English Major

2015 - 2016 Catalog

English major leading to BA degree

A major in English leading to a Bachelor of Arts degree requires 11 three or four credit courses, exclusive of ENGL 201. The credits must include:

  1. One or two English courses numbered between 202 and 295
  2. ENGL 299 (should be completed by the end of the sophomore year)
  3. Literatures before 1700: at least two courses chosen from ENGL 311, 312, 313, 316, 319, 320, 326, 330, 386, and when the topic is appropriate, 380 and 403
  4. Literatures from 1700-1900: at least one course chosen from ENGL 334, 335, 336, 341, 345, 348, 358, 362, 367, and when the topic is appropriate, 380 and 403
  5. Literatures after 1900: at least one course chosen from ENGL 350, 351, 352, 353, 354, 355, 359, 360, 361, 363, 364, 365, 366, 368, 369, 370, 373, 375, 382, 384, 388 and when the topic is appropriate, 380 and 403
  6. "Counter traditions": at least one course chosen from ENGL 350, 351, 359, 361, 366, 382, and when the topic is appropriate, 380 and 403
  7. Two or three additional courses numbered at the 300-level or above, with the optional inclusion of one course from designated departments and programs
  8. Completion of the capstone writing requirement with either ENGL 413 (3) or 493 (3-3)

The English faculty urges majors to craft their courses of study to include lyric poetry, narrative, nonfiction prose, and drama.

Students may petition the chair to include one cognate course at any level in the English major. If a student has not taken ENGL 202, THTR 220 may be used as a cognate course. Courses that may be appropriate for such credit, such as some literature courses in languages other than English, must focus on reading literature closely and recognizing subtle and complex differences in language use; and require at least 15 formal graded pages of writing about literature or a substantial portfolio of creative writing.

  1. One or two English courses numbered between 202 and 295
  2. Take ENGL 299
    • ENGL 299 - Seminar for Prospective Majors

      FDR: HL
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Fall, Winter


      Prerequisites: Completion of FW composition requirement, at least one course chosen from English courses numbered from 203 to 295.

      A study of a topic in literature issuing in a research process and sustained critical writing. Some recent topics have been Detective Fiction; American Indian Literatures; Revenge; and David Thoreau and American Transcendentalism.

      Fall 2015, ENGL 299-01: Seminar for Prospective Majors: Apocalyptic Narratives (3). Ranging from ancient accounts of floods and plagues, the fall of great cities, and the final revelation to such contemporary texts as Doctor Strangelove, Interstellar, and World War Z, apocalyptic narratives are perhaps the oldest and remain among the most popular genres. In addition, this tradition vividly illustrates one of the most important practical functions of the serious study of literature, that is, how literature allows us to imagine and thereby "game out" scenarios that seldom, if ever, have really happened and that cannot be isolated for study in a lab because by definition they involve the possible end of the human race. Likely texts include histories, poems, films, and novels such as book 2 of The Aeneid, The Book of Revelations, Frankenstein, The War of the Worlds, A Canticle for Leibowitz, Salem's Lot, Oryx and Crake, Aliens, The Road, and Noah. (HL) Adams.

      Fall 2015, ENGL 299-02: Seminar for Prospective Majors: The (M.) Butterfly Effect (3). Marco Polo, in his Travels, boasts of no fewer than 20,000 courtesans ready to serve foreign emissaries and merchants visiting the imperial court of the Great Khan. The East, simultaneously there and here, is always already exoticized and eroticized. This course examines the parallel constructions and representations of Eastern spaces, bodies, genders, and sexualities that continue to haunt the Western imaginary. Central to the discursive history of Orientalism is the figure of Madame Butterfly--geisha, lover, mother, and wife. Alongside and against Cho-Cho San, however, are the Dragon Lady, Mulan the female warrior, and men who intentionally or unwittingly assume the role of the Butterfly. Between fantasy and reality, is the East an effect of cross-cultural encounters? Or does it effect its own figurations in a complex network of negotiations? Cultural artifacts include Pierre Loti's Madame Chrysanthème; John Luther Long's original short story and later novella Madame Butterfly, as well as David Belasco's play, Giacomo Puccini's opera, David Henry Hwang's play M. Butterfly, and Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil's musical Miss Saigon; Arthur Golden's Memoirs of a Geisha; the legends of Mulan and Maxine Hong Kingston's The Woman Warrior; Graham Greene's The Quiet American; and Marguerite Duras' The Lover. We also look at various cinematic adaptations and visual traditions of the Butterfly, including Kenji Mizoguchi's 1956 Sisters of the Gion, Jerry Lewis' 1958 The Geisha Boy, the films of Anna May Wong, and the works of Margaret Cho. Emphases are on the practice of close reading, introduction to literary theory, and critical research skills. A series of short papers culminate in a long research paper. (HL) Kao.

    • (should be completed by the end of the sophomore year)
  3. Literatures before 1700
  4. At least two courses chosen from:

    • ENGL 311 - History of the English Language

      Credits: 4
      Planned Offering: Spring 2018 and alternate years


      Prerequisites: ENGL 299 or instructor consent.

      In The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer's Friar can "make his Englissh sweete upon his tonge."  This course examines not only the alleged "sweetness" of English but also the evolution of the language from its origins to the present.  We study basic terms and concepts of linguistics and trace the changes in structure, pronunciation, and vocabulary from Old English, Middle English, Early Modern English to Modern English.  We consider how historical and cultural forces—invasion, revolution, migration, colonization, and assimilation—shape the language.  Moreover, we examine language myths, the construction of standard English, issues of correctness, orality, pidgins and creoles, and the variety of Englishes in their diverse configurations.  Finally, we ask how new media and technological praxes—hypertext, email, texting, and tweeting—have changed the English language, and if English may or may not be the lingua franca of our increasingly globalized world.

    • ENGL 312 - Gender, Love, and Marriage in the Middle Ages

      FDR: HL
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Winter 2016


      Prerequisites: ENGL 299.

      A study of the complex nexus of gender, love, and marriage in medieval legal, theological, political, and cultural discourses. Reading an eclectic range of texts--such as romance, hagiography, fabliau, (auto)biography, conduct literature, and drama--we consider questions of desire, masculinity, femininity, and agency, as well as the production and maintenance of gender roles and of emotional bonds within medieval conjugality. Authors include Chaucer, Chretien de Troyes, Heldris of Cornwall, Andreas Cappellanus, Margery Kempe, and Christine de Pisan. Readings in Middle English or in translation. No prior knowledge of medieval languages necessary.

    • ENGL 313 - Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales

      FDR: HL
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Winter 2017 and alternate years


      Prerequisites: ENGL 299.

      This course considers the primary work on which Chaucer's reputation rests: The Canterbury Tales. We pay sustained attention to Chaucer's Middle English at the beginning of the semester to ease the reading process. Then we travel alongside the Canterbury pilgrims as they tell their tales under the guise of a friendly competition. The Canterbury Tales is frequently read as a commentary on the social divisions in late medieval England, such as the traditional estates, religious professionals and laity, and gender hierarchies. But despite the Tales' professed inclusiveness of the whole of English society, Chaucer nonetheless focuses inordinately on those individuals from the emerging middle classes. Our aim is to approach the Tales from the practices of historicization and theorization; that is, we both examine Chaucer's cultural and historical contexts and consider issues of religion, gender, sexuality, marriage, conduct, class, chivalry, courtly love, community, geography, history, power, spirituality, secularism, traditional authority, and individual experience. Of particular importance are questions of voicing and writing, authorship and readership. Lastly, we think through Chaucer's famous Retraction at the "end" of The Canterbury Tales, as well as Donald R. Howard's trenchant observation that the Tale is "unfinished but complete." What does it mean for the father of literary "Englishness" to end his life's work on the poetic principle of unfulfilled closure and on the image of a society on the move?

    • ENGL 316 - The Tudors

      FDR: HL
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Winter 2017 and alternate years


      Prerequisite or corequisite: ENGL 299.

      Famous for his mistresses and marriages, his fickle treatment of courtiers, and his vaunting ambition, Henry VIII did more to change English society and religion than any other king. No one understood Henry's power more carefully than his daughter Elizabeth, who oversaw England's first spy network and jealously guarded her throne from rebel contenders. This course studies the writers who worked for the legendary Tudors, focusing on the love poetry of courtiers, trials, and persecution of religious dissidents, plays, and accounts of exploration to the new world. We trace how the ambitions of the monarch, along with religious revolution and colonial expansion, figure in the work of writers like Wyatt, Surrey, and Anne Askew; Spenser, Marlowe, Shakespeare, and Southwell; and Thomas More and Walter Ralegh.

    • ENGL 319 - Shakespeare and Company

      FDR: HL
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Winter 2017 and alternate years


      Prerequisites: ENGL 299.

      Focusing on the repertory and working conditions of the two play companies with which he was centrally involved, this course examines plays by Shakespeare and several of his contemporary collaborators and colleagues (Jonson, Middleton, Fletcher). Attentive to stage history and the evolution of dramatic texts within print culture, students consider the degree to which Shakespeare was both a representative and an exceptional player in Renaissance London's "show business."

    • ENGL 320 - Shakespearean Genres

      FDR: HL
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Fall 2015 and alternate years


      Prerequisites: ENGL 299.

      In a given term, this course focuses on one or two of the major genres explored by Shakespeare (e.g., histories, tragedies, comedies, tragicomedies/romances, lyric and narrative poetry), in light of Renaissance literary conventions and recent theoretical approaches. Students consider the ways in which Shakespeare's generic experiments are variably inflected by gender, by political considerations, by habitat, and by history.

    • ENGL 326 - 17th-Century Poetry

      FDR: HL
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Fall 2016 and alternate years


      Prerequisites: ENGL 299.

      Readings of lyric and epic poetry spanning the long 16th century, and tracing the development of republican and cavalier literary modes. Genres include the metaphysical poetry of Donne, Herbert, Katherine Philips, and Henry Vaughan; erotic verse by Mary Wroth, Herrick, Thomas Carew, Marvell, Aphra Behn, and the Earl of Rochester; elegy by Jonson and Bradstreet; and epic by Milton.

    • ENGL 330 - Milton

      FDR: HL
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Winter 2017 and alternate years


      Prerequisites: ENGL 299.

      This course surveys one of the most talented and probing authors of the English language -- a man whose reading knowledge and poetic output has never been matched, and whose work has influenced a host of writers after him, including Alexander Pope, William Blake, William Wordsworth, and Mary Shelley. In this course, we read selections from Milton's literary corpus, drawing from such diverse genres as lyric, drama, epic and prose polemic. As part of their study of epic form, students create a digital humanities project rendering Paradise Lost in gaming context. Quests, heroes,ethical choices and exploration of new worlds in Paradise Lost are rendered as a game. Students read Milton in the context of literary criticism and place him within his historical milieu, not the least of which includes England's dizzying series of political metamorphoses from Monarchy to Commonwealth, Commonwealth to Protectorate, and Protectorate back to Monarchy.

    • ENGL 386 - Supervised Study in Great Britain

      FDR: HL
      Credits: 4
      Planned Offering: Spring 2016 and alternate years


      Prerequisites: ENGL 299 or instructor consent.

      An advanced seminar in British literature carried on in Great Britain, with emphasis on independent research and intensive exposure to British culture. Changing topics, rotated yearly from instructor to instructor, and limited in scope to permit study in depth.

    • and when the topic is appropriate:
      • ENGL 380 - Advanced Seminar

        FDR: HL
        Credits: 3 in fall or winter, 4 in spring
        Planned Offering: Fall, Winter, Spring


        Prerequisite: ENGL 299. Enrollment limited.

        A seminar course on a topic, genre, figure, or school (e.g. African-American women's literature, epic film, Leslie Marmon Silko, feminist literary theory) with special emphasis on research and discussion. The topic will be limited in scope to permit study in depth. Student suggestions for topics are welcome. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

      • and
      • ENGL 403 - Directed Individual Study

        Credits: 3


        Prerequisite: Instructor consent.

        A course designed for special students who wish to continue a line of study begun in an earlier advanced course. Their applications approved by the department and accepted by their proposed directors, the students may embark upon directed independent study which must culminate in acceptable papers. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

  5. Literatures from 1700-1900
  6. At least one course chosen from:

    • ENGL 334 - The Age of Unreason: Studies in 18th-Century Literature

      FDR: HL
      Credits: 3


      Prerequisites: ENGL 299.

      The "long eighteenth century" began roughly twenty years after a revolution unseated England's king and reflects subsequent upheavals in England's culture and literature. This course examines these revolutions through poems, plays, art, and philosophy that extol the birth of science; satirize experiment and reason; and debate the status of slaves and what it means to be human. We consider contemporary gossip, read scurrilous love poetry, witness a host of scandals, and even peek into the lives of London's city dwellers, considering how these works reflected and shaped the turbulent world of an increasingly modern age. Authors are likely to include Pope, Swift, Defoe, Behn, Haywood, Gay, Addison, Johnson, and Sterne.

    • ENGL 335 - 18th-Century Novels

      FDR: HL
      Credits: 3


      Prerequisites: ENGL 299.

      A study of prose fiction up to about 1800, focusing on the 18th-century literary and social developments that have been called "the rise of the novel." Authors likely include Behn, Haywood, Defoe, Richardson, Fielding, Sterne, Burney, and/or Austen.

    • ENGL 336 - Ghost in the Machine

      FDR: HL
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Fall 2015 and every third year


      Prerequisite: ENGL 299.

      This course considers the way in which literature--from the 17th and 18th centuries to the present--responds to problems of self, soul, matter, and consciousness. We read scurrilous love poetry and experimental novels where the body has a mind of its own. We see how writers attempt to capture the fleeting movements of the psyche by developing a "stream of consciousness" style. We consider how certain literary texts give us a glimpse into the inner lives of non-human thinking things (such as a bat, a talking parrot, and even a brain in a vat). We also think about how literature responds to developments in neuroscience.

    • ENGL 341 - The Romantic Imagination

      FDR: HL
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Winter 2017 and every third years


      Prerequisites: ENGL 299.

      A study emphasizing the poetry of Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, and Keats, but giving some attention to their own prose statements, to prose works by such associates as Dorothy Wordsworth, Lamb, Hazlitt, De Quincey, and Mary Shelley, and to novels by Austen and Scott.

    • ENGL 345 - Studies in the 19th-Century British Novel

      FDR: HL
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Winter 2018 and every third year


      Prerequisites: ENGL 299.

      Novels and topics vary from year to year depending upon the interests of the instructor and of the students (who are encouraged to express their views early in the preceding semester). Authors range from Austen and Scott through such high Victorians as Dickens, Gaskell, Eliot, and Trollope to late figures such as Hardy, Bennett, and James. Possible topics include the multiplot novel, women novelists, industrial and country house novels, mysteries and gothics, and the bildungsroman .

    • ENGL 348 - Victorian Poetry: Victorian Pairs

      FDR: HL
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Winter 2019 and every third year


      Prerequisites: ENGL 299.

      This course offers an overview of Victorian poetry by examining four pairs of poets. Elizabeth Barrett Browning and her husband, Robert, offer lessons in gender roles in Victorian England. Dante Gabriel Rossetti and his sister, Christina, provide a window into the Pre-Raphaelite movement. Works by Alfred Tennyson and Matthew Arnold exemplify the Victorian elegiac mode, and Gerard Manley Hopkins and Thomas Hardy illustrate faith and skepticism in the transition to modernism.

    • ENGL 358 - Literature of Gender and Sexuality Before 1900

      FDR: HL
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Winter


      Prerequisite: ENGL 299.

      A study of poetry, narrative, and/or drama written in English before 1900. Texts, topics, and historical emphasis may vary, but the course addresses the relation of gender and sexuality to literature.

    • ENGL 362 - American Romanticism

      FDR: HL
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Winter in alternate years


      Prerequisite: ENGL 299.

      A study of American themes and texts from the middle decades of the 19th century. Readings in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction prose. Representative figures could include Emerson, Thoreau, Fuller, Whitman, Dickinson, Poe, Hawthorne, and Melville.

    • ENGL 367 - 19th-Century American Novel

      FDR: HL
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Fall


      Prerequisite: ENGL 299.

      A reading of major American novelists, focusing especially on Poe, Melville, and Hawthorne.  We also consider the relationship between the novel and punishment, especially in the works of Harriet Beecher Stowe, George Lippard, and William Wells Brown.  Additionally, we read fictions during the second half of the century by Twain, Chopin, and Chesnutt. 

    • and when the topic is appropriate:
      • ENGL 380 - Advanced Seminar

        FDR: HL
        Credits: 3 in fall or winter, 4 in spring
        Planned Offering: Fall, Winter, Spring


        Prerequisite: ENGL 299. Enrollment limited.

        A seminar course on a topic, genre, figure, or school (e.g. African-American women's literature, epic film, Leslie Marmon Silko, feminist literary theory) with special emphasis on research and discussion. The topic will be limited in scope to permit study in depth. Student suggestions for topics are welcome. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

      • and
      • ENGL 403 - Directed Individual Study

        Credits: 3


        Prerequisite: Instructor consent.

        A course designed for special students who wish to continue a line of study begun in an earlier advanced course. Their applications approved by the department and accepted by their proposed directors, the students may embark upon directed independent study which must culminate in acceptable papers. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

  7. Literatures after 1900
  8. At least one course chosen from:

    • ENGL 350 - Postcolonial Literature

      FDR: HL
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Fall 2015


      Prerequisites: ENGL 299.

      A study of the finest writers of postcolonial poetry, drama, and fiction in English. The course examines themes and techniques in a historical context, asking what "postcolonial" means to writers of countries formerly colonized by the British. Topics include colonization and decolonization; writing in the colonizer's language; questions of universality; hybridity, exile, and migrancy; the relationship of postcolonial to postmodern; Orientalism; censorship; and the role of post-imperial Britain in the publication, distribution, and consumption of postcolonial literature.

    • ENGL 351 - World Fiction in English

      FDR: HL
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Fall 2016 and every third year


      Prerequisites: ENGL 299.

      Topics in narrative fiction written in English by writers from nations formerly colonized by the British. Readings include novels and short stories originally written in English. Emphasis on techniques of traditional and experimental fiction, subgenres of the novel, international influences, and historical contexts.

    • ENGL 352 - Modern Irish Literature

      FDR: HL
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Fall 2016


      Prerequisites: ENGL 299.

      A study of the major Irish writers from the first part of the 20th century, focusing particularly on Joyce, Yeats, Synge, and Gregory. Some attention is paid to the traditions of Irish poetry, Irish history and language, and the larger context of European modernism that Irish modernism both engages and resists. Major themes may include the Irish past of myth, legend, and folklore; colonialism, nationalism and empire; religious and philosophical contexts; the Irish landscape; and general modernist questions, such as fragmentation, paralysis, alienation, and the nature of the work of art.

    • ENGL 353 - 20th-Century British and Irish Poetry

      FDR: HL
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Winter 2018 and alternate years


      Prerequisites: ENGL 299.

      Selected readings in British poetry from the turn of the century to the present, including the English tradition, international modernism, Irish, and other Commonwealth poetry. We will examine how many poets handle inherited forms, negotiate the world wars, and express identity amid changing definitions of gender and nation.

    • ENGL 354 - Contemporary British and American Drama

      FDR: HL
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Fall 2017 and alternate years


      Prerequisites: ENGL 299.

      This course examines both the masterpieces and undiscovered gems of English language theater from Samuel Beckett to the present. The course investigates contemporary movements away from naturalism and realism towards the fantastical, surreal, and spectacular. Student presentations, film screenings, and brief performance exercises supplement literary analysis of the plays, though no prior drama experience is presumed.

    • ENGL 355 - Studies in British Fiction Since 1900

      FDR: HL
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Fall 2017


      Prerequisites: ENGL 299.

      Focused study of novels and short stories by 20th- and 21st-century British writers. Topics may include modernist experimentation, theories of the novel, cultural and historical contexts, and specific themes or subgenres. Emphasis on the vocabulary and analytical techniques of narrative theory.

    • ENGL 359 - Literature by Women of Color

      FDR: HL
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Winter 2016


      Prerequisite: ENGL 299.

      This course focuses on the intersection of race and gender as they meet in the lives and identities of contemporary women of color via literature: African-Americans, Native Americans, Chicanas, Asian-Americans, and mixed bloods, or 'mestizas.' Our readings, discussions and writings focus on the work that "coming to voice" does for women of color, and for our larger society and world. Students read a variety of poetry, fiction, and autobiography in order to explore some of the issues most important to and about women of color: identity, histories, diversity, resistance and celebration. Literary analyses-i.e., close readings, explications and interpretations-are key strategies for understanding these readings.

    • ENGL 360 - Cowboys and Indians

      FDR: HL
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Fall 2015 and alternate years


      Prerequisite: ENGL 299.

      A post-modern study of the "Cowboys and Indians" motif in American literature. Beginning with some stories of Native Americans, we examine how they were depicted in early American literature and history, leading up to "Indian removal" to the West, Custer's Last Stand, and Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. We then study the rise of the Western itself as a story of national origins, psychology, policy, and destiny focused in the figure of the cowboy. We trace some competing versions of "Cowboy and Indian" stories told since then as America changes and develops, through fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and film by many famous writers and moviemakers including contemporary Native American writers. The goal is to understand why the "Cowboy and Indian" trope is one of the most powerful and widely known stories in the world.

    • ENGL 361 - Native American Literatures

      FDR: HL
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Winter 2017 and every third year


      Prerequisite: ENGL 299.

      A study of American Indian literature, primarily from the 20th century but including some historical and prehistorical foundations (oral storytelling, early orations and essays). Texts and topics may vary, but this course poses questions about nation, identity, indigenous sovereignty, mythology and history, and the powers of story as both resistance and regeneration. Readings in poetry, fiction, memoir, and nonfiction prose. Authors may include Alexie, Harjo, Hogan, Erdrich, Silko, Chrystos, Ortiz, LeAnne Howe and Paula Gunn Allen.

    • ENGL 363 - American Poetry from 1900 to 1945

      FDR: HL
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Fall 2016 and alternate years


      Prerequisite: ENGL 299.

      A consideration of American poetry from the first half of the 20th century, including modernism, the Harlem Renaissance, and popular poetry. Students will investigate the interplay of tradition and experiment in a period defined by expatriatism, female suffrage, and the growing power of urban culture.

    • ENGL 364 - American Poetry at Mid-Century

      FDR: HL
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Fall 2017 and alternate years


      Prerequisite: ENGL 299 or instructor consent.

      Readings from the middle generation of 20th century U.S. poets with attention to the Beats, the New York School, Black Arts, and many other movements. Writers may include Elizabeth Bishop, Gwendolyn Brooks, Allen Ginsberg, Sylvia Plath, Robert Hayden, and others.

    • ENGL 365 - Studies in Contemporary Poetry

      FDR: HL
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Winter 2017 and alternate years


      Prerequisite: ENGL 299 or instructor consent.

      Focused study of poetry in English from 1980 to the present. Topics vary but can include the role of place in contemporary writing or 21st-century poetry and performance. Depending on interest and department needs, readings may involve mainly U.S. authors or English-language poetry from other regions such as Ireland or the Pacific.

    • ENGL 366 - African-American Literature

      FDR: HL
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Fall 2016 and alternate years


      Prerequisite: ENGL 299.

      A focused engagement with the African-American literary tradition, from its beginnings in the late 18th century through its powerful assertions in the 21st. The focus of each term's offering may vary; different versions of the course might emphasize a genre, author, or period such as poetry, Ralph Ellison, or the Harlem Renaissance.

    • ENGL 368 - The Modern American Novel

      FDR: HL
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Winter i2016 and alternate years


      Prerequisite: ENGL 299.

      An examination of the American novel in the first half of the 20th century, from the late Realist and Naturalist writers through World War II. The heart of the course focuses on the major figures of American Modernism-Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and Faulkner-but may also consider various early and late Modernist writers (Anderson, Toomer, Wharton, Hurston, West). Major concerns include the motif of exile, the figure of the artist, the Lost Generation, the rise of the city and decline of the village or pastoral ideal, conflicts of race and gender, existentialism and religious crisis, and the meanings and impact of Modernism itself.

    • ENGL 369 - Late 20th-Century North American Fiction

      FDR: HL
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Fall 2017 and alternate years


      Prerequisite: ENGL 299.

      An exploration of fiction since World War II. Authors may include Wright, O'Connor, Highsmith, Nabokov, Capote, Pynchon, Silko, Atwood, and Morrison.

    • ENGL 370 - Contemporary North American Fiction

      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Fall 2015 and alternate years


      Prerequisite: ENGL 299.

      A study of 21st-century novels and short stories by North American authors. The course examines the recent movement of literary fiction into traditional pulp genres. Authors may include: Chabon, Atwood, Allende, Alexie, Butler, McCarthy, Diaz, Whitehead, Link, Fowler, and Grossman.

    • ENGL 373 - Hitchcock

      FDR: HL
      Credits: 4
      Planned Offering: Spring 2017 and alternate years


      Prerequisite: ENGL 299.

      An intensive survey of the films of Alfred Hitchcock: this course covers all of his major and many of his less well-known films. It supplements that central work by introducing students to several approaches to film analysis that are particularly appropriate for studying Hitchcock. These include biographical, auteur, and genre-based interpretation, psychological analyses, and dominant form theory through the study of novel-to-film adaptations.

    • ENGL 375 - Literary Theory

      FDR: HL
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Winter 2017 and alternate years


      Prerequisite: ENGL 299.

      An introduction to literary theory, focusing on classic texts in literary criticism and on contemporary developments such as Formalism, Structuralism, Deconstruction, Marxism, New Historicism and Cultural Studies, Feminism and Gender Studies, and Ecocriticism.

    • ENGL 382 - Hotel Orient

      FDR: HL
      Credits: 3 credits in fall or winter, 4 in spring
      Planned Offering: Spring 2014 and alternate years


      Prerequisite: ENGL 299 or instructor consent.

      This seminar charts the historical encounters between East and West through the very spaces that facilitate cross-cultural transactions from the medieval to the postmodern. If modern hotel consciousness is marked by transience, ennui, eroticism, and isolation, we ask whether or not the same characteristics held true in premodern hotel practices, and if the space of the Orient makes a difference in hotel writing. Semantically, "Orient" means not only the geographic east. As a verb, to orient means to position and ascertain one's bearings. In this sense, to write about lodging in the East is to sort out one's cultural and geopolitical orientation.

    • ENGL 384 - Ireland in Literature, History, and Film

      FDR: HL
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Winter 2017 and alternate years


      Prerequisite: Three credits in 200-level English.

       This seminar seeks to immerse the student in the history and culture of Ireland through a range of media and methods. The primary focus of the course is on modern Irish literature--the seminal writings of the early 20th century, the so-called "Irish Renaissance"--but its secondary focus is on the world from which those writings emerged, and the world that followed upon those writings and was changed utterly by them. Through literary readings (both primary and secondary), texts of cultural history, memoir, and folklore, and through film (an increasingly potent form of expression in Ireland), we seek to understand the major movements in Ireland that led to its great cultural achievements in the 20th century, as well as the near-century that has followed the Renaissance and that still structures Ireland to this day. The seminar is also the prerequisite ENGL 388: Spring Term in Ireland taught in the following term, serving as orientation and preparation for that program and enabling students to be well-prepared when they arrive in Ireland.

    • ENGL 388 - Exploring the West of Ireland

      Credits: 4
      Planned Offering: Spring 2017 and alternate years


      Prerequisites: ENGL 384 and at least one course in English at the 200-level or higher or instructor consent. Non-majors welcome.

      Spring-term abroad course. This course spends four weeks in the southwest of Ireland, based in Dingle, County Kerry.  From here we visit and study the dramatic Irish landscape of the Dingle Peninsula and the Irish Southwest.  We focus primarily on sites associated with the great 20th-century Irish writers, such as Yeats's tower of Thoor Ballylee, Lady Gregory's estate of Coole Park, and the Aran Islands so beloved of J. M. Synge.  We read a range of Irish literature, from medieval poetry and mythic saga to the great achievements of the Irish Revival, such as the poetry of Yeats and the plays of Synge, and also work from more recent Irish writers such as Heaney and O'Brien.  Students write four interpretive essays, several "site readings," and a travel journal/experiential web log of their travels. 

    • and when the topic is appropriate:
      • ENGL 380 - Advanced Seminar

        FDR: HL
        Credits: 3 in fall or winter, 4 in spring
        Planned Offering: Fall, Winter, Spring


        Prerequisite: ENGL 299. Enrollment limited.

        A seminar course on a topic, genre, figure, or school (e.g. African-American women's literature, epic film, Leslie Marmon Silko, feminist literary theory) with special emphasis on research and discussion. The topic will be limited in scope to permit study in depth. Student suggestions for topics are welcome. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

      • and
      • ENGL 403 - Directed Individual Study

        Credits: 3


        Prerequisite: Instructor consent.

        A course designed for special students who wish to continue a line of study begun in an earlier advanced course. Their applications approved by the department and accepted by their proposed directors, the students may embark upon directed independent study which must culminate in acceptable papers. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

  9. "Counter traditions"
  10. At least one course chosen from:

    • ENGL 350 - Postcolonial Literature

      FDR: HL
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Fall 2015


      Prerequisites: ENGL 299.

      A study of the finest writers of postcolonial poetry, drama, and fiction in English. The course examines themes and techniques in a historical context, asking what "postcolonial" means to writers of countries formerly colonized by the British. Topics include colonization and decolonization; writing in the colonizer's language; questions of universality; hybridity, exile, and migrancy; the relationship of postcolonial to postmodern; Orientalism; censorship; and the role of post-imperial Britain in the publication, distribution, and consumption of postcolonial literature.

    • ENGL 351 - World Fiction in English

      FDR: HL
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Fall 2016 and every third year


      Prerequisites: ENGL 299.

      Topics in narrative fiction written in English by writers from nations formerly colonized by the British. Readings include novels and short stories originally written in English. Emphasis on techniques of traditional and experimental fiction, subgenres of the novel, international influences, and historical contexts.

    • ENGL 359 - Literature by Women of Color

      FDR: HL
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Winter 2016


      Prerequisite: ENGL 299.

      This course focuses on the intersection of race and gender as they meet in the lives and identities of contemporary women of color via literature: African-Americans, Native Americans, Chicanas, Asian-Americans, and mixed bloods, or 'mestizas.' Our readings, discussions and writings focus on the work that "coming to voice" does for women of color, and for our larger society and world. Students read a variety of poetry, fiction, and autobiography in order to explore some of the issues most important to and about women of color: identity, histories, diversity, resistance and celebration. Literary analyses-i.e., close readings, explications and interpretations-are key strategies for understanding these readings.

    • ENGL 361 - Native American Literatures

      FDR: HL
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Winter 2017 and every third year


      Prerequisite: ENGL 299.

      A study of American Indian literature, primarily from the 20th century but including some historical and prehistorical foundations (oral storytelling, early orations and essays). Texts and topics may vary, but this course poses questions about nation, identity, indigenous sovereignty, mythology and history, and the powers of story as both resistance and regeneration. Readings in poetry, fiction, memoir, and nonfiction prose. Authors may include Alexie, Harjo, Hogan, Erdrich, Silko, Chrystos, Ortiz, LeAnne Howe and Paula Gunn Allen.

    • ENGL 366 - African-American Literature

      FDR: HL
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Fall 2016 and alternate years


      Prerequisite: ENGL 299.

      A focused engagement with the African-American literary tradition, from its beginnings in the late 18th century through its powerful assertions in the 21st. The focus of each term's offering may vary; different versions of the course might emphasize a genre, author, or period such as poetry, Ralph Ellison, or the Harlem Renaissance.

    • ENGL 382 - Hotel Orient

      FDR: HL
      Credits: 3 credits in fall or winter, 4 in spring
      Planned Offering: Spring 2014 and alternate years


      Prerequisite: ENGL 299 or instructor consent.

      This seminar charts the historical encounters between East and West through the very spaces that facilitate cross-cultural transactions from the medieval to the postmodern. If modern hotel consciousness is marked by transience, ennui, eroticism, and isolation, we ask whether or not the same characteristics held true in premodern hotel practices, and if the space of the Orient makes a difference in hotel writing. Semantically, "Orient" means not only the geographic east. As a verb, to orient means to position and ascertain one's bearings. In this sense, to write about lodging in the East is to sort out one's cultural and geopolitical orientation.

    • and, when the topic is appropriate
      • ENGL 380 - Advanced Seminar

        FDR: HL
        Credits: 3 in fall or winter, 4 in spring
        Planned Offering: Fall, Winter, Spring


        Prerequisite: ENGL 299. Enrollment limited.

        A seminar course on a topic, genre, figure, or school (e.g. African-American women's literature, epic film, Leslie Marmon Silko, feminist literary theory) with special emphasis on research and discussion. The topic will be limited in scope to permit study in depth. Student suggestions for topics are welcome. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

      • ENGL 403 - Directed Individual Study

        Credits: 3


        Prerequisite: Instructor consent.

        A course designed for special students who wish to continue a line of study begun in an earlier advanced course. Their applications approved by the department and accepted by their proposed directors, the students may embark upon directed independent study which must culminate in acceptable papers. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

  11. Two or three additional courses numbered at the 300-level or above, with the optional inclusion of one course from designated departments and programs
  12. Completion of the capstone writing requirement with either
    • ENGL 413 - Senior Research and Writing (3)

      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Fall, Winter


      Prerequisites: Six credits in English at the 300 level, senior major standing, and instructor consent. Enrollment limited to six.

      A collaborative group research and writing project for senior majors, conducted in supervising faculty members' areas of expertise, with directed independent study culminating in a substantial final project. Possible topics include ecocriticism, literature and psychology, material conditions of authorship, and documentary poetics.

      Fall 2015, ENGL 413-01: Senior Research and Writing: Disobedient Texts: Hybrid, Impure, & Bent Genres (3). Hybrid texts combine, transform, and subvert the conventions of narrative sub-genres, breaking down the boundaries between fiction, poetry, memoir, and drama. Many hybrid texts also import/re-vision/transform non-literary discourses from traditional archival resources; within these hybrid texts, word and image combine to create a text that is neither purely written, nor purely visual. This course explores alternative possibilities for literature to express and even bring about change in the worlds they describe. Possible authors include Silko, Miranda, Carson, Howe, Sikelianos, Griffin, Phillips, Wright, Sebald, Yamashita, Danielewski. (HL) Miranda.

    • or
    • ENGL 493 - Honors Thesis (3-3)

      Credits: 3-3
      Planned Offering: Fall-Winter


      Prerequisite: Senior major standing and honors candidacy. Instructor consent.

      A summary of prerequisites and requirements may be obtained at the English Department website (english.wlu.edu).