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Dr. Wayne Rebhorn, Director 208 W. 21st St. Stop B5003, Austin, Tx 78712 • 512-471-1925

Michael Johnson

Assistant Professor PhD, Emory University

Assistant Professor of French
Michael Johnson

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Biography

I am an assistant professor of medieval French literature with a research focus on medieval grammar and rhetoric.

Current project: The Medieval Erotics of Grammar. This book-length study aims to account for the persistent use of grammatical terminology in reflections about and debates on sex in high medieval literature. The principal claim put forward in the Medieval Erotics of Grammar is that medieval grammatical discourse played a central role in shaping and regulating Western views of sex, particularly in the cultural elevation of the male-female couple hailed by courtly literature. A great deal of medieval writers harnessed grammatical discourse both to the end of celebrating heterosexual erotic love and in condemnations of same-sex eroticism. I examine both of these instances in a large corpus of writing, ranging from a selection of erotic poems in Latin and the vernaculars –– including Goliardic writings, some of the Carmina Burana, an erotic parody of Alexander of Villedieu’s Doctrinale, and troubadour lyric –– to debates that call upon contemporaneous grammatical theories to condemn homoerotic sex, including, most notably, the anonymous but hugely popular Altercatio Ganimedis et Helene, Alain de Lille’s De planctu Naturae and Gautier de Coinci’s Seinte Léocade.

I have also published on Lacan and the troubadour excremental, on euphemism and desire in the Romance of the Rose, and on sex and reading in Alan of Lille's Plaint of Nature. My secondary research focus is on sexuality in twentieth-century French writing, to which end I have published on André Gide, Claude Louis-Combet, Fabrice Neaud and Jacques Derrida.

Interests

Classical and medieval rhetoric, Medieval European literature and culture, Sexuality and Gender Studies, Critical Theory, Psychoanalysis, European comics

C L 385 • Theories Of Literary Criticism

33455 • Fall 2009
Meets
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Course Description

This course will aim to provide a reasonably representative introduction to literary theory from Socratic texts through Augustine’s important contributions into the late nineteenth century.  Throughout the course we shall have a double emphasis:  grappling with the original historical goals of these works and detecting the way in which the problems they address continue to define the terms of modern theoretical debates so as to remain pressing today.  Particular attention will be paid both to the Platonic attack upon poetry and rhetoric, particularly in the course of his remarks about tragedy, and to Aristotle’s complex and multiple responses.  The Roman revisers of the Greek inheritance will be viewed as a first reception, to be followed by several examples drawn from the Renaissance and from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.  The later texts will draw out implications from the classical material of India, Japan, Greece and the Hebrew tradition in ways which inflect the material for particular aesthetic and ideological purposes.  We shall be especially interested in the flurry of theoretical activity throughout the nineteenth century as the aesthetic and philosophical apparatus attempts to cope with the very real implications of the century: industrialism, empire, the decline of metaphysics, etc.  A final gesture will be made towards the implications of this historical trajectory for the twentieth century.

 

Readings

Required Texts:

Hazard Adams, Critical Theory Since Plato (HBJ, 1992)

Reader, available from Speedway, Dobie Mall, 2nd Level (469-5653)

 

All texts will be available in the original languages as well as in suitable English translations.  Students are encouraged to read texts in the original where possible. Selections will be drawn primarily from Hazard Adams, Critical Theory Since Plato with additional texts such as selections from the Natyasastra; Midrash, Tacitus, Dialogus, Giraldi Cinthio, Internal Discourse; Du Bellay, Defense and Illustration; Diderot, Rameau’s Nephew; Schiller, Naïve and Sentimental Poetry; Kleist, “On the Marionette Theater;” Shleiermacher, “1819 Lectures on Hermeneutics;” Derrida, Dissemination; Baudrillard, Simlulations.

C L 385 • Theories Of Literary Criticism

32800 • Spring 2009
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm PAR 214
show description

Course Description

This course will aim to provide a reasonably representative introduction to literary theory from Socratic texts through Augustine’s important contributions into the late nineteenth century.  Throughout the course we shall have a double emphasis:  grappling with the original historical goals of these works and detecting the way in which the problems they address continue to define the terms of modern theoretical debates so as to remain pressing today.  Particular attention will be paid both to the Platonic attack upon poetry and rhetoric, particularly in the course of his remarks about tragedy, and to Aristotle’s complex and multiple responses.  The Roman revisers of the Greek inheritance will be viewed as a first reception, to be followed by several examples drawn from the Renaissance and from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.  The later texts will draw out implications from the classical material of India, Japan, Greece and the Hebrew tradition in ways which inflect the material for particular aesthetic and ideological purposes.  We shall be especially interested in the flurry of theoretical activity throughout the nineteenth century as the aesthetic and philosophical apparatus attempts to cope with the very real implications of the century: industrialism, empire, the decline of metaphysics, etc.  A final gesture will be made towards the implications of this historical trajectory for the twentieth century.

 

Readings

Required Texts:

Hazard Adams, Critical Theory Since Plato (HBJ, 1992)

Reader, available from Speedway, Dobie Mall, 2nd Level (469-5653)

 

All texts will be available in the original languages as well as in suitable English translations.  Students are encouraged to read texts in the original where possible. Selections will be drawn primarily from Hazard Adams, Critical Theory Since Plato with additional texts such as selections from the Natyasastra; Midrash, Tacitus, Dialogus, Giraldi Cinthio, Internal Discourse; Du Bellay, Defense and Illustration; Diderot, Rameau’s Nephew; Schiller, Naïve and Sentimental Poetry; Kleist, “On the Marionette Theater;” Shleiermacher, “1819 Lectures on Hermeneutics;” Derrida, Dissemination; Baudrillard, Simlulations.

Publications

Johnson, Michael A. "Post-Queer Autobiography: Placing/Facing Fabrice Neaud." Contemporary French and Francophone Studies 12.1 (2008): 27-39. MLA International Bibliography.

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Johnson, Michael A. "Sodomy, Allegory, and the Subject of Pleasure." Queer Sexualities in French and Francophone Literature and Film. 1-12. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Rodopi, 2007. MLA International Bibliography.

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Johnson, Michael A. "Translatio Ganymedis: Reading the Sex out of Ovid in Alan of Lille's The Plaint of Nature." Florilegium 22.(2005): 171-190. MLA International Bibliography. EBSCO.

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