Welcome to the Department of English at Rutgers University

Course No:  350:646
Index # - 18029
Distribution Requirement: A4, A5, D
Tuesday - 1:10 p.m.  
MU - 207 

Henry James

David Kurnick

Seminar:  Henry James

Central to the work of critics studying the theory of the novel, psychoanalysis, ethics, aesthetics, consciousness, and literary form, James’s work has also been convincingly claimed by several sectors of the discipline, including American studies, Victorian studies, modernist studies, and queer studies. But he has never been definitively owned by any of these fields. This situation makes him a particularly fruitful author for thinking through the strengths and limitations of the current division of intellectual labor structuring literary study. And as one of the most sophisticated theorists of novelistic form—and of the ethical and intellectual obligations of criticism—James also gives us an opportunity to revisit the current explosion of debates over forms of reading (close, distant, surface, machine-, critical, suspicious, reparative …) and to test these approaches against a stable but stunningly complex literary object. The course will include units on the theory of the novel, sexuality and gender, the politics of culture, ethics and aesthetics, consciousness, and literary method. It fills requirements A-4 or A-5 (19C or 20C), as well as D for American literature. As a 600-level course, it involves a substantial research paper at the end (20-25 pages).

Possible James texts:
“Daisy Miller”
“The Art of Fiction”
“The Beast in the Jungle”
“The Turn of the Screw”
“In the Cage”
The American
The Portrait of a Lady
The Princess Casamassima
The Bostonians
The Awkward Age
The Ambassadors
The Golden Bowl
The Wings of the Dove
The American Scene

Secondary readings may include work by Leo Bersani, Stephen Best, Wayne Booth, Pierre Bourdieu, Peter Brooks, Bill Brown, Sharon Cameron, Stanley Cavell, Dorrit Cohn, Jonathan Freedman, Dorothy Hale, Fredric Jameson, Myra Jehlen, F.R Leavis, Vernon Lee, Percy Lubbock, Sharon Marcus, Mark McGurl, Andrew Miller, Susan Mizruchi, Franco Moretti, Toni Morrison, Kevin Ohi, Robert Pippin, Richard Poirier, Ross Posnock, Kent Puckett, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Mark Seltzer, Kaja Silverman, The Stanford Literary Lab, Ian Watt, Slavoj Žižek.

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