Show The Graduate Center Menu

Spring 2017

MSCP 80500 Foundations of Monasticism [35020] W, 4:15-6:15pm, Room 3421, Prof. Jennifer Ball, 3 credits. Cross listed with ART 83000 & HIST 70800
This course will explore the beginnings of Christian monasticism in Egypt and Palestine and the later divisions into Western monastic orders and early Byzantine foundations. The course will be arranged both geographically, as well as by the various types of monasticism practiced (hermetic, coenobitic, etc.). Texts, especially early monastic rules and saints’ lives, alongside architectural and archaeological remains will be used to piece together the everyday life and development of these communities, and their relationship with the secular world around them, which was sometimes fraught with tension. Special attention will be paid to issues of gender and sexuality, as groups ranged from those based on sexual renunciation to communities in which entire families took up the monastic life. The body as a site of monastic practice is of special interest to me. Additionally, the involvement of monasteries in cultural production will be examined, as monastics were generally literate and often housed scriptoria, textile producing workshops or artist workshops of other kinds.


CLAS 70200 Latin Rhetoric and Stylistics [35052] M, 6:30-8:30pm, Room 3308, Prof. Philip Thibodeau, 3 credits *Required of all Classics students*

ENGL 80700 Affect, Feeling, Emotion: The Medieval Turn [35328], R, 4:15-6:15pm, Room 6114, Prof. Glenn Burger, 2/4 credits.
This course will consider various theoretical frameworks—both contemporary and medieval—useful in discussing the production and management of affect and emotion. It could be said that the Middle Ages invented affective devotion, and the course will begin by focusing on medieval emotional relationships with texts, devotional objects and religious drama concerned with Christ’s passion: for example, "The Wooing of Our Lord," Richard Rolle’s Meditation, Nicholas Love’s Mirror of the Blessed Life of Jesus Christ, and lyric laments of The Virgin. We will track the ways that affect in courtly love poetry provided medieval readers with intimate scripts to put inner and outer states of feeling into contact with one another, particularly as the individual perceives herself in relation to (private) desires and (public) pressures. We will examine such texts as Guillaume de Lorris’s Romance of the Rose, Machaut’s Dit de la Fonteinne Amoureuse, Chaucer’s Book of the Duchess, and John Lydgate’s Complaynt of the Loveres Lyfe. We will also examine the crucial role that affect management played in late medieval conduct literature, and we will consider how the production of self-restraint in such texts, particularly within the structures of the married household, helps form emotional communities that allowed emergent social groups new modes of self-identification. We will examine conduct texts such as The Good Wife’s Guide (Le Menagier de Paris) and The Book of the Knight of La Tour Landry, as well as literary texts such as Chaucer’s Legend of Good Women and The Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale, as well as Thomas Hoccleve’s Series, and Boccaccio’s, Petrarch’s, and Chaucer’s versions of the Griselda story.
First-year students will be able to submit an annotated bibliography of 15 primary or secondary sources to fulfill part of the course’s writing requirements.

ENGL 80700 Dreaming in the Middle Ages and After [35336] T, 2:00-4:00pm, Room 3209, Prof. Steven Kruger, 2/4 credits
From Genesis to the Wizard of Oz, from Revelation to Prince’s "1999," dream experience has been central to Western literary and cultural traditions – whether as inspiration for the literary text or as the object of representation and exploration. Dream visions – texts that frame themselves as dreams – emerge as a particularly noteworthy genre in the Middle Ages, with the Dream of the Rood, visions of heaven and hell, Guillaume de Lorris and Jean de Meun’s Roman de la Rose, Boccaccio’s Corbaccio, Chaucer’s four dream poems, Langland’s Piers Plowman\pard fs20 , the anonymous Pearl, and poems by most of the major English poets of the fifteenth century (Lydgate, Douglas, Dunbar, Henryson, James I) all exploiting dream experience as the basis for narrative and lyric expression.

The course will center on medieval dream texts such as these, but we will also consider the Biblical and classical traditions that underlie medieval dream narratives, and we will reach beyond the Middle Ages – to early modern poets like Skelton and Hawes, to Shakespeare, to the Romantics, and to the twentieth century – to consider some of the afterlives of medieval dream vision. (The post---medieval texts taken up will depend in part of the interests of students registered for the course.) We will also read widely in the classical, late---antique, and medieval theories of sleep and dreams (from Aristotle to Macrobius and Augustine to Albertus Magnus), and in modern dream theory (from Freud and Jung to Foucault to contemporary neuroscientific explorations of the dream state).

Students taking the course for 2 credits are expected to do the reading, participate in discussions, and do one oral presentations. Students taking the course for 4 credits also will take on a semester---long project related to the material of the course. First---year students in the Ph.D. Program in English can use this project to produce one of the four components of the portfolio required for the Program’s first (portfolio) examination: 1) a 12---15 page review essay; 2) an annotated bibliography of 15 primary or secondary sources; 3) a syllabus with a 1500 word account of a pedagogical approach to a text; 4) a 10-page conference paper.

ENGL 72400 Romance and Rapture [35337] R, 11:45am-1:45pm, Room 3305, Prof. Richard McCoy 2/4 credits
From the middle ages through the Renaissance, audiences thrilled to the heroic exploits, ardent loves, and astonishing incidents in narrative, poetic, and dramatic romances. Nevertheless, a backlash began in the Enlightenment, with some, like William Congreve, contending that the "giddy delight" of romance is ultimately supplanted by the recognition that "‘tis all a lye." Yet its attractions remain irresistible, and many argue, as Northrop Frye does, that its extravagant fabrications constitute the "structural core of all fiction." This course will analyze the motifs and patterns of romance – quests and episodic detours, intimations of magic and miracle, disguise, duplicity, and discovery, multiple, androgynous identities, and recovery from recurrent loss – as well as the mixed reception of the genre’s blend of absurdity and wonder. We will explore the roots of romance in late antiquity through chivalric adventures of the middle ages to the hybrid creations of the Renaissance, blending allegory, pastoral, epic, and tragicomedy. Readings will include selections from the Homer’s Odyssey and Heliodorus’ Aethiopica, Chr├ętien de Troyes and Chaucer, Ariosto and Cervantes, Sidney and Spenser as well as plays by Shakespeare, Beaumont, and Fletcher. We will also consider ways in which romance continues to pervade the novel with selections from Austen and Nabokov as well as popular contemporary romance fiction and film. And we will review theoretical discussions of romance from the sixteenth century treatises through Mikhail Bakhtin, Patricia Parker, Margaret Doody, Barbara Fuchs, Janice Radway, and others. Course assignments are designed to fulfill several of the new Portfolio Examination requirements: an annotated bibliography will be required of each student, and every student has the option of submitting either a 15-page research essay, a syllabus with a 1500-word account of a pedagogical approach to assigned texts, or a 10-page conference paper. Each student will be required to make a brief oral presentation on one of the assigned readings.

PHIL 76100 Medieval Theories of the Will [32396] M, 2:00-4:00pm, Room TBA, Prof. Jacobs, 4 credits The course will focus on issues concerning agency, volition, virtue, and conceptions of the best life for a human being (rather than metaphysics—the problem of universals, arguments for the existence of God, modality, etc.). We will explore topics such as the relation between reason and desire, the acquisition and plasticity of states of character, issues of moral life such as forgiveness, revision of one’s dispositions (e.g. repentance), the proper role of passions, and how these figure in the conception of the best kind of life. Also, significant issues of moral epistemology will figure throughout the course and we will consider several metaethical matters and their relevance. The readings will come from Jewish, Christian, and Islamic thinkers, (roughly 300-1300) e.g. Augustine, Alfarabi, Anselm, Maimonides, Aquinas, Scotus, and others. [Counts towards course satisfaction of Group D-ancient]