Faculty Profile

Carol Ann Johnston

Professor of English; Martha Porter Sellers Chair of Rhetoric and the English Language (1990)

Contact Information

johnston@dickinson.edu

East College Room 410
717.245.1268
http://blogs.dickinson.edu/carolannjohnston/

Bio

Her teaching interests include literature of the Early Modern period, poetry workshop, and Southern Women Writers. Her current research investigates subjectivity and agency in seventeenth-century English poetry. She has written a book on Eudora Welty and is working on a manuscript placing poet Thomas Traherne in the context of seventeenth-century visual traditions.

Education

  • B.A., Baylor University, 1978
  • M.A., 1980
  • M.A., Harvard University, 1983
  • Ph.D., 1992

2016-2017 Academic Year

Fall 2016

WGSS 101 Southern Women Writers
Cross-listed with ENGL 101-05. A course in prose written by women of the American South. We will begin with the diary of Mary Chesnut written during the Civil War and continue with notable writers of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, which may include Katherine Anne Porter, Flannery O'Connor, Eudora Welty, Zora Neale Hurston, Ellen Gilchrist, Ellen Douglas, Kaye Gibbons. Some critical and theoretical texts will also be required. Writing assignments will include short explications,longer essays, and an exam. Attendance and participation in class discussion are required.

ENGL 101 Southern Women Writers
Cross-listed with WGSS 101-03. A course in prose written by women of the American South. We will begin with the diary of Mary Chesnut written during the Civil War and continue with notable writers of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, which may include Katherine Anne Porter, Flannery O'Connor, Eudora Welty, Zora Neale Hurston, Ellen Gilchrist, Ellen Douglas, Kaye Gibbons. Some critical and theoretical texts will also be required. Writing assignments will include short explications,longer essays, and an exam. Attendance and participation in class discussion are required.

MEMS 200 Revolutionary Milton
Cross-listed with ENGL 394-01.John Milton at times emerges in the popular imagination as the benign Christian poet of Paradise Lost. While Paradise Lost is a Biblical epic poem about the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, Milton addresses in the poem polemical subjects such as the role and place of women in an ideal society; the relationship between God and Christ the Son; the question of personal responsibility; the role of monarchy and religion in the state; the idea of a republic. Paradise Lost, along with the Bible, was one of the most frequently read books in Colonial America, and we have in our archive Benjamin Rush's copy of Paradise Lost. In addition we also have first editions of Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, Samson Agonistes, and other beautiful and significant Milton volumes. Our study of these editions will show Milton's understanding and manipulation of the press and censorship, and suggest how Milton the revolutionary came to be recognized as one of the greatest poets in the English language.

ENGL 319 Adv Creative Writing: Poetry
Cross-listed with CRWR 319-01.

CRWR 319 Adv Creative Writing: Poetry
Cross-listed with ENGL 319-01.

ENGL 394 Revolutionary Milton
Cross-listed with MEMS 200-01.John Milton at times emerges in the popular imagination as the benign Christian poet of Paradise Lost. While Paradise Lost is a Biblical epic poem about the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, Milton addresses in the poem polemical subjects such as the role and place of women in an ideal society; the relationship between God and Christ the Son; the question of personal responsibility; the role of monarchy and religion in the state; the idea of a republic. Paradise Lost, along with the Bible, was one of the most frequently read books in Colonial America, and we have in our archive Benjamin Rush's copy of Paradise Lost. In addition we also have first editions of Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, Samson Agonistes, and other beautiful and significant Milton volumes. Our study of these editions will show Milton's understanding and manipulation of the press and censorship, and suggest how Milton the revolutionary came to be recognized as one of the greatest poets in the English language.

Spring 2017

CRWR 219 Visual Poetry
Cross-listed with ENGL 219-02. Poetry began as verse recited by bards and scops going from town to town entertaining crowds with history, myths of origin, hymns, and genealogy. Rhythmic and repeating language made poetry an important aid to memory before writing existed. When the German goldsmith Johannes Gutenberg introduced moveable type in 1440 Europe, the printing press could produce around 3500 pages per day, as opposed to the page or two produced by the scribe copying by hand. Mass printing of poetry transformed the focus of the genre. We will discover the myriad ways that poetry and print interact, including through typography, illustration, and design, by looking at artifacts such as broadsides, emblem books, and artists’ books; by reading scholars and theorists discussing the evolution of poetry and print; by writing and designing our own visual poetry. Prior experience writing poetry will be useful for students taking the class.

ENGL 219 Visual Poetry
Cross-listed with CRWR 219-02. Poetry began as verse recited by bards and scops going from town to town entertaining crowds with history, myths of origin, hymns, and genealogy. Rhythmic and repeating language made poetry an important aid to memory before writing existed. When the German goldsmith Johannes Gutenberg introduced moveable type in 1440 Europe, the printing press could produce around 3500 pages per day, as opposed to the page or two produced by the scribe copying by hand. Mass printing of poetry transformed the focus of the genre. We will discover the myriad ways that poetry and print interact, including through typography, illustration, and design, by looking at artifacts such as broadsides, emblem books, and artists’ books; by reading scholars and theorists discussing the evolution of poetry and print; by writing and designing our own visual poetry. Prior experience writing poetry will be useful for students taking the class.

ENGL 392 Shakespeare: Politics/Culture
We will read seven plays representing Shakespeare's comedies, tragedies, romances, and histories: Much Ado About Nothing, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Measure for Measure, MacBeth, Lear, and The Tempest. We will also view and discuss films of several of these plays by such directors as Branaugh, Casson, Greenaway, Kurosawa, and Noble. The secondary - theoretical - reading for the course will primarily draw upon New Historicist and Cultural Materialist criticism, first practiced in the US by Stephen Greenblatt in his Renaissance Self-Fashioning (1980). Where appropriate, we will also consider contextual and feminist issues. Assignments will include an in-class performance of a scene from one of the plays, a mid-term, a brief close reading essay, and a final research paper.