All of the 3-hour courses described below, including the creative writing courses, satisfy the general literature requirement of the core.

All 300- and 400-level courses (except creative writing) 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 last semester's Midsummer Night's Dream Symposium and trip to see the Virginia Opera in Richmond. 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 Courses

ENGL 191.01 and 191.02: Literature of the American Road
Prof. Davis, 191.01, TR 10:00-11:20 (Open to freshmen only
Prof. Davis, 191.02, TR 12:30-1:50 (Open to freshmen and sophomores only)
When the novelist Jack Kerouac proclaims that “the road is life,” or when the poet Walt Whitman declares that the public road “express[es] me better than I can express myself,” they are tapping into a long tradition of road metaphors, one with special resonance in the United States. In novels, films, songs, and poems, the image of the open road has been closely associated with American identity. Speed, independence, progress, industry, adventure, individualism, the promise of a fresh start all get expressed through images of the road. But like American identity itself, the road means different things to different people. For whom is the road open? How has it been used to foster or restrain mobility? What are the consequences of its full-throttled embrace? We will examine a novel, a play, short stories, poems, and oral anecdotes as we explore what the tangled representations of the road reveal about the complexities of American identity itself.

ENGL 185.01 and 185.02: Special Topics in English: Sea Stories (Soon to be renumbered ENGL 198.01 and 198.02: Sea Stories)
Prof. Celeste, 185.01, MW 12:30-1:50; 185.02, MW 2:30-3:50
(Freshmen, Sophomores, and Environmental Studies minors only)
An introduction to maritime literature and the “blue humanities.” This course explores the ocean in the literary imagination, tracing how authors represent a world connected by water. By analyzing Anglophone poetry and prose from the eighteenth century to the present, students raise timely questions about the relationship between representation and reality, with particular attention to how literature shapes our cultural and environmental values. This course counts toward Part D of the Environmental Studies minor.

ENGL 199.01: American Nature Writing (EL-ON)
Prof. Horne, MW 12:30-1:5
This class is a study of selected American works of creative nonfiction which deal with the relationship between human beings and the natural world. We will examine 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, Rachel Carson, Edward Abbey, Barry Lopez, and Annie Dillard, among others. This course counts toward Part D of the Environmental Studies minor.

ENGL 211.01: The History of English Literature (EL-ON)
Prof. Varholy, MWF 9:30-10:20
In this survey course, we’ll study foundational texts in the English literary tradition—including Beowulf, The Canterbury Tales, Paradise Lost, and the drama of Shakespeare.  As we read examples of epic, lyric, prose, drama, and satire, we’ll consider how writers drew from their classical and continental predecessors to create a distinctly English tradition of literature, as well as how these texts engaged with the cultures that produced them. In this experiential version of the course, students will be content creators, as well as content consumers: our projects will focus on how older texts and literary forms remain relevant for contemporary audiences, and our activities will include building a web page, keeping a commonplace book, and seeing the American Shakespeare Center’s fall production of Macbeth.

ENGL 221.01: American Literature until 1865
Prof. Horne, MWF 9:30-10:20
In this class, we will survey American literature from early explorations and the Puritan migration to the rise of romanticism in the mid-nineteenth century. Lectures and discussion will focus both on individual texts and on broader literary and historical trends. Students will be introduced to a variety of literary genres and to the multiple concerns of race, gender, class, and religion. Authors studied will include Anne Bradstreet, Phillis Wheatley, Frederick Douglass, Henry David Thoreau, and Edgar Allan Poe, among others. In particular, this class will focus on what it means to be “American,” identifying competing assumptions, myths, stories, and beliefs that seem to persist from early America.

ENGL 226.01: Literature and Gender
Prof. Varholy MWF 10:30-11:20
What is gender and how do we represent it through words and images?  From the Biblical narrative of Adam and Eve to last year’s Barbie, literature and media have been vital forces in establishing, rejecting, questioning, and reinventing gender roles.  At the same time, understandings of gender have shaped who writes and what is written in a given culture.  In this course, we will study a variety of genres—poetry, prose, drama, film, and essays—to consider how the stories individuals read and see affect how they interpret their own bodies and identities and how these representations shape behavior, relationships, and social roles.  We’ll likewise consider how issues of gender intersect with those of race and class.  Texts may include Fight Club; The Crying Game; Trifles; short stories by Raymond Carver, Anthony Veasna So, and Alix Ohlin; and H-SC’s To Manner Born, To Manners Bred.

ENGL 243.01: The Short Novel in Translation
Prof. Hardy, TR 2:00-3:20
What college career would be complete without the chance to read Dostoevsky, Flaubert, Mann, Camus, Duras, and García Márquez? In this course we will explore the development of the short novel over two centuries and in five (or six) different languages.  We will examine the possibilities of the short novel form, but we will also trace literary, philosophical, and political movements across decades and national boundaries.  This course is going to be comparative in more than one sense, and members of the class should plan to bring their knowledge of other languages and of other disciplines to course discussion.   

ENGL 246.01: Science Fiction
Prof. Celeste, TR 10:00-11:20
This course explores the literary, historical, and sociopolitical dimensions of science fiction (SF). We will analyze how SF imagines alternate worlds in order to speculate on actual and possible cultural, scientific, and political realities. Through our close encounters with a range of SF texts—short- and long-form fiction, poetry, film, and drama—we will consider topics such as artificial intelligence, climate change, neocolonialism, nonhuman agency, posthumanity, time travel, and virtual reality.

ENGL 322.01: Contemporary Fiction
Prof. Weese, MWF 11:30‒12:20
This course will introduce students to recent trends in American and British fiction with an emphasis on novels written since the turn of the 21st century and some attention to fiction produced in the later decades of the twentieth century. As we explore how contemporary innovations in narrative form are related to the current social and cultural climate, we’ll consider several topics that inform contemporary fiction: the quest for identity, the search for values and meaning in what is often considered an increasingly meaningless world, the blurring of boundaries between fiction and history. How do characters make sense of their worlds? What explanatory strategies do they adopt, and how do these world views affect the manner in which these narratives are told?  What purposes do experimental formal structures serve? What is postmodernism?  What is post-postmodernism? Why do contemporary novels so often (but not always) foreground their own fictionality? We’ll study some experimental short stories and about seven novels, probably to include Tim O’Brien’s magic realist Vietnam war novel, Going After Cacciato, Ali Smith’s The Accidental, Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad, and Colum McCann’s Let the Great World Spin.  Critical articles about the nature of contemporary fiction will enrich our readings of the novels themselves. Requirements: regular participation in class discussion, a presentation, midterm and final exams, and several essays, including a final essay that incorporates secondary sources.

ENGL 335.01: Milton
Prof. Varholy, MW 2:30−3:50
The work of John Milton has exerted a powerful influence for centuries.  Not only has Paradise Lost inspired generations of authors, but also it has shaped popular understandings of the Genesis story and the notion of a hero.  In this course, we will consider Milton’s major works in their literary, intellectual, and cultural contexts.  Our primary focus for the semester will be a careful reading of Paradise Lost in full, but we will also consider Paradise Regained and Samson Agonistes, Milton’s later short epic and drama.  To prepare us for our reading of Milton’s major works, we will study some of his shorter poems, including “On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity,” “Lycidas,” “L’Allegro,” and “Il Penseroso,” and his revolutionary prose, including Areopagitica and The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates.  We’ll consider how Milton engaged in the political and religious controversies of his time and why his writing continues both to generate debate and to move us.  Along with students of English literature, students with interests in religion, classics, government, and English history are encouraged to take this course.

ENGL  360.01:  Authorship and History of the Book (EL-ON)
Prof. Davis, TR 2:00-3:20
When ChatGPT, whose training data would fill a one-billion-page book, writes a poem, it is being original? Is it plagiarizing? Is it an author? Authorship, it turns out, has its own history, one that is closely related to the history of books as material objects. This course will examine those histories from the invention of the codex through AI-generated text. With particular emphasis on the period from 1660 to 1910, we will look at changes in the profession of authorship, at changes in book technology, and at the effects that both these changes have had on literature itself.

Throughout the semester, we will study the physical properties of books in the Hampden-Sydney rare book vault and occasionally deconstruct (in the most literal sense of that word) some books that the instructor will provide. Be prepared to make a book from scratch. Facilities permitting, we will be making paper, marbling, setting type, printing, and binding. Our goal: to see every printed book as an archeological treasure, one that can reveal valuable knowledge about the words it transmits and about the culture that created it. There will be a mandatory field trip to UVa’s Special Collections Library and to Rare Book School. Prerequisite: At least one other English course. 

ENGL 380.01: Literary Criticism
Prof. Hardy, TR 10:00-11:20
What assumptions govern our interpretations of works of literature? What theoretical models do we employ in our own acts of reading? What kinds of meanings are we looking for, and why? The study of literary theory helps us become aware of and unpack the various assumptions that drive our interpretations. This course will address the large questions of why and how we study literature; it will focus on 20th and 21st century developments in literary criticism, beginning with the New Criticism and structuralism, and focusing on how these approaches to the study of literature influenced more recent schools of thought and ways of reading. We will explore the ways in which these different theories intersect with and diverge from one another. In addition, we will read primary texts of fiction and poetry in order to see how various theories can illuminate the same literary work in different ways. The readings and concepts are challenging, so you should be prepared to work hard—but you’ll thereby increase your understanding of the field of literary studies and expand your knowledge of literature in new ways. Requirements include mid-term and final exams and several short papers on the schools of thought we study, as well as a longer paper analyzing a work of literature with attention to the theoretical approaches that drive your interpretation.

Creative Writing Courses

ENGL 250.01: Poetry Writing: Forms & Function (EL-ON)
Prof. Perry, TR 2:00-3:20
This course will examine, as best it can, the many edges of writing poetry. To do this we will have to do a lot of reading poetry and more specifically, reading a lot of different kinds of poetry. We will talk about poems I assign and poems that you find. We will learn about meter and rhyme and learn about free verse. And, of course, we will write poetry. Sometimes there will be specific assignments to generate writing, other times you will be set adrift to write with very little to guide you. My intent is that you will emerge from the semester with something you could not have written before. There will be poems to turn in along the way and a final portfolio of revised work due at the end of the semester.

ENGL 252.01: Fiction Writing: Narrative & Craft (EL-ON)
Prof. Euteneuer, TR 12:30-1:50 
Stories have helped humans pass down knowledge and pass the time around the campfire. Storytelling is one of the oldest and most powerful tools humans have created. Studying and creating fiction can help you with creative exploration, personal growth, effective communication, and imaginative thinking. To those ends, this course will help you learn about the process of crafting great stories with strong characters and interesting narratives. Throughout the semester, students will write several of their own original works of fiction as well as participate in an overarching workshop model where they read, respond, and critique their classmates' fiction while simultaneously reflecting, revising, and developing their own writing. Throughout the course, students will learn about the elements of craft in fiction, apply these theories to their own creative works, and reflect on the development of their own personal writing process. Students will develop a sophisticated sense of narrative structure in their own work and in the work of professional authors.

Creative Writing Minor Checklist

The Creative Writing Minor consists of five courses: four creative writing courses and one literature course that focuses on a genre. A student completing this minor must choose a “track” or specialization, normally either poetry or fiction. He will take both the beginning and advanced writing course in that track and will then select an appropriate genre course to complete the track.

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 are allowed a one course overlap.

Creative Writing Minor Requirements
Track A - Poetry

Offered Fall 2024

ENGL 250: Poetry Writing: Form & Function

ENGL 250: Poetry Writing: Form & Function

ENGL 350: Poetry Writing: Voice & Practice


RHET 301: Creative Nonfiction

RHET 301: Creative Nonfiction

ENGL course on the specified genre

ENGL 335: Milton

ENGL 252 or ENGL 352

ENGL 252: Fiction Writing: Narrative & Craft


Creative Writing Minor Requirements
Track B - Fiction

Offered Fall 2024

ENGL 252: Fiction Writing: Form & Function

ENGL 252: Fiction Writing: Form & Function

ENGL 352: Fiction Writing: Voice & Practice


RHET 301: Creative Nonfiction

RHET 301: Creative Nonfiction

ENGL course on the specified genre

ENGL 243: The Short Novel in Translation

ENGL 322: Contemporary Fiction

ENGL 250 or ENGL 350

ENGL 250: Poetry Writing: Form & Function


Creative Writing Minor Requirements
Track C – Creative Nonfiction

Offered Fall 2024

ENGL 250: Poetry Writing: Form & Function

ENGL 250: Poetry Writing: Form & Function

ENGL 252: Fiction Writing: Form & Function

ENGL 252: Fiction Writing: Form & Function

RHET 301: Creative Nonfiction

RHET 301: Creative Nonfiction

ENGL course on the specified genre


INDS 395

With approval of instructor

Requirements for the English Major

Major Requirements

Offered Fall 2024

211 or 212

One British Lit. Survey

211: History of English Lit

221 or 222

One American Lit. Survey

221: American Lit 

224, 226, 228, or 230

One focused perspectives

226: Literature and Gender


Literary Theory & Criticism

380: Literary Criticism

480 (3 hours)

Capstone seminar[1]


481 (1 hour)

Research methods seminar








Additional Requirement: Six English Electives

Offered Fall 2024


Four 300-level courses

Four 300-level literature courses (two of which must be pre-1900)


332: Contemporary Fiction

335: Milton [pre-1900]

360: Authorship and History of the Book [pre-1900]


Two electives


1 elective any choice







1 elective above 222 (this may not be Creative Writing)


Any English course, including


191: Lit of the American Road

198: Sea Stories

200-level courses

250: Poetry Writing

252: Fiction Writing


243: Short Novel in Translation

246: Science Fiction

300-level courses

[1] As of fall 2013, the Catalogue reads: “Each major must enroll in English 480, the Capstone Seminar, and take as a co-requisite English 481, the Research Methods Seminar. Students should take 480/481 during their senior year unless they are considering an honors project, in which case they should talk to their advisor about taking 480/481 during the second semester of their junior year. It is recommended that students complete 380 and two other 300-level courses before enrolling in the capstone.

For Advanced Planning: UPCOMING COURSES IN SPRING 2025

185: Law and Literature, Prof. Varholy
212: History of English Literature, Prof. Davis
222: American Literature after 1865, Prof. Horne
230: Multi-Ethnic Literature, Prof. Weese
241: Introduction to Cinema, Prof. Weese
247: Graphic Narratives, Prof. DaviS
350: Poetry Writing: Voice and Practice, Prof. Perry
352: Fiction Writing: Voice and Practice, Prof. Schooling
326: Civil War and American Identity in 19th C., Prof. Horne
385: Robert Frost, Prof. Perry
480: Capstone Seminar, Prof. Celeste
481: Research Methods (Capstone co-req), Prof. Horne