English | Junior Honors Seminar
L399 | 2042 | Gubar
11:15a-12:30p TR (15) 3 cr
COAS INTENSIVE WRITING SECTION. REQUIRES THE PERMISSION OF THE ENGLISH
DEPARTMENT DIRECTOR OF HONORS.
TOPIC: THE HOLOCAUST IN CONTEMPORARY CULTURE
This seminar will focus on the Holocaust in contemporary culture. For
this reason, we will not be reading the now classic texts produced by Elie
Wiesel, Primo Levi, Paul Celan, and Charlotte Delbo, although individual
students may wish to focus on one of those figures in their final paper.
Instead, we will be exploring literature, watching movies, viewing
photographs, and reading verse produced by the next generation of artists.
Fiction will probably include Art Spiegelman's MAUS, Cynthia Ozick's THE
SHAWL, Lore Segal's HER FIRST AMERICAN, and Ann Michaels' FUGITIVE PIECES.
For movies, I am considering SCHINDLER'S LIST, parts of SHOAH, and LIFE IS
BEAUTIFUL (if we can obtain it). The visual artists we will study include
Marc Chagall, Roman Vishniac, Mauricio Lasansky, Jeffrey Wolin, and Shimon
But a large portion of the course will consist of reading Anglo-American
Holocaust poetry. Because the anthologies that thus far exist have not
adequately represented the extraordinary verse of such contemporary
writers as William Heyen, Anthony Hecht, Charles Reznikoff, C.K. Williams,
Maxine Kumin, Adrienne Rich, Irena Klefisz, Jorie Graham, Alicia Ostriker,
Gerald Stern, Michael Hamburger, Sharon Olds, Geoffrey Hill, and countless
others, we will supplement them with books placed on reserve. In
addition, we will attempt to outline the contours of a more effective
volume of poetry composed after and about Auschwitz.
The class will be run along the lines of a graduate seminar to the extent
that each session will include a one-page position paper composed by a
student, distributed to the class, and used to spark discussion. Besides
that one-page essay, students will be asked to follow a sequence of
assignments designed to produce a research paper of approximately 20 pages
on a subject related to the class. There will also be a midterm and a