Saturday, September 4, 2010


From The Travels of Sir John Mandeville

I've completely stolen the idea of this post from my dear friend, Amanda, who is pursuing a M.F.A. in Acting at Northern Illinois University. You got this, Miss Amanda. Anyway, I thought it'd be nice to give you an idea of what I'm actually working on, too. Note: Italicized sections are verbatim syllabus.

19th Century Seminar
This course looks at the careers of three canonical figures of the Romantic period: Jane Austen, Lord Byron, and Sir Walter Scott. It interrogates assumptions about Romantic-era literary and social history by considering how the productions of these authors respond to their historical moment and how they both perpetuate and challenge notions of 'Romanticism'. We will discuss cultural stereotypes and literary popularity within the context of historicist consciousness and trans-historical appeal.
Summary: Even though I'm not exactly sure what "trans-historical appeal" means, I'm super excited for this class. Jane Austen + Me = Double-plus good. Every time.

Becoming Indian in Early Modern Travel Writing
In this seminar, we will read a rich variety of early modern travel writing about Europeans and Indians in the Americas and Asia. Our primary goal will be to understand how early modern Europeans apprehended otherness, and the modern knowledge formations - anthropology, ethnography - that their writing engendered. We will also consider the literary forms - epic, romance, satire - to which these writers resorted in chronicling a wide variety of "Becomings-Indian."
Summary: Apparently, this class requires an absolute tidal wave of reading. I quote: "If you're hesitant about the prospect of tackling 150-200 pages of sometimes very dense early modern writing, theory, and criticism a week, this seminar may not be for you!" (My favorite part is the friendly exclamation mark) Still, though, I'm excited about this course. My professor is like a Monty Python character (and British, to boot!), so that's cool.And we get to read cool stuff, like The Travels of Sir John Mandeville, in which a person who may or may not have been real writes about monsters and, famously, men whose heads grow beneath their shoulders. His book was later used as a reference manual for Columbus (who's travels we're also reading) and Shakespeare (pretty sure it's referenced in Othello). Good times.

Introduction to Literary Theory
Yeah... this class doesn't have a description. It's a basic literary theory survey course, covering such topics as Structuralism, Psychoanalysis, Queer Theory, Postmodernity, and Historical Materialism. Every other person (except me, of course) in class has already taken a theory course in undergrad. Guess I have some catching up to do (this is a good place to imagine me speaking in a tone of unmistakable nervous hysteria)!

So that's my schedules, folks. Currently I have class Wednesday and Friday and am still looking for work. In other news, we move into our new place on the 16th (at least tentatively... I'm signing the lease on Tuesday). Go team, go!


  1. *I want to take your 19th Century Seminar.
    *And I want you to tell me about your Becoming Indian in Early Modern Travel Writing (cause I can't read.)
    *And I want you to completely rule your Intro to Lit Theory class. SO WHAT if THEY had theory before you. YOU ARE A TIGER! You need to accept that you're just naturally amazing at things. Duh. :)

  2. Amanda, I love you. You have no idea how much I needed that today.