DePaul University English Department
Undergraduate Bachelor of Arts in English
2014 Winter Schedule & Course Descriptions
**NOTE: COURSES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE
UIP 240 Career Pathways: Explore Your Options
E. Childs Wednesdays, 6:00-8:00, LPC
Meetings take place every second week: 1/15, 1/29, 2/12, 2/26, 3/12
Have you ever wondered what you can do with an English degree? English majors are very welcome to join this course designed to help liberal arts students make informed decisions about careers they might wish to pursue after graduation. The course provides students with an opportunity to explore a variety of career options, through research, discussion, and personal reflection. Students analyze their own skills, studies, and personality preferences as a basis for career possibilities. Since this is a 2-credit course, it can be added to a four-course, 16-credit load at no additional cost.
ENG 120 Reading Literature
D. Trongeau Mondays & Wednesdays 4:20-5:50, LPC
ENG 130 Themes in Literature: Fantasy Fiction
H. Ingrasci Tuesdays & Thursdays 11:20-12:50, LPC
ENG 201 Creative Writing
M. Anderson Mondays & Wednesdays 4:20-5:50, LPC
M. Arendt Mondays & Wednesdays 1:00-2:30, LPC
K. Rooney Mondays & Wednesdays 2:40-4:10, LPC
S. Ramirez Tuesdays & Thursdays 1:00-2:30, LPC
This course is intended to introduce creative writing as a practice. Like any practice, the process of learning to write creatively is twofold: first, you learn by careful observation how creative writing works; second, you take a crack at doing it yourself.
ENG 211 English Studies: Grammar and Style
C. Sirles Mondays & Wednesdays 1:00-2:30, LPC
Face-to-face meetings on 1/6, 1/13, 1/20/ 1/27 2/3, 2/10, 2/17, 2/24 3/3, 3/10/ 3/12, 3/17
ENG 218 Reading and Writing Fiction
W.A. Ewell Mondays & Wednesdays 4:20-5:50, LPC
ENG 219 Reading & Writing Poetry
C. Green Tuesdays & Thursdays 4:30-5:50, LPC
Reading & Writing Poetry is an introduction to being a critic of poetry and a poet. You will analyze poems by modern and contemporary poets and you will also write a variety of types of poems. Indeed, you will come to see that reading and writing are a continuous process—that, as Wallace Stevens says, “Writing is a concentrated form of reading.” A main goal of the class is to help you overcome any fears or apprehension you have about poetry. Accordingly, we will create a friendly, supportive community. Ultimately, you will learn to open yourselves to the mystery of poetry and the pleasure of intuition and play, which are necessary to appreciating and making even the most serious art.
ENG 220 Reading Poetry
M. Heffernan Tuesdays & Thursdays 1:00-2:30, LPC
M. Arendt Mondays & Wednesdays 2:40-4:10, LPC
R. Squibbs Mondays & Wednesdays 9:40-11:10, LPC
Dr. Heffernan is calling her section of ENG 220 Reading Poetry: Lyric Power. In the Republic, Plato famously casts poets out of his ideal state, fearful of the sway that they might exercise over his leaders. Philip Sidney imagines Irish bards to be so powerful that their listeners might “be rhymed to death.” Emily Dickinson describes poetry as a physically transformative experience: “If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can warm me I know that is poetry.” Drawing on this tradition of awe, wonder, and fear, this course explores the power of poetry as a medium of expression. Our goal will be to deepen your ability to interpret poems from a variety of historical periods and traditions. Across the term, you will be introduced to a range of poetic forms as well as to standard terminology of versification. You will then learn to use this technical knowledge to write nuanced arguments about how poetry produces meaning through the dynamic interplay between form and content.
ENG 221 Reading Prose
H. Pittard Wednesdays 6:00-9:15, LPC
W.A. Ewell Mondays & Wednesdays 11:20-12:50, LPC
M. Harvey Tuesdays & Thursdays 11:20-12:50, LPC
ENG 228 Introducing Shakespeare
M. Williams Tuesdays & Thursdays 11:50-1:20, LOOP
We study five major plays covering three genres; History, Tragedy, Comedy. The five will be selected from the following list: Richard II, Richard III, Henry IV Part 1, Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth, King Lear, Much Ado About Nothing, As You Like It, Twelfth Night.
We generally study the plays in the order they were believed to have been be written. The first half of the course emphasizes Shakespeare’s growing ability to create complex characters, and the second half focuses on the great tragic heroes.
Classroom activities include lecture, video study, and discussion.
A 1000 word paper is due midway in the course and a second at the end. We have a take-home mid-term, which is all essay questions, and an in-class open-book final. We have a short objective quiz on every play.
ENG 245 The British Novel: Sex and Power
J. Conary Mondays & Wednesdays 11:20-12:50, LPC
What do sex and power have to do with the history of the supposedly tight-laced British novel? This course will investigate the relationship between sex, gender, class, and British national identity in major novels from the mid-18th century to the mid-20th century. We’ll look at both the formal properties of the genre and the historical conditions that gave rise to particular types of narratives by tracing the evolution of one primary narrative: that of a lower-class young woman who is sexually pursued by an upper-class man. We’ll talk about why this story occurs so frequently in the tradition of the British novel and how its various incarnations reflect changes in the genre and historical attitudes toward gender and class. Our primary texts will be Samuel Richardson’s Pamela, Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park, Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles, and Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea.
ENG 265 “Cutting Across the Grain: The Modern American Novel”
G. Smith Mondays & Wednesdays 9:40-11:10, LPC
This course focuses of novels from the late 19th-century to the present that “cut across the grain” to uncover those cultural and social values that define not only the American experience but the many cultural experiences of Americans. Works include William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying, James Welch’s Winter in the Blood, Henry James’s Washington Square, Philip Roth’s Goodbye, Columbus, and Harriet Wilson’s Our Nig. The course satisfies the Diverse Traditions (DT) requirement for English majors.
Eng 272: Literature and Identity: “I, too, sing America”: Race, Gender, and National Identity, 1840-1950
K. Mikos Tuesdays & Thursdays 2:40-4:10, LPC
In 1941, F.O. Matthiessen coined the term “American Renaissance” to define a period of profound literary output in the mid-nineteenth century. In a short time, Matthiessen’s authors—Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, Melville, Whitman—produced a number of masterpieces that came to define an American identity in arts and letters. However, critics have argued that the clear dominance of an all-white, all-male canon composing this “renaissance” is far too limited, and thus fails to provide an accurate account of the reality of the American identity formed in this period.
This course will explore the essential importance of female and African-American writers who had an equally profound impact on shaping the American identity. As we read works by mid-nineteenth century authors (those who did not make Matthiessen’s list), we will question just what an “American identity” is, the problems of “American exceptionalism,” and the influence that nationalism has on literature. We will then look at a second period of profound literary output in America, the “Harlem Renaissance.” By comparing short stories, poems, novels, and essays produced during the mid-twentieth century with those of the mid-nineteenth, we will both determine the formal literary qualities that define a work as “American” and question the confidence we might give to the notion of an “American” identity.
This course satisfies the Diverse Traditions requirement for English majors.
ENG 273 Global Asian Literature
J. Chung Tuesdays & Thursdays 9:40-11:10, LPC
This course fulfills the Diverse Tradtions requirement for English majors.
ENG 275 Literature and Film: Portraits of Power & Madness
K. Mikos Tuesdays & Thursdays 4:20-5:50, LPC
ENG 275 Literature and Film: Realizing the Modern Dystopia
B. Niro Tuesdays & Thursdays 10:10-11:40, LOOP
ENG 275 Literature and Film: From Page to Screen
R. Meyer ONLINE
ENG 291 Intermediate Fiction Writing
H. Pittard Mondays & Wednesdays 1:00-2:30, LPC
ENG 292 Intermediate Poetry Writing
C. Green Tuesdays & Thursdays 1:00-2:30, LPC
In Intermediate Poetry Writing, you will learn about various aspects of poetic process and style—we’ll focus on awareness, invention, description, lineation, and revision. You’ll read like thieves—seeing what you can take from a variety of modern and contemporary poets. You’ll write ten poems plus revisions…and you’ll learn about poetry by copying out fifty of your favorite poems. You’ll learn that writing is not necessarily a solitary endeavor—you’ll workshop poems in writing groups of your own choosing. You’ll also have an opportunity to do a public reading of your poems at the end of the quarter.
ENG 307 Advanced Fiction Writing
W. A. Ewell Mondays & Wednesdays 9:40-11:10, LPC
This is a fairly typical old-fashioned workshop. Students will be reading various contemporary published short stories, but the main focus will be the students’ fiction, which we will read and discuss each week.
ENG 308 Advanced Poetry Writing
K. Rooney Mondays & Wednesdays 11:20-12:50, LPC
The word “poet” comes from the Greek poiein, meaning “to make, create, or compose,” originating from the shared Proto-Indo-European root kwei- (“to pile or heap up”). In this class, you will not merely make poems, but will also consider the poem itself and the poetry collection as crafted objects made by hand. And instead of just piling your drafts into a folder or heaping them into a final portfolio, you will spend the quarter working toward the creation of a cohesive limited edition chapbook of your own original poetry, complete with title, cover, jacket copy and artist’s statement. As you draft, revise, order, and organize your poems with an eye toward their presentation in the format of an artistic pamphlet, you will make numerous discoveries—about structure, about content, and about your processes and preoccupations as a reader and writer of poetry.
ENG 309 Topics in Writing: The Art of Writing for TV and the Internet
S. Fay Thursdays 6:00-9:15, LPC
In this course, we’ll discover whether writing for television and the Internet can be considered an art. We’ll explore what it means to place aesthetic values on these genres, read various nonfiction blogs and websites, and view the pilots of several television shows that (I argue) have reached artistic heights that film (including the newly released French series “The Returned” and the American series “Rectify”). You will then write your own television pilot (in groups or on your own, comedy or drama), write content for a blog or a website, and learn the rudimentary aspects of coding.
ENG 309 Topics in Writing: The Writer as Urban Walker
K. Rooney Mondays & Wednesdays 4:20-5:50, LPC
The structure of the city is the structure of a dream. Writers have long used the experience of the drifting yet observant urban walk as an imaginative analog for the act of reading and writing. This class will focus on the city not only as a planned environment, but as the site of gaps, ghosts, interruptures, erasures, clues, hidden histories and secret codes. If one can become, as Baudelaire said, “a botanist of the sidewalk,” then one can encounter the city as an infinitely rewritable text and opportunity for transformation and revolution. This cross-/mixed-genre class is designed to familiarize you the techniques of reading like a writer, as well as to furnish you with the vocabulary and practices of the creative writing workshop.
ENG 309 Topics in Writing: First-Person Fiction Narratives
H. Pittard Mondays & Wednesdays 2:40-4:10, LPC
On the surface, the first-person narrative seems a straightforward affair. I did this. I did that. I think this. I think that. But the truly brilliant first-person narrative tells not only the intended story, but also several ostensibly unintended ones as well. In this class, we’ll discuss the difference between author and narrator, and talk about the relationship each has with the reader; we’ll read published first-person narratives and write our own; and we will attempt to put our finger on the often subtle — yet undeniably magical — difference between the successful first-person narrative and the unsuccessful one.
ENG 309 Topics in Writing: The Short Story Cycle
D. Stolar Tuesdays & Thursdays 2:40-4:10, LPC
The Short Story Cycle is a craft class that looks at books of short stories where the stories both stand on their own individually and work together in interesting ways to form a book. The short story cycle is an underappreciated genre that includes such classic as Winesburg, Ohio and The Things They Carried. It is also a great genre for creative writing students because it looks at the small units best suited to learn craft (stories) while also enabling us to begin to conceptualize an entire book. We will read a number of short story cycles and practice conscious emulation while writing our own fiction.
ENG 309 Topics in Writing: Poetry and Popular Culture
D. Welch Tuesdays & Thursdays 9:40-11:10, LPC
This course will focus on poetry’s role in popular culture as well as how contemporary poets present pop culture in their poems. We’ll write and workshop poems based off of a number of pop-culture specific prompts, and course materials will cover a range of topics including Mad Men, the Alien franchise, The Super Bowl, NPR, reality television, The Manhattan Project, and slam poetry.
ENG 309 Topics in Writing: The Prose Poem
M. Turcotte Mondays & Wednesdays 11:20-12:50, LPC
ENG 309 Topics in Writing: Writing Young Adult Literature
N. Grossman Tuesdays & Thursdays 4:20-5:50, LPC
Young adults are recognized as beings in evolution, in search of self and identity, transitioning to adulthood while facing physical, intellectual, emotional, and societal needs. Young adult literature addresses the needs of this unique audience, providing a literary experience that the reader would find relevant. Students will read models of young adult fiction and explore, through workshops and assignments, how to tailor the elements of good fiction – plot, conflict, structure, voice, characterization, dialogue, and point-of-view – to a young adult audience. Possible texts include: The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton; Dark Life, by Kat Falls; and Is it Night or Day? by Fern Schumer Chapman.
ENG 319 Topics in Medieval Literature: Love and Chivalry
A. Clark-Bartlett Tuesdays & Thursdays 11:20-12:50, LPC
This undergraduate seminar explores some of the most influential representation of love and chivalry in medieval literature. Through careful reading, active discussion, and reflective research and writing, we will identify, compare, and analyze a wide range of theories and practices of medieval love and chivalry.
We’ll begin with some of the earliest Western ideas about love in biblical and patristic literature and then move the twelfth-century Art of Courtly Love, a how-to guide for lovers, by the cleric Andreas Capellanus. We’ll follow up with a collection of short verse narratives, The Lais of Marie de France, which illustrate how courtly love works–and does not work–in the world of the court and the noble household.
From here, we’ll examine the origins of chivalry in heroic culture and the literature of the crusades and then move to a late fourteenth century guidebook for knights, Geoffroi of Charny’s A Knight’s Own Guide to Chivalry. We will also explore Crusade narratives written by Christians as well as Muslims.
Through these lenses, we’ll and then to some late-medieval high romances. The first is Silence, an account of a medieval girl who is forced by her parents to grow up as a squire, and becomes the most celebrated knight of her era. We’ll close with Christine de Pizan’s Book of the City of Ladies, a chivalric and scholarly defense of women’s honor and virtue against the typical anti-woman attitudes promulgated by medieval clerics.
Reading and discussing these texts in their historical and critical contexts will allow us to understand the idealism and ambivalence of medieval authors about the issues of love, honor, warfare, which still resonate with our current notions of gender, justice, and governance.
This course fulfills the Diverse Traditions Requirement for the English Major.
ENG 320 English Renaissance Literature: Inventing Poesy
M. Heffernan Tuesdays & Thursdays 9:40-11:10, LPC
This course surveys British literature from 1500 to 1660, a period stretching from the early humanist culture of the Tudor court through the flourishing literary scene in 1590s London to the political unrest before the Civil War. Our goal is to understand how imaginative literature has responded both to changing social and cultural contexts and to the history of its own genres and forms. How did a distinctly national literary tradition begin to emerge in England? What were the period strategies for writing about themes including love, travel, self, society, otherness, and religious devotion? What did English writers learn from engaging with the classical past? Reading and discussing foundational texts, we will construct a history of early modern genres (epic, lyric, drama, prose) and styles (Petrarchan, metaphysical, allegorical, neoclassical).
ENG 327 Milton
P. McQuade Mondays & Wednesdays 9:40-11:10, LPC
ENG 328 Shakespeare
F. Royster Tuesdays & Thursdays 11:20-12:50, LPC
ENG 339 Topics in Restoration and 18th Century Literature: The Country & the City
R. Squibbs Mondays & Wednesdays 1:00-2:30, LPC
This course takes its name from Raymond Williams’s landmark 1973 study of how the social and cultural changes wrought by modern capitalism in England were registered, and understood, in terms of contrasting notions of rural and urban life. The ideal of the country as a place of simple communal harmony and relative innocence was generated in part, Williams argues, in response to the alienation and personal isolation associated with urban experience. In this analysis, “the country” as a way of life is an imaginative product of urban modernity that gets mistaken for a real set of conditions which were being consigned to the past as English society became modernized and urbanized. In this course we will examine the insights, and limitations, of Williams’s account of how literature in the 18th century represented the country and city both as places, and as expressions of distinctive attitudes and experiences. In addition to Williams’s book, we will read poetry, prose, and plays by James Boswell, Eliza Haywood, John Gay, Oliver Goldsmith, Frances Burney, Thomas Gray, Anne Yearsley, James Lillo, John Clare and Christopher Smart. If you’ve taken ENG 330 and found the literature and ideas you encountered in that course even remotely interesting, then this course should be of special interest to you.
ENG 340 Nineteenth-Century British Literature
J. Conary Mondays & Wednesdays 2:40-4:10, LPC
This course will familiarize you with the major literary and cultural movements of the nineteenth century in Britain. To help anchor our exploration of the period, we’ll be focusing on the theme of “change” in each of the works we’ll discuss. On the occasion of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897, American writer Mark Twain observed, “British history is 2,000 years old, and yet in a good many ways the world has moved further ahead since the Queen was born than it moved in all the rest of the 2,000 put together.” British writers and intellectuals from throughout the nineteenth century saw themselves as experiencing a moment of dramatic change in terms of technology, the social hierarchy, gender roles, theology, and imperialism, to name just a few, and these momentous shifts often brought about paradoxical feelings of optimism and doubt as to the ultimate effects of “progress.” Throughout the course, we’ll trace how nineteenth-century British writers represented and negotiated their views of a rapidly changing world. Major texts will likely include poetry by Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley, Byron, and Keats; Jane Austen’s Emma; Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South; Dickens’s Great Expectations; and H.G. Wells’s The Time Machine.
ENG 350 Modern British Literature
D. Gardiner Monday 6:00-9:15, LPC
English 350: Modern British Literature is a survey of twentieth-century British writers of fiction, poetry, drama and criticism. The readings will begin with a study of modernism and modernist writings and work through to authors of the late twentieth-century. Briefly, modernism was a European movement of the early to mid-twentieth century that represented a self-conscious break with traditional forms and subject matter and a search for a distinctly contemporary mode of expression. From this basis, we will read the influence – positive and negative – upon a number of writers as they responded to, and shaped, events during the last century throughout the former British Empire. Some of the readings for the course will be student-determined, and may include: Conrad, Housman, Sassoon, Owen, Graves, Pound, H.D., Loy, Yeats, Woolf, Joyce, Eliot, Mansfield, Rhys, Beckett, Auden, Thiong’O, Rushdie, Lessing, Larkin, Hughes, Heaney, Boland, Muldoon and Zadie Smith. Requirements will include discussion postings, active involvement, three short papers and a final paper. Our required class text will be The Norton Anthology of English Literature: Volume F (ed. Greenblatt, 2012). All other print and multimedia materials will be available on-line.
ENG357: Topics in Irish Studies: James Joyce, W.B. Yeats and the Irish Revival
J. Murphy Tuesdays & Thursdays 2:40-4:10, LPC
In the three decades before Irish independence in 1922 Ireland underwent an enormous cultural revival. Attempts were made to turn the dying Irish language into a living vernacular, to revive the Irish countryside through the co-operative movement and to revitalize nationalist politics in a variety of ways. It was an era of polemic over what it meant to be Irish and how a ‘Celtic’ or Gaelic element might fit into that identity, as urban intellectuals turned their imaginations to the impoverished and hitherto neglected west of Ireland as a source for cultural energy. A group of Anglo-Irish writers including W.B. Yeats, J.M Synge and Lady Gregory attempted to create a new Irish poetry and drama in the English language, particularly through the Abbey Theatre in Dublin. They encountered opposition from those who suspected their motives and provenance in the former ruling class, the Protestant Ascendancy. This course examines the Irish Revival and pays particular attention to the work of Synge and of Yeats (some of whose best work was written after it was over). It also explores the fiction of James Joyce who stood apart from the revival and who struggled with the legacy of the bourgeois Dublin from which he had come in order to forge an artistic identity for himself.
ENG 361 American Literature 1830-1865
H. Ingrasci Tuesdays & Thursdays 2:40-4:10, LPC
ENG 362 American Literature 1865-1920
N. Leahy Mondays & Wednesdays 2:40-4:10, LPC
This course surveys American fiction from the latter half of the nineteenth century through the opening decades of the twentieth century. As scholars of this period have noted, these decades saw major shifts in the United States geographically (as it expanded west), demographically (Reconstruction, immigration), politically (suffrage, labor movement), economically (industrialism, the rise of high finance), and culturally, as writers and artists sought new ways to represent and critique this fast-changing American society. Our primary concerns this quarter will be with analyzing the new methods of storytelling that emerged during this dynamic period (realism, naturalism, modernism), the major ideas behind these new methods, and how these narrative methods relate to the social and political issues addressed in the texts we read. We will also consider the broader historical context in which the writer was working. Our guiding questions will be: What claims is the story making about being “real” or “true,” how is it doing so, and why? What problems pinpointed in the story, and what solutions are provided, if any? How does the structure of the story relate to its content? What are the racial, economic, sexual, and cognitive limits placed on various characters in the story? Works include: William Dean Howells, The Rise of Silas Lapham; Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; Stephen Crane: Maggie: A Girl of the Streets; Charles Chesnutt, The Marrow of Tradition; Kate Chopin, The Awakening; as well as stories by Ambrose Bierce, Henry James, and Edith Wharton, and a selection of modernist poetry.
ENG 363 American Literature Since 1920
J. Chung Tuesdays & Thursdays 11:20-12:50, LPC
This survey focuses on 20th and 21st century American literary works, authors, and movements. Coverage will explore several genres, and expose students to the diversity of some major American literary movements and authors since high modernism.
ENG 366: Modern Poetry
E. Selinger Tuesdays & Thursdays 9:40-11:10, LPC
ENG 366 is a survey of modern American poetry running more or less from the end of the 19th century to the end of World War 2. Our texts will be the two eclectic Library of America anthologies, which include everything from canonical figures (Williams, Stevens, Moore, Hughes) to blues and Tin Pan Alley lyricists (Bessie Smith, Cole Porter, Jerome Kern), and we will read as widely as we can manage, with a strong emphasis on women poets and poets of color. Our primary focus will be on issues of literary pleasure. How did highbrow and popular modernist poets appeal to the eye, the ear, the mind, and the heart? What pleasures and gratifications do they still provide, and how can reading these poets in the classroom set the stage for a lifetime of reading poetry simply for pleasure, modern and otherwise?
ENG 371 African-American Fiction
G. Smith Mondays & Wednesdays 11:20-12:50
This course offers a brief survey of the African-American novel from early modernist Harlem Renaissance (1919-1929) to late modernist Black Womanist Fiction (1950-Present). Within the survey, we will examine works by African American writers who present certain themes and stylistic conventions for their respective literary periods; our class discussions will thus explore the relevance of the particular writers and their literary works to broader socio-cultural and political issues within the African American literary canon. We will also explore the unique contributions each writer has made to the novel as a literary art form.
This course satisfies the Diverse Traditions requirement for English majors.
ENG 376 Creative Writing and Social Engagement: Creative Writing/Social Media
D. Welch Tuesdays & Thursdays 1:00-2:30, LPC
By utilizing numerous forms of social media as well as participating in events throughout Chicago, this course will help students develop ways of building the community necessary to write and engage in the literary arts beyond their undergraduate studies. We’ll explore how online publications along with Twitter, Facebook, and blog communities help support the individual writer as well as local reading series and writer’s groups. We’ll also cover strategies for submitting work for publication and, depending on interest, graduate school applications. This is a hybrid course that meets in person on Tuesday afternoons in addition to completing corresponding work online.
ENG 379 LITERATURE AND EMPIRE: Individual and Nation
C. Goffman Tuesdays 6:00-9:15, LPC
LITERATURE AND EMPIRE explores literary representations of imperial and post-colonial experience in locations such as Africa, India, the Caribbean, Turkey, and China. Class discussions will interrogate definitions and manifestations of “empire,” including metropolitan hegemony, cultural, religious and educational missions, cultural colonization, immigration, and globalization.
ENG 380: Masterpieces of World Literature: “Its EPIC! Homer and Virgil”
P. McQuade Mondays & Wednesdays 11:20-12:50, LPC
Do you slump down in your chair and try to become invisible when a teacher asks a question about Greek and Roman Mythology? Do you want to understand the Classical precedents for much of English, American and World Literature? Or perhaps you have read Homer in High School and always wanted to return to him, but can never find the time? Or maybe you just love Greek and Roman epic? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, then this class is for you! We will spend all ten weeks reading two texts: Homer’s Odyssey and Virgil’s Aeneid. Using the excellent translations of Robert Fagles, we will immerse ourselves in the world of these wonderful texts. Special attention to will be paid issues of gender, religion, and culture. We will also focus upon the epic form, tracing how it develops and how it provides a model for subsequent works like Milton’s Paradise Lost. Evaluation will be three take-home tests.
ENG 382, Major Authors: Melville & Stowe
M. Dinius Wednesdays 6:00-9:15, LPC
Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick (1851) has been called the greatest American novel, yet in the nineteenth century, it was a critical and commercial flop. Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852) was the best-selling book in nineteenth century America; in the twentieth century, it was neglected by literary historians until the 1980s. We will spend the bulk of the quarter reading these two major novels closely, considering their and their authors’ opposite trajectories. In the remaining time, we will read two of Melville’s post-Moby-Dick short stories, Frederick Douglass’s fictional response to Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and an excerpt from Stowe’s follow-up novel Dred. In considering how Melville and Stowe became “major” American authors, we will take up the related issues of the development of a national literature and print culture in the nineteenth century, the relationship of politics and art in the antebellum period, such cultural keywords as genius, originality, property, and copyright, and the ongoing evolution of the American literary canon and continuing debates about “great” literature. Assignments will include a significant amount of reading, two short essays (3-4 pp), a topic proposal and annotated bibliography for a final comparative essay, and the final comparative essay (8-10 pp).
ENG 382 Major Authors: James Baldwin
B. Johnson-Gonzalez Tuesdays & Thursdays 2:40-4:10, LPC
Our primary goal in this course is to become familiarized with the major works of James Baldwin. Baldwin wrote with breathtaking insight and great lyrical and moral power about questions of race, gender, and sexuality – and especially about the contradictions in American society related to these issues – at a time when it is was still controversial or unheard of to discuss such topics in public. Baldwin’s courageous writings are always an exercise in criticism at both personal and cultural levels: an attempt, that is, to grapple with the often debilitating individual experience and psychological impact of homophobia and racism, on the one hand, but also always an attempt to point toward ways to survive collectively and to inspire fundamental social and structural change, on the other. We will trace Baldwin’s critiques of American and African-American cultures, as well as develop a theoretical vocabulary with which to understand the complexities of race and sexuality in contemporary culture.
This course satisfies the Diverse Traditions requirement for English majors.
This year, this course has also been designated “Research Intensive,” so we will also be learning about research methods for literary study.
ENG 390 Senior Capstone: The Literature of Dystopia
R. Johns-Trissler Tuesdays & Thursdays 1:00-2:30, LPC
In our post-9/11 society, dystopian and postapocalyptic literature are thriving, and it’s no secret why. Never before has society been so complex, so technology-driven—and so carefully watched. According to editor John Joseph Adams, in dystopian literature society is itself typically the antagonist, actively working against the protagonist’s aims and desires. This oppression is typically enacted by a totalitarian or authoritarian government, resulting in the loss of civil liberties and untenable living conditions, caused by any number of circumstances, such as world overpopulation, laws controlling a person’s sexual or reproductive freedom, and living under constant surveillance. In this Senior Capstone, we will consider the literature of dystopia and postapocalypse in its current cultural and literary contexts, focusing primarily on contemporary works from Margaret Atwood, Octavia Butler, PD James, Kazuo Ishiguro, and Gary Shteyngart. To avoid repetition in the curriculum, the course will take as read three oft-assigned classics of dystopian literature: Brave New World, 1984, and Fahrenheit 451. Students who have not yet read these three classic dystopian novels are encouraged to do so before the course begins.
ENG 390 Senior Capstone Seminar: James Joyce
J. Fairhall Thursdays 6:00-9:15, LPC
ENG 390, the Senior Capstone Seminar on James Joyce, will examine two of Joyce’s major fictions, “Dubliners” and “Ulysses,” in their historical context. We will pay close attention to issues of language, politics, gender, and ideology. We will also connect Joyce’s fiction with Modernism and other schools of literature.
ENG 275 Literature & Film of the Vietnam War
J. Fairhall 10:00-1:15, LPC
Meets 12/2, 12/3, 12/4, 12/5, 12/9, 12/10, 12/11, 12/12, 12/16, 12/17
ENG 275, Literature & Film of the Vietnam War, introduces different modes—film, TV, fiction, memoir, history, poetry, and documentary—in which Americans (including a Vietnamese American) have grappled imaginatively with a traumatic historical event.
ENG 309 Topics in Writing: Scene & Vignette
R. Jones 12:00-3:45, LPC
Class meets 12/2, 12/3, 12/4, 12/5, 12/9, 12/10, 12/11, 12/12
This course will focus on the reading and in-class writing of brief, fully realized stories. Vignettes and Scenes are economical: brief narratives, sketches, and essays “characterized by great precision and delicate accuracy of composition.” [A Handbook to Literature] A vignette—a short impressionistic scene that focuses on one moment or a fleeting slice of life—is composed like a photograph or painting to give a trenchant impression about a character, an idea, a setting, or an object. The writing of vignettes requires utmost attention to detail, and requires a presence of mind and powers of keen observation that would be of help in any kind of creative writing.
This is a course in writing poetry and short imaginative prose. Students need no prior creative writing experience, but should be prepared to write extensively. Our goal will be the completion of a final portfolio—a small, cohesive, polished book of poems and stories.
ENG 382 Major Authors: Byron and His Circle
J. Gross 12:00-3:00, LPC
This is a hybrid class. The class will meet face to face on 12/2, 12/4, 12/6, 12/9, 12/11, 12/13. Online instruction will be 12/3, 12/5, 12/10, 12/12.
“The Liberal” constitutes the first use of the word as a political noun in English; the effect of political writers on revolutions in Spain, Portugal, and Greece (Shelley’s “Ode to the West Wind” for example) bears similarities to what we describe today as an “Arab” spring. This course treats the writers who Byron influenced and who were influenced by him, including Leigh Hunt, Percy Shelley (“Epipsychidion”, “England in 1819”), Mary Shelley (“The Last Man”), William Hazlitt, Ugo Foscolo, Goethe, and others—all of whom had some relationship to the definition of what we now call liberalism. The focus will be on Byron’s Pisa years, when he edited The Liberal with Leigh Hunt (Byron came up with the name of the periodical), Shelley drowned, and William Hazlitt wrote “My First Acquaintance with Poets.” We will focus on the periodical as a way of considering the writings of Byron’s contemporaries, and their reaction against Wordsworth and Coleridge. Works include a satire of George III entitled “The Vision of Judgement”, Don Juan Cantos 1 and 2. We will read Foscolo’s Last Letters of Jacopo Ortis, Goethe’s Sorrows of Young Werther, and Goethe’s Faust. Why did English aristocrats and English dissenters such as Hazlitt play such an over-sized role in helping Italy liberate itself from Austria? How do philosophical themes in British romantic poetry and Continental writing lend themselves to nationalist causes?