English majors and minors should consult the course cycle before registering for any course.
English majors and minors are encouraged to complete the advising template (PDF) before meeting with their academic advisors. Those who choose to register online might consider filling out the document in Word, saving it to a file, and then e-mailing it to their advisors as part of the "permit to register" request.
English Department Course Offerings Fall 2017
EN 097 Internship in Public Schools
EN 098 Internship in Private Schools
EN 099 English Internships
Students interested in pursuing an internship must meet with Dr. Lukacs. Written or electronic permission of the instructor is required. Students may take one internship class for degree credit. It will count as an elective, not as a course fulfilling requirements for an English major or minor.
EN 101: Understanding Literature
EN 101 is an introduction to the serious, college-level study of literature. It seeks to give students an understanding of imaginative writing, means for reading this writing perceptively, and basic principles for making interpretive judgments. While there is no common text for EN 101, all instructors share the goal of bringing students to an enriched awareness of the power and beauty of our language and of its potential as an expressive and persuasive tool. The course is, therefore, writing intensive, and seeks to teach students to develop their writing skills with particular attention to the crafting of analytical argument.
A small number of EN 101 sections are theme-based, meaning that in addition to serving as an introduction to literary study as described above, they are organized around a particular theme. These are described in detail below:
Understanding Literature: The Body in Writing: Disability Literature
MWF 12:00-12:50, MWF 1:00-1:50
Professor Giuseppina Iacono Lobo
In this course, we will examine how writers imagine and represent disability through a wide variety of poetry, short fiction, and novels. The literary canon as we know it abounds with disabled characters, from Sophocles’s Oedipus, William Shakespeare’s Richard III, Herman Melville’s Captain Ahab, Charlotte Brontë’s Rochester, to William Faulkner’s Benjy. Despite their ubiquity, these figures tend to be marginalized in literature, often portrayed as either victims, villains, inspirations, or monsters. As we will explore during the first half of the semester, these stereotypes limit the role and our perception of disability in writing, and even tend to project those limitations beyond the text.
After the midterm, we will turn to literature that strives to represent disability not as a marginalizing force, but rather a fundamental part of the human experience. As such, poets and writers like Jim Ferris, Petra Kuppers, Kenny Fries, and Stephen Kuusisto write through—and, at times, even celebrate—disability. Canes, crutches, and wheelchair wheels inspire unique poetic beats, the experience of blindness is reproduced through line breaks, and transliterated ASL revolutionizes storytelling. These innovations thrust disability from the margins of literature to the forefront, demanding that readers see beyond tired tropes and metaphors.
As we consider the still changing role of disability in writing, we will also focus on the formal aspects of poetry, short fiction, and the novel, and work to master the language of literary analysis. Whether extolling “crip” culture, or reproducing limiting stereotypes, or expressing loss (of feeling, of limbs, of mobility), or presenting characters who reveal, revel in, or even try to escape from difference, the authors on our syllabus all imagine the disabled body in writing: bodies that map the full spectrum of the human experience.
Major English Writers: Bad Men in British Literature
Professor Erin Wilson
Upon meeting Lord Byron in 1812, Lady Caroline Lamb famously declared him “mad, bad, and dangerous to know.” This sentiment did not stop her from having an affair with him, subsequently stalking him after he ended their relationship, and eventually writing a book about him. In this course, we will ask ourselves why we find ourselves fascinated by wickedness, to the point of admiration, sympathy, and even love. From Byron’s exploits to Breaking Bad’s Walter White, we often find ourselves captivated by tales of bad men committing wicked and often unspeakable acts, sometimes hoping for their redemption and, other times, being drawn in further when they get worse. We will see many examples of “bad men” across this semester, some with good intentions, some charming, and some monstrous. Beginning with Lord Byron, the original bad man of English Literature, we will move through England’s Romantic, Victorian, and Modern eras, ending with the contemporary fiction of John Fowles. Required assignments include quizzes, short papers, a blog assignment, a longer paper, and two exams.
Major Writers: English Literature—Growing Up Modern
Dr. Mark Osteen
Childhood and adolescence are modern inventions. Building upon that fact, this course explores how the literature of the past two centuries has depicted childhood, adolescence and early adulthood. Among the questions we ask in the course are the following: what trials do children and adolescents endure on their way to adulthood? How do children, teens, and young adults respond to authority? How do unusual people (such as disabled youths) challenge definitions of normality? Is coming of age the same across different cultures? In some cases we will pair texts to show the contrasts and similarities between the sensibilities, styles, and subjects of disparate eras. Readings will include William Wordsworth’s poems, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd, short stories by James Joyce and Alice Munro, and a selection of recent novels, such as Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, David Mitchell’s Black Swan Green, Ian McEwan’s The Children Act, and Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake or Emily Mandel’s Station Eleven. We will read a selection of works from World War One, as part of the Humanities Symposium, and we’ll view and analyze film versions of selected texts.
Each student will write a research paper and give an oral presentation. Students will also write two brief papers in which they reflect on their own identities and disabilities. Finally, students will have the privilege of completing a midterm and a comprehensive final exam.
Short Version: Growing Up Modern explores the many ways that the literature of the past two centuries has depicted childhood, adolescence and early adulthood.
Major Writers: English
Professor Carol Abromaitis
The epic and romance occupy a central place in the canon of western literature. In these works questions of good and evil, life and death, honor and shame are posed and answered. The transcendental qualities – beauty, truth, goodness, and unity – occupy the minds and hearts of the heroes even as they confront the inevitable fact of evil, individual and societal. We will read these works closely for content, themes, structure, aesthetic qualities, historical context, and generic structures
READINGS: Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, excerpts from Paradise Lost (Books I, II, IX, XI, XII), and all of The Lord of the Rings.
PAPER: Students will write a critical and analytical research paper on one of the assigned works that will involve research in the library.
QUIZZES: There will be quizzes on each of the works (on Milton and Tolkien there will be several quizzes).
TESTS: There will be a mid-term and a final examination.
Major Writers: American Literature--Imagining the Nation
EN 203D.03, 203D.05
TTh 12:15-1:30, TTh 1:40-2:55
Professor Sondra Guttman
This course examines what it has meant to be an American, proposing that we think about the nation not as a place, but as an idea that is under constant revision in the literature written about it. Focusing in particular on African American and women's literature, questions we ask of each text include: How does this text imagine America as a nation? How do these imaginings change over time? How is or isn’t each text critical of dominant ways of imagining the nation? Writers to be studied include: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, Abraham Cahan, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Kate Chopin, W.E.B. Du Bois, Langston Hughes, William Faulkner, Zora Neale Hurston, Susan Glaspell, T.S. Eliot, and Tennessee Williams.
This course fulfills the core diversity requirement. Requirements include a group teaching project, an 8-10pp. research essay, and midterm and final exams.
Major Writers: American -Three Decades of New York City
Professor Jean Lee Cole
New York, one of America’s most prototypical yet most anomalous cities, has inspired many of the country’s greatest writers. Literature has also shaped the city, crystallizing its image in the United States and abroad, and also affecting its social and political history. Works written about New York reflect abiding concerns regarding the effects of industrialization and urbanization, immigration, and social reform. This course examines literary representations of New York during three of its most formative decades: the 1850s, the 1890s, and the 1920s, tracing both the evolution of the city and the history of American literature. Course requirements: active participation in discussion (in-class and online); two short papers (2-3 pages each); a research project that includes online and essay components, midterm; final.
Major Writers: American
MW 3:00-4:15, MW 4:30-5:45
Professor Juniper Ellis
Focusing on the ways writers develop a language and a literary form that is distinctively American, this EN203D course examines the ways writers present diversity and solidarity as founding principles of the United States. We examine writers from many differing communities, creating an ongoing investigation into the way people define themselves and others. Many of the writers we read provide distinct but complementary perspectives on personal and national identity: for example, Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Charles Johnson’s Middle Passage create innovative literary forms that depict the way slavery affects both black people and white people. Though the books are written nearly 100 years apart, and though one writer is black and the other white, the works share common ground in experimenting with ways to tell stories that promote freedom and justice. The course offers a strong foundation in both time-honored American fiction, drama, and poetry, and contemporary multi-ethnic classics.
Major Writers: Shakespeare
Professor Thomas Scheye
“He doth bestride the narrow world/ Like a colossus.” The way Cassius describes Julius Caesar can apply as well to his creator: because of Shakespeare’s achievement that towers over all other authors’ in our language; and the nature of that achievement. Shakespeare does more than write plays; he creates a world—one where the characters come alive for us and the language becomes part of our patrimony, our common inheritance as English speakers. This course focuses on Shakespeare’s finest tragedies and comedies, where that world finds it finest expression.
Major Writers: Shakespeare
Professor Bryan Crockett
In this course we’ll read, talk about, and write about the plays of the most beloved author in the history of English literature. The course is designed not only to challenge those who already enjoy Shakespeare but also to help those whose experience has been less rewarding to learn that the plays and poems can be both deeply moving and immensely enjoyable. No matter whether you fall into the former category, the latter, or somewhere in between, a concentrated, sustained effort on your part will yield rich rewards. The syllabus will include a broad sampling of the varied products of Shakespeare's astounding imagination: sonnets, histories, tragedies, comedies, and romances. The reading list will likely include a few of Shakespeare's sonnets, Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Henry IV, Part 1, Richard III, Measure for Measure, Much Ado About Nothing, and The Tempest. Requirements will include very short written responses to each day’s readings, a research paper, and mid-term as well as final exams.
300 and 400-LEVEL COURSES
Professor Kathleen Forni
We will read most of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales in Middle English. Although Middle English appears strange at first, most students are able to read fairly easily within a few weeks. In addition to close readings of Chaucer's texts, we will discuss his explorations of sexual relations, anti-feminism, class conflicts, and justice—topics that still have relevance. We'll complement our study of Chaucer with a consideration of his contemporary relevance as reflected in film and popular culture adaptations.
Frequent translation quizzes, mid-term, final, and an 8-page paper.
Minds in Revolt: Milton and the Literature of Black Liberation
Professor Giuseppina Iacono Lobo
John Milton’s Paradise Lost (1667) raised in its own day and continues to raise profound questions about liberty, revolution, and loss. For this reason, Milton’s epic enjoyed a vibrant afterlife in America, and not least among black writers and thinkers. We will begin this course with a thorough reading of Milton’s Paradise Lost and other minor works in order to establish a firm understanding of his conception of liberty and its centrality to his corpus.
During the second half of the semester, we will turn to the literature of black writers such as Olaudah Equiano, Frederick Douglass, Phillis Wheatley, Anna Julia Cooper and others to examine their complications of Milton’s epic and the questions it raises. We will end by revisiting Milton through the veil of Toni Morrison’s powerful novel whose title alone seems a response to and revision of his epic: Paradise (1997). Along the way, we will ask: how do black writers reimagine Milton’s conception of liberty and to what end? How might we define the ideas of appropriation and authorization through their borrowing, challenging, and even deleting of Milton’s text? Finally, why is Milton’s voice in particular so prevalent in the writings of black authors, and what might that prevalence teach us about the elasticity of even the most canonical and seemingly static of texts?
This course will fulfill the pre-1800 requirement.
Jane Austen and Her World
Professor Carol Abromaitis
READINGS: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a … [student] in possession of … [an open slot], must be in want of … [an Austen seminar].” 2017 is the bicentenary of Austen’s death. By concentrating on her six novels, Northanger Abbey, Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, and Persuasion, we are fortunate to experience the greatness of Jane Austen’s vision and artistry. In these novels we will visit varied landscapes as well as all kinds of homes, towns, and cities. We will meet characters who are vain, broken-hearted, stupid, insightful, gracious, mean-spirited, grasping, generous, witty, and eminently lovable. In addition, students will read biographies of Austen.
APPROACH: Students will research the art, architecture, entertainment, fashions, gardens, housing, parks, and politics of this latter part of the long eighteenth century and their relevance to the Jane Austen. Classes will feature micro-essays to start conversations, each of which will relate a passage to the novel as a whole and pose a formal question to the seminar.
REQUIREMENTS: Each student will normally present an analytical term paper and several micro-essays; there will be a mid–term examination, and a final examination.
Topics in Victorian Literature: Protest and Progress
Professor Gayla McGlamery
The revolutionary spirit passed through England without populating battlegrounds or engendering bloody terror, but it was not silent or still. Workingmen’s songs, feminist treatises, anti-slavery poems, and social protest novels of all kinds spoke to the concerns of that time and speak just as compellingly to ours today: exploitive capitalism, anti-Semitism and racism, class oppression, and gender inequality. In this course, we will encounter some of the many voices raised on behalf of the oppressed in Victorian England and some of those who opposed them. While doing so, we will explore the range and limits of 19th-century progress and consider what we can learn about prospects for change in our own time
Readings are likely to include: Disraeli’s Sybil, or The Two Nations (1845), Mulock Craik’s The Half-Caste (1851), Dickens’s Bleak House (1852-53), Gaskell’s North and South (1865), and selections from workingmen’s poetry and songs, Carlyle’s Past and Present, Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s protest poems, Engels’, Conditions of the Working Class in England (1845), and Mill’s The Subjection of Women, among other readings.
Assignments are likely to include a take-home midterm and final, two or three short “reaction” reports, and a 10-12-page research paper.
American Literature Until the First World War
Professor Paul Lukacs
This course will survey American writing from the colonial period to the early twentieth century, when the United States became a world power. We shall look at expressions of optimism and hope as well as resignation and despair. Did the ideals of this at first isolated place translate into realities, or were there always huge discrepancies between what Americans proclaimed their (new) home to be and what it actually was? Readings will include poems, stories, essays, and excerpts from longer works, as well as the two novels most commonly cited as candidates for the title of "the great American novel"--Herman Melville's Moby-Dick and Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Requirements include two tests and two papers.
Students who have taken EN 203, "Major Writers: American Literature," may take this course only if they receive written permission from Dr. Lukacs.
Topics in American Literature: First Generation Writing
Professor Stephen Park
Haitian-American author Edwidge Danticat once observed that all immigrants were artists. “Re-creating your entire life,” she claimed, “is a form of reinvention on par with the greatest works of literature.” The daily creativity needed for immigrant life may be on par with literature, but it has also produced great literature. There is a long tradition of first-generation immigrants playing a central role in American Literature, from the colonial era onward, and they are increasingly visible in today’s literary landscape, winning major literary awards and receiving the admiration of a wide range of readers. The course will explore a small sample of these texts as a way of thinking through a number of questions regarding American Literature. How do writers coming from outside the U.S.—and often from languages other than English—expand our notion of what qualifies as “American” Literature? How does the position of these writers between two cultures add to our own perspective on contemporary U.S. culture? And finally, how have U.S. readers engaged with these books and what does the popularity of these books tell us about those readers? We will read works by Junot Díaz, Edwidge Danticat, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Jhumpa Lahiri, and others.
Professor Nicholas Miller
An exploration of the history and practice of animation from sixteenth-century flipbooks to contemporary digital cinema. Students will examine the tools and techniques involved in creating the illusion of movement through optical toys, cel animation, stop-motion photography, and various experimental forms. Through readings, lectures, discussions, and screenings, we will investigate the developing aesthetics of the animated image while considering its social and political influences as an expressive form. In addition to reading, viewing, and writing assignments, participants will undertake several practical exercises in basic animation techniques.
English Honors Seminar: Radicals and Pretenders – Bohemianism in Modern Literature
EN 409.01 – Open to Seniors By Invitation Only
Professor Melissa Girard
Born in nineteenth-century Paris, bohemianism is a way of life, a philosophy based on rebellion from the mainstream. Disillusioned with conventional society, bohemians create alternative communities—subcultures—on the margins, where they can live and create art according to their own rules. Taking their cue from Paris and London, American bohemians in New York and San Francisco have given rise to some of the most innovative (and contentious) artistic experiments of the last 150 years, movements such as modernism, feminism, free love, and punk rock. This semester, we will immerse ourselves in the history and philosophy of bohemianism in order to understand the nature of their rebellions. Are bohemians really radicals or just pretenders?
Our readings will begin with iconic bohemian works by Charles Baudelaire, Walt Whitman, and Oscar Wilde. We will then travel to New York’s Greenwich Village, where Emma Goldman and Edna St. Vincent Millay reimagined bohemia for the “New Woman”; Ernest Hemingway’s cosmopolitan bohemia, where the “Lost Generation” wandered aimlessly in the aftermath of World War I; Harlem’s cabarets, where blues and jazz fueled new forms of artistic and political freedom; and San Francisco’s Beat subculture, where Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac popularized bohemianism like never before. We will analyze the forms and styles of art that arose from these bohemian subcultures and explore whether bohemianism offers a viable alternative to mainstream life. At the end of the semester, the English Honors Seminar will also collaboratively plan the 2017 English Feast!