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Fall Courses

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ENG 100 Topics in Literature
Andrea Hibbard, MWF 9:10-10:10
Kristin Fujie, MWF 10:20-11:20
Michael Mirabile, MWF 12:40-1:40

Emphasis on a particular theme or subgenre in literature to be chosen by the professor. Recent topics have included heroines in British fiction, literature and the environment, love and the novel, history of the lyric poem, and literature of immigration. May be taken twice for credit with change of topic.  Prerequisites: None.

ENG 200 Intro to Fiction Writing
Pauls Toutonghi
MWF 11:30-12:30

Class offers focused, writing-based exercises, coupled with careful reading of different types of fiction, to help build a student’s understanding of the fictional form. Creative work is produced and read in a workshop-based environment. 

Prerequisites: None
Restrictions: Sophomore standing or consent of instructor required

ENG 201 Intro to Poetry and Poetry Writing
Jerry Harp
TTH 1:50-3:20

Elements of poetry such as imagery, rhythm, tone. Practice in the craft. Frequent references to earlier poets.

Prerequisites: None
Restrictions: Sophomore standing or consent of instructor required.

ENG 205 Major Periods/Issues English Literature

Karen Gross, MWF 9:10-10:10
Will Pritchard, MWF  11:30-12:30
Lyell Asher, TTH 9:40-11:10

Introduction to ways of reading and writing about literature; historical development of English literature from Middle Ages to end of 17th century.

Prerequisites: None
Restrictions: Sophomore standing or consent of instructor required. (open to first years with 4 or 5 in AP-English).

ENG 240 The Brontes: Legends and Legacies
Andrea Hibbard
MWF 11:30-12:30

This course offers students the opportunity to read novels, letters, journal entries, poems, and juvenilia by Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë.  We will explore the mythology that has attached itself to the Brontë sisters — stories and images of them covertly penning works of  Gothic genius, passionate romance, and feminist revolt in a secluded moorland parsonage dominated by their strict father — even as we historicize their literary creations.  How did the Brontës simultaneously contribute to and distance themselves from mid-Victorian literary culture?  How can we account for the vexed critical reception the novels and their authors inspired?  Along the way, we will grapple with the afterlives of the two most celebrated novels.  We will read The Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys’s brilliant twentieth-century rejoinder to Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, and we will consider the significance of Hollywood’s gloriously futile efforts to translate the Byronic characters and tangled plotlines of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights to screen.

Prerequisites: None.
Restrictions: Sophomore standing or consent required.

ENG 300 Fiction Writing
Pauls Toutonghi
TTH 9:40-11:10

Discussion and small-group workshop. Required reading aloud from an anthology, with student-led discussion of authors’ texts. Daily exercises in various elements of short fiction, graduating to full-length stories; emphasis on revision. All students write evaluations of peers’ work and participate in oral critique.

Prerequisites: ENG 200 or consent of instructor.
Restrictions: Junior standing or consent of instructor required.

ENG 301:  Poetry Writing
Jerry Harp
M 3:00-4:30/TH 3:30-5:00

Discussion of student work with occasional reference to work by earlier poets. Students develop skills as writers and readers of poetry.

Prerequisites: ENG 201 or consent of instructor.

Restrictions: Junior standing or consent required.

ENG 323 Modern American Literature, 1900-WWII
Kristin Fujie
TTH 11:30-1:00

American literature in the first half of the 20th century as it is shaped by American writers’ growing familiarity with European modernism, with the failure of Victorian values exposed by World War I, and with the increasing presence of women and minority writers. Anderson, Cather, Dos Passos, Faulkner, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Hurston, LeSueur, Stein, Steinbeck, Toomer, West, Wright.

Prerequisites: None.
Restrictions: Junior standing or consent required.

ENG 326 African American Literature
Rachel Cole
TTH 9:40am-11:10am

The African American literary tradition from the late 19th century to the present. Points of contact with, and departure from, the rest of American literary history with emphasis on the black oral tradition, particularly the pattern of call-and-response as writers adapt it to the literary forms of fiction and poetry from spirituals, work songs, blues, jazz, and storytelling. May include Baldwin, Baraka, Brooks, Brown, Chesnutt, Dove, DuBois, Dunbar, Ellison, Gaines, Harper, Hayden, Hughes, Hurston, Charles Johnson, James Weldon Johnson, Knight, Morrison, Toomer, Walker, Williams, Wilson, Wright.

Prerequisites: None.
Restrictions: Junior standing or consent of instructor required.

ENG 330 Chaucer
Karen Gross
MWF 1:50-2:50

The poetry of Chaucer in its literary, historical, social, and religious contexts. Topics may include the relationship between the sacred and the profane, the representations of men and women in 14th-century English society, the rise of the vernacular in the later Middle Ages, medieval attitudes towards poetry and authorship, the influence of continental European literary forms on English traditions, manuscript culture and ways of reading and writing before the advent of printing, the characteristics of different medieval literary genres, and the critical reception of Chaucer. Readings, predominantly from The Canterbury Tales, are in Middle English.

Prerequisites: None
Restrictions: Junior standing or consent of instructor required.


ENG 450-01:  John Keats
Kurt Fosso
MW 3:00PM-4:30PM

Quoting Spenser’s Fairie Queene, John Keats advises his fellow Romantic-era poet and literary pioneer, Percy Bysshe Shelley, “‘Load every rift’ of your subject with ore.”  Keats knew he was nearing the end of his short life, and, alas, he writes little more.  But it is advice he himself had taken in his journeyman’s career, most notably in his perhaps unparalleled annus mirabilis of 1819, when he loaded many a “rift” with literary gold, composing most of the poems that secured his fame and lasting place among the English poets—as he hoped.  Like Shelley, Keats is one of the great crafters of poetry, and to study his work is to engage in his particularly rich and challenging vein of intensified poetic language, with its aesthetic delights, puns aplenty, figurative leaps, literary allusions, philosophical depths, and, as he said of Wordsworth, “dark passages” of human life.

Although we’ll read poems from throughout Keats’s all-too-brief career, we shall focus especially on his mature poems of 1819, including the great Odes.  And of course we’ll read many of his letters, in which he provides a good deal of literary theory as well as observations about his life in a time of political, artistic, and other struggles and crises.  Doing so will help us to see how his poetry engages his life and culture as well as how his life is loaded with so many rifts of poetry.  We’ll also witness and explore how Keats is more than ‘only’ a creator of beauty (“a joy forever”); he is, as his words to Shelley suggest, a daring pioneer into the creation and discovery of truths and meanings—ones that perhaps art alone can offer.

Along with studying Keats’s poetry and selected letters, this seminar’s students will also read a biography of Keats and numerous critical essays.  All seminar members will write a 20-25 page paper providing a clear, substantiated, and well-researched argument focused upon one or more of this author’s poems.  Students will also deliver a key portion of their paper’s findings in a formal presentation. 

ENG 450-02:  The Novel and Moral Reflection
Lyell Asher
TTH 11:30AM-1:00PM

At least since Plato, literature and art have often been considered suspect enterprises, distorting and distracting mirrors that offer pseudo-enlightenment. We’ll test that suspicion by focusing on a handful of novels, and consider what, if anything, they have to say about the things that matter most—how we should live, whom we should love, and what it all means in the face of death. Likely candidates for inclusion are: Jane Austen’s Persuasion, George Eliot’s Middlemarch, Henry James’ Portrait of a Lady, and Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence. Secondary readings from Marilyn Butler, Martha Nussbaum, Richard Rorty, and Mark Edmundson among others.

ENG 450-03: Literature of American Slavery
Rachel Cole
TTH 1:50PM-3:20PM

This seminar will focus on American slave narratives, both fictional and non-fictional, from the mid-nineteenth century and the late twentieth.

Primary-source texts will include Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave (1845); Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, by Harriet Jacobs (1861); Clotel; or, The President’s Daughter, by William Wells Brown (1853); Kindred, by Octavia Butler (1979); Beloved, by Toni Morrison (1987), and The Known World, by Edward P. Jones (2003).

Each student will pursue an independent project of his or her own design,  culminating in a 20-page seminar paper which contributes to the ongoing critical conversation about the literature of American slavery. Preparatory assignments will include an annotated bibliography, topic proposal, abstract, etc. In the final days of the semester we will hold a workshop, in which students present their projects to and receive feedback from the class.

* Please click on the Senior Seminar tab under the Courses section of this website to view ENG 450 registration information.