Course Offerings

Winter 2015

See complete information about these courses in the course offerings database. For more information about a specific course, including course type, schedule and location, click on its title.

Topics in Creative Writing: Fiction

ENGL 203 - Smith

A course in the practice of writing short fiction, involving workshops, literary study, and critical writing.

Winter 2015 topic:

ENGL 203: Topics in Creative Writing: Fiction (3). The practice of writing short fiction, with an emphasis on the short-short and flash-fiction subgenres. The course involves workshops, literary study of the short short's history and practice and critical writing about both published and student work, culminating in a portfolio or revised stories and an essay about the modes and strategies of the short short. (HL) Smith.

Topics in Creative Writing: Poetry

ENGL 204 - Miranda

A course in the practice of writing poetry, involving workshops, literary study, and critical writing.

Topics in Creative Writing: Nonfiction

ENGL 206 - Leland

A course in the practice of writing nonfiction, involving workshops, literary study, and critical writing. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Film

ENGL 233 - Keiser (Multiple Sections)

An introductory study of film in English. The course may focus on major representative texts or upon a subgenre or thematic approach. In all cases, the course introduces students to fundamental issues in the history and theory of film.

Shakespeare

ENGL 252 - Gertz

A study of the major genres of Shakespeare's plays, employing analysis shaped by formal, historical, and performance-based questions. Emphasis is given to tracing how Shakespeare's work engages early modern cultural concerns, such as the nature of political rule, gender, religion, and sexuality. A variety of skills are developed in order to assist students with interpretation, which may include verse analysis, study of early modern dramatic forms, performance workshops, two medium-length papers, reviews of live play productions, and a final, student-directed performance of a selected play

Southern American Literature

ENGL 253 - Smout

A study of selected fiction, poetry, drama, and nonfiction by Southern writers in their historical and literary contexts. We practice multiple approaches to critical reading, and students develop their analytical writing skills in a series of short papers.

Literary Approaches to Poverty

ENGL 260 - Kao

Examines literary responses to the experience of poverty, imaginative representations of human life in straitened circumstances, and arguments about the causes and consequences of poverty that appear in literature. Critical consideration of dominant paradigms ("the country and the city," "the deserving poor," "the two nations," "from rags to riches," "the fallen woman," "the abyss") augments reading based in cultural contexts. Historical focus will vary according to professor's areas of interest and expertise.

Winter 2015 topic:

ENGL 260: Literary Approaches to Poverty: Medieval Poverty and Labor (3). Is poverty an ideal state of existence or a socioeconomic plight in need of fixing? Should the poor be put to work? In the Middle Ages, poverty was both a blessed condition of being and a dire social crisis. This course explores medieval experiences of poverty: estates, piety, charity, mendicancy, labor, gender, the Great Famine, Black Death, and urbanization. Texts include saint's lives (St. Francis of Assisi), Thomas Aquinas, Piers Plowman, Shepherds' Plays, Sir Orfeo, patient Griselda, and the legends of Robin Hood. We pay close attention to medieval understandings of poverty and labor, as well as modern parallels. All texts are read in modern English translation. (HL) Kao.

Topics in American Literature

ENGL 293 - Brodie

Studies in American literature, supported by attention to historical contexts. Versions of this course may survey several periods or concentrate on a group of works from a short span of time. Students develop their analytical writing skills in a series of short papers. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Winter 2015 topics:

ENGL 293-01: Topics in American Literature: Form and Freedom in Modern American Poetry (3). Robert Frost once said that writing free verse is like playing tennis without a net. This course challenges that statement by examining the structure of free verse, from Whitman and Williams through J. Ivy, before considering all the freedom that poets like Frost, Bishop, and Wilbur found in sonnets, villanelles and sestinas. An overview of American lyric poetry from the past 150 years. (HL) Brodie. ENGL 293-02: Topics in American Literature: Chicana/o or Mexican American Literature (3). This course explores a broad spectrum of the forms and genres of Chicana/o literature produced over the last 30 years, including the political treatise, novel, short story, and poem. Readings, videos and guest speakers discuss the historical and literary contexts of Chicana/o literature, bringing to light the multiple intersections of race, gender, class, and sexuality. The scope of the course covers the foundational texts of Chicana/o literature beginning with Movement-inspired concepts and moving through a sampling of the new terrain being explored by feminists, cultural critics, and queer writers at the beginning of the 21st century. Typical authors featured include Rivera, Rodriguez, Cisneros, Anzaldua, Trujillo, Anaya, Viramontes. (HL) Miranda.

Fall 2014 topic:

ENGL 293-01: Topics in American Literature: Spectatorship and Sexuality (3). How might we come to understand the relationship between image, spectatorship and gender? For the past 40 years, cinema has been a principle terrain upon which feminist debates over representation and identity have emerged. Through a sampling of key films and texts, this course charts those debates. Beginning with the psychoanalytic discussions of the 1970s and '80s, we venture through to the postcolonial and "postmodern" responses of the late 1990s and conclude with an extended consideration of femininity in contemporary popular film. Through class discussion and written critique, students are invited to become discerning spectators of their own visual landscapes. (HL) Renault-Steele

Topics in American Literature

ENGL 293 - Miranda

Studies in American literature, supported by attention to historical contexts. Versions of this course may survey several periods or concentrate on a group of works from a short span of time. Students develop their analytical writing skills in a series of short papers. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Winter 2015 topics:

ENGL 293-01: Topics in American Literature: Form and Freedom in Modern American Poetry (3). Robert Frost once said that writing free verse is like playing tennis without a net. This course challenges that statement by examining the structure of free verse, from Whitman and Williams through J. Ivy, before considering all the freedom that poets like Frost, Bishop, and Wilbur found in sonnets, villanelles and sestinas. An overview of American lyric poetry from the past 150 years. (HL) Brodie. ENGL 293-02: Topics in American Literature: Chicana/o or Mexican American Literature (3). This course explores a broad spectrum of the forms and genres of Chicana/o literature produced over the last 30 years, including the political treatise, novel, short story, and poem. Readings, videos and guest speakers discuss the historical and literary contexts of Chicana/o literature, bringing to light the multiple intersections of race, gender, class, and sexuality. The scope of the course covers the foundational texts of Chicana/o literature beginning with Movement-inspired concepts and moving through a sampling of the new terrain being explored by feminists, cultural critics, and queer writers at the beginning of the 21st century. Typical authors featured include Rivera, Rodriguez, Cisneros, Anzaldua, Trujillo, Anaya, Viramontes. (HL) Miranda.

Fall 2014 topic:

ENGL 293-01: Topics in American Literature: Spectatorship and Sexuality (3). How might we come to understand the relationship between image, spectatorship and gender? For the past 40 years, cinema has been a principle terrain upon which feminist debates over representation and identity have emerged. Through a sampling of key films and texts, this course charts those debates. Beginning with the psychoanalytic discussions of the 1970s and '80s, we venture through to the postcolonial and "postmodern" responses of the late 1990s and conclude with an extended consideration of femininity in contemporary popular film. Through class discussion and written critique, students are invited to become discerning spectators of their own visual landscapes. (HL) Renault-Steele

Seminar for Prospective Majors

ENGL 299 - Warren

A study of a topic in literature issuing in a research process and sustained critical writing. Some recent topics have been Justice in Late Medieval Literature; Tragedy and Comedy; Western American Literature; Emily Dickinson; and Thomas Hardy: Novelist and Poet.

Winter 2015 topics:

ENGL 299-01: Seminar for Prospective Majors: Henry David Thoreau and American Transcendentalism (3). This course focuses on the writing of Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), reading them in relation to other major figures of American Transcendentalism. During Thoreau's short lifetime, New England culture was the site of far-reaching and profound social, political, scientific, and literary innovations. We combine close attention to works like Walden and The Maine Woods with research into the lyceum lecture series, anti-slavery movements, communitarian experiments, natural history and travel narratives, and the essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson. (HL) Warren. ENGL 299-02: Seminar for Prospective Majors: Revenge (3). In this seminar, preparatory to more advanced study in the English Department, we sharpen our skills as close readers of texts and as clear and compelling writers about literature and film. Our topic is one of the most common themes and sources of conflict in world literature: revenge. From Greek drama (such as Medea), to the Old Testament, to English Renaissance drama (The Spanish Tragedy, Hamlet), to contemporary film (Kill Bill), to world literature and film (Chushingura, The Virgin Spring), the revenge motive has propelled plots and characters and has spun off sub-genres, such as detective fiction, gangster violence, and legal drama. The course culminates in a longer paper on the topic and texts of your choice that showcase your skills in textual analysis, application of pertinent theory, and research. (HL) Dobin.

Fall 2014 Topics:

ENGL 299-01: Seminar for Prospective Majors: Detective Fiction (3). A close study of the popular sub-genre, detective fiction, culminating in the writing of a research paper. We study detective fiction from the beginnings of the form in the nineteenth century to contemporary examples, touching on the golden age of British detective fiction ("whodunits" and puzzlers), private eyes, hard-boiled detectives, police procedurals, psychological thrillers, and historical and metaphysical mysteries. Authors are selected from among the following: Wilkie Collins, Arthur Conan Doyle, Dorothy Sayers, Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain, Josephine Tey, P. D. James, Ruth Rendell, Paul Auster, Laurie R. King, Walter Mosley, P. B. Kerr, and Alan Bradley. Some authors and modes are represented by film adaptations rather than by novels. (HL) Keen  

ENGL 299-02: Seminar: The Native Writes Back:American Indian Literatures and U.S. History (3). "History is written by the victors. Literature is written by the survivors." For most of U.S. history, the voices and testimonies of Native American writers have been absent, silenced, or erased from our textbooks and cultural mythology. With few exceptions, non-natives usually told the Native American story in America. With the start of the Native American Literary Renaissance in the late 1960s, however, Indian writers have been using fiction, memoir, poetry, creative non-fiction, film-making, stand-up comedy, and music to re-write U.S. history from a Native point of view. This course examines specific events in U.S History from a Native American perspective as reflected in Native-authored texts to see how Indians present that re-visioning, how it is translated from various sources into literature, and the effectiveness it has in helping U.S. citizens re-imagine ourselves in contemporary times. (HL) Miranda.

Seminar for Prospective Majors

ENGL 299 - Dobin

A study of a topic in literature issuing in a research process and sustained critical writing. Some recent topics have been Justice in Late Medieval Literature; Tragedy and Comedy; Western American Literature; Emily Dickinson; and Thomas Hardy: Novelist and Poet.

Winter 2015 topics:

ENGL 299-01: Seminar for Prospective Majors: Henry David Thoreau and American Transcendentalism (3). This course focuses on the writing of Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), reading them in relation to other major figures of American Transcendentalism. During Thoreau's short lifetime, New England culture was the site of far-reaching and profound social, political, scientific, and literary innovations. We combine close attention to works like Walden and The Maine Woods with research into the lyceum lecture series, anti-slavery movements, communitarian experiments, natural history and travel narratives, and the essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson. (HL) Warren. ENGL 299-02: Seminar for Prospective Majors: Revenge (3). In this seminar, preparatory to more advanced study in the English Department, we sharpen our skills as close readers of texts and as clear and compelling writers about literature and film. Our topic is one of the most common themes and sources of conflict in world literature: revenge. From Greek drama (such as Medea), to the Old Testament, to English Renaissance drama (The Spanish Tragedy, Hamlet), to contemporary film (Kill Bill), to world literature and film (Chushingura, The Virgin Spring), the revenge motive has propelled plots and characters and has spun off sub-genres, such as detective fiction, gangster violence, and legal drama. The course culminates in a longer paper on the topic and texts of your choice that showcase your skills in textual analysis, application of pertinent theory, and research. (HL) Dobin.

Fall 2014 Topics:

ENGL 299-01: Seminar for Prospective Majors: Detective Fiction (3). A close study of the popular sub-genre, detective fiction, culminating in the writing of a research paper. We study detective fiction from the beginnings of the form in the nineteenth century to contemporary examples, touching on the golden age of British detective fiction ("whodunits" and puzzlers), private eyes, hard-boiled detectives, police procedurals, psychological thrillers, and historical and metaphysical mysteries. Authors are selected from among the following: Wilkie Collins, Arthur Conan Doyle, Dorothy Sayers, Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain, Josephine Tey, P. D. James, Ruth Rendell, Paul Auster, Laurie R. King, Walter Mosley, P. B. Kerr, and Alan Bradley. Some authors and modes are represented by film adaptations rather than by novels. (HL) Keen  

ENGL 299-02: Seminar: The Native Writes Back:American Indian Literatures and U.S. History (3). "History is written by the victors. Literature is written by the survivors." For most of U.S. history, the voices and testimonies of Native American writers have been absent, silenced, or erased from our textbooks and cultural mythology. With few exceptions, non-natives usually told the Native American story in America. With the start of the Native American Literary Renaissance in the late 1960s, however, Indian writers have been using fiction, memoir, poetry, creative non-fiction, film-making, stand-up comedy, and music to re-write U.S. history from a Native point of view. This course examines specific events in U.S History from a Native American perspective as reflected in Native-authored texts to see how Indians present that re-visioning, how it is translated from various sources into literature, and the effectiveness it has in helping U.S. citizens re-imagine ourselves in contemporary times. (HL) Miranda.

Advanced Creative Writing: Fiction

ENGL 308 - Gavaler

A workshop in writing fiction, requiring regular writing and outside reading.

Winter 2015 topic:

ENGL 308: Advanced Creative Writing: Literary Genre Fiction (3). Reflecting literary trends of the last decade, students explore the intersections between traditional pulp genres and narrative realism. They draft and revise stories that use elements from a range of possible genres--science fiction, fantasy, horror, detective, romance--while also developing complex characters grounded in psychological realism. (HL) Gavaler.

 

Shakespeare and Company

ENGL 319 - Pickett

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."

Milton

ENGL 330 - Gertz

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.

Victorian Poetry: Victorian Pairs

ENGL 348 - Brodie

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.

 

African-American Literature

ENGL 366 - Wheeler

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.

Winter 2015 topic:

ENGL 366: African-American Poetry (3). A study of African-American poetry and poetics, with attention to their intersection with politics and music. While we focus mainly on 20th- and 21st-century works, history and remembrance are a recurring motif in our readings and conversations. (HL) Wheeler.

Literary Theory

ENGL 370 - Warren

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.

Advanced Seminar

ENGL 380 - Keiser

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.

Winter 2015 topic:

ENGL 380: Advanced Seminar: The Ghost in the Machine (3). Consciousness is both very familiar and very strange. As you read these words, you probably don't doubt that you're conscious. But what exactly is consciousness? Where does it come from? Is it the result of an immaterial soul buried somewhere deep within the body--a kind of "ghost in the machine," as the philosopher Gilbert Ryle puts it--or does the body alone do all the thinking? In this course, we consider the way in which literature--from the 17th and 18th centuries to the present--responds to these problems of self, soul, matter, and consciousness. We read scurrilous love poetry (by the Earl of Rochester) and experimental novels (by Eliza Haywood) where the body has a mind of its own. We see how writers like Laurence Sterne and Virginia Woolf 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--which means reading some contemporary "neuro-novels" by Richard Powers, Rivka Galchen, and Ian McEwan. (HL) Keiser.

Fall 2014 topics:

ENGL 380-01: Advanced Seminar: Cormac McCarthy (3). A study of selected works by one of America's most renowned post-modern authors, who treats shocking subjects in an inimitable style. McCarthy has developed gradually over the last 50 years from a struggling writer and auto parts worker too poor to buy toothpaste to a number one box office draw, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, eager candidate for the Nobel Prize, and author of a major motion picture. Our key questions: Why is McCarthy so famous now? How does he do it? What do his works say to us that we are drawn to hear? (HL) Smout. Fall 2014 ENGL 380-02: Advanced Seminar: Celluloid Shakespeare (3). The films adapted from or inspired by William Shakespeare's plays are a genre unto themselves. We study a selection of films, not focused on their faithfulness to the original playscript, but on the creative choices and meanings of the distinct medium of film. We see how the modern era has transmuted the plays through the lens of contemporary sensibility, politics, and culture--and through this new visual mode of storytelling. This course is very much an exploration of how to interpret and appreciate film broadly, as we learn the concepts and lexicon of film with Shakespeare as our case study. Our methods vary: sometimes we study the play in detail and compare several film versions; or we see a film fresh--without having read the play--to approach it as a work of art on its own terms; or we hear individual reports from students about additional films to expand the repertoire of films we study and enjoy. The films we view range from multiple versions of Hamlet, Macbeth, and A Midsummer Night's Dream, to adaptations of As You Like It and Henry V, to original Shakespeare-inspired films such as Forbidden Planet, A Thousand Acres, and My Own Private Idaho. (HL) Dobin. Fall 2014 ENGL 380-04: Thrilling Tales: New North American Fiction (3). A study of 21st-century novels and short stories by North American authors. We examine the recent movement of literary fiction into genres traditionally limited to pulp writing. Texts may include: McSweeney's Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales edited by Michael Chabon; Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake; Isabel Allende's Zorro; Sherman Alexie's Flight; Octavia Butler's Fledgling; Cormac McCarthy's The Road; Junot Diaz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao; Colson Whitehead's Zone One, and Austin Grossman's Soon I Will Be Invincible. (HL) Gavaler. Fall 2014

Ireland in Literature, History, and Film

ENGL 384 - Conner

 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.

Senior Research and Writing

ENGL 413 - Pickett

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 poetic voice, ecocriticism, literature and psychology, material conditions of authorship, and modern Irish studies.

Winter 2015 topics:

ENGL 413-01: Senior Research and Writing: Synesthesia: Cognition, Literature, and the Senses (3). Synesthesia is both a literary device and a neurological condition; in both cases, multiple senses are conjoined or confused. When Bottom from Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" awakes and declares, "The eye of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not seen, man's hand is not able to taste, his tongue to conceive, nor his heart to report what my dream was" (4.1.207-10), is Shakespeare simply poking fun at Bottom's foolishness or is he testifying to the way that synesthesia can capture an ineffable experience? This course attends to moments in drama and literature where the senses fail or mingle in order to ask a series of questions: What can an understanding of philosophical and scientific studies about bodily sensation reveal about literary texts and, conversely, what can literary texts add to those philosophical and scientific discourses of the senses? Beyond their role in defining the material world, can the senses help define the immaterial? Readings in the fields of (introductory) neuroscience and phenomenology supplement literary texts by Shakespeare, Samuel Beckett, Sarah Ruhl, Mary Zimmerman, Raymond Carver, and/or others. (HL) Pickett. ENGL 413-02: Senior Research and Writing: Ethnic Fiction and the Dead (3). This seminar begins by focusing on ghosts, visions, and memories of the dead in novels and stories by African-American and Caribbean women. Students are welcome to explore the topic in writings by men and women from many traditions: Native American, Asian, Latino. The objective is to place each author's treatment of the dead within its cultural context. Authors to be used as a starting point include Paule Marshall, Toni Morrison, Maryse Conde, and Zora Neale Hurston. (HL) Brodie. ENGL 413-03: Senior Research and Writing: Revenge: From Aeschylus and the Old Testament to Tarantino (3). The revenge plot has been popular and powerful dramatic genre from Greek classical drama (the tales of murderous vengeance in Agamemnon's family when he returns from Troy) and the Old Testament (the episode of the rape of Dinah) all the way to campy but gory contemporary films like Kill Bill and Sin City. Our collective reading focuses on two periods and two media: English Renaissance drama and modern film. The Renaissance saw an explosion of experimentation in dramatic form, with the revenge plot a key element, in plays such as The Spanish Tragedy, Hamlet, and The Jew of Malta. More recently, films as varied as The Godfather, True Grit, Hard Candy, and Munich have explored the revenge theme. We sample various sub-genres of revenge--ghost stories, revenge for violence against women, marital conflict, revenge for the loss of children, and gangster violence. We consider key recurring themes such as honor, justice, madness, re-enactment, gender, and metatheater. We also study revenge plots in other cultures, such as the kabuki classic, Chushingura, the Swedish film, The Virgin Spring, and the Korean thriller, Oldboy. Students have a wide range of texts from which to choose for their capstone project. (HL) Dobin.

Fall 2014 topics:

ENGL 413-01: Senior Research and Writing: Memoir (3). This course examines 20th- and 21st-century self-writing, considering theories of selfhood within genres of fiction, memoir, and the personal essay. Concepts of memory, identity, experience, agency and audience are theorized and studied in relation to disparate texts, including the novel Gilead by Marilynne Robinson, and memoirs by Mary Karr, Deborah Miranda, and Eric Wilson. We also view self-writing as narrative, studying autobiographical texts as art forms, reading details about individual lives and historical moments primarily as crafted art forms. At the same time, we study the techniques of self-writing by analyzing individual texts in relation to specific tools writers have identified as useful to the composition of autobiography. We take all of this and apply it to the development of our own self-writing, which we practice in response to prompts that are keyed to the week's topics and generic forms. In the final third of the course, after completing a research paper on autobiographical texts, we develop a longer piece of creative self-writing that reflects the careful thinking about theories of selfhood, as well as specific writing tools, that we have studied and/or used throughout the term. (HL) Gertz ENGL 413-02: Senior Research and Writing: Queering the Text (3). Does text have a gender or sexuality? Or does text both embody and challenge socio-political norms? One of the aims of this seminar is to investigate the inherent queerness of text and the textuality of queerness. Reading select texts across historical periods, we ask whether postmodern constructs of sexuality and gender inform or problematize studies of premodern and early modern texts, and how race, class, and culture complicate notions of the queer. We learn how to engage in practices of queering, a la Raymond Williams, through a series of keywords: desire, friendship, romance (and "bromance"), performativity, author, reader, time, normativity, marriage, conduct, reproduction, the abject, and happiness. Short primary texts may include works by Geoffrey Chaucer, Chrétien de Troyes, William Shakespeare, Walt Whitman, Henry James, Gertrude Stein, Truman Capote, and Carson McCullers. Queer theorists may include Michel Foucault, Eve Sedgwick, Judith Butler, Wayne Koestenbaum, Jack Halberstam, Lee Edelman, Gloria E. Anzaldúa, and José Esteban Muñoz. Students compile a portfolio of reading responses in the first half of the seminar as preparation for their individual guided research project. (HL) Kao ENGL 413-03: Senior Research and Writing: Cultural Conflicts in the American West (3). In this section, we study a few key texts about the American West and then see what else each student wants to explore. There are many cultural conflicts from which to choose and wonderful texts about these conflicts in many genres. Among the conflicting groups are American Indians, Hispanics, Asians, and white Europeans, all fighting for their land, families, names, ethnic identities, histories, culture, economic livelihood, and virtually everything else human beings can fight for. Although we focus on literature, we also explore these conflicts historically and politically, grappling with the challenges of dealing with them today. (HL) Smout  

Senior Research and Writing

ENGL 413 - Brodie

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 poetic voice, ecocriticism, literature and psychology, material conditions of authorship, and modern Irish studies.

Winter 2015 topics:

ENGL 413-01: Senior Research and Writing: Synesthesia: Cognition, Literature, and the Senses (3). Synesthesia is both a literary device and a neurological condition; in both cases, multiple senses are conjoined or confused. When Bottom from Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" awakes and declares, "The eye of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not seen, man's hand is not able to taste, his tongue to conceive, nor his heart to report what my dream was" (4.1.207-10), is Shakespeare simply poking fun at Bottom's foolishness or is he testifying to the way that synesthesia can capture an ineffable experience? This course attends to moments in drama and literature where the senses fail or mingle in order to ask a series of questions: What can an understanding of philosophical and scientific studies about bodily sensation reveal about literary texts and, conversely, what can literary texts add to those philosophical and scientific discourses of the senses? Beyond their role in defining the material world, can the senses help define the immaterial? Readings in the fields of (introductory) neuroscience and phenomenology supplement literary texts by Shakespeare, Samuel Beckett, Sarah Ruhl, Mary Zimmerman, Raymond Carver, and/or others. (HL) Pickett. ENGL 413-02: Senior Research and Writing: Ethnic Fiction and the Dead (3). This seminar begins by focusing on ghosts, visions, and memories of the dead in novels and stories by African-American and Caribbean women. Students are welcome to explore the topic in writings by men and women from many traditions: Native American, Asian, Latino. The objective is to place each author's treatment of the dead within its cultural context. Authors to be used as a starting point include Paule Marshall, Toni Morrison, Maryse Conde, and Zora Neale Hurston. (HL) Brodie. ENGL 413-03: Senior Research and Writing: Revenge: From Aeschylus and the Old Testament to Tarantino (3). The revenge plot has been popular and powerful dramatic genre from Greek classical drama (the tales of murderous vengeance in Agamemnon's family when he returns from Troy) and the Old Testament (the episode of the rape of Dinah) all the way to campy but gory contemporary films like Kill Bill and Sin City. Our collective reading focuses on two periods and two media: English Renaissance drama and modern film. The Renaissance saw an explosion of experimentation in dramatic form, with the revenge plot a key element, in plays such as The Spanish Tragedy, Hamlet, and The Jew of Malta. More recently, films as varied as The Godfather, True Grit, Hard Candy, and Munich have explored the revenge theme. We sample various sub-genres of revenge--ghost stories, revenge for violence against women, marital conflict, revenge for the loss of children, and gangster violence. We consider key recurring themes such as honor, justice, madness, re-enactment, gender, and metatheater. We also study revenge plots in other cultures, such as the kabuki classic, Chushingura, the Swedish film, The Virgin Spring, and the Korean thriller, Oldboy. Students have a wide range of texts from which to choose for their capstone project. (HL) Dobin.

Fall 2014 topics:

ENGL 413-01: Senior Research and Writing: Memoir (3). This course examines 20th- and 21st-century self-writing, considering theories of selfhood within genres of fiction, memoir, and the personal essay. Concepts of memory, identity, experience, agency and audience are theorized and studied in relation to disparate texts, including the novel Gilead by Marilynne Robinson, and memoirs by Mary Karr, Deborah Miranda, and Eric Wilson. We also view self-writing as narrative, studying autobiographical texts as art forms, reading details about individual lives and historical moments primarily as crafted art forms. At the same time, we study the techniques of self-writing by analyzing individual texts in relation to specific tools writers have identified as useful to the composition of autobiography. We take all of this and apply it to the development of our own self-writing, which we practice in response to prompts that are keyed to the week's topics and generic forms. In the final third of the course, after completing a research paper on autobiographical texts, we develop a longer piece of creative self-writing that reflects the careful thinking about theories of selfhood, as well as specific writing tools, that we have studied and/or used throughout the term. (HL) Gertz ENGL 413-02: Senior Research and Writing: Queering the Text (3). Does text have a gender or sexuality? Or does text both embody and challenge socio-political norms? One of the aims of this seminar is to investigate the inherent queerness of text and the textuality of queerness. Reading select texts across historical periods, we ask whether postmodern constructs of sexuality and gender inform or problematize studies of premodern and early modern texts, and how race, class, and culture complicate notions of the queer. We learn how to engage in practices of queering, a la Raymond Williams, through a series of keywords: desire, friendship, romance (and "bromance"), performativity, author, reader, time, normativity, marriage, conduct, reproduction, the abject, and happiness. Short primary texts may include works by Geoffrey Chaucer, Chrétien de Troyes, William Shakespeare, Walt Whitman, Henry James, Gertrude Stein, Truman Capote, and Carson McCullers. Queer theorists may include Michel Foucault, Eve Sedgwick, Judith Butler, Wayne Koestenbaum, Jack Halberstam, Lee Edelman, Gloria E. Anzaldúa, and José Esteban Muñoz. Students compile a portfolio of reading responses in the first half of the seminar as preparation for their individual guided research project. (HL) Kao ENGL 413-03: Senior Research and Writing: Cultural Conflicts in the American West (3). In this section, we study a few key texts about the American West and then see what else each student wants to explore. There are many cultural conflicts from which to choose and wonderful texts about these conflicts in many genres. Among the conflicting groups are American Indians, Hispanics, Asians, and white Europeans, all fighting for their land, families, names, ethnic identities, histories, culture, economic livelihood, and virtually everything else human beings can fight for. Although we focus on literature, we also explore these conflicts historically and politically, grappling with the challenges of dealing with them today. (HL) Smout  

Senior Research and Writing

ENGL 413 - Dobin

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 poetic voice, ecocriticism, literature and psychology, material conditions of authorship, and modern Irish studies.

Winter 2015 topics:

ENGL 413-01: Senior Research and Writing: Synesthesia: Cognition, Literature, and the Senses (3). Synesthesia is both a literary device and a neurological condition; in both cases, multiple senses are conjoined or confused. When Bottom from Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" awakes and declares, "The eye of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not seen, man's hand is not able to taste, his tongue to conceive, nor his heart to report what my dream was" (4.1.207-10), is Shakespeare simply poking fun at Bottom's foolishness or is he testifying to the way that synesthesia can capture an ineffable experience? This course attends to moments in drama and literature where the senses fail or mingle in order to ask a series of questions: What can an understanding of philosophical and scientific studies about bodily sensation reveal about literary texts and, conversely, what can literary texts add to those philosophical and scientific discourses of the senses? Beyond their role in defining the material world, can the senses help define the immaterial? Readings in the fields of (introductory) neuroscience and phenomenology supplement literary texts by Shakespeare, Samuel Beckett, Sarah Ruhl, Mary Zimmerman, Raymond Carver, and/or others. (HL) Pickett. ENGL 413-02: Senior Research and Writing: Ethnic Fiction and the Dead (3). This seminar begins by focusing on ghosts, visions, and memories of the dead in novels and stories by African-American and Caribbean women. Students are welcome to explore the topic in writings by men and women from many traditions: Native American, Asian, Latino. The objective is to place each author's treatment of the dead within its cultural context. Authors to be used as a starting point include Paule Marshall, Toni Morrison, Maryse Conde, and Zora Neale Hurston. (HL) Brodie. ENGL 413-03: Senior Research and Writing: Revenge: From Aeschylus and the Old Testament to Tarantino (3). The revenge plot has been popular and powerful dramatic genre from Greek classical drama (the tales of murderous vengeance in Agamemnon's family when he returns from Troy) and the Old Testament (the episode of the rape of Dinah) all the way to campy but gory contemporary films like Kill Bill and Sin City. Our collective reading focuses on two periods and two media: English Renaissance drama and modern film. The Renaissance saw an explosion of experimentation in dramatic form, with the revenge plot a key element, in plays such as The Spanish Tragedy, Hamlet, and The Jew of Malta. More recently, films as varied as The Godfather, True Grit, Hard Candy, and Munich have explored the revenge theme. We sample various sub-genres of revenge--ghost stories, revenge for violence against women, marital conflict, revenge for the loss of children, and gangster violence. We consider key recurring themes such as honor, justice, madness, re-enactment, gender, and metatheater. We also study revenge plots in other cultures, such as the kabuki classic, Chushingura, the Swedish film, The Virgin Spring, and the Korean thriller, Oldboy. Students have a wide range of texts from which to choose for their capstone project. (HL) Dobin.

Fall 2014 topics:

ENGL 413-01: Senior Research and Writing: Memoir (3). This course examines 20th- and 21st-century self-writing, considering theories of selfhood within genres of fiction, memoir, and the personal essay. Concepts of memory, identity, experience, agency and audience are theorized and studied in relation to disparate texts, including the novel Gilead by Marilynne Robinson, and memoirs by Mary Karr, Deborah Miranda, and Eric Wilson. We also view self-writing as narrative, studying autobiographical texts as art forms, reading details about individual lives and historical moments primarily as crafted art forms. At the same time, we study the techniques of self-writing by analyzing individual texts in relation to specific tools writers have identified as useful to the composition of autobiography. We take all of this and apply it to the development of our own self-writing, which we practice in response to prompts that are keyed to the week's topics and generic forms. In the final third of the course, after completing a research paper on autobiographical texts, we develop a longer piece of creative self-writing that reflects the careful thinking about theories of selfhood, as well as specific writing tools, that we have studied and/or used throughout the term. (HL) Gertz ENGL 413-02: Senior Research and Writing: Queering the Text (3). Does text have a gender or sexuality? Or does text both embody and challenge socio-political norms? One of the aims of this seminar is to investigate the inherent queerness of text and the textuality of queerness. Reading select texts across historical periods, we ask whether postmodern constructs of sexuality and gender inform or problematize studies of premodern and early modern texts, and how race, class, and culture complicate notions of the queer. We learn how to engage in practices of queering, a la Raymond Williams, through a series of keywords: desire, friendship, romance (and "bromance"), performativity, author, reader, time, normativity, marriage, conduct, reproduction, the abject, and happiness. Short primary texts may include works by Geoffrey Chaucer, Chrétien de Troyes, William Shakespeare, Walt Whitman, Henry James, Gertrude Stein, Truman Capote, and Carson McCullers. Queer theorists may include Michel Foucault, Eve Sedgwick, Judith Butler, Wayne Koestenbaum, Jack Halberstam, Lee Edelman, Gloria E. Anzaldúa, and José Esteban Muñoz. Students compile a portfolio of reading responses in the first half of the seminar as preparation for their individual guided research project. (HL) Kao ENGL 413-03: Senior Research and Writing: Cultural Conflicts in the American West (3). In this section, we study a few key texts about the American West and then see what else each student wants to explore. There are many cultural conflicts from which to choose and wonderful texts about these conflicts in many genres. Among the conflicting groups are American Indians, Hispanics, Asians, and white Europeans, all fighting for their land, families, names, ethnic identities, histories, culture, economic livelihood, and virtually everything else human beings can fight for. Although we focus on literature, we also explore these conflicts historically and politically, grappling with the challenges of dealing with them today. (HL) Smout  

Internship in Literary Editing with <i>Shenandoah</i>

ENGL 453 - Smith

An apprenticeship in editing for one or more students each 12-week term with the editor of Shenandoah , Washington and Lee's literary magazine. Students are instructed in and assist in these facets of the editor's work: evaluation of manuscripts, proofreading/copyediting, the arrangement of work within an issue, selection of cover art, composing contributor's notes, responding to queries, and issuing news releases. Interns also work toward an understanding of the role of journals in contemporary literature. May be applied once to the English major or Creative Writing Minor and repeated for a maximum of six additional elective credits, as long as the specific projects undertaken are different.

Honors Thesis

ENGL 493 - Brodie, Gavaler, Miranda, Smout, Wheeler (Multiple Sections)

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


Fall 2014

See complete information about these courses in the course offerings database. For more information about a specific course, including course type, schedule and location, click on its title.

Topics in Creative Writing: Fiction

ENGL 203 - Brodie, Gavaler, Oliver (Multiple Sections)

A course in the practice of writing short fiction, involving workshops, literary study, and critical writing.

Winter 2015 topic:

ENGL 203: Topics in Creative Writing: Fiction (3). The practice of writing short fiction, with an emphasis on the short-short and flash-fiction subgenres. The course involves workshops, literary study of the short short's history and practice and critical writing about both published and student work, culminating in a portfolio or revised stories and an essay about the modes and strategies of the short short. (HL) Smith.

Topics in Creative Writing: Poetry

ENGL 204 - Wheeler

A course in the practice of writing poetry, involving workshops, literary study, and critical writing.

The Novel

ENGL 232 - Bufkin

An introductory study of the novel written in English. The course may focus on major representative texts or upon a subgenre or thematic approach. In all cases, the course introduces students to fundamental issues in the history and theory of modern narrative.

Children's Literature

ENGL 234 - Leland

A study of works written in English for children. The course treats major writers, thematic and generic groupings of texts, and children's literature in historical context. Readings may include poetry, drama, fiction, nonfiction, and illustrated books, including picture books that dispense with text.

Shakespeare

ENGL 252 - Dobin

A study of the major genres of Shakespeare's plays, employing analysis shaped by formal, historical, and performance-based questions. Emphasis is given to tracing how Shakespeare's work engages early modern cultural concerns, such as the nature of political rule, gender, religion, and sexuality. A variety of skills are developed in order to assist students with interpretation, which may include verse analysis, study of early modern dramatic forms, performance workshops, two medium-length papers, reviews of live play productions, and a final, student-directed performance of a selected play

Topics in British Literature

ENGL 292 - Keiser

Studies in British literature, supported by attention to historical contexts. Versions of this course may survey several periods or concentrate on a group of works from a short span of time. Students develop their analytical writing skills in a series of short papers. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Spring 2015 topic:

ENGL 292: Remembering the Great War (4). On the centenary of the Great War, we read the combatant-poets and memoirists, their contemporaries (modernists), and plays, films, and novels by writers of later generations. Authors include Pat Barker, Sebastian Barry, Rupert Brooke, H.D., T. S. Eliot, Sigmund Freud, Robert Graves, Ivor Gurney, David Jones, Joan Littlewood, Wilfred Owen, Jessie Pope, Siegfried Sassoon, and Isaac Rosenberg. In afternoon screenings, we will view All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), Paths of Glory (1957), Gallipoli (1981), and War Horse (2011). Emphasis on the enduring images and changing tropes of the Great War. (HL) Keen.

 

Fall 2014 topic:

ENGL 292-01: Topics in British Literature: Seeing Gothic (3). Ruined castles, haunted houses, secret passages, apparitions, doppelgangers, vampires, monsters, murder, and madness--in short, the stuff of nightmares and the focus of this course. This class surveys the "gothic": works dealing with the horrific, the grotesque, the uncanny, and the supernatural. We begin by examining the first appearance of gothic novels in the presumptively rational and clearheaded eighteenth century (authors include Walpole, Radcliffe, and Beckford) before turning to some notorious nineteenth-century examples of the genre (such as Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights, and stories by Edgar Allan Poe). Our ultimate aim, though, is to track how these earlier gothic works influenced twentieth-century horror cinema. To that end, we read the aforementioned texts alongside gothic films like Kubrick's The Shining, Roeg's Don't Look Now, Dreyer's Vampyr, Mizoguchi's Ugetsu, and Aronofsky's Black Swan. Along the way, we see that gothic texts continually blur the thin line between madness and sanity, make a place for the supernatural in an increasingly rationalized world, and force us to face the limits of human experience. (HL) Staff

Topics in American Literature

ENGL 293 - Renault-Steele

Studies in American literature, supported by attention to historical contexts. Versions of this course may survey several periods or concentrate on a group of works from a short span of time. Students develop their analytical writing skills in a series of short papers. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Winter 2015 topics:

ENGL 293-01: Topics in American Literature: Form and Freedom in Modern American Poetry (3). Robert Frost once said that writing free verse is like playing tennis without a net. This course challenges that statement by examining the structure of free verse, from Whitman and Williams through J. Ivy, before considering all the freedom that poets like Frost, Bishop, and Wilbur found in sonnets, villanelles and sestinas. An overview of American lyric poetry from the past 150 years. (HL) Brodie. ENGL 293-02: Topics in American Literature: Chicana/o or Mexican American Literature (3). This course explores a broad spectrum of the forms and genres of Chicana/o literature produced over the last 30 years, including the political treatise, novel, short story, and poem. Readings, videos and guest speakers discuss the historical and literary contexts of Chicana/o literature, bringing to light the multiple intersections of race, gender, class, and sexuality. The scope of the course covers the foundational texts of Chicana/o literature beginning with Movement-inspired concepts and moving through a sampling of the new terrain being explored by feminists, cultural critics, and queer writers at the beginning of the 21st century. Typical authors featured include Rivera, Rodriguez, Cisneros, Anzaldua, Trujillo, Anaya, Viramontes. (HL) Miranda.

Fall 2014 topic:

ENGL 293-01: Topics in American Literature: Spectatorship and Sexuality (3). How might we come to understand the relationship between image, spectatorship and gender? For the past 40 years, cinema has been a principle terrain upon which feminist debates over representation and identity have emerged. Through a sampling of key films and texts, this course charts those debates. Beginning with the psychoanalytic discussions of the 1970s and '80s, we venture through to the postcolonial and "postmodern" responses of the late 1990s and conclude with an extended consideration of femininity in contemporary popular film. Through class discussion and written critique, students are invited to become discerning spectators of their own visual landscapes. (HL) Renault-Steele

Seminar for Prospective Majors

ENGL 299 - Keen

A study of a topic in literature issuing in a research process and sustained critical writing. Some recent topics have been Justice in Late Medieval Literature; Tragedy and Comedy; Western American Literature; Emily Dickinson; and Thomas Hardy: Novelist and Poet.

Winter 2015 topics:

ENGL 299-01: Seminar for Prospective Majors: Henry David Thoreau and American Transcendentalism (3). This course focuses on the writing of Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), reading them in relation to other major figures of American Transcendentalism. During Thoreau's short lifetime, New England culture was the site of far-reaching and profound social, political, scientific, and literary innovations. We combine close attention to works like Walden and The Maine Woods with research into the lyceum lecture series, anti-slavery movements, communitarian experiments, natural history and travel narratives, and the essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson. (HL) Warren. ENGL 299-02: Seminar for Prospective Majors: Revenge (3). In this seminar, preparatory to more advanced study in the English Department, we sharpen our skills as close readers of texts and as clear and compelling writers about literature and film. Our topic is one of the most common themes and sources of conflict in world literature: revenge. From Greek drama (such as Medea), to the Old Testament, to English Renaissance drama (The Spanish Tragedy, Hamlet), to contemporary film (Kill Bill), to world literature and film (Chushingura, The Virgin Spring), the revenge motive has propelled plots and characters and has spun off sub-genres, such as detective fiction, gangster violence, and legal drama. The course culminates in a longer paper on the topic and texts of your choice that showcase your skills in textual analysis, application of pertinent theory, and research. (HL) Dobin.

Fall 2014 Topics:

ENGL 299-01: Seminar for Prospective Majors: Detective Fiction (3). A close study of the popular sub-genre, detective fiction, culminating in the writing of a research paper. We study detective fiction from the beginnings of the form in the nineteenth century to contemporary examples, touching on the golden age of British detective fiction ("whodunits" and puzzlers), private eyes, hard-boiled detectives, police procedurals, psychological thrillers, and historical and metaphysical mysteries. Authors are selected from among the following: Wilkie Collins, Arthur Conan Doyle, Dorothy Sayers, Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain, Josephine Tey, P. D. James, Ruth Rendell, Paul Auster, Laurie R. King, Walter Mosley, P. B. Kerr, and Alan Bradley. Some authors and modes are represented by film adaptations rather than by novels. (HL) Keen  

ENGL 299-02: Seminar: The Native Writes Back:American Indian Literatures and U.S. History (3). "History is written by the victors. Literature is written by the survivors." For most of U.S. history, the voices and testimonies of Native American writers have been absent, silenced, or erased from our textbooks and cultural mythology. With few exceptions, non-natives usually told the Native American story in America. With the start of the Native American Literary Renaissance in the late 1960s, however, Indian writers have been using fiction, memoir, poetry, creative non-fiction, film-making, stand-up comedy, and music to re-write U.S. history from a Native point of view. This course examines specific events in U.S History from a Native American perspective as reflected in Native-authored texts to see how Indians present that re-visioning, how it is translated from various sources into literature, and the effectiveness it has in helping U.S. citizens re-imagine ourselves in contemporary times. (HL) Miranda.

Seminar for Prospective Majors

ENGL 299 - Miranda

A study of a topic in literature issuing in a research process and sustained critical writing. Some recent topics have been Justice in Late Medieval Literature; Tragedy and Comedy; Western American Literature; Emily Dickinson; and Thomas Hardy: Novelist and Poet.

Winter 2015 topics:

ENGL 299-01: Seminar for Prospective Majors: Henry David Thoreau and American Transcendentalism (3). This course focuses on the writing of Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), reading them in relation to other major figures of American Transcendentalism. During Thoreau's short lifetime, New England culture was the site of far-reaching and profound social, political, scientific, and literary innovations. We combine close attention to works like Walden and The Maine Woods with research into the lyceum lecture series, anti-slavery movements, communitarian experiments, natural history and travel narratives, and the essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson. (HL) Warren. ENGL 299-02: Seminar for Prospective Majors: Revenge (3). In this seminar, preparatory to more advanced study in the English Department, we sharpen our skills as close readers of texts and as clear and compelling writers about literature and film. Our topic is one of the most common themes and sources of conflict in world literature: revenge. From Greek drama (such as Medea), to the Old Testament, to English Renaissance drama (The Spanish Tragedy, Hamlet), to contemporary film (Kill Bill), to world literature and film (Chushingura, The Virgin Spring), the revenge motive has propelled plots and characters and has spun off sub-genres, such as detective fiction, gangster violence, and legal drama. The course culminates in a longer paper on the topic and texts of your choice that showcase your skills in textual analysis, application of pertinent theory, and research. (HL) Dobin.

Fall 2014 Topics:

ENGL 299-01: Seminar for Prospective Majors: Detective Fiction (3). A close study of the popular sub-genre, detective fiction, culminating in the writing of a research paper. We study detective fiction from the beginnings of the form in the nineteenth century to contemporary examples, touching on the golden age of British detective fiction ("whodunits" and puzzlers), private eyes, hard-boiled detectives, police procedurals, psychological thrillers, and historical and metaphysical mysteries. Authors are selected from among the following: Wilkie Collins, Arthur Conan Doyle, Dorothy Sayers, Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain, Josephine Tey, P. D. James, Ruth Rendell, Paul Auster, Laurie R. King, Walter Mosley, P. B. Kerr, and Alan Bradley. Some authors and modes are represented by film adaptations rather than by novels. (HL) Keen  

ENGL 299-02: Seminar: The Native Writes Back:American Indian Literatures and U.S. History (3). "History is written by the victors. Literature is written by the survivors." For most of U.S. history, the voices and testimonies of Native American writers have been absent, silenced, or erased from our textbooks and cultural mythology. With few exceptions, non-natives usually told the Native American story in America. With the start of the Native American Literary Renaissance in the late 1960s, however, Indian writers have been using fiction, memoir, poetry, creative non-fiction, film-making, stand-up comedy, and music to re-write U.S. history from a Native point of view. This course examines specific events in U.S History from a Native American perspective as reflected in Native-authored texts to see how Indians present that re-visioning, how it is translated from various sources into literature, and the effectiveness it has in helping U.S. citizens re-imagine ourselves in contemporary times. (HL) Miranda.

Advanced Creative Writing: Memoir

ENGL 309 - Miranda

Flannery O'Connor once said that any writer who could survive childhood had enough material to write about for a lifetime. Memoir is a mosaic form, utilizing bits and pieces from autobiography, fiction, essay and poetry in ways that allow the author to muse (speculate, imagine, remember, and question) on their own life experiences. Modern literary memoir requires tremendous work from the author, as she moves both backward and forward in time, re-creates believable dialogue, switches back and forth between scene and summary, and controls the pace and tension of the story with lyricism or brute imagery. In short, the memoirist keeps her reader engaged by being an adept and agile storyteller. This is not straight autobiography. Memoir is more about what can be gleaned from a section of one's life than about chronicling an entire life. Like a mosaic, memoir is about the individual pieces as much as the eventual whole. Work focuses on reading established memoirists, free writing, and workshopping in and out of class.

Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales

ENGL 313 - Kao

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?

Contemporary British and American Drama

ENGL 354 - Pickett

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.

American Poetry at Mid-Century

ENGL 364 - Wheeler

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.

Advanced Seminar

ENGL 380 - Smout

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.

Winter 2015 topic:

ENGL 380: Advanced Seminar: The Ghost in the Machine (3). Consciousness is both very familiar and very strange. As you read these words, you probably don't doubt that you're conscious. But what exactly is consciousness? Where does it come from? Is it the result of an immaterial soul buried somewhere deep within the body--a kind of "ghost in the machine," as the philosopher Gilbert Ryle puts it--or does the body alone do all the thinking? In this course, we consider the way in which literature--from the 17th and 18th centuries to the present--responds to these problems of self, soul, matter, and consciousness. We read scurrilous love poetry (by the Earl of Rochester) and experimental novels (by Eliza Haywood) where the body has a mind of its own. We see how writers like Laurence Sterne and Virginia Woolf 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--which means reading some contemporary "neuro-novels" by Richard Powers, Rivka Galchen, and Ian McEwan. (HL) Keiser.

Fall 2014 topics:

ENGL 380-01: Advanced Seminar: Cormac McCarthy (3). A study of selected works by one of America's most renowned post-modern authors, who treats shocking subjects in an inimitable style. McCarthy has developed gradually over the last 50 years from a struggling writer and auto parts worker too poor to buy toothpaste to a number one box office draw, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, eager candidate for the Nobel Prize, and author of a major motion picture. Our key questions: Why is McCarthy so famous now? How does he do it? What do his works say to us that we are drawn to hear? (HL) Smout. Fall 2014 ENGL 380-02: Advanced Seminar: Celluloid Shakespeare (3). The films adapted from or inspired by William Shakespeare's plays are a genre unto themselves. We study a selection of films, not focused on their faithfulness to the original playscript, but on the creative choices and meanings of the distinct medium of film. We see how the modern era has transmuted the plays through the lens of contemporary sensibility, politics, and culture--and through this new visual mode of storytelling. This course is very much an exploration of how to interpret and appreciate film broadly, as we learn the concepts and lexicon of film with Shakespeare as our case study. Our methods vary: sometimes we study the play in detail and compare several film versions; or we see a film fresh--without having read the play--to approach it as a work of art on its own terms; or we hear individual reports from students about additional films to expand the repertoire of films we study and enjoy. The films we view range from multiple versions of Hamlet, Macbeth, and A Midsummer Night's Dream, to adaptations of As You Like It and Henry V, to original Shakespeare-inspired films such as Forbidden Planet, A Thousand Acres, and My Own Private Idaho. (HL) Dobin. Fall 2014 ENGL 380-04: Thrilling Tales: New North American Fiction (3). A study of 21st-century novels and short stories by North American authors. We examine the recent movement of literary fiction into genres traditionally limited to pulp writing. Texts may include: McSweeney's Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales edited by Michael Chabon; Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake; Isabel Allende's Zorro; Sherman Alexie's Flight; Octavia Butler's Fledgling; Cormac McCarthy's The Road; Junot Diaz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao; Colson Whitehead's Zone One, and Austin Grossman's Soon I Will Be Invincible. (HL) Gavaler. Fall 2014

Advanced Seminar

ENGL 380 - Dobin

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.

Winter 2015 topic:

ENGL 380: Advanced Seminar: The Ghost in the Machine (3). Consciousness is both very familiar and very strange. As you read these words, you probably don't doubt that you're conscious. But what exactly is consciousness? Where does it come from? Is it the result of an immaterial soul buried somewhere deep within the body--a kind of "ghost in the machine," as the philosopher Gilbert Ryle puts it--or does the body alone do all the thinking? In this course, we consider the way in which literature--from the 17th and 18th centuries to the present--responds to these problems of self, soul, matter, and consciousness. We read scurrilous love poetry (by the Earl of Rochester) and experimental novels (by Eliza Haywood) where the body has a mind of its own. We see how writers like Laurence Sterne and Virginia Woolf 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--which means reading some contemporary "neuro-novels" by Richard Powers, Rivka Galchen, and Ian McEwan. (HL) Keiser.

Fall 2014 topics:

ENGL 380-01: Advanced Seminar: Cormac McCarthy (3). A study of selected works by one of America's most renowned post-modern authors, who treats shocking subjects in an inimitable style. McCarthy has developed gradually over the last 50 years from a struggling writer and auto parts worker too poor to buy toothpaste to a number one box office draw, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, eager candidate for the Nobel Prize, and author of a major motion picture. Our key questions: Why is McCarthy so famous now? How does he do it? What do his works say to us that we are drawn to hear? (HL) Smout. Fall 2014 ENGL 380-02: Advanced Seminar: Celluloid Shakespeare (3). The films adapted from or inspired by William Shakespeare's plays are a genre unto themselves. We study a selection of films, not focused on their faithfulness to the original playscript, but on the creative choices and meanings of the distinct medium of film. We see how the modern era has transmuted the plays through the lens of contemporary sensibility, politics, and culture--and through this new visual mode of storytelling. This course is very much an exploration of how to interpret and appreciate film broadly, as we learn the concepts and lexicon of film with Shakespeare as our case study. Our methods vary: sometimes we study the play in detail and compare several film versions; or we see a film fresh--without having read the play--to approach it as a work of art on its own terms; or we hear individual reports from students about additional films to expand the repertoire of films we study and enjoy. The films we view range from multiple versions of Hamlet, Macbeth, and A Midsummer Night's Dream, to adaptations of As You Like It and Henry V, to original Shakespeare-inspired films such as Forbidden Planet, A Thousand Acres, and My Own Private Idaho. (HL) Dobin. Fall 2014 ENGL 380-04: Thrilling Tales: New North American Fiction (3). A study of 21st-century novels and short stories by North American authors. We examine the recent movement of literary fiction into genres traditionally limited to pulp writing. Texts may include: McSweeney's Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales edited by Michael Chabon; Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake; Isabel Allende's Zorro; Sherman Alexie's Flight; Octavia Butler's Fledgling; Cormac McCarthy's The Road; Junot Diaz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao; Colson Whitehead's Zone One, and Austin Grossman's Soon I Will Be Invincible. (HL) Gavaler. Fall 2014

Advanced Seminar

ENGL 380 - Gavaler

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.

Winter 2015 topic:

ENGL 380: Advanced Seminar: The Ghost in the Machine (3). Consciousness is both very familiar and very strange. As you read these words, you probably don't doubt that you're conscious. But what exactly is consciousness? Where does it come from? Is it the result of an immaterial soul buried somewhere deep within the body--a kind of "ghost in the machine," as the philosopher Gilbert Ryle puts it--or does the body alone do all the thinking? In this course, we consider the way in which literature--from the 17th and 18th centuries to the present--responds to these problems of self, soul, matter, and consciousness. We read scurrilous love poetry (by the Earl of Rochester) and experimental novels (by Eliza Haywood) where the body has a mind of its own. We see how writers like Laurence Sterne and Virginia Woolf 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--which means reading some contemporary "neuro-novels" by Richard Powers, Rivka Galchen, and Ian McEwan. (HL) Keiser.

Fall 2014 topics:

ENGL 380-01: Advanced Seminar: Cormac McCarthy (3). A study of selected works by one of America's most renowned post-modern authors, who treats shocking subjects in an inimitable style. McCarthy has developed gradually over the last 50 years from a struggling writer and auto parts worker too poor to buy toothpaste to a number one box office draw, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, eager candidate for the Nobel Prize, and author of a major motion picture. Our key questions: Why is McCarthy so famous now? How does he do it? What do his works say to us that we are drawn to hear? (HL) Smout. Fall 2014 ENGL 380-02: Advanced Seminar: Celluloid Shakespeare (3). The films adapted from or inspired by William Shakespeare's plays are a genre unto themselves. We study a selection of films, not focused on their faithfulness to the original playscript, but on the creative choices and meanings of the distinct medium of film. We see how the modern era has transmuted the plays through the lens of contemporary sensibility, politics, and culture--and through this new visual mode of storytelling. This course is very much an exploration of how to interpret and appreciate film broadly, as we learn the concepts and lexicon of film with Shakespeare as our case study. Our methods vary: sometimes we study the play in detail and compare several film versions; or we see a film fresh--without having read the play--to approach it as a work of art on its own terms; or we hear individual reports from students about additional films to expand the repertoire of films we study and enjoy. The films we view range from multiple versions of Hamlet, Macbeth, and A Midsummer Night's Dream, to adaptations of As You Like It and Henry V, to original Shakespeare-inspired films such as Forbidden Planet, A Thousand Acres, and My Own Private Idaho. (HL) Dobin. Fall 2014 ENGL 380-04: Thrilling Tales: New North American Fiction (3). A study of 21st-century novels and short stories by North American authors. We examine the recent movement of literary fiction into genres traditionally limited to pulp writing. Texts may include: McSweeney's Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales edited by Michael Chabon; Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake; Isabel Allende's Zorro; Sherman Alexie's Flight; Octavia Butler's Fledgling; Cormac McCarthy's The Road; Junot Diaz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao; Colson Whitehead's Zone One, and Austin Grossman's Soon I Will Be Invincible. (HL) Gavaler. Fall 2014

Directed Individual Study

ENGL 403 - Conner, Dobin, Oliver, Smith (Multiple Sections)

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.

Senior Research and Writing

ENGL 413 - Gertz

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 poetic voice, ecocriticism, literature and psychology, material conditions of authorship, and modern Irish studies.

Winter 2015 topics:

ENGL 413-01: Senior Research and Writing: Synesthesia: Cognition, Literature, and the Senses (3). Synesthesia is both a literary device and a neurological condition; in both cases, multiple senses are conjoined or confused. When Bottom from Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" awakes and declares, "The eye of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not seen, man's hand is not able to taste, his tongue to conceive, nor his heart to report what my dream was" (4.1.207-10), is Shakespeare simply poking fun at Bottom's foolishness or is he testifying to the way that synesthesia can capture an ineffable experience? This course attends to moments in drama and literature where the senses fail or mingle in order to ask a series of questions: What can an understanding of philosophical and scientific studies about bodily sensation reveal about literary texts and, conversely, what can literary texts add to those philosophical and scientific discourses of the senses? Beyond their role in defining the material world, can the senses help define the immaterial? Readings in the fields of (introductory) neuroscience and phenomenology supplement literary texts by Shakespeare, Samuel Beckett, Sarah Ruhl, Mary Zimmerman, Raymond Carver, and/or others. (HL) Pickett. ENGL 413-02: Senior Research and Writing: Ethnic Fiction and the Dead (3). This seminar begins by focusing on ghosts, visions, and memories of the dead in novels and stories by African-American and Caribbean women. Students are welcome to explore the topic in writings by men and women from many traditions: Native American, Asian, Latino. The objective is to place each author's treatment of the dead within its cultural context. Authors to be used as a starting point include Paule Marshall, Toni Morrison, Maryse Conde, and Zora Neale Hurston. (HL) Brodie. ENGL 413-03: Senior Research and Writing: Revenge: From Aeschylus and the Old Testament to Tarantino (3). The revenge plot has been popular and powerful dramatic genre from Greek classical drama (the tales of murderous vengeance in Agamemnon's family when he returns from Troy) and the Old Testament (the episode of the rape of Dinah) all the way to campy but gory contemporary films like Kill Bill and Sin City. Our collective reading focuses on two periods and two media: English Renaissance drama and modern film. The Renaissance saw an explosion of experimentation in dramatic form, with the revenge plot a key element, in plays such as The Spanish Tragedy, Hamlet, and The Jew of Malta. More recently, films as varied as The Godfather, True Grit, Hard Candy, and Munich have explored the revenge theme. We sample various sub-genres of revenge--ghost stories, revenge for violence against women, marital conflict, revenge for the loss of children, and gangster violence. We consider key recurring themes such as honor, justice, madness, re-enactment, gender, and metatheater. We also study revenge plots in other cultures, such as the kabuki classic, Chushingura, the Swedish film, The Virgin Spring, and the Korean thriller, Oldboy. Students have a wide range of texts from which to choose for their capstone project. (HL) Dobin.

Fall 2014 topics:

ENGL 413-01: Senior Research and Writing: Memoir (3). This course examines 20th- and 21st-century self-writing, considering theories of selfhood within genres of fiction, memoir, and the personal essay. Concepts of memory, identity, experience, agency and audience are theorized and studied in relation to disparate texts, including the novel Gilead by Marilynne Robinson, and memoirs by Mary Karr, Deborah Miranda, and Eric Wilson. We also view self-writing as narrative, studying autobiographical texts as art forms, reading details about individual lives and historical moments primarily as crafted art forms. At the same time, we study the techniques of self-writing by analyzing individual texts in relation to specific tools writers have identified as useful to the composition of autobiography. We take all of this and apply it to the development of our own self-writing, which we practice in response to prompts that are keyed to the week's topics and generic forms. In the final third of the course, after completing a research paper on autobiographical texts, we develop a longer piece of creative self-writing that reflects the careful thinking about theories of selfhood, as well as specific writing tools, that we have studied and/or used throughout the term. (HL) Gertz ENGL 413-02: Senior Research and Writing: Queering the Text (3). Does text have a gender or sexuality? Or does text both embody and challenge socio-political norms? One of the aims of this seminar is to investigate the inherent queerness of text and the textuality of queerness. Reading select texts across historical periods, we ask whether postmodern constructs of sexuality and gender inform or problematize studies of premodern and early modern texts, and how race, class, and culture complicate notions of the queer. We learn how to engage in practices of queering, a la Raymond Williams, through a series of keywords: desire, friendship, romance (and "bromance"), performativity, author, reader, time, normativity, marriage, conduct, reproduction, the abject, and happiness. Short primary texts may include works by Geoffrey Chaucer, Chrétien de Troyes, William Shakespeare, Walt Whitman, Henry James, Gertrude Stein, Truman Capote, and Carson McCullers. Queer theorists may include Michel Foucault, Eve Sedgwick, Judith Butler, Wayne Koestenbaum, Jack Halberstam, Lee Edelman, Gloria E. Anzaldúa, and José Esteban Muñoz. Students compile a portfolio of reading responses in the first half of the seminar as preparation for their individual guided research project. (HL) Kao ENGL 413-03: Senior Research and Writing: Cultural Conflicts in the American West (3). In this section, we study a few key texts about the American West and then see what else each student wants to explore. There are many cultural conflicts from which to choose and wonderful texts about these conflicts in many genres. Among the conflicting groups are American Indians, Hispanics, Asians, and white Europeans, all fighting for their land, families, names, ethnic identities, histories, culture, economic livelihood, and virtually everything else human beings can fight for. Although we focus on literature, we also explore these conflicts historically and politically, grappling with the challenges of dealing with them today. (HL) Smout  

Senior Research and Writing

ENGL 413 - Kao

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 poetic voice, ecocriticism, literature and psychology, material conditions of authorship, and modern Irish studies.

Winter 2015 topics:

ENGL 413-01: Senior Research and Writing: Synesthesia: Cognition, Literature, and the Senses (3). Synesthesia is both a literary device and a neurological condition; in both cases, multiple senses are conjoined or confused. When Bottom from Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" awakes and declares, "The eye of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not seen, man's hand is not able to taste, his tongue to conceive, nor his heart to report what my dream was" (4.1.207-10), is Shakespeare simply poking fun at Bottom's foolishness or is he testifying to the way that synesthesia can capture an ineffable experience? This course attends to moments in drama and literature where the senses fail or mingle in order to ask a series of questions: What can an understanding of philosophical and scientific studies about bodily sensation reveal about literary texts and, conversely, what can literary texts add to those philosophical and scientific discourses of the senses? Beyond their role in defining the material world, can the senses help define the immaterial? Readings in the fields of (introductory) neuroscience and phenomenology supplement literary texts by Shakespeare, Samuel Beckett, Sarah Ruhl, Mary Zimmerman, Raymond Carver, and/or others. (HL) Pickett. ENGL 413-02: Senior Research and Writing: Ethnic Fiction and the Dead (3). This seminar begins by focusing on ghosts, visions, and memories of the dead in novels and stories by African-American and Caribbean women. Students are welcome to explore the topic in writings by men and women from many traditions: Native American, Asian, Latino. The objective is to place each author's treatment of the dead within its cultural context. Authors to be used as a starting point include Paule Marshall, Toni Morrison, Maryse Conde, and Zora Neale Hurston. (HL) Brodie. ENGL 413-03: Senior Research and Writing: Revenge: From Aeschylus and the Old Testament to Tarantino (3). The revenge plot has been popular and powerful dramatic genre from Greek classical drama (the tales of murderous vengeance in Agamemnon's family when he returns from Troy) and the Old Testament (the episode of the rape of Dinah) all the way to campy but gory contemporary films like Kill Bill and Sin City. Our collective reading focuses on two periods and two media: English Renaissance drama and modern film. The Renaissance saw an explosion of experimentation in dramatic form, with the revenge plot a key element, in plays such as The Spanish Tragedy, Hamlet, and The Jew of Malta. More recently, films as varied as The Godfather, True Grit, Hard Candy, and Munich have explored the revenge theme. We sample various sub-genres of revenge--ghost stories, revenge for violence against women, marital conflict, revenge for the loss of children, and gangster violence. We consider key recurring themes such as honor, justice, madness, re-enactment, gender, and metatheater. We also study revenge plots in other cultures, such as the kabuki classic, Chushingura, the Swedish film, The Virgin Spring, and the Korean thriller, Oldboy. Students have a wide range of texts from which to choose for their capstone project. (HL) Dobin.

Fall 2014 topics:

ENGL 413-01: Senior Research and Writing: Memoir (3). This course examines 20th- and 21st-century self-writing, considering theories of selfhood within genres of fiction, memoir, and the personal essay. Concepts of memory, identity, experience, agency and audience are theorized and studied in relation to disparate texts, including the novel Gilead by Marilynne Robinson, and memoirs by Mary Karr, Deborah Miranda, and Eric Wilson. We also view self-writing as narrative, studying autobiographical texts as art forms, reading details about individual lives and historical moments primarily as crafted art forms. At the same time, we study the techniques of self-writing by analyzing individual texts in relation to specific tools writers have identified as useful to the composition of autobiography. We take all of this and apply it to the development of our own self-writing, which we practice in response to prompts that are keyed to the week's topics and generic forms. In the final third of the course, after completing a research paper on autobiographical texts, we develop a longer piece of creative self-writing that reflects the careful thinking about theories of selfhood, as well as specific writing tools, that we have studied and/or used throughout the term. (HL) Gertz ENGL 413-02: Senior Research and Writing: Queering the Text (3). Does text have a gender or sexuality? Or does text both embody and challenge socio-political norms? One of the aims of this seminar is to investigate the inherent queerness of text and the textuality of queerness. Reading select texts across historical periods, we ask whether postmodern constructs of sexuality and gender inform or problematize studies of premodern and early modern texts, and how race, class, and culture complicate notions of the queer. We learn how to engage in practices of queering, a la Raymond Williams, through a series of keywords: desire, friendship, romance (and "bromance"), performativity, author, reader, time, normativity, marriage, conduct, reproduction, the abject, and happiness. Short primary texts may include works by Geoffrey Chaucer, Chrétien de Troyes, William Shakespeare, Walt Whitman, Henry James, Gertrude Stein, Truman Capote, and Carson McCullers. Queer theorists may include Michel Foucault, Eve Sedgwick, Judith Butler, Wayne Koestenbaum, Jack Halberstam, Lee Edelman, Gloria E. Anzaldúa, and José Esteban Muñoz. Students compile a portfolio of reading responses in the first half of the seminar as preparation for their individual guided research project. (HL) Kao ENGL 413-03: Senior Research and Writing: Cultural Conflicts in the American West (3). In this section, we study a few key texts about the American West and then see what else each student wants to explore. There are many cultural conflicts from which to choose and wonderful texts about these conflicts in many genres. Among the conflicting groups are American Indians, Hispanics, Asians, and white Europeans, all fighting for their land, families, names, ethnic identities, histories, culture, economic livelihood, and virtually everything else human beings can fight for. Although we focus on literature, we also explore these conflicts historically and politically, grappling with the challenges of dealing with them today. (HL) Smout  

Senior Research and Writing

ENGL 413 - Smout

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 poetic voice, ecocriticism, literature and psychology, material conditions of authorship, and modern Irish studies.

Winter 2015 topics:

ENGL 413-01: Senior Research and Writing: Synesthesia: Cognition, Literature, and the Senses (3). Synesthesia is both a literary device and a neurological condition; in both cases, multiple senses are conjoined or confused. When Bottom from Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" awakes and declares, "The eye of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not seen, man's hand is not able to taste, his tongue to conceive, nor his heart to report what my dream was" (4.1.207-10), is Shakespeare simply poking fun at Bottom's foolishness or is he testifying to the way that synesthesia can capture an ineffable experience? This course attends to moments in drama and literature where the senses fail or mingle in order to ask a series of questions: What can an understanding of philosophical and scientific studies about bodily sensation reveal about literary texts and, conversely, what can literary texts add to those philosophical and scientific discourses of the senses? Beyond their role in defining the material world, can the senses help define the immaterial? Readings in the fields of (introductory) neuroscience and phenomenology supplement literary texts by Shakespeare, Samuel Beckett, Sarah Ruhl, Mary Zimmerman, Raymond Carver, and/or others. (HL) Pickett. ENGL 413-02: Senior Research and Writing: Ethnic Fiction and the Dead (3). This seminar begins by focusing on ghosts, visions, and memories of the dead in novels and stories by African-American and Caribbean women. Students are welcome to explore the topic in writings by men and women from many traditions: Native American, Asian, Latino. The objective is to place each author's treatment of the dead within its cultural context. Authors to be used as a starting point include Paule Marshall, Toni Morrison, Maryse Conde, and Zora Neale Hurston. (HL) Brodie. ENGL 413-03: Senior Research and Writing: Revenge: From Aeschylus and the Old Testament to Tarantino (3). The revenge plot has been popular and powerful dramatic genre from Greek classical drama (the tales of murderous vengeance in Agamemnon's family when he returns from Troy) and the Old Testament (the episode of the rape of Dinah) all the way to campy but gory contemporary films like Kill Bill and Sin City. Our collective reading focuses on two periods and two media: English Renaissance drama and modern film. The Renaissance saw an explosion of experimentation in dramatic form, with the revenge plot a key element, in plays such as The Spanish Tragedy, Hamlet, and The Jew of Malta. More recently, films as varied as The Godfather, True Grit, Hard Candy, and Munich have explored the revenge theme. We sample various sub-genres of revenge--ghost stories, revenge for violence against women, marital conflict, revenge for the loss of children, and gangster violence. We consider key recurring themes such as honor, justice, madness, re-enactment, gender, and metatheater. We also study revenge plots in other cultures, such as the kabuki classic, Chushingura, the Swedish film, The Virgin Spring, and the Korean thriller, Oldboy. Students have a wide range of texts from which to choose for their capstone project. (HL) Dobin.

Fall 2014 topics:

ENGL 413-01: Senior Research and Writing: Memoir (3). This course examines 20th- and 21st-century self-writing, considering theories of selfhood within genres of fiction, memoir, and the personal essay. Concepts of memory, identity, experience, agency and audience are theorized and studied in relation to disparate texts, including the novel Gilead by Marilynne Robinson, and memoirs by Mary Karr, Deborah Miranda, and Eric Wilson. We also view self-writing as narrative, studying autobiographical texts as art forms, reading details about individual lives and historical moments primarily as crafted art forms. At the same time, we study the techniques of self-writing by analyzing individual texts in relation to specific tools writers have identified as useful to the composition of autobiography. We take all of this and apply it to the development of our own self-writing, which we practice in response to prompts that are keyed to the week's topics and generic forms. In the final third of the course, after completing a research paper on autobiographical texts, we develop a longer piece of creative self-writing that reflects the careful thinking about theories of selfhood, as well as specific writing tools, that we have studied and/or used throughout the term. (HL) Gertz ENGL 413-02: Senior Research and Writing: Queering the Text (3). Does text have a gender or sexuality? Or does text both embody and challenge socio-political norms? One of the aims of this seminar is to investigate the inherent queerness of text and the textuality of queerness. Reading select texts across historical periods, we ask whether postmodern constructs of sexuality and gender inform or problematize studies of premodern and early modern texts, and how race, class, and culture complicate notions of the queer. We learn how to engage in practices of queering, a la Raymond Williams, through a series of keywords: desire, friendship, romance (and "bromance"), performativity, author, reader, time, normativity, marriage, conduct, reproduction, the abject, and happiness. Short primary texts may include works by Geoffrey Chaucer, Chrétien de Troyes, William Shakespeare, Walt Whitman, Henry James, Gertrude Stein, Truman Capote, and Carson McCullers. Queer theorists may include Michel Foucault, Eve Sedgwick, Judith Butler, Wayne Koestenbaum, Jack Halberstam, Lee Edelman, Gloria E. Anzaldúa, and José Esteban Muñoz. Students compile a portfolio of reading responses in the first half of the seminar as preparation for their individual guided research project. (HL) Kao ENGL 413-03: Senior Research and Writing: Cultural Conflicts in the American West (3). In this section, we study a few key texts about the American West and then see what else each student wants to explore. There are many cultural conflicts from which to choose and wonderful texts about these conflicts in many genres. Among the conflicting groups are American Indians, Hispanics, Asians, and white Europeans, all fighting for their land, families, names, ethnic identities, histories, culture, economic livelihood, and virtually everything else human beings can fight for. Although we focus on literature, we also explore these conflicts historically and politically, grappling with the challenges of dealing with them today. (HL) Smout  

Internship in Literary Editing with <i>Shenandoah</i>

ENGL 453 - Smith

An apprenticeship in editing for one or more students each 12-week term with the editor of Shenandoah , Washington and Lee's literary magazine. Students are instructed in and assist in these facets of the editor's work: evaluation of manuscripts, proofreading/copyediting, the arrangement of work within an issue, selection of cover art, composing contributor's notes, responding to queries, and issuing news releases. Interns also work toward an understanding of the role of journals in contemporary literature. May be applied once to the English major or Creative Writing Minor and repeated for a maximum of six additional elective credits, as long as the specific projects undertaken are different.

Honors Thesis

ENGL 493 - Brodie, Gavaler, Miranda, Smout, Wheeler (Multiple Sections)

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


Spring 2014

See complete information about these courses in the course offerings database. For more information about a specific course, including course type, schedule and location, click on its title.

Poetic Forms

ENGL 205 - Wheeler

A course in the practice of writing poetry, with attention to a range of forms and poetic modes. Includes workshops, literary study, community outreach, and performance. A service-learning course. This course blends three activities: exercises for generating poems; workshops devoted to student writing; and literary analysis of verse forms and modes, from terza rima to performance poetry. Local field trips and special events augment regular class meetings. For each class, students complete readings, generate a new poem draft, and undertake other short assignments. Students establish a daily writing practice and participate in a service-learning project.

Topics in Creative Writing: Nonfiction

ENGL 206 - Leland

A course in the practice of writing nonfiction, involving workshops, literary study, and critical writing. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Eco-Writing

ENGL 207 - Green

A course emphasizing students' creative encounters with their environment and their writing about it, along with major works and writers. This expeditionary course in environmental writing allows a four-weeks' immersive study and explores the work of writers from Virgil, Emerson, Whitman, and Frost to Charles Frazier, Annie Dillard, William Cronan, and Gary Snyder.

Superheroes

ENGL 255 - Gavaler

The course explores the early development of the superhero character and narrative form, focusing on pulp literature texts published before the first appearance of Superman in 1938. The cultural context, including Nietzsche's Übermensch philosophy and the eugenics movement, is also central. The second half of the course is devoted to the evolution of the superhero in fiction, comic books, and film, from 1938 to the present. Students read, analyze, and interpret literary and cultural texts to produce their own analytical and creative works.

Topics in American Literature

ENGL 293 - Smout

Studies in American literature, supported by attention to historical contexts. Versions of this course may survey several periods or concentrate on a group of works from a short span of time. Students develop their analytical writing skills in a series of short papers. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Winter 2014 Topic:

ENGL 293: Topics in American Literature: American Short Story (3). This course is a study of the evolution of the short story in America from its roots, both domestic and international, tracing the main branches of its development in the 20th century. We also explore more recent permutations of the genre, such as magical realism, new realism, and minimalism. Having gained an appreciation for the history and variety of this distinctly modern genre, we focus our attention on the work of two American masters of the form, contemporaries and erstwhile friends who frequently read and commented on each other's work--Hemingway and Fitzgerald. We examine how they were influenced by their predecessors and by each other and how each helped to shape the genre. (HL) B. Oliver.

Fall 2013 Topic:

ENGL 293-01: Topics in American Literature: History, Trauma, and Human Rights (3). In this course on contemporary American literature, we focus on works by writers of Asian, South Asian, and Middle Eastern descent that bear witness to historical displacement--both national and international. Given the political divisions between America and their countries of origin, it is perhaps no surprise that so many of these writers organize their creative work around the idea of trauma. The psychic dislocation within these writers' communities, and its artistic dramatizations, is at the heart of this course. We investigate the ways in which characters and individuals within various cultural productions navigate between their ancestral and American homes and, in so doing, contribute to debates on immigration, assimilation, and national identity. Attending to the transnational aspects of their work, we also consider how some of these writers engage with contemporary human rights struggles in such places as China, Palestine, and Iran. Major reading selections may include Julie Otsuka's When the Emperor Was Divine. Mohsin Hamid's The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Shahriar Mandanipour's Censoring An Iranian Love Story, among others. (HL) Darznik.

Advanced Seminar

ENGL 380A - Keen

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. 

Spring 2014 topic:

ENGL 380B-01: Advanced Seminar: The 1960's in American Literature and Film: Toward "Edge City" (4). "Edge City" is the term Ken Kesey coined to describe his quest to "go beyond" conventional boundaries, to arrive at a new consciousness through spontaneous and communal art, drugs, sex, and criminality. The term serves to describe the "progress" and, for a radical few, the desired destination of an increasingly apocalyptic era, the 1960s. It was a decade of crises and cataclysms, of ecstatic celebrations and violent conflicts. The tenor of the period is reflected in the titles of prominent histories about the time: Years of Hope, Days of Rage; The Unraveling of America; Fire in the Streets; Smiling through the Apocalypse; and others. Mention of the Sixties can still provoke strong reactions, even among those who were not alive then or were very young. Politically, culturally, and artistically, the decade continues to be a lightning rod. This course explores why, through reading and viewing a few of the influential artistic works of the time. (HL) Oliver.

Winter 2014 topics:

ENGL 380-01: Advanced Seminar: Filming Jane (3). This seminar uses film adaptations of Pride and Prejudice as a lens to study aspects of the film industry in Hollywood, Britain, and India, with a focus on constructions of British and Indian national identity. Readings include Pride and Prejudice and Bridget Jones' Diary, along with Andrew Higson's work on heritage film, Rajindar Kumar's Dudrah's essays on Bollywood, and H. Mark Glancy's new book, When Hollywood Loved Britain. Films range from Robert Z. Leonard's 1940 P&P with Laurence Olivier and Greer Garson, to Bollywood's Bride and Prejudice, with Colin Firth, Keira Knightley, and Renee Zellweger also featured along the way. (HL) Brodie.

ENGL 380-02: Advanced Seminar: Stuck on the Dixie Express: William Faulkner and Flannery O'Connor (3). In this seminar, we study two of the South's greatest writers, talking about the picture of the South they have conveyed to the world and the problems it has caused. Is the South a Gothic land of dilapidated old mansions, freaks, murder, incest, rape, and mental torture destroyed by moral evils, or a glorious land of mint juleps, learning, culture, civility, and honor we prefer to reenact at Washington and Lee? Why did Faulkner and O'Connor tell their gruesome stories? What have we who live in the South gained and lost because of their literary power? And how do Southern readers and writers get rid of these stereotypes now and move on, so everyone is not stuck forever on this version of the Dixie Express, but can tell other stories that paint the South in a more positive light? (HL) Smout.  

Advanced Seminar

ENGL 380B - Oliver

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. 

Spring 2014 topic:

ENGL 380B-01: Advanced Seminar: The 1960's in American Literature and Film: Toward "Edge City" (4). "Edge City" is the term Ken Kesey coined to describe his quest to "go beyond" conventional boundaries, to arrive at a new consciousness through spontaneous and communal art, drugs, sex, and criminality. The term serves to describe the "progress" and, for a radical few, the desired destination of an increasingly apocalyptic era, the 1960s. It was a decade of crises and cataclysms, of ecstatic celebrations and violent conflicts. The tenor of the period is reflected in the titles of prominent histories about the time: Years of Hope, Days of Rage; The Unraveling of America; Fire in the Streets; Smiling through the Apocalypse; and others. Mention of the Sixties can still provoke strong reactions, even among those who were not alive then or were very young. Politically, culturally, and artistically, the decade continues to be a lightning rod. This course explores why, through reading and viewing a few of the influential artistic works of the time. (HL) Oliver.

Winter 2014 topics:

ENGL 380-01: Advanced Seminar: Filming Jane (3). This seminar uses film adaptations of Pride and Prejudice as a lens to study aspects of the film industry in Hollywood, Britain, and India, with a focus on constructions of British and Indian national identity. Readings include Pride and Prejudice and Bridget Jones' Diary, along with Andrew Higson's work on heritage film, Rajindar Kumar's Dudrah's essays on Bollywood, and H. Mark Glancy's new book, When Hollywood Loved Britain. Films range from Robert Z. Leonard's 1940 P&P with Laurence Olivier and Greer Garson, to Bollywood's Bride and Prejudice, with Colin Firth, Keira Knightley, and Renee Zellweger also featured along the way. (HL) Brodie.

ENGL 380-02: Advanced Seminar: Stuck on the Dixie Express: William Faulkner and Flannery O'Connor (3). In this seminar, we study two of the South's greatest writers, talking about the picture of the South they have conveyed to the world and the problems it has caused. Is the South a Gothic land of dilapidated old mansions, freaks, murder, incest, rape, and mental torture destroyed by moral evils, or a glorious land of mint juleps, learning, culture, civility, and honor we prefer to reenact at Washington and Lee? Why did Faulkner and O'Connor tell their gruesome stories? What have we who live in the South gained and lost because of their literary power? And how do Southern readers and writers get rid of these stereotypes now and move on, so everyone is not stuck forever on this version of the Dixie Express, but can tell other stories that paint the South in a more positive light? (HL) Smout.  

Hotel Orient

ENGL 382 - Kao

This seminar charts the historical encounters between East and West through the very spaces that facilitate cross-cultural transactions from the medieval to the postmodem. If modem 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.

Supervised Study in Great Britain

ENGL 386 - Pickett

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.

Spring 2014 topic:

ENGL 386: Shakespeare in Performance: Supervised Study in Great Britain (4). Prerequisites: English 299 or instructor consent. A study of Shakespeare in performance in Stratford-upon-Avon and London, England. In Stratford, students see the performances of the Royal Shakespeare Company and participate in programing and workshops with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. In London, students experience shows and workshops at the Globe Theatre, as well as other venues. (HL) Pickett. Spring 2014