English Course Offerings


Professors Bagby, Hardy, K. Weese; Associate Professors Davis, Varholy; Assistant Professors Nowlin, Perry
Chair: Evan R. Davis

The requirements for a major in English are 34 hours. These hours must include one semester of History of English Literature (211 or 212); one semester of American Literature (221 or 222); one course in the "literature of difference" (English 224, 226, 228, 230, or 340); one semester of Shakespeare (333 or 334); a period course (English 300, 301, 302, 303, or 304); any upper-level elective literature course, including author, genre, or special topics courses at the 300- or 400-level; Literary Criticism (English 380); and three elective courses (two in literature before 1900; one elective may be in creative writing). It is strongly recommended that students take Literary Criticism in the junior year. In the second semester of his junior year or the first semester of his senior year, each major must enroll in English 480, the Capstone Seminar, and take as a corequisite English 481, the Research Methods Seminar. At least one course in philosophy and at least two semesters in foreign languages beyond the proficiency requirements are recommended. Prospective majors are strongly encouraged in the freshman or sophomore year to take a literature course numbered below 211. English courses taken at other institutions and presented for major credit must be approved in writing by the Department of English; for current students this approval must be secured in advance, and for transfer and former students it must be secured at entrance.

The requirements for a minor in Creative Writing are 15 hours, including a minimum of four creative-writing courses from among English 250, 252, 350, and 352; and Rhetoric 301. Two of the courses must include both the beginning and advanced levels of either poetry or fiction (250 and 350, or 252 and 352). In addition, each student must take a literature course that focuses on the genre in which the student chooses to specialize. English majors who elect to complete this minor are allowed to count one course towards both the English major and the Creative Writing minor. Students completing the Creative Writing minor who elect also to complete the Rhetoric minor (see under Rhetoric) are allowed a one course overlap.

Note: All 300- and 400-level courses have the following prerequisite: any 100-level or 200-level literature course in the Department of English, or consent of the instructor.

ENGLISH 180. (3)
INTRODUCTION TO LITERATURE. This course presents ways of understanding and interpreting literature. It is also an introduction to the main kinds of writing: fiction, poetry, and drama. Students learn and develop techniques of analysis so that they can find meaning in literature; they also learn how to write critical interpretations of the works they read. Prerequisite: none. Freshmen and sophomores only. Offered: each semester.

ENGLISH 204. (3)
AMERICAN NATURE WRITING. A study of selected American works which deal with the relationship between human beings and the natural world. The course is an examination of American attitudes toward the uses of nature-as a source of delight, of ethical wisdom, and of revelation in some larger sense-and of the methods by which the individual can prepare himself to receive such benefits. Authors include Cooper, Emerson, Thoreau, Frost, Cather, Faulkner, and Silko. Prerequisite: none. Offered: spring semester of odd-numbered years.

ENGLISH 206. (3)
LITERATURE AND YOUTH. A study of the Bildungsroman, a type of novel recounting the youth and young manhood of a character attempting to learn the nature of the world, discover its meaning and pattern, and acquire a philosophy of life. Readings include works by Joyce, Wolfe, Ellison, Hemingway, Updike, Conrad, and others. Prerequisite: none. Offered: on sufficient demand.

ENGLISH 207. (3)
LITERATURE OF WAR. Major literary works concerning war are studied, with special attention to the ways in which war has occasioned great literature and to such recurring themes as suffering and heroism. Reading is concentrated in works of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries but includes works of the ancient, medieval, and Renaissance periods. Emphasis is on novels of Crane, Hemingway, Mailer, Greene, Heller, and Vonnegut. Prerequisite: none. Offered: on sufficient demand.

ENGLISH 209. (3)
THE SHORT NOVEL. This course includes British, European, American, and South American authors and works. Students read about fifteen short novels by such authors as Henry James, William Faulkner, Katherine Ann Porter, and Philip Roth or Saul Bellow; Leo Tolstoy, Franz Kafka, Thomas Mann, and Fyodor Dostoevsky; Joseph Conrad and perhaps R. L. Stevenson, E. M. Forster, D. H. Lawrence, and Gabriel Garc'a Márquez. Prerequisite: none. Offered: fall semester of even-numbered years.

ENGLISH 211-212. (3-3)
THE HISTORY OF ENGLISH LITERATURE. The first semester surveys major authors, works, and literary types from the beginnings through the eighteenth century, including Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Milton; the second semester continues the history to the present day, including Wordsworth, Tennyson, and Eliot. Appropriate critical approaches other than the historical are employed. Prerequisite: none. Offered: 211 in the fall semester; 212 in the spring semester.

ENGLISH 221-222. (3-3)
AMERICAN LITERATURE. A general study of American literature from colonial times through the Civil War (221) and from the Civil War to the present (222). We focus especially on major figures: Hawthorne, Melville, Emerson, Thoreau, Douglass, and Whitman; Dickinson, Twain, Frost, Stevens, Hughes, Faulkner, Baldwin, and others. Prerequisite: none. Offered: 221 in the fall semester; 222 in the spring semester.

ENGLISH 224. (3)
INTRODUCTION TO AFRICAN-AMERICAN LITERATURE. The works of major African- American authors are treated historically and critically, with the aim of understanding what "the American experience" has meant to African-Americans. Poetry (from Dunbar to Rita Dove) and fiction (from Toomer to Morrison) are the main concerns, but some attention is also given to non-fiction prose (from Douglass to Malcolm X). Prerequisite: none. Offered: fall semester of odd-numbered years.

ENGLISH 225. (3)
LITERATURE OF THE SOUTH. This course examines Southern literature with attention to the idea of the "Southern" writer as a geographical, cultural, and historical distinction. Within this broader category, the course explores differences of region, race, class, and gender. Readings include major literary genres (fiction, poetry, drama) as well as other cultural constructions of the South. Prerequisite: none. Offered: on sufficient demand.

ENGLISH 226. (3)
WOMEN AND LITERATURE. A study of gender as a significant force in shaping literature, affecting form, content, and style in works by both men and women worldwide. Themes include gender roles, past and present; family relationships; the women's movement as a cultural phenomenon; and male and female literary "voices." Works by various authors are considered, ranging from Jane Austen, Virginia Woolf, and Alice Walker to Charles Dickens, D. H. Lawrence, and William Styron. Prerequisite: none. Offered: fall semester of even-numbered years.

ENGLISH 228. (3)
POSTCOLONIAL LITERATURE. This course explores definitions of Postcolonialism through literature from places that are not normally canonized in Western literature courses. For example, students might read texts from India, Australia, and Africa as well as from Canada, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Readings will come primarily (but not exclusively) from the twentieth century and cover a variety of genres. Themes that the course investigates include the idea of nationality, the construction of history, categories of race and class, the complexities of cultural inheritance, and problems of narrative transmission. What does it mean to come from a certain place? Who gets to tell the history of a given country? What do governments and national identity have to do with storytelling and art? Prerequisite: none. Offered: spring semester of even-numbered years.

ENGLISH 230. (3)
MULTI-ETHNIC AMERICAN LITERATURE. Through fiction, poetry, drama, and essays, this course explores the literary imaginations of writers who are members of two different cultures and analyzes how these writers express their sense of identity and locate themselves in relation to the dominant culture. The course addresses some combination of writings by Jewish-American, Native American, Asian-American, and Chicano/a authors, in some years including them all and in some years focusing more narrowly on the literature of one or two of these groups. The course covers historical and cultural background materials to help students understand the literary themes and techniques of multi-ethnic writers. Though the bulk of the readings are written by multi-cultural authors, some readings by white American writers about people of other cultures may also be included to show how issues of ethnicity inform much of American literature. Prerequisite: none. Offered: spring semester of odd-numbered years.

ENGLISH 235. (3)
THE ART OF THE ESSAY. A study of the essay as a literary form. Students analyze classic and experimental essays for technique, content, and social and historical context. This is primarily a literature course concerned with careful reading and discussion of published essays by established writers, although students may write one or two literary essays of their own. Prerequisite: none. Offered: on sufficient demand.

ENGLISH 241. (3)
INTRODUCTION TO CINEMA. Drawing on classic through contemporary masterpieces from American and European cinema, this course first teaches students how to read the filmic image and to appreciate film style. It next addresses narrative technique in film, then introduces some critical approaches to understanding film, such as genre and auteur criticism. Finally, the course examines some films in a cultural-studies context. This course does not satisfy the college's literature requirement. Screenings are held at a time different from the class period. Prerequisite: none. Offered: spring semester.

WRITING COURSES

ENGLISH 250. (3)
INTRODUCTORY CREATIVE WRITING: POETRY. A workshop in the craft of writing poetry. The general approach is to examine selected short works as models and to present copies of student writing to the class for discussion and criticism. Prerequisite: none. Offered: fall semester.

ENGLISH 252. (3)
INTRODUCTORY CREATIVE WRITING: FICTION. A workshop in the discipline of writing fiction. Students study the techniques of short-story writers, such as Anton Chekhov and Eudora Welty, to use as models in the writing of their own stories. Prerequisite: none. Offered: fall semester.

ENGLISH 350. (3)
ADVANCED CREATIVE WRITING: POETRY. A workshop in the craft and art of writing poetry
Classes are a mix of open readings and criticism of student poems, reports, and tutorials. Students are asked to compose a chapbook-length portfolio of their own poetry by the end of the semester. Prerequisite: English 250, or consent of the instructor. Offered: spring semester.

ENGLISH 352. (3)
ADVANCED CREATIVE WRITING: FICTION. A workshop in the craft of writing fiction. Students move from brief assignments emphasizing the elements of fiction-description, point of view, character, and plot-to the writing of short stories. Prerequisite: English 252, or consent of the instructor. Offered: spring semester.

PERIOD COURSES

ENGLISH 300. (3)
MEDIEVAL ENGLISH LITERATURE. A study of Old English and Middle English literature (exclusive of Chaucer), surveying major authors and works, important literary genres, and characteristic human values of the English middle ages. Readings are in modern translation; knowledge of the Old English and Middle English languages is not required. Offered: spring semester of odd-numbered years.

ENGLISH 301. (3)
LITERATURE OF THE ENGLISH RENAISSANCE. The course explores masterpieces of this golden age of English literature, including works which supply compelling alternatives to contemporary platitudes about what constitutes greatness. Students consider the architectonic discipline as defended by Sir Philip Sidney, a utopia invented by Sir Thomas More, a wannabe politician illustrated by Ben Jonson, and the Dr. Faustus who sold his soul to the devil in Marlowe's play. Herbert, Donne, Spenser, and others will also figure in the course. Offered: spring semester of even-numbered years.

ENGLISH 302. (3)
EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY LITERATURE. A critical study of the major writers of the eighteenth century, particularly Pope, Swift, and Samuel Johnson, and of the central imaginative concerns of the transition from the Renaissance world view to the Romantic and post-Romantic eras. There is a concentration on satire, but with some attention to drama, the novel, lyric poetry, and miscellaneous prose. Offered: spring semester of even-numbered years.

ENGLISH 303. (3)
THE ENGLISH ROMANTICS. The six major Romantics-Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, and Keats-are read critically. Primary emphasis is on the poetic vision of each writer, with some attention also to the continuing struggle of "the Romantic imagination." Offered: fall semester of even-numbered years.

ENGLISH 304. (3)
VICTORIAN LITERATURE. This course concentrates on the major Victorian poets- Browning, Tennyson, and Arnold-and samples the minor ones. It examines the prose writings of Darwin, Mill, and Arnold; and it peeks into the prose fiction of some significant Victorian novelists-probably Dickens, Anthony Trollope, and a Brontë. Offered: fall semester of odd-numbered years.

GENRE COURSES

ENGLISH 311. (3)
EPIC WRITING. In this course, the nature of the epic and of episodic storytelling is considered. The course will begin with the Odyssey and include the Epic of Gilgamesh as well as selected texts from the English, American, and broader European traditions. Along the way, a number of questions connected to the epic genre are examined: how epics represent their political and social contexts, how epics establish a fictional world in their opening lines, how this genre uses the episode to isolate and illuminate action or thought, in what ways notions of the heroic evolve as this genre develops in later traditions. The relationship between the epic and different forms of storytelling is also considered-from oral to early writings to mass produced print to visual media-and how differing media shape narrative conventions. Offered: fall semester of odd-numbered years.

ENGLISH 313. (3)
ENGLISH DRAMA. This survey of English drama before 1800 considers the native and continental influences that produced a tradition of drama in English, how the development of standing theatres in 16th-century London led to a flowering of the form, and the resurgence of drama in the 18th century after the dormant Revolutionary years. Readings range from medieval mysteries and moralities to 18th-century libertine comedy, excluding Shakespeare. Authors may include Machiavelli, Kyd, Marlowe, Jonson, Sheridan, Goldsmith, and Molière. Offered: spring semester of odd-numbered years.

ENGLISH 314. (3)
MODERN DRAMA. American, British, and European plays since 1880 are read. Playwrights may include Ibsen, Strindberg, Chekhov, Shaw, O'Neill, Pirandello, Garc'a Lorca, Brecht, Tennessee Williams, and Arthur Miller. Offered: on sufficient demand.

ENGLISH 316. (3)
MODERN BRITISH AND AMERICAN POETRY. A critical study of major poets of the twentieth century, such as Yeats, Eliot, Frost, Williams, Stevens, Hughes, Levertov, and Ammons. The course is intended less as an historical overview than as a close examination of the poetic worlds of the individual writers. Offered: spring semester of even-numbered years.

ENGLISH 317. (3)
ENGLISH NOVEL. The English novel is studied from its inception with Defoe and Fielding in the eighteenth century to the end of the nineteenth century. Major novelists to be read also include Austen, the Brontë sisters, Dickens, and Hardy. Offered: fall semester of odd-numbered years.

ENGLISH 318. (3)
MODERN BRITISH AND AMERICAN NOVEL. Major twentieth-century novelists in English are read, including Conrad, Joyce, D. H. Lawrence, Graham Greene, Hemingway, Faulkner, and Steinbeck. Offered: spring semester of even-numbered years.

ENGLISH 320. (3)
THE SHORT STORY. Readings are drawn from American, British, and European short stories, and from criticism and theory of fiction. Authors may include Poe, Hawthorne, James, Twain, O. Henry, Lardner, Hemingway, and Faulkner; Joyce, Saki, Maugham, Mansfield, D. H. Lawrence, and H. G. Wells; Maupassant, Chekhov, Pushkin, Kafka, Garc'a Márquez, and Thomas Mann. Offered: spring semester of odd-numbered years.

English322. (3)
CONTEMPORARY FICTION. Readings are drawn from the work of major novelists writing in English since 1945, with emphasis on fiction written since the 1970s. The reading list, which reflects the cultural diversity of highly regarded writers in the contemporary period, evolves as new authors emerge or established figures produce new works of fiction. Authors taught recently include Tim O'Brien, Kazuo Ishiguro, Jane Smiley, Toni Morrison, Julian Barnes, and Cormac McCarthy, among many others. Innovations in narrative technique are considered in relation to the novels' thematic content. Offered: fall semester of even-numbered years.

English323. (3)
CONTEMPORARY POETRY. This course is a survey and study of contemporary poetry. The course will focus on poetry written from the 1970s to the present, though earlier work may be read to provide appropriate perspective. Though mostly centering on English-language verse (primarily American and British writers), the reading list also gives attention to contemporary poetry in translation. The course focuses closely on contemporary form and prosody (not forgetting that free-verse is not free from verse, and that formal poetry is not free of its informalities) as well as content, attempting to take into its ambit a wide range of poets, styles, and concerns. Offered: fall semester of odd-numbered years.

ENGLISH 330. (3)
CHAUCER. The Canterbury Tales, Troilus and Criseyde, and other main poems of Chaucer are studied. Attention is given to the literary and cultural background of Chaucer's works. Most readings are in Middle English, but prior knowledge of the Middle English language is not required. Offered: fall semester of odd-numbered years.

ENGLISH 333-334. (3-3)
SHAKESPEARE. The early comedies and the histories, the sonnets, and Venus and Adonis are treated in the first semester. The "problem plays," the great tragedies, and the romances are read in the second semester. Both courses stress Shakespeare's plays in performance as well as the development of Shakespeare as a literary artist. Offered: 333 in the fall semester; 334 in the spring semester.

ENGLISH 335. (3)
MILTON. A seminar on the writings, life, and times of John Milton. The course begins with close reading of Milton's early works (for example, "L'Allegro," "Il Penseroso," "Lycidas," and Comus), his sonnets, and selected prose, including "Of Education," "Areopagitica," and sections of Christian Doctrine. Most of the semester is then devoted to careful study of Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, and Samson Agonistes. Offered: fall semester of even-numbered years.

ENGLISH 336. (3)
JANE AUSTEN. A study of Austen's six novels, juvenilia and selected letters critically considered, focusing on her subject of the growth of the mind and on her style. The question of whether Austen is an eighteenth- or nineteenth-century writer, a classic or a romantic artist, a "revolutionary" or a "conservative" is central, but emphasis is on the fiction, not on the revolutionary period in which she lived. Offered: on sufficient demand.

ENGLISH 337. (3)
DICKENS. A study of Dickens's novels and his development as a writer, focusing primarily on the evolution of his style and characterizations, but with some attention also to special topics like Dickens's humor, his social themes, and the serial publication of the novels. At least one of the long novels (e.g., Bleak House) is read throughout the semester in its serial parts. Offered: on sufficient demand.

ENGLISH 338. (3)
FAULKNER. Readings for this course include at least five of Faulkner's novels, many short stories, and some Faulkner miscellany, all positioned against the backdrops of Modernism and the American South. The course also includes some shorter works by other 20th-century authors and several critical approaches to this complex and innovative author. Offered: spring semester of odd-numbered years.

ENGLISH 339. (3)
HEMINGWAY. The major novels, stories, and essays of Ernest Hemingway are read and critically evaluated. The relationship between Hemingway's personal life and the style, subject matter, and heroic code of his fiction is central, but emphasis is on the fiction, not the life. Offered: on sufficient demand.

ENGLISH 340. (3)
TONI MORRISON. A study of seven of Morrison's novels, from The Bluest Eye to Paradise, and selections from her literary criticism, as well as a consideration of criticism written about this Nobel Prize-winning author. Central issues include narrative technique, treatment of race and gender, and the historical/cultural background of the novels. Offered: spring semester of even-numbered years. [English 340 will satisfy the literature of difference requirement for majors, OR the upper-level or free elective requirement.]

LANGUAGE AND CRITICISM

ENGLISH 380. (3)
LITERARY CRITICISM. A study of critical theories, especially of modern trends in criticism, and an introduction to the practice of critical techniques. Offered: fall semester.

ENGLISH 401. (3)
HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE. A general introduction to the English language as modern linguistics defines and describes the evolutionary forces that have determined its sound- and form-systems, syntax, and vocabulary. Considerable attention is paid to identifying the diagnostic features of the various phases in the development of the language, to the social and other non-linguistic factors in language development, and to the peculiar history of American English and its dialects. Offered: on sufficient demand.

SEE ALSO UNDER CLASSICAL STUDIES: Classical Studies 201, English Etymology; and Linguistics 301 and 302, Descriptive and Historical Linguistics.

CAPSTONE EXPERIENCE

In the second semester of his junior year or the first semester of his senior year, each major must enroll in English 480, the Capstone Seminar, and take as a corequisite English 481, the Research Methods Seminar.

ENGLISH 480. (3)
CAPSTONE SEMINAR FOR ENGLISH MAJORS. In this course students engage a special topic in English and select individual research topics on which to do guided independent work resulting in a substantial critical research paper. While the class as a whole covers readings relating to the topic of the course, each student is expected to find further primary and secondary texts related to his own work. During the semester each student gives oral presentations, writes brief thought papers and/or summaries of critical works, and produces drafts of his final essay. The final essay is graded by the course instructor and a second reader from within the department. Students are normally expected to complete this course in the spring of the junior year or the fall of the senior year. When offered as the capstone, this course may not fulfill other requirements for the major. This course is also linked to a one-hour research methods seminar. Corequisite: English 481. Offered: each semester.

ENGLISH 481. (1)
RESEARCH METHODS SEMINAR FOR ENGLISH MAJORS. In this course advanced English majors who are working on their capstone projects develop and strengthen the skills they need for independent research. The syllabus for the course is keyed to the schedule in the 480 course. Tasks and topics include developing an annotated bibliography, honing library skills, adhering to citation formats, and designing oral presentations appropriate to literary studies. Special emphasis is placed on effective use of critical discourse and on writing workshops. Corequisite: English 480. Offered: each semester.