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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.)
Classes of 2015:
disciplinary, 11 courses
ENG 101; six English core courses, at least one of which must focus on a period before 1800; and four additional English courses numbered 175 or above. Up to two literature courses taught outside the department may count toward the major with the consent of the department chair. In consultation with an adviser, students will develop a plan of study that includes a three-course concentration. Starting in the fall 2012 semester, ENG 101 will no longer be offered. ENG 200 will replace ENG 101.
Concentrations may be defined by literary history, genre 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 literary history, or focus on one particular era. Field of study concentrations in creative writing, film studies or theory are options for students with particular interest in those areas.
Classes of 2016 and later:
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
Classes of 2015:
disciplinary, 5 courses
ENG 101 plus four courses, and at least two core courses numbered 175 or above. ENG 101 should be taken before the others, preferably in the first or second year. One literature course taught outside the department may count toward the minor with the consent of the department chair.
Classes of 2016 and later:
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.
Creative Writing Courses (Classes of 2015)
Creative writing courses do not count as core courses, but as many as four may be taken to fulfill requirements for the English major and as many as two for the minor; since creative writing courses count as “additional courses at the 175 level or above,” taking more than two creative writing classes will limit your ability to take courses for major credit outside the department. ENG 290 Creative Writing; ENG 391 Poetry Workshop; ENG 394 The Craft of Fiction; ENG 397 Creative Non-Fiction Workshop; ENG 398 Screenwriting; other courses, occasionally offered.
Core Courses (Classes of 2015)
Students must take six core courses for the major and two for the minor. Most courses in the English department qualify as core courses. The exceptions are generally courses in creative writing. Please consult with your adviser to ensure that you will take enough courses which qualify.
Core Film Courses (Classes of 2015)
Film courses which qualify as core courses include: ENG 180 Film Analysis I; ENG 280 Film Analysis II; ENG 281 Film Histories I; ENG 282 Film Histories II; ENG 283 Film Histories III; ENG 286 The Art of the Screenplay; ENG 380 Film and Ideology; ENG 381 Hollywood on Hollywood; ENG 382 New Waves; ENG 383 Science Fiction Film
Literary Courses Outside the Department (All Classes)
The following list is a representative sample of courses which 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.
ENG courses are numbered at the 100-, 200-, 300-, and 400-levels according to their level of difficulty. 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 The 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 WW I and WW II, 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 112 Things Fall Apart This course traverses “dark and stormy” characters, inexplicable actions, insurmountable challenges, difficult forms, and impossible situations—all in order to discover what is possible. How does the character survive? How can we identify with her or him? How can the poem peer through its strange exterior to invite us in? How does the author make use of pain, turmoil, and confusion in the text? How can we as readers persevere in the face of these challenges and glean experience, skill, and strength? By reading across multiple genres, writing critical papers, completing short creative and critical written exercises, participating in group presentations, and taking quizzes and tests, students will endeavor to become more tenacious, engaged, observant, thoughtful, empathetic, and articulate. (Manring)
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 clutched 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 116 Literature and Politics How and why do literary texts represent political persons, philosophies, and events? What is the effect (if any) of their doing so? Are a writer's politics necessarily reflected in their writing? What do we mean by politics anyway? For that matter, what do we mean by literature? When we define these terms, are we already making a political determination? This course seeks to respond to these questions by exploring two separate but related issues: 1) the representation of political persons, events, and ideas in literature and 2) the politics (cultural, social, and otherwise) of literature: who gets published and why? What do we expect when we read? How does reading inspire (or compel) us to rethink our political commitments? Our responses to these questions will engage such issues as the politics of affect, empathy, and emotion: the philosophical and political status of literature's representation of ' possible worlds'; utopian and dystopian tendencies in literature and political thought; the politics of representation; the politics of elitism and marginalization; essentialist and anti-essentialist discourses in literature in politics; literature in the marketplace; literature's role in the revolution against (or maintenance of) political and national structures; the 'cultural' politics of race, class, gender, and sexuality. Texts will include novels, poems, stories, and plays, as well as relevant theoretical and critical essays from a range of literary and critical cultures and traditions.
ENG 130 Medieval Genres: Swords, Hammers, Quills, Bathtubs and a Fox This course approaches the Middle Ages through its representation of different genres in an array of texts, manuscript illuminations, music and other artistic expressions. It exposes the cultural and social conditions that are illustrated by these texts. Students will evaluate the social, religious and gender politics that are revealed by each genre. The investigation will begin with texts originally written in Latin. It will start around 700 with the writings of an Anglo-Saxon monk, the Venerable Bede. Students will follow Saint Brendan in the adventures that probably led him from his Irish monastery to the coast of America, many centuries before Columbus. Students will then reach the continent and discover the troubadour Bernard de Ventadorn and other poets from France. They will travel between France, England, Italy and Germany to evaluate the genres of fables, popular romance, fabliaux and dramatic farce. (Erussard)
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 150 American Gothic We associate the term "Gothic" with words like strange, weird, frightening, terrible , horrific, incredible, and fantastic. The Gothic tradition in American literature features texts that foreground the thoughts and feelings of characters in extreme situations. In this course, we will explore the always interesting and often experimental ways that writers before and after Edgar Allan Poe tried to represent perception and cognition. These stories do more than portray the experiences of their characters. Well-worn phrases like hair-raising, spine-tingling, and bone-chilling demonstrate that they also attempt to provoke a similar response in the reader. In addition to reading tales of action and adventure, mystery and suspense, the sensational and the supernatural, we will inquire into what is peculiarly American about his perennially popular genre.
ENG 165 Introduction to African American Literature 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 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 and 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 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. 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. (Staff)
200-level courses are geared toward 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 201 The History of the English Language The purpose of this course is threefold. First, it surveys the development of English from its earliest forms to its functions and varieties since it emerged as an official language after the decline of French. This history starts with the 5,000-year-old reconstructed Indo-European language; it then moves from the Germanic branch of languages to the Old English literary vernacular in the British Isles and to the interplay of Old English, Norman French and Latin and the advent of Middle English. It follows the evolution through the “great vowel shift” and looks at the rise of the English literary vernacular as it appears in the works of Shakespeare, in the King James Bible, and Samuel Johnson’s dictionary. Second, it familiarizes students with the “scientific tools” of linguistic studies: articulatory phonetics and phonology, the mechanics of language changes, socio-linguistics, and comparative philology. Finally, this course will also deploy ways to look at language and language change, at the status of standards, at the descriptive or prescriptive roles of dictionaries. It will dismantle Babel by exposing some of the commonly believed myths about language. (Erussard)
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 206 The Modern Short Story This course includes advanced analysis and explication of selected stories by masters of the genre, with attention to its history and development. (Staff)
ENG 209 Graphic Novels/Graphic Forms We are witnessing a golden age of graphic forms. This course is an introduction to the graphic novel, a form that has been developing for thousands of years. We will concentrate particularly on advances within the twentieth century and examine how comic strips, collage and wordless novels, manga, graphic histories, comix journalism, and memoirs have been adapted to tell stories about life, love, death, and sometimes, happiness. (Staff)
ENG 210 Flexing Sex: Crossing the Gender Divide in Contemporary Literature The question of whether an author’s gender defines his or her voice continues to be a hotly contested debate in contemporary letters. Computer programs exist which claim to be able to identify an author’s sex based on his or her writing style. Writers are lauded—or challenged—based on their abilities to write from the perspective of another sex. In this course, students explore this issue through a series of theoretical and literary readings by authors who challenge prevailing notions of gendered authorship. Texts may include works by authors such as Jonathan Franzen, Wally Lamb, Ann Carson, Jeffrey Eugenides, Rose Tremain and Jane Smiley. Students complete a series of analytical and creative writing assignments which respond to these works. (Conroy-Goldman)
ENG 211 Monstrous Femininity This course will focus on the social and intellectual history behind the ideas that link femininity with hysteria, masquerade, the pathological, and the monstrous. Visions of pathology and monstrosity could be deployed to contain and oppress women or they can be creatively mobilized to empower and liberate women. For instance, Bertha, the “madwoman in the attic” in the 1848 English novel Jane Eyre, is presented as a monster to be contained. By contrast, Lady Gaga in her 2010 video “Bad Romance” mobilizes the idea of the “monstrous feminine” to challenge rigid gender boundaries. We will explore representative works written by female writers who are considered “canonical” (such as Jean Rhys, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman) while also discussing the work done by contemporary artists and pop cultural icons (such as Cindy Sherman and Lady Gaga, among others). (Ivanchikova)
ENG 212 Literature of Sexual Minorities In a homophobic society, one of the ways in which LGBTQ people have been able to articulate a consciousness of their identity has been through the publication of literary works. Until the 1940s even this mode of expression often was legally suppressed. In this course students read and discuss works that played pivotal roles in the development of a sense of identity and political purpose for these groups and which thus helped to define the LGBTQ communities and movements of today. (Staff)
ENG 213 Environmental Literature In this course students read poetry and prose by contemporary American nature writers who concern themselves with the human experience of and relation to nature. These writers lovingly evoke the American 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. (Staff)
ENG 215 Mad About Me: Poetry and Mental Illness Why are so many poets crazy? Do you have to be troubled to write poetry? Why do poems so often come from a “dark” place, and what are the iterations of that space across millennia? Emily Dickinson wrote that “Much madness is divinest sense,” and that “the mind... has mountains; cliffs of fall / Frightful, sheer, no-man-fathomed.” In this class, we will work to find the “divinest sense” by fathoming those frightful cliffs—in the experience of poetry, from Ovid to Hopkins to Plath and beyond. The recognition of melancholy, mania, depression, addiction, and hysteria, among other recognizable patterns, both as process and as product, will inform our inquiry. A combination of close (or even closed) readings of texts, irrespective of biography, and informed, biographical probing of the psyche using a lexicon derived from contemporary Western psychiatric practice will serve as a starting point from which to allow such careful distinctions to dissolve and the messy work of being human to emerge. (Manring)
ENG 231 Comparative Medieval Literature This course surveys some of the major forms of medieval literature—the epic, the romance, and the fable—and attempts to relate these works to the earlier classical tradition. In addition, it attempts to make both cross-cultural connections and connections with the social, historical, and philosophical levels of medieval culture. (Erussard)
ENG 232 Medieval Romance This course focuses on Old French, Anglo Norman, Viking, and Middle English popular romances which are not well known, such as Floriz and Blancheflur, Amis and Amiloun, Aucassin and Nicolete, King Horn, Havelock the Dane, Sir Orfeo, and Sir Bevis. All texts will be read in Modern English translations. These romances will be compared and contrasted with some canonical works intended for an aristocratic audience. (Erussard)
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 234 Chaucer: Topics Chaucer composed his poetry in the historical context of peasant uprisings, religious heresy, English imperialism, and the aftermath of the Black Death and in the literary context of the Alliterative Renaissance and the influence of the French and Italian traditions. A first topic focuses on a careful reading of The Canterbury Tales and the second concentrates on a comparative study of Troilus and Criseyde and its main source, Boccaccio’s II Filostrato. Both courses investigate issues surrounding the authorship, language, audience, and ideologies of Chaucer’s work within the larger cultural, social, and political context of late medieval England. (Erussard)
ENG 235 The Once and Future King This course tries to answer some questions about the development of stories concerning Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. How did the possibly historical and legendary figure of Arthur and his fictitious knights come to inspire so many stories? Why do Arthurian myths continue to flourish in literature and films today? This course follows Arthur, Guinevere and the Knights of the Round Table from the sixth century and the medieval mists of Tintagel through their Romantic revival and to the edge of the twenty-first century. The main focus is the exploration of the emergence and the development of the legends of King Arthur and their relationship to the imaginative literature and the glorious chivalric mentality of the Middle Ages. All texts and their textual characteristics are studied within their historical and sociocultural contexts. Therefore, the basic approach is both formalist and historicist. (Erussard)
ENG 236 Shakespearean Comedy An introduction to Shakespeare, focusing on six of his best-known comedies, including A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night, As You Like It, and Much Ado About Nothing. 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 these works 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 on the stage, 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 Shakespearean Tragedy 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 The Eighteenth Century Novel This course is designed to be a survey of significant themes and techniques in the novels of the period, with some attention paid to continental influences and development and metamorphoses of eighteenth century themes in the novels of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Special attention is given to novels by and about women. (Holly)
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 as thinkers and as agents of important change in the world. The poems they wrote were 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 the 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 toward nature; the loss of communication; the role of education; and the affirmation of art. (Minott-Ahl)
ENG 243 Victorian Poets The poets of the nineteenth century lived in an age of rapid political, economic, social, and technological change as well as the questioning of once-established truths. Many saw themselves as participants in a collective (though not necessarily concerted) effort to make sense of the changing world and influence the direction their civilization would take. This course is an introduction to the works of well-known Victorian poets such as Tennyson and the Brownings, but will also focus on writers we are accustomed to think of only as novelists: Charles Dickens, Charlotte Bronte, and Thomas Hardy to name a few. The aim of the course is to familiarize students with the lives and works of a wide range of poets of the Victorian period, especially with those who saw their role as builders—or re-builders—of English national identity. (Minott-Ahl)
ENG 244 The Nineteenth-Century British Novel: Topics
ENG 244a The Nineteenth-Century British Novel In this course, students read and discuss selected British examples from this second great century of the novel in English. A major focus of the course is women, both as key contributors to the novel’s evolution and as central characters in the texts. Readings may include works by William Thackeray, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Bronte, Charles Dickens, Anthony Trollope, and George Eliot, among others. (Minott-Ahl)
ENG 244b The 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 strictures on the conduct of women of the upper and newly emerging middle classes. Alongside exciting, often titillating stories of abducted maidens, vampires, and demonic monks were numerous treatises enjoining young women to act sensibly, be virtuous, and eschew novel reading. We will explore how some eighteenth century Gothic novels actually reinforce the values and social mores they are accused of undermining, while others subvert those 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, i.e. after the revolutions—political, industrial, and scientific—of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. (Minott-Ahl)
ENG 244c 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. We will examine Dickens’s ideas about urban poverty, the negative consequences of capitalism, utilitarianism, and rapid industrialization. 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. (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 Three English Novelists In this course, we will read two or three novels each by three modern English novelists. Our aim will be to explore how these novelists sought to develop the formal, stylistic, and thematic means to represent and interrogate the major social, political, religious, ethical, and cultural questions of their day. We will explore the ways in which these novelists changed throughout the course of their careers, and explore the causes (personal and historical) for these changes, while also paying attention to the ways in which their reputations and readerships have changed over time. Authors may include Woolf, Conrad, Lawrence, Wilde, or others. (Cope)
ENG 249 Never Mind the Bollocks: Here's Contemporary British Fiction
In this class we will read a survey of recent British fiction, a selection of first-rate novels and short stories that examine changes in British identity from 1945 to the present. And we will situate these texts within a media-rich historical account of post-war Britain, by watching British films and television programs, listening to British music and reading British news media through term. George Bernard Shaw once quipped that " England and America are two countries divided by a common language." He makes an excellent point: because there are so many superficial similarities between the two cultures run. Our goal will be to dig deep with our cultural analysis, exploring some of the paradoxes at the core of contemporary Britain and reflecting, in turn, on what this might reveal to us about the state of America in the present.
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 252 American Women Writers: Topics 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.
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 twentieth century and survey the work of some of its great writers. We will tackle the issues of the immigrant, the outsider 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, Roth, Paley, Elkin, Ozick, and Shteyngart. (Weiss)
ENG 264 Southern Fictions An introduction to fiction from the American South as well as to fictions of the American South from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. We will analyze works by major southern authors to uncover what if anything they have in common. We will also look at “The South” itself as a kind of fiction–constructed through literature, film and popular culture. Our readings will cluster around subgenres of southern fiction and contemporary “grit lit” movements. We will work to unpack the tensions around sex, race, class, and religion that have haunted southern fiction from its beginnings. (Creadick)
ENG 265 The Contemporary American Novel This course surveys American fiction written from the mid-1940s to the present. Focusing on the novel, we trace movements from modernism to postmodernism, as well as the development of U.S. multiethnic literary traditions and the impact of new technologies on literary forms. We will chart the personal, social, and political forces that shaped the production and reception of these literary works. Not open to students who have taken “American Novel Since World War II.” (Staff)
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. (Cowles)
ENG 270 Globalization and Literature Globalization 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 272 India and the Global. The course typically begins with two novels by famous English writers, E. M. Forster's A Passage to India (1924) and George Orwell's Burmese Days (1934). We then move to several highly acclaimed award-winning recent novels by Indian writers which are set in the United States, England, and India. Among them are The Namesake (2003; Pulitzer prize; also a film), The God of Small Things (1997; Booker Prize), Transmission (2004), and The White Tiger (2008; Booker Prize). These primary readings will be supplemented by articles and essays which will help to contextualize the primary texts in a study of diaspora. We situate the earlier novels in the context of colonialism and the more recent ones in that of postcolonialism and globalization. We will begin by speculating about the place of “India” in the global imagination. India has many names: Bharat, Hindustan, India, British India, the Subcontinent, the Jewel in the Crown, South Asia. Many places and peoples other than India(ns) are named after India: the East Indies, the West Indies, and of course, American Indians. Indians now inhabit Asia, Africa, Europe, America. What and who are India(ns)? (Basu)
ENG 276 Imagining the Middle East This course examines 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 a throng 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, 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. Not open to students who have taken “Film Analysis I.” (Lyon)
ENG 281, 282, 283 Film Histories I, II, III 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. The historical periods break down approximately as follows:
ENG 281 Film Histories I (1895-1935) The development of film style from the origins of cinema through the early years of the transition to sound technology. (Lyon)
ENG 282 Film Histories II (1930-1950) 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 283 Film Histories III (1944-1980) A selection of films and topics from the post-World War II era through 1980. This course frequently examines postwar American film genres and their relation to the social, cultural, economic, ideological and technological context in which they were produced. (Lyon)
ENG 286 The Art of the Screenplay 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 the original story—according to their notions of what this means—as they strive to keep the finished film within a reasonable running time, 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 “Creative Writing for First-Years and Sophomores.” (Conroy-Goldman, Cowles, Staff)
300-level courses are designed for majors and minors, and so often require prerequisites. These are reading-/viewing- and 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 300 Literary Theory Since Plato This course offers a survey and analysis of major trends in the understanding of literature from Plato to the present. (Staff)
ENG 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 302 Post-Structuralist Literary Theory An examination of the techniques and significance of contemporary movements in criticism and literary theory, this course attempts to discover the world view implicit in these approaches by addressing such issues as the philosophical, political, and moral implications of contemporary theories of the text. The class chooses a target text (or texts) for practical criticism. (Holly)
ENG 304 Feminist Literary Theory This course is an introduction to feminist literary theories and critical practices. It focuses on such issues as female sexualization, representations of violence and madness, and subjectivity. Students are expected to apply feminist analyses to a variety of texts. (Ivanchikova, Staff)
ENG 305 Psychoanalysis and Literature Aside from its aspirations to being medicine or a science, psychoanalysis constitutes a powerful theory of reading, which, in its emergence at the beginning of the twentieth century, corresponds to the revolution in interpretation which continues into our own time. The aim of this course is to study this theory of reading in order to show how it is the foundation of such interpretive concepts and procedures as close reading, text, and the intentional fallacy, as well as being both the source and critique of the modern handling of such interpretational elements as image, myth, and meaning. (Holly)
ENG 308 Shakespeare and the Question of Theory The premise of this course is that critical theory is best learned not in the abstract, but through a direct engagement with different forms of critical practice. With this in mind, we will select a single play by Shakespeare and spend the semester immersed in the history of the play’s criticism, tracing the development of literary theory over the past century by analyzing the diverse strategies that have been employed in the play’s criticism over time, studying theory in action. In the process, students will be encouraged to develop their own critical stances and critical voices. The course will culminate with students producing a substantial critical article of their own on the play. (Carson)
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 311 Story and History Fiction writers have long been enchanted with the writing of historians, at times imitating, at times stealing, and even at times attempting to pass their inventions off as legitimate history. Since the 1960s, historians have also considered the role of fiction in their work. To what extent is history fiction? This course examines the evolution of the relationship between history writing and fiction, moments of cross-over such as falsified documents and hoaxes, and the way contemporary writers wrestle with the murky territory between the two. (Conroy-Goldman)
ENG 312 Bible as Literature The Bible is a formative text of major religious, political, philosophical, and, in some cases, national significance, but the Bible is also a phenomenal literary project that has influenced generations of readers and writers. This course surveys the main books of the Old and New Testaments through a literary prism by focusing on the rhetorical, formal, narrative, and generic aspects of select biblical stories. Students will be introduced to the historical and theological contexts that allowed the formation of the Bible, but this course aims to look beyond those contexts and read the Holy Scriptures as a literary work. By exposing students to different genres within the biblical texts such as creation myths, poetry, prophecies, parables, and visions, we will try to define a “biblical aesthetic” and explore the relationship between content and form. (Erussard)
ENG 316 Hearts of Darkness This course explores the European encounter with the non-Western world; in the encounter with that which is alien, an exploration of Western culture and the Western psyche takes place. Conrad’s Heart of Darkness is the archetype of this encounter. In the 100 years since it was written, Western and non-Western writers have constructed versions and counter-versions of it. Colonialism, identity, love, religion, freedom, justice, the nature of the self, and the complex character of western civilization itself are all subjects. Students read each fiction by the light of its own structure and intent as well as in dialogue with Conrad. Authors may include V.S. Naipaul, Norman Rush, David Malouf, Peter Matthiessen, Tayeb Salih, Barry Unsworth, Nadine Gordimer, J.M. Coetzee, Graham Greene and others. (Weiss)
ENG 317 Shakespearean Adaptation Shakespeare’s plays are not isolated and fixed points, but instead exist within a broad textual continuum: he almost always adapted his material from earlier texts and, in turn, his plays have often been adapted into other works of fiction, poetry, drama, music, dance, film, and television. In this class, we will pay some attention to Shakespeare as an adapter, but mostly we will explore how Shakespeare plays have been appropriated and repurposed over the past 400 years. For example, we might compare stage versions of King Lear from the sixteenth, seventeenth, and twentieth centuries with Akira Kurosawa’s samurai film Ran and Jane Smiley’s novel A Thousand Acres. What makes Shakespeare so adaptable? How can we determine where “Shakespeare” stops and where “adaptation” begins on this continuum? And how do different cultures and different eras make their mark on Shakespeare by means of adaptation? (Carson)
ENG 321 Modernism and Postmodernism The beginning of a new century, the twenty-first, marks a broad-scale shift in our conception of the written word, in literary and paraliterary texts. The traditional literary categories—realism, naturalism, and so on—have fallen into disrepute, to be replaced by postmodern concepts such as pastiche, quotation, and appropriation. The line between literary and non-literary texts has been erased. This course investigates the influence of these new cultural conditions on the practice of producing what used to be called “literature.” (Staff)
ENG 322 Forms of Memoir This course in twentieth century autobiographical prose explores both novelistic and factual memoirs. It compares the forms that literary memoir takes in several different cultures. The question of fiction vs. nonfiction is addressed, as well as the relationship of the author to the speaker of her/his book, and the ways in which the linear time of a lived life is transformed into literature. Students have the opportunity to write some memoiristic prose themselves in addition to critical papers. (Staff)
ENG 330 Male Heroism in the Middle Ages This course studies a broad array of ideals of heroic masculinity in a variety of medieval cultural contexts. Examining questions of epic violence, heroic extravagance, dramatic sainthood and impetuous love, this course follows heroes of legend, romance and history from the battlefield to the woods, from the bedroom to the hermitage. The cast of characters will include Beowulf, Guthlac, El Cid, Siegfried, Amadis of Gaul, Perceval, the outlaws of Icelandic sagas, Saint Francis and many more. (Erussard)
ENG 331 Iconoclastic Women in the Middle Ages Since the last third of the twentieth century, feminist literary criticism has paid attention to the realm of medieval women which, for diverse reasons, had “previously been an empty space” (Showalter). This course looks at a variety of unconventional female lives in hagiography, fiction, history and legend from Perpetua, the third century saint, to Joan of Arc, the fifteenth century warrior. Though this is not an historical survey, we will respect the chronology in order to recognize evolutions and evaluate influences as we read the story of Silence and the writings of Hrotsvit, Hildegard, Marie de France, Eloise, Margery Kempe, Christine de Pizan and others. Most texts will focus on medieval Europe, but we will also explore the point of views of some Asian female writers. This will allow us to compare and contrast the views of educated, court women in different parts of the world, during the same historical period. (Erussard)
ENG 335 Renaissance Literature: Topics (Carson)
ENG 335a Elizabethan Anxieties The English literary renaissance began in the latter half of the reign of Elizabeth I (1558-1603), an age marked by tremendous anxieties—anxieties about religion, about politics, about gender, about class, about race, about history, and about the future. This course will explore how these various anxieties were negotiated by the remarkable literary culture that blossomed during the period. Readings may include poetry, prose, and drama by Wyatt, Surrey, Sidney, Daniel, Spenser, Shakespeare, Wroth, Nashe, Lyly, Kyd, and Marlowe. (Carson)
ENG 335b Jacobean Revolutions The Jacobean era (1603-1625) brought a great many revolutions to England—in science, in philosophy, in medicine, in religion, in cosmology, in economics, and in politics. The new world of the seventeenth century offered staggering new possibilities, and renaissance minds boggled to make sense of it all. In this course, we will explore how poets, essayists, and dramatists from this era acted as midwives for the birth of modernity. Readings may include poetry, prose, and drama by Donne, Jonson, Herbert, Herrick, Montaigne, Bacon, Burton, Cary, Beaumont, Middleton, Webster, and Ford. (Carson)
ENG 336 Shakespeare: Topics (Carson)
ENG 336a Shakespeare and the Play of History We begin by reading three history plays that Shakespeare used for source material and inspiration, and then move on to consider his five most important English history plays, arguably the most impressive work from the first half of his career: Richard III, Richard II, 1 and 2 Henry IV, and Henry V. We will read the plays with a great deal of attention to their relationship to early modern political theory, to early modern historiography, and also to the remarkable dramaturgy Shakespeare employs to extract such compelling stories from the raw fabric of history. These plays have fared better on screen than most of Shakespeare’s plays, and so depending on class interest, we may well schedule regular screenings to accompany our readings. (Carson)
ENG 336b Roman Thoughts: Shakespeare and Roman History An in-depth study of Shakespeare and the Roman history play. Beginning with his long narrative poem, The Rape of Lucrece, we proceed to explore the four major tragedies that Shakespeare set in Rome (Titus Andronicus, Julius Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra, and Coriolanus), paying particular attention to the ways in which these plays engage with questions of political theory, of class, and of gender. We will look in some depth at the ways other Elizabethan and Jacobean writers incorporated ideas of Rome into their work in an attempt to make sense of what was really at stake for Shakespeare’s original audiences. Depending on class interest, we may well add some screenings to the syllabus, since these plays have served as the foundations for a handful of fascinating films, each of which preserves a complex negotiation between the contemporary, the Renaissance, and the classical worlds. (Carson)
ENG 336c Shakespeare’s Problems Some of Shakespeare’s plays are oddballs, falling somewhere in between tragedy and comedy, between satire and romance. We will begin with an exploration of the three strange plays that are usually classified by critics as Shakespeare’s “Problem Plays” (Troilus and Cressida, Measure for Measure, and All’s Well That Ends Well), and then go on to look at a comedy (Merchant of Venice) and two romances (Pericles and The Winter’s Tale) that might be seen to have some serious problems of their own. What makes these plays so troublesome? How weird can Shakespeare get? (Carson)
ENG 338/438 Milton: Paradise Lost
This course will devote itself to reading Paradise Lost. Our work will be to understand Paradise Lost, its poetics, its structure, its story, its political, theological and sexual ideas; its historical moment of the English revolution. to do this we will read some criticism and history, some of Milton's prose, in the Norton, which he devoted the middle years of his life to writing before Paradise Lost, and we will read some sonnets and early poems to familiarize ourselves with Milton's style and more generally, how a poem makes its meaning.
ENG 339 Style and Structure in Eighteenth Century Literature and Art This course offers a topology of desire in the eighteenth 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)
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 344 Joyce This course consists of a sustained and in-depth reading and analysis of the early fiction of James Joyce. We will supplement our readings of Joyce’s stories and novels with readings of his dramatic and poetic writing as well as his literary and political essays. Additionally, we will attend to the ways in which Joyce’s biography provided material for his writing. Our topics will be varied, but we will pay particular attention to the ways in which the formal and aesthetic dimensions of Joyce’s experimentalism intersect with his critical representations of race, class, gender, religion, nationalism, cosmopolitanism, economics, and colonialism. Students should expect to gain an informed appreciation of Joyce’s importance to the development of twentieth century literature and intellectual thought, to sharpen their critical and analytical reading and writing skills, and to develop a working knowledge of Irish history and the literary, cultural, and political dimensions of both Irish and European Modernity. (Cope)
ENG 345 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 346 Twentieth-Century Central European Fiction: From Kafka to Kundera This course explores the modernist reinvention of the novel that occurred in those countries of Europe that until recently were part of the Soviet Bloc: Poland, Hungary, East Germany, Romania, Yugoslavia, and Czechoslovakia. The course begins with Franz Kafka and his harrowing dreams of the modern world, and the place of the individual in it, which anticipate many experiences of this century. The works read register the historical experiences of the First and Second World Wars and of the totalitarian states that emerged after 1945. (Weiss)
ENG 353 Media in Early America Scholars of early American media take printed matter and other cultural objects as artifacts of the lives of Americans. Before the twentieth-century, Americans used letters, journals, books, pamphlets, newspapers, and magazines to express themselves and to communicate with each other. They were also informed and entertained by paintings, sculptures, panoramas, plays, demonstrations, lectures, sheet music, hymnals, and songsters. Literature, in other words, was one medium among many others. Writers like Frederick Douglass, Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Emily Dickinson used language like other artists use their tools. In this course we will primarily study literary language as it was manifested on paper, though we will also examine how other cultural forms, like art and music, were mediated through print. We will interest ourselves in every stage of text's production: from how it was written to how it was read. In addition to exploring technologies of representation before the photograph and the phonograph, we will investigate the ways that digitization changes what we can experience and what we can know, of early American culture.
ENG 350 Whitman, Dickinson, Frost This course is a study of three American originals, eccentrics who, though wildly different from one another, reflect in common some central aspects of the American psyche. The essays of Emerson will also be central to this course. (Weiss)
ENG 360 Sexuality and American Literature This course focuses on the literary production of sexuality and subjectivity in America. It considers the works in light of Michel Foucault’s theory of the deployment of sexuality and feminist discussions on the politics of sexuality, and looks at the relationships between sexuality, power, and resistance both within novels and within their respective cultural contexts. (Creadick)
ENG 361 Readings in Multi-Ethnic Women’s Literature In this course, students read literature by women who are often classified as part of “minority” groups. They examine these visual and literary texts as they engage the problematics of exile, sexuality, language, place, and memory. They read texts by Asian, Black, Chicana, Indian, lesbian, bisexual, and heterosexual women writers. (Basu)
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. The course compares these desires to contemporary gendered and sexual normativity. (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 375 Nabokov, Borges, Calvino In this close examination of the works of these three most important modern writers, special attention is paid to parallels between their works and movements in the visual arts, and to the implications of self-conscious narrative. (Holly)
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 380 Film and Ideology The subject of this course is a selection of mainstream studio and independent films which respond in some way to contemporary debates around political and social issues such as national identity, war, racism, sexism, class divisions, sexual identity, masculinity and femininity. Students study each film in narrative and visual detail in order to see how the film system can work not only to mask and naturalize ideological positions and assumptions but to dismantle them and make them visible. (Lyon)
ENG 381 Hollywood on Hollywood This course examines the various ways in which the Hollywood film industry reflects on and represents its own conditions of existence. Students view a variety of films from different genres and historical moments, each of which reflects in its own way on the aesthetic, ideological and economic aspects of film production, the star system and the relation between spectator and spectacle. (Lyon)
ENG 382 New Waves The events of the late 1950s and ’60s produced significant changes in film production and viewing around the world. Reacting against American imperialism and the economic and cultural control that the Hollywood film industry held over post-war film markets, many countries, including France, Japan, Germany, and Brazil, redefined their national cinemas in the direction of a politics of cinema where both film making and film viewing were conceived as radical political tools. (Lyon)
ENG 383 Science Fiction Film This course is a selective study of science fiction film, emphasizing American postwar science fiction and its complex and shifting relation to the cultural and historical context which produced it. Students consider individual films in visual and narrative detail as well as broader issues inherent in the genre of science fiction. Central to the study will be the ways in which the films visualize difference—sexual, racial, human/alien. Students also look at how science fiction films are shaped by the relation between technology and capitalism, not only on a thematic and narrative level but in the literal production of the images and effects that fascinate us. (Lyon)
ENG 385 History of American Independent Film The history of American independent film runs parallel to the origin, development and consolidation of the Hollywood study system in the 1920s and 1930s through to the contemporary “independent” production wings of major studios. This course traces this history beginning with the marginalized cinema of the 1930s B-movie studies and the “race cinema” of Oscar Micheaux. In the 1950s and 1960s, independent film was a powerful challenge to the calcified studio system of the postwar period, a prelude to the recent transformation in studio production resulting from the development of contemporary independent cinema, showcases such as the Sundance Film Festival, and the availability of digital technology. (Lyon)
ENG 386 History and Memory Using non-fiction and fiction films, this course examines the way different film and video practices reflect on and refract the filmmaker’s relation to history and culture. Of particular interest is the role of the film or video diary, essay, memoir or autobiography in the representation of historical and cultural subjects, the intersections of history and memory, and the importance of subjectivity in non-fiction film. Students examine a range of film and video practices, from the early experimental or subjective documentaries produced by the Soviet and European avant garde of the 1920s, through the development and availability of new image technologies and the resulting transformation of global production and reception and emergence of “new documentary” modes. (Lyon)
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. Admissions 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 394 Workshop: The Craft of Fiction An intensive workshop devoted to the creation and critiquing of student fiction, this course is suitable for students strongly committed to fiction writing. Students are expected to produce a portfolio of polished stories. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor, based on writing sample. ENG 190/290 is generally required. (Conroy-Goldman)
ENG 397 Creative Nonfiction Workshop This is a writing course in creative nonfiction designed for English majors or others seriously interested in working to develop their own voices in the medium of the personal essay. Students read and discuss essays by major contemporary American essayists. They also read and discuss each others’ essays in a workshop with an eye toward revision. Participants should be prepared to write one essay a week. Prerequisite: permission of instructor, based on a writing sample. (Staff)
ENG 398 Screenwriting This course offers a workshop in the fundamentals of writing the motion picture. Weekly writing assignments move students through a process of script development—from brainstorming and the movie in a paragraph to the treatment/outline, beat sheet, the creation of a scene, and the first act. Students share work and engage in a variety of exercises designed to help each tell his or her stories. Prerequisites: ENG 280 “Film Analysis II” and/or ENG 286 “The Art of the Screenplay.” (Holly)
ENG 399 Hybrid Forms 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 x-acto 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 instructor. (Cowles)
400-level courses are rigorous courses 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. The reading load is heavy, 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 scholarly work in the discipline.
ENG 432 Mallory: Morte D’Arthur In the fifteenth-century, as the Eastern part of the Roman Empire collapsed and as England suffered the consequences of the plague and strained under the repeated threats of multiple wars, Sir Thomas Malory found himself in prison and wrote his monumental Le Morte d’Arthur. This course centers on the development of the Arthurian story in Mallory's fiction. The text of Le Morte d'Arthur will be read in its original fifteen century prose and in relation to its specific historical, political, and cultural contexts. It will also be read as prison literature and as an example of derivative literature.
Because students will be reading and comparing different accounts of similar narratives, this course will emphasize close readings and source studies research.
The first printing of Malory's work was made by Caxton in 1485. Only two copies of this original printing are known to exist and one of them can be seen in the collections of the Morgan Library & Museum. We will try to organize a trip to NY City to look at the original 15th century edition.
ENG 437 The Faerie Queene Has anyone ever written a poem that is more awe-inspiring than Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene ? A rollicking adventure story, a powerful national epic, a searching philosophical meditation and guide for moral conduct, a profound exploration of renaissance theology, a pointed critique of traditional attitudes toward gender and class, a wildly imaginative work of fantasy, and, not least, a deeply beautiful poem unto itself: this is surely one of the most fascinating works in all of English literature. We will read the whole poem, top to bottom, paying special attention to historical questions about gender, class, politics, and religion. (Carson)
ENG 450 Independent Study
ENG 465 Reading Faulkner William Faulkner (1897-1962) sits comfortable 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 493 Theory of Fiction Writers represent a loose theoretical camp, which addresses issues like the creative process, experimental writing, and the relationship between art and politics, in a way that other areas of literacy criticism do not. In this course, we will use writing and readings in theory and cutting edge experimental fiction in order to explore some of these issues. This course is suitable for students strongly committed to fiction writing. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor, based on writing sample. ENG 190/290 is generally required. (Conroy-Goldman)
ENG 495 Honors