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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Elizabeth Cullingford

Professor Ph.D., Oxford University

Chair, Department of English, University Distinguished Teaching Professor
Elizabeth Cullingford

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Biography

Elizabeth Butler Cullingford holds the Jane Weinert Blumberg Chair in English Literature and is a University Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Texas at Austin.  She has served as the Chair of the English Department since 2006. Her publications include Ireland’s Others: Ethnicity and Gender in Irish Literature and Popular Culture, 2001; Gender and History in Yeats's Love Poetry, 1993; and Yeats, Ireland and Fascism, 1981. Professor Cullingford earned her doctorate at Oxford and has taught at The University of Texas at Austin since 1980. She has won numerous teaching awards, including the Teaching with Technology Gold Award for her multimedia "Masterworks of British Literature" survey course. From 1985 to 1990 she served as assistant director and director of the Yeats International Summer School in Sligo, Ireland. Recent articles include: "Evil, Sin, or Doubt: The Dramas of Clerical Child Abuse," "'Our Nuns Are Not a Nation': Politicizing the Convent in Irish Literature and Film," "The Prisoner's Wife and the Soldier's Whore: Female Punishment in Irish Popular Culture," and "Mothers and Virgins: Sinead O'Connor, Neil Jordan, and the Butcher Boy."  She is currently working on a book, The Only Child in a Crowded World: Literature, Culture, and the Environment, which is a feminist cultural studies project analyzing literary depictions of the only child in the contexts provided by folklore, history, religion, demography, and sociology.

Interests

Only children, Irish literature, politics, and culture; modern poetry; women's studies; drama and film; Shakespeare; the relation between high and popular culture

E 392M • Irish Classics

36330 • Spring 2014
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm CAL 200
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E392M Irish Classics in a Colonial and Postcolonial Context

Office Hours: Calhoun 226, Wednesday 10 a.m. -1 p.m.

Twice during the twentieth century Ireland has experienced intense political unrest.  At the start it struggled for Independence from the British Empire, at the end it was still in contention with England over the six counties of the North.  Both these episodes of violence are euphemistically referred to as “The Troubles.”  Perhaps not coincidentally, these two periods of unrest also saw a “Renaissance” in literary production.  In this class we shall examine the intersection between history, politics, and creativity, using Ireland as our “test case.”

Texts

Modern and Contemporary Irish Drama, ed. John Harrington. Norton Critical Edition.

W. B. Yeats and Lady Gregory: Kathleen ni Houlihan (1902) (In Harrington)

Yeats's Poetry, Drama, and Prose, ed. James Pethica. Norton Critical Edition.

J. M. Synge: The Playboy of the Western World (1907) (In Harrington)

James Joyce: "Ivy Day in the Committee Room"; “The Dead” (1907). Norton Critical Edition of Dubliners

James Joyce: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1914). Norton Critical Edition.

Sean O’Casey: Juno and the Paycock (1924) (In Harrington)

Elizabeth Bowen: The Last September (1929)

Seamus Heaney: Opened Ground (1999)

Brian Friel: Translations (1980) (In Harrington)

Eavan Boland: New Collected Poems

Films

Anne Crilly, Margo Harkin, Mother Ireland (IRL 1984)

John Huston: The Dead (US 1987)

Neil Jordan: Michael Collins (IRL 1996)

Ken Loach: The Wind that Shakes the Barley (IRL 2006)

Requirements

Weekly critical reading journals; one oral presentation to be written up into a short paper; 20 page final paper.

 

E 392M • Only Child: Lit/Cul/Ecology

35865 • Fall 2012
Meets TTH 930am-1100am PAR 210
(also listed as WGS 393 )
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Elizabeth Cullingford: The Only Child in a Crowded World: Literature, Culture, and Ecology

Environmentalists have long argued for reproductive restraint in order to slow the erosion of what is left of the "natural" world. Accepting human responsibility for climate change, and relating fossil fuels to fecundity, this course will explore and challenge the negative literary and cultural stereotypes attached to only children.

The accumulated weight of centuries of cultural disapproval bears heavily against the single-child family. In 1928 the psychologist G. Stanley Hall famously declared: “Being an only child is a disease in itself." This judgment still exerts a powerful grip on the collective psyche of the developed world. Until the late twentieth century, having an only child was widely perceived as a misfortune. Being an only child was no better. Although social science research suggests that most of the negative stereotypes concerning only children and their parents are wide of the mark, it is a truth universally acknowledged that as well as being spoiled, selfish and arrogant, the only child will be lonely and maladjusted in childhood, overburdened in middle age by the sole responsibility for elderly parents, and lonely again as the end of life approaches.

Yet the single child family is currently the fastest-growing demographic group in the developed world. The main impetus behind this change is the entry of women into the workforce. Commentators on the status of women, work and family emphasize the struggle entailed in balancing jobs and children; but demographers tell us that the majority of women still intend to have two offspring. Working women, however, marry later and delay pregnancy, while other factors such as divorce may intervene to frustrate their plans. The only child, whether planned or accidental, may represent a satisfactory compromise between the desire for motherhood, the desire or need for paid employment, and the health of the planet.

The first part of the course will consider only children in the Bible, the classics, and Shakespeare, the indispensible cultural referents of later literature. We will go on to analyze changing representations of only children in England during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We will also examine poems, contemporary novels, films, and excerpts from popular parenting manuals, the “conduct books” of our time. We will be concerned with the history of women in the family, the perpetuation or revision of cultural stereotypes, and the considerable aesthetic advantages of the single child: pathos, economy, and intensity. Because of the artistic power of what is unique, there may have been more only children in literature than there were in life. Throughout the course we will balance the insights of environmentalism, demography and sociology against the imperatives of aesthetic form. 

 

Texts (slight changes may be possible)

The Bible (Abraham and Isaac; Jepthah's Daughter; selections from the Gospels)

Homeric Hymn to Demeter

Ovid: Procne and Philomel,

Sophocles: Oedipus Rex

 Euripides: The Bacchae

 Shakespeare: Hamlet, Coriolanus, The Tempest

Emily Bronte: Wuthering Heights

Anne Bronte: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

Henry James: “The Author of Beltraffio,” Washington Square, What Maisie Knew

Edith Wharton: The Custom of the Country

William Trevor: The Story of Lucy Gault

Emma Donoghue: Room

Todd Field, dir. In the Bedroom

 

Course packet: essays by feminists, environmentalists, social historians, demographers, and parenting “experts.”

Requirements: Weekly reading journals, one seminar presentation, one 20 page paper.

 

E 392M • Mod British And Irish Poetry

35681 • Fall 2011
Meets TTH 930am-1100am CAL 200
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Modern(ist) British and Irish Poetry

"Habitualization devours objects, clothes, furniture, one's wife and the fear of war . . . Art exists to help us recover the sensation of life, it exists to make us feel things, to make the stone stony. The end of art is to give a sensation of the object as seen , not as recognized.  The technique of art is to make things 'unfamiliar', to make forms obscure, so as to increase the difficulty and duration of perception."  (Viktor Schlovsky)

"This is my essential criticism of modernism, whether perpetrated by Parker, Pound, or Picasso:  it helps us neither to enjoy nor endure."  (Philip Larkin)

There is no agreement about when the modernist period began, or when it ended, although I am choosing 1890 and 1939.  There is dispute about the definition of the term "modernism" itself.  Some regard the great modernists as obscure and pretentious elitists, while others see them as masters of complexity, irony, and ambiguity.  One poet, W. B. Yeats, is in himself a case study in the effects of modernity: his work will provide a running thread that will connect the beginning of the course with the end.  Other poets to be studied include Hardy, Pound, Eliot, Auden, and the War poets.

We will explore such topics as the failure of traditional religion, the effects of World War 1, the expansion of technology, and increasing urbanization; the impact of the new discipline of psychology on the self and the valuation of dreams; and the importance of anthropology and the worship of the "primitive."

We will study experimental formal techniques: perspectivism and uncertainty as functions of style; the use of myth as a structural principle; the question of allusion; the emphasis on metaphorical rather than metonymic figures of speech; the slanting of rhyme and the disruption of meter; the validation of "difficulty" and the pursuit of "organic form."  We will also ask what happens to traditional genres (the elegy, the dramatic monologue, the love poem and the war poem) under the stress of modernity.

Text: The Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry

Packet containing additional poems and critical essays.

Requirements: term paper; two brief seminar introductions; weekly analytical journals.

E 395M • Am Poetry: Race, Gender, Form

35695 • Fall 2011
Meets TH 600pm-900pm MEZ 1.104
(also listed as AFR 387D )
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American Poetry: Race, Gender, Form

Course description to be announced.

E 392M • Col And Postcol Irish Classics

35055 • Fall 2010
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm MEZ 2.118
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Twice during the twentieth century Ireland has experienced intense political unrest.  At the start it struggled for Independence from the British Empire, at the end it was still in contention with England over the six counties of the North.  Both these episodes of violence are euphemistically referred to as “The Troubles.”  Perhaps not coincidentally, these two periods of unrest also saw a “Renaissance” in literary production.  In this class we shall examine the intersection between history, politics, and creativity, using Ireland as our “test case.”

Requirements

Weekly critical reading journals; seminar paper; final paper.

Texts

W. B. Yeats and Lady Gregory: Kathleen ni Houlihan (1902)
W. B. Yeats: Collected Poems
J. M. Synge: The Shadow of the Glen (1903); The Playboy of the Western World (1907)
James Joyce: “The Dead” (1907); A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1914)
Sean O’Casey: Juno and the Paycock (1924); The Plough and the Stars (1926)
Elizabeth Bowen: The Last September (1929)
Seamus Heaney: Selected Poems
Brian Friel: Translations (1980)
Frank McGuinness: Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme (1985)
Eavan Boland: Collected Poems

Films

John Huston: The Dead (US 1987)
Neil Jordan: Michael Collins (IRL 1996)
Ken Loach: The Wind that Shakes the Barley (2006)

A Course Packet containing historical and theoretical material must be purchased at Jenn’s, 2200 Guadalupe.

 

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