English Major Courses

Spring 2022

ENGL 30101-01-02
Intro to Literary Studies
Susan Harris
MW 11:00-12:15
Sec 01 - Majors
Sec 02 - Freshmen

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 significant attention to poetry, as well as treatment of 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 30101-03-04
Intro to Literary Studies
Nan Da
TR 2:00-3:15
Sec 03 - Majors
Sec 04 - Freshmen

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 30111-01-02
British Literary Traditions II
David Thomas
TR 3:30-4:45
Sec 01 - Majors
Sec 02 - Unallocated 

Here we explore a very broad variety of British literary and cultural productions from the 1660s to our own times, covering important periods and terms (e.g., Restoration, Gothic, Modernism) and developments in the literary genres (romantic poetics, the "rise of the novel").  Such a course prepares one for studies in the Humanities, careers in writing and research, and--more immediately--choosing future courses in the English Major and discovering potential Honors-thesis ideas. Beyond supporting these concrete or practical goals, the course should also show how exploring literature and its cultural contexts can be a pathway to developing critical interpretive skills and an appreciation of aesthetic and cultural variety over several centuries. It’s a buffet of cultural histories. Our principal texts will be from the Norton Anthology of English Literature or delivered electronically. Most of the graded work will consist of short papers, along with some other class exercises.

 

ENGL 30116-01-02
American Literary Traditions II
Matthew Kilbane
TR 12:30-1:45
Sec 01 - Majors
Sec 02 - Unallocated

In this course, we will study landmark literary works published in the United States from 1865 to the present. You can think of this class as a survey in “American literature,” but as we explore the different movements and diverse traditions sometimes collected under that name, we’ll discover writers probing themes of identity and social belonging in ways that challenge and reimagine the idea of “Americanness" itself. As a community of close readers, we’ll consider how the habits of thought and feeling enacted in novels, short stories, poems, and essays can lead us to remake our sense of the past, and stake claims for collective futures. Throughout the course, we’ll also keep front and center the historical contexts that give rise to literary achievements, from the massive population shifts that stirred up literary renaissances in Harlem and Chicago, to the liberation movements of the 1960s that set the tempo for contemporaneous revolutions in literary style. We'll conclude the semester by making some expert judgments about what's happening today in U.S. literature, and some informed predictions about its future. Our authors may include Edith Wharton, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Robert Frost, Marianne Moore, Claude McKay, William Faulkner, Richard Wright, Elizabeth Bishop, Gwendolyn Brooks, Flannery O’Connor, James Baldwin, Rudolfo Anaya, Leslie Marmon Silko, and Toni Morrison.  

 

ENGL 40143-01-02
Queer Plots: Narrative and Sexuality in 20th and 21st Century Fiction
Susan Harris
MW 3:30-4:45
Sec 01 - Majors
Sec 02 - Unallocated

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 40147-01-02
Literary Theory
Nan Da
TR 3:30-4:45
Sec 01 - Majors
Sec 02 - Unallocated

This class will introduce students to theories that enhance our understanding of literature as well as theories that arise out of literary criticism that help us understand the world in ways that nothing else can. That is: theory for literature and literature interpretation as theory. We will begin by asking what "theory" is, and the value of abstract thought in general. Then we will survey literary theory from Aristotle to the present day, including both liberal and conservative schools of thought. Students can expect to have a good introduction to theories of form, mimesis, and mediation, bodies of work that emerged from both Kantian and Hegelian philosophy including cultural studies and the Frankfurt school, as well as new criticism, performance/gender theory, literary sociology, ecocriticism, and world/transnational approaches to literary history. Readings will be a mix of selected excerpts and primary texts. Coursework will involve three short essays and one long essay in which students either apply several theories to a piece of literature or discuss several theories in relation to one another.

 

ENGL 40196-01-02  
Theories of Media and Technology
Ranjodh Dhaliwal
MW 9:30-10:45
Section 01 - Majors   
Section 02 - Unallocated

This course offers a multidisciplinary introduction to the vast variety of theoretical approaches used to understand media and technologies. From film, TV, and videogames to computers, internet, and social media, we will study different methods and concepts that help us understand our mediated condition(s) better. Moving historically and geographically, we will also encounter the many ways in which the term 'media' itself gets deployed and critiqued in scholarship across humanistic and social scientific disciplines. We will plug some of these (critical) theoretical understandings of media and culture into the longer histories of politics, philosophy, language, and literature, considering, for example, books as media technologies. And finally, we will ask what studies of media and mediation can do for our comprehension of the politico-economic, sociocultural, racial, and environmental crises surrounding us today.

 

ENGL 40197-01-02  
Latinx Literature Now           
Francisco Robles
TR 12:30-1:45
Section 01 - Majors   
Section 02 - Unallocated

In this course we will read novels and books of poetry published in the last five years. We'll engage with historical, contemporary, and speculative definitions of latinidad, taking up the ideas and provocations offered by the books we'll read over the semester. In particular, we will focus on how latinidad works as both a conceptual category as well as an on-the-ground practice of living in community, and how conceptually and practically latinidad can be inclusive as well as exclusive. With that in mind, we’ll use the texts we read together to consider how race, ethnicity, migration, gender, sexuality, politics, and religion inform historical, present, and future meanings of latinidad. This semester, we’ll read texts by John Murillo, Juli Delgado Loprea, Roy G. Gumán, Oliver Baez Bendorf, Jamie Figueroa, Julia Alvarez, Melissa Lozada-Oliva, Xavier Aquino Navarro, and Darrel Alejandro Holnes.

 

ENGL 40209-01-02
Chaucer
Michelle Karnes
MW 2:00-3:15
Sec 01 - Majors
Sec 02 - Unallocated

This course will introduce you to the works of Geoffrey Chaucer, the deservedly famous author from medieval England who had an exceptionally good sense of humor. We will spend the majority of the class on Chaucer's magnum opus, the Canterbury Tales, an ambitious collection of tales drawn from different countries and genres. We will also read works by other medieval authors to provide context. Throughout the course, you will hone your Middle English comprehension skills as you confront challenging, diverse, and sophisticated pieces of literature. Students will write two papers as well as several targeted analysis exercises. No prior knowledge of Middle English or medieval literature is expected.

 

ENGL 40272-01-02
The Renaissance Imagination: Reading Shakespeare and Spenser
Susannah Monta
TR 11:00-12:15
Sec 01 - Majors
Sec 02 - Unallocated

This course focuses intensely on William Shakespeare and Edmund Spenser, two of the Renaissance period's most influential writers. Both writers reflect on the work that fiction can do in addressing our deepest desires and fears; both theorize the imagination's powers as well as its distortions and limitations. Both writers are also deeply concerned with the processes of interpretation that are at the heart of the English major; good readers of Spenser and Shakespeare promise to be good readers of much else. Probable texts: Shakespeare, Hamlet, As You Like It, Henry V, and The Tempest; Spenser, The Faerie Queene and selections from the Amoretti.

 

ENGL 40344-01-02
British and Irish Ballads: Poetry and Popular Song in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries
Ian Newman
MW 3:30-4:45
Sec 01 - Majors
Sec 02 - Unallocated

The ballad is, alongside the lyric, one of the major poetic traditions of world literature. Precisely what a ballad is, however, remains a remarkably vexed question. This is in part because ballads fall inconveniently between disciplines – literature, music, book history, folklore, cultural studies – so that the study of ballads requires a broad interdisciplinary approach. For the literary scholar “ballad” is often used to mean a narrative poem, but this definition does not do justice to a vastly more complex history. Often there is no known author; only occasionally do we have any idea when a ballad was written; even when we know the name of the printer, we cannot be sure the print we have is the earliest printing. Moreover, the printed life of ballads—often cheap slip songs known as broadside ballads—only represents only one part of their existence: they need also to be understood as performance texts that straddle the world of orality and print, and which move dynamically through time, evolving as they travel. Rather than seeing these challenges as hurdles to our understanding, this class will explore the possibilities that the ballad opens up for reconsidering our approaches to the study of literature.

In this seminar students will learn about the fascinating history of the popular ballad, and how it gave shape to English literature as a discipline; they will engage with Hesburgh Library’s Irish Ballad Collection, which 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. Students should come prepared to discuss controversial subjects, to have their ideas about what constitutes literature challenged; and, above all, they should be willing to listen, learn, and sing together.


 

ENGL 40353-01-02  
Mad, Bad, & Dangerous: Lord Byron & Percy Shelley
Yasmin Solomonescu
MW 9:30-10:45
Sec 01 - Majors
Sec 02 - Unallocated

“Mad, bad, and dangerous to know” is how the nineteenth-century English poet Lord Byron was described by one of his contemporaries, but the phrase could apply just as well to fellow poet Percy Shelley, known in his school days as “Mad Shelley.” Originally inspired by the poets’ unconventional lifestyles and opinions, the labels serve in this course as points of entry into their remarkable bodies of work. “Mad,” for instance, by some estimates denotes Byron’s and Shelley’s social and political views and activities, but also reflects their interest in representing insane or at least deeply unreasonable characters. “Bad” evokes contemporaneous opinions of their morals - and some readers’ assessments of their verse. “Dangerous” captures the sense that each poet posed a threat to established ways of thinking, imagining, writing, and being in the world. Our readings will include short lyrics, long epics and mock epics, and verse dramas, as well as letters, essays, and reviews. The overall objective is to acquaint you with two of the most exceptional and exceptionable poets of the Romantic period, and indeed any period, while giving you experience in reading multiple works by particular writers, comparatively and critically.

 

ENGL 40365-01-02
Romantic & Victorian Disability
Essaka Joshua
TR 11:00-12:15
Sec 01 - Majors
Sec 02 - Unallocated

This course investigates the cultural meanings attached to extraordinary bodies and minds. Cultural and literary scholarship has extensively explored issues connected with identities derived from race, gender and sexuality. Only recently have concepts of bodily identity, impairment, stigma, monstrosity, marginalization, deformity, deviance, and difference begun to cohere around disability as a concept. Discussions of these issues are now part of a discipline called Disability Studies. We will cover topics such as communication, inclusion, passing, medical attitudes, social stigma, normalcy, life narratives, bodily representation, mental impairment, the politics of charity, community and collective culture, the built environment, and empowerment. This course fulfills the English Major 1700-1900 requirement.

 

ENGL 40450-01-02
British Romantic Drama and the Politics of the Public Theatre
Greg Kucich
TR 3:30-4:45
Sec 01 - Majors
Sec 02 - Unallocated

"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 40470-01-02
Victorian Literature and the Romance of Being Good
Sara Maurer
TR 2:00-3:15
Sec 01 - Majors
Sec 02 - Unallocated

If you know anything about the Victorians, you probably think of them as uptight and judgmental. That was certainly how the people who became their children and grandchildren saw them. But their preoccupation with correct moral behavior was for them the pursuit of heroic ideals. They dreamed of grand actions undertaken out of commitment to noble principles and the common good. This class will involve the intensive reading of four Victorian works that express Victorian longings for a goodness big and glamorous enough to be almost mythic. We’ll read two narrative poems: Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Aurora Leigh, about a woman’s formation into a poet and Alfred Lord Tennyson’s Victorian adaptation of Arthurian legends Idylls of the King.  We’ll also read two Victorian novels, Charles Dickens’s Bleak House and George Eliot’s Middlemarch, which associate the romance of doing good with the romance of the marriage plot.  We’ll also sample from a wide variety of Victorian economic, political and scientific thought that complicated the Victorians’ longing for goodness. Along the way we’ll confront the same questions the Victorians did: What are your obligations to your community? Should only local injustice matter to you?  Does the definition of goodness depend on historical context? When is commitment to ideals a form of integrity and when is it fanaticism? Is the world simply too complex for individual goodness to matter? 

 

ENGL 40490-01-02 
Oscar Wilde: Decadence and the Making of Modernism
Chante Mouton Kinyon
MW 2:00-3:15
Sec 01 - Majors
Sec 02 - Unallocated

Using the life and career of Oscar Wilde as our focus, we will examine the literary and cultural aesthetics of the fin de siècle. As an aspect of the Aesthetic and Decadent movement of the late 19th century, Wilde’s work celebrates l’art pour l’art, even as it looks forward to modernism. The subversive subject matter of Wilde’s art and his hedonistic lifestyle revolts against Victorian sensibilities and allows the reader to explore the celebration of beauty under the threat of decay. An accomplished Irish playwright, Wilde’s oeuvre also includes poetry, essays, short stories, and his only novel The Picture of Dorian Gray. Wilde’s ill-fated and obsessive relationship with Lord Alfred Douglas, "Bosie," led to three public trials—one civil trial where Wilde sued Bosie's father, the Marquess of Queensberry, for libel, and two criminal trials where Wilde was tried for "gross indecency," convicted in the second trial, and sent to HM Prison Reading with two years hard labor.In this class, we will read a range of Wilde’s texts alongside authors of the Aesthetic and Decadent movement. We will investigate how the poetry, prose, and theatre of this period—with particular concentration on Wilde’s texts and the theatre of his public trials— influenced twentieth artists around the Atlantic. We will also consider how the social and sexual transgressions of Wilde’s life and his work impacted twentieth century attitudes towards performance, race, gender, and sexuality.


 

ENGL 40524-01-02
Virginia Woolf and Bloomsbury
Barbara Green
MW 2:00-3:15
Section 01: Unallocated
Section 02: Freshmen

The modernist feminist writer Virginia Woolf lived and worked with a loose collective of writers, painters, and social thinkers that we call the "Bloomsbury Group," though many members of the group disliked the phrase. We will look at the novels, essays, art, and political writings of some of the members of Bloomsbury - Virginia Woolf, E. M. Forster, Roger Fry, Leonard Woolf, Vanessa Bell, Clive Bell, Lytton Strachey and others - to explore the complex moments of cross-fertilization, critique, and revision that define their encounters. In addition, we will attend to a few areas that have dominated discussions of Bloomsbury modernism: ideas of nation, "civilization," and critiques of Empire; the formation of literary modernism's often tense relation to mass culture; the development of modern discourses of sexuality; the relationship between literature and the modern metropolis; and explorations of women's "experience" of modernity. Because members of the Bloomsbury Group worked in a number of fields beyond the literary - painting, economics, social thought, publishing, and interior design to name a few - students will find that they can easily develop projects that engage more than one area of interest.

 

ENGL 40624-01-02
Citizenship & the American Novel
Sandra Gustafson
MW 11:00-12:15
Section 01: Unallocated
Section 02: Freshmen

This course will explore how civic life has been represented in classic American fiction. We will take up questions of form and style as they relate to distinctive visions of US citizenship in Nathaniel Hawthorne's House of the Seven Gables (1851), Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852), Henry Adams's Democracy: An American Romance (1880), Upton Sinclair's The Jungle (1906), Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man (1952), and Chang-Rae Lee's Native Speaker (1995). Several of these novels are quite long, so be prepared to do a good amount of reading. Course requirements include regular attendance and consistent high-quality participation; presentations and/or group work; and a mix of short and longer writing assignments totaling around 25 pages.

 

ENGL 40771-01-02 
American Modernisms
Cyraina Johnson-Roullier
MW 12:30-1:45
Sec 01 - Majors
Sec 02 - Unallocated

Discussions of the late nineteenth, early twentieth century literary and cultural movement of modernism often center on those qualities of the movement described in the work of early modernist literary critics, such as Harry Levin or Edmund Wilson. Such examinations emphasize the modern movement's experiments in form, structure, linguistic representation, characterization, etc., while paying much less attention to the role of the modernist movement in the larger context of a given culture. In this course, we will explore the significance of the modern movement from the perspective of American culture, as well as the manner and meaning of American literary participation in the movement. To that end, we will consider not only the work of authors generally accepted as modernists, such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Gertrude Stein; we will also consider the role of authors such as Sherwood Anderson and Waldo Frank, of the early Chicago Renaissance (1910-1925), and a number of authors from the Harlem Renaissance. We will examine the work of these authors not only in the context of modernism, but also as it relates to many issues of the day, including progressivism, primitivism, race and ethnicity, immigration, cosmopolitanism vs. regionalism, and the importance of the vernacular, in addition to the question of "Americanness" and its importance to an understanding of American literature during this time. Considering these different vantage points in American literary modernism, we will try to imagine the contours of "American modernisms," and draw some conclusions about their significance within the larger modernist context. In so doing, we'll seek to arrive at a more comprehensive, more nuanced perspective on the meaning of the modern in American literature and culture.Course Texts: Edith Wharton, Age of Innocence; Willa Cather, O Pioneers!; Sherwood Anderson, Dark Laughter; Waldo Frank, Holiday; Theodore Dreiser, Sister Carrie; Ernest Hemingway, Torrents of Spring; F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby; Gertrude Stein, Three Lives; Jessie Fauset, Plum Bun; Jean Toomer, Cane; William Faulkner, Absalom! Absalom! Course Requirements: Two 5-page essays, two 5-page drafts, and a presentation.