Coral's MA Reading List
Jan 1, 750
Beowulf-The Beowulf PoetThis oral poem was transcribed by a clerical scribe in Britain between 700-100. Written in 1382 alliterative long lines, this Anglo Saxon heroic epic elegaic poem tells the story of Geatish hero Beowulf who saves the Danes from Grendel and his mother, then his own people from a dragon. Though his own people will be conquered by warring tribes after his death, he has achieved immortality through song. The poem emphasizes the importance of adherence to social expectations and rules.
Period: Jan 1, 750 to
MA Reading List
Period: Jan 1, 1066 to Jan 31, 1067
Norman ConquestWilliam the Bastard of Normandy conquers Anglo-Saxonized England. The conquest resulted in an influx of French-Norman culture and literature through Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine.
Period: Jan 1, 1337 to Jan 1, 1453
One Hundred Years WarThis series of conflicts contributed to increasing disillusionment with chivalric ideals and the extent of royal authority. Significant elements of the war include the English victory at Agincourt (centerpiece of Shakespeare's Henry V) and Joan of Arc's role in maintaining French independence.
Jan 1, 1387
The Canterbury Tales-Geoffrey ChaucerChaucer wrote these tales late in his career, between 1387 and his death in 1400, but died before completing them. These tales are the first major work in the vernacular Middle English and are famous for their complexity of structure and depiction of medieval consciousness, gender relations, and question the validity of Catholic understandings and authorship/truth.
G. Prologue, Knight's, Miller's, Wife of Bath's P&T, Clerk's, Pardoner's, Nun's Priest's P&T, Parson's P.
Jan 1, 1390
Sir Gawain and the Green KnightSGGK, a highly structured ME poem, begins and ends w/ tale of Troy. Significant for its wide scope and close-in focus, tells tale of Gawain and GK in a beheading game. Tests G and chivalric codes of honor. Evidence of early Welsh sources combine with French romance tales to create this epitome of Arthurian tradition in Chaucer's time.
Jan 1, 1390
Pearl-Gawain poetThis highly intricate ME poem in alliterative verse tells the tale of a male mourning his lost Pearl--seemingly a young daughter buried in a garden. 101 stanzas of 12 lines. 1212 lines. 12X12=144. City of Jerusalem is 144 units all around, creating a cube. Stanzas in sections of five--except the middle one which has six (XV). Stanzas tied by "link" words which occur in first line of next stanza. Poem is very "round". The dreamer wakes after attempting to physically cross river. "Right reason."
Period: Jan 1, 1455 to Jan 1, 1485
War of the RosesThe two Plantanaget houses of York and the Lancastrians vie for the throne. Earl of Warwick-The Kingmaker, and cohort of Malory is operating at this time. Henry Tudor of York emerges victorious over Richard III (who had 'murdered' his nephews) .
English InterregnumThe English Civil War resulted in the trial and execution of Charles I and rule by Oliver Cromwell and the Commonwealth. The Church of England was more or less disestablished, the theaters are closed, and English attitudes toward a hierarchized society begin to break down.
French RevolutionLouis XVI is executed. Even though British Romantics initially favored the war, they began to react against French philosophers such as Rousseau as the war became increasingly violent.
Moby Dick-Herman MelvilleAmerican Romantic novel combining encyclopedic and symbolic/metaphorical language depicting Ishmael's adventures on the Pequod w/ Capt. Ahab and Queequeg. Mates Starbcuk, Stubb, Flask. Debates existence of God, good and evil, man and nature. Practical pursuits (oil) vs revenge and pursuit of human values in general. Symbols of the pulpit, belly of whale, ship on ocean, ivory leg. Subjectivity of religious and cultural acceptibility. Biblical language. Became popular early 20th century.
Walt Whitman-PoetryA transcendentalist (offshoot of Romanticism) hoping to fulfill Emerson, bridging to realism. Wrote until death in 1892
From Leaves of Grass:
-Song of Myself-celebrates body and mind. Him in Us.
Crossing Brooklyn Ferry-connection to future crossers
Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking-1860. child sees death.
When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd.1865 to Lincoln.
O Captain! My Captain!1865 to Lincoln.
In Paths Untrodden-noncomfority
When I heard at the Close of the Day-happy only w/ male love
Emily Dickinson-PoemsWhy--do they shut Me out of Heaven? (P. 248)
Over the fence--(251)
I felt a Funeral, in my Brain (280)
Some keep the Sabbath going to church--(324)
After great pain a formal feeling comes--(341)
Much Madness is divinest Sense(435)
I was the slightest in the House(486)
They shut me up in Prose--(613)
I dwell in Possibility--(637)
pub. 1890, 2/3rds written 61-65
Mortality, God, natural world
American Civil WarIdeaological conflicts between the Northern and Southern states result in a war over states' rights; one right, of course, being slavery. The war's end and the South's Reconstruction era had indelible effects on literature.
Middlemarch-George EliotMary Anne Evans (Eliot) set this novel, an exercise in realism and a "Study of Provincial Life" in 1830. Idealistic Dorothea shuns the eligible Chettam in favor of the faux-intellectual Casaubon. Lydgate meets Bulstrode and weds his niece Rosamund. Her bro. Fred loves Mary, she shuns the cleric who works for her father. Malicious Riffles shows up; exposes Bulstrode as a hypocrite; and Lydgate expelled. Dorothea marries Ladislow and rejects Casaubon's fortune. Themes=Women, idealism, politics.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn-Mark TwainNot published in the U.S. till 1885, the novel satirizes the Antebellum south -1835-with a series of glances into life along the Mississippi. Huck escapes Pap w/ Jim after faking death. Encounters Grangerfords & Shepherdsons, Duke and King who dupe majority of ppl-fools. Cnl. Sherburn faces off "Southern Justic" lynching in the dark by men in masks. Jim sold to Silas/Sally Phelps, Tom's kin. They break him out. Get shot at. Themes=Afr.Am. superstition vs. white Southern "sense". Frontier vs Civ
World War IThe Great War, as it was known until 1939, was the last occurence of trench warfare in the Western world. Shattered Western/Victorian notions of stability and world order. Affected authors T.S. Eliot, W.B. Yeats, and William Faulkner.
The Wasteland and more-T.S. EliotThis 434-line modernist poem is elegaic and sums up a vast sweep of literatures and languages. Shifts between satire and prophecy, speaker, location, and time. Variations on a dramatic monologue.
"Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"-1915. the disillusionment of modern life and loss of the heroic and romantic events of history. Exhaustion of old age, sky like an operating table.
"Tradition and the Individual Talent"-1919 essay. Artist sublimates into tradition. Objective correlative theory?
To the Lighthouse-Virigina WoolfWoolf was born 1882, d. 1942. Feminist and lesbian themes. High modernist novel of philosophical introspection. The Ramsay family vacations at the Isle of Skye. "Tea party tragedies" occur before and after WWI. Compexity of experience. Stream of consciousness reflects rotation of lighthouse beam.
George Washington Gomez: A Mexicotexan Novel-Americo ParedesWritten in the 30s, published in 1990. The descendent of sefarditas-Spanish Jews converted to Christianity-Paredes grew up in Brownsville, split between Mexican and American culture. Young "Gualinto," born to illegal immigrants, grows up facing guerrilla war and racism from Texas Rangers. His all-Mexican school is even Dickens-esque in its harshness. He rejects his parents expectations when he leaves home for college.
World War IIGermany declares war with its invasion of Poland. Axis powers solidify as Nazi forces spread over Europe. The U.S. enters in 1942, the war ends in 1945 and solidifies the U.S.'s status as a globally dominant nation.
Invisible Man-Ralph EllisonAn unnamed protaganist looks back on his life in this bildungsroman concerning black nationalism, Marxism, and social issues. He becomes involved with The Brotherhood (Communism). Motifs of jazz, blues, and gospel as well as allusions to Homer run throughout. The novel suggests that even the invisible can make a difference through words.
Waiting for Godot-Samuel BeckettAn absurdist play originally in French: "En Attendent Godot: A tragicomedy in two acts". Melds human emotions. Vladimir and Estragon wait for an off-screen character, Godot. Motif of removing hat or boot, and seeing nothing inside. "Anything to keep the terrible silence at bay"--sleep, converse, argue, contemplate suicide. Pozzo and Lucky and a boy happen by. They agree to hang themselves the next day if Godot does not arrive; but neither of them get up to leave.
Cold WarThe Cold War was a continuing state of political and military tension between the powers of the Western world, led by the United States and its NATO allies, and the communist world, led by the Soviet Union, its satellite states and allies. The Vietnam War was a series of conflicts fought between 1955-1975.
Theodore Roethke-poetry"The Waking"-wake to sleep. mindlessness of life.
"I Knew a Woman"-love lost. man as goose.
"In a Dark Time"-discovering God in self in madness, in darkness
"Root Cellar"-strange life underground
"My Papa's Waltz"-alcoholism and violence
Countercultural MovementAs the 1960s progressed, widespread tensions developed in American society that tended to flow along generational lines regarding the war in Vietnam, race relations, sexual mores, women's rights, traditional modes of authority, experimentation with psychoactive drugs, and differing interpretations of the American Dream.
Poetry-Sylvia PlathPlath, just as famous for her life as her poetry, was born 1932 and died 1963.
"Morning Song"-detachment of motherhood
"Lady Lazarus"-9 lives. violent, Holocaust imagery. destined to die.
"Daddy"-Nazis=Father. Finding him in the ground.
"The Arrival of the Bee Box"
Song of Solomon-Toni MorrisonThis novel which won the 1993 Nobel Prize, depicts the life of a Michigan African American male from birth to death. Macon "Milkman" Dead III. His mother's quasi-sexual relationship withher father, his close relationship with her, the sexual advances of his neice Hagar, her murder attempts, his bf's attempts, bf kills EarthMother sister, his "leap." Names/misnomers. Gender inequality.
Emplumada-Lorna Dee CervantesUncle's First Rabbit
Cannery Town in August
Bneneath the Shadow of the Freeway
For Virginia Chavez
Poem for the Young Man
Loving in the War Years-Cherrie MoragaMoraga's essays
Loving in the War Years
A Long Line of Vendidas
Looking for the Insatiable Woman
Out of our Revolutionary Minds toward a Pedagogy of Revolt
from The Last Generation-"Queer Aztlan"
From an Anglo-Mexican lesbian background she develops methods of resisting the academy, misogyny, and racism.
Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza-Gloria Anzaldua2nd Ed w/ Introduction and Chapters 1-7.
Anzaldua develops how border theory can help queer Chicana "feminist" women exist within borders. Mestizos have always been marginalized; women dominated by a patristic hegemony; lesbians unacknowledged. By living on "this thin edge of barbed wire" we can break down these violent borderlines and exist wholly. Code switches: Spanish English Aztec. Recalls indigenous roots and mythological consciousness.