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 Spring 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:
The Body in Writing: Disability Literature
EN101.09, EN 101.11
MWF 10:00am-10:50am, 11:00am-11:50am
Dr. 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.
Understanding Literature: Villains, Rogues, and Wastrels
EN 101.17, 101.19
MW 3:00-4:15, MW 4:30-5:45
Professor Benjamin Jude Wright
From Breaking Bad, to Dexter, to Scandal contemporary media is filled with protagonists of dubious moral character. This class will explore these issues of villainy and moral corruption from a number of angles. Why do characters like Walter White, or Macbeth, or even the devil appeal to us? What do we learn from examining the troubling psychologies of such figures? What do they say about the cultures they emerge from? We will tackle these questions and more in a variety of literary genres including fiction, poetry, and drama. Along the way we will focus on the nuts and bolts of literary analysis and seek to become more astute readers and critics of literature. In order to do this, students will learn the formal properties of literature and develop skills in close-reading and critical analysis. Students will learn to situate themselves within the critical conversation and become participants in the on-going dialogue about the texts we read. Our villainous (or at least morally dubious) texts will include selections from John Milton’s Paradise Lost, Shakespeare’s Macbeth, poems by Robert Browning, and Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest (amongst other works).
Major English Writers: Bad Men in British Literature
EN 201.01, 201.02
MWF 1-1:50, MWF 2-2:50
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- Monstrous Fictions
EN 201.03, 201.6
TTH 9:25-10:40, TTH 1:40-2:55
Professor Benjamin Jude Wright
“Monsters are meaning machines,” writes Judith Halberstam. This class will take that claim, that the monstrous can represent to us a panoply of intersecting and conflicting meanings, seriously as we examine significant works in British literature. We’ll begin with the Gothic tales of the eighteenth-century and conclude with contemporary urban fantasy. Along the way we’ll read famous monstrous works such as Frankenstein, and Dracula, as well as the poetry of Keats, Blake, Christina Rossetti, and Robert Browning amongst others. Our class will conclude with 20th and 21st century examples of the monstrous. As we delve into this history of monsters in British literature we will see the way in which the monster has been used to both defend and subvert societal norms and values, undermine and establish tradition, and disempower and empower marginalized populations. Along the way we’ll draw from the critical work of scholars and see what these monsters tell us about the culture(s) they emerged from, and how every generation gets the monster it deserves.
Major Writers: The Naked Eye: Victorian and Modern Ways of Seeing
EN 201.04; EN 201.05
T/TH 1:40-2:55; T/TH 3:05-4:20
Professor Nicholas Miller
This course will explore the continuities and discontinuities of Victorian and Modern literature in relation to two watershed events in visual culture: the invention of the photograph in 1826 and the invention of the cinema in 1895. With the advent of still- and moving-picture cameras, the human act of seeing was transformed into a mechanical process, no longer grounded entirely in the biological instrument of human perception, the “naked eye.” Taking this as our point of departure, we will investigate Victorian and Modern “ways of seeing,” the ideas about perception that drew on both science and art to give rise to optical toys and instruments, ultimately transforming the visible world by transforming vision itself. Our primary focus will be on sight-related tropes and themes—observation, perspective, illusion, insight, blindness, visibility and invisibility, the public and private dynamics of seeing and being seen—as they emerge in the short fiction and novels of these adjacent literary periods. Authors to be studied will likely include H. G. Wells, Robert Louis Stevenson, Arthur Conan Doyle, Oscar Wilde, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Raymond Carver, Jeanette Winterson, and Art Spiegelman, among others. We will also look at some early photographs and pioneering cinematic works by the Lumiere brothers, Georges Melies, Dziga Vertov, Emile Cohl, and Winsor McCay. In addition to reading and viewing assignments, requirements will include brief weekly response posts, two short papers, one longer research paper, frequent quizzes, a midterm and a final examination
Major Writers: English. 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 adolescents respond to authority? How do unusual people (such as disabled youths) challenge or confirm our 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. 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, disabilities and confrontations with authority. Finally, students will have the privilege of completing a midterm and a comprehensive final exam.
Major Writers: English
In this course we will read English literature that is part of the epic and romance traditions: Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, five books of Milton’s Paradise Lost, Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Ring. Micro-essays and quizzes will be part of the daily preparation; also required are a research and analytical paper, a mid-term examination, and a final examination.
Major Writers: English
In this course we will read literature from the 19th and 20th centuries that presents visions of the importance of community. At this time the probable figures whose works we will read are Robert Browning, Charles Dickens, Joseph Conrad, G. K. Chesterton, Evelyn Waugh, T. S. Eliot, and C. S. Lewis. The following are required: quizzes, micro-essays, a research paper, mid-term, and final examination.
Major Writers: American Literature
EN203D.02 and 230D.03
MW 3-4:15, MW 4:30-5:45
Professor June 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: American Literature--Imagining the Nation
EN 203D.04, 203D.05
TTh 9:25-10:40, TTh 10:50-12:05
Professor Sondra Guttman
This course explores the idea of America as an “imagined community,” one where ideals of unity and a distinctive national identity have often conflicted with the realities of expansion and diversity. The 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. 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, Mark Twain, Zitkala Sa, 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 presentation, an 8-10pp. research essay, and midterm and final exams.
Major Writers: Shakespeare
Dr. 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. While millions upon millions of people have discovered to their delight that Shakespeare's words have wings, others are intimidated by the difficulty of negotiating those words. This course is designed not only to challenge those who already enjoy Shakespeare but also to help those whose experience has been less enlightening to learn that the plays and poems can be 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, A Midsummer Night's Dream, 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.
English Literary History until 1800
Professor Thomas Scheye
This course traces out the main line in English literary history, the tradition handed down from Chaucer to Spenser to Shakespeare and, finally, to Milton. In addition to placing these authors in the context of their times and in relationship to one another, the course will examine how the tradition continues into the modern world beginning with its influence on the 18th century. Because this course is content-oriented, and because the reading assignments are substantial, there will be frequent quizzes and tests but no formal paper.
English 311, Shakespeare, primarily examines the comedies and romances of William Shakespeare—plays of love, marriage, suffering, and redemption. It is open to English majors and to all students who have completed English core requirements, especially those with an interest in theatre and literature, regardless of whether or not they have taken EN 310. Together we will read the plays with an eye to theatrical performance. We will see performances on stage if possible; we will also see performance on film, in which medium there are many interesting and controversial adaptations readily available. Students will participate in dramatic readings of Shakespearean scenes, taking responsibility for rehearsal, props, costumes, setting, pace, gestures, delivery, and interpretation. There will be quizzes, a paper, an hour exam and a final. Readings will probably include The Comedy of Errors, Twelfth Night, Measure for Measure, The Tempest, one tragedy for good measure, and others.
“daunce to th’ Musick of your Chaines”: Writing Behind Bars in Early Modern England
Dr. Giuseppina Iacono Lobo
In his English Civil War-era poem “The Vintage to the Dungeon,” Richard Lovelace bids his fellow Royalist prisoners to drown their captivity defiantly in drink, and “daunce to th’ Musick of your Chaines.” This poem’s excess—“Live then Pris’ners uncontrol’d”—was meant to flout the values of the Royalists’ Puritanical jailors, a metaphorical and, in some ways, physical transcendence of imprisonment. In this course, we will examine the space of the early modern prison—whether actual or imagined—as a productive and important literary sphere. Many writers and influential public figures, including Sir Thomas More, Sir Walter Raleigh, William Shakespeare, John Milton, John Bunyan, Lovelace and his fellow Cavalier Poets, and even royals such as Elizabeth I and Charles I, found in the carceral experience sites of literary dissent and resistance. These voices—whether of Milton’s Satan from his “dungeon horrible,” or Charles I’s from the Isle of Wight, or even Shakespeare’s Richard II from his peopled “little world”—emerge as innovative, clarifying, and oppositional. As we chart the development of early modern prison literature from Reformation to Revolution, we will investigate the transformative nature of this marginal space and the writing it helped to produce.
Literary Criticism and Theory
Professor Paul Lukacs
The study of literature (and art in general) is based upon assumptions concerning both value and meaning—why one sort of literary text or other artifact is more worthy than another, and where the meaning of it is located. Is the author of a literary text the source of its meaning, or is the reader? And what about the text itself? Similarly, are complex texts inherently more valuable than simple ones? What about ones that seem to convey universal messages or themes, as opposed to those that seem more historically or culturally confined? And where is value or worth to be found—in the text by itself or in the context in which it was created and/or in which it is being read?
These are complicated questions about which (believe it or not) English professors and other literary critics do not necessarily agree. EN 345 is a course about the disagreements, and about the philosophies or ideologies that result in those disagreements. Put another way, it is a course about the ways in which theory enables criticism. And like it or not, we all practice criticism when we think, discuss, write and argue about art.
Requirements include two tests, one short set of papers, and one longer research paper.
Seminar in Humor Studies
Professor June Ellis
This course proposes that humor serves as one of the best ways to understand literature and culture. From Archilochus to Rushdie, parody and the playful are productive: they illuminate serious forms as well as generating their own discourse and conventions. Writers use humor to reveal the local and the universal, to speak truth in multiple voices, to refashion art and expectation.
The class analyzes specific cultures and histories of laughter and humor. We investigate and extend existing models of humor studies (superiority theory, incongruity theory, and release/relief theory). We propose that all humor studies (and study of all literatures that contain humor) benefit from realizing the ways laughter and the comic make visible the individual and collective, the sacred and profane. Laughter, which is at once subversive and conservative, makes visible the total social situation and kindles the creative and the numinous.
We may consider full-length works by writers including Bill Bryson, Elizabeth Gilbert, Epeli Hau'ofa, Maira Kalman, Jeff Kinney, Zora Neale Hurston, Amy Sedaris, David Sedaris, Voltaire, along with essays and shorter works by writers including Plato, Hobbes, Kant, Kierkegaard, Descartes, Freud, Spencer, John Kasaipwalova, and Victor Turner.
Exuberant class discussions, weekly writing, two oral presentations, two exams, term paper. Service-learning option.
The Gothic Tradition
Professor Dan Mangiavellano
“Mad, bad, and dangerous to know” was how Lady Caroline Lamb described Lord Byron in 1812, but it could just as easily describe the heroes, heroines, and villains populating the Gothic novel in the eighteenth and nineteenth century. In this seminar, we will study the literary conventions of Gothic poetry and prose from Horace Walpole through the Romantic period, and ask to what extent the Gothic tradition exchanges social justice and ethics for the thrills and chills of the supernatural and sentimental. Such questions will help us situate the Gothic within eighteenth-century literary history, and trace its subsequent influence on the development of British Romantic literary theory and aesthetics. Why does Romanticism have such a tenuous relationship to the Gothic? If the Gothic is as morally and ethically bankrupt as early Romantics would seem to think, why do later poets and novelists like Percy and Mary Shelley, Byron, and Keats return to Gothic tropes? Ultimately, let’s ask why readers (then and now) find so much pleasure in getting scared and what this tells us about our own tastes and habits. Texts include selected poetry from the Graveyard Poets/Boneyard Boys, Walpole’s Castle of Otranto, Radcliff’s The Mysteries of Udolpho, Lewis’s The Monk, Austen’s Northanger Abbey, Percy Shelley’s St. Irvyne, or The Rosicrucian, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and a wide variety of poetry and plays from Coleridge, Keats, Byron, and Joanna Baillie, among others. (Expect Edgar Allan Poe to make a series of guest appearances in celebration of Baltimore’s own gothic literary history!
Topics in American Literature — American Feminist Intellectuals
Professor Brian Norman
Gender Studies minor capstone. American Studies minors. Service-learning optional.
American literature boasts a rich history of women writers using their literary talents in the public square to engage social movements and shape history. This course samples some key models of public intellectuals from various eras of feminist activism: Harriet Beecher Stowe, Sojourner Truth, Anna Julia Cooper, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Emma Goldman, Lorraine Hansberry, Adrienne Rich, Audre Lorde, Alice Walker, June Jordan, and Toni Morrison. We’ll end with Claudia Rankine, Rebecca Solnit, and Melissa Harris Perry to survey the landscape and limits of feminist public intellectualism today. To frame our inquiry, we will turn to feminist theory of women’s voice and contemporary debates about the status of the public intellectual in a digital era. To connect our academic work to the world and your roles in it, four experiential tracks available: Community Servant (service-learning), Public Intellectual, Cultural Citizen, and Engaged Scholar. Likely assignments include: class presentation, short analysis paper, class reflection blog, final essay, final project, and vigorous class discussion.
Seminar in Film and Literature: Neurodiversity: Mental Disability in Literature and Film.
Dr. Mark Osteen
Why is “retarded” a dirty word? Because it assumes that people with intellectual and neurological disabilities are nothing more than their impairments. A new movement called Neurodiversity, in contrast, proposes that people with cognitive disorders are complex human beings who add something unique and valuable to the world. This course proceeds from that idea, using Disability Studies to investigate how literary artists and filmmakers have depicted cognitive differences. Among our questions are these: Can neurological disabilities also be abilities? What novel insights can disabled people provide for neurotypical folks? How do differences in linguistic abilities, sensory perception, cognition or memory shed light on the essential nature of these phenomena?
After examining early texts and films featuring intellectually disabled characters (e.g., Wordsworth’s “The Idiot Boy,” Melville’s “Bartleby,” and Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury), we’ll move to the contemporary period. We’ll read autistic scientist Temple Grandin’s autobiography, Oliver Sacks’s fascinating clinical tales, Paul and Judy Karasik’s graphic memoir The Ride Together, and Mark Haddon’s best-seller The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time; we’ll view movies such as The Wild Child, The Black Balloon and Autism: the Musical. We’ll also explore books about traumatic brain injury, including Richard Powers’s National Book Award-winning novel The Echo Maker, and study films such as Memento and The Lookout. Other topics may include portrayals of emotional impairment (Doris Lessing’s The Fifth Child or Andrew Miller’s Ingenious Pain), dementia (Sarah Polley’s Away from Her) and amnesia (essays by Flood Skloot). By the end of the course, students will have gained an enhanced appreciation of the richness of human cognitive diversity.
Each student will give an oral presentation, write a research paper and complete two exams. Students will also write two brief papers reflecting on their own disabilities and differences.
*Satisfies the Diversity requirement.