Dr. G. is pleased and excited to return for his second year at GWCS and relinquish the mantle of “new guy.”  He has two primary reasons for teaching English, both of which reflect his passion for the subject.  First and foremost is to help students develop the required language skills to participate fully as productive members of society.  This necessarily involves the reading and critical analysis of a variety of texts to enhance each student’s ability to become active, critical, and creative users (both consumers and producers) of written, spoken, and visual language. Second is to help students develop a fondness for literature – manifested in personal recreational reading – and a recognition that reading is indeed fun and fulfilling.

Dr. G. – much to his continuing surprise – has lived his entire life in the DC/Baltimore area (except for his junior year “abroad” in Montana). Nonetheless, he has traveled extensively, including leading high school-aged students on month-long bicycle tours in the U.S. and Europe. He received his BA in English (minor in Theatre Arts) from Towson University and his MS and PhD in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University.

Extracurricular activities:  Improv, Hiking Club, Coffee House


Comedy and Humor Across Literary Eras

What’s so freakin’ funny about comedy?  Excellent question; I’m glad you asked.  Now let me ask you a question:  what’s the difference between comedy and humor?  Here’s one answer bound to dissatisfy: according to, comedy is a literary genre (i.e., a category of literary composition) whose purpose is to amuse an audience, whereas humor is a literary tool that makes an audience laugh, or that intends to induce amusement or laughter.  Did that clear things up?  Well, this class will help with that.

In this course, we will explore comedy as a literary genre and humor as a literary tool.  While everything we will read was written with the intention to amuse, chances are you will not find every reading entertaining or amusing.  What you find amusing as an individual depends on several factors, including who you are, where you are, and when you are, but most humor doesn’t remain funny forever.  Why is it that something you found outrageously funny a few years ago now seems banal or stupid?  Why is it that much comedy does not translate across cultural and historic divides while other comedy withstands the test of time?  We will look into some reasons that might explain why comedy/humor is ephemeral (short-lived) or enduring.

As part of our exploration of comedy, we will delve into the history of comedy as a genre, types of literary comedy, characteristics of comedy, and theories about what makes us laugh.  We will read comic dramas (plays), essays, short stories, poems, and novels.  We will also touch on the therapeutic effects of humor and laughter.  We will have fun.

World Literature II:  From the Middle Ages to Modern Times

This course begins where World Literature I (Ancient Literature) concludes – after the fall of the Roman Empire.  It will include a sampling of some of the great works of literature that you will not only find interesting and enjoyable, but will also make you a fascinating conversationalist at parties.  Seriously, who is not impressed by someone who can:

·        Explain why Beowulf is to England what Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey were to ancient Greece (catch that analogy?)

·        Describe each of Dante’s Nine Circles of Hell and who dwells in each

·        Discuss the real story behind the Arthurian legends  

·        Clarify why Chaucer is considered the father of English poetry and made the English language respectable 

·        Quote from memory lines from Shakespeare’s plays or sonnets

·        Illuminate which Rationalist philosopher Voltaire satirizes in Candide and why?

And that’s just a small sample. As you read literary works in this class, you will be able to look backward to identify allusions to the ancient classics as well as look forward to recognize how the works remain relevant today and continue to inspire adaptations.