L. Brown Kennedy, professor of literature, is broadly trained (at Duke and Cornell) in English literature and has special interests in sixteenth and seventeenth century literature and culture (Shakespeare, Elizabethan and Jacobean drama, Milton, Renaissance and Reformation cultural history, theology and historiography).
Additional teaching and research interests include the literature and culture of the Southern U.S.; women's writing and the representation of gender; the representation of childhood and children's literature; and Irish literature and culture.
She is currently engaged in a study of Virginia Woolf as a reader of Shakespeare.
Our purpose in this class will not be narrowly comparative but rather to read intensively and extensively in each of these master practitioners of the modern novel, paying attention to questions of form and style as well as theme and historical context, and thinking particularly about how they each frame issues of personal identity, think about family, history and memory, and confront the American twentieth century dilemma of 'the color line'. The class will be discussion-based and involve frequent short writings and two longer papers.
This interdisciplinary course will combine critical studies of literature with critical approaches to childhood and psychological and psychoanalytic perspectives (particularly the writings of D. W. Winnicott). This course focuses on literary texts written for adults that feature children as subjects as well as texts written for a child audience. We will explore questions about the representation of children and childhood; the relation of child and adult worlds; childhood and memory or forbidden knowledge; and children, imagination, and language. First year students considering this class need to contact one of the instructors. The class will be pitched at the Division II level and will presume strong reading and writing skills.
Constructed as almost a mythic fiction by its own major novelists and historians and stereotyped in the popular media, the US "South" is also a set of multiple stories told by former slaves and slave holders, by women and men working in factories and mines, fields and homes. Through analysis of fiction, autobiography and some films, together with reference to debates in the current historical scholarship, this course introduces you to South(s) of starkly contrasting geographies and economies. We will trace themes that span the period from the 1880's to the 1990's: the aftermath of slavery, war and Reconstruction; the roles of family, religion, memory and myth-making; the tensions of poverty, individualism, and community; the growing split between rural and urban life; the relations among classes, races and sexes; the impact of and reaction to Civil Rights and to other Twentieth Century liberation movements.
In her 1924 essay "Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Brown," Virginia Woolf observed, "On or about December, 1910, human character changed." Drawing inspiration from Woolf's famous phrase, this course focuses on modes of redescribing personhood in the work of James Joyce and Virginia Woolf, placing their writings in the larger context of British culture between the First and Second World Wars. In addition to reading texts by these two foremost modernists to explore their experiments with form and voice, we will also read lesser-known writers whose work is in conversation with the modernist canon. Themes to be addressed include the disjointedness and fragmentation of modernity; war, violence, and trauma; gender, sexuality, and the nation. Frequent short responses and a substantial research paper will be required. This course is designed for students concentrating in literature, history, and cultural studies, and prior coursework in literary studies is strongly recommended.
L. Brown Kennedy
Professor of Literature
Mail Code HA
Franklin Patterson Hall G12
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002