I’m so happy to report that next semester I’m teaching course in literary theory for undergraduates here at Highlands. There are lots of things to say about this, and perhaps I will try to say some of them over the coming days, but right now I just want to share my (draft) reading schedule for the course. Not shown on the schedule at the moment is Jonathan Culler’s Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction, which we’ll be reading bits at a time. My tendency throughout has been to privilege theoretical texts that have current relevance rather than reading things simply because they were important at some point decades ago. I’m using Beowulf as the main primary text in the course, and there are a number of readings drawn throughout from The Postmodern Beowulf: A Critical Casebook (PMB) that we will be using to showcase how to apply theory. This reading list is very much a tentative schedule, and I will likely move things around a bit before the semester starts, but it feels good to have a map.
Jan. 18th: MLK Day
Jan. 20th: Introduction
Jan. 25th: Bachelard, “The House. From Cellar to Garret. The Significance of the Hut.” from The Poetics of Space, 3–37.
Jan. 27th: Bennett, “The Force of Things” and “Edible Matter,” from Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things, 1–19 and 39–51.
Feb. 1st: Chen, “Language and Mattering Humans,” from Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering, and Queer Affect, 23–55.
Feb. 3rd: Joy and Ramsey, “Introduction: Liquid Beowulf,” PMB xxix–lxvii.
Feb. 8th: Ingold, “Materials Against Materiality,” and “Against Space: Place, Movement, Knowledge,” from Being Alive: Essays on Movement, Knowledge, and Description, 19–32 and 145–55.
Feb. 10th: Lerer, “Hrothgar’s Hilt and the Reader in Beowulf,” PMB 587–628.
Feb. 15th: Cohen, “Introduction: Ecology’s Rainbow,” and Alaimo, “Violet-Black,” from Prismatic Ecology: Ecotheory Beyond Green, xv–xxxv and 233–51.
Feb. 17th: Siewers, “Landscapes of Conversion: Guthlac’s Mound and Grendel’s Mere as Expressions of Anglo-Saxon Nation Building,” PMB 199–257.
Feb. 22nd: Foucault, “What Is an Author,” PMB 501–19.
Feb. 24th: Pasternack, “The Textuality of Old English Poetry,” PMB 519–46.
Feb. 29th: Derrida, “The End of the Book and the Beginning of Writing,” from Of Grammatology, 6–26.
Mar. 2nd: Overing, “Swords and Signs: Dynamic Semeiosis in Beowulf,” PMB 547–86.
Mar. 7th: Deleuze and Guattari, “Introduction: Rhizome,” from A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, 3–25.
Mar. 9th: Earl, “Beowulf and the Origins of Civilization,” PMB 259–86.
Mar. 14th: SPRING BREAK
Mar. 16th: SPRING BREAK
Mar. 21st: Levine, “Introduction: The Affordances of Form” and “Whole,” from Forms: Whole, Rhythm, Hierarchy, Network, 1–48.
Mar. 23rd: Howe, “Beowulf and the Ancestral Homeland,” PMB 49–91.
Mar. 28th: Said, “The World, the Text, and the Critic,” PMB 1–24.
Mar. 30th: Frantzen, “Writing the Unreadable Beowulf,” PMB 91–130.
Apr. 4th: Benjamin,“The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility,” 19–55.
Apr. 6th: Clover, “Regardless of Sex: Men, Women, and Power in Early Northern Europe,” PMB 383–416.
Apr. 11th: Butler, “Introduction: Acting in Concert” and “Beside Oneself: On the Limits of Sexual Autonomy,” from Undoing Gender, 1–39.
Apr. 13th: Lees, “Men and Beowulf,” PMB 417–38.
Apr. 18th: Freeman, “Time Binds, or, Erotohistoriography,” from Time Binds: Queer Temporalities, Queer Histories, 95–135.
Apr. 20th: Thormann, “Enjoyment of Violence and Desire for History in Beowulf,” PMB 287–318.
Apr. 25th: Ngai, “Envy,” from Ugly Feelings, 126–73.
Apr. 27th: Horner, “Voices from the Margins: Women and Textual Enclosure in Beowulf,” 467–500.
May 2nd: Bourdieu, “The Field of Cultural Production, or: The Economic World Reversed,” from The Field of Cultural Production, 29–73.
May 4th: Conferences
May 9th: FINAL PRESENTATIONS 8:00–10:30
Alaimo, Stacy. “Violet-Black.” Prismatic Ecology: Ecotheory Beyond Green. Ed. Jeffrey Jerome Cohen. Minneapolis, MN, and London: University of Minnesota Press, 2013. 233–51. Print.
Bachelard, Gaston. “The House. From Cellar to Garret. The Significance of the Hut.” The Poetics of Space. Trans. Maria Jolas. Boston: Beacon Press, 1994. 3–37. Print.
Benjamin, Walter. “The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility: Second Version.” The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility and Other Writings on Media. Ed. Michael W. Jennings, Brigid Doherty, and Thomas Y. Levin. Cambridge, MA, and London: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2008. 19–55. Print.
Bennett, Jane. “The Force of Things” and “Edible Matter.” Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things. Durham, NC, and London: Duke University Press, 2010. 1–19 and 39–51. Print.
Bourdieu, Pierre. “The Field of Cultural Production, or: The Economic World Reversed.” The Field of Cultural Production. Ed. Randal Johnson. Trans. Richard Nice. New York: Columbia University Press, 1993. 29–73. Print.
Butler, Judith. “Introduction: Acting in Concert” and “Beside Oneself: On the Limits of Sexual Autonomy.” Undoing Gender. New York and London: Routledge, 2004. 1–39. Print.
Chen, Mel Y. “Language and Mattering Humans.” Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering, and Queer Affect. Durham, NC, and London: Duke University Press, 2012. 23–55 and 240–3. Print.
Cohen, Jeffrey Jerome, ed. “Introduction: Ecology’s Rainbow.” Prismatic Ecology: Ecotheory Beyond Green. Minneapolis, MN, and London: University of Minnesota Press, 2013. xv–xxxv. Print.
Culler, Jonathan. Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. Print.
Deleuze, Gilles, and Félix Guattari. “Introduction: Rhizome.” A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Trans. Brian Massumi. Minneapolis, MN, and London: University of Minnesota Press, 1987. 3–25. Print.
Derrida, Jacques. “The End of the Book and the Beginning of Writing.” Of Grammatology. Corrected Edition. Trans. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. Baltimore, MD, and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997. 6–26. Print.
Freeman, Elizabeth. “Time Binds, or, Erotohistoriography.” Time Binds: Queer Temporalities, Queer Histories. Durham, NC, and London: Duke University Press, 2010. 95–135 and 187–9. Print.
Heaney, Seamus. Beowulf: A New Verse Translation. New York and London: W. W. Norton and Company, 2000. Print.
Ingold, Tim. “Materials Against Materiality” and “Against Space: Place, Movement, Knowledge.” Being Alive: Essays on Movement, Knowledge, and Description. London and New York: Routledge, 2011. 19–32 and 145–55. Print.
Joy, Eileen A., and Mary K. Ramsey, ed. The Postmodern Beowulf: A Critical Casebook. Morgantown, WV: West Virginia University Press, 2006. Print.
Levine, Caroline. “Introduction: The Affordances of Form” and “Whole.” Forms: Whole, Rhythm, Hierarchy, Network. Princeton, NJ, and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2015. 1–48. Print.
Ngai, Sianne. “Envy.” Ugly Feelings. Cambridge, MA, and London: Harvard University Press, 2005. 126–73. Print.