About Me

I’m Michael Harrawood. And if you’re reading this it means you’ve found my web page. I didn’t make it myself. My wife, Fleur, made it and runs it for me. I have no idea how it really works and am deeply indebted to Fleur for taking care of it for me. I teach at the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College of Florida Atlantic University, and have placed some syllabi and teaching materials on this site. I’ll be developing this site as I can and when Fleur or one of my students is willing to help me with it.

Although I showed promise early in life as a scholar, some say that I was a late bloomer because I didn’t get my Ph.D until I was 46. I dunno. I got my first tenure-track job when I was 49, and tenure when I was 55. I always felt like I was blooming. After getting kicked out of Wake Forest University in 1970, I worked as a city desk reporter for the Florence, S.C. Morning News for a year to the day. Then I went to France on my twenty-second birthday (April 17, 1972) where I worked in circuses and jazz bands for seven years until my hands became paralyzed and I had to come back to the States. During my time in France and some of my time in San Francisco I was close to my college freshman English teacher who also became a sort of adoptive father to me, Judson Boyce Allen. Judson taught me to love books and reading. It was his idea to apply to Berkeley after my hands gave out on me. He died before I got any of my degrees. I waited tables in San Francisco for a while and then was admitted by Special Action to Berkeley as a freshman when I was 35. The Special Action Admission is usually reserved for athletes who have SAT scores too low to get admitted to college, and I was the only one that year who could not put a football through a spare tire at 75 yards. The Special Action was necessary because I am apparently not a high-school graduate. Berkeley was great. It was a great privilege to be in school in my 30s and 40s. Because I was generating the funds for all this, I had to leave the program for almost three years to wait tables full-time in San Francisco, at Little City Antipasti Bar in North Beach and at Amelio’s, where I worked with chef Jacky Robert. I got back into the program around 1995 and finished my dissertation with Stephen Greenblatt the next year. During this time I also took care of my friend Peter Augenthaler, who was doing his best not to die of kidney disease. (He died.) Peter and I met over philosophy and spent many a night in dark bars screaming at each other about Heidegger. He taught me a great deal and I miss him.

Courses for Fall 2020:

LIT 2000: Honors Introduction to Literature

This course is intended to introduce students to the study and analysis of literature. We will consider literature and the literary as modes of production and consumption, and will ask ourselves not only why people keep writing and reading stories, plays, poems, why we like movies, television, comics, but also why the Trustees of this university want you to take this course. This is a college writing course, and counts as credit for your Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) requirement. Sentence mechanics and new vocabulary will be important elements of our study. By the end of the course, students will have begun to form ideas of what literature was and is, why it is important to all our lives, and why we need certain critical skills in order to understand it. Students will also have begun the professionalization of their critical reading and writing skills, will have learned the elements of strong argumentation, and will have greatly increased and enhanced their writing and vocabulary skills.

We read literature because of what it tells us about ourselves. In recent years the line between what is real and what we make up about the real has become blurred. Maybe it always has been. To have a US President describe an anti-nuclear missile system using the name of a popular adventure film, or to have a Presidential candidate using lines from a character in a cop move, or using Dr. Seuss in a political argument, would seem to indicate some imaginative dissonance between fiction and reality. Jeff Foxworthy says “You might be a redneck if you think The Moonwalk was faked and Wrestling is real.” Maybe this confusion is new. Maybe it has always been there.

ENL 4333: Honors Shakespeare

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