English Major

2017 - 2018 Catalog

English major leading to BA degree

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

  1. One or two English courses numbered between 202 and 295
  2. ENGL 299 (should be completed by the end of the sophomore year)
  3. Literatures before 1700: at least two courses chosen from ENGL 311, 312, 313, 316, 319, 320, 326, 330, 386, 392, and when the topic is appropriate 403
  4. Literatures from 1700-1900: at least one course chosen from ENGL 334, 335, 336, 341, 345, 348, 349, 358, 362, 367, 393, and when the topic is appropriate 403
  5. Literatures after 1900: at least one course chosen from ENGL 350, 351, 352, 353, 354, 355, 359, 360, 361, 363, 364, 365, 366, 368, 369, 370, 373, 375, 382, 384, 388, 394, and when the topic is appropriate 403
  6. "Counter traditions": at least one course chosen from ENGL 350, 351, 359, 361, 366, 382, 395, and when the topic is appropriate 403
  7. Two or three additional courses numbered at the 300-level or above, with the optional inclusion of one course from designated departments and programs
  8. Completion of the capstone writing requirement with either ENGL 413 (3) or 493 (3-3)

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

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

  1. One or two English courses numbered between 202 and 295
  2. Take ENGL 299
    • ENGL 299 - Seminar for Prospective Majors
      FDRHL
      Credits3
      PrerequisiteCompletion of FW composition requirement and at least one course chosen from English courses numbered from 203 to 295

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

      Winter 2018, ENGL 299-01: Seminar for Prospective Majors: Weeping Men and Fainting Women: Gender and Emotion in 18th- and 19th-Century Literature (3). David Hume famously theorized that emotion is contagious, moving quickly from person to person. Interestingly, this theory threatens to disrupt traditional gender binaries, as men are no more immune to sentiment than women are. Indeed, in 18th-century sentimental fiction men are suddenly sighing, blushing, fainting, and crying all over the page. Eventually, the hyperbole of sentimental fiction (e.g., Henry Mackenzie's The Man of Feeling) gives way to the more moderate literature of sensibility (e.g., Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility), but one thing remains consistent: emotion is contagious and gender is no obstacle. This course looks at three phrases in the British novel: sentimental novels, the literature of sensibility, and, finally, sensation fiction (e.g., Wilkie Collins's The Woman in White), which deploys emotional contagion in the service of terror rather than virtue. We discuss theories of emotion ranging from Adam Smith and David Hume to 21st-century affect theory. Students learn research skills and conclude by writing a scholarly paper on a topic of their choosing. (HL) Pickett.

      Winter 2018, ENGL 299-02: Seminar for Prospective Majors: Shakespeare's Tragic Vision (3). In this gateway course to the English major, students practice the skills of nuanced reading, mature discussion, analytical writing, and scholarly research expected in upper-division English classes. This section focuses on close readings of several Shakespearean tragedies, beginning with an in-depth investigation of Hamlet. Field trips to Staunton to see Hamlet at the American Shakespeare Center and to the Lenfest Center to see Washington and Lee's production of Romeo and Juliet enhance our study of the texts. (HL) Walle.

      Fall 2017, ENGL 299A-01: Seminar for Prospective Majors: Margaret Atwood and Human Rights Discourse (3). Discover the variety of genres (poetry, satire, novels, dystopias) written by one of the greatest living writers, Margaret Atwood. We consider the usefulness of comparative discussion of Atwood's sources (from Homer to Shakespeare to Orwell's 1984), and we employ a human rights framework in discussing her entertaining writings. A sequence of shorter writing assignments lead to a research paper, composed in stages. (HL) Keen.

      Fall 2017, ENGL 299B-01: Seminar for Prospective Majors: The Lord of the Rings from Page to Screen (3). J.R.R. Tolkien's epic novels and historical fantasies along with Peter Jackson's spectacular CGI film versions have together made these texts and, more important, the narrative they tell among the most significant cultural events of the 20th and 21st centuries. This course centers upon The Lord of the Rings novels and films but frames that dual achievement by looking, first, back to Tolkien's roots in 19th-century romance fiction and historical philology and, second, ahead to the important role played by Jackson's film adaptations in the development of modern CGI films. In these ways this course highlights Tolkien's larger cultural achievement, even as it provides students with a rich set of research questions and topics. (HL) Adams.


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

    • ENGL 311 - History of the English Language
      Credits4
      PrerequisiteENGL 299 or instructor consent
      FacultyKao

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


    • ENGL 312 - Gender, Love, and Marriage in the Middle Ages
      FDRHL
      Credits3
      PrerequisiteENGL 299
      FacultyKao

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


    • ENGL 313 - Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales
      FDRHL
      Credits3
      PrerequisiteENGL 299
      FacultyKao

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


    • ENGL 316 - The Tudors
      FDRHL
      Credits3
      Prerequisiteor corequisite: ENGL 299
      FacultyGertz

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


    • ENGL 319 - Shakespeare and Company
      FDRHL
      Credits3
      PrerequisiteENGL 299
      FacultyPickett

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


    • ENGL 320 - Shakespearean Genres
      FDRHL
      Credits3
      PrerequisiteENGL 299
      FacultyPickett

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


    • ENGL 326 - 17th-Century Poetry
      FDRHL
      Credits3
      PrerequisiteENGL 299
      FacultyGertz

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


    • ENGL 330 - Milton
      FDRHL
      Credits3
      PrerequisiteENGL 299
      FacultyGertz

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


    • ENGL 386 - Supervised Study in Great Britain
      FDRHL
      Credits4
      PrerequisiteENGL 299 or instructor consent

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


    • ENGL 392 - Topics in Literature in English before 1700
      Credits3 in fall or winter, 4 in spring
      PrerequisiteENGL 299

      Enrollment limited. A seminar course on literature written in English before 1700 with special emphasis on research and discussion. Student suggestions for topics are welcome. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.


    • and when the topic is appropriate:
      • ENGL 403 - Directed Individual Study
        Credits3
        PrerequisiteInstructor consent
        FacultyStaff

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


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

    • ENGL 334 - The Age of Unreason: Studies in 18th-Century Literature
      FDRHL
      Credits3
      PrerequisiteENGL 299
      FacultyKeiser

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


    • ENGL 335 - 18th-Century Novels
      FDRHL
      Credits3
      PrerequisiteENGL 299

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


    • ENGL 336 - Ghost in the Machine
      FDRHL
      Credits3
      PrerequisiteENGL 299
      FacultyKeiser

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


    • ENGL 341 - The Romantic Imagination
      FDRHL
      Credits3
      PrerequisiteENGL 299
      FacultyAdams

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


    • ENGL 345 - Studies in the 19th-Century British Novel
      FDRHL
      Credits3
      PrerequisiteENGL 299
      FacultyAdams

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


    • ENGL 348 - Victorian Poetry: Victorian Pairs
      FDRHL
      Credits3
      PrerequisiteENGL 299
      FacultyAdams

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


    • ENGL 349 - Middlemarch and Devoted Readers
      FDRHL
      Credits4
      PrerequisiteENGL 299
      FacultyAdams

      This seminar begins with and centers upon George Eliot's Middlemarch, a novel often regarded as one of the greatest and most ambitious produced in the era of the novel's securest cultural dominance and famously described by Virginia Woolf as one of the "few English novels written for grown-up people." It then problematizes this encounter by setting it in light of Rebecca's Mead's critically-acclaimed My Life in Middlemarch, a memoir of her devoted lifelong reading and reading of it, not just for pleasure but for its profound wisdom and insight. The question of such intense admiration verging on fandom is one that has received increasing scholarly attention, particularly in relation to the so-called Janeite phenomenon, that is, the love of Jane Austen fans for her novels, but extends to numerous other novelists, poets, playwrights, fun-makers, and their fans. Students supplement this focus of the course by researching and presenting their own exemplary case studies of such readerly devotion, obsession, or fandom.


    • ENGL 358 - Literature of Gender and Sexuality Before 1900
      FDRHL
      Credits3
      PrerequisiteENGL 299
      FacultyStaff

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


    • ENGL 362 - American Romanticism
      FDRHL
      Credits3
      PrerequisiteENGL 299
      FacultyWarren

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


    • ENGL 367 - 19th-Century American Novel
      FDRHL
      Credits3
      PrerequisiteENGL 299
      FacultyStaff

      A reading of major American novelists, focusing especially on Poe, Melville, and Hawthorne.  We also consider the relationship between the novel and punishment, especially in the works of Harriet Beecher Stowe, George Lippard, and William Wells Brown.  Additionally, we read fictions during the second half of the century by Twain, Chopin, and Chesnutt. Winter 2018: The Nineteenth Century and Its Shadow.  This course explores canonical American literature from the nineteenth century alongside a small selection of contemporary literary and cinematic texts that call on and intervene with this body of work.  Following Toni Morrison's charge that the contemplation of a black presence "is central to any understanding of our national literature and should not be permitted to hover at the margins of the literary imagination," this course focuses on how ideas of race are explored throughout the canon and how they have been carried forward.  Works considered come from, among others, Mark Twain, Herman Melville, Stephen Spielberg, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Frederick Douglas, Harriet Jacobs, Quentin Tarantino, Henry James, Edgar Allan Poe, and Paul Laurence Dunbar.


    • ENGL 393 - Topics in Literature in English from 1700-1900
      Credits3 in fall or winter, 4 in spring
      PrerequisiteENGL 299

      Enrollment limited. A seminar course on literature written in English from 1700 to 1900 with special emphasis on research and discussion. Student suggestions for topics are welcome. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

      Fall 2017, ENGL 393A-01: Moby Dick: Its Origins, Legacy, and Environmental Context (3). Prerequisite: ENGL 299. This course centers upon Melville's famous quest narrative, which many critics regard as having the best claim to the title of "Great American Novel". We first look to such major British influences as Romantic poet S.T. Coleridge, Victorian prose master Thomas Carlyle, Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, Hemingway's Old Man and the Sea, and Spielberg's Jaws. The literary and theoretical emphasis, however, stresses Moby Dick's generic status as both an epic and a georgic, that is, a heroic tale of humankind's effort to conquer the natural world through technological prowess—and the tragic results of that (in)glorious aspiration for both humanity and the environment. In this regard, both genre theory and eco-criticism are central to this course's effort to contextualize and comprehend the larger achievement of Melville's masterpiece. (HL) Adams.


    • and when the topic is appropriate:
      • ENGL 403 - Directed Individual Study
        Credits3
        PrerequisiteInstructor consent
        FacultyStaff

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


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

    • ENGL 350 - Postcolonial Literature
      FDRHL
      Credits3
      PrerequisiteENGL 299
      FacultyKeen

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


    • ENGL 351 - World Fiction in English
      FDRHL
      Credits3
      PrerequisiteENGL 299
      FacultyKeen

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


    • ENGL 352 - Modern Irish Literature
      FDRHL
      Credits3
      PrerequisiteENGL 299
      FacultyConner

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


    • ENGL 353 - 20th-Century British and Irish Poetry
      FDRHL
      Credits3
      PrerequisiteENGL 299
      FacultyWheeler

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


    • ENGL 354 - Contemporary British and American Drama
      FDRHL
      Credits3
      PrerequisiteENGL 299
      FacultyPickett

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


    • ENGL 355 - Studies in British Fiction Since 1900
      FDRHL
      Credits3
      PrerequisiteENGL 299
      FacultyKeen

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


    • ENGL 359 - Literature by Women of Color
      FDRHL
      Credits3
      PrerequisiteENGL 299
      FacultyMiranda

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


    • ENGL 360 - Cowboys and Indians
      FDRHL
      Credits3
      PrerequisiteENGL 299
      FacultySmout

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


    • ENGL 361 - Native American Literatures
      FDRHL
      Credits3
      PrerequisiteENGL 299
      FacultyMiranda

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


    • ENGL 363 - American Poetry from 1900 to 1945
      FDRHL
      Credits3
      PrerequisiteENGL 299
      FacultyWheeler

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


    • ENGL 364 - American Poetry at Mid-Century
      FDRHL
      Credits3
      PrerequisiteENGL 299 or instructor consent
      FacultyWheeler

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


    • ENGL 365 - Studies in Contemporary Poetry
      FDRHL
      Credits3
      PrerequisiteENGL 299 or instructor consent

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


    • ENGL 366 - African-American Literature
      FDRHL
      Credits3
      PrerequisiteENGL 299
      FacultyStaff

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


    • ENGL 368 - The Modern American Novel
      FDRHL
      Credits3
      PrerequisiteENGL 299
      FacultyConner

      A careful examination of the great achievements in the American novel in the early 20th century. We focus particularly on the work of Fitzgerald, Faulkner, Hemingway, and Wharton. Key texts include Winesburg, Ohio, The Age of Innocence, The Great Gatsby, The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms, The Sound and the Fury, and Go Down, Moses. Assignments include a long research essay on one of the novels of the course.


    • ENGL 369 - Late 20th-Century North American Fiction
      FDRHL
      Credits3
      PrerequisiteENGL 299
      FacultyGavaler

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


    • ENGL 370 - Contemporary North American Fiction
      Credits3
      PrerequisiteENGL 299
      FacultyGavaler

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


    • ENGL 373 - Hitchcock
      FDRHL
      Credits4
      PrerequisiteENGL 299
      FacultyAdams

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


    • ENGL 375 - Literary Theory
      FDRHL
      Credits3
      PrerequisiteENGL 299
      FacultyWarren

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


    • ENGL 382 - Hotel Orient
      FDRHL
      Credits3 credits in fall or winter, 4 in spring
      PrerequisiteENGL 299 or instructor consent
      FacultyKao

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


    • ENGL 384 - Ireland in Literature, History, and Film
      FDRHL
      Credits3
      PrerequisiteThree credits in 200-level English
      FacultyConner

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


    • ENGL 388 - Exploring the West of Ireland
      Credits4
      PrerequisiteENGL 384 and at least one course in English at the 200-level or higher or instructor consent. Non-majors welcome
      FacultyConner

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


    • ENGL 394 - Topics in Literature in English since 1900
      Credits3 in fall or winter, 4 in spring
      PrerequisiteENGL 299 or vary with topic

      Enrollment limited. A seminar course on literature written in English since 1900 with special emphasis on research and discussion. Student suggestions for topics are welcome. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

      Winter 2018, ENGL 394A-01: Topics in Literature in English since 1900: New Topographers: Contemporary Environmental Writers (3). In this seminar, we read contemporary environmental writers of the last 40 years. The readings include poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, including major works by Barry Lopez, Robert Macfarlane, and Robin Kimmerer. A course pack is the source for representative works by some 25 other writers. Along with shorter writing assignments and oral presentations, plan to write a research paper for the course. (HL) Warren.

      Fall 2017, ENGL 394A-01: Topics in Literature in English since 1900: Between the Acts: The Life and Writing of Virginia Woolf (3). Virginia Woolf is one of the most important writers of the 20th century. She is best remembered for contributions to the modern British novel, but she was also an astute (and prolific) literary critic, as well as an influential feminist thinker. This course considers Woolf in context, reading her work alongside key examples of modernist fiction. Born into a world of strict Victorian morals but coming of age among the vibrant avant-garde, Woolf's life mirrors the fast-paced changes of the early 20th century, and thus her biography and her literary coterie are focal points of our discussion. In addition to canonical works like Mrs. Dalloway (1925) and To the Lighthouse (1927), we also read Between the Acts (1941) and Orlando (1928), as well as selections of Woolf's feminist theory and literary criticism. (HL) Walle.


    • and when the topic is appropriate:
      • ENGL 403 - Directed Individual Study
        Credits3
        PrerequisiteInstructor consent
        FacultyStaff

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


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

    • ENGL 350 - Postcolonial Literature
      FDRHL
      Credits3
      PrerequisiteENGL 299
      FacultyKeen

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


    • ENGL 351 - World Fiction in English
      FDRHL
      Credits3
      PrerequisiteENGL 299
      FacultyKeen

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


    • ENGL 359 - Literature by Women of Color
      FDRHL
      Credits3
      PrerequisiteENGL 299
      FacultyMiranda

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


    • ENGL 361 - Native American Literatures
      FDRHL
      Credits3
      PrerequisiteENGL 299
      FacultyMiranda

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


    • ENGL 366 - African-American Literature
      FDRHL
      Credits3
      PrerequisiteENGL 299
      FacultyStaff

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


    • ENGL 382 - Hotel Orient
      FDRHL
      Credits3 credits in fall or winter, 4 in spring
      PrerequisiteENGL 299 or instructor consent
      FacultyKao

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


    • ENGL 395 - Topics in Literature in English in Counter Traditions
      Credits3-4
      PrerequisiteENGL 299

      Enrollment limited. A seminar course on literature written in English in an area of "counter traditions" with special emphasis on research and discussion. Student suggestions for topics are welcome. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

      Spring 2018, ENGL 395-01: Planetary Lines in World Literature (3). Prerequisite: ENGL 299. How do we read world literature in the Age of the Anthropocene? The growing debates around environmental crises have an emerging literary counterpart—whether these be realist novels on climate refugees in the Global South, eco-fiction works on dystopic survival, or documentary representations of a dissolving and privatizing landscape. This reading-intensive course examines multi-genre depictions from North America, Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Oceania of a human-impacted ecology. The question of "world" as universal and "planet" as material are thus considered, as are aesthetic moves narrating dis/placement and non/human relations. Course work includes in-class writing, group presentations, and a hybrid final paper that may incorporate creative elements. A midterm field project engaging with translation, as an underlying aspect of worlds in world literature, helps students collaborate across disciplinary and linguistic interests. (HL) Rajbanshi.


    • and, when the topic is appropriate
      • ENGL 403 - Directed Individual Study
        Credits3
        PrerequisiteInstructor consent
        FacultyStaff

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


  11. Two or three additional courses numbered at the 300-level or above, with the optional inclusion of one course from designated departments and programs
  12. Completion of the capstone writing requirement with either
    • ENGL 413 - Senior Research and Writing (3)
      Credits3
      PrerequisiteSix credits in English at the 300 level, senior major standing, and instructor consent. Enrollment limited to six

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

      Winter 2018, ENGL 413-01: Senior Research and Writing: Trans*ing the Text (3). How does a text generate and direct its economy of movements? A prefix, trans denotes moving across, into, and through; it connotes departure, flow, and arrival—from here to there. It is a turn (think of the volta in sonnets) that, as Eva Hayward and Jami Weinstein observe, "is cause to move, a difference in position, a change in nature". The asterisk affixed to trans* further marks both the word's prefixial motions and its expansive suffixial space to which all sorts of objects and ideas can attach themselves. With roots in affect, gender, and post-human studies, trans*ing investigates various tipping points that facilitate the traffic within and transgression of socio-political norms. For instance, the bite of a monster induces a transformation of not only the body but the nature of desire; or, a rejection of the marriage plot blocks certain narrative fulfillments but makes available the transition into different possibilities of identity. We learn how to engage in practices of trans*ing, a la Raymond Williams, through a cluster of sticky keywords: animacy, speciation, form, matter, body, object, affect, monstrosity, liminality, and border. Students compile a portfolio of reading responses in the first half of the seminar as preparation for their individual guided research project. (HL) Kao.

      Winter 2018, ENGL 413-02: Senior Research and Writing: Documentary Poetics (3). How do 20th- and 21st-century poets bear witness to social change, violence, and disaster? Students in this capstone read works by Muriel Rukeyser, Carolyn Forché, Patricia Smith, and many others, considering both the uses of poetry and the politics of documentation. What sources do documentary poets draw on and how do they handle the ethics of representation and citation? In response to the readings, students write critically and creatively, eventually pursuing research-based poetry projects on topics of their choosing. Previous workshop experience is not required but may be helpful. (HL) Wheeler.

      Fall 2017, ENGL 413-01: Senior Research and Writing: The Art of Narrative (3). This seminar focuses on the development of narrative strategies in short stories and narrative essays. You identify specific literary techniques, analyze them, and apply them in your own writing—fiction, non-fiction, or a combination. A literary technique is any use of language that can be studied in the context of a literary work, abstracted into a general method, and then recreated in an entirely new work. During the term, you develop two major pieces of writing simultaneously, each worth one third of your final grade: (1) a portfolio of original short fiction and/or personal essays that employs some of the identified techniques; and (2) an analytical essay exploring literary techniques from a range of published works. The essay establishes patterns of technique use and argues why certain techniques are employed for similar or contrasting effects in varying contexts. The remaining third of your final grade is the accumulative average of smaller and process assignments leading up to the major pieces. (HL) Gavaler.


    • or
    • ENGL 493 - Honors Thesis (3-3)
      Credits3-3
      PrerequisiteSenior major standing and honors candidacy. Instructor consent

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