Department of English

Brice Ezell


PhD, University of Texas

Postdoctoral Lecturer

Contact

Interests


Modern and contemporary drama; philosophy and literature; film and television

Biography


Brice Ezell (PhD and MA, English, University of Texas) is a scholar of modern and contemporary drama and theatre, particularly drama and theatre's intersections with Anglo-American philosophy in the analytic tradition. His book project, The Theatre of Clarity: Analytic Philosophy in American and British Drama, studies playwrights such as Tom Stoppard, Caryl Churchill, and Annie Baker, and the ways in which their work theatricalizes core topics in analytic philosophy. His scholarly articles can be found in Modern Drama and The Eugene O'Neill Review, and his research has been supported by awards from UCLA's Center for 17th and 18th Century Studies and the University of Texas at Austin Graduate School. As a graduate instructor at UT, he earned the top teaching awards for Teaching Assistants (2017) and Instructors-of-Record (2020).

Since 2011, he has also extensively published criticism of music, film, and television for publications such as PopMatters (where he also served as Assistant Editor) and Consequence of Sound.

Courses


E 314J • Literature And Film

35090 • Spring 2022
Meets MW 10:00AM-11:30AM GDC 1.406
Wr

E 314J  l  1-Literature and Film

Instructor:  Ezell, B

Unique #:  35090

Semester:  Spring 2022

Cross-lists:  none

 

Prerequisites:  One of the following: E 303C (or 603A), RHE 306, 306Q, or T C 303C (or 603A).

Description:  The philosopher Derek Parfit once argued that people tend to define the self in one of four terms:  (1) the “body” theory, in which one is ultimately their body; (2) the “mind” theory, in which one exists in their mind, but not their whole body; (3) the “soul” theory, in which one is an immaterial being; and (4) the “memory” theory, in which one’s identity resides in their aggregated memories.  The self remains a persistent source of debate in philosophy, spirituality, religion, and art.  In this course, we will examine literary representations of the self by reading texts and watching films in which personal identity is a contested subject.  We will utilize close reading skills in interpreting our assigned texts, as well as the language of formalism in reading our course films.  Special attention will also be paid to literary adaptation to the screen.

The primary aim of this course is to help students develop and improve the critical reading, writing, and thinking skills needed for success in upper-division courses in English and other disciplines.  They will also gain practice in using the Oxford English Dictionary and other online research tools and print resources that support studies in the humanities.  Students will learn basic information literacy skills and models for approaching literature with various historical, generic, and cultural contexts in mind.

This course carries a writing flag.  The writing assignments in this course are arranged procedurally with a focus on invention, development through instructor and peer feedback, and revision; they will constitute a major part of the final grade.

Required Texts (tentative):  Books: Steven Hall, The Raw Shark Texts; Caryl Churchill, A Number; Suzan-Lori Parks, TopDog/UnderDog; David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas.

Films: Enemy (2013, dir. Denis Villeneuve); Us (2019, dir. Jordan Peele); A Number (2008, dir. James MacDonald); The Prestige (2006, dir. Christopher Nolan); Cloud Atlas (2012, dirs. Lana and Lily Wachowski, and Tom Tykwer)

Requirements & Grading:  Three papers, one with a mandatory revision and another with an optional revision (70%), film terminology exam (15%), reading quizzes (10%), course participation (5%).

E 324R • Film Adaptations/Complexity

35625 • Spring 2022
Meets MW 1:00PM-2:30PM PAR 306
II

E 324R  |  Film Adaptations and Complexity

[Previously offered as E 379R.1.]

Instructor:  Ezell, B

Unique #:  36525

Semester:  Spring 2022

Cross-lists:  none

 

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

Description:  We’ve all heard the expression before: “I liked the movie, but the book was so much better.”  Latent in that statement are all kinds of judgments about what a viewer expects to happen when they see a book adapted for another medium, judgments which raise numerous questions that will form the bedrock of this class.  When adapting for another medium, should the adapter leave as much of the original narrative as possible, or should they only excise what they believe to be valuable?  Is it possible to truly create a one-to-one adaptation of a literary work into another form?  This class will center on numerous case studies of literary works being adapted for the screen, and will require students to examine the small but growing body of literature on adaptation theory.

This course has the Independent Inquiry flag.  The structure and assignments of this course are procedurally arranged to give students practice on studying and researching a text/film adaptation of their own choosing, which will be the subject of their final research paper and presentation.

Course Texts and their Adaptations:  Arthur Schnitzler, Traumnovelle (Dream Story) (1926), and Eyes Wide Shut (1999, dir. Stanley Kubrick) • Ted Chiang, “Story of Your Life” (2002), and Arrival (2016, dir. Denis Villeneuve) • Louisa May Alcott, Little Women (1868), and Little Women (2019, dir. Greta Gerwig) • Roland Barthes, A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments (1977), and Un beau soleil intérieur (Let the Sunshine In) (2017, dir. Claire Denis) • James Baldwin, If Beale Street Could Talk (1974), and If Beale Street Could Talk (2018, dir. Barry Jenkins) • Haruki Murakami’s “Barn Burning” and William Faulkner’s “Barn Burning,” and Burning (2018, dir. Lee Chang-dong)

Of the texts above, only the Baldwin, Alcott, and Barthes texts must be purchased standalone; the Schnitzler, Chiang, Murakami, and Faulkner texts will be included in the required course reader, which will also include selected reviews and readings in adaptation theory.  The films may be viewed in whichever form is most convenient for the students; all are available to stream and rent from various streaming and digital services.  The instructor will provide an up-to-date list of where the films are digitally available via Canvas.

Assignments and Grade Distribution:  Regular reading/viewing quizzes, 15%; two short essays, 30% total; final essay (10-12 pages), including proposal and presentation, 55%.

E 314J • Literature And Film

35825 • Fall 2021
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM PAR 308
Wr

E 314J  l  1-Literature and Film

Instructor:  Ezell, B

Unique #:  35825

Semester:  Fall 2021

Cross-lists:  none

 

Prerequisites:  One of the following: E 303C (or 603A), RHE 306, 306Q, or T C 303C (or 603A).

Description:  The philosopher Derek Parfit once argued that people tend to define the self in one of four terms:  (1) the “body” theory, in which one is ultimately their body; (2) the “mind” theory, in which one exists in their mind, but not their whole body; (3) the “soul” theory, in which one is an immaterial being; and (4) the “memory” theory, in which one’s identity resides in their aggregated memories.  The self remains a persistent source of debate in philosophy, spirituality, religion, and art.  In this course, we will examine literary representations of the self by reading texts and watching films in which personal identity is a contested subject.  We will utilize close reading skills in interpreting our assigned texts, as well as the language of formalism in reading our course films.  Special attention will also be paid to literary adaptation to the screen.

The primary aim of this course is to help students develop and improve the critical reading, writing, and thinking skills needed for success in upper-division courses in English and other disciplines.  They will also gain practice in using the Oxford English Dictionary and other online research tools and print resources that support studies in the humanities.  Students will learn basic information literacy skills and models for approaching literature with various historical, generic, and cultural contexts in mind.

This course carries a writing flag.  The writing assignments in this course are arranged procedurally with a focus on invention, development through instructor and peer feedback, and revision; they will constitute a major part of the final grade.

Required Texts (tentative): 

Books: Steven Hall, The Raw Shark Texts; Caryl Churchill, A Number; Suzan-Lori Parks, TopDog/UnderDog

Films: Enemy (2013, dir. Denis Villeneuve); Us (2019, dir. Jordan Peele); A Number (2008, dir. James MacDonald); The Prestige (2006, dir. Christopher Nolan).

Requirements & Grading:  Three papers, one with a mandatory revision and another with an optional revision (70%), film terminology exam (15%), reading quizzes (10%), course participation (5%).

E 349S • Oscar Wilde

36509 • Fall 2021
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM PAR 208

E 349S  l  7-Oscar Wilde

Instructor:  Ezell, B

Unique #:  36509

Semester:  Fall 2021

Cross-lists:  none

 

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

Description: Matthew Sturgis begins his recent biography of Oscar Wilde with an undeniable observation: “Oscar Wilde is a part of our world.”  His pithy epigrams appear on everything from t-shirts to posters to the names of restaurants.  His plays continue to be staged all across the globe.  Wilde is so many things to so many people: a proto-postmodernist, an archetypal dandy, an adopted Englishman, a rebellious social critic, an aesthetic philosopher, and an antecedent to contemporary queer theory.  To this day, Wilde remains a challenging figure to grasp, due in large part to his penchant for self-contradiction.  As he puts it in his dialogue “The Decay of Lying”: “Who wants to be consistent? The dullard and the doctrinaire, the tedious people who carry out their principles to the bitter end of action, to the reductio ad absurdum of practice. Not I.”

In this course, we will read through the majority of Wilde’s written work across genres, drawing from his plays, his novel, his short fiction and fairy tales, and his critical essays and dialogues.  Alongside our close reading of Wilde’s oeuvre, we will also examine interpretations and adaptations of Wilde and his work across media, particularly theatre and film.

Wilde once told some friends of his, “Somehow or other I’ll be famous, and if not famous, I’ll be notorious.”  In addition to providing students with the chance to deeply study one of the late Victorian era’s most important writers and cultural figures, this class will examine Wilde’s many afterlives, and the ways he continues to be (mis)interpreted in the arts and popular culture.  Major topics of discussion will include (but are not limited to) British aestheticism and philosophy, the shift from Victorian farce and melodrama to the “modern drama,” and homosexuality in Victorian England.

Texts: The main course text will be The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde (Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2008), an affordable anthology of Wilde’s writings. Along with this primary text, we will read and watch the following (list subject to revision):

  • Stage depictions of Wilde: David Hare, The Judas Kiss; Tom Stoppard, The Invention of Love
  • Films adapted from Wilde’s work: The Importance of Being Earnest (1992, dir. Kurt Baker); Wilde Salomé (2011, dir. Al Pacino); Dorian Gray (2009, dir. Oliver Parker)
  • Films about Wilde: The Trials of Oscar Wilde (1960, dir. Ken Hughes); The Happy Prince (2018, dir. Rupert Everett)
  • Selections from Richard Ellmann’s (1987) and Matthew Sturgis’ (2018) biographies of Wilde, provided by the instructor on Canvas
  • Selected criticism and scholarship on Wilde, provided by the instructor on Canvas

Requirements & Grading: two 2-3-page critical reviews, 20%; reading quizzes, 20%; final paper/project proposal, 10%; final paper with optional revision, 50%

E 314J • Literature And Film

34900 • Spring 2020
Meets MW 10:00AM-11:30AM GDC 1.406
Wr

E 314J  l  1-Literature and Film

 

Instructor:  Ezell, B

Unique #:  34900

Semester:  Spring 2020

Cross-lists:  n/a

 

Prerequisites:  One of the following: E 303C (or 603A), RHE 306, 306Q, or T C 303C (or 603A).

 

Description: The philosopher Derek Parfit once argued that people tend to define the self in one of four terms:  (1) the “body” theory, in which one is ultimately their body; (2) the “mind” theory, in which one exists in their mind, but not their whole body; (3) the “soul” theory, in which one is an immaterial being; and (4) the “memory” theory, in which one’s identity resides in their aggregated memories. The self remains a persistent source of debate in philosophy, spirituality, religion, and art.  In this course, we will examine literary representations of the self by reading texts and watching films in which personal identity is a contested subject.  We will utilize close reading skills in interpreting our assigned texts, as well as the language of formalism in reading our course films.  Special attention will also be paid to literary adaptation to the screen.

 

The primary aim of this course is to help students develop and improve the critical reading, writing, and thinking skills needed for success in upper-division courses in English and other disciplines. They will also gain practice in using the Oxford English Dictionary and other online research tools and print resources that support studies in the humanities. Students will learn basic information literacy skills and models for approaching literature with various historical, generic, and cultural contexts in mind.

 

This course contains a writing flag. The writing assignments in this course are arranged procedurally with a focus on invention, development through instructor and peer feedback, and revision; they will comprise a major part of the final grade.

 

RequiredTexts(tentative): 

Books: Steven Hall, The Raw Shark Texts; CarylChurchill, A Number; Suzan-Lori Parks, TopDog/UnderDog

 

Films: Enemy(2013, dir. Denis Villeneuve); Us (2019, dir. Jordan Peele); A Number(2008, dir. James MacDonald); The Prestige(2006, dir. Christopher Nolan).

 

Requirements & Grading: Three papers, one with a mandatory revision and another with an optional revision (70%), film terminology exam (15%), reading quizzes (10%), course participation (5%).

E 314L • The Pulitzer Prize

34419 • Fall 2019
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM PAR 105
Wr

E 314L  l  The Pulitzer Prize

 

Instructor: Ezell, Brice

Unique #: 34419

Semester: Fall 2019

Cross-lists:  n/a

 

Prerequisites: One of the following: E 303C (or 603A), RHE 306, 306Q, or T C 303C (or 603A).

 

Description: Since its inception in the early 20th century, The Pulitzer Prize has become one of the primary markers -- if not theprimary marker -- of literary success in the United States.  The award, which recognizes "excellence" in genres such as the novel, poetry, and drama, among others, can help bolster a literary work's profile and cement an author in the growing literary canon of the 20th century onward.  "Excellence," of course, can mean many different things depending on the context of a given award.  Some works earn a Pulitzer for responding to their social and political time in a pointed way, while some prizes are given works which transcend their time.  In this course, we will examine a range of Pulitzer Prize-winning texts across genres, and through close reading gain a sense of what makes a text "Pulitzer-worthy."  In reading and evaluating these Pulitzer Prize texts, we will also ask questions about the institution of the award itself:  Are there certain kinds of texts it tends to favor? Do certain types of authors, either for their style or personal background (be it social, racial, religious, economic), get overlooked for this recognition? And, above all else, what is the importance of awards like the Pulitzer?

 

The primary aim of this course is to help students develop and improve the critical reading, writing, and thinking skills needed for success in upper-division courses in English and other disciplines.  They will also gain practice in using the Oxford English Dictionary and other online research tools and print resources that support studies in the humanities. Students will learn basic information literacy skills and models for approaching literature with various historical, generic, and cultural contexts in mind.

 

Tentative course readings: Yusef Komunyakaa, Neon Vernacular; Suzan-Lori Parks, TopDog/UnderDog, Tony Kushner, Angels in America: Millennium Approaches; Denis Johnson, Train Dreams

 

Requirements & Grading: As a writing flag course, the primary method of evaluation for this course will be three essays (70%), one of which must be revised and resubmitted, with potential opportunities for the other two to be revised upon arrangement with the instructor.  20% of the final grade will derive from short, objective reading quizzes, with the final 10% of the grade allotted to a final in-class presentation.

RHE F309K • Rhetoric Of The Heist

84415 • Summer 2018
Meets MTWTHF 10:00AM-11:30AM PAR 208
Wr

Audiences flock to movie theatres to see films like Ocean’s Eleven and its soon-to-be-released all-female reboot, Ocean’s 8. Yet beneath all the glamour and glitz of these elaborate heists, a simple fact remains: when we watch those movies, we are rooting for criminals. What is it that makes us root for some thieves and not others? We’re afraid of alleyway muggers, yet we’re thrilled when the thieves behind heists in movies like the Ocean’s series, The Town, and The Italian Job get to work. Often, it’s not just that we root for these criminals; we even aspire to be them. What causes us to call some acts of theft “criminal” and not others? Why are phrases like “white collar criminal” and “con artist” used where “thief” might simply do? The rhetoric of the heist – and of stealing and thieving – cuts to the core of deeply held beliefs about governance, economics, and society. What does it mean to steal, or to commit a “heist?”

RHE 309K: The Rhetoric of the Heist asks students to get into the thief’s mindset, rhetorically. This course will explore the ways people talk and argue about heists and other acts of theft in numerous arenas, whether it's pulling off the perfect bank heist, "stealing" a sports competition, or gaming the global financial system. Students will spend the term researching a heist of their choice, drawing from various arenas that will be discussed in class, including government scandals, professional sports, the art world, and even classic tropes like the Robin Hood myth. Through numerous writing and research assignments, including two essay assignments with revision components, students will analyze the heists we know and perhaps those heists we haven’t even thought of as heists. The methods of rhetoric and rhetorical analysis learned in RHE 309K will enable students to spot a thief – and to know when words like “thief” and “heist” are being used to advance certain agendas.

 

Assignments

  • Paper 1.1. – Map of the Heist: 10%
  • Paper 2.1. – Rhetorical Analysis of the Heist: 10%
  • Paper 2.2. – Rhetorical Analysis of the Heist Revision: 15%
  • Paper 3.1 – Position Paper: 15%
  • Paper 3.2 – Position Paper Revision: 10%
  • Oral Presentation: 10%
  • Short Writing Assignments: 15%
  • Reading Quizzes: 15%
  • Participation: Invaluable

Course Texts

—Lunsford, Andrea A., and John J. Ruskiewicz and Keith Walters. Everything's an Argument. Seventh Edition. Bedford/St. Martin's, 2016.

The Little Longhorn Handbook. W&W Norton, 2014.

Ocean’s Eleven. Directed by Steven Soderbergh, Warner Bros., 2001.

—Additional short readings from texts including David Maurer’s The Big Con, Geoff Manugh’s The Burglar’s Guide to the City, Ben Mezrich’s Sex on the Moon, and Noah Charney’s The Art of Forgery to be provided electronically.

 

Curriculum Vitae


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