English and Creative Writing
Kathryn Cowles, Associate Professor, Chair
Geoffrey Babbitt, Associate Professor
Biman Basu, Associate Professor
Alex Black, Associate Professor
Rob Carson, Associate Professor
Melanie Conroy-Goldman, Professor
Stephen Cope, Associate Professor
Anna Creadick, Professor
Laurence Erussard, Associate Professor
Alla Ivanchikova, Associate Professor
Nicola Minott-Ahl, Associate Professor
Daniel Schonning, Professor of the Practice
The stories that enthrall us, the poems that inspire us, the arguments that persuade us to make the world anew. In the department of English and Creative Writing, we immerse ourselves in poems, novels, short stories, plays, films, graphic novels, essays, memoirs, songs, performances, digital media, hybrid forms, literary theory, and more besides, endeavoring to understand how meaning takes shape in these texts and to get at the heart of what makes them effective and important.
Our students choose classes from a broad array of offerings in both literary criticism and creative writing—two intertwining streams within our department—as they craft their own path through literary studies. We aim to introduce students to a wide range of creative and critical approaches as they explore texts spanning multiple genres, written from the Middle Ages right up to the present day, by writers from America, from Britain, and from around the world. Literary studies opens up windows into other places, other times, and other identities, broadening our perspectives and encouraging us to approach a diversity of experiences with generosity, nuance, and empathy.
The department is fortunate to host the Peter Trias Residency, which invites an internationally renowned writer to campus each year to teach an upper-level creative writing workshop, to mentor a select number of advanced creative writers, and to curate a top-tier literary reading series. We are also proud to publish the Seneca Review, one of the country’s most respected literary journals, known in particular for its development of the lyric essay and for its promotion of contemporary poetry in translation. Creative writing students also often contribute to Thel, an impressive literary and art magazine that is edited by students in the department.
In the English and Creative Writing department, we study literary works in detail and in depth, analyzing the complex and profound ways that exceptional writers use language to construct identities, to reinvent cultures, and to build new worlds. We engage with stories, poems, plays, films, and essays from around the world and across the centuries, broadening our perspectives and deepening our understanding. Our primary goal, however, is to help students develop their own distinctive voices as critical and creative writers as they prepare to refashion the world themselves.
English Major (B.A.)
disciplinary, 12 courses
- Develop rigorous critical thinking skills, especially skills related to close reading and to rhetorical and narrative analysis.
- Become eloquent and versatile writers, adept at presenting complex arguments, while also developing their own distinctive voices and creative talents.
- Encounter both historically important texts and also powerful contemporary literary works, situating these texts within their own literary and cultural contexts as well as engaging them in dialogue from our current critical perspectives.
- Undertake substantial research, produce significant writing projects, and collaborate effectively with their peers.
- Engage with a broad diversity of perspectives, reflecting on the ways in which all our experiences are shaped by issues of culture, race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, and identity.
- Become familiar with the central concepts at stake in contemporary critical theory and cultural studies.
ENG 200; ten elective courses; and a capstone experience (typically a 400-level seminar taken in the junior or senior year). Of the ten electives, three must be at the 300-level or above and no more than two 100-level courses may be counted toward the major. Further requirements include: one Early Period course (pre-1800); one American Literature course; one Global Literature course; one UK/European Literature course; and a three-course concentration. Up to three “cognate” courses taken outside the department may be counted towards the major with the permission of the advisor. A single course may fulfill more than one requirement. Concentrations may be defined by genre, literary history, theme, or field of study. (Examples of concentrations: “the novel”; “early modern literature”; “globalization”; “creative writing”; and “film studies.”)
disciplinary, 6 courses
ENG 200; three elective courses, one of which may be a “cognate” class from outside of the department with permission of the advisor, and with no more than one elective taken at the 100-level; and two courses at the 300-level or above.
At the discretion of the advisor, up to three classes taken outside the department can be counted toward the major, and up to one class can be counted toward the minor. Typically, these will be classes that involve a significant amount of literary analysis, film analysis, or critical theory.
Transfer Credits for the Major or Minor
Courses taken at other institutions (except for HWS-sponsored abroad programs) are considered on a case-by-case basis. Students must petition the department for these courses to count towards the English degree.
100-level courses in English are designed to introduce students to textual and literary study, to focus on critical analysis and close reading skills, and to build a foundation for critical writing in the discipline. These courses are suitable for first-years, sophomores, or non-majors. Students who are intending to major in English may opt to begin with ENG 200 and other courses at the 200-level. Note that no more than two 100-level courses may be counted toward the major.
ENG 106 Introduction to the Short Story This course introduces the short story genre, including attention to its history and development. Students read a broad range of examples, including at least one single-author collection or cycle. Assignments allow students to learn the fundamental skills of literary criticism through the practice of formal analysis. (Basu, Staff)
ENG 108 Literary Science Fiction/Fantasy This course will begin with a survey of the origins of science fiction and fantasy, the development of the genres in the post-Enlightenment era, and twentieth-century trends, but its main focus will be the relationship between mainstream literary fiction and science fiction/fantasy, and the ultra-contemporary trend of crossover between the two. We will consider the relationship between science and the genres, the exile of science fiction from canonical literature, and what the increasing openness of literary writers and academic circles might mean. Readings may include: Evans, The Wesleyan Anthology of Science Fiction; Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings; Herbert, Dune; Miéville, The City and the City; VanderMeer, City of Saints and Madmen; Mitchell, Cloud Atlas; Lethem, Chronic City; Link, Magic for Beginners.(Conroy-Goldman)
ENG 114 Literature of Sickness, Health, and Disability This course explores narrative techniques and representational strategies in narratives and other literary representations of illness, health, and various forms of disability (cognitive, physical, emotional, and so forth). Through readings in different genres and from different periods and cultures, we will examine, critique, and deconstruct the ways in which sickness, health and disability - as well as normalcy - are defined in literary and cultural contexts, and how these definitions often intersect with definitions of (and assumptions about) race, class, gender, sexuality, morality, criminality, and other markers of citizenship and identity. (Cope)
ENG 115 Literature and Social Movements Can books change the world? In the U.S., readers of slave narratives and Stowe's novel Uncle Tom's Cabin were swayed to the abolitionist cause. The counterculture went On the Road with Kerouac. Second-wave feminists clutch copies of The Bell Jar, while anti-Vietnam War protestors were fluent in Heller and Vonnegut. Ayn Rand's fiction has been a powerful force for new conservatives, while Malcolm X's autobiography helped radicalize the Civil Rights movement. And why were Occupy protestors wearing masks made famous by a graphic novel? This course considers how literature has shaped and been shaped by social movements. Weaving together contextualizing historical readings and primary documents with poetry, memoir, novels, and other literary forms, students will investigate the relationships between revolution and the word. (Creadick)
ENG 130 Medieval Genres: Swords, Hammers, Quills ,Bathtubs and a Fox This course approaches the Middle Ages through its representation of different genres in an array of texts, manuscript illuminations, music and other artistic expressions. It exposes the cultural and social conditions that are illustrated by these texts. Students will evaluate the social, religious and gender politics that are revealed by each genre. The investigation will begin with texts originally written in Latin. It will start around 700 with the writings of an Anglo-Saxon monk, the Venerable Bede. Students will follow Saint Brendan in the adventures that probably led him from his Irish monastery to the coast of America, many centuries before Columbus. Students will then reach the continent and discover the troubadour Bernard de Ventadorn and other poets from France. They will travel between France, England, Italy and Germany to evaluate the genres of fables, popular romance, fabliaux and dramatic farce. (Erussard)
ENG 136 Shakespeare on Screen So far as we can tell, Shakespeare's plays were written for the stage rather than for the page. In other words, they were meant to be experienced in an embodied public performance of sights and sounds, rather than read silently and in solitude. In this introduction to Shakespeare's work, we will draw upon the rich archive of Shakespeare on film to study six of his most influential plays in multiple performances, exploring how different directors brought these plays to life in different ways, working in a new medium and within different social and political contexts in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. (Carson)
ENG 152 American Revolutions From Declaration of Independence to the Declaration of Sentiments, America's revolutionaries and reformers have written their own literature. This course will explore the history of politics and culture in the United States from the American Revolution to the Civil War. We will study the work of writers who were for the rights of women and against the removal of Indians from their lands, who were for the liberation of enslaved people of African descent and against the use and abuse of alcohol. We will also read the writings of the early labor and environmental movements. Like the figures we study, we will experiment with different forms to express our ideas and arguments. (Black)
ENG 155 Banned Books Books, it seems, are dangerous. In the past and the present, they have been challenged, censored, banned, even burned. But which books? By whom? When? Where? And why? The course is arranged as a series of case studies in which we read texts that have been banned at specific historical moments. Why, for example, was Alan Ginsberg's beat-generation poem HOWL so dangerous that it sparked a landmark obscenity trial in the 1950s? What could cause a novel about black women's resilience like Alice Walker's THE COLOR PURPLE to be targeted by censors in the 1980s? Who could possibly object to Harry Potter? And how did Alison Bechdel's graphic novel FUN HOME become a blockbuster, a critical success, a smash on Broadway, and a banned book, too? In the last section of the course, students will choose a book that is being contested in their own historical moment, to determine the patterns at play in the banning of books, and to consider how writers - and readers - might respond to such challenges. (Creadick)
ENG 165 Introduction to African American Literature We begin with a slave narrative from the nineteenth century, but this course concentrates on African American narratives of the twentieth century, from the Harlem Renaissance through the "protest" novel and black nationalism to black women writers. Students focus on a central concern of the African American traditions, the tension between the political and the aesthetic. Students pay attention to both the aesthetic properties of the literary text and to its political dimensions. In addition to the concerns with race, class, gender, and sexuality, students examine the intricate set of intertextual relations between different writers which constitute the tradition of African American writing. (Basu)
ENG 170 Global English: Literature in English in a Multi-Lingual World What comprises global English literature? Colonialism was not only an economic, but a cultural, technological, linguistic, and demographic phenomenon. Movements of westerners to colonial spaces evoked counter-movements of people from around the globe traveling to the west. These flows resulted in a new body of literature in western languages written by people from other parts of the globe. In this course students will study examples of this world literature written in English. Readings will typically include works from Africa, the Caribbean, Asia, and the Indian subcontinent. In order to consider how these literatures have been influenced by western aesthetic values and forms, and how might they, in turn, transform and reinvent western traditions, students may also study key narratives from England and/or the United States. Following decolonization movements of the mid-twentieth century, the study of these diverse literatures spawned key terms such as postcolonialism, globalization, diaspora, transnationalism, alterity, and so on; these concepts will also be part of the course. Throughout these literary works, students will find characters who must continue to live with the alien and alienating legacies of colonialism, even in a modern and globalized world. (Basu, Ivanchikova)
ENG 175 Travel Literature The mobilities of populations have been crucial to the ways in which human beings have been organized across the planet - in empires, in nations, on continents, in hemispheres. Several factors encourage or deter mobility or travel - technological, economic, demographic, and so on. But travel inevitably introduces an encounter with otherness. We begin and end the course with an encounter with "America." We will encounter embodiments of racial and gendered otherness, but we will also examine the encounter between the human and the machine, the technological otherness of the android. The texts typically include Shakespeare's "The Tempest," Defoe's "Robinson Crusoe," Phillip Dick's "Blade Runner/Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?," Octavia Butler's "Kindred," and George Orwell's "Burmese Days." (Basu)
ENG 185 From Novel to Film Film today is in a position in our culture analogous to the position the novel once held in literary tradition. It is still largely a medium that belongs to popular culture, and its sense of emotional immediacy, the persuasive power of visual storytelling, and filmmakers' ability to respond to current ideas and trends of thought often means that modern film is a useful window on the age in which a film is made. We will address narrative technique, ask how filmmakers use the visual medium to transform difficult but profoundly arresting narratives into engaging and comprehensible films, while also asking what makes an adaptation effective? Why bother if the book is satisfying? Can an adaptation ever be as good as the book? There is another focus here as well; we also want to raise important questions about how and by whom meaning is made in both novels and films and about the role of the imagination of the reader and viewer in completing the picture. Readings and films may vary. (Minott-Ahl)
ENG 190 Creative Writing for First Years and Sophomores This course offers introductory techniques in the writing of both fiction and poetry. The workshop format emphasizes group discussion of the writings of class members. Some exercises are assigned, some individual invention is expected. Readings of modern authors supplement discussions of form and technique. This course is normally required as a prerequisite for fiction and poetry workshops. Students who complete ENG 190 may not take ENG 290. (Staff)
ENG 200 Critical Methods This course is required of all majors and minors to prepare students for upper-level study in English and Comparative Literature, and may not be exempted. This course will train students in the concepts, vocabulary and research methods required for advanced textual analysis and writing in the discipline. Required books include core reference texts in the discipline and will be supplemented by individual professors. (Staff)
ENG 201 The Marvel Cinematic Universe (in Theory) In this class we will view about a dozen films from the Marvel Cinematic Universe through a variety of critical lenses, and in the process, we will undertake a survey of the central concepts that we employ in contemporary cultural theory. By the end of the class, our goal will be to consider movies and other forms of popular culture in a richer and more complex light, informed by the ideas we encounter in our study of formalism, structuralism, post structuralism, deconstruction, psychoanalysis, Marxism, feminism, queer theory, critical race theory, ecocriticism, and other branches of cultural criticism. (Carson)
ENG 205 Narrative Theory What are stories made of? How does their structure and design influence what they can mean and how they are told? This course is an introduction to critical thinkers who have attempted to answer these questions. In addition to working through some fundamental theories about narrative (what it is and how it works), we will also apply what we've learned to some representative texts. Students will come away knowing how point-of-view, temporality, character representation, fictionality, and closure are not only critical to the way stories are told: they radically determine what these stories mean and how we interpret them. (Ivanchikova)
ENG 210 Viking Saga The word saga can mean story or history; it also translates as 'something said’, which indicates its oral origins. The 1200's and 1300's Icelandic Old Norse literary production records the cultures of the Viking Age and the Norwegian diaspora that took place before 1000, date of the Christianization of Iceland. During these two centuries, the Icelanders wrote down many sagas detailing more or less realistically the adventures of their ancestors. They also endeavored to preserve the myths and legends that had constituted the belief system of Scandinavia. In this course students will discover why Icelanders wrote so much, so well, and in so many different genres. The course focuses on the sagas that describe the social and political situations that led to the settlement of Iceland and to the discoveries of Greenland and America. It also evaluates the Vikings' mythological belief system, their concepts of heroism, individualism, prosperity, family relationships and tensions between the public and private realms, as well as the place of love in such a society. It also looks at the impacts of such historical characters as Harald Fair-Hair and Harald Hardrada. (Erussard)
ENG 211 Writing the Environment As the poet Louise Bogan reminds us, "more things move / than blood in the heart." Across genres, media, cultures, and traditions, the environmental writer must reckon with a world in motion beyond themselves. From idyllic pastorals to modern ecopoetry, from clear-eyed environmental journalism to ecofiction and the nature essay, environmental writing is as varied and alive as the subjects of its study. In this workshop, students will try their hand at these many modes of writing. Via the Trias Reading Series and other on-campus and remote events, students will build a sense of their place in the current literary and ecological landscape. Together, we will seek to explore the depth and boundaries of this many-faceted tradition, to consider the ethics and aesthetics of the field, and plunge into this vital conversation headfirst. (Schonning)
ENG 213 Environmental Literature In this course students read poetry and prose by writers who concern themselves with the human experience of and relation to nature. These diverse writers artfully evoke the landscape while at the same time contemplating the modern environmental crisis. They approach the question of the meaning of nature in our lives in personal, as well as philosophical and ethical, ways. Cross-listed with Environmental Studies. (Ivanchikova)
ENG 214 Victorian Poets The poets of the nineteenth century lived in an age of rapid change, as well as the questioning and re-thinking of once-established truths. They saw themselves as participants in the collective (though not-always concerted) effort of their age to make sense of their changing world and influence the direction their society would take in politics, religion, morality, and art, to name a few areas of concern. This course introduces students to the works of well-known Victorian poets, such as Alfred Tennyson, Elizabeth Robert Browning, and W. B. Yeats. It will also focus on Thomas Hardy, Charles Dickens, and Charlotte Bronti, writers we are accustomed to think of as novelists. (Minott-Ahl)
ENG 231 Comparative Medieval Literature This course surveys some of the major forms of medieval literature - the epic, the romance, and the fable - and attempts to relate these works to the earlier classical tradition. In addition, it attempts to make both cross-cultural connections and connections with the social, historical, and philosophical levels of medieval culture. (Erussard)
ENG 232 Medieval Romance This course focuses on Old French, Anglo Norman, Viking and Middle English popular romances which are not well known, such as: Floriz and Blancheflur, Amis and Amiloun, Aucassin and Nicolete, King Horn, Havelock the Dane, Sir Orfeo, and Sir Bevis. All texts will be read in Modern English translations. These romances will be compared and contrasted with some canonical works intended for an aristocratic audience. (Erussard)
ENG 233 Medieval Drama This course offers a panorama of Medieval dramatic genres. It surveys works from the tenth to the fifteenth centuries. The stylistic diversity includes the sadomasochistic plays of the Saxon canoness Hrotsvit of Gandersheim, the proto-opera form of Hildegard of Bingan, some English mystery plays from different cycles and a selection of French sexual farce. The study is based on both historicist and formalist critical analysis and on occasional classroom performance. (Erussard)
ENG 234 Chaucer: Topics Chaucer composed his poetry in the historical context of peasant risings, religious heresy, English imperialism, and the aftermath of the Black Death and in the literary context of both the Alliterative Renaissance and the influence of the French and Italian traditions. A first topic focuses on a careful reading of The Canterbury Tales and the second concentrates on a comparative study of Troilus and Criseyde and its main source, Boccaccio's II Filostrato. Both courses investigate issues surrounding the authorship, language, audience, and ideologies of Chaucer's work within the larger cultural, social, and political context of late medieval England. (Erussard)
ENG 235 The Once and Future King This course tries to answer some questions about the development of stories concerning Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. How did the possibly historical and legendary figure of Arthur and his fictitious knights came to inspire so many stories? Why do Arthurian myths continue to flourish in literature and films today? This course follows Arthur, Guinevere and the Knights of the Round Table from the sixth century and the medieval mists of Tintagel through their Romantic revival and to the edge of the twenty-first century. The main focus is the exploration of the emergence and the development of the legends of King Arthur and their relationship to the imaginative literature and the glorious chivalric mentality of the Middle Ages. All texts and their textual characteristics are studied within their historical and socio-cultural contexts. Therefore, the basic approach is both formalist and historicist. (Erussard)
ENG 236 Shakespeare What has made Shakespeare the most influential writer in history? This class offers an introduction to his work and also to the various critical practices we employ in the field of Shakespeare studies. It presupposes no background with the subject - English majors, potential English majors, and non-majors alike are welcome. Through a series of collaborative activities and projects, we will develop a set of critical skills to help us not only to appreciate Shakespeare's works, but also to engage with their language and dramaturgy, to contextualize them historically, and to push back against them politically, and to play with them creatively. (Carson)
ENG 241 English Romantic Poets This course is a comprehensive look at Romanticism and its proponents, its aesthetic context and the charged political environment in which it developed and thrived. The poets of this movement saw themselves as thinkers and as agents of important change in the world. The poems they wrote were like the words of a magic spell, meant to unleash the power of imagination and speak new political and intellectual realities into being. In addition to reading the works of well known Romantics such as Wordsworth and Byron, the course examines the provocative writings of abolitionists, visionaries, and poets whose support of Revolution in France made them distrusted at home in England. (Minott-Ahl)
ENG 242 Victoria Literature This course investigates origins of the modern world view as anticipated and expressed in nineteenth century English literature: the breakdown of traditional religious beliefs; the alienation and isolation of the individual; changing attitudes toward nature; the loss of communication; the role of education; and the affirmation of art. (Minott-Ahl)
ENG 243 Gothic Novel This course will explore the Gothic novel from the mid-eighteenth century to the end of the nineteenth, when Bram Stoker's Dracula first appeared. Disparaged as sensational reading likely to corrupt young women and as something that distracted men from more important things, Gothic novels were extremely popular from the moment Horace Walpole's Castle of Otranto found its way into booksellers' shops. It achieved this success against a backdrop of tightening social structures on the conduct of women of the upper and newly emerging middle classes. We will explore how some 18th century Gothic novels actually reinforce the values and social mores they are accused of undermining, while others subvert values they profess to uphold. We will also explore the ways in which the definition of what is horrible or terrifying changed in response to social and historical realities. (Minott-Ahl)
ENG 244 The Nineteenth-Century British Novel This course will focus on the intimate, socially and emotionally complex connections between marriage, capitalism, and politics in the nineteenth century. We will explore these ideas in the context of the intertwined public and private lives of women and examine the works of at least three women writers. In addition, we will also examine the development of the novel itself in the Victorian period as it becomes increasingly focused not only on popular entertainment and the chronicling of rapidly changing times, but also on initiation and shaping of important discussions about what kind of civilization the British wanted to have in a new age. (Minott-Ahl)
ENG 246 The Literature of Decadence This course offers an exploration of the phenomenon of decadence in its literary aspect, characterized primarily by the pursuit of heightened experience (sensory and imaginative) in the face of the social and ethical constraints of late nineteenth and early twentieth century European culture. Although our primary emphasis will be on the phenomenon of literary decadence in English, we will read a number of seminal French texts (in translation) and discuss a number of European painters and composers by which late nineteenth century English writers were inspired. We will explore the ways in which decadence can be situated historically in terms of such broader social and cultural phenomena as imperialism, poverty, the emergence of the metropolis, the emergence of socialism, the establishment of commodity capitalism, the "advent" of feminism and the New Woman, and debates about sexuality. (Cope)
ENG 247 Irish Literary Renaissance This course is designed as a sustained and extensive study of the major texts (poetic, novelistic, dramatic, essayistic) of the "Irish Renaissance" and an Irish Modernism in which thematic concerns with cultural and political nationalism converged with an abiding interest in radical forms of literary experimentation. We will look at these texts in terms of what Seamus Deane has called "Irish Renaissances": those periods of Irish literary flourishing that both inspired and were inspired by Irish Modernism. (Cope)
ENG 248 The Modern British Novel: City, Country Colony This course consists of an exploration of the development and transformation of the British Novel in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as exemplified by the work of three British writers. Our emphasis will be on the ways in which definitions of British culture and identity were reflected by these novelists' representations of the city, the country, and the colony as the defining social and geographical features of the British Empire. We pay close attention to the ways in which race, class, gender, and other markers of social difference and inequality are represented and redefined in the novels as the opportunities and encroachments of Modernity - increased social and geographical mobility, the emergence of commodity Capitalism, first-wave Feminism, colonial exploration and exploitation, World War - radically transform the social and cultural landscape of Britain, Europe, and the world as a whole. Novelists may include: Joseph Conrad, E.M. Forster, George Gissing, Thomas Hardy, D.H. Lawrence, Jean Rhys, Virginia Woolf. (Cope)
ENG 250 Early American Literature This course surveys the development of U.S. literature up to and including the Civil War period. Literary works will be analyzed in terms of both their textual qualities and the social contexts that produced them. Readings may include Whitman, Dickinson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, Melville. (Black)
ENG 251 Recovering African American Literature This course will study African American literature from the late eighteenth-century to the early twentieth-century. In this period, African Americans developed a literature to express themselves and communicate with each other. They wrote and read poetry by artists like Phillis Wheatley and Paul Laurence Dunbar and prose by artists like Frederick Douglass and Frances Ellen Watkins Harper. We will explore these texts in the context of when they were written and read, a time of radical change that these writers and readers helped enact. We will also examine the formation of African Americanist literary scholarship, without which a course like ours would be impossible. We can read this literature because other scholars have recovered it. These texts had been known at one time, but had since become lost, forgotten, or neglected. These scholars performed this work by finding these texts, by researching who wrote and read them, by preparing versions of them that presented what they had learned, and then by teaching and writing about them. In addition to reading, talking, and writing about this literature, we will ourselves engage in the collaborative work of literary recovery. (Black)
ENG 252 American Women Writers: Topics This course focuses on a selection of women writers who have made important contributions to U.S. literature. Authors, genres, and periods will vary depending on the instructor's area of interest and expertise. (Creadick)
ENG 254 Nineteenth-Century American Poetry American poetry from the nineteenth-century can both seem too much of its own time and way ahead of its time. Poets like Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson are, in their own ways, entirely exceptional and wholly representative of verse written before the Modernist Movement. This course will explain why. In addition to spending about half of the term on Whitman and Dickinson, the course will treat the work of a dozen other poets, black and white, who worked in as many different forms. We will read authors who are better known for their prose (Poe, Melville), authors who were popular in their time but have since fallen out of critical favor (Longfellow, Whittier), and a large group of women writers who were described, and were often dismissed , as "poetesses." We will also read prose-like Emerson's essays, Poe's articles, Whitman's prefaces, and Dickinson's letters-that will help us understand them. Together, they will demonstrate for us the diversity of writers and writings from this period. (Black)
ENG 261 Popular Fiction When a novel acquires a mass readership, does it lose aesthetic value? What is the difference between "literary fiction" and "popular fiction"? Focusing on a genre fiction, cult bestsellers, middlebrow blockbusters, "pulp" or "trash" fiction produced across American history, this course invites students to consider the politics of taste and hierarchies of literary value embedded in popular reading practices. Students will read these literary works alongside a number of primary and secondary texts in order to illuminate the pleasures and anxieties of reading. (Creadick)
ENG 264 Southern Fictions An introduction to fiction from the American South as well as to fictions of the American South from the mid-19th century to the present. We will analyze works by major southern authors to uncover what if anything they have in common. We will also look at "The South" itself as a kind of fiction - constructed through literature, film and popular culture. Our readings will cluster around subgenres of southern fiction and contemporary "grit lit" movements. We will work to unpack the tensions around sex, race, class and religion that have haunted southern fiction from its beginnings. (Creadick)
ENG 266 Modern American Poetry This course is a study of selected major early twentieth century figures, including Gertrude Stein, T.S. Eliot, H. D., Jean Toomer, Ezra Pound, Marianne Moore, and William Carlos Williams. (Cowles)
ENG 267 Post WWII American Poetry An introduction to contemporary American poetry, this course emphasizes both the close reading of poems and the placing of recent American poetry within its social and literary contexts. (Cowles)
ENG 270 Globalization and Literature Globalism as a contemporary phenomenon has been in the ascendancy. It is, among other things, an economic, cultural, technological, and demographic phenomenon. Students examine globalism and its related metaphors of hybridity, cosmopolitanism, migrancy, exile, and so on against nationalism and its privileged metaphors of rootedness and identity. If the production of a national subject is no longer the purpose of "discipline," what does it mean to produce a transnational subject? These are some of the concerns of the fiction students read for this course. We typically begin with two famous American novels, Upton Sinclair's The Jungle and Don DeLillo's White Noise, to examine the impact of globalization on the United States. We then move to two South Asian novels, Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children and Hanif Kureishi's Black Album. We end with two important novels by black women writers, Tsitsi Dangarembga's Nervous Conditions and Toni Morrison's Tar Baby. (Basu)
ENG 272 India and the Global The course typically begins with two novels by famous English writers, E. M. Forster's A Passage to India (1924) and George Orwell's Burmese Days (1934). We then move to several highly acclaimed award-winning recent novels by Indian writers which are set in the United States, England, and India. Among them are The Namesake (2003; Pulitzer prize; also a film), The God of Small Things (1997; Booker Prize), Transmission (2004), and The White Tiger (2008; Booker Prize). These primary readings will be supplemented by articles and essays which will help to contextualize the primary texts in a study of diaspora. We situate the earlier novels in the context of colonialism and the more recent ones in that of postcolonialism and globalization. We will begin by speculating about the place of "India" in the global imagination. India has many names: Bharat, Hindustan, India, British India, the Subcontinent, the Jewel in the Crown, South Asia. Many places and peoples other than India(ns) are named after India: the East Indies, the West Indies, and of course, American Indians. Indians now inhabit Asia, Africa, Europe, America. What and who are India(ns)? (Basu)
ENG 276 Imagining the Middle East This course will examine representations of the Middle East, its geography, its culture, and its peoples in literature and film. The Greater Middle East is a loosely defined geopolitical entity that extends from Pakistani-Indian border to the Northern shores of Africa. Students will learn about the region as seen and imagined through the eyes of both foreigners and natives, Western and non-Western writers, travel journalists, soldiers, bloggers, colonists, refugees, and migrants. The course will explore the stereotypes that define representations of the Middle East in the West; most specifically, we will address Edward Said's claim that the Middle East became trapped in a swarm of interrelated notions he defined as Orientalism. Said insists that Orientalism is a fiction produced by the western mind and subsequently used to justify colonial exploration, validate the need for human rights interventions, while also constructing the region as a site of an exotic adventure. (Ivanchikova)
ENG 287 Jane Austen in Film Because Jane Austen's novels are essentially her own, written creations and films based on them are collaborative and characterized by sound, motion, and visual detail, the two media approach narrative in fundamentally different ways. We will consider to what extent a film version of a Jane Austen novel is an entirely new work that is artistically independent of the original. We will also examine the consequences of viewing such films as translations of Austen's novels both for the filmmakers who approach their projects this way and for critics who read the films from this perspective. While we will certainly take into account the techniques employed by directors and screenwriters to create a coherent and effective narrative that captures the original story, according to their notions of what this means, as they strive to keep the finished film within a reasonable running time, it is important to note that this is not a film course. The focus here is on the interplay between two methods of storytelling that results when novels written by an author who deliberately avoids description are made into films. (Minott-Ahl)
ENG 290 Creative Writing This course offers introductory techniques in the writing of both fiction and poetry. The workshop format emphasizes group discussion of the writings of class members. Readings of modern authors supplement discussions of form and technique. This course is normally required as a prerequisite for fiction and poetry workshops. Prerequisite: at least one other ENG course. Not open to students who have taken ENG 190. (Staff)
ENG 300 Literary Theory Since Plato This course offers a survey and analysis of major trends in the understanding of literature from Plato to the present. (Staff)
ENG 301 Cultural Theory and Popular Culture Course also listed as AMST 301. This course introduces cultural studies as a major area of contemporary theory which has reshaped the way we think and write about literature. Critical cultural studies, historicism, and reader-response theory have expanded understandings of literary meaning to include production and reception of those texts as well as their ideological content and consequences. Students read theoretical essays by such thinkers as Marx, Gramsci, Althusser, Foucault, White, Butler, and Baudrillard, as well as examples of scholars applying these ideas to the study of literature and other cultural forms. Students will then become the critics, applying these theories to the contemporary literary, material and popular culture "texts" that surround them - stories, poems, film, photographs, toys, fashion, sports, and music. (Creadick)
ENG 304 Feminist Literary Criticism This course is designed to introduce students to feminist literary theories and critical practices that are considered to be of crucial importance in the field of feminist literary theory today. It focuses on such issues as female sexualization, representations of violence and madness, and subjectivity. During the course of the term we will read and discuss a large variety of texts and methodologies written by some of the most influential feminist theorists today. Students will also become familiarized with the context in which there texts were written and learn how these various methodologies can be applied to the study of literary works. The course is an excellent opportunity to broaden one’s horizons and learn about new ideas. It is also an opportunity to acquire advanced critical thinking skills through an encounter with very complex and dense texts. As a result of this course, students should be able to have a better understanding of contemporary feminist and post-feminist culture by placing contemporary cultural practices in the context of feminist intellectual tradition. (Staff)
ENG 305 Psychoanalysis and Literature Aside from its aspirations to being medicine or a science, psychoanalysis constitutes a powerful theory of reading, which, in its emergence at the beginning of the twentieth century, corresponds to the revolution in interpretation which continues into our own time. The aim of this course is to study this theory of reading in order to show how it is the foundation of such interpretive concepts and procedures as close reading, text, and the intentional fallacy, as well as being both the source and critique of the modern handling of such interpretational elements as image, myth, and meaning. (Staff)
ENG 307 Cowboy to Gamer: Forms of Storytelling Across Media Storytelling exists across innumerable forms, and those forms change as new technologies are invented. This course aims to build a flexible toolkit for students interested in telling stories in new and emerging media. We will begin with a historic form, popular in the 19th Century, which is a low-fi moving visual form using light, image and sound. We will then explore live short-form story-telling using voice, popularized by the radio program "The Moth." Students will field trip to a local story slam, if possible, and host a slam on campus. We will then develop a basic toolkit for audio recording in order to produce a short piece for podcast. Finally, we will produce a basic text-based interactive digital game. Along the way, we will consider stories told by expert practitioners in each of these media as well as in other emerging and historic forms. The goal is to develop not only skills specific to each medium, but also to give the students a robust vocabulary of storytelling practices applicable to emerging and future media. Students should have taken one class in either Media and Society, English or Writing and Rhetoric. (Conroy-Goldman)
ENG 310 Power, Desire, Literature The course uses a sadomasochistic framework to examine the relationship between power and desire as it is represented in literature and popular culture. The term "sadomasochism" (commonly, S&M) collapses two terms, sadism (after the famous French writer, the Marquis de Sade) and masochism (after the famous German writer, Leopold von Sacher-Masoch). A sadist is one who derives (sexual) pleasure from inflicting pain and/or degrading another. A masochist is one who derives (sexual) pleasure from being subjected to pain and/or degradation by another. We will use Nietzschean, Freudian, and Marxist theories to read some of the classic texts of sadomasochism. We will also try to understand its pervasiveness in contemporary culture in texts as disparate as Fifty Shades of Grey, film, television, commercials, videos by Rhianna, Britney Spears, and others. Some of the readings will contain explicit descriptions of violence and sex. (Basu)
ENG 311 Story and History Fiction writers have long been enchanted with the writing of historians, at times imitating, at times stealing, and even at times attempting to pass their inventions off as legitimate history. Since the 1960s, historians have also considered the role of fiction in their work. To what extent is history fiction? This course examines the evolution of the relationship between history writing and fiction, moments of cross-over such as falsified documents and hoaxes, and the way contemporary writers wrestle with the murky territory between the two. (Conroy-Goldman)
ENG 314 The Art of Memoir How can a lived life be transformed into literature? What forms has life-writing taken in the past? Why is memoir one of the most popular literary forms today? Through lecture, discussion, readings, and criticism, this class explores a wide array of memoirs, such as graphic/illustrated memoir, confessional, portrait, or memoir-in-essay. Alongside the works themselves, we study theoretical concepts important to life-writing such as memory, subjectivity, confession, narrative, and affect. In addition to substantial critical papers, students will try their hands at some creative exercises in order to consider how memoirs function internally, as well as in the context of a broader literary landscape. (Staff, offered occasionally)
ENG 330 Male Heroism in the Middle Ages This course studies a broad array of ideals of heroic masculinity in a variety of medieval cultural contexts. Examining questions of epic violence, heroic extravagance, dramatic sainthood and impetuous love, this course follows heroes of legend, romance and history from the battlefield to the woods, from the bedroom to the hermitage. The cast of characters will include Beowulf, Guthlac, El Cid, Siegfried, Amadis of Gaul, Perceval, the outlaws of Icelandic sagas, Saint Francis and many more. (Erussard)
ENG 331 Iconoclastic Women Since the last third of the twentieth century, feminist literary criticism has paid attention to the realm of medieval women which, for diverse reasons, had "previously been an empty space" (Showalter). This course looks at a variety of unconventional female lives in hagiography, fiction, history and legend from Perpetua, the 3rd century saint, to Joan of Arc, the fifteenth century warrior. Though this is not an historical survey, we will respect the chronology in order to recognize evolutions and evaluate influences as we read the story of Silence and the writings of Hrotsvit, Hildegard, Marie de France, Eloise, Margery Kempe, Christine de Pizan and others. Most texts will focus on medieval Europe, but we will also explore the point of views of some Asian female writers. This will allow us to compare and contrasts the views of educated, court women in different parts of the world, during the same historical period. (Erussard)
ENG 335 Fashioning Identity: Clothing. Character, and Social Mobility in 19th Century British Literature This course seeks to reconstruct the ways clothing restricted bodies and expanded social possibility by exploring the assumptions, the realities, and the understanding people had about clothing through literature from the seventeenth through the 19th centuries. We will read a wide range of literary works and we'll also explore the changing commercial circumstances, including the new markets opened up by imperialistic exploration that allowed people access to an increasingly wide range of goods. Delving into the material culture and historical contexts of the literary works we read, we'll seek to understand how and by whom clothing was made as well as the circumstances that made it easier for middle- and lower-class people to acquire the trappings of wealth and social consequence as industrialization gained momentum. But clothing also communicates and the works of writers from Henry Fielding and Jane Austen to Charles Dickens and George Bernard Shaw will provide insight into its symbolism and into the trans-formative power of clothing. (Minott-Ahl)
ENG 336 Shakespeare: Topics Course material varies with the topic presented. (Carson)
ENG 337 The Faerie Queene Has anyone ever written a poem that is more awe-inspiring than Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene? A rollicking adventure story, a powerful national epic, a searching philosophical meditation and guide for moral conduct, a profound exploration of renaissance theology, a pointed critique of traditional attitudes toward gender and class, a widely imaginative work of fantasy, and, not least, a deeply beautiful poem unto itself: this is surely one of the most fascinating works in all of English literature. We will read the whole poem, top to bottom, paying special attention to historical questions about gender, class politics, and religion. (Carson)
ENG 338 Milton
This course will devote itself to reading Paradise Lost. Our work will be to understand Paradise Lost, its poetics, its structure, its story, its political, theological and sexual ideas; its historical moment of the English revolution. To do this we will read some criticism and history, some of Milton's prose, in the Norton, which he devoted the middle years of his life to writing before Paradise Lost, and we will read some sonnets and early poems to familiarize ourselves with Milton's style and more generally, how a poem makes its meaning. (Carson)
ENG 339 Shakespeare's Contemporaries Shakespeare was hardly a singular phenomenon: he made his name working within a thriving theatre community in Elizabethan London, where he was seen to be just one of about a dozen notable playwrights of the era. In this class we will read fantastic plays by some of his most notable peers, including Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Kyd, John Lyly, Ben Jonson, Thomas Middleton, Francis Beaumont, John Webster, and others, whose best work is arguably every bit as important and as impressive as Shakespeare's works. (Carson)
ENG 340 The Architectural Novel This course focuses on how Sir Walter Scott, Victor Hugo, William Ainsworth, and Alexandre Dumas use fictional narrative to make sense of the realities of their age. From about 1792 to the late 1840s, when revolution was again in the air in Europe, the last remnants of feudalism in England and France, in particular, were swept away by the tides of political unrest, technological advances, and economic change. These novelists supply architecture, history, legend and landscape as the basis for understanding the events of their own present. In their novels, the gothic building becomes a point of reference for exploration of the nature of the novel itself, the relevance of medieval architecture in post-feudal societies, the vanishing of ancient buildings, landscapes, and traditions in the face economic change and industrial revolution, as well as the idea of a national art - and of nation itself. (Minott-Ahl)
ENG 342 Modernist Experiments Poems with footnotes, portraits in prose, characters in search of authors, manifestoes praising plastic surgery and the demolition of museums, translations from the Chinese (redacted by editors who don't know the Chinese language): these are some of things modernism is known for. In the first half of the twentieth century writers working in a variety of genres, visual artists, and musicians were convinced that the available forms of artistic expression were outmoded. Our focus: the ways they experimented with language and literary form to represent a distinctly "modern" experience, one that needed to accommodate the realities of world war, the "discovery" of the unconscious, advances in transport and communication technologies, mass production and consumption, and the rise (and fall) of empires. (Cope)
ENG 344 Joyce This course consists of a sustained and in-depth reading and analysis of the early fiction of James Joyce. We will supplement our readings of Joyce's stories and novels with readings of his dramatic and poetic writing as well as his literary and political essays. Additionally, we will attend to the ways in which Joyce's biography provided material for his writing. Our topics will be varied, but we will pay particular attention to the ways in which the formal and aesthetic dimensions of Joyce's experimentalism intersect with his critical representations of race, class, gender, religion, nationalism, cosmopolitanism, economics, and colonialism. Students should expect to gain an informed appreciation of Joyce's importance to the development of twentieth century literature and intellectual thought, to sharpen their critical and analytical reading and writing skills, and to develop a working knowledge of Irish history and the literary, cultural, and political dimensions of both Irish and European Modernity. (Cope)
ENG 345 Ulysses Often considered the greatest novel of the twentieth century (and considered by some the greatest novel in history), James Joyce's Ulysses is also among the most difficult novels to read. At once thrilling, edifying, frustrating, baffling, bemusing, seductive, repulsive, compassionate, confounding (the list could go indefinitely), few novels have commanded the scholarly attention of James Joyce's penultimate novel. In this class, we will read the novel in terms of some of the questions that have animated Joyce criticism over the past half-century: is Ulysses exemplary of cosmopolitan Modernism or is it a post-colonial novel? Is it an exercise in misogyny or a proto-Feminist intervention? Elitist or populist? Because the book is so relentlessly allusive, it will be necessary for us to refer to some of the literary, philosophical, and historical materials Joyce incorporated into his novel, including Irish history, Jewish history, Shakespeare's Hamlet, the geography of Dublin, and Thomist philosophy. Although it is not necessary, students who have not already done so might wish to familiarize themselves with Dubliners and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, as well as the Odyssey and Hamlet, as these are all important foreground materials for Joyce's experiment. (Cope)
ENG 351 Archives of American Literature Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote that "language is the archives of history." This course will explore early American history through literature. In addition to reading historical fiction, autobiography, epic poetry, and other genres that revisit and revise the past, we will investigate how researchers come to know it. In other words, we will study the theory and practice of archives. What do these literary examinations of the country's past say about its present? How is the historical record created and preserved for, and how will it be accessed in, the future? Who and what gets left out, and why does it matter? Our authors, who may include Nathaniel Hawthorne, Frederick Douglass, Lydia Marie Child, and Pauline Hopkins, will use writing to reckon with the past. And so will we. (Black)
ENG 353 Media in Early America Scholars of early American media take printed matter and other cultural objects as artifacts of the lives of Americans. Before the twentieth-century, Americans used letters, journals, books, pamphlets, newspapers, and magazines to express themselves and to communicate with each other. They were also informed and entertained by paintings, sculptures, panoramas, plays, demonstrations, lectures, sheet music, hymnals, and songsters. Literature, in other words, was one medium among many others. Writers like Frederick Douglass, Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Emily Dickinson used language like other artists use their tools. In this course we will primarily study literary language as it was manifested on paper, though we will also examine how other cultural forms, like art and music, were mediated through print. We will interest ourselves in every stage of text's production: from how it was written to how it was read. In addition to exploring technologies of representation before the photograph and the phonograph, we will investigate the ways that digitization changes what we can experience and what we can know, of early American culture. (Black)
ENG 360 Sexuality and American Literature This course focuses on the literary production of sexuality and subjectivity in America. It considers the works in light of Michael Foucault's theory of the deployment of sexuality and feminist discussions on the politics of sexuality, and looks at the relationships between sexuality, power, and resistance both within novels and within their respective cultural contexts. (Creadick)
ENG 361 Readings in Multicultural Women’s Literature In this course, students read literature by women who are often classified as part of "minority" groups. They examine these visual and literary texts as they engage the problematics of exile, sexuality, language, place, and memory. They read texts by Asian, Black, Chicana, Indian, lesbian, bisexual, and heterosexual women writers. (Basu)
ENG 363 The American Epic All of us belong to different and shared nations, the boundaries of which dilate and contract daily, A nation, unlike a country, doesn't rely on land or borders - it lives in the minds of its people. The epic poem is one artist's attempt to speak of, speak for, and speak into being their chosen nation. In this course, we will examine the multitude of American poets who have made use of this tool - from Walt Whitman to Alice Notley to Tyehimba Jess. We will interrogate the boundaries and vitality of this ancient form and chart its growth into the modern day. By the end of the class, our goal will be to consider more fully how the epic form expands, reclaims, and reimagines the language and culture in which it is written. (Schonning)
ENG 376 Who Am I? Can stories shape our understanding of who we are and help us find our own unique place in the world? By engaging with a variety of contemporary narratives from around the globe, students will examine how personal and collective identities are constructed, expressed, and transmitted. We will talk about identity in its relationship to desire, power, asceticism, consumption, faith, and nihilism. We will consider the ways in which narratives of identity shed light on one of life's greatest mysteries - the mystery of the self. (Ivanchikova)
ENG 390 Trias Topics Workshop The Trias Workshop is an intensive, practice-based studio course based in the resident's genre. Students are expected to read assignments in contemporary literature, complete writing exercises, read and critically respond to other students' work, and produce a portfolio of polished, original writing. Students will be expected to attend all Trias events in the fall and to engage with the work of visiting writers. Admissions to the workshop is by application only. (Trias Writer-in-Residence)
ENG 391 Advanced Poetry Workshop For students highly motivated to write poetry, this course offers the opportunity to study, write, and critique poetry in an intensive workshop and discussion environment. Students will produce multiple poems, write critically in response to contemporary works of poetry, and produce, workshop, and revise a chapbook-length collection of poems as a final project. Class time is divided between discussions of contemporary poetry and workshops on student writing. Prerequisite: ENG 290 or ENG 190 and permission of instructor. (Cowles)
ENG 392 Small Press Book Publishing: Book Contest and Acquisitions Editing In this course, students will help publish a book. We will focus on small press acquisitions editing through the facilitation of Seneca Review's first biennial Deborah Tall Lyric Essay Book Contest. The editors of Seneca Review will have narrowed down manuscript submissions to approximately 15 semi-finalists. Over the course of the semester, students will have the opportunity both to learn about and to engage in the acquisitions editorial process by reading, discussing, and evaluating each of the semi-finalist manuscripts and by ultimately helping select five finalists. The TRIAS resident will meet with the class several times and serve as the contest judge. Students will work in small groups to pitch one of the finalist manuscripts to the judge. By engaging in the book publishing and acquisitions process, students will grapple with such questions as: How do lyric essays and hybrid texts work in conjunction with one another in a book-length manuscript? What makes a creative manuscript good and how do we weigh it against competing manuscripts with different strengths? And how can we distinguish between manuscripts that cross the threshold into the realm of literary excellence and those that do not? (Babbitt)
ENG 393 Fiction Workshop II: Theory of Fiction Writers represent a loose theoretical camp which addresses issues like the creative process, experimental writing, and the relationship between art and politics, in a way that other areas of literacy criticism do not. In this course, we will use writing and readings in theory and cutting edge experimental fiction in order to explore some of these issues. This course is suitable for students strongly committed to fiction writing. Fiction I and Fiction II may be taken in either order. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor, based on writing sample. ENG 260 is generally required. (Conroy-Goldman)
ENG 394 Workshop: The Craft of Fiction An intensive workshop devoted to the creation and critiquing of student fiction, this course is suitable for students strongly committed to fiction writing. Students are expected to produce a portfolio of polished stories. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor, based on writing sample. ENG 190/290 is generally required. (Conroy-Goldman)
ENG 396 The Lyric Essay HWS is the birthplace of the lyric essay. It was in the introduction to the Fall 1997 issue of Seneca Review that esteemed HWS professor Deborah Tall and Hobart alumnus John D’Agata gave the lyric essay its most seminal and enduring definition, which begins by characterizing the new hybrid form as “a fascinating sub-genre that straddles the essay and the lyric poem, give[s] primacy to artfulness over the conveying of information, [and] forsake[s] narrative line, discursive logic, and the art of persuasion in favor of idiosyncratic meditation.” We will begin our course examining the essays of Tall, D'Agata, and writers published in Seneca Review. And in order to gain an appreciation of the lyric essay as an inherently innovative, ever-evolving, genre-busting art form, we will proceed to study a wide range of essayists. Students will both create their own lyric essays and respond critically to each other¹s creative work in regularly held workshops. (Babbitt)
ENG 397 Creative Nonfiction Workshop This is a writing course in creative nonfiction designed for English majors or others seriously interested in working to develop their own voices in the medium of the personal essay. Students read and discuss essays by major contemporary American essayists. They also read and discuss each others' essays in a workshop with an eye toward revision. Participants should be prepared to write one essay a week. Prerequisite: permission of instructor, based on a writing sample. (Staff)
ENG 398 Screenwriting This course offers a workshop in the fundamentals of writing the motion picture. Weekly writing assignments move students through a process of script development - from brainstorming and the movie in a paragraph to the treatment/outline, beat sheet, the creation of a scene, and the first act. Students share work and engage in a variety of exercises designed to help each tell their stories. Prerequisites: ENG 280 and/or ENG 286. (Conroy-Goldman)
ENG 399 Hybrid Forms Workshop New publication methods and technologies change art. From the printing press, to the typewriter, the record player, the camera, or the film reel, artists have used new technologies to expand our notions of art and to skirt borders of genres and media. In the advent of the internet and digital technologies, the possibilities for expansion and experimentation have again exploded, and contemporary artists are involved in a renaissance of hybrid forms that has become bigger than the technologies that started it. Poets are using cameras and bullhorns, musicians are using kitchen utensils, translators are using languages they don't actually speak, artists are using old books and exacto knives, sculptors are using live (and not live) human bodies, film directors are using colored pencils and moth wings, dancers are using dirt and armchairs. In this creative writing workshop, the focus will be on hybrid texts that include language in some form. We will track a strange vein of precedent for contemporary hybrid texts across decades and even centuries, we will explore what artists and writers are producing right now, and we will create and workshop our own hybrid texts. We will learn new critical language for talking about such texts, and we will participate in collaborative and guerilla art projects. Artists from outside the English and Creative Writing Department who are interested in working with language in some way are encouraged to ask for permission, even if they have not taken ENG 290. Prerequisites: ENG 190/290 or permission of the instructor. (Cowles)
ENG 410 Radical Futures What does the future have in store? Radical Futures will engage with the question of the future as discussed in contemporary fiction, creative non-fiction, and theoretical texts. Our moment is defined by pervasive anxiety about the future. Three moments of crises are frequently discussed: environmental (climate change, resource depletion, and mass extinctions), economic (automation and rising inequality), and existential (Al research and development forcing us to redefine the notion of the human). In this course, we will discuss texts that push against visions of apocalypse and imagine futures that are both radically different and hopeful. We will discuss radical proposals that inhabit the liminal space between fiction and science, such as cryonics and brain emulation, extinct species revival, socio-economic equality, and space exploration. What role will humanities play in these future developments? Students will be required to write an extensive research paper on one of the topics discussed in the course. (Ivanchikova)
ENG 417 Shakespearean Adaptation Shakespeare's plays exist in a state of continual reinterpretation, not just through the work of literary scholars and of theatre artists, but also through the creations of adapters who generate entirely new artworks - novels, poems, plays, films, television series, graphic novels, operas, pop songs, video games, dance, visual and performance art - that engage in dialogue with their Shakespearean sources. In this capstone class, we will investigate the world of Shakespeare adaptations, exploring how artists of all sorts have repurposed, transformed, interrogated, satirized, lionized, translated, inverted, and fought back against Shakespeare's works across time, across cultures, and across media. (Carson)
ENG 432 Malory: The Morte D’Arthur
In the fifteenth-century, as the Eastern part of the Roman Empire collapsed and as England suffered the consequences of the plague and strained under the repeated threats of multiple wars, Sir Thomas Malory found himself in prison and wrote his monumental Le Morte d'Arthur. This course centers on the development of the Arthurian story in Mallory's fiction. The text of Le Morte d'Arthur will be read in its original fifteen century prose and in relation to its specific historical, political, and cultural contexts. It will also be read as prison literature and as an example of derivative literature. Because students will be reading and comparing different accounts of similar narratives, this course will emphasize close readings and source studies research. The first printing of Malory's work was made by Caxton in 1485. Only two copies of this original printing are known to exist and one of them can be seen in the collections of the Morgan Library & Museum. We will try to organize a trip to NY City to look at the original 15th century edition. (Erussard)
ENG 441 Writing Women: Defining Femininity in Late Nineteenth Century Britain This course will reconstruct the social and legal conditions under which British women lived in the last two decades of the nineteenth century. Together, we will use research skills and techniques learned in previous English coursework to examine the work and lives of women writers who used the print medium to construct a new femininity in this age of increasing female presence in the work force, increasing discontentment with legal and economic disadvantage, and restrictive social mores in a rapidly modernizing and more urban age. In our investigations, we will look at journals and read letters written by women living in late nineteenth and early twentieth century Britain with a view to understanding their concerns as they understood them. Through close reading and analysis of their writings, we will also explore the ways in which they reproduced and struggled against the discourses that enabled economic and political disadvantage and the simultaneous silencing and exploration of their creativity by a largely male literary establishment. In addition to such writers as Virginia Woolf, Sarah Grand, and Olive Schreiner, we will also examine the male writers such as John Stuart Mill who lent their more audible voices to the causes of gender equality and women's suffrage and George Gissing, who so intimately depicts the lives of ordinary people navigating rapidly changing times. In addition to primary source material and as part of the capstone to the English major, we will also be reading and discussing modern investigations of the New Woman and discussing the approaches and methodologies of the various scholars whose work we will encounter. (Minott-Ahl)
ENG 458 The American 1850's The 1850's was a period of unprecedented artistic production in the history of the United States, one that's arguably been unmatched since. In the span of ten years, writers like Herman Melville, Walt Whitman, Frederick Douglass, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Emily Dickinson, Henry David Thoreau, and Harriet Beecher Stowe published major works of prose and verse that experimented with literary conventions and responded to the times. In addition to attending to issues of form and context, this course will consider the relationship between literature and culture and politics and history. Along the way, we will read foundational works of scholarship, revisit classic debates, and participate in current conversations. As part of this process, students will write and present a research paper, as well as collaborate on other critical and creative projects. (Black)
ENG 465 Reading Faulkner William Faulkner (1897-1962) sits comfortable atop a hierarchy of Great American Writers. Famous for his modernist prose experimentation in such classic works as The sound and The Fury or Absalom, Absalom!, Faulkner also boldly explored dark and disturbing themes of race and place in America through works like Light in August, Go Down, Moses, and Intruder in the Dust. But Faulkner also wrote Hollywood screenplays, wrote short stories for cash, and wrote other sorts of novels - works of picaresque comedy, doomed romance, and potboiler noir criminality. Faulkner himself 'read everything," from pulps to classics, and that reading, inevitably, shaped his own writing. In this course we will "read Faulkner" by investigating a broader range of his literary production, from the most canonical works to the more marginalized ones. We will situate his works by incorporating a book-length critical biography of Faulkner into our reading, as well as exploring an array of literary criticism. (Creadick)
ENG 490 Trias Tutorial Under the direction of the Trias Writer-in-Residence, students will work towards the production of a full portfolio of creative writing, suitable for publication or submission as a writing sample to graduate school in the field. Students will pursue individualized reading lists, produce new work on a bi-weekly basis, and complete substantial revisions of their efforts.