(from 28 July 2020 email)

Dear Everyone:

I’ll write more about more matters soon, but wanted to let you know more immediately that the GC is officially remote for fall 20.  We’ve been heading in that direction, I know, but the building has made the official call now.  

More to follow regarding planning/course design for the fully remote semester ahead, and in the meantime, as ever, holler with questions.

Also, below, please find the course description for Alan Vardy’s fall course.  It’ll go up on the web sometime in the next week or so, too.

All well wishes!


ENGL 84200                                                                                                             Alan Vardy

                                                                                                                                    Fall 2020

“Deserted Villages”: Enclosure, Nostalgia, and ‘Slow Violence’

            “Deserted Villages”: Enclosure, Nostalgia, and ‘Slow Violence’ will look at the complete upheaval of the British countryside from ca. 1770 to 1835 via  Goldsmith’s “The Deserted Village,” Cowper’s The Task and “The Yardley Oak,” Wordsworth’s “Simon Lee,” “The Ruined Cottage,” “Michael,” “Home at Grasmere” and “The Solitary Reaper,” Dorothy Wordsworth’s “Tour of Scotland, 1802,” Robert Bloomfield’s “The Farmer’s Boy,” Cobbett’s “Cottage Economy” and a few of his “Rural Rides,” and Clare’s “Helpstone,” “The Village Minstrel” and other poems.  We will employ a variety of critical approaches including Raymond Williams’ classic The Country and the City, the last 20 years of ecocriticism, Rob Nixon’s Slow Violence, other theories of social trauma, the problems of witness and memory, class difference, dispossession, etc.  One goal of the course will be a reevaluation of the political valences of Romantic nostalgia.

            Please buy the Oxford edition of Clare.  There has been much debate about editing Clare, and it’s important that we work from the same texts.  Any editions of the other authors will do.  Goldsmith, Cowper, and Dorothy Wordsworth will be available on Blackboard, as will other materials to be announced (two chapters from Ann Bermingham’s Landscape and Ideology are currently available).  Nixon’s influential book is available in the system as an e-book, and I’d encourage students to read the Introduction to become familiar with his working hypothesis.

Course Requirements

3 short papers (2-3 pages)

A conference abstract (250-500 words)

A conference paper (15-20 minutes)

A research paper (15-20 pages)

The short papers are intended to give you a chance to start using the seminar’s focus to read various materials on the reading list.

The format for the rest of the course is structured like professional academic work: an abstract for a conference (real or imaginary); the talk developed from the abstract (to be delivered in a seminar conference after the Thanksgiving break); a research paper based the conference talk geared toward submission for publication.  While this structure is primarily an exercise, in the past, many students have given conference presentations as a result, and a significant number have published articles.

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