English Department

Courses

ENG 201 - Introduction to Narrative

Border Writing: Displacement, Memory, and Narration
This course will explore narratives that emerged out of experiences of displacement and border crossing by focusing on the historical context of Palestine. We will examine how writers and filmmakers use different narrative forms, genres, and media to register the trauma of displacement and create, claim, and contest memory and belonging. How do narratives inhabit, cross, and transgress borders, while navigating social and political constraints? How do they reimagine and reanimate the past in the wake of disaster, displacement, and historical erasure? Situating the texts in the cultural and historical contexts, we will consider the making of collective and public memory as well as personal and individual memory, and place-making through memory. We will cover a range of fiction and non-fiction genres including the memoir, testimony, the novel, the essay, the short story, science and speculative fiction, the graphic novel, narrative poetry, and film. Readings may include novels by Emile Habibi, Adania Shibli Zaina Arafat, and Susan Abulhawa, short stories by Ghassan Khanafani, Samira Azzam, and Susan Muaddi Daraj, memoirs by Mourid Barghouti, essays by Edward Said, films by Tewfiq Saleh, Jumana Manna, and Annemarie Jacir, and graphic novels by Leila Abelrazaq and Joe Sacco. Works originally not in English will be read in translation

British Jewish Experience
Expelled in 1290, Jews officially returned to England in 1656, and then only because their entrance was interpreted by the Puritan government as a harbinger of the Messiah's own return. Despite this promise, it would take nearly 200 more years for British Jews to achieve full rights as citizens. British Jewish Experience covers Jews' presence as both authors and figures in British literature between 1840 and the present, during which Jews grappled with belonging and negotiated their contribution to English society. This course serves as an introduction to narrative and covers a range of genres such as fiction, diaries, autobiography, biography, television, and drama. Authors include Grace Aguilar, Benjamin Disraeli, Lady Montefiore, George Eliot, Amy Levy, Israel Zangwill, Daniel Abse, Andrea Levy, Charlotte Mendelsohn, and Naomi Alderman.

Fables of Warning: Rachel Carson's Ecological Imagination
"We don't usually think of The New Yorker as changing the world," the biologist and science writer Rachel Carson's editor told her when she first pitched an exposé of DDT and other chemical pesticides in 1958, "but this one time it might." Published four years later as a book, Silent Spring (1962) became a bestseller, widely credited with launching the environmental movement by explaining the biological consequences of unchecked greed and unregulated industry. yet Carson did more than inform her readers; a former English major, she used the power of the literary imagination to convey the complexity of ecological relationships, speculate about the risks of inaction, and envision an alternative future for biotic communities large and small. This course examines the literary traditions of Carson's Silent Spring, from the Romantic poetry that inspired the title, to the fairy tale style of the book's allegorical first chapter, "A Fable for Tomorrow."Drawing on the rhetoric of fact and fiction in Carson's science writing, we analyze the function of the literary imagination in U.S. environmental writing, including toxic discourse, prophetic warning, journalistic exposé, literary naturalism, and the pastoral mode. From the muckraking journalism of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle (1905), to the speculative fiction of Octavia Butler's Parable of the Sower (1993), which imagines a future dystopia set in the year 2024, readings explore the power and limits of writing that inspired collective action or legislative change.

Medieval Women Writers
Although the secular and religious cultures of medieval Europe were often flagrantly patriarchal, medieval women nonetheless produced a host of some of the richest and most interesting narratives of the period. In this course we will practice the basic tools of literary analysis by exploring writings such as the Carolingian noblewoman Dhuoda's book of advice to her son; the closet dramas of the Saxon nun Hrotsvitha of Gandersheim; the enigmatic account of the canny and saintly Englishwoman Christina of Markyate; the impassioned love letters of Heloise of Argenteuil to her castrated husband; the mystical visions of the German abbess Hildegard of Bingen and of the English anchoress Julian of Norwich; the illustrated encyclopedia of Herrad of Landsberg; the erotic and often tragic Breton lais of Marie de France; the spiritual adventures and misadventures of Margery Kempe; and the protofeminist manifestos of Christine de Pisan. The course will begin with a review of the most relevant early Christian contexts for medieval women's writing, including excerpts from the book of Genesis and the Psalms, the Gospel according to Luke, and the account of the martyrdom of Sts. Perpetua and Felicitas. We will also study aspects of the material culture these women and their colleagues used and produced: manuscript illumination, psalters, books of hours, textiles. This course applies toward the department's pre-1700 requirement.

South Asian Women Writers
This course will introduce students to South Asian women writers from the twentieth and twenty-first century who offer fierce challenges to the foundations of patriarchy, class, and caste structures in South Asian contexts. We will examine their works placing them in specific historical and cultural contexts including colonialism, the Partition, nationalism, religious fundamentalism, and the caste system. We will pay particular attention to how these writers articulate the female experience in South Asian societies from the intersections of caste, class, gender, and sexuality and how these perspectives challenge, redefine, and queer the category of "woman." Readings may include short stories by Mahasweta Devi, Ismat Chughtai, and Urmila Pawar; nonfiction by Sara Suleri, Bama, and Living Smile Vidya; novels by Bapsi Sidhwa, Arundhati Roy, Tahmima Anam, and Meena Kandasamy; and films by Mira Nair, Sabiha Sumar, and Deepa Mehta. Works not originally in English will be read in translation.

Unit(s): 1
Group Distribution Requirement(s): Distribution Group I
Instructional Method: Conference
Grading Mode: Letter grading (A-F)
Repeatable for Credit: May be taken 6 times for credit
Notes: Not all topics offered every year. Review schedule of classes for availability. Review descriptions for specific applicability to department requirements. Medieval Celtic Literatures This course applies toward the department's pre-1700 requirement. Medieval Women Writers This course applies toward the department's pre-1700 requirement.
Group Distribution Learning Outcome(s):
  • Understand how arguments can be made, visions presented, or feelings or ideas conveyed through language or other modes of expression (symbols, movement, images, sounds, etc.).
  • Analyze and interpret texts, whether literary or philosophical, in English or a foreign language, or works of the visual or performing arts.
  • Evaluate arguments made in or about texts (whether literary or philosophical, in English or a foreign language, or works of the visual or performing arts).

ENG 205 - Introduction to Fiction

Decolonization and the Novel in Africa
Taking root during late colonialism, the novel emerged as a prominent genre in the shaping of postcolonial societies in Africa. In the wake of decolonization, African writers turned to the novel, reinventing the genre to imagine new individual and collective identities and assess the legacies left behind by the colonial past. This course will examine various novelistic responses to the sociopolitical changes in different parts of Africa during the late twentieth and the twenty-first century. In what ways did the novel become a catalyst for cultural transformation in postcolonial Africa? How did the novel become the privileged genre of decolonization? Starting with the critiques of colonialism in the early decolonial period, we will explore topics including narratives of modernity and tradition, the failures of the nation-state, critique of patriarchy and gender, migration, displacement, neocolonial formations, and the promises and pitfalls of globalization. Readings may include novels by Tayeb Salih, Chinua Achebe, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, Ama Ata Aidoo, Bessie Head, Tsitsi Dangarembga, Chimamanda Adichie, and Helon Habila. Theoretical readings may include writings of Aimé Césaire, Frantz Fanon, Oyèrónkẹ́ Oyěwùmí, and Achille Mbembe, among others.

Tolkien and Lewis
The imaginative writings of the Oxford scholars J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis constitute some of the most widely read, most beloved, and most pervasively influential fiction of the twentieth century. The two friends shared drafts of their work and presided together over a group of like-minded writers and thinkers. Across all their varied writings-and especially in their construction of fictive worlds-Tolkien and Lewis both thought of themselves as effecting a resistance to the prevailing literary and cultural pieties of modernity. And yet the two men were also temperamentally quite different and often aesthetically in deep tension with one another. In this course, we will compare the ways Lewis and Tolkien deploy genre, character, diction, narrative voice, imagery, and other literary techniques in the construction of their various fantastic worlds. We will consider too, the ways in which both writers articulated their commitment to a Christian worldview (and their opposition to "the machine") and how they both came to understand the power and purpose of mythology. We will also have occasion to think through together how Tolkien and Lewis reproduced certain problematic aspects of the racism and sexism of their culture and how these might affect our evaluation of their works. To all these ends, we will read a generous selection from their most important writings, including J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings (in its entirety) and Smith of Wootton Major, his essay "On Fairy Stories," and excerpts from his Silmarillion, as well as C.S. Lewis's Screwtape Letters, his science-fiction novels Out of the Silent Planet and Perelandra, two volumes of his Chronicles of Narnia, and his late, possibly brilliant novel Till We Have Faces. We will preface our analysis of their fictions by reading important works that influenced them by George MacDonald and William Morris.

The Victorian Gothic
The Victorians prided themselves on their commitments to reason, taxonomy, order, and rectitude. The novel, however, which was their dominant cultural form, often concerned itself with the dark underside to their world, where concomitant fascinations with superstition, chaos, crime, and vice instead held sway. These gothic Victorian fictions-dominated particularly by the related forms of the sensation novel, the detective novel, and the imperial romance-will be the object of study for this course, which will examine major works by such potential authors as Emily and Anne Brontë, Charles Dickens, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Wilkie Collins, H. Rider Haggard, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Bram Stoker as a means of understanding not simply Victorian culture but more generally the form of the novel. We will also read short critical and theoretical works in the study of narrative to accompany our readings in gothic fiction. This course applies toward the department's pre-1900 requirement.

The Victorian Novel of Family Life
During the Victorian period (1837-1901), the United Kingdom often turned to the idealized household as its model for social community, seeking in its nominal stability of roles (for husband and wife, parents and children, and employers and servants) organizing principles for the larger national culture. This paradigm turned out to be neither as stable nor as uniform as often proposed, however, and the exploration of family life by means of the novel-the most popular cultural form of the era-showed the fault lines in the model structure of the "happy home," which echoed wider Victorian social problems regarding gender, class, sexuality, labor, inclusivity, and authority. This course looks at the Victorian novel through its characteristic focus on family life and its discontents, surveying works by famous practitioners who may include Charles Dickens, Charlotte Brontë, Elizabeth Gaskell, George Eliot, and/or Thomas Hardy. We will end the semester by reading Virginia Woolf's 1927 To the Lighthouse, a modernist look backwards at the Victorian family. There will be short critical readings, primarily about the contexts and functions of the novel as a literary genre.

Unit(s): 1
Group Distribution Requirement(s): Distribution Group I
Instructional Method: Conference
Grading Mode: Letter grading (A-F)
Repeatable for Credit: May be taken 4 times for credit
Notes: Not all topics offered every year. Review schedule of classes for availability. Review descriptions for specific applicability to department requirements. The Nineteenth-Century Novel: The Bildungsroman This course applies toward the department's pre-1900 requirement. The Victorian Gothic This course applies toward the department's pre-1900 requirement.
Group Distribution Learning Outcome(s):
  • Understand how arguments can be made, visions presented, or feelings or ideas conveyed through language or other modes of expression (symbols, movement, images, sounds, etc.).
  • Analyze and interpret texts, whether literary or philosophical, in English or a foreign language, or works of the visual or performing arts.
  • Evaluate arguments made in or about texts (whether literary or philosophical, in English or a foreign language, or works of the visual or performing arts).

ENG 206 - Environmental Humanities Collaboratory

Writing Reed

This writing-intensive Environmental Humanities course connects questions of social justice to the representation of place in a range of literary genres. Guided by analysis of written works and public-facing humanities projects operating at the intersection of environmental justice and the environmental imagination, students will develop research projects centering shared commitments to "place" by engaging with the cultural histories of our campus, from quad and canyon to classrooms and commons. What values does our environment encode, and why? What practices sustain life or exhaust it, and what lives must we work to sustain? What relationships matter most in the places we share, and how does the intersection between social and environmental justice invite us to rethink existing relationships and build new ones? How can we deepen our understanding of narrative, and generate our own persuasive writing to contribute to positive change in our campus and the communities it fosters? How do our readings frame questions and encourage critical thinking about place, and how can our experiences of place frame questions about our readings and analyses? Team taught by two faculty members in English, in collaboration with co-curricular and community partners, the classes will create a range of learning communities throughout the semester, including weekly discussions of assigned readings in two sections, full group collaborations and conversations about shared questions, project-based learning in teams formed around student partnerships and the archives they engage, and interactive public talks with invited experts in the field. This course adapts the collaboratory model to support academic analysis, writing, and research through a collective approach; students will ultimately produce scholarly work that uses narrative to convey research findings about their place-based project, informed by a deeper understanding of environmental humanities and the representation of "place."

Unit(s): 1
Group Distribution Requirement(s): Distribution Group I
Instructional Method: Conference-laboratory
Grading Mode: Letter grading (A-F)
Group Distribution Learning Outcome(s):
  • Understand how arguments can be made, visions presented, or feelings or ideas conveyed through language or other modes of expression (symbols, movement, images, sounds, etc.).
  • Analyze and interpret texts, whether literary or philosophical, in English or a foreign language, or works of the visual or performing arts.
  • Evaluate arguments made in or about texts (whether literary or philosophical, in English or a foreign language, or works of the visual or performing arts).

ENG 211 - Introduction to Poetry and Poetics

This course is designed to introduce students to the fundamental elements of a poem, such as rhythm, diction, imagery, metaphor, tone, form, speaker, and audience. We will read texts from a wide historical range and consider the historical development of selected forms and techniques. The course will also examine what some poets and critics have regarded as the nature and function of poetry and what bearing such theories have on the practice of poetry and vice versa. The course will emphasize close reading of the texts, and there will be frequent writing assignments.

Unit(s): 1
Group Distribution Requirement(s): Distribution Group I
Instructional Method: Conference
Grading Mode: Letter grading (A-F)
Group Distribution Learning Outcome(s):
  • Understand how arguments can be made, visions presented, or feelings or ideas conveyed through language or other modes of expression (symbols, movement, images, sounds, etc.).
  • Analyze and interpret texts, whether literary or philosophical, in English or a foreign language, or works of the visual or performing arts.
  • Evaluate arguments made in or about texts (whether literary or philosophical, in English or a foreign language, or works of the visual or performing arts).

ENG 212 - British Poetry

Early Modern Woman
Queen Elizabeth I was both an exception and an ideal in early modern England: a woman, ruling a patriarchal nation, about whom countless poems were written. She was also a poet in her own right, serving as both literary subject and object, and the same was true of women at all levels of society. This course introduces students to the range of poetry written by and about women in early modern England. In particular, it examines the ways in which sixteenth- and seventeenth-century poets represented the relationship of English womanhood to the world that produced and surrounded it, at home and abroad. What can we learn from both idealized and realistic portrayals of early modern women? To what extent do changes in literature reflect shifts in English history and culture, including the intersections of religion, politics, science, and class and gender relations? In considering these questions, students will develop a formal analytical vocabulary and skills central to the reading and studying of poetry. This course applies toward the department's pre-1700 requirement.

Unit(s): 1
Group Distribution Requirement(s): Distribution Group I
Instructional Method: Conference
Grading Mode: Letter grading (A-F)
Repeatable for Credit: May be taken 4 times for credit
Notes: Not all topics offered every year. Review schedule of classes for availability. Review descriptions for specific applicability to department requirements. Early Modern Woman This course applies toward the department's pre-1700 requirement.
Group Distribution Learning Outcome(s):

  • Understand how arguments can be made, visions presented, or feelings or ideas conveyed through language or other modes of expression (symbols, movement, images, sounds, etc.);
  • Analyze and interpret texts, whether literary or philosophical, in English or a foreign language, or works of the visual or performing arts;
  • Evaluate arguments made in or about texts (whether literary or philosophical, in English or a foreign language, or works of the visual or performing arts).

ENG 213 - American Poetry

Ethnopoetics
The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the complexity and pleasure of poetry. We will be learning about the aesthetics of ethnic American poetry by reading it in the context of Western and non-Western poetic traditions. We will use the historical circumstances and theories of ethnicity to help us understand both the political and the aesthetic choices behind poetic allusions, language, genre, diction, rhythm, and figurative language. The poems we read are chosen from a variety of genres, authors, and historical periods. Our aim will be to understand how the various techniques and genres open to poets enable them to produce works of art which speak to us and push us to think. The course emphasizes close reading of the texts, and there will be frequent writing assignments.

Unit(s): 1
Group Distribution Requirement(s): Distribution Group I
Instructional Method: Conference
Grading Mode: Letter grading (A-F)
Repeatable for Credit: May be taken 4 times for credit
Notes: Not all topics offered every year. Review schedule of classes for availability. Review descriptions for specific applicability to department requirements.
Group Distribution Learning Outcome(s):

  • Understand how arguments can be made, visions presented, or feelings or ideas conveyed through language or other modes of expression (symbols, movement, images, sounds, etc.);
  • Analyze and interpret texts, whether literary or philosophical, in English or a foreign language, or works of the visual or performing arts;
  • Evaluate arguments made in or about texts (whether literary or philosophical, in English or a foreign language, or works of the visual or performing arts).

ENG 220 - Studies in British Culture

British Romanticism
The period 1789-1832 was one of dramatic political, social, and industrial upheaval in Europe. In response British writers and artists produced some of the most powerful representations in English literary history of hopes for liberty and progress, and of pure transcendent joy, as well as some of its sharpest attacks on oppression and convention. This class will discuss poetry and prose from the period, showing the impact of the French Revolution on British intellectual and public life in the 1790s, as well as the agitation for political reform in the first decades of the nineteenth century. We will examine the formal and stylistic innovations of these writers and the relation of their works to the profound social changes they document, investigating their philosophical, aesthetic, and expanding colonial contexts. The goal is to construct an effective working definition of the term "Romanticism" that comes to grips with the achievement and diversity of this group of writers/artists, and to engage with the impact of their works on cultural life and critical debates over the last century. Primary texts will be drawn from William Blake, Edmund Burke, Mary Wollstonecraft, William Godwin, Charlotte Smith, William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Mary Robinson, Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and John Keats. Class readings will also include recent critical studies of the history, political context, and aesthetic debates of this revolutionary era. This course applies toward the department's pre-1900 requirement.

Unit(s): 1
Group Distribution Requirement(s): Distribution Group I
Instructional Method: Conference
Grading Mode: Letter grading (A-F)
Notes: Not all topics offered every year. Review schedule of classes for availability. Review descriptions for specific applicability to department requirements. British Romanticism This course applies toward the department's pre-1900 requirement.
Group Distribution Learning Outcome(s):
  • Understand how arguments can be made, visions presented, or feelings or ideas conveyed through language or other modes of expression (symbols, movement, images, sounds, etc.).
  • Analyze and interpret texts, whether literary or philosophical, in English or a foreign language, or works of the visual or performing arts.
  • Evaluate arguments made in or about texts (whether literary or philosophical, in English or a foreign language, or works of the visual or performing arts).

ENG 242 - Introduction to Drama

Black British Playwrights
What does it mean to be Black and British in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries? This course will attempt to answer this question by reading a selection of plays written by Black British playwrights between 1998 and 2018. The course will look at how experiments with form, subject matter, and genre explore the experiences of Black people in local, national, and international contexts.

Introduction to Shakespeare
This course serves as a general introduction to Shakespeare's drama and poetry. We will read major plays in the principal genres of comedy, history, and tragedy, charting the development of Shakespeare's craft over the course of his nearly 30-year career by contrasting early and late examples of his work. We will consider plays within the performance context of the early modern theater, developing a working knowledge of the theatrical conventions and cultural understandings that inform them. Reading Shakespeare's narrative poems and sonnets in tandem with this writing for the stage, we will explore the complexities of Shakespeare's language, including his use of poetic forms and devices. Given the breadth and variety of Shakespeare's artistic production, we will ask ourselves what shared themes and characteristics allow us to identify a work as "Shakespearean." Assigned texts will include, among others, Romeo and Juliet, Othello, Henry V, Twelfth Night, and The Tempest, as well as performances recorded at Shakespeare's Globe and the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. This course applies toward the department's pre-1700 requirement.

Irish Drama and the Politics of Place
The twentieth-century rise of Irish theater and Irish nationalism both coalesced around an ideal of rural life independent from British colonial rule. Depopulated by waves of famine and unrelenting emigration, the green world of peasant plays and Gaelic legends envisioned alternative forms of modernity grounded in a rural past, even as theatrical audiences became increasingly urban and global. This course explores the problem of pastoral representation in the history of the Irish stage and in the staging of Irish history. From the rose gardens and leisured English lovers of Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest (1895) to the faerie stories and folklore of The Celtic Twilight, we trace a legacy adapted from British literary genres and motifs, but revived and reinvented for a national tradition rooted in precolonial myth. Pastoral drama was not merely a retreat from partisan violence, but a site of conflict in the turbulent decades leading up to Irish independence, as we find in the cultural nationalist projects of W.B. Yeats and Lady Augusta Gregory, and in the audience riots sparked by J.M. Synge and Sean O'Casey unflinchingly unromantic portrayals of poverty and pain. Connecting historical developments to the politics of place, we analyze how Samuel Beckett, Brian Friel, Marina Carr, and Martin McDonagh engage and resist the legacy of rural Ireland on the stage. Topics include exile and diaspora; sectarian violence in relation to gender, class, race, and ethnicity; postcolonial theory and global Englishes; and the history of the Troubles. Although at times this bloody history seemed, as the Northern Irish poet Seamus Heaney put it, "about as instructive as an abattoir," the art it yielded still has the capacity "to hold in a single thought reality and justice," one of his favorite Yeats quotations. From the Celtic Revival to the Celtic Tiger, we examine the struggle between reality and justice in Irish drama, and the power of theater to create the country as it was, and as it could be.

Shakespeare on Screen
Although Shakespeare's plays were written for live performance "in the flesh," we increasingly engage with his works through screens-in recorded performances, films, television shows, digital archives, and even video games. In this course we will use concepts from the fields of media and performance studies to analyze the implications of these shifts from live performance to screen-based engagement. How does the medium in which we encounter an early modern play influence our understanding of its language? What opportunities for interpretation and creative adaptation are opened or foreclosed by the different media in which a play appears?

Unit(s): 1
Group Distribution Requirement(s): Distribution Group I
Instructional Method: Conference
Grading Mode: Letter grading (A-F)
Repeatable for Credit: May be taken 4 times for credit
Notes: Not all topics offered every year. Review schedule of classes for availability. Review descriptions for specific applicability to department requirements. Introduction to Shakespeare This course applies toward the department's pre-1700 requirement.
Group Distribution Learning Outcome(s):
  • Understand how arguments can be made, visions presented, or feelings or ideas conveyed through language or other modes of expression (symbols, movement, images, sounds, etc.).
  • Analyze and interpret texts, whether literary or philosophical, in English or a foreign language, or works of the visual or performing arts.
  • Evaluate arguments made in or about texts (whether literary or philosophical, in English or a foreign language, or works of the visual or performing arts).

ENG 261 - Introduction to Film

Film Noir
This course will focus on film noir in American cinema in the 1940s and 1950s, examining its plotlines and narrative methods as well as its distinctive visual style. Students will be introduced to the language of film analysis and trace the genre's sources in "hard-boiled" detective fiction, German expressionism, and the cultural climate of the United States in the decades in which the films were produced. Questions about visual framing, narrative structure, and genre will inform readings and discussions, as will the films' representations of tensions in postwar social roles. The course will conclude with a consideration of one or two more recent examples of "neo-noir." Required readings on film and narrative theory; directors will include Billy Wilder, Orson Welles, Jacques Tourneur, Fritz Lang, Howard Hawks, and Michael Curtiz.

The Western
Film studies scholar Robert Ray once wrote that "many of Classic Hollywood's genre movies, like many of the most important American novels, were thinly camouflaged westerns." This course seeks to investigate that claim by examining film form, genre, and history through the lens of the cinematic Western, with all of the idealism and ugliness the subject entails. While the beginning of the course will focus primarily on the Western as imagined in classical Hollywood, our analysis will eventually track the genre's development into the modern day. We will watch and analyze films by directors including John Ford, John Huston, George Stevens, Sergio Leone, Richard Altman, Katherine Bigelow, Mario van Peebles, Ang Lee, and Quentin Tarantino. In addition to illuminating the concept of genre study and the history of US film, this course will view the Western as a barometer of both American social anxieties and ideologies as the genre (and the nation) continually reinvents itself over time.

Unit(s): 1
Group Distribution Requirement(s): Distribution Group I
Instructional Method: Conference-screening
Grading Mode: Letter grading (A-F)
Repeatable for Credit: May be taken 4 times for credit
Notes: Not all topics offered every year. Review schedule of classes for availability. Review descriptions for specific applicability to department requirements.
Group Distribution Learning Outcome(s):
  • Understand how arguments can be made, visions presented, or feelings or ideas conveyed through language or other modes of expression (symbols, movement, images, sounds, etc.).
  • Analyze and interpret texts, whether literary or philosophical, in English or a foreign language, or works of the visual or performing arts.
  • Evaluate arguments made in or about texts (whether literary or philosophical, in English or a foreign language, or works of the visual or performing arts).

ENG 271 - Games, Play, and Stories

Humans have been playing games since before they were telling stories-arguably, since before they were human-but these sister arts have often been separated in the minds of scholars. Amidst a boom in new media technologies and a board game renaissance, the relationship between games, play, and stories has become ever tighter, and the new narrative and affective experiences they create are becoming increasingly larger forces in U.S. popular culture. In this introductory course, students will engage with some of the founding debates and methodologies of the field of game studies, including formal design analysis, the narratology/ludology "debate," and theories of critical play. Students will be expected to engage with and formally analyze digital and analog game systems in a variety of genres, including text adventures, walking simulators, classic board games, storytelling card games, tabletop roleplaying games, and physical activities from the New Games movement as we investigate the point and potentials of play in a storytelling context.

Unit(s): 1
Group Distribution Requirement(s): Distribution Group I
Instructional Method: Conference-screening
Grading Mode: Letter grading (A-F)
Group Distribution Learning Outcome(s):
  • Understand how arguments can be made, visions presented, or feelings or ideas conveyed through language or other modes of expression (symbols, movement, images, sounds, etc.).
  • Analyze and interpret texts, whether literary or philosophical, in English or a foreign language, or works of the visual or performing arts.
  • Evaluate arguments made in or about texts (whether literary or philosophical, in English or a foreign language, or works of the visual or performing arts).

ENG 301 - Junior Seminar in English Literary History

This course offers a study of the methods and a sample of the materials of English and American literary history. Offered in two or three sections each year with different emphases, this course engages the in-depth study of one work and its precursors, influences, and effects, or may study a range of works attending to intertextual transformations and generic change. The course will also include substantial reading in literary theory, and students will develop their own critical history, together with an annotated bibliography of the work of a major author.

Unit(s): 1
Group Distribution Requirement(s): Distribution Group I
Prerequisite(s): Junior standing and two 200-level ENG courses
Restriction(s): English majors only
Instructional Method: Conference
Grading Mode: Letter grading (A-F)
Notes: Topics vary. May not be repeated. This course is primarily for English majors, for whom the junior seminar is usually required no later than the end of the junior year.
Group Distribution Learning Outcome(s):

  • Understand how arguments can be made, visions presented, or feelings or ideas conveyed through language or other modes of expression (symbols, movement, images, sounds, etc.);
  • Analyze and interpret texts, whether literary or philosophical, in English or a foreign language, or works of the visual or performing arts;
  • Evaluate arguments made in or about texts (whether literary or philosophical, in English or a foreign language, or works of the visual or performing arts).

ENG 303 - American Studies Seminar

Jews across the Americas
This course examines the diversity of the American Jewish experiences in South America, North America, and the Caribbean. Moving from the early colonial era to the present, we will examine Jewish life through a variety of literary genres ranging from poetry to fiction to graphic novels. This course offers an introduction to the methods of American studies and digital humanities, and focuses on how to read literature in the context of primary historical sources and material culture. This course applies toward the department's pre-1900 requirement.

Unit(s): 1
Group Distribution Requirement(s): Distribution Group I
Prerequisite(s): Jews across the Americas: Two ENG courses at the 200-level or higher; or REL 151; or any course in Jewish literature or history.
Instructional Method: Conference
Grading Mode: Letter grading (A-F)
Repeatable for Credit: May be taken 4 times for credit
Cross-listing(s): Jews across the Americas: CRES 333, REL 259
Notes: Not all topics offered every year. Review schedule of classes for availability. Review specific descriptions for applicability to department requirements. Jews across the Americas This course applies toward the department's pre-1900 requirement.
Group Distribution Learning Outcome(s):

  • Understand how arguments can be made, visions presented, or feelings or ideas conveyed through language or other modes of expression (symbols, movement, images, sounds, etc.);
  • Analyze and interpret texts, whether literary or philosophical, in English or a foreign language, or works of the visual or performing arts;
  • Evaluate arguments made in or about texts (whether literary or philosophical, in English or a foreign language, or works of the visual or performing arts).

ENG 333 - Studies in Fiction

James Joyce
In 2022, the hundredth-anniversary year of the publication of Ulysses, critics and scholars have repeatedly hailed James Joyce as the most influential and important fiction writer of the twentieth century, noting that he effectively rewrote the configurations and capabilities of the short story, novel, and epic. Over the track of his career, Joyce's fiction progressed from its roots in literary naturalism to more complex modernist forms, exhibiting his uncanny ability to master and also invent different rhetorical discourses. This course tracks the full range of this development, from his earliest fictions in Dubliners and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man all the way through brief selections from his last and most difficult work, Finnegans Wake; we will focus particular attention on the entirety of Ulysses. We will pay attention as well to critical, biographical, and historical contexts for Joyce's work.

Postcolonial Hauntings
Haunting is central to postcolonial thought and literature. This course examines the aesthetics of haunting in postcolonial novels from the latter half of the twentieth century. Haunting invite us to radically rethink the relations between the past and the present in terms of their contemporaneity and interdependence. It also makes us examine the relationship between subjectivity, embodiment, and place. We will reflect on alternative space and temporalities opened up by literary evocations of ghosts, phantoms, and specters, and explore the themes of memory, loss, and trauma in various historical and cultural contexts. How might the language of haunting help us understand the unresolved histories of colonial, racial, nationalist, sexist, and ecological violence? How do these texts register the experience of loss? In what ways do narrative texts imagine the possibility of justice by opening up a space for reexamining and reinterpreting the past in the present and alternative modes of inhabiting space and place? This course will put postcolonial narrative texts in conversation with various postcolonial and poststructuralist theories, psychoanalysis, critical race and Indigenous theories, and posthumanist and ecocritical writings. Primary texts will include works by Amitav Ghosh, Arundhati Roy, Leslie Marmon Silko, Patricia Grace, Erna Brodber, and Maisy Card.

Queer Modernist Fiction
The advent of literary modernism in the Anglophone world, with its emphasis on new forms for cultural expression, coincided with the re-conception of same-sex desire in the very late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when a new array of sexual identities became articulated and substantiated in different forms of medical, legal, and political discourse. This course studies the ways in which fictional works in primarily the United Kingdom and the United States in the modernist period (roughly 1900-1960) negotiate expressions of queerness before the time of the Stonewall riots. We will study important fictions by authors such as E. M. Forster, Virginia Woolf, Djuna Barnes, Claude McKay, Christopher Isherwood, Patricia Highsmith, Han Suyin, and James Baldwin. Alongside these works we will also read some relevant critical and theoretical work in queer studies (by figures such as Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Judith Butler, Jack Halberstam, Michael Warner, and Heather Love), although the emphasis of the course will be mostly on the fiction. 

Virginia Woolf's Modernist Networks
The idea of the network was central not only to the ways in which Virginia Woolf conceived of relations between and among people in her novels but also according to the terms by which she understood her own fictional career. Woolf's affiliations with her Bloomsbury Group cohort and her other literary collaborators and rivals informed her own sense of herself as an author, and were ultimately turned into literary capital regarding the complex manner by which selves are constituted through their engagements with others. This course will explore this dynamic not only through Woolf's own fiction and essays but also those within Woolf's modernist networks both during her lifetime and after by figures such as Katherine Mansfield, E. M. Forster, Lytton Strachey, Elizabeth Bowen, and Toni Morrison (among others).

Unit(s): 1
Group Distribution Requirement(s): Distribution Group I
Prerequisite(s): Sophomore standing and two ENG courses at the 200-level or higher
Instructional Method: Conference
Grading Mode: Letter grading (A-F)
Repeatable for Credit: May be taken 4 times for credit
Notes: Not all topics offered every year. Review schedule of classes for availability. Review specific descriptions for applicability to department requirements.
Group Distribution Learning Outcome(s):
  • Understand how arguments can be made, visions presented, or feelings or ideas conveyed through language or other modes of expression (symbols, movement, images, sounds, etc.).
  • Analyze and interpret texts, whether literary or philosophical, in English or a foreign language, or works of the visual or performing arts.
  • Evaluate arguments made in or about texts (whether literary or philosophical, in English or a foreign language, or works of the visual or performing arts).

ENG 337 - Studies in British Culture

The Home Front: British Literature and Culture of World War II
World War II, the deadliest conflagration in history, destroyed the United Kingdom's role as one of the great global empires, and in effect also forever transformed its class system, its system of government, and its place in the world order. Nevertheless, the British people to this day view their shattering wartime experience as one of the great unifying and refining experiences in their culture and their history. This course will look at literary works brought forth from the wartime experience of British civilians from 1939 to 1945 and its aftermath, paying particular attention to its expression through late literary modernism and its contextualization through the experience of war. In addition to brief critical and historical readings, we will look at fictions by authors such as Virginia Woolf, Elizabeth Bowen, Penelope Fitzgerald, Henry Green, Muriel Spark, and Graham Greene. We will also watch British commercial and propaganda films from the era by directors such as Humphrey Jennings, Alberto Cavalcanti, David Lean, and the team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, and we will read essays relevant to the period by Woolf, Bowen, George Orwell, and Mollie Panter-Downes. 

Unit(s): 1
Group Distribution Requirement(s): Distribution Group I
Prerequisite(s): Two ENG or LIT courses at the 200-level or higher
Instructional Method: Conference
Grading Mode: Letter grading (A-F)
Repeatable for Credit: May be taken 4 times for credit
Notes: Not all topics offered every year. Review schedule of classes for availability. Review specific descriptions for applicability to department requirements.
Group Distribution Learning Outcome(s):

 

  • Understand how arguments can be made, visions presented, or feelings or ideas conveyed through language or other modes of expression (symbols, movement, images, sounds, etc.);
  • Analyze and interpret texts, whether literary or philosophical, in English or a foreign language, or works of the visual or performing arts;
  • Evaluate arguments made in or about texts (whether literary or philosophical, in English or a foreign language, or works of the visual or performing arts).

ENG 341 - Studies in American Literature

Humanity at Sea: Personhood from Moby Dick to Moby Doll
How do the central questions, topics, and methods of the blue humanities change our understanding of nineteenth-century US fiction and its environmental legacy? This course engages with Melville's construction of personhood, individual and collective, in Moby Dick (1851) and its wide-ranging intertexts, from Shakespearean tragedy to maritime adventure stories. We will read the novel both as a representation of the Yankee whaling industry, and as a search for its broader moral, social, and spiritual meanings. Seeking "a marine tint to the imagination," as Henry David Thoreau puts it, we will read lesser-known works of authors such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Frederick Douglass, Emily Dickinson, Elizabeth Stoddard, Walt Whitman, and Louisa May Alcott. Our final unit examines posthuman and interspecies frameworks in contemporary environmental activism, as advocates seek to expand definitions of legal personhood to extend rights to non-human entities. Topics include marine biology and animal studies, petrofiction and materialist ecocriticism, environmental justice and humanities.

Jewish American Graphic Novels
This course will consider the contribution of Jews to the historical development of the genre and techniques of the Graphic Novel in the United States. Our reading of the graphic novel will be contextualized within modernism and postmodernism and the changes in the notions of childhood, heroism, gender, and Jewishness in twentieth- and twenty-first-century American culture. Emphasis will be paid to close reading of the texts, including analysis of genre, panels, framing devices, layout, speech, plot, and characterization.

Literature of Reconstruction: "Post-Bellum-Pre-Harlem"
This course engages with the construction of race in Reconstruction-era literature, history, and law through the work of Charles W. Chesnutt (1858-1932). Born too late for the slave narrative and too early for the Harlem Renaissance, Chesnutt fell between two major African -American literary movements: the nineteenth-century slave narrative and twentieth-century modernism. Examining storytelling and activism in his regionalist fiction, we trace the rise of Black print culture through the founding of the NAACP's magazine, The Crisis. Methodologically, we will draw on recent work in Black Bibliography and archival recovery, examining the cultural politics of publication and canonization and the history of the regions in which Chesnutt used as settings of his fiction: North Carolina and Ohio. Fictional genres will include sentimentalism, realism, regionalism, and naturalism; the slave narrative and the social problem novel; journalism, legal writing, and essays. Authors may include Frederick Douglass, Albion Tourgee, Pauline Hopkins, Thomas Nelson Page, Ida B. Wells, and W. E. B. Du Bois.

Nature Writing, Ecocriticism, and the Problem of Social Justice
This course explores the relationship between idyllic fictions and concrete experience through two transformative centuries of American nature writing, from travel writing and transcendentalism to Cherokee protest poetry and regionalist short stories. We will use the paradigms we explore in the classroom-from evolving concepts of nature and wilderness to longstanding myths of agricultural improvement and property rights-to frame humanistic questions at stake in environmental and social justice initiatives. Fostering a more capacious understanding of social justice through the ecological imagination, this course acknowledges the role of storytelling in activism and advocacy, moving from models of individual rights to collective understandings of what is right for those who share a place. What can we learn about the origins of the Black freedom struggle from Charles Chesnutt's fiction, which represents not only New Negro uplift in Northern cities, but also the leadership of disenfranchised storytellers in the rural South, who advocate for their communities by subverting the conventions of plantation pastoral and exposing the ecological and humanitarian costs of extractive capitalism? How might we deepen our understanding of U.S. cultural history by analyzing the linkage of environmental and social disruption in dystopian discourses, or by recovering the stories and perspectives of those excluded from citizenship and still largely overlooked by current models of social justice and environmental advocacy? How does writing, past and present, imagine alternatives to ecological crisis? In this upper-level course, we will reckon with the legacy of nature writing in American history and culture through ecocritical theory and criticism, current work on environmental justice and land rights, and in-depth analysis of primary sources in a range of genres. Some requirements for this course will involve community partnerships and field trips. As such, the course requires the willingness to spend some time off campus and outdoors, and to remain flexible and understanding if plans need to be adjusted. 

Unit(s): 1
Group Distribution Requirement(s): Distribution Group I
Prerequisite(s): Humanity at Sea: Personhood from Moby Dick to Moby Doll:  Two ENG courses at the 200-level or higher  Jewish American Graphic Novels:  Two ENG or LIT courses at the 200 level or higher, or ART 251   Literature of Reconstruction: "Post-Bellum-Pre-Harlem":  Two ENG courses at the 200-level or higher Nature Writing, Ecocriticism, and the Problem of Social Justice: Two ENG courses at the 200-level or higher, demonstrated interest in American studies or environmental studies
Instructional Method: Conference
Grading Mode: Letter grading (A-F)
Repeatable for Credit: May be taken 3 times for credit
Cross-listing(s): Literature of Reconstruction: "Post-Bellum-Pre-Harlem": CRES 331 
Notes: Not all topics offered every year. Review schedule of classes for availability. Review specific descriptions for applicability to department requirements. Humanity at Sea: Personhood from Moby Dick to Moby Doll:  This course applies toward the department's pre-1900 requirement. Literature of Reconstruction: "Post-Bellum-Pre-Harlem":  This course applies toward the department's pre-1900 requirement. Nature Writing, Ecocriticism, and the Problem of Social Justice:  This course applies toward the department's pre-1900 requirement.
Group Distribution Learning Outcome(s):
  • Understand how arguments can be made, visions presented, or feelings or ideas conveyed through language or other modes of expression (symbols, movement, images, sounds, etc.).
  • Analyze and interpret texts, whether literary or philosophical, in English or a foreign language, or works of the visual or performing arts.

ENG 352 - Studies in Medieval Literature

Chaucer's Canterbury Tales
The late-fourteenth-century poet Geoffrey Chaucer is surely one of the greatest masters of irony in English literature. In this course we will study a generous selection of his masterpiece, The Canterbury Tales. The first section of the course will focus on developing students' facility with Chaucer's language and with medieval culture through a study of the General Prologue. As we proceed through the tales, we will pay careful attention to Chaucer's representation of gender and class through his use of irony and satire, his manipulation of genre, his relationship to his source materials and to medieval Christian authorities, and his subtle exploration of a poetics of instability. Throughout the course we will also consider and reconsider the implications of Chaucer's ambiguous social status within the Ricardian court, as well the validity of thinking of the poet as a "skeptical fideist." Students will learn to read Middle English fluently by the end of the semester, though no previous experience with early forms of English is required. This course applies toward the department's pre-1700 requirement.

Dante's Divine Comedy
In this course we will study Dante Alighieri's fourteenth-century masterpiece The Divine Comedy, seeking to understand this ambitious poem both on its own merits and as an index of the major literary, artistic, and intellectual currents of European culture during the High Middle Ages. The Divine Comedy as a whole narrates Dante's fictional journey through the afterlife, where he witnesses the eternal torments of the damned souls in hell, the patient endurance of the restless Christian spirits in purgatory, and the ineffable delights of the blessed in paradise. As we follow Dante-pilgrim on his journey, we will look specifically at the poetic and narrative strategies that Dante-poet employs in thinking through the changing relationships between language and truth in the separate canticles of the poem, thinking about how an infernal poetics, for example, differs from a paradisiacal one. In light of ongoing debates in Dante studies, we will also focus on the extent to which Dante's poem enjoins readers to a process of conversion and on the ways in which Dante establishes his own poetic and moral authority as a counterweight to the corruptions of the fourteenth-century church. Readings will be from the English translation by Robert and Jean Hollander, with the Italian text of Dante's poem on the facing page. This course applies toward the department's pre-1700 requirement.


Middle English Literature
In this course, students will acquire a fluent knowledge of the Middle English language, with hands-on experience reading texts written in English from the thirteenth through fifteenth centuries. We will also be introduced to the relevant historical and cultural backgrounds that will open up a deeper understanding of the contours of the medieval imagintion. Texts studied may include Middle English lyric poetry, The Owl and the NightingaleSir Gawain and the Green KnightPearl, Geoffrey Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde, Julian of Norwich's Revelations of Divine Love, The Book of Margery Kempe, and excerpts from Thomas Malory's Morte D'Arthur.

Unit(s): 1
Group Distribution Requirement(s): Distribution Group I
Prerequisite(s): Two ENG courses at the 200-level or higher
Instructional Method: Conference
Grading Mode: Letter grading (A-F)
Repeatable for Credit: May be taken 4 times for credit
Notes: Not all topics offered every year. Review schedule of classes for availability. Review specific descriptions for applicability to department requirements. Chaucer's Canterbury Tales This course applies toward the department's pre-1700 requirement. Dante's Divine Comedy This course applies toward the department's pre-1700 requirement. Middle English Literature This course applies toward the department's pre-1700 requirement.
Group Distribution Learning Outcome(s):
  • Understand how arguments can be made, visions presented, or feelings or ideas conveyed through language or other modes of expression (symbols, movement, images, sounds, etc.).
  • Analyze and interpret texts, whether literary or philosophical, in English or a foreign language, or works of the visual or performing arts.
  • Evaluate arguments made in or about texts (whether literary or philosophical, in English or a foreign language, or works of the visual or performing arts).

ENG 356 - Studies in African American Literature

Douglass/Delany
Most people are aware of the seemingly opposed positions of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X during the 1960s about what course African Americans should take to achieve full freedom. This debate, however, goes back to the nineteenth century, with Frederick Douglass and Martin Delany taking opposing positions. Delany, despite having been admitted to Harvard Medical School in 1850 and kicked out after a month because white students protested, and having served as a major in the Civil War, believed, long before Marcus Garvey, that African Americans had no future in the United States and started a movement to emigrate to Africa. Douglass, in opposition, believed the only future was in the United States. We will read fiction and speeches by both men, including Delany's novel Blake; or the Huts of America (1862), written in response to Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, which he believed portrayed slaves as too passive. This course applies toward the department's pre-1900 requirement.

Unit(s): 1
Group Distribution Requirement(s): Distribution Group I
Prerequisite(s): The Black Radical Tradition V: The Black Arts Movement: Two ENG, LIT, LITC, LITF, LITG, LITL, LITR, or LITS courses at the 200-level or higher Douglass/Delany: Two ENG courses at the 200-level or higher
Instructional Method: Conference
Grading Mode: Letter grading (A-F)
Repeatable for Credit: May be taken 3 times for credit
Cross-listing(s): Douglass/Delany: CRES 336 
Notes: Not all topics offered every year. Review schedule of classes for availability. Review specific descriptions for applicability to department requirements. Douglass/Delany This course applies toward the department's pre-1900 requirement.
Group Distribution Learning Outcome(s):
  • Understand how arguments can be made, visions presented, or feelings or ideas conveyed through language or other modes of expression (symbols, movement, images, sounds, etc.);
  • Analyze and interpret texts, whether literary or philosophical, in English or a foreign language, or works of the visual or performing arts;
  • Evaluate arguments made in or about texts (whether literary or philosophical, in English or a foreign language, or works of the visual or performing arts).

ENG 362 - Studies in Early Modern Literature

Gender, Sex, and Sexuality in Early Modern Drama
This course explores early modern drama's engagement with intersecting questions of gender, sex, and sexuality in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England. Readings will include an introduction to influential criticism in the history of sexuality and literary criticism employing feminist and queer approaches to the plays. Authors will include Elizabeth Cary, Margaret Cavendish, Christopher Marlowe, William Shakespeare, Mary Sidney, and Ben Jonson. This course applies toward the department's pre-1700 requirement.

John Donne
Obsessed with death, love, piety, loss, science, and the power of the written word, John Donne lived and worked on very private and public levels throughout his career. This course will consider the writer who noted that "no man is an island" and pondered "for whom the bell tolls," reading the prose works in which these words first appeared together with his poetry and letters. We will also consider adaptations of Donne's poetry and concerns by other writers in other genres in the seventeenth century; modern engagements with his work; and critical receptions from his death to the present. This course will assume familiarity with prosodic analysis. This course applies toward the department's pre-1700 requirement.

Unit(s): 1
Group Distribution Requirement(s): Distribution Group I
Prerequisite(s): Two ENG courses at the 200-level or higher John Donne Two ENG courses at the 200-level or higher. Recommended: ENG 211, ENG 212, or ENG 213.
Instructional Method: Conference
Grading Mode: Letter grading (A-F)
Repeatable for Credit: May be taken 4 times for credit
Notes: Not all topics offered every year. Review schedule of classes for availability. Review specific descriptions for applicability to department requirements. Gender, Sex, and Sexuality in Early Modern Drama This course applies toward the department's pre-1700 requirement. John Donne This course applies toward the department's pre-1700 requirement. Recommended: ENG 211, ENG 212, or ENG 213.
Group Distribution Learning Outcome(s):
  • Understand how arguments can be made, visions presented, or feelings or ideas conveyed through language or other modes of expression (symbols, movement, images, sounds, etc.).
  • Analyze and interpret texts, whether literary or philosophical, in English or a foreign language, or works of the visual or performing arts.
  • Evaluate arguments made in or about texts (whether literary or philosophical, in English or a foreign language, or works of the visual or performing arts).

ENG 363 - Studies in Shakespeare

Protest and Petition in Shakespeare's Drama
Across his career and experiments in different genres, Shakespeare returned again and again to the issue of rule, in particular exploring the language and tactics subordinated people used to make requests and issue demands to those in power. Analyzing the language of "petition" and "protest" in Shakespeare's plays allows us to regard communication between rulers and the ruled, social superiors and inferiors, as a source not only of compelling plot lines and theatrical spectacles, but also of artful rhetoric and poetic expression. Placing Shakespeare's plays in conversation with early modern prose works that discuss hierarchies constructed along intersecting lines of gender and social rank, we will assess the language and function of "speaking up" in Shakespeare's works, as well as the ways in which his plays explore the consequences of such speech-or its absence. Assigned texts will include early modern prose and contemporary criticism. Plays will include Henry V, Coriolanus, King Lear, Measure for Measure, and The Winter's Tale, among others. This course applies toward the department's pre-1700 requirement.

Unit(s): 1
Group Distribution Requirement(s): Distribution Group I
Prerequisite(s): Two ENG courses at the 200-level or higher
Instructional Method: Conference
Grading Mode: Letter grading (A-F)
Repeatable for Credit: May be taken 4 times for credit
Notes: Not all topics offered every year. Review schedule of classes for availability. Review specific descriptions for applicability to department requirements. Protest and Petition in Shakespeare's Drama This course applies toward the department's pre-1700 requirement.
Group Distribution Learning Outcome(s):

 

  • Understand how arguments can be made, visions presented, or feelings or ideas conveyed through language or other modes of expression (symbols, movement, images, sounds, etc.);
  • Analyze and interpret texts, whether literary or philosophical, in English or a foreign language, or works of the visual or performing arts;
  • Evaluate arguments made in or about texts (whether literary or philosophical, in English or a foreign language, or works of the visual or performing arts).

ENG 366 - Studies in Poetry

Beauty and the Poetic Text
What makes us perceive things as beautiful? Why do certain works of art move us emotionally, while others engage us intellectually? The concept of aesthetics is nothing if not fluid: it can relate to perception through the senses; the philosophy of beauty; the art (or science!) of what is pleasing; the study of good taste; the standards by which art is judged-the list goes on. We will embark on a transhistorical exploration of beauty and the senses in Western literature across multiple genres, beginning with Plato and moving through the ideas of beauty and the sublime in the medieval world, representation and the self in the Renaissance, taste, sentiment, and the senses in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, finally ending with the modern period and the turn toward self-conscious artistic creation. Likely texts include Shakespeare's Sonnets and T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets, as well as works by Longinus, Aquinas, Donne, Thomas Gray, Edmund Burke, Wordsworth, Emerson, Dickinson, Wilde, and Walter Benjamin. This course will assume familiarity with prosodic analysis. This course applies toward the department's pre-1900 requirement.

Phenomenology of Early Modern Lyric
Early modern England was home to a flourishing of lyric poetry arguably unmatched before or since. Often used as a blanket term for short-form poetry, the essence of lyric lies in its vivid representation of a voice, whether as a script for the reader or a dramatic depiction of a scene, rendering the reader a spectator. But how is this voice on the page made "real" to readers? How do early modern poems situate readers with respect to the action or moment of a lyric poem? Literary and linguistic theory interested in semiotics, phenomenology, reader response, and material culture will frame our approach to answering these questions, testing the boundaries between spoken and silently read word and song to better understand the ways lyric was and can be read and used. Focusing in equal part on the major poets (Wyatt, Sidney, Shakespeare, Spenser, Donne, Milton) and less canonical figures like Anne Locke, Richard Barnfield, and Mary Wroth, we will consider the reader's relationship to the speaker imagined in a poem-how readers are interpolated by texts rhetorically, grammatically, and materially, as audiences and as speakers. Students will develop a working knowledge of ancient and early modern rhetoric; modern theoretical texts will include Bergson, Saussure, Jakobson, Agamben, Austin, Barthes, de Certeau, de Man, Derrida, Wright, Culler, and Johnson, among others. This course will assume familiarity with prosodic analysis. This course applies toward the department's pre-1700 requirement.

Remixing the Canon
Why would a British-Nigerian poet rewrite Chaucer's fourteenth-century Canterbury Tales? How might a translation of the Old English poem Beowulf speak to the Irish Troubles of the 1970s? What happens if you set Homer's Odyssey in the postcolonial Caribbean? In this course we will study creative retellings of canonical works by contemporary anglophone poets including Patience Agbabi, Seamus Heaney, Derek Walcott, and Daljit Nagra. Our guiding concept will be the remix: "a reinterpretation or reworking, often quite radical, of an existing music recording." Spending roughly equal time with the original works, the modern retellings, and the contemporary poets' broader oeuvres, we will explore topics such as the durability of poetic form across time, the relation of lyric poetry to narrative and epic, the nature of literary influence and originality, and the value of aesthetic tradition generally. Supplemental readings will include selections from older and newer poetry criticism and background material on relevant cultural contexts (e.g. Black British, Northern Irish, Sikh Punjabi).

Renaissance Lyric
What are the capacities and limits of the idea of "lyric"? Of "the Renaissance"? This course will survey lyric expression and the development of major poetic forms in English from 1500 to 1640, grounding itself in attention to cultural context and formal poetic analysis. We will read sacred and profane poetry, beginning with Petrarch's Rime Sparse (in historical and modern translations) and its central role in shaping the English Renaissance lyric. Focusing in equal part on the major poets (Wyatt, Sidney, Marlowe, Shakespeare, Spenser, Donne, Herbert) and on less canonical figures like John Skelton, Anne Locke, and Isabella Whitney, to name a few, we will examine these poems for their commentaries on love, religion, gender, and politics, putting them in conversation with literary and poetic theory from the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries and modern theory and criticism about the category of "the lyric." This course will assume familiarity with prosodic analysis. This course applies toward the department's pre-1700 requirement.

Sounds of Lyric
When we read, what do we hear and why? How can lyric poems, appealing to the ear through the eye, demand to be heard? There is no single way of encountering the sound of a text, of hearing it, of listening to it: we are conditioned by the idiosyncrasies of disposition, education, and habit which affect us from the moment we learn to read. This class will seek to explore that range of experience in the context of lyric by bringing standard literary critical approaches such as formalism, histories of reading and the book, and critical theory into contact with disciplines such as sound studies, media studies, psychoacoustics, cognitive psychology, and linguistics. For example, we will study connections between voice and literary audiation-the mind's ear-reviewing the voice-focused critical tradition in the study of poetry and its ramifications, using cognitive and neuropsychological research to consider the wide variety of silent reading experiences of sound. Alternatively, we will track how the visual arrangement of poems prompts and reflects different experiences of mental sound-especially rhythm and silence-and turn to manuscript and print poems from the Renaissance through the present for evidence of how particular writers and readers of poetry heard form. We will also read literary and philosophical accounts of the imperceptible (to humans) musica universalis-the music of the spheres-together with poetic representations of other impossible or inaudible sounds, considering their functions as prompts to the reader's eye, ear, and mind. 

Unit(s): 1
Group Distribution Requirement(s): Distribution Group I
Prerequisite(s): Two ENG courses at the 200-level or higher Sounds of Lyric:  ENG 211ENG 212, or ENG 213 
Instructional Method: Conference
Grading Mode: Letter grading (A-F)
Repeatable for Credit: May be taken 4 times for credit
Notes: Recommended: ENG 211, ENG 212, or ENG 213. Not all topics offered every year. Review schedule of classes for availability. Review descriptions for specific applicability to department requirements. Beauty and the Poetic Text This course applies toward the department's pre-1900 requirement. Phenomenology of Early Modern Lyric This course applies toward the department's pre-1700 requirement. Renaissance Lyric This course applies toward the department's pre-1700 requirement.
Group Distribution Learning Outcome(s):
  • Understand how arguments can be made, visions presented, or feelings or ideas conveyed through language or other modes of expression (symbols, movement, images, sounds, etc.).
  • Analyze and interpret texts, whether literary or philosophical, in English or a foreign language, or works of the visual or performing arts.
  • Evaluate arguments made in or about texts (whether literary or philosophical, in English or a foreign language, or works of the visual or performing arts).

ENG 370 - Studies in Cultural Contacts

Modern Irish Literature
Starting with the late-nineteenth-century Celtic Revival and Irish Literary Renaissance and continuing up to the present, this course will explore the extraordinary achievement and impact of twentieth- and twenty-first-century Irish literature. A particular emphasis will be the complex relationship between literature and colonialism in Ireland. We will devote some time to the forces that led to the creation of two states, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, a century ago in 1922; and to the Troubles of the late 1960s to the late 1990s in Northern Ireland; and to the literary response to both events. We will focus on questions about the relationship between politics and language; the roles of myth, folklore, and religion; how Irish nationalism interacts with the discourses of gender, class, and race; and the complicated relationships of Irish exiles like James Joyce and Samuel Beckett with their homeland. Authors will include W.B. Yeats, Lady Gregory, J.M Synge, James Joyce, Sean O'Casey, Samuel Beckett, Seamus Heaney, Eavan Boland, and Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill.

Modernity and Memory in the Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean has been a site of cultural exchange across continents for several millennia, but it has often been marginalized from discussions of modernity based on Euro-American and trans-Atlantic models. What does it mean to be modern in the context of the Indian Ocean, a region crisscrossed by multiple empires, competing religions, and movements of migrants, merchants, slaves, pilgrims, and soldiers? How have individuals and communities in the Indian Ocean been framed by larger transnational processes like colonization, decolonization, slavery, trade, migration, and displacement? Using literature as the primary mode of thinking, this course will consider the ways in which the unique history of circulation of people, objects, and ideas in the Indian Ocean shapes ideas of modernity distinct from those developed in the West. The aim is to explore the refashioning of modernity in literary and theoretical texts that return to archival sources to announce critical rewritings of the past. Paying close attention to narrative techniques and forms, the course will examine how the use of non-Western modes of representation and epistemologies provide modes for critiquing various theoretical positions on modernity.

Unit(s): 1
Group Distribution Requirement(s): Distribution Group I
Prerequisite(s): Modern Irish Literature: Two ENG courses at the 200-level or higher Modernity and Memory in the Indian Ocean: Two ENG or LIT courses at the 200-level or higher
Instructional Method: Conference
Grading Mode: Letter grading (A-F)
Repeatable for Credit: May be taken 4 times for credit
Cross-listing(s): Modernity and Memory in the Indian Ocean: CRES 330 
Notes: Not all topics offered every year. Review schedule of classes for availability. Review specific descriptions for applicability to department requirements.
Group Distribution Learning Outcome(s):
  • Understand how arguments can be made, visions presented, or feelings or ideas conveyed through language or other modes of expression (symbols, movement, images, sounds, etc.).
  • Analyze and interpret texts, whether literary or philosophical, in English or a foreign language, or works of the visual or performing arts.
  • Evaluate arguments made in or about texts (whether literary or philosophical, in English or a foreign language, or works of the visual or performing arts).

ENG 381 - Film and New Media Studies

Agency and Identity in New Media Narratives
From hypertexts to video games to livestreams, the storytelling affordances of digital media have captivated creators for nearly half a century. While new media narratives have expressed the liberatory potentials of interactivity and connectivity in their works, they have also raised deep questions about human agency, responsibility, and identity within our increasingly technological world. How are users interpellated within constructs of race, gender, sexuality, and ability as they create an avatar or act within digital spaces? How does the ability to interface with creators or transform narrative outcomes alter one's relationship to any given story? What are the ethical dilemmas inherent in taking control of virtual bodies, especially those that differ from one's own? This course aims to allow students to explore these questions for themselves by analyzing a variety of new media texts and putting them in conversation with theories of technology and identity. Potential texts to be analyzed include literary hypertexts such as Shelley Jackson's Patchwork Girl, digital games such as the Fulbright Company's Gone Home, and digital-native visual media such as Janelle Monáe's Dirty Computer.

The City in Film
Shots of the Manhattan skyline or its crowded streets and subways, car chases filmed on new freeways, views into apartments across the way: American cinema of the postwar period showed a particular fascination with the excitement, mobility, and alienation of urban life. These settings in turn shaped the narrative possibilities of film storytelling in the era. In this course we will focus on films from the 1940s and '50s that set their action in cities and address the experience of urban life, especially in the contrasting examples of Los Angeles and New York. Film screenings will be accompanied by required readings on the language of film analysis, and on contemporary literature, art, and criticism focused on the modern and postmodern city. Directors will be drawn from among the following: Robert Aldrich, Samuel Fuller, Alfred Hitchcock, Phil Karlson, Fritz Lang, Joseph Lewis, Joseph Losey, Ida Lupino, Anthony Mann, Otto Preminger, Nicholas Ray, Edgar Ulmer, Fred Zinnemann.

Unit(s): 1
Group Distribution Requirement(s): Distribution Group I
Prerequisite(s): Two ENG courses at the 200-level or higher
Instructional Method: Conference-screening
Grading Mode: Letter grading (A-F)
Notes: Not all topics offered every year. Review schedule of classes for availability. Review descriptions for specific applicability to department requirements. Prior experience with film and media studies preferred.
Group Distribution Learning Outcome(s):

  • Understand how arguments can be made, visions presented, or feelings or ideas conveyed through language or other modes of expression (symbols, movement, images, sounds, etc.);
  • Analyze and interpret texts, whether literary or philosophical, in English or a foreign language, or works of the visual or performing arts;
  • Evaluate arguments made in or about texts (whether literary or philosophical, in English or a foreign language, or works of the visual or performing arts).

ENG 383 - Adaptation across Media

We are currently (and perhaps have always been) in a culture inundated with adaptations; from films to web series to board games, the modern media ecosystem consistently proves that textuality has never been more fluid. In this course, we will investigate adaptation as a product, process, and reception practice, drawing on theories and case studies that span literature, film, new media artifacts, and digital and analog games. Through discussion and analysis of literary adaptations of works by authors such as Shakespeare, Shelley, Austen, and more, we will seek to answer questions regarding fidelity to a "source" text, medium specificity, fan appropriation, and the limits of adaptation (among others). Note that this is a team-based learning course: in order to cover a wide range of adaptations, students will be divided into teams, each of which will be responsible for analyzing a particular film or new media work using theoretical course readings and integrating it into class discussion. Previous experience with film and new media analysis is recommended.

Unit(s): 1
Group Distribution Requirement(s): Distribution Group I
Prerequisite(s): One ENG course at the 200-level or higher
Instructional Method: Conference
Grading Mode: Letter grading (A-F)
Group Distribution Learning Outcome(s):
  • Understand how arguments can be made, visions presented, or feelings or ideas conveyed through language or other modes of expression (symbols, movement, images, sounds, etc.).
  • Analyze and interpret texts, whether literary or philosophical, in English or a foreign language, or works of the visual or performing arts.
  • Evaluate arguments made in or about texts (whether literary or philosophical, in English or a foreign language, or works of the visual or performing arts).

ENG 384 - Poetry and History

American Modernism
Virginia Woolf wrote that on "or about December, 1910, human character changed," voicing a widely shared excitement over an anticipated revolution in the arts. The American poets who stayed in the United States shared this excitement, but also faced unique cultural circumstances. We will do close readings of poems written over the first three decades or so of the twentieth century. The poets on whom the class will focus may include William Carlos Williams, Marianne Moore, Melvin Tolson, Wallace Stevens, and Gertrude Stein; in particular, we will look at how these writers responded to and helped shape attitudes toward and practices in the visual arts transnationally, looking at and reading pieces by artists who may include Alfred Stieglitz, Charles DeMuth, Pablo Picasso, Juan Gris, and Wifredo Lam.

Contemporary American Poetry
This course is devoted to the works of American poets writing in the decades after 1945, beginning with poets ranging from Richard Wilbur to Charles Olson and ending with those writing now. The emphasis will be on the heterogeneous nature of poetic practices and poetic traditions and practices in the United States in the last half of the twentieth century, and most class discussions will focus on individual poems and essays about poetics, especially those less commonly read these days. We will also consider questions about the relationships between poetry, poetics, and American culture, characterizing major historical changes in the United States in the period.

Poetics of Resistance and Resilience
The purpose of this class is to examine the intersection of aesthetics, politics, and poetics in contemporary resistance poetry (1945-present). How do poets draw on traditions and update those traditions to meet new needs? Special attention will be paid to the influence of non-Western aesthetics and the role of sex and gender in the creation of poetic legacies. The course emphasizes close reading of the texts.

Unit(s): 1
Group Distribution Requirement(s): Distribution Group I
Prerequisite(s): American Modernism: Two ENG courses at the 200-level or higher, or ENG 211 Contemporary American Poetry: ENG 211, ENG 212, or ENG 213, and one ENG course at the 300-level or higher Poetics of Resistance and Resilience: Two ENG courses at the 200-level or higher, or one CRES foundational course, or two CRES designated courses
Instructional Method: Conference
Grading Mode: Letter grading (A-F)
Repeatable for Credit: May be taken 4 times for credit
Notes: Not all topics offered every year. Review schedule of classes for availability. Review specific descriptions for applicability to department requirements.
Group Distribution Learning Outcome(s):
  • Understand how arguments can be made, visions presented, or feelings or ideas conveyed through language or other modes of expression (symbols, movement, images, sounds, etc.).
  • Analyze and interpret texts, whether literary or philosophical, in English or a foreign language, or works of the visual or performing arts.
  • Evaluate arguments made in or about texts (whether literary or philosophical, in English or a foreign language, or works of the visual or performing arts).

ENG 386 - Word and Image

"Written words have been combined with visual images in forms which range from the explanatory to the enigmatic, from the constructive to the contradictory, from the iconic to the irreverent," writes Leslie Ross. This course will focus on text-image relations in paper and print media, including illuminated texts, illustrated texts, collage, texts with photographs, paintings with captions, graphic novels, and fine art books. Our study will be guided by the following questions: How do text-image compositions deploy their media to enrich meaning-making potential while also engaging their dissonance or dissociation? How do text and image differently engage the senses, the intellect, and the emotions? How do words and images each convey symbolic or metaphoric content or use syntax and argument? How do text and image illuminate, distort, or amplify aspects of individual consciousness or historical narrative? Primary texts may include Haida tradition in Raven Steals the Light, Plains Indian ledger narratives, Christine de Pizan's Epistre D'Othéa, Gustave Doré's and William Blake's illustrations of Milton's Paradise Lost, William Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience, Jacob Lawrence's Migration Series, Max Ernst's The Hundred Headless Woman, Alison Bechdel's Fun Home, W.G. Sebald's Austerlitz, and Theresa Hak Kyung Cha's Dictee. Theorists may include Bill Holm, Karl Kroeber, Michael Camille, W.J.T. Mitchell, Lisa Lowe, Marianne Hirsch, Scott McCloud, Hillary Chute, John Bateman, Neil Cohn.

Unit(s): 1
Group Distribution Requirement(s): Distribution Group I
Prerequisite(s): Two ENG courses at the 200-level or higher
Instructional Method: Conference
Grading Mode: Letter grading (A-F)
Group Distribution Learning Outcome(s):

  • Understand how arguments can be made, visions presented, or feelings or ideas conveyed through language or other modes of expression (symbols, movement, images, sounds, etc.);
  • Analyze and interpret texts, whether literary or philosophical, in English or a foreign language, or works of the visual or performing arts;
  • Evaluate arguments made in or about texts (whether literary or philosophical, in English or a foreign language, or works of the visual or performing arts).

ENG 400 - Introduction to Literary Theory

See LIT 400 for description.

Unit(s): 1
Group Distribution Requirement(s): Distribution Group I
Prerequisite(s): Junior standing or at least two literature courses
Instructional Method: Conference
Grading Mode: Letter grading (A-F)
Repeatable for Credit: May be taken 4 times for credit
Cross-listing(s): LIT 400 
Group Distribution Learning Outcome(s):
  • Analyze and interpret texts, whether literary or philosophical, in English or a foreign language, or works of the visual or performing arts;
  • Evaluate arguments made in or about texts (whether literary or philosophical, in English or a foreign language, or works of the visual or performing arts).

ENG 470 - Thesis

Unit(s): 2
Instructional Method: Independent Study
Grading Mode: Letter grading (A-F)
Notes: Yearlong course, 1 unit per semester.

ENG 481 - Independent Reading

Unit(s): Variable: 0.5 - 1
Prerequisite(s): Instructor and division approval
Instructional Method: Independent Study
Grading Mode: Letter grading (A-F)
Repeatable for Credit: May be taken 4 times for credit

ENG 566 - Studies in Poetry: Beauty and the Poetic Text

What makes us perceive things as beautiful? Why do certain works of art move us emotionally, while others engage us intellectually? The concept of aesthetics is nothing if not fluid: it can relate to perception through the senses; the philosophy of beauty; the art or science of what is pleasing; the study of good taste; the standards by which art is judged-the list goes on. We will embark on a transhistorical exploration of beauty and the senses pairing English and American poetry with aesthetic philosophy, beginning with Plato and moving through the ideas of beauty and the sublime in the medieval world, representation and the self in the Renaissance, taste and sentiment in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, finally ending with modernism and the turn toward self-conscious artistic creation and its heightened awareness of history and society. The course will give students an introduction to a major line in philosophical inquiry from antiquity to the late twentieth century together with reading culturally influential and literarily significant English-language poetry beginning with Thomas Wyatt and ending with T.S. Eliot, and including Shakespeare, Donne, Milton, Shelley, Gray, Wordsworth, and Dickinson. Philosophy will include: Plato, Aristotle, Longinus, Eco, Sidney, Pope, Burke, Kant, Emerson, Wilde, Freud, Shklovsky, Benjamin, Adorno, Croce, Didi-Huberman.

Unit(s): 0.5
Instructional Method: Conference
Grading Mode: Letter grading (A-F)
Notes: Graduate course. Offered spring 2024.