There is no Frigate like a Book - Emily Dickinson


Literature and Language Arts Courses & Lectures


 Theatrical Passions
 Stanford University

 Literary Theory

The Early Middle Ages 284 - 100

 The American Novel


Tragic Passions from Shakespeare to Verdi

Stanford University (40 minutes)

October 24, 2009) Stanford Associate Professor of English, Blair Hoxby discusses how dramatists and composers write tragedies, they depict strong passions like fear, rage, and pity and elusive moods like melancholy. But how they have understood the physical and psychic basis of these emotions has changed with revolutions in psychology and medicine. This class will show how understanding the emotions in historical terms can deepen our appreciation of great theater from Shakespeare to Verdi.

Introduction to the Theory of Literature

Yale University (~26 hours)

This is a survey of the main trends in twentieth-century literary theory. Lectures will provide background for the readings and explicate them where appropriate, while attempting to develop a coherent overall context that incorporates philosophical and social perspectives on the recurrent questions: what is literature, how is it produced, how can it be understood, and what is its purpose?


The American Novel Since 1945

Yale (25 hours)

In "The American Novel Since 1945" students will study a wide range of works from 1945 to the present. The course traces the formal and thematic developments of the novel in this period, focusing on the relationship between writers and readers, the conditions of publishing, innovations in the novel's form, fiction's engagement with history, and the changing place of literature in American culture. The reading list includes works by Richard Wright, Flannery O'Connor, Vladimir Nabokov, Jack Kerouac, J. D. Salinger, Thomas Pynchon, John Barth, Maxine Hong Kingston, Toni Morrison, Marilynne Robinson, Cormac McCarthy, Philip Roth and Edward P. Jones. The course concludes with a contemporary novel chosen by the students in the class.


The Early Middle Ages 284 - 1000 BCE

Yale University - First class: Professor Freedman introduces the major themes of the course: the crisis of the Roman Empire, the rise of Christianity, the threats from barbarian invasions, and the continuity of the Byzantine Empire. At the beginning of the period covered in this course, the Roman Empire was centered politically, logistically, and culturally on the Mediterranean Sea. Remarkable for its size and longevity, the Empire was further marked by its tolerance. Although it contained an eclectic mix of peoples, the Empire was unified in part by a local elite with a shared language and customs. In the third century these strengths were increasingly threatened by the Empire's sheer size, its imbalances, both East-West and urban-rural, and by an army that realizes it could make and unmake emperors. Having set the scene, Professor Freedman looks to subsequent lectures where he will discuss reforms enacted to address these weaknesses.