Dr. Evan R. Davis, Chair
Hampden Sydney, VA 23943
Professors Bagby, Hardy, K. Weese; Associate Professors Davis, VarholyL; Assistant Professors Nowlin, Perry; Visiting Assistant Professor Rothschild
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 or Chaucer or Milton at the 300 level (330, 334, or 335); a period course (English 300, 301, 302, 303, or 304); any two upper-level elective literature courses, including author, genre, or special topics courses at the 300 level; Literary Theory and Criticism (English 380); and two elective courses (one in literature before 1900; one elective may be in creative writing). It is strongly recommended that students take Literary Theory and Criticism in the junior year. In the second semester of the junior year or the first semester of the senior year, each major must enroll in English 480, the Capstone Seminar, and take as a corequisite English 481, the Research Methods Seminar. Prospective majors are strongly encouraged to take a literature course numbered at the 100 level in their freshman or sophomore year. 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: The English Department offers several sections of the following 100-level courses each year. Please consult TigerWeb for the precise courses offered each semester. These courses are especially suitable for first- and second-year students beginning the English major or satisfying the College's general literature requirement. Students may take as many different 100-level literature courses as they like for credit, and all will satisfy the general literature requirement, but only one such course will fulfill a requirement for the English major.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 190. (3)
FATHERS AND SONS IN LITERATURE. This course explores how literature treats issues of masculinity as they are handed down and transformed from one generation to the next. With attention to literary fathers and sons, students develop techniques for reading and analyzing works from several historical periods and genres, possibly including poetry, fiction, nonfiction, drama, and/or film. Related topics to be considered might include the representation of the family, the role of the artist, and the possibility of language as a place for experimentation and social change. Prerequisite: none.
ENGLISH 192. (3)
LITERATURE AND YOUTH. This course focuses on literary works--short stories, novels, poetry, some films--that dramatize the experience of coming of age in a complex world. Students read versions of the Bildungsroman (or novel of education) and the Künstlerroman (or novel of the growth of the artist), in the process considering the varying ways in which young men and young women experience the transition from youth to adulthood. In addition, students develop techniques of reading, interpreting, and analyzing works from several historical periods and genres. Prerequisite: none.
ENGLISH 194. (3)
LITERATURE OF WAR. This course introduces students to a wide variety of writing about the topic of war, across different time periods and cultures, ranging from antiquity to the 21st century, and including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, drama, and other types of literary expression. Class discussions focuses on literary form and interpretation, especially the ways in which literature works to represent the experiences of war. Assessment includes regular short papers, longer essays, and student presentations. Prerequisite: none.
ENGLISH 199. (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 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 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 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.
ENGLISH 243. (3)
THE SHORT NOVEL IN TRANSLATION. 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 Garcia Márquez. Prerequisite: none. Offered: fall semester of even-numbered years.
ENGLISH 244. (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 245. (3)
SATIRE. An introduction to the tradition of literary satire. The course emphasizes understanding satiric techniques such as irony, parody, caricature, hoaxes, and the creation of a satiric persona. A subsidiary concern is the historical development of the genre from classical literature to the present. Writers to be studied vary, but may include Juvenal, Horace, Butler, Swift, Pope, Voltaire, Blake, Byron, Carlyle, Twain, Bierce, Waugh, Orwell, Vonnegut, and Atwood. Offered: fall semester of even-numbered years.
ENGLISH 257. (3)
FICTION INTO FILM. An examination of how several notable works of fiction have been adapted for the screen. After beginning with general principles of narrative theory and some general principles of film aesthetics, the course then focuses on the different ways that stories are told in short fiction, novel, and film. The texts included are ones that present some interesting challenges for adaptation from one medium to another, with the films often representing significant departures from the print text. Emphasis is placed on understanding the important differences between print and film media for narrative and narration. Offered: on sufficient demand.
ENGLISH 258. (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 259. (3)
HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE. An introductory survey of the history of the English language from its Indo European roots through to the 21st century. The course covers major linguistic concepts important to the development of English but situates linguistic components within the context of historical, cultural, and literary change. Offered: spring semester of odd-numbered years.
ENGLISH 270. (3)
INTRODUCTION TO SHAKESPEARE. An introduction to Shakespeare's language and his major poetic and dramatic works. Texts are grounded in their historical contexts, and particular attention is given to Shakespeare's use and development of literary forms and themes. Offered: fall semester.
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.
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, Garcia 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, Garcia Márquez, and Thomas Mann. Offered: spring semester of odd-numbered years.
ENGLISH 322. (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.
ENGLISH 323. (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 334. (3)
SPECIAL TOPICS IN SHAKESPEARE. A thematic consideration of some of Shakespeare's works in their cultural and literary contexts and an introduction to literary criticism and scholarship in Shakespeare studies. Primary readings may include selections from the long narrative poems, the sonnets, and the tragedies, comedies, histories, and romances. Offered: 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)
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)
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.]
ENGLISH 360. (3)
AUTHORSHIP AND THE TECHNOLOGY OF LITERATURE. This course examines the ways that literature has been shaped by changes in authorship and changes in textual technologies. Students consider questions such as how authors have been educated, compensated, and represented; the importance of authorship in literary theory; and how literature is affected by the way it is written and read, whether orally, in manuscript, in print, or in electronic form. Offered: fall semester of odd-numbered years.
ENGLISH 380. (3)
LITERARY THEORY AND CRITICISM. A study of critical theories, especially of modern trends in criticism, and an introduction to the practice of critical techniques. Offered: fall semester.
In the second semester of the junior year or the first semester of the 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.
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.
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.