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 interpretations have been lost, others are of dubious quality, but many 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'll 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 mid-term and final examinations. Our text will be the two-volume edition of The Norton Shakespeare.
The course may be taken as an elective or to satisfy the General Education arts requirement (Disciplinary Area C1).
Professor: Geoff Baker
The goal of this course is to introduce you some great novels, poetry, drama, and non-fiction prose, a body of work that stretches back thousands of years. On your own, you will be expected to read each text carefully. As a class, we will attempt to place each work in its larger context and see what it seems to want to say to its reader and what tools it uses to say it. Grades will be based on a few short writing assignments on Vista, a midterm, a final exam, and an analytical paper.
In addition to very brief excerpted portions of the Analects of Confucius, Aeschylus’s Prometheus Bound, Dante’s La Vita Nuova, and Plato’s Republic, texts will include the following (though this is subject to change):
Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
Honoré de Balzac, Père Goriot
Yevgeny Zamyatin, We
Professor: Teresa Traver
This course focuses on the two centuries of literature by women authors. Our focus is on “writers in conversation” with each other. That is, we’ll look at texts from different time periods which respond to each other in interesting ways. The course covers a broad range of readings, from nineteenth-century poetry to twenty-first century manga (Japanese graphic novels). This reading list will allow us to explore women’s writing—and women’s lives—in different historical periods and different cultural contexts. Assignments include short papers, presentations, two midterms and a final exam.
Required Texts: (Subject to change): Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre; Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea; Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own; Bisco Hatori’s Ouran High School Host Club; Ann-Marie MacDonald’s Goodnight Desdemona, and Caryl Churchill’s Top Girls.
Professor: Geoff Baker
The goal of this course is to give us a solid grounding in the major works and figures of British and Irish literature from Romanticism in the late-eighteenth century to postmodernism and the present day. For those hoping to go on to careers as teachers of literature or language, this is a chance to grasp larger movements and issues over time—valuable context for the period in which you are specializing or for your overall knowledge of the British literary canon. For those heading into other professional spheres, this is a chance to discuss one fascinating and influential text after another.
Assignments will include 2 midterms and a final exam; occasional quizzes; and a short analytical paper.
Required Texts:The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 9th ed, package 2 (The Romantic Period through the Twentieth Century and After)
Professor: Aiping Zhang
This course is a survey of early American literature. We will start the course with a quick look at the literature of the New World, from the Native American oral tradition to the letters of Columbus and Las Casas. Through a selected reading of various works, such as treatise, memoirs, autobiography, essay, poetry, and fiction, we will examine major literary movements, schools, and writers that have made key contributions to the emergence and development of what we call "American literature" today.
Nina Baym, ed., The Norton Anthology of American Literature, Vols. A and B, 8th edition.
Professor: Jeanne 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 art galleries, sauntering through woodlands, talking with visiting writers about writing and the writing life, and so on.
Questions? Contact Jeanne Clark (Siskiyou 133), email@example.com(Back to Top)
Professor: Rob Davidson
Required Texts & Materials
The following texts are required for all students (subject to change):
Kincaid, Jamaica. A Small Place. New York: Penguin, 1988.
Roorbach, Bill, ed. Contemporary Creative Nonfiction: The Art of Truth. New York: Oxford UP, 2001.
Wolff, Tobias. This Boy’s Life: A Memoir. New York: Grove, 1989.
Also, students must budget for up to 500 pages (or more) of required photocopying or printing for the workshop portions of this class.
English 327, Creative Nonfiction, is an intensive workshop-based course in the writing of the literary nonfiction essay. 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. 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 course is specifically designed with the short essay in mind. For the purposes of this class, we will define a short essay as a self-contained nonfiction prose narrative that does not exceed 5,000 words (twenty double-spaced pages). Longer essays, including chapters from longer works that cannot be read as stand-alone essays, are outside the domain of this class.
Professor: Teresa Traver
Literature of the Child is an introduction to literature written for or about children. Our readings draw from three centuries of literary depictions of children. Some of the questions we’ll pose include: what is the purpose of children’s literature? Why arechildren depicted the way they are in literature? What kinds of things does this literature suggest about the role of the developing child in relation to the family, the local community, the environment, and the wider world? Assignments include a paper, a presentation, weekly quizzes, a midterm and a final exam.
Required Texts: (Subject to change): J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan; Mildred Taylor’s Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry; Francis Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden; Judie Blume’s Are You There God? It’s me, Margaret; and Rodman Philbrick’s Freak the Mighty.
Professor: Geoff Baker
Literature, Politics, and Activism
What’s the point of books and movies, when the real history happening around us is often so immediate and so troubling? Does art have any effect on the real world, or is it just a distraction? If art does matter, politically speaking, then how does it effect change? What do we mean when we say that a work of art is “political”? In this upper-division class for GE students and English majors and minors, we’ll address these fundamental questions about the function of literature in society by focusing on a cluster of texts from the early 19th century to the present. The reading list will include some canonical classics as well as some popular new works that respond in direct ways to the longer tradition of political literature.
Texts will be chosen from:
- (Portions of) angry manifestos and essays by Friedrich Nietzsche, Émile Zola, surrealist André Breton, Antonin Artaud, Jean-Paul Sartre, Carlos Fuentes, Simone de Beauvoir
- Drama by Bertolt Brecht, Henrik Ibsen, Anton Chekhov, Gerhart Hauptmann, Wajdi Mouawad, Caryl Churchill, and Tony Kushner
- Poetry by Nelly Sachs, William Blake, Léopold Senghor, and Aimé Césaire
- Fiction by Harriet Beecher Stowe, Émile Zola, Thomas Mann, George Orwell, Yevgeny Zamyatin, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Simone de Beauvoir, Albert Camus, Christa Wolf, Isabel Allende, Naguib Mahfouz, Haruki Murakami, J.M. Coetzee, Toni Morrison, Margaret Atwood, and Suzanne Collins
- Films like V for Vendetta, The Lives of Others, or Pan’s Labyrinth
- …and brief critical or theoretical works on the function of art and intellectuals in society by Theodor Adorno, Herbert Marcuse, Georg Lukács, Martha Nussbaum, Bruce Robbins, and Caroline Levine.
*This course fulfills credit toward the GE pathway in Ethics, Justice, and Policy, and it counts as an Elective for English majors in the English Studies option.
Professor: Jeanne Clark
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. These are the only ways I know it. Is there any other way? --Emily Dickinson
In this course, you will write new drafts of poems, poems of your own wild imaginings. You will read brand-new, hot-off-the-press poems by both established & up-&-coming poets, representing a wide constellation of voices, approaches, & subjects. And you will take one or more of your poems “off the page.”
You will consider in depth the following craft issues: voice & tone, structure & form, titles, deep revision, & preparing manuscripts for publication.
The reading list will include: New York Times Editor’s Choice Selection Here, Bullet by Brian Turner and E. M. Forster Award and T.S. Eliot Prize winner Robin Robertson, among others.
News Flash: Both poets Brian Turner & Joanne Allred will give readings on campus & will visit our class.
Prerequisite: English 320, or permission of the instructor. Graduate students may take this course for credit. Questions? Contact Jeanne Clark (Siskiyou 133, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Professor: Rob Davidson
Required Texts & Materials (subject to change)
Farmer, Daryl. Bicycling Across the Divide: Two Journeys into the West. Bison Books, 2012.
Li, Yiyun. Gold Boy, Emerald Girl: Stories. New York: Random, 2010.
Moffett, James and Kenneth R. McElheny, eds. Points of View: An Anthology of Short Stories. Revised and Updated Ed. New York: Mentor, 1995.
Also, students must budget for up to 200 pages (or more) of required photocopying or printing for the workshop portion of this class.
Required Prerequisites: For fiction writers, English 321 (Fiction Writing); for nonfiction writers, English 327 (Creative Nonfiction); or the demonstrated equivalents from another institution, or instructor permission.
English 421 is an intensive workshop-based course in the writing of both fiction and creative nonfiction. All forms of literary fiction and nonfiction (i.e., the short story, the “long story,” the novella, and the novel; also, the memoir, the personal essay, literary journalism, and so forth) are welcome in this class. Students can expect to draft, workshop, and revise two full-length prose narratives over the course of the semester (approx. 25+ pages of new writing). There will also be assigned expository writing related to the required readings.
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, aspires to art, 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, newspaper-style journalism, 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.
This course will be conducted as a workshop for dedicated students writing at an advanced level. This means students come to the class having practiced and studied their art in previous courses and independently. The workshop community forms a candid, astute audience for this writing; the authors are ready and eager to hear the comments of their peers in matters of craft and scope, acknowledging that through the workshop process their work can be strengthened in terms of their largest intentions for it. For this reason, they do not bring to the workshop writing they consider “finished” or worthy only of admiration.
A student may write in either genre (fiction or creative nonfiction) so long as the student has legitimate background training in the genre. The reason for this constraint is that the Department of English has upper-division undergraduate courses designed to give students a background in writing fiction and creative nonfiction. First-time, or “beginner’s work,” in an advanced writing workshop is not useful to anyone. So: a legitimate and substantive background in any chosen genre is required, as per the class prerequisites. Students are free to submit work in any genre for which they are qualified.
A secondary focus of this class is the discussion of contemporary literature by established authors in the relevant genres. This may include essays on craft, poetics, aesthetics, and the like.Finally, please note that in some cases graduate students will have different, more rigorous requirements in this class.
Professor: Robert O'Brien
'Tis your thoughts that now must deck our kings.
In this course, we'll read plays from four genres—comedy, history, tragedy, and romance—following Shakespeare's career, with digressions, from A Midsummer Night's Dream (1594-96) to The Winter's Tale (1609). 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).
It may also be taken as an elective. No one should miss taking a Shakespeare course before graduating from college.(Back to Top)
Question: What was the nineteenth-century British novel like? Answer: It was full of vampires, spontaneous combustion; elegant dinner parties and exciting elections. Actually, the novel did a lot of interesting things over the course of the nineteenth-century, and we won’t have time to read examples of all of them. We will read samples of the courtship plot, the social problem novel, and Victorian horror. The reading list will also provide a variety of narrative forms and perspectives for us to examine, from a straight-forward third person narrative to the use of multiple narrators. In addition to the primary texts, we’ll look at some historical and literary influences which shaped the four novels we’ll reading, and we’ll read some samples of literary criticism, including both older works and more recent ones.
Required texts (subject to change) may include: Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (Broadview Edition), Emily Eden’s The Semi-Attached Couple; Charles Dickens’s Bleak House (Norton Critical Edition); Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South (Norton Critical Edition); and Bram Stoker’s Dracula (Bedford Case Studies in Contemporary Criticism).
Professor: Paul Eggers
We’ll look at seven novels that feature major aspects of the modern novel: Jesus’ Son (Dennis Johnson), Heart of Darkness (Joseph Conrad), Things Fall Apart (Chinua Achebe), To the Lighthouse (Virginia Woolf), Invisible Man (Ralph Ellison), In the Lake of the Woods (Tim O’Brien), and The French Lieutenant’s Woman (John Fowles). These novels take us from the early 20th century to the very late 20th century.
Among other things, we’ll discuss features of the modern novel and how those features—stylistic, structural, cultural, and philosophical—differ from earlier incarnations of the novel. Along the way, we’ll touch on the Victorian era (for comparative purposes), realism, modernism, postmodernism, and post-colonialism.
We’ll have an in-class midterm exam and a final paper. Details tba.(Back to Top)