Doug Phillips portrait

Doug Phillips

Instructor of English
Office
JRC 349
Hours
(Fall 2014) M/W 4:00-5:00pm; also by appointment
Phone
(651) 962-5655

Writers whose sentences sparkle on the page -- Shakespeare, Virginia Woolf, Samuel Beckett, James Baldwin, David Foster Wallace -- are the likely stars of the classes I teach. I've also a thing for philosophy and critical theory, from the Ancients to the Existentialists to Zizek and Lacan. My publications include pieces on Beckett, Heidegger, Shakespeare, Zizek, Wittgenstein, &, most recently, T.S. Eliot.

Fall 2014 Courses

Fall 2014 Courses
Course - Section Title Days Time Location
ENGL 203 - 06 20-Something Narratives M - W - - - - 1730 - 1915 OEC 210
CRN: 42486 4 Credit Hours Instructor: Doug P. Phillips In this course we will examine two strains of the "20-something narrative," exemplified by Fitzgerald's THIS SIDE OF PARADISE and Hemingway's THE SUN ALSO RISES (we'll read both), in which characters in their twenties attempt to navigate their way through the tricky waters of getting on (or not getting on, as the case may be) in the world. The works to be read in this class--all spanking good & life-changing--will divide between the light and the heavy, the sadly funny and the ultra-sad. They will also give you a preview of what heights you might aspire to--and to what depths you might sink. The writing load for this course is a minimum of 15 pages of formal revised writing.

Schedule Details

Location Time Day(s)
ENGL 203 - 09 Existential America - T - R - - - 0955 - 1135 MCH 231
CRN: 42490 4 Credit Hours Instructor: Doug P. Phillips In this course we will examine a body of work that traffics in such existential themes as freedom and responsibility, authenticity and bad faith, anguish and abandonment, identity and subjectivity, and choice and commitment. While some of our readings will reach beyond our own shores (Sartre, Beauvoir, Camus, Kafka, Nietzsche, Dostoevsky, and Kierkegaard), we will mostly focus on works by 20th-century American writers: Alexander Maksik's YOU DESERVE NOTHING, Chuck Palahniuk's FIGHT CLUB, Jon Krakauer's INTO THE WILD, Flannery O'Connor's A GOOD MAN IS HARD TO FIND, James Baldwin's THE FIRE NEXT TIME, Nella Larsen's QUICKSAND, and Horace McCoy's THEY SHOOT HORSES, DON'T THEY? In the words of Zadie Smith, we're going to read a selection of very good books in this course, concentrating on whatever is most particular to them in the hope that this might help us understand whatever is most particular to us. The writing load for this course is a minimum of 15 pages of formal revised writing.

Schedule Details

Location Time Day(s)
ENGL 203 - 12 Existential America - T - R - - - 1330 - 1510 OEC 305
CRN: 42487 4 Credit Hours Instructor: Doug P. Phillips In this course we will examine a body of work that traffics in such existential themes as freedom and responsibility, authenticity and bad faith, anguish and abandonment, identity and subjectivity, and choice and commitment. While some of our readings will reach beyond our own shores (Sartre, Beauvoir, Camus, Kafka, Nietzsche, Dostoevsky, and Kierkegaard), we will mostly focus on works by 20th-century American writers: Alexander Maksik's YOU DESERVE NOTHING, Chuck Palahniuk's FIGHT CLUB, Jon Krakauer's INTO THE WILD, Flannery O'Connor's A GOOD MAN IS HARD TO FIND, James Baldwin's THE FIRE NEXT TIME, Nella Larsen's QUICKSAND, and Horace McCoy's THEY SHOOT HORSES, DON'T THEY? In the words of Zadie Smith, we're going to read a selection of very good books in this course, concentrating on whatever is most particular to them in the hope that this might help us understand whatever is most particular to us. The writing load for this course is a minimum of 15 pages of formal revised writing.

Schedule Details

Location Time Day(s)

J-Term 2015 Courses

J-Term 2015 Courses
Course - Section Title Days Time Location

Spring 2015 Courses

Spring 2015 Courses
Course - Section Title Days Time Location
ENGL 203 - 01 Unhappiness:Nothing is Funnier M - W - F - - 0815 - 0920 OEC 210
CRN: 22466 4 Credit Hours Instructor: Doug P. Phillips If your literary education has been up to this point all gloom and doom, whereby pretty much every character you’ve encountered—Holden, Hamlet, Hester, Gatsby, R & J, etc.—suffers greatly or dies tragically or both, then the purpose of this course is to offer you the funnier side of life. Unhappy all the same, but funnier. And so I’ve taken my title from Samuel Beckett’s play WAITING FOR GODOT, a “tragicomedy” in which one tramp tells another, “Nothing is funnier than unhappiness.” Whether, though, this proposition is actually true will be for us to discover as we work our way through such “tragicomic” masterpieces of drama as WAITING FOR GODOT, Luigi Pirandello’s SIX CHARACTERS IN SEARCH OF AN AUTHOR, Sarah Ruhl’sDEAD MAN'S CELL PHONE, Will Eno’s THOM PAIN, Anton Chekhov’s THE CHERRY ORCHARD, and Harold Pinter’s THE HOMECOMING. We might also read one or two of the following novels: Sam Lipsyte’s HOME LAND, Nicholson Baker’s THE MEZZANINE, Thomas Bernhard’s THE LOSER, Colson Whitehead’s THE INTUITIONIST, Alejandro Zambra’s BONSAI, or Zadie Smith’s WHITE TEETH. And we will read lots of short fiction by the likes of Voltaire, Twain, Kafka, Dorothy Parker, Kurt Vonnegut, Junot Diaz, and David Foster Wallace. There will still be plenty of gloom and doom, and the characters we encounter will of course suffer all kinds of humiliation and unhappiness, but with Beckett and others as our guides, we might at least have the last laugh. The writing load for this course is a minimum of 15 pages of formal revised writing.

Schedule Details

Location Time Day(s)
ENGL 221 - 01 Modern European Classics M - W - F - - 0935 - 1040 OEC 207
CRN: 20103 4 Credit Hours Instructor: Doug P. Phillips Through our study of European literature and some of its most memorable characters—Moliere’s Tartuffe, Voltaire’s Candide, Flaubert’s Emma Bovary, Dostoevsky’s Underground Man, Kafka’s Bug-Man, etc.—we will dig deep into life’s most pressing questions, not least of which is what makes for a good life. Our study will also give us the chance to better understand who we are today in light of the cultural shifts and philosophical drifts that have come before us. In the words of the writer Zadie Smith, we're going to read a lot of good books in this class (all in translation), “concentrating on whatever is most particular to them, in the hope that this might help us understand whatever is most particular to us.” This course satisfies the Early Literature requirement for English majors. Prerequisites: ENGL 201, 202, 203, or 204.

Schedule Details

Location Time Day(s)