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Maureen Curtin

Associate Professor

314 Marano Campus Center

Office hours

Fall 2016
Monday and Friday
12:30-1:00 and 8:00-8:30
or by appointment

Classes taught

Fall 2016 Courses

ENG 304/800
W5:15-8:00208 Marano CC
ENG 365/810MWF9:10-10:05210 Marano CC
ENG 370/800MWF11:30-12:25306 Marano CC

ENG 304/800-We will examine literary “theory” that spans from the Enlightenment to the contemporary period, and we will consider debates about the role of the poet or writer in history. Our initial discussions will focus on), and the first essay will provide an opportunity to develop literary analysis guided by whatever questions most resonate with you. Though we will move on to examine literary theory primarily, we will reflect on various theoretical approaches by re-visiting the poems of Gwendolyn Brooks throughout the semester.

Teams of students will work together to facilitate class discussion of theoretical texts: identifying, contextualizing, and paraphrasing the central thesis of each project; exploring the premises and implications of each new essay; juxtaposing new inquiries with more familiar with ones; and demonstrating how the theoretical text illuminates Gwendolyn Brooks’ poetry. This kind of engagement will constitute the basis of the second essay. In the final essay project, students will choose a literary text from an extensive list, develop their own theoretically informed analysis and argument, and integrate relevant critical scholarship. This project will be undertaken in stages, including a proposal, an exam, a draft, a conference, and a revision.

Throughout, students will receive feedback as well opportunities to reflect on that feedback in writing. By semester’s end, students will advance compelling literary analysis in their own voices while demonstrating growth as critical writers.                 Pre-requisite: ENG 204

ENG 365/810-This course will focus on the writings of Mary McCarthy, one of the twentieth century’s most influential literary critics in the U.S. whose own fiction and non-fiction were immersed in the dominant political and cultural paradigms of the 1930s-1970s. We will consider at least one of her biographies, a few novels, an acclaimed memoir, a collection of short stories, and another collection of critical essays. We will consider the following:

 1)     what her literary criticism reveals about what she valued in writing;

2)     what the critical reception was for her own writing and how that shifted across the decades of the midcentury;

3)     what her place is in the literary canon and whether it was negatively impacted by her best-seller, The Group;

4)     how her reliance on irony reveals her affinities with postmodernism: i.e., why her work has made her both easily appropriated and yet impossible to place;

5)     what her public, expensive feud with fellow writer, Lillian Hellman, reveals about the relationship between writing and the truth, in McCarthy’s eyes.

The seminar format requires students’ regular participation in class discussion. Independent research and writing are also required in the course. 

ENG 370/800-This course will focus primarily on twentieth-century short fiction, poetry, and criticism by women. Together we will investigate how authority is constructed for women and men; how writing can both confront and reflect political power; how the categories of sex, race, and class are mutually constitutive; and how the literary texts inform the feminist politics and feminist theory that develop across the century. Students will work in teams to practice literary analysis and will work on their own to practice turning literary analysis toward arguments.