All of the 3-hour courses described below-except 241, 350 and 352-satisfy the general literature requirement of the core.
All 300- and 400-level courses have as a prerequisite any 100- or 200-level course or permission of the instructor.
ATTENTION MAJORS: English majors should take English 380: Literary Theory and Criticism in the fall of their junior year. They should take 480/481 (Capstone) during their senior year unless they are considering an honors project, in which case they should talk to their advisor about taking it earlier. It is recommended that students complete 380 and two other 300-level courses before enrolling in the Capstone.
Students who have taken more than one English course should set a goal of joining Sigma Tau Delta, the English Honors Society. Not only is STD a great addition to your resume, but it also is a ticket to special events with other lovers of literature, like this fall's Opera Symposium and trip in Richmond (pictured at right). To qualify, students must have a B or greater average in at least three English courses, one of which can be a creative writing course, and a GPA of 3.0 or better. If you are interested in Sigma Tau Delta, just tell any member of the English department.
English 185.01 Word and Image from William Blake to Graphic Novels
Prof. Davis, TR 12:30‒1:50
It's tempting to imagine that literature enters our minds unhindered by our five senses. But to encounter a text is to use our eyes (or ears or fingers), and the visual appearance of texts often informs their meaning. In this course, we will be examining works from the last two hundred years in which words are inseparable from images. After looking at Blake's Songs of Innocence and of Experience, we will consider ekphrastic poetry (poetry thatrepresents visual art); several classic children's books; a photographically illustrated novel by W.G. Sebald; and graphic novels that might include those of Art Spiegelman, Alison Bechdel, and Chris Ware. Everything in the course will provoke us to grapple with both word and image, or sometimes word as image. By end of the course, you should be literally seeing literature in a new way. Students can expect daily reading responses, two class presentations, and three essays. The course is limited to freshmen and sophomores.
English 199.01 American Nature Writing
Prof. Horne, TR 12:30-1:50
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 nature as a source of delight, terror, ethical wisdom, and revelation in some larger sense. We will also read works that ponder the connections between nature, health, and justice in the American landscape and that register the trauma of a natural world in peril. Authors include Henry David Thoreau, Robert Frost, Edward Abbey, Louise Erdrich, and Mary Oliver, among others.
English 212.01 History of British Literature, Romanticism to the Present
Prof. Davis, TR 10:00-11:20
This course will introduce you to some of the greatest poems, plays, and novels of British Literature written between 1800 and the present. Because literature and culture are always intertwined, and because these are two centuries of immense cultural change, our close readings will be complemented by considerations of how literature has been shaped by extra-literary forces, such as the industrial revolution, the expansion and retraction of the British empire, two world wars, and new technologies. Students can expect daily reading responses, two essays, two tests, and a final exam.
English 222.01 American Literature
Prof. Perry, MWF 10:30-11:20
This course is intended to be a survey that integrates critical reading, thinking, and writing about phenomena and issues in the trajectory of American Literature since the Civil War. In the course we will read a variety of writers and their writings, including fiction, poetry and the occasional essay. Writers discussed will include Whitman, Dickinson, Frost, Cather, Robinson, Anderson, Ellison, and many others. In discussion and in written work, students will analyze the texts in ways that engage and challenge their previous experiences with literature and the country (this one!) that produced it. To be specific, your reading and writing in this course will investigate the multifaceted ways in which American writers have approached their craft and the ways also in which they have approached the difficult task of carrying on as human beings.
English 222.02 American Literature
Prof. Horne, MWF 9:30-10:20
This course is a survey that will introduce you to the richly expansive tradition of American literature after the Civil War and up to the present. Exploring a range of literary genres-such as novels, short stories, essays, and poetry-we will study how major authors negotiate American identities and interact with historical developments. We will consider how authors respond to and shape literary movements such as realism, modernism, and postmodernism while also navigating a uniquely American cultural legacy. We will primarily use the Norton Anthology, and writers discussed will include Mark Twain, Henry James, Langston Hughes, Flannery O'Connor, and Octavia Butler, among others.
English 230.01 Multi-Ethnic American Literature
Prof. Weese, TR 8:30-9:50
This course will explore-through fiction, poetry, drama, and essays-the literary techniques and thematic concerns of Native American, Asian American, Chicano/a and Latino/a authors. We'll explore how writers who are members of two different cultures express their sense of identity in literature and address ideas about how race is constructed. We will likely read a bildungsroman (novelof education and development) for each of the multi-ethnic groups that we study as a means to understand both the particulars of that group's experience in America and as a means to make crosscultural comparisons among different ethnic groups. Readings will include historical background materials and materials relating to literary and oral traditions from the various cultures that influence twentieth-century multi-ethnic works of literature. Authors we'll study will likely include N. Scott Momaday, Leslie Marmon Silko, Rudolfo Anaya, Gary Soto, Lorna Dee Cervantes, Junot Diaz, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Bharati Mukherjee, among others. In addition to writing papers and taking a midterm and a final exam, students will give an oral presentation on cultural contexts for and/or theoretical approaches to particular authors whose works we study.
English 241.01 Introduction to Cinema
Prof. Weese, MWF 10:30-11:20
This course will introduce students to ways of interpreting and writing about film. Throughout the semester, we will focus upon narrative strategies in film: how are stories told in film, and how are they told differently than in prose fiction? Who narrates a film? What are common patterns of plot development? How do film genres evolve? We will also emphasize formal techniques used in filmmaking to tell stories. How does editing work? What is continuity editing, and what are some alternatives to it? How does a film's soundtrack relate to the image? How do mise-en-scène and cinematography influence the ways that we interpret a film? We will study all of these elements of cinema through a mix of classic films such as Citizen Kane, recent award-winning films such as Whiplash, and experimental cult films such as Christopher Nolan's Memento. Students will view films outside of class, as homework. A textbook will supplement the primary materials. Students will take midterm and final exams, present a scene analysis to the class, complete several short written exercises (sometimes in groups), and compose two analytic essays.
English 243.01 The Short Novel in Translation
Prof. Toth, TR 2:00-3:20
Edgar Allan Poe once said that the best fiction is fiction one can read in one sitting, where the author can maintain their spell on us. In this course, we may not be able to read everything in one sitting, but we're going to come close! In The Short Novel in Translation, we will explore 11-15 short novels, all under 150 pages each, written between 1899 and 2004. Early twentieth century authors we will read include Kate Chopin, Joseph Conrad, and Jean Toomer. We'll then read midcentury works by George Orwell, Albert Camus, and Ernest Hemingway before moving on to thrilling postmodern fiction by Nicholson Baker, Joyce Carol Oates, and Gabriel Garcia Márquez.
English 300.01 Medieval English Literature
Prof. Nowlin, MWF 10:30-11:20
Terrifying monsters, chivalrous knights, and feats of bravery in the service of love and duty are perhaps among the first things that come to mind when we think of medieval literature. To be sure,all of those things are an important part of literature in the English Middle Ages. But the period, spanning (very roughly) from the fifth through the fifteenth centuries, also offers a dazzling array of topics, themes, authors, and genres. The work of our class will be to read, discuss, and write about awide variety of genres and forms, including epic, lyric, religious and romance narrative, tale collections, history writing, dream visions, allegory, spiritual meditations, and writing intended formoral and philosophical instruction. We'll also take the first steps toward exploring the forms of English in which some of these medieval texts are written, examining the connections between Modern English and Old and Middle English, and working to understand how languages and literatures contribute to shaping and defining cultures and communities. We will also discuss strategies for engaging texts effectively, for organizing reactions to texts into cogent arguments, for situating our own engagements within a larger field of literary criticism and scholarship, and for opening rewarding discussion with classmates and colleagues. Students can expect to complete regular response papers and discussion posts, longer essays and writing assignments, and exams.The English Middle Ages are distant, yet they resonate strongly with our own time. What we find when we look carefully at medieval texts are things at once strange and strangely familiar.
English 313.01 English Drama
Prof. Varholy, MWF 9:30-10:20
Slapstick comedy, revenge, mistaken identity, conquest, trafficking with the devil-early English dramatists knew what would keep audiences coming back for more. In this survey of non Shakespearean English drama before 1800, we'll consider a variety of comedies and tragedies key tothe development of the English dramatic tradition-from medieval morality plays, like The Second Shepherd's Play, through early modern tragedies, like John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi, to Restoration comedies, like Oliver Goldsmith's She Stoops to Conquer. Along the way, we'll focus on a few key works, such as Thomas Kyd's The Spanish Tragedy, which established conventions that other dramatists followed for decades. To supplement our understanding of the individual plays, we'll also discuss classical and continental influences that shaped English drama and how the establishment of standing theaters in London revolutionized the entertainment industry of its time. Film clips and acting exercises will help us to bring these dramas to life.
English 334.01 Shakespeare: Shakespeare and Crime
Prof. Varholy, MW 2:30-3:50
Murder, rape, treason, infanticide, witchcraft, suicide, incest, prostitution, extortion-in many of Shakespeare's plays, people behave badly. In this course, we will study a selection of the plays from across Shakespeare's career, including Measure for Measure, Richard III, and King Lear. As we look at some of Shakespeare's depictions of crime, we'll consider why theater audiences were and are attracted to misconduct and what the plays teach us about norms of behavior in early modern London. Class acting workshops and film versions will help us to bring Shakespeare's words to life.
English 385.01 Modernism
Prof. Toth, TR 12:30-1:50
Writing from London in 1924, Virginia Woolf remarked that "On or about December 1910, human character changed." Whether or not this is true is debatable, yet Woolf was not alone in sensing a spirit of exciting changes in science, technology, politics, and art that led to a felt rift between the literature of the nineteenth century and that of the twentieth. In this course, we will explore American, British, and Irish literature written between 1900 and 1945, the so-called "modern"period. As we read works by authors as varied as Sherwood Anderson, Nella Larsen, James Joyce, and Rebecca West, we will attend to the different characteristics of Modernism: the avant-garde, the experimental, the traditional, and the socially conscious, among others.
English 480.01 Capstone Seminar: Law and Literature
Prof. Varholy, MW 12:30-1:50
One need only read The Oresteia, written in Greece in 432 B.C., to recognize that an interest in the intertwining practices of law and literature has existed for centuries. The contemporary interdisciplinary field of Law and Literature, however, dates from the 1970s and concerns itself primarily with two areas of study: the law in literature (representations of legal actions, persons and/or events in imaginative writings) and the law as literature (rhetorical, imaginative, and/or narrative features of legal practice). In this capstone course, our primary focus will be a consideration of how fictional texts, like William Shakespeare's Measure for Measure (1603), Herman Melville's Billy Budd (1891), or Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen's The Exonerated (2002), demonstrate the meanings of law as understood both by those who enforce it and by those who are subject to it. Our secondary focus will be a study of the role of aesthetic creation in the actual workings of the law (Bridewell Court Books [1560s], The First Amendment , documents related to the allegations of rape at Duke University ). Additionally, we will read critical accounts about the field of law and literature and its intellectual goals. Students will have the opportunity to write their capstone papers on a wide variety of literary and/or cultural texts. (Co-requisite: English 481)
English 481.01 Research Methods for English Majors (1 credit hour)
Prof. Nowlin, F 1:30‒2:20
In this course, advanced English majors who are working on their capstone projects will develop and strengthen the skills they need to conduct successful independent research. The syllabus for this course will be coordinated with the syllabus for ENGL 480. Tasks and topics will include engaging meaningfully with literary criticism, using critical discourse effectively, developing library research skills, structuring long, written arguments about literature, reviewing citation formats, and designing oral presentations appropriate to literary studies. Students can expect to complete presentations, writing workshops, and additional research and writing assignments designed to supplement their research projects for ENGL 480. This course is restricted to students who are completing the Capstone requirement for the major. (Co-requisite: ENGL 480
[*The following Capstone course will be taught by Prof. Hardy in Fall 2017]
English 480: Literary Magazines as Contexts and Contested Spaces
What do the last chapter of Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, a letter on "Flattery and Violence, "Marianne Moore's poetry, and an ad for the Peasant Pottery Shop all have in common? They all appear in the same 1915 issue of the little magazine, The Egoist. In this capstone course we will study the contexts of literary magazines, in some cases called "little magazines," as they relate to the literary works that appear in them. Literary magazines have often created spaces for avant-garde works or for writing connected to political or specific aesthetic movements.
In this course, we will examine these publications as cross sections of social and literary history. We will rely on digital archives like The Modernist Journals Project and will undertake some archival detective work in the College library collections. Students can expect to specialize in a single magazine-its authors, editorial approaches, publication history-in their capstone projects, with attention to a selected text that first appeared there and to its surrounding contexts in this original format.
English 350.01 Intermediate Creative Writing: Poetry
Prof. Perry, MW 2:30-3:50
This course is intended for the dedicated student of poetry and of writing poetry. The course will first and foremost be a workshop, engaging in the critical consideration of students' poems, and focusing on the craft and art of poetry writing. We will, however, also do a lot of reading- discussing and reviewing contemporary books of poetry, essays, interviews, etc. Students will be asked to turn in a portfolio of revised poems at the end of the semester and a book review.
English 352.01 Intermediate Creative Writing: Fiction
Prof. Robbins, MW 2:30-3:50
A workshop in the discipline of writing short stories. We will study the techniques of a variety of short-story writers, including ones considered masters of the form such as Edgar Allan Poe, Anton Chekhov, and Guy De Maupassant, as well as more contemporary writers such as Ernest Hemingway, Eudora Welty, Flannery O'Connor, Reginald McKnight, and Alice Munro, among others. Students will read drafts of their stories and revise them, submit work to magazines, and attend some of the many readings by writers invited to the College.