English 190

Research Seminar: Vital Texts: Literature and the Discourse of Life

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
8 Spring 2016 Gaydos, Rebecca

TTh 11-12:30 305 Wheeler Literary Theory
Research Seminars

Book List

Kazuo, I.: Never Let Me Go; Shelley, M.: Frankenstein; Stoker, B.: Dracula; Venter, C.: Life at the Speed of Light

Other Readings and Media

A course reader including texts by Eramus Darwin, Immanuel Kant, Williams Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Ralph Waldo Emerson, William James, Gertrude Stein, Henri Bergson, Ezra Pound, Wolfgang Köhler, W.H. Auden, Robert Duncan, Norbert Wiener, Katherine Hayles, Mark Hansen, Michel Foucault, and Achille Mbembe.

Films: F.W. Murnau, Nosferatu; James Whale, Frankenstein


If the romantic trope of “organic form” naturalizes literature by likening literary texts to living organisms, it equally suggests that man-made forms can be "alive." In this course, our task will be to trace the trope of "organic form" through the romantic period into the 21st century, keeping in mind that the notion of "organic form" is thoroughly ambiguous: it at once grants literary forms a biological significance and challenges the traditional distinction between life and artifice. We will read romantic and modernist poetry that tries to capture the flowing rhythms of lived experience, and we will examine novelistic representations of artificial and unholy life--the undead and monstrous beings that test the very limits of life as a normative and scientific category. Moving into the contemporary era, we will investigate how the romantic interest in the ambiguity of life reemerges in recent debates around the politics and ethics of synthetic biology and biotechnological interventions into human (and nonhuman) bodies. How might the long history of literature's relationship to the living help us better understand and/or challenge contemporary forms of biopolitical control?

Please read the paragraph about English 190 on page 2 of the instructions area of this Announcement of Classes for more details about enrolling in or wait-listing for this course.

Other Recent Sections of This Course

Spring, 2017
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
190/1 Research Seminar: The Urban Postcolonial Ellis, Nadia

190/2 Research Seminar: Harlem Renaissance Wagner, Bryan

190/3 Research Seminar: Literature and the Linguistic Turn Blevins, Jeffrey

190/4 Research Seminar: Jane Austen and the Theory of the Novel Miller, D.A.

190/5 Research Seminar: Writing a World in Crisis: Medieval and Modern Perry, R. D.

190/6 Research Seminar: Shakespeare: From the Globe to the Global Bahr, Stephanie M

190/7 Research Seminar: Place-Love: Fiction and the Melancholy of Form Xin, Wendy Veronica

190/8 Research Seminar: Literatures of the Ocean Sorensen, Janet

190/9 Research Seminar: <em>Beowulf</em> Thornbury, Emily V.

190/10 Research Seminar: Hollywood in the 1930s Knapp, Jeffrey

190/11 Research Seminar: The Literature of Immortality Jones, Donna V.

190/13 Research Seminar: California Literature & Film Since WWI Starr, George A.

Fall, 2016
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
190/1 Research Seminar: Emily Dickinson Shoptaw, John

190/2 Research Seminar: Slow Seeing / Slow Reading Hejinian, Lyn

190/3 Research Seminar: Moby-Dick, and More Otter, Samuel

190/4 Research Seminar: U.S. Modernism Goble, Mark

190/5 Research Seminar: Alfred Hitchcock Bader, Julia

190/6 Research Seminar: The Medium Is the Message: Reading Poetry in Manuscript & Print, 1300-1600 Bahr, Stephanie M

190/7 Research Seminar: Note new topic: Troy and Tragedy Perry, R. D.

190/8 Research Seminar: James / Baldwin Best, Stephen M.

190/9 Research Seminar: On Style Xin, Wendy Veronica

190/10 Research Seminar: Do I Dare? Indecision and Modernist Literature Blevins, Jeffrey

190/11 Research Seminar: Modern California Literature and Film Starr, George A.

190/12 Research Seminar: Modern Utopian and Dystopian Literature and Film Starr, George A.

Spring, 2016
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
190/1 Research Seminar: The Sixties Goble, Mark

190/2 Research Seminar: Through a Future Darkly: Global Crisis and the Triumph of Dystopia Danner, Mark

190/3 Research Seminar: Late Henry James Breitwieser, Mitchell

190/4 Research Seminar: The Urban Postcolonial Ellis, Nadia

190/5 Research Seminar: Contemporary British Literature and Culture Falci, Eric

190/6 Research Seminar: Classical and Renaissance Drama Knapp, Jeffrey

190/7 Research Seminar: Materiality: How the Physical World Is Made to Mean Flynn, Catherine

190/9 Research Seminar: Medieval and Renaissance Lyric Crosson, Chad Gregory

190/10 Research Seminar: Purcell and Handel: Their Art in Setting English Texts to Music Hanson, Kristin

190/11 Research Seminar Lee, Steven S.

190/12 Research Seminar: Daniel Defoe and the Rise of the 18th-Century Novel Starr, George A.

190/13 Research Seminar: Keats and Literary Tradition Francois, Anne-Lise

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