Fall 2012 Course Descriptions
English 101 1 and 2: Intro to Creative Writing
Study of both the theory and practice of writing creatively. Reading and understanding of literary forms is combined with practice in the basic processes of and strategies for writing fiction, poetry, or drama. General Education credit in Fine Arts.
English 170: Special Topics in Literature
These courses will focus on the critical reading and interpretation of literary texts, seeking to help students fulfill the general education goals implicit in the Literature requirement. Students will be encouraged to read closely in these courses and to articulate their understanding of what they read both orally and in written work. May be repeated for credit if the subject matter is not duplicated. Topics offered with some regularity: The Anti-Hero, I Love a Mystery, Could it be Satan?, the 60's, the Family in Literature, the Short Story, Protest and Change, Women in Literature, the American Experience, Fiction into Film, New Views of the Old West. Prerequisites: None
English 170 1: Darkly Ever After
Classic fairytales, such as Cinderella, are woven into the fabric of Western culture. These tales become analogies, archetypes, and metaphors for understanding our world. The word "fairytale" suggests something pleasant for children, but such tales appear to have arisen from the darker impulses in human nature. In this course, we will explore the "shadow" in the fairytale motif and selected fantasy literature. Texts and films will include works such as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the 1956 film Forbidden Planet, various versions of selected fairytales, as well as modern literary fairytales.
English 170 2: Middle Age Crazy
In Middle Age Crazy: Raymond Carver, Ann Beattie, and John Updike, students will read select stories and novels from these highly regarded American authors in the context of larger issues that include gender issues, mid-life crises, substance use, infidelity, and the whole idea of what it means to be an adult in a complicated world.
English 170 3: Third World Women Speak
Recent and contemporary women's writing from the Muslim world will be our focus this term. Readings will include a range of genres, including a blog about the Iraq war, "chick lit" from Saudi Arabia, feminist poetry from Bangladesh, and a graphic memoir about coming of age during the Iranian Revolution. Work for the course will include essay exams and several short papers.
English 201: Writing Fiction
Workshop in reading and writing fiction. The course will focus on the principles and techniques used by accomplished writers in their stories as well as on key elements of the story form. Students will complete stories and develop a portfolio. Prerequisites: Gateway. (Rationale #5 and #6)
English 202: Writing Poetry
Workshop is reading and writing poetry while focusing onprimary techniques and fundamental elements used in writing poetry, both formal and free verse. Students will complete a series of poems and develop a portfolio.
English 211: Newswriting & Reporting
The fundamentals of newswriting, with emphasis on AP style, structure, and methods of news reporting.
English 220 1: Thinking Like a Mountain: Literature and Environmental Consciousness
From Aldo Leopold's attempt to think "like a mountain" to Gary Snyder's challenge to bring "the wild" into our lives no matter where we live, writers and poets have played an important part in the forging of a contemporary environmental consciousness. Readings will include the classic and the contemporary, the pragmatic and the visionary. Although the course is writing based and writing intensive, assignments will also take you outside of the classroom to engage more directly the natural world.
English 220 2: Continuity and Change in British Poetry
Continuity and Change in British Poetry is a self-conscious survey of the poetry of three periods of British literature: 18th Century, Romantic and Victorian. As a survey, the course will introduce you to many of the major British poets of these eras. As a self-conscious survey, the course will raise questions about the nature and content of these literary historical categories. For example, we might ask, how is Romantic poetry different from late 18th Century poetry, and what were the causes of the change? What do we do with a poet like Blake, whose poetry has both 18th Century and Romantic characteristics? Would this way of dividing literary history still hold if we were to focus on women's poetry as a distinct literary tradition?
English 259: Black Women Writers
This course examines writing mainly by African American women. It explores the literary answers to several questions about the effect of history and culture on how texts acquire meaning, including: What happens to stories of love and marriage from one era to the next? How did early Black writers liberate and subvert literary structures? How have concerns of race, class, and gender shaped narratives by Black women? Why were 19th and early 20th century Black writers so concerned with the image of the mixed-race woman? What's new in fiction, and poetry, and drama by Black women?
A fiction list might include: Harriet Jacobs, Harriet Wilson, Zora Neale Hurston, Pauline Hopkins, Frances Harper, Nella Larsen, Toni Morrison, Terry McMillan, Gwendolyn Brooks, Gloria Naylor, Alice Walker, and contemporary romance narratives.
English 280: Practical Criticism
Practice in interpretation of texts through discussion and written work; attention to strategies of writing about literature, to critical vocabulary, and to critical approaches in current use. Prerequisite: Gateway Colloquium. Fulfills general education requirements in Writing Intensive category. Offered each semester.
English 285x: Introduction to Research in English
Design and completion of library or archive research project in language, literature, or culture under faculty tutelage. Research may serve as first step toward larger, independent research project, investigate an issue raised in student's previous study, or complete a limited project using library or archive holdings or acquisitions. Prerequisite: consent of instructor and English department chair before enrollment. Credit/No Credit. Offered each semester and occasionally in May Term.
English 301 1: Creative Writing: Stand-Up Poetry
This course will introduce you to and invite you engage the art and practice of stand-up poetry, poetry that, according to Charles HarperWebb (who coined the term), is humorous, performable, and clear, and that contains flights of fancy, emerges from a strong individual voice, and packs emotional punch. We will learn comedic techniques, and apply them to writing bold, new, risky, and rambunctious poems.
English 335: Internship-Journalism or English
Offered in cooperation with an off-campus firm, business, institution, agency, department, station, etc. Attention is given to the student's special interests. Consent of the instructor and the off-campus supervisor is required. Enrollment limited to English majors. Only one internship may be counted toward the major. Offered each semester and May Term.
English 346: Victorian Literature
English 346: Victorian Literature Alison Sainsbury In the sixty-four years of Queen Victoria's rule (1837-1901), England was transformed from a largely rural country to an urban one, its population more than doubled, and by the end of the century the British Empire encompassed one-quarter of the earth's land mass. It's no exaggeration to say that Victorian Britain experienced industrial, scientific, social, and cultural revolutions—and Victorian literature engages them all.
Although the Victorians are often derided as quaint and risible relics of a thankfully bygone age, many of the same questions that preoccupied the Victorians seem to have returned with a vengeance to 21st century America: the stability of the middle class; the struggle of the laboring classes for work and dignity; the debate over the role of women and the reformulation of ideas of masculinity; the defense and waning of empire; the challenge posed by scientific understandings of the world to those of religion; and, perhaps above all, the rapid and vast technological advances that have transformed the natural and social order. We have, that is, more in common with the Victorians than we might have at first imagined.
We'll sample a range of prose fiction that spans the years of Victoria's rule. Likely authors and primary texts include the following: Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre; Charles Dickens, David Copperfield; Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland; Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles; Bram Stoker, Dracula. Work for the course will include essay exams, an annotated bibliography, and a short and long(er) paper.
English 352: American Literature after 1865: The Black Jazz Age
This course examines a period in American culture (1915 to 1940) often called the Harlem Renaissance. This Black Jazz Age, framed by World Wars I and II, and fueled by the Great Migration of Blacks from the South, saw New York City become the spiritual capital of Black culture, politics, literature, music, and the visual arts. Using literature for our primary texts, we will study some of the era's concerns: aesthetics, Afro-American identity, history and folk tradition, the visual arts' celebration of Blackness, Christianity, alienation, radicalism, urban life, the many-layered consciousness of Black women, blues and jazz.
English 366: Romance: The Genre
An examination of the romance genre, with an eye to developing a provisional definition based upon the following: formal conventions, generic evolution, transfigurations, deconstruction, reconstruction, revisionism, and self-parody. Readings over time from ancient to (post)modern.
English 370 1: Issues in Contemporary American Poetry
The contemporary American poetry scene is a roiling mass of aesthetic tensions, of creative and conceptual conflicts, which has produced some amazing (and not-so-amazing) new poetry and poetic theory. In order to better understand this scene, we will read and consider some of today's most influential recent poetic theory and most provocative poetry while investigating and charting key phenomena and trends, including the emergence of New Formalism, Language poetry, Post-Avant poetry, and slam. We will directly engage questions of critical evaluation: Is poetry still necessary? Why? What defines a great poem today?
English 385X: Advanced Research in English
Design and completion of advanced-level library or archive research project in language, literature, or culture under faculty tutelage. Research can build on previous coursework or study in 285x. Ideally, this research serves as a foundation for a project in English 485 or English research honors. Prerequisite: consent of instructor and English department chair before enrollment and a GPA in the major of at least 3.25. May be repeated with prior approval of instructor and chair. Offered each semester and occasionally in May Term.
English 393—Shakespeare's Comedies/Histories
Mary Ann Bushman
General Education credit in Literature Prerequisites: Gateway Colloquium; 1 course from 170 or 220-259, plus 280. This course investigates the ways our culture is informed by Shakespeare's works and the ways in which we construct meaning from them. While focussing on the dramatic form we may occasionally include the sonnets and verse romances.
English 401: Senior Writing Project
Capstone experience for English Writing-Concentration majors requires thoughtful study of portfolio work and completion of a book-length, individual project that's both a logical extension of the student's previous work and the new challenge of a substantial and ambitious written work. (the rest is the same).
English 480: Senior Seminar: Say What? The Postmodern Encyclopedic Novel
Writing Intensive Flag Prerequisites: Major and Minors with junior or senior standing and prior completion of at least four department courses in literature numbered 220 or above. Offered annually.
Jean-François Lyotard characterized postmodernism as a state of "incredulity towards metanarratives." In this view, our overarching explanations of the world—scientific, religious, historical, political, etc.—no longer function. It is perhaps ironic, then, that the postmodern era has given us novels of such immense size and scope as to be called encyclopedic. In this course, we will study two such novels, Doris Lessing's The Golden Notebook and Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow, to see why a writer might be skeptical of metanarratives and how narratives of any kind might be constructed when narrative itself is open to question.
English 485: Directed Study in English
Independent study in English. May not duplicate the content of regularly offered courses. Enrollment limited to English majors. Prerequisite: consent of the instructor and the chair of the department. Student must submit a plan of study prior to enrollment. Offered each semester and occasionally in May Term.