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.
"Lovers and madmen have such seething brains/ Such shaping phantasies, that apprehend/ More than cool reason ever comprehends." (A Midsummer Night's Dream) In this class we will set in dialogue texts of Shakespeare (five plays) and Virginia Woolf (four novels and selected essays). Our main focus will be on the texts, reading them with close attention to language and form as well as to their widely different literary and cultural assumptions. However, one thread tying together our work on these two authors will be their common interest in the ways human beings lose their frames of reference and their sense of themselves in madness, lose and find themselves in love or in sexuality, and find or make both self and world in the shaping act of the imagination. The method of the course will include directed close reading, discussion, and periodic lectures. Frequent short pieces of student writing are expected, together with two short essays and a developed longer paper
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.
L. Brown Kennedy
Professor of Literature
Mail Code HA
Franklin Patterson Hall G12
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002