English Major Courses

Spring 2021

ENGL 30101
Intro to Literary Studies
Chris Abram
MW 2:20-3:35
Section 01: Unallocated
Section 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
Intro to Literary Studies
Yasmin Solomonescu
TR 9:35-10:50
Section 01: Unallocated
Section 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 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 3:55-5:10
Section 01: Unallocated
Section 02: Freshmen

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
Sara Marcus
MW 11:10-12:25
Section 01: Unallocated
Section 02: Freshmen

In this survey course, we will familiarize ourselves with the major American literary movements and texts from 1865 through the present. Proceeding from an understanding of US literature as ineluctably multiracial and polyvocal, our historically grounded units will bring us through Reconstruction, realism, naturalism, modernism, midcentury social movements (including the Black freedom movement and mobilizations for women’s and LGBTQ liberation), postmodern crises of narrative, and contemporary engagements with the past that never really goes away. We will read novels, short stories, poems, and essays, and we’ll also listen closely to the reverberations of spirituals, blues, rock, jazz, and other popular musics that suffuse US literature since 1865. Texts may include works by Charles Chesnutt, W.E.B. Du Bois, Henry James, Jack London, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, T.S. Eliot, Gertrude Stein, James Baldwin, Thomas Pynchon, Octavia Butler, Toni Morrison, and Maggie Nelson.

 

ENGL 30853
Fiction Writing 
Greg Havrilak
MW 5:30-6:45

Adolescence has been called a period of “growth through opposition.” What a wonderful framing device for fictional narrative! In this course we will examine novels, stories, and memoirs that feature some of the most memorable portraits of adolescents ever penned. As we consider how various writers approached their crafting, you will compose your own pieces - two will be workshopped - using our models as springboards for your own fictional contemplation of striving towards growth. Readings include works by Stuart, Sittenfeld, Saunders, Coates, Burgess, Fowles, Palahniuk, and many others.



 

40xxx Level Courses

 

ENGL 40155 (Crosslist) 
Critical Pedagogy and Popular Culture
Ernest Morrell
TR 12:45-2:00
Sec 01 - Unallocated
Sec 02 - Majors

Critical pedagogy, or education intended to inspire radical self love, social consciousness and action for change, has the potential to become one of the most relevant and powerful tools in urban education today. This course will consider the potential of conceptual and empirical work in critical pedagogy and cultural studies to inform, confront and transform many of the persistent challenges we presently face domestically and internationally in urban classrooms, schools, and school systems. The course begins with an examination of the historical antecedents of critical pedagogy, both from the Western philosophical tradition and ?Othered? Post-colonial traditions from East and South Asia, Africa, the African-Diaspora, and Latin America. The course will then examine the theory and research of critical pedagogists such as Paulo Freire, Sonia Nieto, Gloria Ladson-Billings, Peter McLaren, Henry Giroux, Antonia Darder, and bell hooks. The second half of the course will focus on cultural studies and, in particular, critical pedagogies of popular culture in urban education. Lectures and student activities will focus on hip-hop and spoken word poetry, film, television, mass media consumption and production and their implications for transformative pedagogical engagements with young people in major cities across the globe.

 

ENGL 40209
Chaucer
Michelle Karnes
MW 2:20-3:35
Sec 01 - Unallocated
Sec 02 - Majors

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 40233
J.R.R. Tolkien
Tim Machan
TR 11:10-12:25
Sec 01 - Unallocated
Sec 02 - Majors

One of the most prolific authors in the modern period - the author of the twentieth century, according to one admirer - Tolkien is also one of the most influential, controversial, and challenging. He inspired a craze for fantasy literature that persists today and that itself has influenced the movies, games, and images of pop culture. As often as readers praise his novels, however, critics (particularly scholars) vilify them for their plots, style, and characters. Further complicating this reception is the fact that as a writer Tolkien, who by trade was a medievalist and philologist at the University of Oxford, produced far more than his well-known books on Middle Earth. In an effort to get a broad understanding of Tolkien as a writer and of the continuities that run through everything he wrote, we'll read these blockbusters, but also some of his original poetry, several of his academic articles, and his translations of medieval poems. We'll consider what it meant to be a writer when Tolkien was, including the way he balanced teaching and writing, the importance of his writers' group (the Inklings), and the process by which his sometimes illegible handwritten drafts found their way (changing in the process) to the finished products that shook the literary world.

 

ENGL 40253
Beowulf
Chris Abram
MW 9:35-10:50
Sec 01 - Unallocated
Sec 02 - Majors

Beowulf is often called the first great poem in English. But why? In this course, we will explore the nature of Beowulf: is it really English? Is it really a masterpiece? Is it really a poem? (The answers to these questions are by no means simple.) We will read all 3182 lines of Beowulf in the original Old English--although translation won't be the focus of this course, it is only suitable for students with some prior knowledge of the language. Our main goal in our discussions and writing will be to work out where Beowulf's aesthetic and emotional force comes from, and how it persists: why does this work continue to move and inspire us more than a thousand years after it was written down?

 

ENGL 40259
Devotional Lyric
Susannah Monta
TR 11:10-12:25
Sec 01 - Unallocated
Sec 02 - Majors

In the wake of the Reformation-era's massive upheavals came the greatest flowering of devotional poetry in the English language. This body of literature offers its readers the opportunity to explore questions pertaining broadly to the study of lyric and to the study of the relationships between religion and literature. Early modern devotional poetry oscillates between eros and agape, private and communal modes of expression, shame and pride, doubt and faith, evanescence and transcendence, mutability and permanence, success and failure, and agency and helpless passivity. It experiments with gender, language, form, meter, voice, song, and address. We'll follow devotional poets through their many oscillations and turns by combining careful close reading of the poetry with the study of relevant historical, aesthetic, and theological contexts. You'll learn to read lyric poetry skillfully and sensitively, to think carefully about relationships between lyric and religion, and to write incisively and persuasively about lyric. Authors we'll read may include Thomas Brampton, Richard Maidstone, Francesco Petrarca (in translation), Sir Thomas Wyatt, Anne Locke, Mary Sidney, Sir Philip Sidney, St. Robert Southwell, S.J., Henry Constable, Fulke Greville, Edmund Spenser, John Donne, George Herbert, Robert Herrick, Henry Vaughan, Richard Crashaw, John Milton, and the great hymn writer Isaac Watts.

 

ENGL 40280
Early Modern Women’s Writing
Laura Knoppers
TR 9:35-10:50
Sec 01 - Unallocated
Sec 02 - Majors

The seventeenth century in Old and New England saw an exciting and unprecedented flourishing of writing by women. This course looks at a rich and diverse range of women’s writing, from autobiography, letters, and recipe books, to poetry, fictional and non-fictional prose, and drama. These primary texts will be read and discussed in biographical and historical context, alongside current scholarship.  We will begin with Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, before turning to such early modern writers as Aemilia Lanyer, Margaret Cavendish, Aphra Behn, Anne Bradstreet, and Mary Rowlandson. Among the questions to be addressed: How do women fashion themselves in and through their writing? How do gender concerns intersect with class, religion, politics, and race? How do women use and boldly revise different literary forms? 

Assignments will include oral presentations, two analytical papers, and a midterm and final exam.  

 

ENGL 40332  
Literature and Revolution
Ian Newman
MW 11:10-12:25
Sec 01 - Unallocated
Sec 02 - Majors

At the end of the eighteenth century a series of radical shifts in the way culture and society functioned transformed the world. From the American Revolutionary War to the French Revolution and Haitian Independence, fundamental questions were being asked about what constituted the human self, the responsibilities of humans to one another and the mutual obligations between the people and the governments that ruled them. Today, for better and for worse, we are still living with the legacies of these disputes. At the very heart of the debates lay “literature” – a highly contested domain that was often held up as the very essence of liberty. What exactly was this thing called literature and what role did it play in the fights for freedom? In this class we will read contemporary political texts alongside literary works in order to understand the entanglement of literature and revolution, and to consider the role that literature played in shaping the modern world.Texts to be examined will include works by, among others, William Blake, Edmund Burke, Olaudah Equiano, AlexanderHamilton, Thomas Paine and Mary Wollstonecraft. The movie version of Linn-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton will frame some of our discussions, raising questions that we can ask of eighteenth-century texts.

 

ENGL 40365 
Romantic and Victorian Disability
Essaka Joshua
TR 12:45-2:00
Sec 01 - Unallocated
Sec 02 - Majors

This course investigates the cultural and literary meanings attached to disabled bodies and minds in Romantic and Victorian Literature. We will explore topics such as communication, inclusion, medical attitudes, social stigma, life narratives, bodily representation, intellectual impairment, madness, deafness, community and collective culture, empowerment and disempowerment, deviance, and difference. The course is organized around broad themes. It includes disabled writers, and provides an introduction to disability studies approaches to literary analysis. 

 

ENGL 40430 
Fin-de-Siecle Literature and Culture, 1880s-1900s
David Thomas
TR 2:20-3:35
Sec 01 - Unallocated
Sec 02 - Majors

This course explores literature, culture and the arts toward the end of the nineteenth-century. The emphasis is on British materials, with some special attentions to Oscar Wilde, the most famous literary figure of this so-called fin de siècle (French for "end of the century"). But the course also surveys the period’s kaleidoscopic array of personalities, movements and themes--both national and international. We encounter artistic and social innovations; radical political philosophies and schemes; debates concerning women's roles in the public sphere; new understandings of human psychology and altered mental states; various sexualities and an emergent medicalized “sexology; theories of race, evolution and “degeneration”; and Britain’s increasingly complex colonial and imperial involvements. In addition to long and short fictions, poetry, and essays, we will look into art history, book history, and other cultural formations. Longer fictions beyond Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Gray might include Olive Schreiner’s Story of an African Farm, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes novel The Sign of Four, Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, and Sara Jeannette Duncan’s novel of British India Set in Authority. Students may choose among two different assignment structures for papers, with each structure sharing some smaller tasks: one option is to create four short papers over the term; the other option, which will have a midterm declaration deadline, involves writing two short papers and also one longer and more research-intensive paper, the latter counting as two short papers but carrying its own guidelines and criteria.  

 

ENGL 40525 
Gender and Sexuality in Irish Fiction after Joyce
Susan Harris
TR 3:55-5:10
Sec 01 - Unallocated
Sec 02 - Majors

In this course we will look at the relationship between gender politics and national politics as it plays out in the development of Irish fiction after the era of James Joyce. Focusing on Irish novels and short stories which were groundbreaking and/or controversial in terms of their exploration of gender and sexuality, the course will also investigate the historical contexts in which they were produced and the controversies they produced. Our investigation will focus on the question of how the 'trouble' generated around these controversial explorations of gender and sexuality relates to other kinds of trouble that have shaped the history of twentieth century Ireland. We will begin with the reaction against government censorship in the Irish Free State during the 1930s and 1940s, follow the emergence of Irish women writers and Irish feminism from the 1950s to the 1980s, and conclude with the rise of openly LGBT Irish writers in the 1990s and early twenty-first century. Students will write two essays and participate in one in-class presentation. 

 

ENGL 40536
Modern, Postmodern and Post-Postmodern Poetry and Religion
Romana Huk
TR 12:45-2:00
Sec 01 - Unallocated
Sec 02 - Majors

This course will focus on the last 120 years in literary history, zeroing in on one particular problem – the writing of religious poetry – in order to probe the philosophical convergences and collisions that resulted in what we now call our “post-secular” era of thought. Beginning with Gerard Manley Hopkins at the end of the nineteenth-century, and major modernists who continued to write powerfully after WWII – T.S. Eliot and David Jones – the syllabus will chart a course through the rapidly changing poetic forms of two further generations of poets working devotedly, if differently, out of various religious systems of belief. The many dilemmas of postmodernity include redefining the very notion of “belief” (versus “faith”) after the secular revelations of science and modernity; we will explore the theoretical issues involved in order to better understand what’s at stake for each writer we encounter, among them also Mina Loy, Muriel Rukeyser, Brian Coffey, Wendy Mulford, Fanny Howe, Hank Lazer and Peter O’Leary. We will ask, among other things, why ancient mystical frameworks seemed newly hospitable, for some, in the face of postmodern suspicions about language and institutions, while for others embracing the sciences renewed faith. We will consider the crucial input of Judaism in Christianity’s re-thinkings of language and religious experience, as well as consider how issues of nation and gender inflect changing relationships between poetry and religion. Students will emerge conversant with the major debates in contemporary literary theory as well as with developments in contemporary poetry; no prior expertise in reading poetry is necessary for this course. Each will develop their own particular approach to our issues through the writing of  a reading journal and one paper, and each will be responsible for co-leading of class discussion thrice in the course of the term.  

Students who have taken Professor Huk's University Seminar in their first year should not sign up for this course, which works with too many overlaps in reading.

 

ENGL 40624
Citizenship and the American Novel
Sandra Gustafson
MW 2:20-3:35
Sec 01 - Unallocated
Sec 02 - Majors

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 40780
Sound, Popular Music and American Literature
Sara Marcus
MW 9:35-10:50
Sec 01 - Unallocated
Sec 02 - Majors

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 
Valerie Sayers
TR 2:20-3:35

 This course is for students who delight in writing fiction and have a good sense of how difficult it can be to write surprising, satisfying, multivalent work. Most students will have taken at least one prior creative writing course; graduate students who are not in the Creative Writing program and staff are welcome. Any undergraduate who has written independently is also welcome to submit a writing sample for consideration; please contact the professor at vsayers@nd.edu. As a workshop, we'll read each other's prose with an eye to reconceiving, rewriting, and refining. We'll also read a broad range of contemporary writers to explore the lay of the literary land, in print and online, and to challenge our own taste and expectations (writers will likely include Sigrid Nunez, Zadie Smith, and George Saunders). Finally, we'll explore the realities of literary publication and writing possibilities beyond college, including M.F.A. programs. 

 

ENGL 40851
Advanced Poetry Writing
Orlando Menes
TR 2:20-3:35

This class is for writers who have tried their hands at writing poetry and would like to push themselves further. We will read and write broadly, immersing ourselves in contemporary poetry and its traditional antecedents, as well as combing fiction, plays, visual art, film, music, and other media to find forms and techniques to try out in our poetry. We will draft, revise, improvise, workshop, critique and perform with and for each other, and we will also think about the means and media by which poetry is published. With our minds on the currents shaping, for good or ill, the world we live in, will deeply consider the possibility that poetry might change, enhance, redefine and ornament the world and make new worlds.

 

ENGL 40852
Advanced Fiction Writing II
Valerie Sayers
TR 2:20-3:35

This course is for students who have already completed Advanced Fiction, students who delight in writing fiction and have a good sense of how difficult it can be to write surprising, satisfying, multivalent work. As a workshop, we'll read each other's prose with an eye to reconceiving, rewriting, and refining. We'll also read a broad range of contemporary writers to explore the lay of the literary land, in print and online, and to challenge our own taste and expectations (writers will likely include Sigrid Nunez, Zadie Smith, and George Saunders). Finally, we'll explore the realities of literary publication and writing possibilities beyond college, including M.F.A. programs. 

 

ENGL 40855
Advanced Fiction Writing III
Valerie Sayers
TR 2:20-3:35

This course is for students who have completed Advanced Fiction II, who delight in writing fiction and have a good sense of how difficult it can be to write surprising, satisfying, multivalent work. As a workshop, we'll read each other's prose with an eye to reconceiving, rewriting, and refining. We'll also read a broad range of contemporary writers to explore the lay of the literary land, in print and online, and to challenge our own taste and expectations (writers will likely include Sigrid Nunez, Zadie Smith, and George Saunders). Finally, we'll explore the realities of literary publication and writing possibilities beyond college, including M.F.A. programs. 

 

ENGL 40873  
James Baldwin:  From the Civil Rights Movement to Black Lives Matter
Chante Mouton Kinyon
MW 11:10-12:25
Sec 01 - Unallocated
Sec 02 - Majors

The 2016 film I Am Not Your Negro encourages a new generation to explore the life and work of James Baldwin (1924-1987). Directed by Haitian-born filmmaker Raoul Peck, I Am Not Your Negro is a provocative documentary that envisions a book Baldwin never finished by providing insight into Baldwin’s relationship with three men who were assassinated before their fortieth birthdays - Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

In this course we will interrogate questions of race, sexuality, violence, and migration. Our current political moment encourages the examination of these issues while Baldwin’s life and work provides the ideal vantage point for their investigation. Using I Am Not Your Negro as our starting point, Baldwin’s life and work will allow us the opportunity to explore transatlantic discourses on nationality, sexuality, race, gender, and religion. We will also explore the work of other writers including Richard Wright, Frantz Fanon, Audre Lorde, and Ta-Nehisi Coates.