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COURSE CATALOGUE : ENGLISH
The Department of English offers a wide variety of courses, including some without prerequisites that are open to non-majors. The department offers majors and minors in both English and Comparative Literature. Students who have transferred credit for an introductory course from another college may apply their credit as a 100- or 200-level elective course.
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR IN ENGLISH (B.A.)
disciplinary, 12 courses
ENG 200; 10 elective courses; and a capstone experience, typically a 400-level seminar. Of the 10 electives, four must be at the 300-level or above, and no more than two 100-level courses may count toward the major. Up to three courses taken outside the department may count towards the major and the fulfillment of requirements, with permission of the adviser. Requirements include the following areas: one Early Period course (pre-1800); one American Literature course; one Global Literature course; one UK/European Literature course, and a three-course concentration. A single course may fulfill more than one requirement.
Concentrations may be defined by genre, literary history, theme, or field of study. A genre concentration could, for example, include three courses on poetry, while a literary history concentration might provide an overview of Modernism, or focus on one particular era, such as nineteenth-century British fiction. Thematic concentrations bring together coursework on a central topic, such as globalization, gender, or poetics. Field of study concentrations in creative writing, film studies or theory are also options for students with particular interest in those areas.
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MINOR IN ENGLISH
disciplinary, 6 courses
Introductory Requirement (ENG 200); two courses at the 300-level or above; three additional courses, one of which may be from outside of the department with permission of the adviser.
Literary Courses Outside the Department (All Classes)
The following list is a representative sample of courses that may be approved to fulfill the requirements of the English major and minor. Students may take a maximum of three courses outside the department for major credit, with adviser permission. AFS 309 Black Cinema; AMST 330 Digital Humanities; CLAS 108 Greek Tragedy; MDSC 313 Global Cinema; RUSE 352 Nabokov; SPNE 404 Lorca and Almodovar; THTR 309 Feminist Theatre; WMST 219 Black Feminism and Theater; WRRH 201 Grammar and Style; WRRH 312 Power and Persuasion; WRRH 306 New Media Writing.
While all English Department courses are geared to the integrated goals of teaching and developing critical reading and thinking, as well as honing written and oral communication skills, many also partially or substantially address the aspirational goals of the Hobart and William Smith Colleges curriculum. ENG courses are numbered at the 100-, 200-, 300-, and 400-levels according to the level of research, analytical, and writing expertise required to engage effectively with the material. Within each of these "centuries," however, we have also subdivided our courses by "decade" according to the subject matter they cover. The logic for these divisions is:
00-09 Core Courses, Genre Courses, Theory Courses
10-29 Thematic Courses
30-39 British Literature to 1800 (or so)
40-49 British Literature since 1800
50-59 American Literature to 1900 (or so)
60-69 American Literature since 1900
70-79 Global Literature
90-99 Creative Writing Courses
100-level courses in English introduce students to textual and literary study, focus on critical analysis and close reading skills, and build a foundation for critical writing in the disciplines of English and Comparative Literature. 100-level courses are suitable for first-years, sophomores, or non-majors. Students interested in the major may take 100-level courses or may also opt to begin with ENG 200 and other courses at the 200-level. No more than two 100-level courses may be counted toward the major.
ENG 106 The Short Story This course introduces the short story genre, including attention to its history and development. Students read a broad range of examples, including at least one single-author collection or cycle. Assignments allow students to learn the fundamental skills of literary criticism through the practice of formal analysis. (Staff)
ENG 108 Literary Science Fiction and Fantasy This course will begin with a survey of the origins of science fiction and fantasy, the development of the genres in the post-Enlightenment era, and twentieth-century trends, but its main focus will be the relationship between mainstream literary fiction and science fiction/fantasy, and the ultra-contemporary trend of crossover between the two. We will consider the relationship between science and the genres, the exile of science fiction from canonical literature, and what the increasing openness of literary writers and academic circles might mean. Readings may include: Evans, The Wesleyan Anthology of Science Fiction; Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings; Herbert, Dune; Miéville, The City and the City; VanderMeer, City of Saints and Madmen; Mitchell, Cloud Atlas; Lethem, Chronic City; Link, Magic for Beginners. (Conroy-Goldman)
ENG 110 Partial Magic In the second half of Don Quixote, Don Quixote meets characters who have read the first half of the novel. That would include us. Lewis Carol describes a map of England which represents everything in England, which would include the map, and on that map, a map of the map, and so on into infinity. In this course we will explore these disconcerting examples of what we are calling “partial magic,” in both literature and the visual arts, in an effort to see that they are not unusual, but are in fact, fundamental to the way art endeavors to immerse us in its world. We will also consider the consequences of this immersion. In what sense is what Coleridge called “the willing suspension of disbelief,” a loss of our critical faculties? In what sense is art related to propaganda and advertising? (Holly)
ENG 111 Experience of War in Literature We will read in the literature of war from one of its earliest representations, The Iliad, all the way through verse and film that address the realities of post-9/11 warfare. We will read chronologically and consider, after Homer, the nineteenth century Napoleonic warfare in War and Peace, the especial traumas of WWI and WWII, and late twentieth and twenty-first century warfare of the Vietnam conflict and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Special attention will be paid to the experience of soldiers, male and now female, civilians and nurses, to the ethos, psychologies, ideologies and bureaucracies that drive warfare, and to the efforts of writers to capture the toll taken by those experiences. Texts may include The Iliad, sections of War and Peace, All Quiet on the Western Front, Catch-22, Slaughterhouse Five, The Things They Carried, Billy Lynn's Long Half-Time Walk, Redeployment. (Weiss)
ENG 114 Sickness, Health, and Disability This course explores narrative techniques and representational strategies and other literary representations of illness, health, and various forms of disability (cognitive, physical, emotional, and so forth). Through readings from different genres and from different periods and cultures, we will examine, critique, and deconstruct the ways in which sickness, health, and disability--as well as normalcy--are defined in literary and cultural contexts, and how these definitions often intersect with definitions of and assumptions about race, class, gender, sexuality, morality, criminality, and other markers of citizenship and identity. (Cope)
ENG 115 Literature and Social Movements Can books change the world? In the U.S., readers of slave narratives and Stowe's novel Uncle Tom's Cabin were swayed to the abolitionist cause. The counterculture went On the Road with Kerouac. Second-wave feminists clutch copies of The Bell Jar, while anti-Vietnam War protestors were fluent in Heller and Vonnegut. Ayn Rand's fiction has been a powerful force for new conservatives, while Malcolm X's autobiography helped radicalize the Civil Rights movement. And why were Occupy protestors wearing masks made famous by a graphic novel? This course considers how literature has shaped and been shaped by social movements. Weaving together contextualizing historical readings and primary documents with poetry, memoir, novels, and other literary forms, students will investigate the relationships between revolution and the word. (Creadick)
ENG 136 Shakespeare on Screen So far as we can tell, Shakespeare's plays were written for the stage rather than for the page. In other words, they were meant to be experienced in an embodied public performance of sights and sounds, rather than read silently and in solitude. In this introduction to Shakespeare's work, we will draw upon the rich archive of Shakespeare on film to study six of his most influential plays in multiple performances, exploring how different directors brought these plays to life in different ways, working in a new medium and within different social and political contexts in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. (Carson)
ENG 152 American Revolutions From Declaration of Independence to the Declaration of Sentiments, America's revolutionaries and reformers have written their own literature. This course will explore the history of politics and culture in the United States from the American Revolution to the Civil War. We will study the work of writers who were for the rights of women and against the removal of Indians from their lands, who were for the liberation of enslaved people of African descent and against the use and abuse of alcohol. We will also read the writings of the early labor and environmental movements. Like the figures we study, we will experiment with different forms to express our ideas and arguments.
ENG 165 Introduction to African American Literature I We begin with a slave narrative from the nineteenth century, but this course concentrates on African American narratives of the twentieth century, from the Harlem Renaissance through the "protest" novel and black nationalism to black women writers. Students focus on a central concern of the African American traditions, the tension between the political and the aesthetic. Students pay attention to both the aesthetic properties of the literary text and to its political dimensions. In addition to the concerns with race, class, gender, and sexuality, students examine the intricate set of intertextual relations between different writers which constitute the tradition of African American writing. (Basu)
ENG 170 Global English Literature What comprises global English literature? Colonialism was not only an economic, but a cultural, technological, linguistic, and demographic phenomenon. Movements of westerners to colonial spaces evoked counter-movements of people from around the globe traveling to the west. These flows resulted in a new body of literature in western languages written by people from other parts of the globe. In this course students will study examples of this world literature written in English. Readings will typically include works from Africa, the Caribbean, Asia, and the Indian subcontinent. In order to consider how these literatures have been influenced by western aesthetic values and forms, and how might they, in turn, transform and reinvent western traditions, students may also study key narratives from England and/or the United States. Following decolonization movements of the mid-twentieth century, the study of these diverse literatures spawned key terms such as postcolonialism, globalization, diaspora, transnationalism, alterity, and so on; these concepts will also be part of the course. Throughout these literary works, students will find characters who must continue to live with the alien and alienating legacies of colonialism, even in a modern and globalized world. (Basu, Ivanchikova)
ENG 175 Travel Literature The mobilities of populations have been crucial to the ways in which human beings have been organized across the planet - in empires, in nations, on continents, in hemispheres. Several factors encourage or deter mobility or travel - technological, economic, demographic, and so on. But travel inevitably introduces an encounter with otherness. We begin and end the course with an encounter with “America.” We will encounter embodiments of racial and gendered otherness, but we will also examine the encounter between the human and the machine, the technological otherness of the android. (Basu)
ENG 180 Film Analysis I This course focuses on specific aspects of the filmic system and how they work. Attention is paid to detailed analyses of images and sounds and their dynamic relation to the film's narrative. The goal of the course is a keener understanding not only of the world of film, but of the increasingly visual world in which we live. The primary emphasis is on what is called the Classical Hollywood Model, the dominant (culturally, economically, ideologically) mode of filmmaking in the world today (although not the only mode). As such it is crucial for students of film and, arguably, for us all to be actively aware of its structures and assumptions. Open to first-year students only. Students who complete ENG 180 may not take ENG 280. (Lyon)
ENG 185 From Novel to Film Film today is in a position in our culture analogous to the position the novel once held in literary tradition. It is still largely a medium that belongs to popular culture, and its sense of emotional immediacy, the persuasive power of visual storytelling, and filmmakers' ability to respond to current ideas and trends of thought often means that modern film is a useful window on the age in which a film is made. We will address narrative technique, ask how filmmakers use the visual medium to transform difficult but profoundly arresting narratives into engaging and comprehensible films, while also asking what makes an adaptation effective? Why bother if the book is satisfying? Can an adaptation ever be as good as the book? There is another focus here as well; we also want to raise important questions about how and by whom meaning is made in both novels and films and about the role of the imagination of the reader and viewer in completing the picture. Readings and films may vary. (Minott-Ahl)
ENG 190 Creative Writing for First-Years and Sophomores This course offers introductory techniques in the writing of both fiction and poetry. The workshop format emphasizes group discussion of the writings of class members. Some exercises are assigned, some individual invention is expected. Readings of modern authors supplement discussions of form and technique. This course is normally required as a prerequisite for fiction and poetry workshops. Students who complete ENG 190 may not take ENG 290. (Babbitt, Cowles, Hamilton, Prabhakar)
200-level courses are geared to majors and minors, though typically open to all students. They are reading-, viewing-, and/or writing-intensive courses that introduce an array of critical perspectives and methods in the discipline, while providing a core for the major in the breadth of material covered.
ENG 200 Critical Methods This course is required of all majors and minors to prepare students for upper-level study in English and Comparative Literature, and may not be exempted. This course will train students in the concepts, vocabulary and research methods required for advanced textual analysis and writing in the discipline. Required books include core reference texts in the discipline and will be supplemented by individual professors. (Staff)
ENG 203 The Lyric This is a course about The Secret of Poetry. That secret has everything to do with the powers of language and what those powers are being harnessed to do. The premise of this course is that there is something about the use of language in lyric poetry that sets it apart from other forms of language-use. We will begin the course by considering the concept of mimesis as a way to begin discovering that secret and understanding how it is enacted. In this course we will try to get fix on what lyric poetry really is. Is it poetry that aspires to the condition of music, for example? And if it is, why? If "a poem is not the record of an event but the event itself," as Robert Lowell put it, how is that possible; that is, what makes that possible? We'll explore the way poetry doesn't refer to experience but incarnates it. Texts include Ovid's Metamorphoses, the odes of John Keats, and the poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins, Randall Jarrell, Marianne Moore, Denise Levertov, George Herbert, among others. (Weiss)
ENG 205 Narrative Analysis What are stories made of? How does their structure and design influence what they can mean and how they are told? This course is an introduction to critical thinkers who have attempted to answer these questions. In addition to working through some fundamental theories about narrative (what it is and how it works), we will also apply what we've learned to some representative texts. Students will come away knowing how point-of-view, temporality, character representation, fictionality, and closure are not only critical to the way stories are told: they radically determine what these stories mean and how we interpret them. (Ivanchikova)
ENG 213 Environmental Literature In this course students read poetry and prose by writers who concern themselves with the human experience of and relation to nature. These diverse writers artfully evoke the landscape while at the same time contemplating the modern environmental crisis. They approach the question of the meaning of nature in our lives in personal, as well as philosophical and ethical, ways. Cross-listed with Environmental Studies.
ENG 214 Victorian Poets The poets of the nineteenth century lived in an age of rapid change, as well as the questioning and re-thinking of once-established truths. They saw themselves as participants in the collective (though not-always concerted) effort of their age to make sense of their changing world and influence the direction their society would take in politics, religion, morality, and art, to name a few areas of concern. This course introduces students to the works of well-known Victorian poets, such as Alfred Tennyson, Elizabeth Robert Browning, and W. B. Yeats. It will also focus on Thomas Hardy, Charles Dickens, and Charlotte Brontë, writers we are accustomed to think of as novelists. (Minott-Ahl)
ENG 233 Medieval Drama This course offers a panorama of Medieval dramatic genres. It surveys works from the tenth to the fifteenth centuries. The stylistic diversity includes the sadomasochistic plays of the Saxon canoness Hrotsvit of Gandersheim, the proto-opera form of Hildegard of Bingan, some English mystery plays from different cycles and a selection of French sexual farce. The study is based on both historicist and formalist critical analysis and on occasional classroom performance. (Erussard)
ENG 236 Shakespeare: Comedies An introduction to Shakespeare, focusing in particular on seven of his best-known comedies. We will adopt a myriad-minded approach to our readings: sometimes we will read the plays historically, paying particular attention to the ways in which plays offer us insight into the early modern English culture that produced them (and vice versa); at other times we will focus on them theatrically, exploring their dramaturgical choices, or else poetically, examining their literary aesthetics on the page; and at other times still we will attend to their politics, especially with respect to their handling of questions of gender, sexuality, class, race and ethnicity. (Carson)
ENG 237 Shakespeare: Tragedies An introduction to Shakespeare through his five best-known tragedies: Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, and Macbeth. We will approach these plays from a wide variety of critical angles, so that the course will not only provide a survey of Shakespearean tragedy but also offer a survey of contemporary critical methodologies. (Carson)
ENG 239 Eighteenth Century Literature and Art This course offers a topology of desire in the 18th century as it manifests itself in literary, architectural, and graphic productions. This course pays special attention to fantasies of power; architectural fantasies and imaginary landscapes; the oppositions of Gothicism and Classicism; the garden and the city; the sublime and the beautiful; and the relationship of the teleology of desire to narrative form. (Holly, offered alternate years)
ENG 241 English Romantic Poets This course is a comprehensive look at Romanticism and its proponents, its aesthetic context and the charged political environment in which it developed and thrived. The poets of this movement saw themselves thinkers and as agents of important change in the world. The poems they wrote were magic spells, meant to unleash the power of imagination and speak new political and intellectual realities into being. In addition to reading the works of well known Romantics such as Wordsworth and Byron, the course examines the provocative writings of abolitionists, visionaries, and poets whose support of Revolution in France made them distrusted at home in England. (Minott-Ahl)
ENG 242 Victorian Literature This course investigates origins of the modern world view as anticipated and expressed in nineteenth century English literature: the breakdown of traditional religious beliefs; the alienation and isolation of the individual; changing attitudes about nature; the loss of communication; the role of education; and the affirmation of art. (Minott-Ahl)
ENG 244 The Nineteenth-Century British Novel: Topics
ENG 244a The Nineteenth-Century British Novel This course will focus on the intimate, socially and emotionally complex connections between marriage, capitalism, and politics in the nineteenth century. We will explore these ideas in the context of the intertwined public and private lives of women and examine the works of at least three women writers. In addition, we will also examine the development of the novel itself in the Victorian period as it becomes increasingly focused not only on popular entertainment and the chronicling of rapidly changing times, but also on initiation and shaping of important discussions about what kind of civilization the British wanted to have in a new age.
ENG 244b Dickens and His World This course will look closely at some of the vast body of Dickens’ literary production with a view to gaining a deeper understanding of the man and the age that, along with Queen Victoria herself, he helped to define. Dickens’ ideas about urban poverty, the negative consequences of capitalism, utilitarianism, and rapid industrialization came to dominate our view of Victorian England, and the Victorians’ view of themselves, in important ways. We will also examine how his use of humor encouraged and emboldened his generation to reappraise its value system and begin to strive for a better society.
ENG 244c Gothic Novel This course will explore the Gothic novel from the mid-eighteenth century to the end of the nineteenth, when Bram Stoker's Dracula first appeared. Disparaged as sensational reading likely to corrupt young women and as something that distracted men from more important things, Gothic novels were extremely popular from the moment Horace Walpole's Castle of Otranto found its way into booksellers' shops. It achieved this success against a backdrop of tightening social structures on the conduct of women of the upper and newly emerging middle classes. We will explore how some 18th century Gothic novels actually reinforce the values and social mores they are accused of undermining, while others subvert values they profess to uphold. We will also explore the ways in which the definition of what is horrible or terrifying changed in response to social and historical realities. (Minott-Ahl)
ENG 246 The Literature of Decadence This course offers an exploration of the phenomenon of decadence in its literary aspect, characterized primarily by the pursuit of heightened experience (sensory and imaginative) in the face of the social and ethical constraints of late nineteenth and early twentieth century European culture. Although our primary emphasis will be on the phenomenon of literary decadence in English, we will read a number of seminal French texts (in translation) and discuss a number of European painters and composers by which late nineteenth century English writers were inspired. We will explore the ways in which decadence can be situated historically in terms of such broader social and cultural phenomena as imperialism, poverty, the emergence of the metropolis, the emergence of socialism, the establishment of commodity capitalism, the "advent" of feminism and the New Woman, and debates about sexuality. (Cope)
ENG 247 Irish Literary Renaissance This course is designed as a sustained and extensive study of the major texts (poetic, novelistic, dramatic, essayistic) of the "Irish Renaissance" and an Irish Modernism in which thematic concerns with cultural and political nationalism converged with an abiding interest in radical forms of literary experimentation. We will look at these texts in terms of what Seamus Deane has called "Irish Renaissances": those periods of Irish literary flourishing that both inspired and were inspired by Irish Modernism. (Cope)
ENG 248 Country, City, Colony: The Modern British Novel This course will consist of an exploration of the development and transformation of the British Novel in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries as exemplified by the work of three British writers. Our emphasis will be on the ways in which definitions of British culture and identity were reflected by these novelists' representations of the city, the country, and the colony, and the colony as the defining social and geographical features of the British Empire. We pay close attention to the ways in which race, class, gender, and other markers of social difference and inequality are represented and redefined in these novels as the opportunities and encroachments of Modernity--increased social and geographical mobility, the emergence of commodity Capitalism, first-wave Feminism, colonial exploration and exploitation, World War--radically transform the social and cultural landscape of Britain, Europe, and the world as a whole. Novelists may include: Joseph Conrad, Thomas Hardy, D.H. Lawrence, Jean Rhys, Virginia Woolf. (Cope)
ENG 250 Early American Literature This course surveys the development of U.S. literature up to and including the Civil War period. Literary works will be analyzed in terms of both their textual qualities and the social contexts that produced them. Readings may include Whitman, Dickinson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, Melville. Not open to students who have taken "American Literature to Melville." (Staff)
ENG 251 Nineteenth-Century American Fiction What's so great, or so American, about the Great American Novel? To answer this question, we will read a number of novels from the period-the nineteenth -century-in which the idea of the G.A.N. (as Henry James, whose own works contended for that title, abbreviated it) was first introduced. We will also discuss historical shifts in literary valuation that would cause Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, the nominee of the critic who first came up with the idea, to be supplanted by Herman Melville's Moby Dick as the Great American Novel. In addition to Stowe and Melville, we may read fiction by writers like Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mark Twain, Charles Chestnutt, and Sarah Orne Jewett.
ENG 252 American Women Writers This course focuses on a selection of women writers who have made important contributions to U.S. literature. Authors, genres, and periods will vary depending on the instructor's area of interest and expertise. (Creadick)
ENG 254 Nineteenth-Century American Poetry American poetry from the nineteenth-century can both seem too much of its own time and way ahead of its time. Poets like Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson are, in their own ways, entirely exceptional and wholly representative of verse written before the Modernist Movement. This course will explain why. In addition to spending about half of the term on Whitman and Dickinson, the course will treat the work of a dozen other poets, black and white, who worked in as many different forms. We will read authors who are better known for their prose (Poe, Melville), authors who were popular in their time but have since fallen our to critical favor (Longfellow, Whittier), and a large group of women writers who were described, and were often dismissed, as “poetesses.” We will also read prose-like Emerson’s essays, Poe’s articles, Whitman’s prefaces, and Dickinson's letters-that will help us understand them. Together, they will demonstrate for us the diversity of writers and writings from this period. (Staff)
ENG 260 Modern American Literature This course surveys American Literature written during the first half of the twentieth century, from the Civil War to the 1940s. Focusing on the novel, we will trace the overlapping literary movements of this era, including realism, naturalism, and especially modernism. We will chart the personal, social, and political forces (such as industrialization, immigration, war, feminism, urbanization, depression) that shaped the production and reception of these literary works. Not open to students who have taken “American Literature from Crane.” (Creadick)
ENG 261 Popular Fiction When a novel acquires a mass readership, does it lose aesthetic value? What is the difference between “literary fiction” and “popular fiction”? Focusing on a genre fiction, cult bestsellers, middlebrow blockbusters, “pulp” or “trash” fiction produced across American history, this course invites students to consider the politics of taste and hierarchies of literary value embedded in popular reading practices. Students will read these literary works alongside a number of primary and secondary texts in order to illuminate the pleasures and anxieties of reading. (Creadick)
ENG 263 Jewish American Fiction This course will trace chronologically the course and development of Jewish American fiction in the 20th century and survey the work of some of its great writers. We will tackle the issues of the immigrant, the outside and the condition of minority status. We will address the issues and problems around assimilation to do with identity, language, religious belief and values, class and anti-Semitism. We will address the changing experience of women in the confrontation with a new culture and with an evolving American culture. We will also examine the effects of the Holocaust on Jewish-American identity and its ramifications in the children-of-survivors generation. Authors may include Yezierska, Roth, Malamud, Bellow, Paley, Elkin, Ozick, and Shteyngart. (Weiss)
ENG 266 Modernist American Poetry This course is a study of selected major early twentieth century figures, including Gertrude Stein, T.S. Eliot, H. D., Jean Toomer, Ezra Pound, Marianne Moore, and William Carlos Williams. (Cowles)
ENG 267 Post WWII American Poetry An introduction to contemporary American poetry, this course emphasizes both the close reading of poems and the placing of recent American poetry within its social and literary contexts. Crosslisted in Women’s Studies, this course also covers a number of poetic movements that investigate social justice issues. (Cowles)
ENG 270 Globalization and Literature Globalism as a contemporary phenomenon has been in the ascendancy. It is, among other things, an economic, cultural, technological, and demographic phenomenon. Students examine globalism and its related metaphors of hybridity, cosmopolitanism, migrancy, exile, and so on against nationalism and its privileged metaphors of rootedness and identity. If the production of a national subject is no longer the purpose of "discipline," what does it mean to produce a transnational subject? These are some of the concerns of the fiction students read for this course. We typically begin with two famous American novels, Upton Sinclair's The Jungle and Don DeLillo's White Noise, to examine the impact of globalization on the United States. We then move to two South Asian novels, Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children and Hanif Kureishi's Black Album. We end with two important novels by black women writers, Tsitsi Dangarembga's Nervous Conditions and Toni Morrison's Tar Baby. (Basu)
ENG 276 Imagining the Middle East This course will examine representations of the Middle East, its geography, its culture, and its peoples in literature and film. The Greater Middle East is a loosely defined geopolitical entity that extends from Pakistani-Indian border to the Northern shores of Africa. Students will learn about the region as seen and imagined through the eyes of both foreigners and natives, Western and non-Western writers, travel journalists, soldiers, bloggers, colonists, refugees, and migrants. The course will explore the stereotypes that define representations of the Middle East in the West; most specifically, we will address Edward Said's claim that the Middle East became trapped in swarm of interrelated notions he defined as Orientalism. Said insists that Orientalism is a fiction produced by the western mind and subsequently used to justify colonial exploration, validate the need for human rights interventions, while also constructing the region as a site of an exotic adventure. (Ivanchikova)
ENG 280 Film Analysis II This course focuses on specific aspects of the filmic system and how they work. Attention is paid to detailed analyses of images and sounds and their dynamic relation to the film's narrative. The goal of the course is a keener understanding not only of the world of film, but of the increasingly visual world in which we live. The primary emphasis is on what is called the Classical Hollywood Model, the dominant (culturally, economically, ideologically) mode of filmmaking in the world today (although not the only mode). As such it is crucial for students of film and, arguably, for us all to be actively aware of its structures and assumptions. This course is not open to students who have taken ENG 180 “Film Analysis I.” (Lyon)
ENG 282 Film Histories II (1930-1950) This series of courses is conceived as a modular film histories group aimed at giving students a background in a specific historical period and/or preparation for more specialized work in a specific area of film history. Each year one module is offered, usually during the fall semester. Since it is not possible to cover all of world cinema during any of these historical periods in a single term, a selection is made to emphasize specific themes or historical events. This course may include a study of the Hollywood studio system, European and American pre-World War II and wartime cinemas (including French films of the Occupation and Italian neo-realism) and postwar European and American cinemas. (Lyon)
ENG 286 The Art of the Screen Play Screenplays are the blueprints of movies. In this course students read screenplays and study the films that have been made from them. Special attention is paid to such elements as story, structure, character development, and to the figurative techniques for turning written text into moving image. Prerequisite: ENG 200. (Holly)
ENG 287 Jane Austen in Film Because Jane Austen's novels are essentially her own, written creations and films based on them are collaborative and characterized by sound, motion, and visual detail, the two media approach narrative in fundamentally different ways. We will consider to what extent a film version of a Jane Austen novel is an entirely new work that is artistically independent of the original. We will also examine the consequences of viewing such films as translations of Austen's novels both for the filmmakers who approach their projects this way and for critics who read the films from this perspective. While we will certainly take into account the techniques employed by directors and screenwriters to create a coherent and effective narrative that captures Austen's story, it is important to note that this is not a film course. The focus here is on the interplay between two methods of storytelling that results when novels written by an author who deliberately avoids description are made into films. (Minott-Ahl)
ENG 290 Creative Writing This course offers introductory techniques in the writing of both fiction and poetry. The workshop format emphasizes group discussion of the writings of class members. Readings of modern authors supplement discussions of form and technique. This course is normally required as a prerequisite for fiction and poetry workshops. Prerequisite: at least one other ENG course. Not open to students who have taken ENG 190. (Conroy-Goldman, Cowles, Babbitt)
300-level courses are designed for majors and minors, and so often require prerequisites. These are reading-, viewing- and/or writing-intensive courses that emphasize theory and criticism, as well as deep analysis of primary texts. Courses at this level often require oral presentations and culminate in substantial student projects.
ENG/AMST 301 Cultural Theory and Popular Culture This course introduces cultural studies as a major area of contemporary theory which has reshaped the way we think and write about literature. Critical cultural studies, historicism, and reader-response theory have expanded understandings of literary meaning to include production and reception of those texts as well as their ideological content and consequences. Students read theoretical essays by such thinkers as Marx, Gramsci, Althusser, Foucault, White, Butler, and Baudrillard, as well as examples of scholars applying these ideas to the study of literature and other cultural forms. Students will then become the critics, applying these theories to the contemporary literary, material and popular culture “texts” that surround them—stories, poems, film, photographs, toys, fashion, sports, and music. (Creadick)
ENG 304 Feminist Literary Theory and Criticism This course is designed to introduce students to feminist literary theories and critical practices that are considered to be of crucial importance in the field of feminist literary theory today. It focuses on such issues as female sexualization, representations of violence and madness, and subjectivity. During the course of the term we will read and discuss a large variety of texts and methodologies written by some of the most influential feminist theorists today. Students will also become familiarized with the context in which there texts were written and learn how these various methodologies can be applied to the study of literary works. The course is an excellent opportunity to broaden your horizons and learn about new ideas. It is also an opportunity to acquire advanced critical thinking skills through an encounter with very complex and dense texts. As a result of this course, students should be able to have a better understanding of contemporary feminist and post-feminist culture by placing contemporary cultural practices in the context of feminist intellectual tradition.
ENG 310 Power, Desire, Literature This course examines the relationship between power and desire as it is represented in literature. While the course will use Nietzschean, Freudian, and Marxist theories to frame our analysis of some classic literary texts by Sade and Masoch, it will also examine some more recent writers and the emergence of sadomasochism in the contemporary United States. The course questions some of the most deeply entrenched binary oppositions in Western culture such as those between subject and object, activity and passivity, domination and submission. (Basu)
ENG 324/WRRH 328 Small Press Book Publishing: Book Contest and Acquisitions Editing In this course, students will help publish a book. We will focus on small press acquisitions editing through the facilitation of Seneca Review's first biennial Deborah Tall Lyric Essay Book Contest. The editors of Seneca Review will have narrowed down manuscript submissions to approximately 15 semi-finalists. Over the course of the semester, students will have the opportunity both to learn about and to engage in the acquisitions editorial process by reading, discussing, and evaluating each of the semi-finalist manuscripts and by ultimately helping select five finalists. The TRIAS resident will meet with the class several times and serve as the contest judge. Students will work in small groups to pitch one of the finalist manuscripts to the judge. By engaging in the book publishing and acquisitions process, students will grapple with such questions as: How do lyric essays and hybrid texts work in conjunction with one another in a book-length manuscript? What makes a creative manuscript good and how do we weigh it against competing manuscripts with different strengths? And how can we distinguish between manuscripts that cross the threshold into the realm of literary excellence and those that do not?
ENG 340 The Architectural Novel This course focuses on how Sir Walter Scott, Victor Hugo, William Ainsworth, and Alexandre Dumas use fictional narrative to make sense of the realities of their age. From about 1792 to the late 1840s, when revolution was again in the air in Europe, the last remnants of feudalism in England and France, in particular, were swept away by the tides of political unrest, technological advances, and economic change. These novelists supply architecture, history, legend and landscape as the basis for understanding the events of their own present. In their novels, the gothic building becomes a point of reference for exploration of the nature of the novel itself, the relevance of medieval architecture in post-feudal societies, the vanishing of ancient buildings, landscapes, and traditions in the face economic change and industrial revolution, as well as the idea of a national art - and of nation itself. (Minott-Ahl)
ENG 342 Modernist Experiments Poems with footnotes, portraits in prose, characters in search of authors, manifestoes praising plastic surgery and the demolition of museums, translations from the Chinese (redacted by editors who don't know the Chinese language): these are some of things modernism is known for. In the first half of the twentieth century writers working in a variety of genres, visual artists, and musicians were convinced that the available forms of artistic expression were outmoded. Our focus: the ways they experimented with language and literary form to represent a distinctly "modern" experience, one that needed to accommodate the realities of world war, the "discovery" of the unconscious, advances in transport and communication technologies, mass production and consumption, and the rise (and fall) of empires. (Cope)
ENG 351 Archives of American Literature Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote that "language is the archives of history." This course will explore early American history through literature. In addition to reading historical fiction, autobiography, epic poetry, and other genres that revisit and revise the past, we will investigate how researchers come to know it. In other words, we will study the theory and practice of archives. What do these literary examinations of the country's past say about its present? How is the historical record created and preserved for, and how will it be accessed in, the future? Who and what gets left out, and why does it matter? Our authors, who may include Nathaniel Hawthorne, Frederick Douglass, Lydia Marie Child, and Pauline Hopkins, will use writing to reckon with the past. And so will we. (Black)
ENG 362 Body, Memory, Representation We begin with a slave narrative from the nineteenth century, and we then turn to a twentieth century narrative form that has been called the neo-slave narrative. Black women writers have initiated an important line of inquiry in these reconstructions of slavery in fiction. In these texts, they represent the desires of slaves, and, at a fundamental level, the course examines the relationship between power and desire and the suggestion that desire itself cannot be evacuated of power relations. We will compare these narratives to sadomasochistic narratives and end the semester by comparing them to Masoch's Venus in Furs. (Basu)
ENG 370 Geographies of Nowhere: Mapping the Frontier This course examines representations of the frontier, its structure, its role in our collective imagination, and the part it played in Western colonial expansion by focusing on twentieth and twenty-first century world literature and film. A frontier is usually imagined as a place that is far away from the "center": it is where civilization meets wilderness and humans face nature. The frontier is thus usually a contested space, a place of tension and uncertainty. In this course, we will focus on spaces that can be called global frontiers, among them the High Arctic (Alaska and Northern Canada), the Global South (interior Africa), and the Mysterious East (Afghanistan). All these spaces are fantasy locations that we view as either uncharted territories where nothing goes on (such as the Arctic) or as all-too-chaotic locations where too much goes on (such as Afghanistan). (Ivanchikova)
ENG 376 Who Am I? Identity in World Literature Can stories shape our understanding of who we are and help us find our own unique place in the world? By engaging with a variety of contemporary narratives from around the globe, students will examine how personal and collective identities are constructed, expressed, and transmitted. We will talk about identity in its relationship to desire, power, asceticism, consumption, faith, and nihilism. We will consider the ways in which narratives of identity shed light on one of life's greatest mysteries - the mystery of the self. (Ivanchikova)
ENG 390 Trias Topics Workshop The Trias Workshop is an intensive, practice-based studio course based in the resident's genre. Students are expected to read assignments in contemporary literature, complete writing exercises, read and critically respond to other students' work, and produce a portfolio of polished, original writing. Students will be expected to attend all Trias events in the fall and to engage with the work of visiting writers. Admission to the workshop is by application only. (Trias Writer-in-Residence)
ENG 391 Advanced Poetry Workshop For students highly motivated to write poetry, this course offers the opportunity to study, write, and critique poetry in an intensive workshop and discussion environment. Students will produce multiple poems, write critically in response to contemporary works of poetry, and produce, workshop, and revise a chapbook-length collection of poems as a final project. Class time is divided between discussions of contemporary poetry and workshops on student writing. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor, based on writing sample. ENG 190/290 is generally required. (Cowles)
ENG 396 Lyric Essay HWS is the birthplace of the lyric essay. It was in the introduction to the Fall 1997 issue of Seneca Review that esteemed HWS professor Deborah Tall and Hobart alumnus John D'Agata gave the lyric essay its most seminal and enduring definition, which begins by characterizing the new hybrid form as "a fascinating sub-genre that straddles the essay and the lyric poem... give[s] primacy to artfulness over the conveying of information... [and] forsake[s] narrative line, discursive logic, and the art of persuasion in favor of idiosyncratic meditation." We will begin our course examining the essays of Tall, D'Agata, and writers published in Seneca Review. And in order to gain an appreciation of the lyric essay as an inherently innovative, ever-evolving, genre-busting art form, we will proceed to study a wide range of essayists. Students will both create their own lyric essays and respond critically to each other's creative work in regularly held workshops. (Babbitt)
ENG 399 Hybrid Forms Workshop New publication methods and technologies change art. From the printing press, to the typewriter, the record player, the camera, or the film reel, artists have used new technologies to expand our notions of art and to skirt borders of genres and media. In the advent of the Internet and digital technologies, the possibilities for expansion and experimentation have again exploded, and contemporary artists are involved in a renaissance of hybrid forms that has become bigger than the technologies that started it. Poets are using cameras and bullhorns, musicians are using kitchen utensils, translators are using languages they don't actually speak, artists are using old books and exacto knives, sculptors are using live (and not live) human bodies, film directors are using colored pencils and moth wings, dancers are using dirt and armchairs. In this creative writing workshop, the focus will be on hybrid texts that include language in some form. We'll track a strange vein of precedent for contemporary hybrid texts across decades and even centuries, we'll explore what artists and writers are producing right now, and we'll create and workshop our own hybrid texts. We'll learn new critical language for talking about such texts, and we'll participate in collaborative and guerilla art projects. Artists from outside the English Department who are interested in working with language in some way are encouraged to ask for permission, even if they have not taken ENG 290. Prerequisites: ENG 190/290 or permission of the instructor. (Cowles)
400-level courses – with the exception of both full-credit and half-credit Independent Studies* - are intended as the capstone experience for upper-level majors. The expectation is that students already have a solid understanding of how to analyze, interpret, research, and write about literary texts. In Creative Writing, students taking a capstone course are expected to be able to produce high-level original writing, and be proficient at the complex processes of refining and revision of their own work. They must also be able to demonstrate ability to engage critically and constructively with published works and the writing of their peers. The reading load is heavy in all capstone experiences, and the class period is entirely discussion-based and frequently student-led. These courses typically culminate in a substantial seminar project, which is an opportunity for students to showcase their most advanced work in the discipline.
*Please Note: Eng. 450 and 456 Independent Studies are not capstone courses.
ENG 436 Shakespeare Seminar The Shakespeare Seminar studies a single play by Shakespeare in great depth for a full semester. We will explore the play's history in print, on stage, on screen, and in adaptation; but most of all we will focus on the history and scope of diverse critical readings that the play has inspired. Students will be encouraged to enter into the critical conversation themselves in substantial ways: they will collaborate to develop a symposium of graduate-level conference papers for the midterm, and for the final, they will produce a collection of publishable critical articles.
ENG 445 Ulysses Often considered the greatest novel of the twentieth century (and considered by some the greatest novel in history), James Joyce's Ulysses is also among the most difficult novels to read. At once thrilling, edifying, frustrating, baffling, bemusing, seductive, repulsive, compassionate, confounding (the list could go indefinitely), few novels have commanded the scholarly attention of James Joyce's penultimate novel. In this class, we will read the novel in terms of some of the question that have animated Joyce criticism over the past half-century: is Ulysses exemplary of cosmopolitan Modernism or is it a post-colonial novel? Is it an exercise in misogyny or a proto-Feminist intervention? Elitist or populist? Because the book is so relentlessly allusive, it will be necessary for us to refer to some of the literary, philosophical, and historical materials Joyce incorporated into his novel, including Irish history, Jewish history Shakespeare's Hamlet, the geography of Dublin, and Thomist philosophy. Although it is not necessary, students who have not already done so might wish to familiarize themselves with Dubliners and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, as well as the Odyssey and Hamlet, as these are all important foreground materials for Joyce's experiment. (Cope)
ENG 450 Independent Study
ENG 456 1/2 Credit Independent Study
ENG 458 The American 1850s The 1850's was a period of unprecedented artistic production in the history of the United States, one that's arguably been unmatched since. In the span of ten years, writers like Herman Melville, Walt Whitman, Frederick Douglass, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Emily Dickinson, Henry David Thoreau, and Harriet Beecher Stowe published major works of prose and verse that experimented with literary conventions and responded to the times. In addition to attending to issues of form and context, this course will consider the relationship between literature and culture and politics and history. Along the way, we will read foundational works of scholarship, revisit classic debates, and participate in current conversations. As part of this process, students will write and present a research paper, as well as collaborate on other critical and creative projects.
ENG 465 Reading Faulkner William Faulkner (1897-1962) sits comfortably atop a hierarchy of Great American Writers. Famous for his modernist prose experimentation in such classic works as The Sound and The Fury or Absalom, Absalom!, Faulkner also boldly explored dark and disturbing themes of race and place in America through works like Light in August, Go Down, Moses, and Intruder in the Dust. But Faulkner also wrote Hollywood screenplays, wrote short stories for cash, and wrote other sorts of novels—works of picaresque comedy, doomed romance, and potboiler noir criminality. Faulkner himself “read everything,” from pulps to classics, and that reading, inevitably, shaped his own writing. In this course we will “read Faulkner” by investigating a broader range of his literary production, from the most canonical works to the more marginalized ones. We will situate his works by incorporating a book-length critical biography of Faulkner into our reading, as well as exploring an array of literary criticism. (Creadick)
ENG 470 Representing 9/11 Wars Representing 9/11 Wars will interrogate the corpus of cultural texts (novels, film, memoirs, drama, travel writing) about Afghanistan that was published in the aftermath of 9/11 and the subsequent U.S. led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. By examining the frames of cultural reference, images, themes, and aesthetics that emerge in these texts, students will gain a richer understanding of the post-9/11 global novel and the place mediated wars in the global post-9/11 imaginary. Students will learn how the global novel recasts, reframes, and remediates scenes of war-induced suffering we are already exposed to 24/7 in a hypermediated world, positioning the reader as a witness to wars that are, paradoxically, both distant and close. The post-9/11 global novel exhibits a specific aesthetic sensibility that is a sedimentation of its historical context: it registers the global state of war and the proximity of distant suffering; maps cartographies of casualties; tackles the issues of scale (close-ups of the suffering body versus the large scale of the world); grapples with understanding the extent of militarization of ordinary lives as well as new configurations of power in today's world; and addresses the issues of empathy, developments in critical theory. Students will be required to write an extensive research paper on one of the topics discussed in the course.
ENG 490 Trias Tutorial Under the direction of the Trias Writer-in-Residence, students will work towards the production of a full portfolio of creative writing, suitable for publication or submission as a writing sample to graduate school in the field. Students will pursue individualized reading lists, produce new work on a bi-weekly basis, and complete substantial revisions of their efforts.
ENG 495 Honors