All of the 3-hour courses described below-except 250, 252, and 380-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 a College Honors or Departmental Distinction 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 195.01 Literature and Medicine
Prof. Hardy, TR 10:00-11:20
This course will explore connections between the discourses of medicine and literary writing. How are the acts of diagnosis and storytelling related? Who has the authority to determine illness or to determine truth in a narrative? When do doctors and authors work alone, and when are they acting as members of their communities and cultures? How do new technologies change the "story" of medicine? In our consideration of illness, health, science, and the body, we will read texts from a variety of traditions told from the point of view of practitioners, patients, and onlookers. Freshmen and sophomores only.
English 212.01 The History of English Literature
Prof. Toth, MWF 9:30-10:20
In English 212, a survey of British literature written between 1800 and yesterday, we will read fiction, drama, poetry, and non-fiction essays composed by writers of English and Irish origins. In a course that emphasizes breadth over depth, we will take an eagle's eye view of Romantic, Victorian, and Modern literature, swooping down to examine closely several works that help to define each period. We will pay special attention to economic, social, and political concerns that affected literary production in some way, including two world wars, the rise and fall of the British Empire, the emergence of aural and visual technologies, and the changing facets of marriage and gender identity.
English 222.01 and 222.02 American Literature
Prof. Horne Section 01: MWF 9:30-10:20 | Section 02: MWF 11:30-12:20
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 how historical forces impact their imaginations. We will consider how authors respond to 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, Edith Wharton, Zora Neale Hurston, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, and Octavia Butler.
English 228.01 Postcolonial Literature
Prof. Hardy, TR 2:00-3:20
This course explores definitions of Postcolonialism through literature from places that are not normally canonized in western literature courses. We read texts from and about India and Africa as well as Latin America and the Caribbean. Our readings come primarily from the twentieth century and cover a variety of genres. We will also engage some postcolonial theoretical approaches to literature.
Themes that we will investigate 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?
English 241.01 Introduction to Cinema
Prof. Weese, MWF 12:30-1:20
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? Films likely to be represented on the syllabus range from classics such as Citizen Kane and His Girl Friday to contemporary cult favorites such as Memento or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and many others. Students will view films outside of class, as homework. A textbook will supplement the primary materials. Students will take midterm and final exams, complete several written exercises, and compose two analytic essays. This course does not satisfy the general literature requirement of the core.
English 242.01 Introduction to Dramatic Literature
Prof. Varholy, TR 2:00-3:20
How do playwrights use drama to surprise, delight, and provoke strong responses from their audiences? What are some of the building blocks writers use to create dramatic literature? What expectations do the genres of comedy and tragedy produce? What is drama's social function? These questions and more will shape our study of dramatic literature-from some of the earliest plays in English to A Doll's House, Part 2, which opened on Broadway this past spring, and A Raisin In the Sun (1959), which will be produced in Richmond in spring 2018. In this course, as we strive to become better readers and viewers of dramas, we will read closely in a variety of dramatic genres and modes, we will study the relationship between dramatic literature and the cultures that produced it, we will consider the interpretive choices necessary for producing scenes, and we will have fun. We'll read a diverse selection of authors such as Shakespeare, Wilde, Beckett, Churchill, and Wilson. This course will have both midterm and final examinations, and students should expect to write two analytical essays and one performance review.
English 245.01 Satire
Prof. Davis, TR 10:00-11:20
"Satire is a sort of glass wherein beholders do generally discover everybody's face but their own." (Jonathan Swift, A Tale of a Tub) Surely we don't belong among the "lumps of deformity," "pernicious vermin," and "odious Yahoos" that Jonathan Swift describes in Gulliver's Travels. Or do we? Welcome to the world of satire, where you will be entertained, angered, vexed, and challenged; where the line between morality and offensiveness will at times be disturbingly blurred; and where your best reading skills will lead you into labyrinths of paradox. We will begin the course with a close study of irony and other satiric tools before turning to major prose satires by Swift, Nathaniel West, George Orwell, Evelyn Waugh, Margaret Atwood, Gary Shteyngart, George Saunders, and Stephen Colbert, among others. The course does not assume any previous English courses, only an openness to literature that bites.
English 301.01 Literature of English Renaissance
Prof. Varholy, TR 12:30-1:50
Writers who lived during the Tudor and Stuart eras in England produced an outpouring of literature that many would argue remains unmatched. We'll explore a variety of genres from this time period, including prose speeches, sonnet sequences, an epic, and the plays of Shakespeare's contemporaries, to consider how writers represented the self struggling with issues of self-determination, love, and politics. What kind of agency did writers imagine in a culture focused on religious devotion, chastity, and hierarchical political power? What place did public writing have in such a culture? How did these writers understand themselves as part of a developing English literary tradition? Our reading will include texts by Thomas More, Philip Sidney, Edmund Spenser, John Donne, and Ben Jonson. The course excludes texts by Shakespeare.
English 318.01 Modern British and American Novel
Prof. Toth, MWF 10:30-11:20
By 1900, artists of all stripes had begun to feel the need to, as Daniel Albright has written, "make their own laws." The twentieth century was a time of intense experimentation in both form and content as writers struggled with how best to represent the perceiving individual in a rapidly changing world fraught with the anxieties of modern life. In this course we will focus particularly on how American and British novelists responded to the ever-resounding call to develop a literature that better reflected the world around them. We will try to get a sense of the range of modern experimentation, reading texts by authors possibly including but not limited to James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Djuna Barnes, James Baldwin, and Anthony Burgess.
English 334:01 Shakespeare and Crime
Prof. Varholy, TR 10:00-11:20
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 Making the Book from A to Zine
Prof. Davis, M 6:30-9:30
Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested. ~Francis Bacon Books are not made of ideas. They are made of paper, ink, thread, and binding boards. So although we will not taste, swallow, chew, or digest books this semester, we will design them, print them, illustrate them, write them, and bind them. This is a course that investigates the history of the book as a material object from Gutenberg's movable type to contemporary artists' books to Amazon's Kindle. It will teach you to see Shakespeare, William Blake, Emily Dickinson, Oscar Wilde, and the Bible in a new light. But it will also require you to put literature and theory into practice, as you make paper, set type, design pages, cut woodblocks, print a title page, and bind your book. Co-taught by Professors Evan Davis (English, Hampden-Sydney) and Kerri Cushman (Studio Art, Longwood), it will meet on Monday nights, alternatively in Hampden-Sydney's Bortz Library and Longwood's art studio. (Note that it does not fill the literature core requirement at Hampden-Sydney, but it can count as a 300-level elective for the English major.)
English 480.01 Capstone Seminar: Narrative, Epistemology, and Detective Fiction
Prof. Weese, MWF 10:30-11:20
This capstone seminar for senior majors will focus on the metaphysical detective story, from its roots in stories by Poe and Conan Doyle in the 19th century to postmodern and contemporary versions of detection in the works of Jorge Louis Borges, Paul Auster, Margaret Atwood, among others. Central to the course will be a consideration of how detective fiction explores the ways we know the world around us: "the metaphysical detective story is distinguished...by the profound questions it raises about narrative, interpretation, subjectivity, the nature of reality, and the limits of knowledge," write two of its critics (Merivale and Sweeney, Detecting Texts 1). The tale of detection can be considered a microcosm of the way narrative in general functions, since to solve a crime is in effect to reconstruct a story from bits of evidence and weave them into a coherent pattern. Students in this course will explore the ways we construct stories to make sense of experience, investigating how the tale of detection probes the foundations of narrative itself and how it helps us understand literary postmodernism. Co-requisite: English 481.
English 481.01 Research Methods for English Majors (1 credit hour)
Prof. Perry, 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 for independent research. The syllabus for the course will be coordinated with the syllabus for English 480. Tasks and topics will include engaging with literary criticism relevant to the capstone topic, discussing strategies for writing a long research paper, honing library skills, reviewing citation formats, designing oral presentations appropriate to literary studies, and using critical discourse effectively. There will be several writing workshops. This course is restricted to students who are completing the capstone requirement for the major. Co-requisite: English 480.
[*The following Capstone course will be taught by Prof. Horne in Fall 2018]
English 480: Borderlands: Race, Ethnicity, and National Belonging
In his classic work The Souls of Black Folk (1903), W.E.B. Du Bois famously asserts that, "The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line." In this senior seminar, we will follow the path of DuBois's statement. Focusing on (but not limited to) nineteenth and twentieth century American fiction, poetry, and essays, we will investigate central questions such as the following: What is race? What is ethnicity? How do these axes of identity influence nation-making and the borders and lines that structure it? What happens when people traverse and/or muddle these borders? What does literature and literary theory help us to understand about race and citizenship? And how have authors envisioned literature and literary theory as ways to intervene in racial dilemmas and injustices? We will read both primary texts that explore these questions and critical/theoretical texts that strive to interpret them. A substantial component of the course will be the final research paper and public presentation of that project. Students will choose their own primary source for this project early in the semester and work on drafting, researching, workshopping, and revising as the semester progresses. The reading, writing, and classroom participation expectations in this course are high, so we will also discuss how to manage these demands and be a productive student and scholar. Students with particular interests should contact the instructor before the end of the spring semester of 2018 so as to lay the groundwork for their projects. This course is restricted to those students who are completing the capstone requirement for the English major. Co-requisite English 481.
English 350.01 Intermediate Creative Writing: Poetry
Prof. Perry, TR 2:00-3:20
This course is intended for the serious 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.
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.