Loyola University Maryland

Department of English

Course Descriptions

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.



Major Writers: English Literature
EN 201.02 & EN 201.03
MWF 10:00-10:50 AM & 12:00-12:50 PM
Dr. Victoria Barnett-Woods

This course will explore our literary connection to the maritime world. Titled “Rising Tides: Life Literature and the Oceanic World,” the class will undertake a literary expedition on the seven seas across time, beginning with the rise of Atlantic piracy in the early eighteenth century to Yann Martel’s 2001 popular novel Life of Pi. We will think about how humans have interacted with the seas, considering both popular writers, scientists, and lesser-known accounts of sailors and port-city poets. While a dominant focus will be on British writers, speaking of the maritime work is to also speak of movement, instability, and cosmopolitanism.

Major Writers We’ll Read: Daniel Defoe, S.T. Coleridge, Herman Melville, James Barrie, Robert Louis Stevenson, Virginia Woolf, Charles Johnson and Yann Martel

Major English Writers: Bad Men in British Literature
EN 201.04 & EN 201.05
T/TH 10:50 AM-12:05 PM & T/TH 1:40-2:55 PM
Dr. 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, 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 The Joker, 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 and Angela Carter’s take on “The Big Bad Wolf.” Required assignments include quizzes, short papers, a blog assignment, a longer paper, and two exams. 

Major Writers: American Literature
EN 203D.02 and EN 203D.03
T/TH 12:15-1:30 PM & T/TH 1:40-2:55 PM
Dr. 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 day-to-day realities of social life. The readings and discussions will enhance your perception of what it means to be an American, because you’ll consider the nation as an idea 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? The course focuses on nineteenth and twentieth century American writings, including works from Nathaniel Hawthorne, Frederick Douglass, Walt Whitman, Kate Chopin, W.E.B. Du Bois, T.S. Eliot, Edith Maude Eaton, Charlotte Perkins, Gilman, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams, Gish Jen, and Thomas King.  This course fulfills your Loyola College core diversity requirement, with a focus on diversity in the U.S.


English Literary History Before 1800
EN 300.01
MWF 1:00-1:50 PM
Dr. Robert Miola

The purpose of this course is to experience the main English literary accomplishments of the thousand-year period that begins with Beowulf and ends with Boswell.  We will concentrate on major figures—Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, Donne, Milton, Swift and Johnson—but read selectively in other writers as well, particularly the rich but systematically ignored Catholic contributors to English literature. Students will not only confront exciting literature, but they will also develop an appreciation for the sweep of English literary history. We shall see Shakespeare plays and perhaps enjoy together a few additional outings and lectures. There will be regular presentations, writing, examinations, extra events (films, plays, lectures, etc.) and no formal paper.

Seminar: Reinventing the Middle Ages
EN 307.01
Dr. Kathleen Forni
T/TH 1:40-2:55 PM

This course is broadly concerned with medievalism, that is, the ways in which the Middle Ages is imagined in modern culture. “Medieval” has a number of contradictory associations. On the plus side one might mention chivalry and courtly love, but on the minus side brutality, oppression, and superstition. The age has been put to a variety of aesthetic, political, and philosophical uses, perhaps most often invoked in the name of a nostalgic loss associated with social conservatism, and, most recently, with white nationalism. We'll examine how several popular medieval texts and figures have been reinvented, appropriated, and adapted in post-medieval periods with an eye for the regressive and progressive politics associated with medievalism. Medieval texts will include Beowulf, Chretien de Troyes, Lancelot and The Quest for the Grail, Thomas Malory, Le Morte D’Arthur, The Gest of Robin Hood, the Trial of Joan of Arc. Modern texts include John Gardner, Grendel, Michael Crichton, The 13th Warrior, George Bernard Shaw, St. Joan, Kasuo Ishiguro, The Buried Giant, S. Gunnarsson, Beowulf and Grendel (2007), Terry Gilliam, The Fisher King (1991), Luc Besson, The Messenger (1999), and Vincent Ward, The Navigator: A Medieval Odyssey (1988).

Shakespeare I
EN 310.01
MW 3:00-4:15 PM
Dr. Thomas Scheye

“He doth bestride the narrow world/ Like a colossus.”  The reference is to Julius Caesar but it applies to Shakespeare as well: because his achievement towers over all other authors’ in our language; and because of 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 inheritance, our common inheritance as English speakers.  This course focuses on Shakespeare’s history plays where that world is first defined and his mature tragedies where it finds it finest expression. 

Seminar: Extraordinary Bodies
EN 339.01
MWF 11:00-11:50 AM
Dr. Giuseppina Iacono Lobo

In John Milton’s closet drama Samson Agonistes (1671), the imprisoned title character mourns the loss of his sight more even than the loss of his freedom: “O dark, dark, dark, amid the blaze of noon, / Irrecoverably dark, total Eclipse / Without all hope of day!” One cannot help but hear, even if just a whisper, the blind poet himself in this complaint: Milton’s vexed relationship with his disability, after all, is one that he meditated on in both his prose and poetry, and with both his fictional characters and self-fashionings.

Disability Studies and Early Modern Studies do not often converge, which is odd considering the number of disabled characters that people Shakespeare’s and Jonson’s plays, Spenser’s and Milton’s poetry, and even the works of Aphra Behn. In this course, we will read some well-known—like Shakespeare’s Richard III, Spenser’s The Faerie Queene, and Milton’s Samson—and some not-so-well-known— like Behn’s The Dumb Virgin, Jonson’s Volpone, and Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy—works through the lens of disability. Along the way, we will ask: what might this lens help us to learn about early modern subjectivities and views on human variation? What relationships with embodied difference are fostered in each of these texts for characters and for readers? Where in these texts do we see disability stereotypes and fears of difference that still survive today?

Topics in Victorian Literature:  Protest and Progress
EN 361.01
T/TH 4:30-5:45 PM
Dr. 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:  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, weekly short reaction reports, and a 10-12-page research paper.

African American Literature
EN 373.01
MWF 2:00-2:50 PM
Dr. Sarah Ingle

What is freedom? That is the question that we will attempt to answer in this course through our examination of the history of African American literature. Is freedom a political goal or a philosophical ideal--a legal right or a state of mind? Is freedom ever fully attainable? Can it be reconciled with ideas such as fate, determinism, dependence, or community? What is the relationship between the bonds of slavery and the bonds of family, friendship, duty, or love? The irony at the core of American national identity is that we are a country that is simultaneously based on the ideal of freedom and the historical reality of slavery. This irony pervades all of American culture, but it is especially evident in the tradition of African American literature, which traces its roots back to the autobiographical genre of the slave narrative. Throughout the semester, this course will explore how African American writers have represented the various meanings of freedom as well as its obstacles, limitations, and significance. Readings will include fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and plays by writers such as Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, Charles Chesnutt, Pauline Hopkins, Claude McKay, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Richard Wright, Chester Himes, James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, Toni Morrison, August Wilson, Suzan-Lori Parks, and Ta-Nehisi Coates.

Radicals and Pretenders: Bohemianism in Modern Literature
EN 377.01
T/TH 12:15-1:30 PM
Dr. 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 may 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, including modernism, feminism, free love, and punk rock. In this course, 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 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 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.

Seminar in Contemporary Literature: Twentieth-First Century Literature and Time
EN 387.01
MW 4:30-5:45 PM
Dr. Juniper Ellis

Explore can’t-put-it-down readings that focus on time: time past and future, dystopic and unitive, projected, remembered, imagined, rewritten, claimed and denied, time bent by the reader and by quantum physics, fantastic time. Literary forms investigated include a novel that presents a heightened day in the life of an undocumented migrant fleeing a murderer through the streets of Sydney, a “found” diary, a graphic novel, a non-linear autobiography in verse, a Broadway musical, and a feminist manifesto in epistolary form.  Likely readings include Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Dear Ijeawele, Aravind Adiga Amnesty, Alison Bechdel Fun Home, Ted Chiang “The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate,” Phil Kaye Date & Time, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter Hamilton: The Revolution, Ruth Ozeki A Tale for the Time Being, Jacqueline Woodson Brown Girl Dreaming. Lively class discussions, term paper, two exams, service option.  For those who select the service option, opportunity to respectfully serve, and to observe the ways concepts and experiences of time function differently for youth, for different populations in the same city, and/or for young refugees. 

Seminar in Film and Literature: Neurodiversity: Mental Disability in Literature and Film
EN 399.01
T/TH 10:50 AM-12:05 PM
Dr. Mark Osteen
***[Satisfies the Diversity requirement.] 

Why is “retarded” a dirty word? Because it assumes that people with intellectual and neurological disabilities are nothing more than their impairments. A movement called Neurodiversity, in contrast, proposes that people with cognitive and neurological differences are complex human beings who add something unique and valuable to the world. This course proceeds from that idea, using Disability Studies paradigms to investigate how literary artists and filmmakers have depicted mental differences. Among our questions are these: Can neurological disabilities also be abilities? What novel insights and ideas can disabled people provide for neurotypical folks? How do differences in linguistic abilities, sensory perception, cognition and memory shed light on the essential nature of these phenomena? Does the social model of disability offer an adequate way to understand these conditions?

After examining early texts and films featuring intellectually disabled characters (e.g., Wordsworth’s “The Idiot Boy,” Melville’s “Bartleby,” Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury), we’ll move to the contemporary period. We’ll read Jerzy Kosinski’s satirical novella Being There (and watch the film adaptation), 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 also view movies such as The Wild Child, The Black Balloon and Autism: the Musical. Then we will explore writings 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 will include portrayals of emotional impairment (Andrew Miller’s Ingenious Pain), dementia (Sarah Polley’s film 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. 


Honors Seminar: The American West
EN 409.01
T/TH 3:05-4:20 PM
Dr. Jean Lee Cole
*** [By invitation only; counts towards the American Studies minor.]

This course examines “the West” in America, as dream, myth, and reality from the colonial period to the present. We begin with the “First West” or the eastern frontier depicted in James Fenimore Cooper’s Leatherstocking tales (The Last of the Mohicans, 1826), examine visions of the idealized West as a new Eden, the end goal of Manifest Destiny, a land of opportunity and rebirth. We also examine it as a site of conflict and conquest, displacement and genocide. We’ll read texts including Mark Twain’s Roughing It (1872), Owen Wister’s The Virginian (1902), Willa Cather’s The Professor’s House (1925), James Welch’s Fool’s Crow (1987) and Tommy Orange’s There, There (2019). How has the idea of the West encompassed the best—and worst—in the United States’ past and present? As the senior honors seminar, students will be expected to take leadership roles in leading class discussions and will undertake the research and writing of a 10-12-page seminar paper. Students in the class will also have the opportunity to organize the English Department’s signature events, the annual holiday literary feast for all English Department students and faculty in December.

Nora Benedict

Nora Benedict

Nora credits her Loyola education with affording her critical thinking skills and relationships with faculty, both of which inspired a career in academia

English, Spanish