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Karol Cooper

Assistant Professor


Classes taught

Fall 2016 Schedule

ENG 204/800TR11:10-12:30231 Marano CC
ENG 265TR9:35-10:55231 Marano CC

ENG 326/800
ENG 534/800

TR2:20-3:40202 Mahar Hall

ENG 204/800-Topic:  Personal Identity and The Business of Cultural Myths. Literary Texts: Segment 1 - Myths of Latin Americans in the 1600s (The Indian Emperour, a play by John Dryden, 1667; poems by Sor Juana, 1689-92). Segment 2 - Myths of Black and White Americans (My Bondage and My Freedom, personal narrative by Frederick Douglass, 1855; Killers of the Dream, personal narrative by Lillian Smith, 1949). Segment 3 – Myths of Asians and Asian Americans (Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals a play by Young Jean Lee, 2009). Coursework: 1 short paper, several blog postings of critical analysis of cultural artifacts, several handwritten short interpretative analyses of passages from literary texts, 3 handwritten summaries of critical texts, 1 final research project involving relating the issues in the literary texts to issues of your life experience.

This is a very challenging course where students will learn and practice a style of reading, speaking and writing that is intensely analytical, creatively interpretive and argumentatively disciplined. ENG 204 is required for English majors and minors, Creative Writing majors, and English concentration majors in Education. Students who are not already in writing-intensive majors or minors who are planning to use ENG 204 to fulfill a General Education or elective requirement could benefit a great deal from the course, if they actively embrace the plentiful opportunities for developing a deeply thoughtful engagement with the reading assignments.

We will read poetry, prose and drama from current times, as well as from earlier historical periods. The texts from earlier periods will take more time to read, because the style of writing, historical issues being written about and the vocabulary are not as familiar.

ENG 265/800-If you enjoy exploring the history of gender issues in literature, you will likely be interested in this course. We are going to 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, marriage and rape. 

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. How did the debate about sex roles contribute to the development of different literary genres, particularly the development of the modern novel?  To answer that question, we’ll approach the literary texts from a formal perspective, looking for moments when writers use literary self-reflexivity to call into question the genre’s own formal traditions and moral function. Coursework: 1 short paper, several blog postings of critical analysis of literary artifacts, several handwritten short interpretative analyses of passages from literary texts, 3 handwritten summaries of critical texts, 1 presentation, 1 final research project involving relating the issues in the literary texts to issues of your life experience.

 ENG 326/800-After the death of Queen Elizabeth in 1603, and the advent of King James and the Scottish Stuart monarchs, English drama turned to the dark side.  Plays like John Webster’s The White Devil exploited boy actors in feminine garb to evoke a sense of loathing and terror of unnatural female desire, even while exalting women’s supposed natural modesty.  Men, however, were portrayed as just as manipulative and conniving.  The zero-sum of amorality, brought on by a rapacious lust for sex, money and political power, delivered a massive body count by the tragedy’s end.  In the comedies, violence came in the form of witty attacks.  Middleton’s and Dekker’s The Roaring Girl used the real-life cross-dressing figure of Moll Cutpurse, a famous female criminal who liked to go about in men’s attire, to satirize both the privileged decadence of the aristocracy as well as the pretensions of the new “cits,” or middle-class citizens who were starting to come into their own.  Ben Jonson, one of the more intellectual wits of the time, used the female figure to express the mystique of foreign wonders encountered by English colonizers in Africa and the Americas.  Jonson explored the symbolic value of dark African beauty when set off against a heroicized England in The Masque of Blackness, a court masque performed by and for the elite social class at the king’s court.  Women writers had to be careful of their reputations, but were active on the down-low of the literary circuit.  Elizabeth Cary’s closet drama, Mariam, the Fair Queen of Jewry, was circulated among a wide circle of friends and admirers, but never publicly performed.  All this dramatic productivity would be interrupted by the English civil war of the 1640s, when class and religious conflicts led to the beheading of the king, and the shutdown of the majority of theatrical outlets for nearly two decades. Coursework: 1 short paper, several blog postings of critical analysis of historical literary artifacts, several handwritten short interpretative analyses of passages from literary texts, 3 handwritten summaries of critical texts, 1 presentation, 1 final research project involving relating the issues in the literary texts to issues of your life experience.

ENG 534/800-After the death of Queen Elizabeth in 1603, and the advent of King James and the Scottish Stuart monarchs, English drama turned to the dark side.  Plays like John Webster’s The White Devil exploited boy actors in feminine garb to evoke a sense of loathing and terror of unnatural female desire, even while exalting women’s supposed natural modesty.  Men, however, were portrayed as just as manipulative and conniving.  The zero-sum of amorality, brought on by a rapacious lust for sex, money and political power, delivered a massive body count by the tragedy’s end.  In the comedies, violence came in the form of witty attacks.  Middleton’s and Dekker’s The Roaring Girl used the real-life cross-dressing figure of Moll Cutpurse, a famous female criminal who liked to go about in men’s attire, to satirize both the privileged decadence of the aristocracy as well as the pretensions of the new “cits,” or middle-class citizens who were starting to come into their own.  Ben Jonson, one of the more intellectual wits of the time, used the female figure to express the mystique of foreign wonders encountered by English colonizers in Africa and the Americas.  Jonson explored the symbolic value of dark African beauty when set off against a heroicized England in The Masque of Blackness, a court masque performed by and for the elite social class at the king’s court.  Women writers had to be careful of their reputations, but were active on the down-low of the literary circuit.  Elizabeth Cary’s closet drama, Mariam, the Fair Queen of Jewry, was circulated among a wide circle of friends and admirers, but never publicly performed.  All this dramatic productivity would be interrupted by the English civil war of the 1640s, when class and religious conflicts led to the beheading of the king, and the shutdown of the majority of theatrical outlets for nearly two decades. Coursework: 1 short paper, several blog postings of critical analysis of historical literary artifacts, several handwritten short interpretative analyses of passages from literary texts, 3 handwritten summaries of critical texts, 1 presentation, 1 final research project involving relating the issues in the literary texts to issues of your life experience.