English Major Courses

SPRING 2019

ENGL 20000
Introduction to Creative Writing
Patricia Hartland
MW 5:05-6:20
Section 01 - Seniors
Section 02 - Unallocated

Section 03 - Freshmen

In this course together we will forge a community that seeks to question the parameters and potentials of genre. While cultivating a dynamic space of experimentation, creative risk-taking, and honest discussion, this course will aim to adapt to the particular interests and questions of the community; in doing so we will read widely and explore deeply while stretching our creative-writing hands. We will cross-pollinate fiction, poetry, screenwriting, translation, and intermediate works as we dialogue with contemporary authors to hone-in on new understanding. Douglas Kearney, Matthea Harvey, Gwendolyn Brooks, Koffi Kwhaulé, and Layli Long Soldier are just a few of the many voices that will inform our explorations.

 

ENGL 20000
Introduction to Creative Writing
Jake McCabe
MW 12:30-1:45
Section 04 - Seniors
Section 05 - Unallocated
Section 06 - Freshmen

This lively class introduces you to the writing of fiction, poetry and other genres. Students will study published works in various media, try their hands at writing in an array of forms and genres, share their work with others, and receive feedback that lets them improve their craft. By the end of the semester, you will have a facility with the forms, genres, and media of contemporary writing, a portfolio of work to build on in other courses or on your own. Please see the English Department website for an individualized description for each section of this course.

 

ENGL 20000
Introduction to Creative Writing
AM Ringwalt
MW 9:30-10:45
Section 07 - Seniors
Section 08 - Unallocated
Section 09 - Freshmen

In Introduction to Creative Writing, I invite you to develop an intimate, intellectual and social relationship to poetry and fiction. Roland Barthes, in his “Death of the Author,” says: “writing is the destruction of every voice, of every distinct point of origin.” As we acquire an understanding of and relationship to the elements of poetry and fiction, we will explore—and move from—our distinct points of origin. We will work to understand and relate to poetry and fiction through reading collected works, individual poems and stories, and supplementary essays, which we will respond to. We will generate new work, engage in collective discussion to further our words’ trajectories (“workshop”) and, ultimately, complete mini-portfolios as artifacts of our shared learning and engagement with the written word.

 

ENGL 20002
Introduction to Poetry Writing

Joyelle McSweeney
MW 11:00-12:15
Section 01 - Seniors
Section 02 - Freshmen
Section 03 - Unallocated

This course invites you to build on the basics, develop your technical abilities, and broaden your approaches to the form, genres, media, language, and performance of contemporary poetry. Students should expect to read and view works from a variety of periods and cultures, and will generate their own poems in response to course readings and prompts as well as their own impromptu in-class writing. Students will also sharpen their critical vocabulary as they analyze assigned readings, critique peer work, and receive critiques of their poems from both peers and instructor. Specific readings, activities and assignments will differ from section to section.

 

ENGL 20002
Introduction to Poetry Writing

Shinan Xu
MW 2:00-3:15
Section 04 - Seniors
Section 05 - Unallocated
Section 06 - Freshmen

In this class, you will familiarize yourself with basic elements of poetry (e.g., imagery, line breaks, sounds & diction). We will read a variety of both contemporary poems and works from earlier centuries to enhance our writing skills as a community of writers. We will also move beyond the craft level to reflect on how we conceptualize the thematic concerns of our writings and establish a theoretical framework to comprehend each other’s poetic trajectory. In class, we will read and engage with lyrical essays and critical theories (e.g., abject theory, Michel Foucault’s Panopticon). These readings will serve as start point for us to explore how ideas make art/poetry and how craft interweaves with ideas.

 

ENGL 20002
Introduction to Poetry Writing
Jacob Schepers
MW 3:30-4:45
Section 07 - Seniors
Section 08 - Unallocated
Section 09 - Freshmen

This course will give us a chance to “look under the hood” of poetry and the writing of it. We will read a diverse array of modern and contemporary poetry and discuss a wide range of poetic techniques and characteristics in order to develop both our own poetic writing and our individual aesthetic interests and ideas. In particular, we will consider how poetry’s supposed “tools and rules”—including sound, image, line, constraint, and address, among many others—can make a poem tick. At the same time, we will also think about when and how heightening, modifying, and abandoning those tools and breaking those rules can detonate the poem and turn that ticking into a boom.

As an introduction to poetry writing, no prior knowledge of poetic craft, tradition, or texts is necessary. What will be required is engaged participation, robust discussion, and weekly writing exercises, as well as three larger projects consisting of a student-led presentation, a brief manifesto, and a poetry portfolio which will be due by semester’s end.

 

ENGL 20003
Introduction to Fiction Writing

Jac Smith
MW 2:00-3:15
Section 01 - Seniors
Section 02 - Unallocated
Section 03 - Freshmen

In this course, students will learn techniques to aid in the crafting of stories inspired from both life and imagination. We will explore components of short story writing such as: plot, setting, character, description, point of view, dialogue, tone, voice and theme. Class time will be spent analyzing fiction, talking craft, and giving feedback on each other’s work. Come prepared to read with intention and to write with vigor. Together we will build a writing community where everyone’s vision is taken seriously. Artistic support is a key component to the success of this classroom. What you say matters. What you create matters. With a heavy emphasis on drafting and revision, this course will provide students with the tools to better understand fiction writing.

 

ENGL 20003
Introduction to Fiction Writing
Joseph Thomas
MW 11:00-12:15
Section 07 - Seniors
Section 08 - Unallocated
Section 09 - Freshmen

In this course we will study contemporary writing with the goal of students crafting and workshopping their own short stories, novel excerpts and/or narrative non-fiction. We will primarily read writers of color in order to better examine the relationships between the social, the aesthetic, and visual media’s impact on writing in the 21st Century. Authors will likely include N.K. Jemisin, Ingrid Rojas Contreras, Kiese Laymon, Achy Obejas, Muriel Leung and Nafissa Thompson-Spires.

 

ENGL 20008
Introduction to Creative Nonfiction
Sara Marcus

TR 11:00-12:15
Section 01 - Seniors
Section 02 - Unallocated
Section 03 - Freshmen

In writing creative nonfiction, we respond to what we see and experience in the world, shaping our impressions into art. Throughout this introductory course, we will read and write nonfiction in a variety of genres, including criticism, memoir, manifesto, literary journalism, and lyric essay. The class will combine seminar-style discussion, directed writing exercises, and opportunities to workshop one another's writing.

 

ENGL 20084 (Crosslist)
Literature: Nature: Now
John Sitter
TR 11:00-12:15
Sec 01 - Unallocated
Sec 02 - Freshmen

"Nature" is something we have thought of as unchanging. This course explores environmental fiction and non-fiction of the last five years to understand how our natural world is changing—in fact and in imagination--and how some of our best writers perceive the meaning of those changes. The works to be studied deal with current environmental trends and in some cases imagine our "Now" through speculative projections into late 21st- and 22nd-century futures. All are "Anthropocene" texts in reflecting awareness of human impacts on planetary systems as well as on local environments. Earlier novelists have often focused on personal and domestic experience; now, many serious writers see the boundaries between local experience and global change as permeable. This shift in perspective is resulting in vivid literary experimentation. Rather than seeing their task as "defamiliarizing" overly familiar parts of experience, many contemporary "cli-fi" writers work to make still unfamiliar realities imaginable. Subjects include climate instability, extinctions, involuntary migrations of both humans and animals, and global inequalities—all challenging topics. But the twin premises of this course are that cognitive courage is healthier than denial and that engaged literature is our moment’s vital alternative to fatalism. (Requirements will include several short papers, with opportunities for revision; one group report; midterm and final examinations.)

 

ENGL 20106
Point-of-View in the Novel
Noreen Deane-Moran
TR 2:00-3:15
Section 01 - Freshmen
Section 02 - Unallocated

This course will focus on the introduction to the novel as a form, a means to view the world of the author/artist and the reader. Literature is an art whereby one consciousness seeks to communicate with another consciousness. One of the artist's techniques for controlling this flow is the concept of point of view. We will explore various approaches and uses of this "framing" in some nineteenth and twentieth century novels. The goal is to use an understanding of point of view to more fully comprehend, enjoy, and sensitively read this popular genre. Texts: Henry James, Turn of the Screw; Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights; Edith Wharton, Ethan Frome; James Joyce, Dubliners; William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom!; Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter; E. L. Doctorow, Ragtime; Roddy Doyle, Paddy Clarke, Ha, Ha; and Richard Brautigan, Trout Fishing in America. Requirements: regular class participation; two short papers, a mid-term; and a final.

 

ENGL 20106
Point-of-View in the Novel
Noreen Deane-Moran
TR 5:05-6:20
Section 03 - Freshmen
Section 04 - Unallocated

This course will focus on the introduction to the novel as a form, a means to view the world of the author/artist and the reader. Literature is an art whereby one consciousness seeks to communicate with another consciousness. One of the artist's techniques for controlling this flow is the concept of point of view. We will explore various approaches and uses of this "framing" in some nineteenth and twentieth century novels. The goal is to use an understanding of point of view to more fully comprehend, enjoy, and sensitively read this popular genre. Texts: Henry James, Turn of the Screw; Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights; Edith Wharton, Ethan Frome; James Joyce, Dubliners; William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom!; Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter; E. L. Doctorow, Ragtime; Roddy Doyle, Paddy Clarke, Ha, Ha; and Richard Brautigan, Trout Fishing in America. Requirements: regular class participation; two short papers, a mid-term; and a final.

 

ENGL 20192
Narrative in Fiction and Film
Barry McCrea
*MW 12:30-1:20
Sec. 01 - Unallocated
Sec. 02 - Freshmen

*Corequisite discussion session, with choice of times:
ENGL 22192-01: F 12:30-1:20
ENGL 22192-02 (Freshmen): F 12:30-1:20
ENGL 22192-03: F 11:30-12:20
ENGL 22192-04 (Freshmen): F 11:30-12:20

What are stories? Where do they come from and how to they work? This course provides an introduction to narrative theory, by reading key texts of narrative theory in conjunction with novels, short stories, and films that lend themselves to structural analysis. We will learn how to analyze the hidden structures of all kinds of narratives, from nineteenth-century novels to Hollywood blockbusters. We will examine the ways in which our understanding of our own lives and their meaning is unconsciously shaped by narrative forms and assumptions.

 

ENGL 20260 
Medicine and the Poetic Ear
Arnaud Zimmern
MW 9:30-10:45
Section 01: Freshmen
Section 02: Unallocated

What is the connection between how physicians heal and how poets soothe? The answer, in part, has to do with listening. This course is predicated on the idea that better listening makes for better care, and that the study of poetry (as a spoken, performative practice) is a privileged space for training the dexterity of the ear, the compassion of the heart, and the faculty of memory. Training the poetic ear, we will memorize, recite, and hearken to poetry with one goal in mind: how can I become a better listener? While the course may not answer pressing questions like “What rhymes with ‘larynx’?” students will get a taste of the growing field of the medical humanities by surveying poetry on disability, illness, disgust, patient-physician dynamics, mourning, grief. The course is designed not only for pre-health students but for any student with experiences of or interest in illness and healthcare. Authors include Shakespeare, Milton, Donne, Emily Dickinson, G. M. Hopkins, and Elizabeth Bishop, as well as a spread of contemporary poets. Reading load: light. Writing load: medium.

 

ENGL 20513
Introduction to Irish Writers
Chris Fox
*MWF 10:30-11:45
Sec. 01 - Unallocated
Sec. 02 -  Freshmen
*Corequisite discussion sessions, same times as class, different locations.
ENGL 22514-01 (Freshmen)
ENGL 22514-02
ENGL 22514-03 (Freshmen)
ENGL 22514-04
ENGL 22514-05 (Freshmen)
ENGL 22514-06 

As the visit to campus of the most recent Irish winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature suggests, this small island has produced a disproportionate number of great writers. Designed as a general literature course, the class will introduce the student to a broad range of Irish writers in English from the eighteenth century to the present. Writers will include Jonathan Swift, Maria Edgeworth, Oscar Wilde, James Joyce, William Butler Yeats, Brian Friel, and John McGahern. We will also look at recent film versions of several of these writers' works, including Wilde's Importance of Being Earnest. Themes to be explored include representations of national character and the relationships between religion and national identity, gender and nationalism, Ireland and England, and "Irishness" and "Englishness." Students can expect a midterm, a paper (5-6 pages typed) and a final.

 

ENGL 20590
Gods and Giants
Sarah Coogan
TR 9:30-10:45
Section 01: Freshmen
Section 02: Unallocated

While many people think of myth as untrue or outdated, these seemingly irrelevant stories are still powerful forces in modern society. This course will consider a handful of mythic (and historical) figures—King Arthur, Odysseus, and Joan of Arc––and examine how the stories surrounding them authorize or resist conceptions of national identity. Through class discussion and written argument, we will ask what myth is, how it relates to history, and how particular stories become entangled with images of the nation. We will explore multiple incarnations of our chosen myths, mostly from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, giving students familiarity with a broad range of literary genres and styles, from epic poetry to tragedy to the Broadway musical. Ultimately, we will reflect on the role myth has played in shaping our own world-views and national identities.

 

ENGL 20600
Landscapes of American Literature
Jay Miller
MW 5:05-6:20
Section 01: Freshmen
Section 02: Unallocated

This course explores the conflicted landscapes depicted in American literature from the British colonial period to twentieth-century United States. These landscapes, while often referring to actual geographies, are imaginative constructions that offer readers the opportunity to reflect on the complicated issues of representation and power associated with land in North America. Some of the issues to be discussed and debated in course readings are the precarious lives of small farmers, the legacies of slavery, and the displacement of indigenous peoples. Another topic of consideration will be the extent to which these phenomena are portrayed in sacred and/or secular terms. Students taking this course will be taught to identify and distinguish between various landscape genres (pastoral, georgic, picturesque, sublime, etc.), and will also learn to recognize generic ambiguity as a special occasion for interpretation. Along with this aesthetic training, students will also examine the basic political conflicts embedded in American landscapes, such as the exploitation of labor, dispossession of land, and the degradation of the environment. Throughout the readings—-likely to include works by Jefferson, Thoreau, Annie Dillard, Toni Morrison, and Wendell Berry—-we will return to the following overarching question: In what ways do different writers attempt to represent the often difficult realities of life in America through literary constructs of landscapes, and why are these constructs significant?
 

 

ENGL 20740
Novels of New York
Noreen Deane-Moran
MW 3:30-4:45
Section 01 - Freshmen
Section 02 - Unallocated 

Knowledge presents itself in many forms.  And it is the very shape of this form which perhaps gives us the greater part of the information.  It has long been said that form and content must mesh for there to be beauty and inspiration. The books here are housed in the area called Literature, and thus it is the written word which is the chosen outer form.  But, within that box are many varied elements which each give their own spirit to the work. They do that by squeezing the essence of their meaning into a certain shape or form which in itself creates much of the meaning of the artistic work.  

Potential books: Washington Square - Henry James (1880); Maggie: A Girl of the Streets - Stephen Crane (1893); The Age of Innocence - Edith Wharton (1820); The Great Gatsby  - F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925); A Tree Grows in Brooklyn - Betty Smith (1943); A Walker in the City - Alfred Kazin (1951); A Fairytale of New York - J.P. Donleavy (1973); Billy Bathgate - E. L. Doctorow (1990).

 

ENGL 20780
American Literature, Sound, and Popular Music, 1860-1945
Sara Marcus
TR 3:30-4:45
Section 01 - Freshmen
Section 02 - Unallocated 

US literature and popular music between the mid-19th century and the end of World War II. This interdisciplinary course will incorporate methods from performance studies, sound studies, and musicology in addition to literary criticism. We will read key works of American prose (as well as some poetry) from the period's principal literary movements, including realism, naturalism, modernism, and multimedia documentary. We will also listen to musical works--Broadway tunes and blues songs, spirituals and symphonies. We'll pay particular attention to how segregation and other racial politics, changing roles for women, and the mass production of commodities influenced the art of this period. Texts will include writing by Stephen Crane, W.E.B. Du Bois, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Ernest Hemingway, Langston Hughes, Harriet Jacobs, and Edith Wharton, as well as music by George M. Cohan, George Gershwin, Scott Joplin, Paul Robeson, and Bessie Smith. Course requirements will include two argumentative essays, several shorter writing assignments, regular online reading responses, and active class participation.


 

ENGL 30010 (Crosslist)
Text Mining the Novel
Matt Wilkens
MW 11:00-12:15

A course in quantitive and computational approaches to analyzing large bodies of text. Broadly speaking, the course covers text mining, content analysis, and basic machine learning, emphasizing (but not limited to) approaches with demonstrated value in literary studies. Students will learn how to clean and process textual corpora, extract information from unstructured texts, identify relevant textual and extra-textual features, assess document similarity, cluster and classify authors and texts using a variety of machine-learning methods, visualize the outputs of statistical models, and incorporate quantitative evidence into literary and humanistic analysis.

Most of the methods treated in the class are relevant in other fields. Students from all majors are welcome. No prerequisites, but some programming experience strongly recommended. Taught in Python. Counts toward the Digital Humanities track of the Computing and Digital Technologies (CDT) minor and as a free elective in the Data Science minor.  

 

ENGL 30020/ENGL 90020 
Literary Geographies of Gender: Computer-Assisted Study of Gender and Geography in 19th- and 20th-Century Fiction

Elizabeth Evans
TR 5:05-6:15

*This is a 1 credit hr course

In this course, students and the professor will operate as a research team, each taking on particular tasks according to individual interests and all working towards a common goal: understanding how the geography of nineteenth- and twentieth- century British fiction was influenced by gender. Do novels show that men had more freedom of mobility than women? How did the author's gender influence what places and kinds of places they represented? Did the importance of gender change throughout the centuries, as it's often assumed? We'll strategize how to test large-scale hypotheses about gender, geography, and time using a variety of resources and techniques, including a large collection of geographic data extracted from British novels. The Center for Digital Scholarship instructional team will offer workshops on digital tools including Voyant, GIS (geographic information system), information visualization, machine learning (such as topic modeling and document clustering and classification), and on scholarly research. In consultation with the professor, students will be able to choose how they contribute to the project, gaining experience that will support their own research interests and professional aims. While prior experience with digital tools, programming, and/or nineteenth- and twentieth-century fiction would be useful for the group, the course has no prerequisites. Everyone will join the class with different background knowledge and will learn through hands-on experience. Students may be at any stage of university education, from first year through graduate studies.


 

ENGL 30101-01
Intro to Literary Studies
Nan Da
TR 12:30-1:45
Sec 01 - Freshmen
Sec 03 - Unallocated 

This course provides beginning English majors with experience in the analysis, interpretation, and appreciation of literary works of different kinds and eras. Texts assigned will vary from one section to another, but all sections will include attention to poetry and at least one other genre (fiction, drama, non-fiction prose). Frequent writing about works studied will introduce students to the practice of critical argument and consideration of how to read criticism as well as literature critically.

 

ENGL 30101-02
Intro to Literary Studies
Cyraina Johnson-Roullier
MW 2:00-3:15
Sec 02 - Freshmen
Sec 04 - Unallocated 

This course provides beginning English majors with experience in the analysis, interpretation, and appreciation of literary works of different kinds and eras. Texts assigned will vary from one section to another, but all sections will include attention to poetry and at least one other genre (fiction, drama, non-fiction prose). Frequent writing about works studied will introduce students to the practice of critical argument and consideration of how to read criticism as well as literature critically.

 

ENGL 30111
British Literary Traditions II
Greg Kucich
TR 12:30-1:45 

This course examines the development of British literary culture from the late seventeenth century through the early twenty-first century.  Instead of simply offering a survey of major authors, our class engages in a broader investigation of cultural production by situating literary activity within its material historical contexts.  We combine close reading of specific texts and their aesthetic richness, including detailed structural analysis of poetry, with ongoing discussion of major political, social, philosophical, and scientific developments, such as the civil wars of the seventeenth century, the rise of Enlightenment philosophy and science, the French Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, the development of the British Slave Trade and Abolition Movement, and the emergence of Britain as a major colonial empire and global power.  Our course also focuses self-consciously on its own critical methods, thus engaging English majors with important questions about the theory and practice of literary studies today, especially regarding such issues as periodicity, canon formation, theoretical schools of criticism and our overall criterion for evaluating the significance of literary texts. Those matters will also be taken up in our attention to the process of writing critical papers.


 

ENGL 30116
American Literary Traditions II
Francisco Robles
MW 9:30-10:45 

In this course, we will take a look at some of the most widely read and discussed authors of U.S. Literature, asking ourselves whether it is possible to understand these texts as a coherent, cogent body of literature. In so doing, we will understand the connections between “canon/tradition” and “innovation/experimentation,” “center” and “margin,” as well as the various contexts from which literature emerges, such as politics, culture, science, and history. We will focus on three major themes, and discuss a number of related issues and ideas: movement (thematically, formally, and historically) as a major force in U.S. Literature; questions of heritage, inheritance, and memory; and representation as an aesthetic and political feature of literature and life. Authors may include Langston Hughes, Marianne Moore, William Carlos Williams, Robert Frost, T. S. Eliot, William Faulkner, Zora Neale Hurston, Ralph Ellison, Flannery O’Connor, Gwendolyn Brooks, Hisaye Yamamoto, Tomás Rivera, Amiri Baraka, Robert Hayden, Toni Morrison, Lorna Dee Cervantes, Mark Doty, Rita Dove, and Tommy Orange.

 

ENGL 30850
Fiction Writing for Majors
Steve Tomasula
TR 2:00-3:15
Sec 01 - Majors
Sec 02 - Unallocated 

This is a course in writing short fiction for English majors who come to writing with a broader literary background than non-majors. It is conducted through a discussion format centered on fiction written by students in the class, and in the context of readings drawn from the contemporary, literary landscape. Students will be encouraged to explore how style and language create aesthetic experience and convey ideas. No one type of fiction is advocated over another, and the emphasis in the class will vary from section to section; however, students will be expected to write fiction that demonstrates an awareness of the difference between serious literature and formula entertainment.

 

ENGL 30851
Poetry Writing
Joyelle McSweeney
MW 9:30-10:45 

This is a course for students who are ready to immerse themselves in the strange contagious waters of poetry. We’ll read across regions, languages, communities and time periods to connect to poetry’s aesthetic, formal, and political urgencies and possibilities, and we’ll write an array of poems of our own. Expect to write individual lyrics as well as prose poems, letters, verse plays, sound poems, collages, remixes, performance pieces, and verse plays, and to poke around in the traditional and digital media by which poems have been shared. I’ll expect you to write in- and out- of class poems, work collaboratively on group projects and translations, present, perform, participate, offer kind supportive feedback on peer work., and propose and execute a final project of your own devising. Attendance is mandatory.

 

ENGL 40042-01 (Crosslist)
The Grotesque
Johannes Goransson
TR 9:30-10:45 

This class will focus on some of the many weird and uncanny ways grotesque aesthetics has popped up in art, literature and pop culture over the past 100 years. Whether it is in Dadaistic cut-ups, Kara Walker’s silhouette atrocities, David Lynch’s para-noir crime movies, or the apocalyptic graphic novel Wolf, works that venture into the weird or grotesque challenge common representations of the body, the human, alterity and violence. In the process they often subvert or simply ignore established norms of decency, taste and morality. Some of the time these excesses appear decadently apolitical, at other times tastelessly political. We will explore the politics and anti-politics, the beauty and the ugliness of these modes in both critical and creative responses to these works.

 

ENGL 40143 (Crosslist)
Narrative and Sexuality
Susan Harris
TR 12:30-1:45 

How do you tell a story that is supposed to be unspeakable? In this course, we will investigate the ways in which lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) writers have transformed narrative conventions as they explore their experiences and their identities through fiction. Beginning with the fiction of Oscar Wilde at the end of the 19th century and continuing through the modern and postwar eras into the twenty-first century, we will look at LGBT British, Irish and American writers whose work engaged with or dramatically departed from the dominant conventions that typically shaped fictions of identity formation, of love and marriage, of sexual experience, of political protest, and of death and loss. We will also investigate public responses to some of these fictions, and the changing discourses about gender identity, homosexuality, and sexual orientation that have shaped both the realities and the fictions of LGBT writers over the past century. Students will write three papers and be responsible for one in-class presentation.  

 

ENGL 40209 (Crosslist)
Chaucer
Tim Machan
MW 9:30-10:45 

This course explores the language, poetry, and culture of Geoffrey Chaucer, medieval England’s best-known poet. Written in the late-fourteenth century, Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and Troilus and Criseyde in particular comment on the some of the day’s most pressing social issues, including war, science, political intrigue, human frailty and ambition, relations between women and men, and the power of the Church. And they do all this with wit, humor, and artistry unmatched by many English poets. We begin with discussions of Chaucer’s language and historical context and move quickly to the poems.

 

ENGL 40211 (Crosslist)
History of the English Language
Tim Machan
MW 12:30-1:45 

This course examines the history and diversity of the English language. After an introduction to the methods of historical and comparative linguistics, the development of English will be chronologically surveyed. Much of the course will concentrate on specific historical topics, such as the introduction of writing, the influence of writing and printing on the standardization of English, the spread of English outside England itself, the diversity of English, contact between English and other languages, and the status of English as a world language today. Throughout the semester we will work with both empirical data and also the discovery of competing narratives for writing linguistic history.

 

ENGL 40260
Inventing Social Media in the 18th Century
Margaret Doody
TR 11:00-12:15 

    From 1700-1800 literacy became more common, the urban world expanded. Trade and empire necessitated news from afar.  Instant messaging was demanded, from the running footman to the naval telegraph. Personal letters gained value not only as conduits of information but as claims to social capital; there were advice books as to how to write them.  Newspapers and the new magazines vied for readers, inventing modern advertising and discovering the “blog” and the political cartoon.  Information output expanded to familiarize the strange: touristic guides, road maps, detailed geographies and varied histories of local regions.  Numerous pictorial images are available.  Exploring, examining, sharing first impressions—writers (paid and unpaid) offer open-ended accounts of reality.   Daniel Defoe in his tour of England takes the reader with him on an instructive but personalized series of jaunts. His Moll Flanders takes us with her in her criminal career.

       Stocks and shares were vital new instruments of expression. The market itself is a complex set of messages; money is acknowledged to exist primarily or only as communication.  Money has its own tragedies: the great stock market crash of 1720 finds reflection everywhere. Images stimulated scorn, or admiration or competition, from the portrait of the aristocrat or the aristocrat’s racing horse to engraved images of well-known actors or stately homes. Images and discourses of all kinds found buyers—from sermons to fairy tales, from satiric poems to depictions of battles. King George II allowed the autopsy of George II to be published, complete with image of the heart.  Hanging day at Tyburn was memorialized in pictures and in discourse, pious or profane. Even the condemned wanted to communicate; the last words of executed criminals had financial value.          

           Proliferation of media tests the individual; a new book or a portrait or a caricature demands decoding in terms of the current impressions and understanding. You would be a dunce if you did not comprehend The Rape of the Lock or “get” the Dunciad. Literature of the period deals extensively with communication itself as an object of scrutiny. Epistolary fiction invites readers to intervene. When a character says or writes something we are to wonder “what does s/he really mean by that?”

          Such pressure to be in command of the culture can stimulates  nostalgia for a simpler time—expressed again in more printed works and multiplied pictures. We will cover multiple media, including not only literary works in various genres, but also portraits, caricatures, fashions, letters and newspapers. In mid-semester we will follow one sensational murder trial of the 1750s, including the extremely varied writings and pictures that mushroomed around the crime, and the young woman accused.

TEXTS: Daniel Defoe, Moll Flanders; excerpts Tour of England; Joseph Addison and Richard Steele, The Tatler and The Spectator  (selected papers);  John Gay, The Beggar’s Opera; Mandeville, The Fable of the Bees; The Old Bailey Sessions Papers and the Ordinary’s Account; Samuel Richardson, Pamela; Alexander Pope, The Rape of the Lock; The Dunciad; Denis Diderot, Supplement to Bougainville’s voyage.  

 

ENGL 40269
Jonathan Swift and Mark Twain
John Sitter
TR 2:00-3:15 

An inquiry into the works and minds of two of the greatest satirists, prose stylists, and ironists in world literature. Texts to be studied and discussed will include Swift's Tale of a Tub, Gulliver's Travels, and "A Modest Proposal", Twain's The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, Pudd'nhead Wilson, and The Man that Corrupted Hadleyburg, and some contemporary theories of satire and irony. Although separated by an ocean, a century and a half, and religion, Swift and Twain construct similarly radical critiques of their countries' financial, political, and ethical systems. Our ongoing comparative discussion of both writers should open deeper understandings of social engagement, satiric idealism, and comic creativity.

 

ENGL 40275
Shakespeare for Life
Jesse Lander
MW 2:00-3:15 

This course will cover eight of Shakespeare’s plays: All’s Well That Ends Well, The Taming of the Shrew, Merchant of Venice, Troilus and Cressida, Measure for Measure, Hamlet, Othello, and The Winter’s Tale. In each case we will focus on the dramatic representation of intractable ethical problems and ask how the play encourages its audience to reflect on moral conflict.  In addition to the plays, readings will include material on classical ethical theories as well as modern moral philosophy.

 

 

ENGL 40344 (Crosslist)
British and Irish Ballads
Ian Newman
TR 12:30-1:45 

In this seminar students will engage extensively with Hesburgh Library’s Irish Ballad Collection, which will form the core corpus of texts for our class, alongside a range of supporting materials from canonical authors. The collection provides a fascinating glimpse into popular street song from the nineteenth century in Britain and Ireland. Through these materials students will learn about the history of the ballad, the mentalities of ordinary people in living in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the vexed relationship between lyric poetry and popular song, and the economics of poetry production. Along the way will be asking what difference cheap broadside ballads such as those found in the collection might make to our understanding of poetry.

 

ENGL 40450
British Romantic Drama
Greg Kucich
TR 9:30-10:45 

"Dramatic genius... is kindling over the whole land." (Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine review; 1823)This class approaches British Romanticism through the spectacular fecundity of its staged drama, which is not usually considered in conventional assessments of the period. Alongside serious, often disturbing new tragedies, hilarious new comedies, and stunning revivals of Shakespeare, Romantic theater offered frenetic audiences a staggering range of experimental or fringe genres such as melodrama, Gothic drama, nautical drama, pantomime, and quadruped entertainments featuring live horses in cavalry charges and the herics of "Carlo the Wonder Dog" and "Jocko the Brazilian Monkey." We will explore the ingenious ways, both in print and on stage, playwrights utilized these and other stage practices to engage with the burning political issues of the time: the French Revolution, slavery, imperial might and global strife, women's rights, among others. Readings address major canonical figures-- Coleridge, Shelley, and Byron?as well as less well-known figures who ruled the stage, such as Joanna Baillie, Elizabeth Inchbald, "Monk" Lewis, and Hannah Cowley.

 

ENGL 40546 (Crosslist)
Women and Magazines
Barbara Green
TR 3:30-4:45 

This course will explore women as producers (journalists, editors, illustrators) and consumers of modern periodicals including little magazines like The Little Review, slick magazines like Vanity Fair, fashion magazines like Vogue, women’s domestic magazines like Good Housekeeping, feminist papers like Votes for Women or The Freewoman, and more. We’ll pay special attention to modern women writers who made their living writing for magazines–Djuna Barnes, Rebecca West, or Jesse Fauset, for example–and explore the ways in which modern periodicals (both “big” and “little”) considered the rise of modernism in relation to changing gender roles and feminist concerns. Since the periodical press has been called the medium that best “articulates the unevenness and reciprocities of evolving gender ideologies,” we’ll consider changing articulations of “modern” femininity in a wide range of periodical genres. We’ll learn how to read modern periodicals from various angles, taking into consideration reception, circulation, seriality, temporality, illustration, and advertisement, and we’ll meet the modern woman journalist and her close relations: “sob sisters,” “agony aunts,” “stunt girls.” We’ll be exploring new digital archives for the most part to access these early twentieth century publications. We will also read one novel in installments throughout the semester to more closely participate in the serial reading practices that would have organized an early twentieth-century reader’s relationship with her favorite publication. Assignments will include one group presentation and linked essay, one essay of 8-10 pages, and a few shorter exercises.

 

ENGL 40601 
American Renaissance
Laura Walls
TR 3:30-4:45 

In the decades leading up to the Civil War, religious certainty, economic stability, and political authority were everywhere in doubt, and sweeping change seemed not merely possible, but essential. As a result, Utopian dreams jostled against the brutal realities of slavery, injustice, and the emerging industrial revolution, conflicts played out in America's first great literature: "The American Renaissance" or "America Reborn." This was the time of abolitionism, women's rights, and Thoreau at Walden Pond; of Emerson's defiant "Self-Reliance," Hawthorne's twisted psychic dramas, Melville's breakthrough fictions, and Poe's grotesque fantasies; of the rise of women's fiction and mass literature; of Walt Whitman's expansive poetry of the body and Emily Dickinson's dense poetry of the mind. As we navigate this period, our questions will be: what connects these writers with their time? With each other? With us?

 

ENGL 40758 (Crosslist)
Novels of American Naturalism
Kate Marshall
MW 2:00-3:15

In this course we will undertake a comparative survey of the materialisms of twentieth-century American naturalist novels, tracing a trajectory from turn-of-the-century texts by Frank Norris and Stephen Crane, to the neo-naturalist fiction of a few decades later that operated alongside developments in modernist literary form (Gertrude Stein, Ann Petry, John Steinbeck), and concluding with a look at its postwar resurgence in the novels of authors such as Don DeLillo and Cormac McCarthy. We will also discuss the return to these novels in recent films including There Will Be Blood and No Country for Old Men. Students will be asked to write one short formal analysis and two mid-length papers, in addition to regular discussion assignments.

 

ENGL 40780 (Crosslist)
Sound Studies, Popular Music & American Literature
Sara Marcus
TR 2:00-3:15 

US literature and popular music between the mid-19th century and the end of World War II. This interdisciplinary course will incorporate methods from performance studies, sound studies, and musicology in addition to literary criticism. We will read key works of American prose (as well as some poetry) from the period's principal literary movements, including realism, naturalism, modernism, and multimedia documentary. We will also listen to musical works--Broadway tunes and blues songs, spirituals and symphonies. We'll pay particular attention to how segregation and other racial politics, changing roles for women, and the mass production of commodities influenced the art of this period. Texts will include writing by Stephen Crane, W.E.B. Du Bois, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Ernest Hemingway, Langston Hughes, Harriet Jacobs, and Edith Wharton, as well as music by George M. Cohan, George Gershwin, Scott Joplin, Paul Robeson, and Bessie Smith. Course requirements will include two argumentative essays, several shorter writing assignments, regular online reading responses, and active class participation.

 

ENGL 40850
Advanced Fiction Writing
Roy Scranton
MW 3:30-4:45 

What are the poetics of prose? How do we make voices speak on the page? In this reading-intensive workshop, we will approach these questions through philosophy, literary theory, close reading, and experimental practice. The strange technology of writing easily turns invisible in its everyday familiarity - in order to see fiction-making in all its deep weirdness, we must be willing to take it apart, break it, and remake it. We will perform our experiments with the seriousness of scientists and play with the abandon of the possessed, for as much as writing is a technology, it is also an attunement, a moment shaping collective vibrations as they pass through gatherings of cells. Readings will include work by Gertrude Stein, M. NourbeSe Philip, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Jorge Luis Borges, Jane Bowles, and others.

 

ENGL 40852
Advanced Fiction Writing II
Roy Scranton
MW 3:30-4:45 

This course is intended for students who have already taken an Advanced Fiction Writing and who are seriously interested in writing fiction.What are the poetics of prose? How do we make voices speak on the page? In this reading-intensive workshop, we will approach these questions through philosophy, literary theory, close reading, and experimental practice. The strange technology of writing easily turns invisible in its everyday familiarity - in order to see fiction-making in all its deep weirdness, we must be willing to take it apart, break it, and remake it. We will perform our experiments with the seriousness of scientists and play with the abandon of the possessed, for as much as writing is a technology, it is also an attunement, a moment shaping collective vibrations as they pass through gatherings of cells. Readings will include work by Gertrude Stein, M. NourbeSe Philip, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Jorge Luis Borges, Jane Bowles, and others.

 

ENGL 40855
Advanced Fiction Writing III
Roy Scranton
MW 3:30-4:45 

This course is intended for students who have already taken an Advanced Fiction Writing and who are seriously interested in writing fiction. The expectation is that the student is beyond the point of requiring assignments to generate stories. Over the semester, in a workshop setting, student stories will be taken through various stages: due attention will be paid to revision, rewriting, polishing, editing, with a goal that the stories be brought as close as possible to the point of submission as finished work. Practical as well as theoretical issues will be investigated; there will be assigned readings from a variety of fiction authors.

 

ENGL 40913 (Crosslist)
Daring Picaras: Tales from the Borderland
Sarah Quesada
MW 11:00-12:15 

A course on transnational literature, the borderland is conceived as a space from which to question the delimitations not only of nationality, but also of race, ethnicity, gender, and heteronormative boundaries. This course surveys some of the most daring accounts of physical, spiritual, and ideological boundary-transgressions and reads terms like “pícaro,” “pícara” (or “rogue”) and “outlaw” against the grain, from a decolonial position throughout the ages: from 17th century to contemporary times in film, narrative, and popular culture. Departing from Lieutenant Nun: Memoire of Basque Transvestite in the New World to 20th and 21st century transnational authors such as Gabriel García Márquez, Junot Díaz, and Achy Obejas, to comic book, comedy, and the film Real Women Have Curves featuring America Ferrera, we will read, watch and discuss some of the most incredible and courageous accounts of Latinx audacity within a transnational Americas.

 

ENGL 40914 (Crosslist)
Introduction to Postcolonial Literature
Ernest Morrell
MW 12:30-1:45 

This class is intended to serve as a general introduction to postcolonial literature and theory. Toward that end, we will be reading a number of the most influential theorists of postcolonialism as well as some of the novels that have been of particular importance to debates and discussions in the field.This course begins with the premise that a study of postcolonial theories and a growing body of literature from subaltern perspectives can help the discipline of English to diversify its canon and add a robust theory of race, culture, imperialism, and intersectionality to its intellectual discourse. With this in mind, the goals of this course are:- To explore the anti-colonial tradition that is a precursor to and a companion of the postcolonial theoretical movement- To understand the roots of postcolonial theory and its development across global contexts, with a focus on South Asian, sub-Saharan African, Latin American/Caribbean, and U.S. Postcolonialism- To read critically postcolonial literatures and media texts from Africa, Asia, South America, the Caribbean, and the United States- To employ postcolonialism as a reading strategy, to hone the literacy skills necessary to read and critique any cultural text. Possible Course Texts Include:Ania Loomba's Colonialism/Postcolonialism, Edward Said's Orientalism, Gayatri Spivak's Postcolonial Critic, Homi Bhabha's Location of Culture, Frantz Fanon's A Dying Colonialism, Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart, Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Hundred Years of Solitude, Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses, Jamaica Kincaid's Annie John, Toni Morrison's Beloved, and Gloria Anzaldua's La Frontera/Borderlands in addition to various shreds of contemporary media culture.

 

ENGL 43510 (Crosslist)
Seminar: Gender, Space, and the City
Elizabeth Evans
TR 2:00-3:15 

This research seminar examines how British literature shaped and was shaped by two pivotal transformations in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries: the growing dominance of the city in national life and rapidly changing roles for women. As Britain’s population became increasingly urban, the city was variously imagined as a center of learning and industry, theater for conspicuous consumption, and cesspool of poverty and vice. Women, who often had the most to gain from expanded opportunities for work, education, and pleasure, were also believed to have the most to lose. The advent of world war bought new dangers and opportunities to the “home front,” the memory of which continue to hold powerful places in British culture.

Throughout this tumultuous history, fiction writers were some of the most influential of social observers; their depictions of the city as a whole – and of men and women’s occupations of particular urban spaces – produced as much as they described the meaning of modern urban life. While gender will be at the forefront of our investigation, we’ll see that ideas about class, race, nationality, war, and work also influenced conceptions of the city, and of men and women’s roles within it. Our readings will include theoretical explorations of how city living impacts individual psychology and social life, as well as such novels as Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886), H. G. Wells’s Ann Veronica (1909), Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway (1925), Graham Greene’s The Ministry of Fear (1943), Elizabeth Bowen’s The Heat of the Day (1948), and Andrea Levy’s Small Island (2004). Requirements of the course include vigorous participation in class discussion and scholarly research that will culminate in a researched essay of at least 15 pages.

Students interested in this seminar may wish to consider also enrolling in the 1-credit course “Literary Geographies of Gender: Computer-Assisted Study of Gender and Geography in 19th- and 20th-Century Fiction,” which takes a different methodological approach to similar issues.

 

ENGL 43620 (Crosslist)
Seminar: Citizenship and the American Novel
Sandra Gustafson
MW 3:30-4:45

This course will explore how civic life is represented in American fiction.  We will take up questions of form and style as they relate to distinctive visions of the common good in such novels as Nathaniel Hawthorne's House of the Seven Gables, Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, Henry Adams's Democracy: An American Romance, Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, Katherine Anne Porter's Pale Horse, Pale Rider, Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, and Chang-Rae Lee's Native Speaker.

Note: The formal part of the class will conclude around Easter Break.  The three class sessions that would normally occur after Easter Break will be moved to earlier in the spring semester.  These required make-up sessions will be held on Friday, February 1, Friday, February 22, and Friday, March 22 from 3:30-4:45.  Students who wish to enroll in the class should note these sessions.

 

ENGL 52990
Creative Writing Honors Colloquium
Roy Scranton
MW 12:30-1:45 

This is the second in a sequence of two classes for students working on their creative honors thesis. Its main purpose is to support the completion of the thesis as well as the required essay that accompanies the thesis, primarily through peer feedback in a workshop setting.

 

ENGL 53004
Creative Writing Honors Colloquium II
Roy Scranton
MW 12:30-1:45 

This is the second in a sequence of two classes for students working on their creative honors thesis. Its main purpose is to support the completion of the thesis as well as the required essay that accompanies the thesis, primarily through peer feedback in a workshop setting.