Department of English

Natalie Amleshi

Postdoctoral Fellow


E 338 • Amer Lit: From 1865-Present-Wb

36115 • Spring 2021
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM
Internet; Synchronous

E 338 l  American Literature: From 1865 to the Present-WB


Instructor:  Amleshi, N

Unique #:  36115

Semester:  Spring 2021

Cross-lists:  n/a


Prerequisites:  Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing.


Description:  This course surveys American literature and culture from the end of the Civil War through the contemporary present.  The transition into the twentieth century witnessed unprecedented changes in the social, political, and cultural history of the United States: imperial expansion, mass immigration and urbanization, industrialization and transformed labor relations, new theories of race and gender, the trauma of world-scale war, and the rise of global communication networks.  Over the course of the semester, we will examine how major movements in American cultural history—from realism and naturalism in the nineteenth century to modernism and post-modernism in the twentieth—reflect and critique their historical moment.  Throughout, we will both define and deconstruct “American Literature”—tracing writers and artists who have shaped American cultural history, while destabilizing the notion of a fixed, singular American identity.  Drawing on both canonical and understudied writers, our collective reading will emphasize the diverse and internally complex nature of American literature—tracing the inclusions, exclusions, hybrid forms that have given ever-evolving shape to American cultural identity over the past 150 years.


Writers studied may include:  Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Henry James, William Dean Howells, Charles Chesnutt, W.E.B. Du Bois, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Kate Chopin, Willa Cather, Zitkála-Šá, Sui Sin Far, Emma Lazarus, José Martí, William Carlos Williams, Gertrude Stein, T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, H.D., Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, Countee Cullen, Flannery O’Connor, John Cheever, Vladimir Nabokov, Toni Morrison, Helena Maria Viramontes, Bharati Mukherjee, Sherman Alexie, Octavia Butler, Alison Bechdel.


Requirements & Grading:  Attendance; Consistent, substantial, and active participation (20%); Reading quizzes and discussion forum participation (20%); Critical analysis essay (5 pages) (20%); Take-home final exam (10 pages) (40%).

E 379R • Apocal Fic: Lit/Environment-Wb

35115 • Fall 2020
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM
Internet; Synchronous

E 379R  l  Apocalyptic Fiction: Literature and the Environment


Instructor:  Amleshi, N

Unique #: 35115

Semester:  Fall 2020

Cross-lists:  n/a


Prerequisites:  Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing.


Description:  Apocalyptic Fiction: Literature, Environment, and the Ends of Human Culture --

This course explores the narrative mode of apocalypse across both twentieth-century Anglophone literature and environmental studies.  While apocalyptic narratives certainly predate contemporary environmental literature, we will investigate both how and why writers and filmmakers have drawn on the narrative form of apocalypse in order to make sense of the ever-shifting entanglement of humans and non-humans across the twentieth century.  Over the course of the semester, we will examine stories of apocalypse that give form to the co-constitution of characters and environments, the effects of capitalism in geologic time, Cold War nuclear anxieties, the unequal effects of climate change across time and space, and futures of environmental justice, among other things.  How can speculative fiction contribute to our understanding of developments in environmental studies and vice versa?  How do notions of “nature” and “the human” shape economic, political, and social practices, and why does that matter?  Ultimately, this class will investigate the ways that aesthetic forms can render the complex and imaginatively overwhelming immensity of global environmental transformation comprehensible so that we can not only envision, but also enact, new environmental futures. No previous experience with environmental studies is necessary for this course.



—Literary texts may include: H.G. Wells, The Time Machine; Samuel Beckett, Endgame; Octavia Butler, Parable of the Sower; Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake; Jeff VanderMeer, Annihilation; short fiction by E.M. Forster, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Philip K. Dick; poetry by Robinson Jeffers

—Films may include: La Jetée (dir. Chris Marker); Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (dir. Stanley Kubrick); Soylent Green (dir. Richard Fleischer); Pumzi (dir. Wanuri Kahiu); Melancholia (dir. Lars von Trier); Into Eternity: A Film for the Future (dir. Michael Madsen)

—Theory and criticism by Rachel Carson, Paul Ehrlich, Bruno Latour, Rob Nixon, Naomi Oreskes & Erik M. Conway, Timothy Morton, Amitav Ghosh, Jason Moore.


Requirements & Grading:  Attendance; Consistent, substantial, and active participation (15%); Reading quizzes and discussion forum participation (15%); In-class presentation (10%); Critical analysis essay (6-8 pages) (20%); Final research project (10-12 pages) (40%).

E 343L • Modernism And Literature

35495 • Spring 2020
Meets MW 2:30PM-4:00PM PAR 105

E 343L l  Modernism and Literature


Instructor:  Amleshi, N

Unique #:  35495

Semester:  Spring 2020

Cross-lists:  n/a


Prerequisites: Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing.


Description:  This course explores a broad range of international literary modernisms spanning the late-nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries.  But what ismodernism—a period, a style, or some hybrid of the two? Throughout the course, we will investigate how the new aesthetic forms developed in this prolific period of literary history reflect and respond to the experience of unprecedented social, political, and intellectual upheaval.  These key transformations include: the traumatic impact of world wars anticipated and experienced; the decline of the British Empire and the rise of anticolonial resistance; the growth of the urban metropolis; the transformation of gender roles and sexual identities; the radical expansion of mass media and infrastructural technologies; and new theories of morality, consciousness, temporality, and the human ranging across science, social theory, philosophy, and psychology.  A number of animating questions will guide our inquiry:  What do we mean by “modernity,” and how might it be experienced differently in diverse locations and times? How, why, and in what ways do the writers we associate with modernism experience, represent, embrace, critique, or reject modernity? What are the limits of modernism?Can writers still be modernist?  Since its inception as an aesthetic movement, modernism’s precise geographic, temporal, and aesthetic borders have been debated and renegotiated.  A guiding hypothesis of this course is that a global frame of reference radically transforms our understanding not only of “modernism,” but also the “modernity” of which it is so acutely conscious.  We will thus read both English-language works and works in translation.  Throughout, we will seek to understand why the experimental forms developed in a past century’s experience of historical transition continue to resonate so strongly and to provide such a durable aesthetic resource in the present.


Tentative Reading:  Literary texts may include novels and short fiction by: Joseph Conrad, E.M. Forster, Thomas Mann, Franz Kafka, James Joyce, W.E.B. Du Bois, William Faulkner, Willa Cather, Katherine Mansfield, Virginia Woolf, Lu Xun, Jorge Luis Borges, Rabindranath Tagore, Mulk Raj Anand, Jean Rhys; poetry by: Charles Baudelaire, Stéphane Mallarmé, Guillaume Apollinaire, T.S. Eliot, W.B. Yeats, Ezra Pound, H.D., William Carlos Williams, Mina Loy, Marianne Moore, Elizabeth Bishop, Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, Léopold Sédar Senghor, Aimé Césaire


Requirements and Grading:  Attendance; consistent, substantial, and active participation (15%); Reading quizzes and discussion forum participation (15%); 2 critical essays (5-7 pages each) (20% each; 40% combined); Final Exam (30%).

E 349S • Henry James And H.G. Wells

35520 • Spring 2020
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM PAR 103

E 349S  l  James and Wells


Instructor:  Natalie Amleshi, Lecturer

Unique #:  35520

Semester:  Spring 2020

Cross-lists:  n/a


Prerequisites: Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing.


Description:  Henry James and H.G. Wells –

This course offers an introduction to two of the most important writers of the early-twentieth century: Henry James and H.G. Wells.  On the surface, this might seem an unlikely pairing.  James, known for his complexity, sought to elevate the novel to the status of art through the realistic portrayal of individual psychology and self-enclosed point of view.  Wells, known for his popularity, was trained as a biologist and self-identified as a journalist more than artist despite inaugurating major innovations in modern science fiction.  However, over a nearly two-decade span from 1898 to 1915, James and Wells shared a close friendship-turned-rivalry, passionately debating nothing less than the very nature and purpose of art in the twentieth century and setting the terms for how we continue to understand the modern novel in the present.  There can be little doubt that James “won” their debate: the literary principles that James most valued—meticulous craftsmanship, consistent point of view, and formal closure—have since come to define the characteristics of “serious” literary fiction.  But not only did James’ victory shape how we remember their respective legacies, it also more widely influenced how we understandthe distinction between literature and entertainment, between the rarefied domain of art and the wider field of mass culture.  This course returns to this originary debateand re-evaluates its major claims, taking seriously both James’ andWells’ aesthetic principles in order to recover the active, contested, unsettled nature of the novel at the turn of the twentieth century.  How can expanding our sense of the aesthetic, imaginative, and political possibilities latent in the modern novel help us to reflect on our own criteria of aesthetic value in the present?


Possible texts include: Henry James:  The Turn of the Screw, The Portrait of a Lady, The Beast in the Jungle, What Maisie Knew, The Golden Bowl,“The Aspern Papers,” “The Art of Fiction.”  H.G. Wells:  The Time Machine, The Island of Dr. Moreau, Tono-Bungay,A Modern Utopia, selections from Boon, Experiment in Autobiography, The Outline of History; selections from James’ and Wells’ correspondence.


Requirements and Grading:  Attendance; consistent, substantial, and active participation (15%); Short writing exercises and discussion forum participation (15%); 2 short critical essays (5 pages each) (15% each; 30% combined); Final research project (10 pages; including preliminary proposal and substantial revision) (40%).

E 338E • Brit Lit: Victorian Era-Wwii

35034 • Fall 2019
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM PAR 105

E 338E  l  British Literature: The Victorian Era through World War II


Instructor:  Amleshi, N

Unique #:  35034

Semester:  Fall 2019

Cross-lists:  n/a


Prerequisites: Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing.


Description:  This course surveys British literature from the golden age of realism to the last days of high modernism across five core genres—the novel, the essay, poetry, drama, and the short story.  The latter half of the nineteenth century witnessed both the height of British global power and the rapid expansion of a literate mass readership.  We will examine how this period’s characteristic genres, forms, and styles (including the industrial novel, urban Gothic, imperial adventure, naturalism, decadence/aestheticism, Imagism, absurdist fiction, and the novel of consciousness) grapple with the sweeping transformations shaping modern social life:  industrial capitalism and the growth of the urban metropolis; imperial expansion and colonial resistance; new theories of race, gender, and sexuality; technological development (from steam power to photography to world-scale infrastructure); scientific innovation and secularization; and new forms of mass culture.  As the term progresses, we will ask not only how modernists defined themselves in relation to their Victorian forbears, but also how this prolific period in British literary history laid the groundwork for genres, styles, and modes of critique that persist into our present.


Tentative Reading: Literary texts may include novels and short stories by Charles Dickens, George Eliot, R.L. Stevenson, Joseph Conrad, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Samuel Beckett; poetry by Thomas Hardy, A.E. Housman, Robert Browning, Christina Rossetti, W.B. Yeats, T.S. Eliot, Mina Loy, W.H. Auden; drama by Oscar Wilde; essays by Charles Darwin, Henry Mayhew, John Ruskin, Walter Pater, E.M. Forster, George Orwell, and others.


Requirements and Grading:  Attendance; Consistent, substantial, and active participation (15%); Reading Quizzes and Discussion Forum Participation (15%); 3 short writing assignments (2-3 pages each) (10% each; 30% combined); Final Research Project (8-10 pages) (40%).

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