English Major Courses

FALL 2019

ENGL 30101
Intro to Literary Studies
Laura Betz
TR 9:30-10:45
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
Intro to Literary Studies
Nan Da
MW 11:00-12:15
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 30101
Intro to Literary Studies

Romana Huk ​​​​​
​TR 12:30-1:45
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 30110
British Literary Traditions I
Tim Machan

MW 11:00-12:15
Sec 01 - Unallocated
Sec 02 - Majors

This course will survey a selection of literature written in Britain prior to the end of the seventeenth century. We will concentrate on a variety of authors who have come to be considered significant for a variety of reasons, whether for their artistic achievements, their commentary on society, or their contribution to notions of literary history. Although attention will be given to historical perspectives, the course will emphasize close reading and classroom discussion. Readings include Beowulf, selections from the Canterbury Tales, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, selected lyrics, Book 1 of the Faerie Queene, Twelfth Night, and selections from Paradise Lost. Regular attendance and participation; two papers; two exams

 

ENGL 30115
American Literary Traditions I
Laura Walls
MW 2:00-3:15
Sec 01 - Unallocated

Sec 02 - Majors

"Nations are narratives" - so our historians tell us. That means the voices of a nation's artists and writers help to tell us who we are, even to create our very identity as a nation. So what are the narratives of our nation, the United States? This course traces the emergence of what we now know as "America" from the small and struggling British colonies of Virginia and New England, founded early in the 1600s on lands cultivated for millennia by Native Americans. We will consider the early "contact zones" in which settler societies from Europe met and mingled with indigenous Native American cultures, languages, and literatures; the institution of slavery as the foundation of American economies, and the growing contributions of free and enslaved African-Americans to the development of a distinctive American voice and literary tradition; and the literature of the American Revolution that established the United States as an independent nation. Finally, we will conclude with several works from the American Renaissance that characterize an emerging modern American literary tradition.

 

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

Sec 02 - Majors

“If you don’t use your imagination,” author Ronald Sukenick once said, “someone else will use it for you.” All a person has to do to see how many people are trying to use our imaginations for (or against) us is look around. We live in a sea of narratives created by advertising (New and Improved!); politics (Shock and Awe); churches (Adam and Eve); science (Survival of the Fittest); the music and entertainment industries and thousands and thousands of other entities and individuals (e.g. your dad or mom). This is a class in creating your own narratives. It is designed for those who have gone beyond the introductory courses and want to explore language as an art form to do what narrative has always done: using narrative to explore what you think, and to give a sense of something meaningful that we can believe in at our time and in our place. Unlike nonfiction, fictional narratives usually raise more questions than answers; unlike other kinds of writing, how a work of literature is written is as important as what’s said. But the course could also be called ‘having fun with story,’ as narratives in a variety of forms and shapes will be used to inform the work done in class, and students are invited to write narratives in ways that are surprising, or grow out of other forms, as well as polished, or more traditional. If this were a music class, you would be invited to compose a short, rock blast, or a classical organ fugue, some hybrid of the two, or a completely different conceptual sound; you’ll be asked to articulate why you’re writing one way and not another, finding along the way how flexible, moving, probing, and convincing, the medium of your language can be.

 

ENGL 30851
Poetry Writing
Orlando Menes
MW 3:30-4:45

In this class, we are going to write poetry, think about poetry and talk about poetry from a number of different perspectives. We're going to read modern, contemporary and not-so-contemporary poetry, as well as works that move across genres (prose poetry, poetic films), media (print, photography, the Internet, the desert of the real), and languages and cultures. We will consider what poetry means in this spectacular age, but we will also explore more pragmatic concerns: where does one find out about poets? Where does one publish poems? Where does one discuss new poetry? In addition to weekly writing exercises, we will engage in three longer projects allowing the students to develop and work on their own particular lines of aesthetic inquiry.

 

ENGL 30858
Writing Short Texts

Joyelle McSweeney
TR 3:30-4:45

In this course, we'll investigate the piercing and propulsive properties of short texts. While many of the texts we'll read are by poets, we'll encounter a range of genres including essays, short stories, captions, letters, annotations, fragments, and epigrams. In addition to trying out hands at a variety of short forms, we'll also examine how writers assemble short texts into sequences and longer works, ultimately using these methods to conceive of and configure final projects of our own. Coursework will include in- and out-of-class writing, collaborations, workshops, presentations, and a final project.

 

ENGL 40135
Children’s Literature
Declan Kibard​​​​​​​
TR 12:30-1:45
Sec 01 - Unallocated

Sec 02 - Majors

Can there be such a thing as children's literature? Or is the writing so named most often produced by adults to answer adult needs? If there is such a category, why did it emerge most notably in the heyday of empire, the nineteenth and early twentieth century? Some critics find children's literature subversive of the orthodoxies of the age in which it was produced, while others see it as a deeply conservative practice, forever lamenting the loss of tradition and of a "green world". Does the experience of childhood vary from age to age or from one nation to another. This course will explore these and other questions by offering close readings of texts by such authors as Jonathan Swift, William Blake, Lewis Carroll, Edward Lear, Louisa M Alcott, Mark Twain, Rudyard Kipling, L Frank Baum, Oscar Wilde, P L Travers, C S Lewis, J D Salinger, Roddy Doyle, Philippa Pearce, Edna O'Brien, Kate Thompson and J K Rowling.

 

ENGL 40203
Introduction to Old Norse
Chris Abram
TR 2:00-3:15
Sec 01 - Unallocated

Sec 02 - Majors

"A person should be wise enough - but never too wise; life is most pleasant for those who know just enough". Old Norse proverb, from Hávamál. In this course, students will come to grips with Old Norse - a term that encompasses the medieval vernacular languages of Scandinavia and the vernacular literatures that flourished in Norway and Iceland between the Viking Age and the Reformation. The Old Norse literary corpus is remarkable for its breadth and variety, its literary quality and its cultural value: Norse manuscripts preserve our fullest record of pre-Christian mythology from northern Europe; traditional Germanic narrative and poetic traditions are uniquely well-represented in Old Norse versions, some of which date back to well before the Conversion; in the Icelandic sagas, one of Europe's most distinctive medieval genres, we see an unprecedented forerunner of "realistic" prose fiction. Knowledge of Old Norse also gives access to many primary sources relating to the perennially controversial and fascinating Vikings, who took their language as far afield as Russia, Rome, Reykjavik and Rouen. (And Old Norse was probably the first European language spoken in North America.) Over the course of a semester, we will learn the fundamentals of Old Norse grammar, syntax and vocabulary. Although it has some quirks, Old Norse is not a particularly difficult language to pick up, and students will soon be able to read a saga in the original. We will introduce students to the history and literature of medieval Scandinavia, using translations at first but gradually bringing in original language material as our mastery of Old Norse increases.This course will be assessed by means of regular grammar quizzes and translation exercises, and a final exam.

 

ENGL 40259
Devotional Lyric
Susannah Monta​​​​​​​
TR 9:30-10:45
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 40310  
Visits to Bedlam
Chris Fox
MW 11:00-12:15
Sec 01 - Majors
Sec 02 - Unallocated

Until visitation was restricted in 1770, London's Bethlem Hospital (popularly known as "Bedlam") attracted as many as 96,000 spectators per year who paid for the privilege of watching mental patients. Like the tigers in The Tower, these patients were not simply chained, but shown, put on exhibition. The cruelty of this practice and the fact that it was stopped both point to the eighteenth-century fascination with madness, with the irrational, with what Freud would call the "unheimlich," the "uncanny." Samuel Johnson's astronomer who comes to believe that he personally controls the weather, Laurence Sterne's mad Maria, piping for her lost lover, John Locke's man who believes himself made out of glass and who acts "reasonably" to avoid hard objects, or Jonathan Swift's modest proposer who concocts a cookbook to save the Irish nation all bear witness to this other side of the eighteenth century, the subject of this course. We will begin with selections from Cervantes' Don Quixote and some short readings in Locke and others who attempted to analyze madness. We will then move on to explorations of Samuel Johnson, Tobias Smollett, Laurence Sterne, and Jonathan Swift. Our major focus will be on Swift, with special attention to his poetry, Gulliver's Travels, and A Tale of A Tub. Swift, who was a Governor of Bethlem Hospital, left most of his money to fund the first mental hospital in Ireland, St. Patrick's, which is still there. As he later said, "He gave what little wealth he had, To build a house for fools and mad: And showed by one satiric touch, No nation wanted it so much." For the sake of comparison, we will conclude with several nineteenth century selections.

 

ENGL 40330
William Blake and the Culture of Modernity
Ian Newman
MW 9:30-10:45
Sec 01 - Majors
Sec 02 - Unallocated

The writings and images of William Blake represent one of the most significant and original artistic achievements of his or indeed any age. They confront some of the most profound challenges and opportunities faced by the modern world and they offer a radical challenge to the way we think about what art and literature are and how they work. From the apparent simplicity of "Tyger tyger burning bright" to the disturbing visual imagination at play in his complex visions and prophecies and tempura paintings, Blake's work has a range that can be as perplexing as it is inspiring.An understanding of Blake's works requires us to confront the major issues of his day, which continue to shape our own: the expansion of empire, the political revolutions in America and France, the Rights of Women, the growth of a consumer economy, and the abolition of the slave trade. Yet for all his reputation for difficulty, Blake insisted that his work could be best understood by children, an insistence that suggests the best approach to his work is to unlearn things we think we know. The particular challenge of Blake's works then is to ask simple questions the answers to which we frequently take for granted: what is a book? What is the relationship between an author and a reader? How should we understand the relationship between text and image? In this class we will ask such questions as we seek to understand Blake's place in the modern world.Readings for the class include William Blake's major works alongside texts by contemporaries such as Thomas Paine and Mary Wollstonecraft, and more recent works such as Alan Moore's From Hell that can help us understand Blake's legacy.

 

ENGL 40345
Global Romanticism
Greg Kucich​​​​​​​
MW 2:00-3:15
Sec 01 - Majors
Sec 02 - Unallocated

Some of the most enduring stereotypes of British Romanticism involve the cultivation of solitary genius, the return to a pristine Nature, and the celebration of local, rural community. Compelling as these cultural ideals may seem, they have been complicated and enriched by recent scholarship that situates the literary productions of Romanticism within the larger geopolitical frameworks of their historical epoch: such as Britain's colonial enterprise, the French Revolution and Napoleonic wars, worldwide commercial systems, the transatlantic slave trade, travel and exploration. To become alert to the interaction of these global forces with the period's literary activity is to develop a new,complex appreciations of multiple forms of "Romanticisms" operating and clashing together in relation to rapidly changing, increasingly interconnected world developments. This class will explore the intersection of the local, the national, and the global in well-known canonical writers such as Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, Byron, and the Shelleys as well as woks by such lesser-known figures as Bailie, Smith, Yearsley, Morgan, Cowley, and Starke. Readings and discussion will range generically across fiction, drama, poetry, life writing, abolitionist literature, and political prose.

 

ENGL 40350  
Dickens and Wilde
David Thomas
MW 12:30-1:45
Sec 01 - Majors
Sec 02 - Unallocated

This double-author course showcases what most readers would see as an "odd couple" among Victorian authors. Charles Dickens (1812-70) was the Shakespeare of his time, a prolific creator of memorable characters and incidents, at once comic and tragic. But post-Victorian critics often see him as a prime exponent of Victorian earnestness, sentimentality and even hypocrisy. And Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) was, well, the Wilde of Victorian Britain: he was so dazzling that even those who wished to hate him often had to give up and laugh with him. But his life took a classically tragic form after his public humiliation and imprisonment for homosexual offenses. Our principal texts by Dickens will probably be Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, and Our Mutual Friend. Our readings in Wilde will cover the gamut of his efforts but emphasize his society comedies and his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray. Graded coursework includes three papers and a final exam, along with reading quizzes and participation.

 

ENGL 40354
British Fiction 1790-1830

Yasmin Solomonescu​​​​​​​
TR 11:00-12:15
Section 01 - Majors
Section 02 - Unallocated

Long associated chiefly with the genre of poetry, the Romantic period in Britain (ca. 1790-1830) saw a remarkable surge in the publication and popularity of novels. This course examines the genre’s development amid momentous transformations and upheavals, including debates about the rights of men and women, experiences of warfare and domestic conflict, changing regional and national identities, major scientific discoveries and innovations, and transformations in social structures and mores. Focusing mainly on works by Ann Radcliffe, William Godwin, Mary Shelley, Jane Austen, and Walter Scott, we will consider how the period’s changing notions of the self, society, and reading were linked with developments in the form and subject-matter of the novel. We will also consider how the novel’s competing impulses toward the fantastical and the factual were expressed in new subgenres, including gothic, political, scientific, and historical fiction. Attention to three major character types—the rebel, the rake, and the reactionary—will provide points of entry into our various topics. A range of critical and theoretical perspectives (and, where possible, contemporary visual art, theater, and/or film) will also help enrich our understanding of British fiction during this formative period.

 

ENGL 40753  
Contemporary U.S. Novel
Matt Wilkins
TR 5:05-6:20
Sec 01 - Majors
Sec 02 - Unallocated

This course is devoted to the last decade of U.S. fiction. Its aim is to provide an overview of currently developing -- and often competing -- trends in contemporary literature and to offer a preliminary theorization of the literary-cultural present in the United States.To this end, we'll read a bit of theory and six American novels published since 1996. These texts present an array of responses to the changing cultural landscape of what we might call late postmodernism, a period concerning which there is as yet little critical consensus. The books we read will provide us with material for an emerging understanding of what this moment and its aesthetic production look like; the ways in which they embrace, differ from, and reject the cultural dominants of postmodernism proper; the paths they suggest for twenty-fist century fiction; and the ways in which they adapt and redeploy earlier cultural forms. By the end of the semester, you will be in a position to offer your own analysis of contemporary cultural production and to speculate on the future of American literature. Note that the reading load will be fairly heavy, especially during the first half of the semester.Primary readings:David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest (1996, 1104 pp.)Barbara Kingsolver, The Poisonwood Bible (1998, 576 pp.)Uzodinma Iweala, Beasts of No Nation (2005, 142 pp.)Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2005, 368 pp.)Junot Díaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (2007, 352 pp.)Rivka Galchen, Atmospheric Disturbances (2008, 256 pp.)

 

ENGL 40820   
Writing Harlem

Cyraina Johnson-Roullier​​​​​​​
MW 12:30-1:45
Sec 01 - Majors
Sec 02 - Unallocated

A multicultural study of the historical, cultural, and political circumstances behind what has come to be known as the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and 1930s. The course will focus on the many different cultural voices that were a part of the movement, and examine their contributions to the cultural meaning of race at this time in literary history.

 

ENGL 40823  
Early African American Prose
Mark Sanders
TR 9:30-10:45
Sec 01 - Majors
Sec 02 - Unallocated

This course will address the various roles assigned African American narratives from just before the Revolutionary War through the end of the nineteenth century. Attending to issues of citizenship, community, freedom, and black identity, we will examine the various ways in which African American writers responded to their particular political moment through multiple forms of prose. Through autobiography, essays, and fiction, what claims did black writing make for itself and the community it sought to represent? How ultimately does literary art function for the disenfranchised? Why does black writing matter?Authors for this course will include, John Marrant, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, William Wells Brown, Elizabeth Keckley, Solomon Northup, and Harriet Wilson.

 

ENGL 40850
Advanced Fiction Writing
Steve Tomasula​​​​​​​
MW 5:05-6:20

This is a course in writing fiction for students who have moved beyond the introductory level, and are looking for a way to come into their own as authors. The course focuses on the development of individual student-authors, and so asks them to develop an awareness of contemporary fiction and exemplify, through their own writing, their place in this literary landscape. Just as it is difficult to be a musician without seeing other live musicians play, or a visual artist without looking at the art, ideas, and methods of other working artists, so it is difficult to be an author without reading as authors read, and interacting in the conversation of other, living practitioners. As such, students are asked to identify a literary “conversation” or tradition, or family of works that their own writing extends and/or takes part in; they are asked to think of fiction in terms of the forms they use and how this form will contribute to the aesthetic experience and ideas they are striving to convey.  No one style or type of fiction is advocated over another; in fact, students are encouraged to find their own voice, perspective, and subject matter, and to develop a form suited to their work. However, students will be expected to write fiction that demonstrates awareness of the difference between writing as an art form and formula entertainment. The goal of the course is for each student to emerge with a manuscript at the level of a beginning author writing as a literary artist.

 

ENGL 40851
Advanced Poetry Writing

Joyelle McSweeney
TR 11:00-12:15

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
Steve Tomasula​​​​​​​
MW 5:05-6:20

This course is intended for students who have already taken an Advanced Fiction Writing and who are seriously interested in writing fiction.

 

ENGL 40855
Advanced Fiction Writing III
Steve Tomasula​​​​​​​
MW 5:05-6:20

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 40920
Toni Morrison
MW 3:30-4:45
Ernest Morrell

A winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Award and the Nobel Prize for Literature, Toni Morrison is one of the most important American novelists, essayist and literary critics of the 20th Century. She is known for her complex and nuanced portrayals of the African-American experience within the African-American community from the days of slavery to the present. Less well known is Morrison’s nonfiction and her contributions to an African-American Literary theory which can be used to engage authors as diverse as Mark Twain, Willa Cather, and James Baldwin. In this course students will read Morrison’s first six novels (The Bluest Eye, Sula, Tar Baby, Song of Solomon, Beloved, and Jazz) as well as her major work of literary criticism (Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination) and a collection of her nonfiction (What Moves at the Margins). Students will have the opportunity to develop sustained research projects on the works of Morrison and to draw upon Morrison’s literary theory to analyze a broader set of texts in classic and contemporary American literature.

 

ENGL 40928
Race and Memory in the Americas
Sarah Quesada​​​​​​​
TR 11:00-12:15

What kind of stories linger in our memory? And why? Are they the ones you read on a plaque at a historical site or a novel you warmed up to via the enticing adventures of its protagonist? This course confronts this relationship between memory and narrative and their role in addressing the trauma of colonization and the slave trade in many of its iterations within Latino, Latin American and at times West African literature. At times pairing the readings with prominent UNESCO-sponsored memorials to the African Diaspora, this course endeavors to have students question how a transnational Americas remembers itself through narrative and memorialization, despite colonization, imperialism, neoliberalism, and heteronormative hegemonies. Thus, this course offers a wide-ranging overview of new concepts and representations of race and African diasporic memory as viewed by a hemispheric Americas, from the colonial times, to Afrofuturism, and including the Mexican-American war, the Latin American Boom, the Cuban revolution, the Cold war, and the explosion of neoliberalism. This course will include concepts of colonialism, hybridity, the postcolonial, the decolonial, magical realism, the uncanny, the marvelous real, and the speculative, from renowned voices such as Junot Díaz, Sandra Cisneros, Achy Obejas, Camara Laye, Wole Soyinka, Gabriel García Márquez, Marvel comic book author Gabby Rivera, and director Alex Rivera (Sleep Dealer).

 

ENGL 53001
Honors Colloquium
Susan Harris
TR 3:30-4:45

The Honors Colloquium will introduce students completing the honors thesis to research methods in literary studies. Students will complete a series of assignments designed to enable them to develop her thesis topic. They will conduct research in consultation with their thesis advisor and begin work on the thesis project, which will be completed in the Spring semester.

 

ENGL 53002
Creative Writing Honors Colloquium II
Orlando Menes
MW 12:30-1:45

This is a class for students working on their creative honors thesis. It will serve three main purposes: to support the writing of the thesis as well as the required essay that accompanies the thesis; to introduce students to a range of skills which support literary careers (writing reviews, editing publications, events and promotion, etc); and, if they are so inclined, to help prepare students to apply for graduate programs.