The following are the course numbers of the classes offered through the English Department (listed within The University Catalog under ENGL). Each number will send you to a brief description of the course, when available.
Professor: Robert O'Brien
From the silent-movie era to the present, filmmakers have interpreted Shakespearean drama. Some of these interpretations have been lost, others are of dubious quality, but a large number are masterpieces of cinematic art.
In this course, you'll study some of the best Shakespeare films made since the Second World War. By the end of the semester, you will have gained a deeper understanding of both film and Shakespearean drama.
Classes will be a mixture of lectures, discussions, and film showings. Outside of class, you'll read synopses, scenes, and passages from the plays. You'll also write essays responding to the readings and films and take a mid-term and final examination.
Our text will be the two-volume, second edition of The Norton Shakespeare. (Back to Top)
Professor: Rob Davidson
English 220 is designed to introduce you to the writing of poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction. You will be asked to write “literary” work in this class (i.e., work that is serious, ambitious, well-crafted, contemporary, adult-oriented, emotionally engaging, and so forth). Work that does not aspire to the literary is outside the domain of this class. This includes literature for children, the sentimental romance, formulaic mystery writing, and the like. We shall study writing techniques and craft in each genre by reading each other’s work and by studying the work of established authors. Expect to do a lot of writing and revision.
English 220 is a General Education course (GE Area C-2). Through the study of creative writing, this class will help you to:
- improve reading, writing, critical thinking, discussion and speaking skills; and the ability to access, evaluate, and apply information;
- instill efficient, effective learning skills;
- enhance general knowledge about creative writing, literature, and broader questions related to these fields;
- broaden knowledge about diversity both within and without the world of creative writing;
- help provide coherence, connectedness, and commonality within your other areas of study.
As part of the G.E. experience, each student is required to attend four out-of-class literary events. These events can include author readings, dramatic performances, poetry open-mikes, and so forth.
Ford, Richard, ed. The Granta Book of the American Short Story, Volume 2. London: Granta, 2008.
McClatchy, J.D., ed. The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Poetry. Second ed. New York: Vintage, 2003.
Williford, Lex, and Michael Martone, eds. Touchstone Anthology of Contemporary Creative Nonfiction: Work from 1970 to the Present. New York: Touchstone-Simon & Schuster, 2007.
Required Course Materials:
Examination Book(s)—you will need one or two examination “blue books” for three required exams.
Photocopying & Printing—budget for up to 100 pages of required photocopying or printing for the workshop portions of this class.
Texts and exam booklets are available at the Associated Students Bookstore in Bell Memorial Union. (Back to Top)
Professor: John Traver
From the visions of hell in Dante’s Inferno to the super-heroes in Alan Moore’s Watchmen, imaginative works have exercised a vital role in the development of literature and culture. From talking wolves in Aesop’s Fables to talking horses in Gulliver’s Travels, authors envision strange worlds which provide new perspectives on everyday life, or they might demonstrate that the “ideal” world we imagined isn’t as desirable as we thought it was. Our class will cover a diversity of genres, drawing from the novel (e.g., Shelley’s Frankenstein), poetry (e.g., Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner), and the drama (e.g., Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream).
Course expectations: short writing assignments, 2 papers, a mid-term, and a final exam.
Texts will probably include the following:
Alan Moore. Watchmen.
William Shakespeare. A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Jonathan Swift. Gulliver’s Travels.
Mary Shelley. Frankenstein.
Professor: John Traver
“Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.” -Sir Francis Bacon
This course provides you with a full-course meal of British literature. We will survey the development of British literature, beginning with the Medieval period (with works such as Beowulf and The Canterbury Tales), continuing through the Renaissance and early Seventeenth Century (with authors such as Shakespeare and Donne), and concluding our repast with the Restoration and Eighteenth Century (with works such as Pope’s The Rape of the Lock and Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels). In order to survey such a wide-spanning period of history, our pace will have to be fast (i.e., a lot of texts will be “tasted” or hastily “swallowed”). As a result, you will not only discover how British literary traditions develop over time, but also be introduced to a variety of delectable texts for future periods of digestion.
Assignments will include the following: a mid-term examination and a final; journals and vista postings; a group presentation; poetry memorization; quizzes.
Volumes 1-3 of The Broadview Anthology of British Literature. (Please get the most recent editions.)
Samuel Johnson’s The History of Rasselas, ed. Jessica Richard (Broadview).
(Note that all 4 Broadview texts are available at a discount when purchased together.)
Professor: Rob Davidson
A survey of American literature from its beginnings to the 1850s. Students can expect to write 2-3 shorter analytical papers. A mid-term and final exam are also required.
Required Texts: The Norton Anthology of American Literature, Volumes A & B, 8th edition (2012), ed. Nina Baym et al.(Back to Top)
Section(s): 1, 2
Professor: Jeanne E. Clark
One breath taken completely; one poem, fully written, fully read - in such a moment, anything can happen.
The aim of this course is to make you a better writer of poetry by making you a better reader of poetry. Reading poetry—and writing it—is a matter of paying attention, of being alive to the possibilities of language, of learning to appreciate craft, and allowing the poem to be what it wants to be, and all it can be, in combining and reacting with the speaker’s sensibility. You will read poems by both established and up-and-coming poets, representing a wide constellation of voices, approaches, and subjects.
Each week you’ll complete a poem draft—writing (or rewriting) a poem in response to an instructor prompt. We’ll read poems—yours and those of well-known and emerging poets—and talk about what we find there in terms of news and craft. We’ll experiment with revision and talk about the art of submitting work for publication. Some of the scheduled class periods will be devoted to reading and to craft issues, and some will be devoted to “workshopping” your poems. The “fifth hour” will be used for alternative activities, both individual and small group activities rather than whole class meetings: visiting a local letterpress collective and art galleries, sauntering through woodlands, talking with visiting writers about writing and the writing life, and so on.
Questions? Contact Jeanne Clark (Taylor 122), email@example.com
Professor: Rob Davidson
English 321 is an intensive workshop-based course in the writing of the short story. You will be asked to write “literary” work in this class (i.e., work that is serious, ambitious, well-crafted, contemporary, adult-oriented, emotionally engaging, and so forth). Work that does not aspire to the literary is outside the domain of this class. This includes literature for children, the sentimental romance, formulaic mystery writing, and the like. We shall study writing techniques and craft by reading each other’s work and by studying the work of established authors. Expect to do a lot of writing and revision.
Please note that this a self-contained prose narrative that does not exceed twenty-five double-spaced pages (roughly 6,000 words). “Long” short stories, novellas, and novel excerpts are outside the domain of this class.course is specifically designed with the short story in mind. As a general rule, a short story is.
Required Texts & Course Materials:
Boyle, T. Coraghessan, ed. Doubletakes: Pairs of Contemporary Short Stories. Boston: Thomson-Wadsworth, 2004.
Carver, Raymond. Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? 1976. New York: Vintage, 1992.
The texts are available at the Associated Students Bookstore in Bell Memorial Union. Also, students must budget for up to 500 pages (or more) of required photocopying or printing for the workshop portions of this class.(Back to Top)
Professor: John Traver
ENGL 355, sect. 1: Bible, Literature, and Culture
Why do President Obama’s speeches positively reference a “brother’s keeper?” Why does the narrator of Moby Dick want to be called “Ishmael?” In John Milton’s Paradise Lost, how much of the “story” is of his own invention? To answer such questions, readers need a shared familiarity with the Bible that many writers and thinkers have taken for granted.
This course will provide you with a working knowledge of the structure and themes of the Bible to help you recognize allusions and perceive its influence on the shape of English literature and the broader culture; we’ll look at the Bible alongside examples of the texts it has influenced. We’ll also examine the genres and literary qualities of the Bible itself, such as its use of symbols, typology, repetition, acrostics, and even puns! Our goals are to have a greater appreciation of the Bible as a work of literature in itself and to understand its profound effect on the shape of subsequent literature and culture.
Note that this class is writing-intensive, fulfilling either the genre or period requirement for the English major, or serving as an upper-division arts and humanities GE requirement for a variety of majors. All levels of familiarity with the Bible are welcome (from none, to knowledgeable). We will be reading in translation selections from the Hebrew Bible (or “Old Testament”), the New Testament, and the deuterocanonical works (or “Apocrypha”). Texts will probably include:
Robert Alter, The Art of Biblical Narrative.
Ed. David Pasper and Stephen Prickett, The Bible and Literature: A Reader.
A Bible edition (probably the upcoming Norton Critical edition, The English Bible, King James Version, 2 volumes).
Section(s): 1 and 2
Professor: Robert O'Brien
'Tis your thoughts that now must deck our kings.
In this course, we will read plays from four genres—comedy, history, tragedy, and romance—following Shakespeare's career, with some digressions, from A Midsummer Night's Dream (1594-96) to The Winter's Tale (1609). Reading these plays well means producing them in your mind's theater. This mental production demands considerable imagination and concentration, but the more you know about the plays, and the more plays you read, the easier it becomes.
Classes will be a mixture of lectures, discussions, and scene readings. You will write some short essays and a term paper and take an early-term and a final examination. Our text will be the two-volume edition of The Norton Shakespeare.
The course may be used for degrees in English Education, English Studies (as a "Middle Ages to Eighteenth-Century" course), and Literature (as a "Literary Figures" or "Early Literature" course).
Professor: John Traver
This course introduces you to a broad survey of Restoration and eighteenth-century British literature and its social, political, and religious contexts. You will encounter a variety of eighteenth-century texts (e.g., novels, poems, dramas, sequential art, essays, songs, and even newspapers), all of which participate together in a broader cultural conversation. We will struggle with the question, “Just what is the long eighteenth century?” as we encounter a singing highwayman, a man disguised as a eunuch to attract women, an imagined love poem to an actual eunuch, the discovery that both men and women use the bathroom, a world populated by “fish men” and “worm men,” fire and plague (literally), revolution, persecution, and the flowering of cat poetry.
Assignments will include the following: a mid-term and a final; one short paper and one longer paper; short writing assignments and/or vista; a class presentation; memorization of one poem of your choice; class participation.
The Broadview Anthology of British Literature, Vol. 3, The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century.
Henry Fielding, Joseph Andrews/Shamela, Penguin.
Samuel Richardson, Pamela, Oxford World’s Classics.
If I read a book [and] it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me, I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry.
Writer: how books read each other.
Welcome! This is an upper-division genre course. It is a course in which we will labor to learn more about the genre of poetry: how poems/poets begat poems/poets, what terrains poets consider worth fighting for, how poems discover and shape meaning, as well as why and how we might respond to poetry reflectively, critically, and imaginatively. This course is an exploration of full-length collections of poems, first books by a diverse range of modern and contemporary poets. We will consider the tools these poets use to make poems. These tools will include various forms /poetic structures and specific poetic strategies such as meter, metaphor, and mousse. Oops, I’m confusing poetry with desert, a simple enough mistake. Further, in this course we will labor to become a generous and spirited reading and writing community, one in which we’ll work both individually and in collaborative groups to wrestle this angel of poetry into our arms.
Note: Poet Martha Collins will be visiting our class!!!
For more information, contact Jeanne Clark, firstname.lastname@example.org or 898-6457.
Professor: Robert O'Brien
In this course, besides reading continental European, British, and American drama from the end of the nineteenth century to the present, we'll examine how playwrights have adapted their work for the screen. We'll look, for example at how George Bernard Shaw adapted his Pygmalion for an Oscar-winning film, at how Tennessee Williams adapted A Streetcar Named Desire for the 1951 movie with Vivian Leigh and Marlon Brando, and at how David Mamet turned his Pulitzer-Prize-winning Glengarry Glen Ross into the 1992 movie with Kevin Spacey and Al Pacino. We'll finish by exploring drama written for the screen rather than adapted for it, taking a close look at Aaron Sorkin's screenplay for The Social Network.
Who can use the course for their degree? Everyone can use it as an elective. Creative Writing Minors can use it for their literature requirement. English Education Majors can use it for (1) the period and genre requirement, (2) as a drama course for the "Theatre Arts" area of study, (3) as one of four courses in the "Literature" area of study or (4) as one of two literature courses in the "General Studies" area. English Studies Majors can use it for the "Comparative, Continental European, World, and Multicultural Literatures" requirement. Literature Majors can use it as one of four "Later Literature" courses, and General English Majors (on the old catalog) can use it as a genre course.
Professor: Dr. Aiping Zhang
9:30-10:45 am, T/Th, OCNL 123
“William Faulkner and Toni Morrison”
Both William Faulkner and Toni Morrison are Nobel Prize winners and the most influential novelists of their time. They share many themes, concerns and, particularly, literary devices in fiction writing. Despite the difference in their gender, race, time, and experience, both of them have pioneered daring attempts at presenting a vision of a world, to which everyone can relate. This course is designed as an intensive and comparative study of these two authors. By reading their representative works, we will not only examine the beauty and secret of their magical narrative structure, their flowing description, and their creative use of myth and folklore, but also look into all the visions, inventions, subtleties, ambiguities, controversies, and influences both authors have contributed to American literature.
William Faulkner Toni Morrison
The Sound and the Fury Beloved
As I Lay Dying Jazz
Light in August Paradise
Absalom, Absalom Love
Professor: Tom Fox
Topics: Networks, Memes, and Rhetoric
In this seminar we will adapt and build rhetorical theory based on recent studies of network theories and memes, especially at how rhetorical theorists have revived notions of circulation, distribution and delivery. Readings include Linked by Albert Barabasi, Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age by Duncan Watts, and additional articles. On memes, we will read Virus of the Mind by Richard Brodie and other articles. We will also look at the growing number of rhetoricians who are remapping, revising and remixing the classical idea ofdelivery. In addition to responding to the readings, students will complete a project that analyzes a “text” of their choosing (visual, audio, multimedia) using these ideas. Finally, together, we will articulate new rhetorical theories and their implications for teaching that accommodates new media practices.(Back to Top)