Department of English

University of Toronto

Cross Listed Courses

The Death – and Lives – of the Author
(NOTE: REVISED Course Description Oct. 3)
J. DeLombard (Department of English)
(Cross-listed with Book History and Print Culture)

New Graduate Course Description
The Book History and Print Culture program and the Department of English announce a new graduate course description for the upcoming Spring term: Prof. Jeannine DeLombard's BKS 2000, "The Death – and Lives – of the Author". Enrolment is now open on ROSI for this course.

The Death – and Lives – of the Author
We often imagine the transition from manuscript to print as a departure from the body – from manual inscription to disembodied textuality. What, then, happens to people in this process? If printed texts bear ever-diminishing traces of the bodies that created them, who fills the place of the flesh-and-blood author? What kinds of persons emerge from printed texts? Shaped by the rise of professional authorship, the industrialization of communications and transportation technologies, and the intensifying debate over slavery, 18th and 19th century Anglo-American print culture offers a rich case study for one of the central concerns of book history: how persons and print reciprocally produce each other.

Transatlantic works of this period lead us to consider how printed texts might create not only their own authors and their ideal readers but the very publics in which they circulate. And how is it that print in this era renders some (white, male, able) bodies invisible, while making other (darker, female, or disabled) bodies newly legible? And how do printed texts reattach themselves to physical bodies by eliciting sentimental tears, gothic shivers, sexual passion, or political action?

This course finds answers to these tantalizing questions in autobiographies, copyright pages, libel suits, and celebrity book tours. Ranging from early 18th-century Anglo-American gallows confessions to the recent Paul Dano film, Ruby Sparks (dir., Zoe Kazan, 2012), we will consider how published texts produce persons even as they leave human bodies behind. Conversely, we will also examine the dramatic impact printed texts have on real-world lives. To this end, we will read the slave narrative’s transformative social and political claims against legal scandals involving British West Indian slave Mary Prince and kidnapped black New Yorker Solomon Northup. And we will explore how Herman Melville’s status as “the first American literary sex symbol” may have compromised his marketability – and output – as professional novelist. Throughout, students will gain a valuable grounding in classic theoretical works, from Althusser on ideology, DeMan on autobiography, and Barthes and Foucault on the death of the author, to Habermas on the public sphere.

A key component of the seminar will be students’ own research agendas, which will drive the final third of the course. Applying our shared analytic to individual research interests across diverse fields and disciplines, seminar members will enrich our understanding of how persons publishing, in effect, published persons.

Prerequisite: BKS 1001, ENG 8000, or permission of the instructor.

Spring Term
Wednesdays, 3-5 pm
Colin Friesen Room, Massey College
Return to 2012-2013 Graduate Course Timetable.

Vernacular Text-Editing: A Collaborative Project
W. Robins

Figures of Heroism in Old English Literature (Cross-listed CMS course)
F. Michelet

This seminar will focus on the concept of the hero, a concept central to discussions of medieval literature. It will explore notions of heroism in Old English literature and will consider the hero as a textual construct. Exploration of the central question of ‘what makes a hero’ will raise other key issues, such as the question of war and violence, of memory and tradition, of the significance of heroic figures to collective thinking.

Prerequisite: ENG1001F or equivalent

Fall Term
Thursday 3- 5 pm
Room: LI (Lillian Massey) Room 301
Return to 2012-2013 Graduate Course Timetable.

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