English majors and minors should consult prerequisites and major requirements as well as the 8-year course cycle before registering for any course.
English majors and minors are encouraged to complete the advising template (Word or PDF) before meeting with their academic advisors. Those who choose to register online might consider filling out the document in Word, saving it to a file, and then e-mailing it to their advisors as part of the "permit to register" request.
ENGLISH DEPARTMENT COURSE OFFERINGS
EN 097.01 English Internships in Public Schools
EN 098.01 English Internships in Private Schools
EN 099.01 English Internships
Students interested in pursuing English internships should meet with Dr. Cole, whose written permission is required for all internship classes. Students may take one internship class for degree credit. It will count as an elective, not as a course fulfilling requirements for an English major or minor.
EN 101 Understanding Literature
An introduction to literature and literary analysis, focusing primarily on poetry and short fiction, EN 101 is the first required core course in the English department. It teaches critical concepts and methods, and is writing intensive, with an emphasis placed on students’ ability to develop clear and persuasive arguments in prose. En 101 is a prerequisite for all other English classes. A few of the sections are specifically described.
EN101.01V Word and Art: Literature and the Artistic Vision
101.20 TTh 1:40-2:55
“Word and Art” explores some of the vibrant intersections between literature and art—literature inspired by art or the lives of artists, as well as visual art inspired by stories and poems. Issues regarding aesthetics, creativity, and craft will inevitably arise in our discussions as we talk about what it means to create an artistic vision and to envision a world from a unique imaginative perspective. The course fulfills the EN101 core requirement and therefore will include close reading, critical thinking, and analytical writing.
EN 101.02 Understanding Literature: The Literature of War
MWF 10 – 10:50
.04 MWF 12 – 12:50
.07 MWF 1 – 1:50
Professor J. Lobo
This course asks a deceptively simple, but rather complex question: how do we understand literature and why does it matter? In the process of answering this query, we will read a wide variety of stories and poems with an eye to how writers and poets seek to express the depths of human experience. You will become fluent in literary terminology and learn to perform feats of sustained critical analysis. We will closely read the word, sentence, and line, in order to trace the gist and shape of the larger ideas. Through the prose and poetry on our syllabus, you will discover that literature speaks in many voices and gain an understanding of the different ways literature can matter to people.
Our unique focus for our course, the literature of war, will allow us to investigate how authors and poets attempted to frame war’s socially destructive and transformative effects through a variety of literary forms. Additionally, you will discover how different perspectives and attitudes towards conflict are voiced through literature: from soldiers at arms to civilians on the home front; politicians who rationalize conflict to the occupied peoples who speak of its realities; those who sing the glories of country to those who describe the violence done in the name of country. By the end of the course, you will gain an appreciation for literary texts, a working knowledge of their many forms and styles, and, perhaps most importantly, a clear grasp of why literature matters.
EN 101.12 Understanding Literature: The Quest
101.15 TTh 10:50-12:05
The common thread we trace through a tapestry of genres is the human quest for meaning and connection that transcends the confines and limitations imposed not only by Western culture (consumerism and competition) but also by ordinary consciousness and our sense of mortality. We pursue this quest through some of the professor’s favorite literary texts. We’ll read short stories (Hemingway, Sedaris, Cheever, Foster Wallace); poetry, both old (Shakespeare, Shelley, Browning, Eliot) and new (Wendy Cope, Mark Bibbins, Robert Hass, Randall Mann); and three postmodern epics (Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, Simmons’ Hyperion, Gaiman’s Sandman).
EN101.13 Understanding Literature: The Literature Laboratory
101.19 TTh 1:40 – 2:55
In this course we will conduct a series of literary experiments, working individually and collectively within a laboratory format, to discover how literary texts work. At the core of our investigations we will test a simple but potentially transformative hypothesis, namely that what matters most about literary texts is not the meanings they contain, but the ideas they generate; that novels, poems, plays and short stories are not coded messages to be deciphered, but mechanisms designed to produce ideas in their readers. Through our experiments in the “literature laboratory” we will gain essential insights about our responses to texts—why the struggle to find a text’s “deeper” meaning is fundamentally misguided, how to tell a strong reading from a weak one, and why developing the capacity to admire what we cannot at first understand is crucial to the work of interpretation. A rigorous introduction to the study, interpretation, and appreciation of literature, this course will also serve to develop analytical skills that are the basis of advanced work in many professional fields as well as in the academic disciplines of the humanities, sciences, and social sciences.
EN101.16 Understanding Literature: Freedom
101.21 TTh 3:05-4:20
This course focuses on freedom--individually, and in relationships, families, and larger communities. In reading each work in this class, we ask, What actually creates lasting freedom, and what are people prepared to give or do to achieve freedom? As we gain clarity about each work's answers, we also articulate our own understandings of freedom, and enjoy the beauty and exhilaration of distinctive literary forms. Emphasis upon class discussions and presentations, regular writing, as well as two exams. Service-learning option available.
EN 201.01 Major Writers: English Literature
Medieval and Modern Medievalism
In this course we’ll read some of the greatest hits of the middle ages and then explore how medieval conceptions of chivalry, courtly love, and masculinity are reimagined and reinvented in the modern imagination.
Medieval works will include: Beowulf, Le Morte Darthur, Lais of Marie de France, Joan of Arc’s Trial Transcript, and the Geste of Robin Hood. Modern works include: Twain’s Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, White’s The Once of Future King, Shaw’s St. Joan, Gardner’s Grendel, and “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”
This is not a class for those who feel faint at heart at the prospect of extended reading assignments. Plan to be snuggled up with a book on a fairly regular basis.
EN 201.02 Major Writers: English Literature
Growing Up Modern.
Childhood and adolescence are, in many ways, modern inventions. Proceeding from that idea, this course explores how the literature of the past two centuries has depicted childhood, adolescence and early adulthood. Among the questions we ask in the course are these: what trials do children and adolescents endure on their way to adulthood? How do adolescents respond to authority? How do unusual people (such as disabled youths and the racially or sexually atypical) challenge or confirm our definitions of normality? We will pair certain texts to expose the contrasts and similarities between the sensibilities, styles, and subjects of disparate eras. Readings will include William Wordsworth’s poems, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd, short stories by James Joyce, and a selection of recent novels, such as Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, David Mitchell’s Black Swan Green, Yann Martel’s Life of Pi, and Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake. We’ll also view and analyze film versions of selected texts.
Each student will write a research paper and give an oral presentation. Students will also write two brief papers in which they reflect on their own identities, disabilities and confrontations with authority. Finally, students will have the privilege of completing a midterm and a comprehensive final exam.
Growing Up Modern explores the many ways that the literature of the past two centuries has depicted childhood, adolescence and early adulthood.
En 201.03 Major Writers: English Literature
The Good Life
T Th 1:40-2:55
Socrates has challenged men and women for millennia with his observations on what constitutes the good life. During the 18th and 19th centuries, eras of major social and economic change that had a direct impact on every area of life in England, writers such as Alexander Pope, Jonathan Swift, Samuel Johnson, William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Charles Dickens created poems and novels that are relevant to two Socratic axioms: “The greatest way to live with honor in this world is to be what we pretend to be” and “A system of morality which is based on relative emotional values is a mere illusion.” We will read, analyze, and discuss representative works from these two periods in terms of their vision of the good life and how it relates to that of Socrates. Requirements: announced quizzes on readings, a research paper that will be the basis for an oral presentation to the class, a mid-term, and a final examination.
EN201.04 Major Writers: English Literature
Creating the Modern
From Mary Shelley’s FRANKENSTEIN (1818) to Lloyd Jones’s MISTER PIP (2007), our readings in this course will chart the sweeping changes of the late-eighteenth and nineteenth centuries that gave birth to modernity. The rise of science and technology, the emergence of individual rights and the democratization of power, challenges to religious faith, and the development of new ways of public expression—all will be the focus of study and debate as we explore the reactions of novelists, poets, and essayists to their changing times—and issues we still grapple with today.
Students will turn in weekly responses and take three period exams, give three very brief oral presentations, and write at least one (and probably two) documented, analytical essays. The class will combine lecture and discussion and may include the viewing of at least one film.
EN 201.05 Major Writers: English Literature
MW 3 – 4:15
Professor J. Lobo
This course will introduce you to the wide world of adventure literature, from swashbuckling tales of piracy and desert islands of the 18th and 19th centuries, to espionage and crime stories of the 20th and 21st. While a good part of our study will be devoted to having fun with these narratives of high adventure, we will also delve deeper into the larger contexts that surround these works and consider how British writers used the idea of adventure to imagine their nation in relation to the world around them. Whether expressing imperialist attitudes through their depictions of “native” cultures, writing spy thrillers that reflect the geopolitical tensions and fears between world superpowers, imagining the utopia and freedom of an undiscovered world, or depicting the nightmare of civilizations clashing upon discovery, the authors on our syllabus meticulously fashion rip-roaring narratives that respond to political and cultural tensions underlying British culture.
EN203D.03 Major Writers: American Literature
Imagining the Nation
TTh 12:15 – 1:30
203D.04 MW 3 – 4:15
This course explores the idea of America as an “imagined community,” one where ideals of unity and a distinctive national identity have often conflicted with the realities of expansion and diversity. The course examines what it has meant to be an American, proposing that we think about the nation not as a place, but as an idea that is under constant revision in the literature written about it. Questions we ask of each text include: How does this text imagine America as a nation? How do these imaginings change over time? How is or isn’t each text critical of dominant ways of imagining the nation? Writers to be studied include: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, Mark Twain, Zitkala Sa, Sui Sin Far, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Kate Chopin, W.E.B. Du Bois, Langston Hughes, William Faulkner, Zora Neale Hurston, Susan Glaspell, T.S. Eliot, and Tennessee Williams.
This course fulfills the core diversity requirement. Requirements include a group presentation, an 8-10pp. research essay, and midterm and final exams.
EN 205.01 Major Writers: Shakespeare
TTh 1:40 - 2:55
205.02 TTh 3:05-4:20
In this course we’ll read, talk about, write about, and perform passages from the plays of the most beloved author in the history of English literature. While millions upon millions of people have discovered to their delight that Shakespeare's words have wings, others are intimidated by the difficulty of negotiating those words. This course is designed not only to challenge those who already enjoy Shakespeare but also to help those whose experience has been less enlightening to learn that the plays can be immensely enjoyable. No matter whether you fall into the former category, the latter, or somewhere in between, a concentrated, sustained effort on your part will yield rich rewards. The syllabus will include a broad sampling of the varied products of Shakespeare's astounding imagination: sonnets, histories, tragedies, comedies, and romances. We will read the plays as blueprints for live performances in the various cultural contexts of the times in which they were written, with particular attention to the subtleties of the playwright's language. Requirements will include short written responses to each day’s readings, a research paper, and mid-term as well as final exams.
EN 211.01 Major Writers: Classical Mythology
Prerequisite: EN101. A study of the traditional stories of the Greeks and Romans as expressed in their literature and art with an emphasis on the literature's background, value, and influence. Usually offered fall semester. Art elective for elementary education majors. Same course as EN211. IG/II Counts for: English core requirement; classical civilization major, classics minor
EN 310.01 SHAKESPEARE I
MW 4:30 – 5:45
“He doth bestride the narrow world/ Like a colossus.” Cassius’ description of Julius Caesar can apply as well to his creator. And that is not only because Shakespeare’s achievement towers over that of nearly all the other authors in our language. It is also because of the nature of that achievement: Shakespeare does more than write plays; he creates a world—one where the characters seem to come alive and the language becomes part of our patrimony, our common inheritance as English speakers. This course focuses on Shakespeare’s history plays, where he lays the foundation for that world, and the major tragedies, where it finds its fullest expression.
EN 337.01 Seminar in 18th Century Literature: Humor and Satire
We will read poetry, drama, and novels by authors in the long 18th century who laugh at their pretentiously stupid, affected, and self-important contemporaries. In other words we will consider works that employ satire and humor to depict less than ideal manifestations of human nature. This class focuses on perhaps the wittiest period in England. Readings will include John Dryden’s “MacFlecknoe”; Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels and selected verses; Alexander Pope’s “The Rape of the Lock,” “Part IV The Dunciad,” and “An Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot”; Henry Fielding’s Joseph Andrews; Tobias Smollett’s Humphry Clinker; Oliver Goldsmith’s She Stoops to Conquer; Thomas Sheridan’s The School for Scandal; Jane Austen’s Emma. Requirements include a mid-term, a final, a term paper, and class reports.
EN 345.01 LITERARY CRITICISM & THEORY
This course is an introduction to literary theory and its applications. Why theory? Because every critical act (for example, the decision to read book (x) instead of book (y); the decision to talk about that book in way (x) in a classroom as opposed to way (y) in a dorm room; the decision to write about it with one focus or perspective for Professor (x) and a quite different focus for Professor (y), etc.) is based upon theoretical assumptions. Those assumptions often come unstated and so are implicit in critical practice. This course makes them explicit and examines their sources and origins.
Requirements include two tests and two papers, as well as regular classroom and Moodle participation.
EN 347.01 Seminar in Romantic Literature
Blake and the Bible
William Blake, Romantic poet and self-proclaimed visionary, asserts in one of his poems that he dined with the Old Testament prophet Ezekiel and asked him, among other things, why he ate “dung,” or manure; the prophet replied, “the desire of raising other men into a perception of the infinite.” The infinite would be a persistent concern for Blake—he remarks in the same work that “If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite” (a line that inspired a young Jim Morrison)—and the influence of the Bible runs throughout his work. Blake even declared that “all he knew was in the Bible” and that “The Old and New Testaments are the Great Code of Art.” His prophetic poetry, based on a complex mythic system unlike anything else in English literature, is the product of his own “spiritual” reading of the Biblical plots of creation and the Fall, the history of humanity in the fallen world, the promise of redemption, and the coming of a New Jerusalem.
This seminar is an intensive study of Blake’s major prophetic works, with a special focus on his mythological system and its Biblical sources. Poems by Blake to be read include The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, Milton, Jerusalem, and his most ambitious work, The Four Zoas (we will study Blake’s extraordinary illuminated manuscripts whenever possible). We will supplement these readings with relevant selections from the Old and New Testaments, including the books of Genesis, Proverbs, Isaiah, Ezekiel, and John. Finally, we will round out our reading of these primary texts with two masterpieces of literary criticism, both by Northrop Frye: Fearful Symmetry: A Study of William Blake and The Great Code: The Bible and Literature. The aim of the course is to provide students not only with an advanced understanding of this major Romantic poet and artist, but also with a new sense of the richness and power of the Bible and its language. Its aim, in other words, is to raise us all “into a perception of the infinite.”
Requirements include regular in-class presentations, a midterm exam, reading quizzes, a short paper (5-7 pp.), and a final research paper (15-20 pp.).
EN 369.01 The Novel in the U.S.
Seducers of women? Defenders of democracy? Corruptors of youth? Monuments to faith? Novels—yes, what cynics might call “beach reads,” “fun reading,” “light literature”—have a checkered history in the United States. To a degree that may be difficult to imagine, novels have effected societal and political change in this country. The novel has not only existed in America, but has also acted on American values, thought, and behavior. We will begin our examination with novels published immediately after the Revolutionary War, and ending with the latest novelistic trend: the graphic novel. Students will have opportunities to do service-learning, interview-based, and archival research. Requirements: weekly forum postings, two short (3-page) papers, one 7-10 page paper, midterm and final exams.
EN 382.01 Topics in Literature and Film. Neurodiversity: Mental Disability
in Literature and Film
Why is “retarded” a dirty word? Because it assumes that people with intellectual and neurological disabilities are nothing more than that. A new movement called Neurodiversity, in contrast, proposes that people with cognitive disorders are complex human beings who add something unique and valuable to the world. This course proceeds from that idea, using Disability Studies to investigate how literary artists and filmmakers have depicted cognitive difference. Among our questions are these: Can neurological disabilities also be abilities? What novel insights can disabled people provide for “neurotypical” folks? How do impaired language, cognition or memory shed light on the essential nature of these phenomena?
After examining early texts and films featuring intellectually disabled characters (e.g., Wordsworth’s “The Idiot Boy,” Melville’s “Bartleby,” and Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury), we’ll move to the contemporary period. We’ll read autistic scientist Temple Grandin’s autobiography, Oliver Sacks’s fascinating clinical tales, Paul and Judy Karasik’s graphic memoir The Ride Together, and Mark Haddon’s best-seller The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time; we’ll view movies such as The Wild Child, The Black Balloon and Autism: the Musical. We’ll also explore books about traumatic brain injury, including Richard Powers’s National Book Award-winning novel The Echo Maker, and nonfiction about war veterans, and study films such as Memento and The Lookout. Other topics will include portrayals of emotional impairment (Doris Lessing’s The Fifth Child), dementia and amnesia. By the end of the course, students will have gained an enhanced appreciation of the richness of human cognitive diversity.
Each student will give an oral presentation, write a research paper and complete two exams. Students will also write two brief papers reflecting on their own disabilities and differences.
EN 383.01 (Seminar in Modern Literature)
“Radicals and Pretenders: Bohemianism in Modern Literature”
Born in nineteenth-century Paris, “bohemianism” is a way of life, a philosophy based on rebellion from the mainstream. Disillusioned with conventional society, bohemians create alternative communities—subcultures—on the margins, where they may live and create art according to their own rules. In Paris, London, New York, and San Francisco, bohemian communities have given rise to some of the most innovative (and contentious) artistic experiments of the last 150 years, including modernism, feminism, free love, and punk rock. This semester, we will immerse ourselves in the history and philosophy of bohemianism in order to understand the nature of these artistic and political rebellions. Are bohemians really radicals or just pretenders? Our readings will include well-known authors such as Charles Baudelaire, Walt Whitman, Ernest Hemingway, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Langston Hughes, and Jack Kerouac, alongside lesser-known bohemians. We will analyze the forms and styles of art that arose out of bohemian subcultures and explore whether bohemianism offers a viable alternative to mainstream life. At the end of the semester, we’ll also study a few contemporary artistic subcultures, including the Occupy Wall Street movement, in order to investigate whether bohemianism still exists today.
Likely assignments include weekly critical response papers, a class presentation, and a final research paper, which will be the end result of your intensive explorations of bohemianism throughout the semester.
EN384D.01 Topics in Postcolonial Literature: Travel Literature
This class celebrates the joy and adventure of traveling, asking what we learn along the way about the places and cultures we visit, and about ourselves and our own homes. We consider different forms of travel--chosen, imposed, fantastical, funny--and learn that very often a geographical journey corresponds with an inner transformation. Writers may include Agha Shahid Ali, Edwidge Danticat, Sia Figiel, Jack Kerouac, C.S. Lewis, and Albert Wendt. Emphasis upon class discussions and presentations, as well as two exams and a research paper. Service-learning option available.
EN 386.01 Seminar in Literature and Film: Animation
An exploration of the history and practice of animation from sixteenth-century flipbooks to contemporary digital cinema. Students will examine the tools and techniques involved in creating the illusion of movement through optical toys, cel animation, stop-motion photography, and various experimental forms. Through readings, lectures, discussions, and screenings, we will investigate the developing aesthetics of the animated image while considering its social and political influences as an expressive form. In addition to reading, viewing, and writing assignments, participants will undertake several practical exercises in basic animation techniques
EN409.01. Senior Honors Seminar: Collaboration
This senior honors seminar considers collaboration as both artistic process and product. We are in a collaborative age. From crowd-sourcing technologies and Wikipedia to cheeky revisions of classics such as Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies, written by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith. Of course, collaboration is not new. We will consider a few high-profile collaborations, such as Let Us Now Praise Famous Men and The Communist Manifesto, and some more contemporary ones, such as Dave Eggers’ testimonial novels. We’ll consider when collaborators form a single identity, such as Victorian poetesses Michael Field, and when collaboration goes awry, from the famously disastrous partnership of Hughes and Hurston to some nonconsensual collaboration in contemporary literature. We’ll also consider fake collaboration, such as Gertrude Stein’s The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas. And of course, we’ll put on the Feast—the English Department’s annual exercise in collaboration. Other work likely includes two presentations, one research paper, and a collaboration of your own. Why does the process of collaboration often yield such unanticipated results, be they stunningly weird, spectacular failures, or grand innovations? Let’s find out together!