Karol Cooper

Associate Professor
Director of English Literary Studies


310 Marano Campus Center

Office hours

Spring 2018
Tuesday & Thursday
11:00 - 12:30
and by appointment: http://karolcooper.simplybook.me

Karol Cooper

In my teaching and research, I trace the historical precedents for issues of current concern as they are portrayed in British drama, satire, and romantic prose from the 1600s and 1700s, and in literatures of recent times. In my research, I examine the history of soul rhetoric in early modern British literature, the tactics of anti-romantic women writers, the commercialization of intimacy, discourses of personal identity, the history of blackness and whiteness in the West, the deconstruction of representation in twentieth- and twenty-first-century avant-garde drama, and critical theories of language, politics, culture, gender, violence, and race. I am presently working on an essay, “Dice and the Commercial End of the ‘Pleasing Delusion’ of War-Like Love in Aphra Behn’s The Luckey Chance,” for an edited collection, The Games of War in British and American Literature, 1588-1783.

Since 2010, I have served as faculty sponsor for Alpha Sigma Eta, the Oswego chapter of the international English honor society Sigma Tau Delta. Our latest project, “Employment and Literary Critique,” gives members practice in using their unique gifts with language to find a place for themselves, and their voices, in the world of work. Members will go beyond the notion of the job search to undertake writing- and community-based tasks that will help them fashion a critical, ethical approach to the workplace and its language, and create a vision for how their own work in language could be valued there.


“’The man is either mad, or I am in a dream’:  Masculine Prerogative as Mental Disease in the Late Novels of Eliza Haywood,” in Symptoms of Disorder: Reading Madness in British Literature 1744-1845, edited by Ilaria Natali and Annalisa Volpone, Cambria Press, 2016.

 “Raping Justice in John Webster’s The White Devil,” in Woman on Trial: The Construction of Gender in Plays about Women Accused of Crime, edited by Amelia Howe Kritzer and Miriam López-Rodríguez, Teneo Press, 2015.

 “The Modernization of the Medieval Staging of Soul in Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus.” Early Modern Literary Studies, Special Issue 23: Christopher Marlowe: Identities, Traditions, Afterlives, vol. 17, no. 2, 2014. https://extra.shu.ac.uk/emls/journal/index.php/emls/index

“’Too high for souls like mine to hide’:  Feminine Retreat and Exposure in Aphra Behn’s The Feign’d Curtizans.” Restoration and Eighteenth Century Theatre Research, vol. 23, no. 1, 2008, pp. 34-45.


Ph.D., English, University of Washington

B.A., English and Journalism, Indiana University

Classes taught


ENG 265/800 TR 12:45-2:05 142 Marano CC
ENG 350/800 TR 9:35-10:55 225 Marano CC
ENG 540/800 TR 9:35-10:55 225 Marano CC

ENG 265 SOPHOMORE SEMINAR IN GENRE: EPIC & ROMANCE 1660-1750-Gender roles in English literature of the late 1600s and early 1700s. How did the debate about women’s and men’s roles and relations contribute to the development of different literary genres, particularly the development of the modern novel?  To answer that question, we will approach the literary texts from a variety of critical perspectives, and look closely at how different genres respond in different ways to the most pressing social and personal concerns of the times. We will read works from different genres, including poetry, drama, a conduct manual and the novel, written in Britain from the late 1600s to the mid 1700s. Towards the end of the course, we will focus mostly on the genre of the satirical novel, which was a popular way for British writers, particularly women writers, to critique gender roles, romance, prostitution, marriage and sexual violence. 

Critical readings will discuss the predominant themes of social rank, wealth, violence, virtue, truth and the sexual double standard that permitted a man to have sex outside of marriage, while casting the woman out of society if she was caught doing the same thing. Coursework: 1 short formal paper, several informal interpretive analysis of literary and critical texts, handwritten response papers, a final research paper.

ENG 350/540 MODERN AMERICAN DRAMA-Avant-Garde Theatre and the Critique of Representation in the Imperial Romance. In the plays we will read, accepted realities are negated, critically re-contextualized and made to seem strange and alien, and incompatible with any expectation of theatre as an entertaining reflection of the audience and their shortcomings. Through analysis of the language of the plays, in-class performances, and reading about the lives of the authors, accounts of performances, and scholarly critiques, we will consider how the plays experiment with language and ritual to tear apart the usual foundations of Western drama—narrative and representation—in order to critique the imperial romance: a storyline that paints a false picture of exotic adventure on top of a reality of historical, and ongoing, violent abuse of people and the natural environment.

Plays: Silvera and Hill’s Liberty Deferred, Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, Adrienne Kennedy’s Funnyhouse of a Negro, Caryl Churchill’s, Cloud Nine, Young Jean Lee’s, Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals. Coursework: Coursework: 1 short formal paper, several informal interpretive analysis of literary and critical texts, handwritten response papers, a final research paper