rake, while exploring gender roles, the institutions of courtship and marriage, relations between children and parents, and the value of Wit. By the beginning of the eighteenth century, the object of humor was often the theatre itself: playwrights pushed the limits of traditional genres such as the Heroic Tragedy, and introduced elements of farce, opera, and political satire, as well as reflections of middle-class life. This course will examine a variety of plays, while also considering issues of social context, genre and performance. Playwrights will include Behn, Centilivre, Congreve, Dryden, Etherege, Farquhar, Fielding, Gay, Goldsmith, Steele, and Sheridan.
The 19th c. novel has often been associated with Victorian values: happy marriages; wholesome homes; moral propriety; moderated emotions; properly channeled ambitions. Many of the most popular 19th-century novels, however, paint a very different picture: with madwomen locked in attics and asylums; monsters, real and imagined, lurking behind the facade of propriety; genteel homes harboring opium addicts; fallen women walking the streets; and sexual transgression and degeneracy more common than it would seem. Indeed, for novels so centrally structured around marriage and society, madness and monstrosity appear with alarming regularity. This is especially the case in novels written by women, and in novels (whether written by women or men) written for the significant and rapidly growing female portion of the novel-reading public. These novels' insistent intertwining of the tropes of madness, marriage, and monstrosity suggests some of the cultural anxieties unleashed by this new body of women readers. The course will begin with Frankenstein and end with Dracula, two novels from opposite ends of the century that stand as meditations on the courses central themes. In between, we will consider such classic marriage plot novels as Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre; we will also look at some examples of the popular sensation fiction of the 1860s (The Woman in White and Lady Audley's Secret). Applicable clusters: Gender and Writing; Novels.
This course surveys the entire tradition of African-American drama, paying particular attention to the genre's formal characteristics. Plays will also be read and discussed with attention to specific historical and thematic contexts, such as the era of slavery, social protest, interracial relations, intra-racial differences of class, gender, and sexuality, and contemporary attitudes toward black history. Featured playwrights include James Baldwin, Amiri Baraka, Alice Childress, Charles Fuller, Lorraine Hansberry, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Suzan-Lori Parks, Ntozake Shange, Anna Deavere Smith, August Wilson, George C. Wolfe, and others. Required texts include "Black Theatre USA: Plays by African Americans 1847 to Today." Students will be evaluated on class participation, weekly reading responses, and two formal papers. Students will also be required to attend Wednesday evening screenings of video/film performances of (approximately) eight of the course's plays or to view these performances independently. Applicable English Clusters: American and African American Studies; Literature and Cultural Identity. May also be applied to the cluster on Plays, Playwrights, and Theater on an exceptional basis.
The course will explore lyric poetry in English in all of its variety, from many different periods. The prinicipal aim is to get students to feel at home reading individual poems very closely, getting the feel for the way metaphor works, understanding the resources of form - meter and rhyme - and the serious play with language and the often extravagant shapes of voice and fantasy that mark lyric poetry. We'll try to understand the power of poetic gesture, poetry's way of telling a story and its way of being silent. We will consider why lyric poetry, though often oblique and riddling on its surface, is as John Milton said the most "simple, sensuous, and passionate" form of literary speech. Topics to be studied will include particular traditions of lyric poetry, such as prayer, ballad, and elegy; we will also be looking closely at groups of poems by a few particular authors, including Shakespeare's "Sonnets" and the lyric poems of Emily Dickinson and Elizabeth Bishop, to see how poets stamp their work, however steeped in tradition, with an individual voice. Evaluation will be based on class participation and written essays. No prerequisite, no final exam. May be used to fulfill the upper-level writing requirement for the English major. Applicable English cluster: Poems, Poetry, and Poetics.
Asian American Literature is primarily a literature of the 20th and 21st centuries, with dramatic growth in the past half century or so. We will focus on the literary genres of APA works from the past century--drama, fiction, poetry, memoir--and we will also pay attention to cinematic texts. Our literature includes works by Chinese American, Filipina American, Indian American, Korean American, Japanese American, and Vietnamese American authors. Some prior knowledge of 20th century U.S. literature or Asian Pacific Islander American history will be helpful, but not necessary. (For those who have not taken history courses or who wish for a refresher see the books by Such Chan or Ronald Takaki, listed under recommended texts.) In addition to the study of genres, we will analyze Asian/Pacific Islander/American texts by interrogating myths, "foundational fictions", fantasies and the fantastical. Edward Said usefully argues in Orientalism that Europe imagined the "Orient" since it "helped to define Europe (or the West) as its contrasting image, idea, personality, experience" (1978). We will read works of Asian American literature that revise and incorporate Asian myths, and contrast these with the West's popular imagination of the "Orient". Applicable English Cluster: Literature and Cultural Identity.
This course explores significant movements and forms in the history of documentary film, including the social problem film, ethnographic film, and the direct cinema and cinéma vérité movements, in relation to more recent developments and trends including reality TV, mock documentary, and autobiographical film and video. We will screen and discuss works by filmmakers from different historical periods and national traditions, possibly including, but not limited to, Robert Flaherty, Dziga Vertov, Jean Rouch, Frederick Wiseman, Errol Morris, Michael Moore, Christopher Guest, Barbara Kopple, Cheryl Dunye, Werner Herzog, Su Friedrich, and Sadie Benning. Applicable English cluster: Media, Communication, and Culture.
Recently the large-scale dissemination of erotic and pornographic literature and film has begun to affect the majority of the population in the West. There are two main issues in the course:1) the history of the changing genres of erotica and the social changes taking place because of its wide dissemination; and 2) the proposition that if societies were different little harm and much good would come from the inclusion of erotica in peoples reading and viewing habits: erotic materials, by removing sex from the realm of the forbidden and viewing it as a species of everyday life, can contribute to the education of both sexes and people of all sexual tastes and preferences. Readings in the course will concentrate on classical, early modern, enlightenment, and contemporary erotica, with attention to the contemporary debates about pornography begun by the activism of MacKinnon and Dworkin. Of particular interest in this critique is the claim that erotic materials encourage the practice of violence against women and children, and help to promote a culture dependent on the use of force and violence. The course reviews the current debate on pornography and sexually explicit language as a context for viewing the history of the more familiar erotic materials from classical times, to the Renaissance and 18th century, to D.H.Lawrence, and Erica Jong. Film showings Thursday evenings 7-10.
This course investigates technical theater beyond the realms of Eng 170 (Technical Theatre). It focuses on work related to the scenic design and technical production of the two Fall Theatre Program productions. Working in small seminars and one-on-one tutorials, the instructor will assist students in learning more in the chosen technical areas and about problem-solving scenic and technical questions raised by the set/s being built. Course work will consist of supervisory responsibilities, one major and several smaller research projects.
This workshop is for advanced fiction writers who have completed ENG 121 or have permission from the instructor. The course emphasizes the development of each student's individual style and imagination, as well as the practical and technical concerns of a fiction writer's craft. Readings will be drawn from a wide variety of modern and contemporary writers. Students will be expected to write three original short stories as well as to revise extensively in order to explore the full range of the story's potential. Applicable English Cluster: Creative Writing.
This course considers the issues raised in Walter Ong's 1982 study, "Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word." His account related the growth of writing and print to the development of science and modern rational thought, exploring possible changes in collective consciousness as a result of the shift of media emphasis. We will examine some classical sources, including Plato's suspicion of the power of oral poetry, and consider the levels of literacy achieved in ancient society; we will also look at European medieval traditions. Central to these discussions will be the roles language and literature played in the lives of non-literate people as contrasted with literate. Study of the modern and contemporary periods focuses on such practices as conversation, becoming literate, collection of oral accounts and their uses, the uses of ethnographic writing, and the different approaches to speech, writing, and language in African American and white communities. A key aim of the course is to show the politics, mutual dependency, and reciprocity of oral and literate uses of language in literary and nonliterary contexts.
"Presidential Rhetoric", taught by former Presidential speechwriter Curt Smith, helps students critically examine the public rhetoric and themes of the modern American presidency. Particular attention will be given to the symbolic nature of the office, focusing on the ability of 20th-century presidents to communicate via a variety of forums, including the press conference, inaugural and acceptance speeches, political speech, and prime-time television address. Mr. Smith will draw on many of his experiences in Washington and with ESPN/ABC Television to link the most powerful office in the world and today's dominant medium. Applicable English Cluster: Media, Culture, and Communication.
Each student in Plays in Production participates fully in the exciting behind-the-scenes world of theatrical production. Students build sets, create and make props and costumes, hang and rig lighting and sound equipment, and create and distribute publicity materials for the plays currently in production in Todd Theatre. The class comprises a once-weekly lecture and a series of practical labs. This 4.0-credit course meets for the entire semester. Applicable English Cluster: Plays, Playwrights, and Theater.
Plays in Performance is a class made up of actors, assistant directors and stage managers working on the current production in Todd Theatre. Actors are cast after auditioning at the beginning of each semester. Students wishing to stage manage should approach the director of the production either at the time of auditions or before the beginning of the play's rehearsal process. Although there is no written component for this course (the performance of the play constitutes a final "exam"), a significant time commitment is required of actors and stage managers, both on weekday nights and over weekends. This class meets during the first half of the semester. Permission of instructor required. Applicable English Cluster: Plays, Playwrights, and Theater.
1.0 credit/Pass-Fail. This class is a lab tutorial for actors cast in productions in Todd Theatre. Working one-on-one with an acting and voice coach, students tackle specific technical challenges raised by their involvement in the specific theatrical work in production.
This is an independently designed course, focusing on specific theatre or theatre-related projects, and demanding significant skill application or acquisition, independent and self-motivated research, including advanced written work, if appropriate. Topics may include elements of theatre related to production, management and/or design.
The University of Rochester International Theatre Programs PR Internship provides interested students with an introduction to all aspects of Marketing and Public Relations, from writing press releases, to scheduling photo shoots, to creating advertising banners, to developing marketing campaigns for those theatrical events in Todd Theatre. Additionally, PR interns work Front-of-House/Box Office and are responsible for the public face of the Program with regard to other university events (Alumni and Homecoming weekends/Meliora Weekend, etc.) PR Interns report weekly to the Artistic Director of the Theatre Program.