2110-01: World Literature, Prof. Michael Crafton
MTWRF 3:00PM-5:15PM, Humanities 227
Required for English
Majors. May count for credit in Core Area C.
The purpose of this course is to consume the world. Well, maybe that
is a slight exaggeration. Let’s say the purpose is to survey literary
and cultural documents from around the world starting with the earliest
extant materials, usually the Sumerian epic poem Gilgamesh, and working our way by leaps and bounds up
to the modern period, usually a contemporary poet such as Seamus Heaney
or perhaps a film. Although we shall try our best to view this literature
in a historical and political context, we will be hard pressed to
be very detailed due to the astonishing breadth of this survey. Given
the fact that we will be moving quickly through a lot of cultures,
we shall hold to two constants: one, mythology as a grammar for comparative
analysis; two, literacy as the fundamental skill of skills that we
shall practice. The myths that we shall survey are typically
myths of various heroes (gods, goddesses, warriors, tricksters, and
wisdom figures), employed in a variety of archetypal plots (creation,
protection, deliverance, questing and testing). The literacy tasks
will be an assortment of the following: oral responses in class, oral
presentation as a group, short answer writing on exams, and short
essays written out of class.
Mack, ed., The Norton Anthology of World Masterpieces (expanded
single-volume edition), and a few supplementary paperbacks.
Active engagement in class discussion, three short essays, oral presentation,
midterm, and final exam.
2120-01: British Literature, Prof. Robert Snyder
TR 11:00AM-1:30PM, Humanities 227
Required for English majors. May count for credit in Core Area C.
Class: This course surveys major texts of British literature while
addressing the question of why certain forms or genres predominate
during specific historical periods. In addition to becoming familiar
with seminal authors and their work, we will try to understand both
the defining characteristics of the modes in which they wrote as well
as the cultural factors that contributed to their emergence. In particular,
we will be concentrating on the dream-vision, pilgrimage narrative,
sonnet, dramatic tragedy, epic, satire, lyric, ode, dramatic monologue,
novel, and absurdist play, not including some texts such as T. S.
Eliot’s The Waste Land that cannot be easily categorized.
Norton Anthology of English Literature: The Major Authors, 7th
Informed participation in class discussion, reading quizzes, two short
papers, midterm and final examinations.
ENGL 2130-01: American Literature, Prof. Joshua Masters
MTWR 6:00PM-8:55PM, Humanities 206
Required for English
majors. May count for credit in Core Area C.
Description: This survey
of American literature, from first contact to the present day, explores
the themes of nature, nationhood, law, language, and race in American
culture. As we examine the controversies, concerns, and conflicts
surrounding these themes, we will confront a recurring pair of questions:
What is “America,”
and what does it mean to be an “American?” In their manifold efforts
to answer these questions, American writers occasionally affirm the
idea of America
and occasionally critique it (and often do both), but always in their
own peculiar ways. The course therefore focuses on the prevailing
ideas of the period and the development of important literary trends,
but it also emphasizes the unique nature of individual writers and
The subtitle of the course
is American Literature, Backwards and Forwards, and each week
we will read two texts from different centuries that speak to each
other, both historically and thematically. Week 1, “Puritanism and
will pair the writings of William Bradford and Anne Bradstreet with
The Scarlet Letter. Week 2, “The Making of the American Self,”
pairs Ben Franklin’s Autobiography with Fitzgerald’s The
Great Gatsby. Week 3, “Radical Empathy,” pairs Twain’s
Huck Finn with Russell Banks’s
recent novel Rule of the Bone, and Week 4, “Race and Coming
of Age in America,”
pairs Harriet Jacobs’s slave narrative with Toni Morrison’s novel
The Bluest Eye.
Texts: The Scarlet Letter,
The Autobiography of Ben Franklin, The Great Gatsby, The Adventures
of Huckleberry Finn, Rule of the Bone, Incidents in the Life of a
Slave Girl, The Bluest Eye.
must attend every three-hour class, achieve a passing reading quiz
average, write two 1500 word essays, and take midterm and final exams.
Creative Writing, Prof. Alison Umminger
MTWR 5:00PM-7:45PM, Humanities 225
No more than two (2) 3000-level courses may be counted
toward the major in English.
This course provides an introduction to poetry and fiction writing,
with attention to craft and revision. Using contemporary fiction and
poetry anthologies, students will gain some basic familiarity with
poets and short-story writers currently practicing their art. This
should serve as an inspiration and springboard for their own writing,
as good writers must also be good readers. The course will cover the
building blocks of fiction and poetry: concrete language, dramatic
situation, voice, meter, imagery, characterization, conflict, showing
vs. telling, etc. Students will be writing and revising their own
work weekly and should expect to produce a portfolio of work for review
at the end of the semester.
Catherine, ed., Word of Mouth; Cassill,
Oates, eds., The Norton Anthology of Contemporary Fiction;
The Poet's Companion; Leguin,
Ursula, Steering the Craft.
Each student will write 5-6 poems and revise them for the poetry section.
For the fiction section, students will do a number of short exercises
and write and revise one longer story (10-12 pages). There will also
be a short paper and presentation on one of the poets in the Word
of Mouth anthology. All students are required to be active
participants in workshops.
3405-01W: Professional and Technical Writing, Prof. Tiffany Armand
MTWRF 3:00PM-5:15PM, TLC 1109
May be taken for 3 hours of WAC requirement.
May be taken for certification in Secondary
Professional careers require you to present and prove your skills
before you can make significant advancements, and this is usually
accomplished through written documentation. Therefore, even if you
are not a professional writer, you will be a professional who writes.
And professionals who can write well are usually more impressive than
those who cannot.
course will teach you how to write proper business letters, memos,
email, and resumes. Then we will advance into proper summarization,
document design, and instructional writing. Your final assignment
will be a research project requiring you to write a proposal, a short
report, and a long assessment/recommendation report.
This class requires you to be an already competent writer.
Handbook of Technical Writing (Alred, Brusaw,
occasional library reserve materials.
The documents described above, several tests, and some small daily
assignments. Punctual submission of assignments is crucial; if you
have trouble meeting deadlines, this is not the course for you.
4106-01W: Studies in Genre: Poetry, Prof. Angela Insenga
TR 8:00AM-10:30AM, Humanities 208
May be taken for
3 hours of WAC requirement. May be repeated for credit as genre
or topic varies. Students may enroll up to three
Class: At the beginning of American Beauty (1999), Carolyn
Burnham laments that she wishes the now-absent “Lomans” had hired her as their real-estate agent
before they vacated the neighborhood. With one striking allusion,
screenwriter Alan Ball suffuses the film with the themes, characters,
and even a structure akin to Arthur Miller’s classic drama Death
of a Salesman (1949). Studying such overt connections between
the genres of drama and film helps to frame questions about how each—the
dramatic and cinematic—informs, presupposes, or even reconceives
the other. Our course will focus primarily on reading play texts
from antiquity to the present, though we will also view a film re-presentation
that recycles or re-visions each play. Such examination will create
a sustained dialogue between the genres that will help us theorize
links and divergences as we explore the page, the stage, and beyond.
texts (in reading order): Herbert Wernicke.
Orpheus in the Underworld (a filmed musical version of the
out-of-print play that we will watch in class); Christopher Marlowe,
Dr. Faustus; William Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus; Moises
Kaufman, Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde; George
Bernard Shaw, Pygmalion; Jean Genet, The Maids; Arthur
Miller, Death of a Salesman; Tony Kushner, Angels in America:
A Gay Fantasia on National Themes-- Part One: Millennium Approaches;
Part Two: Perestroika; Margaret Edson, Wit. Film texts* (in reading order):
Orpheus; Ernst Gossner, Jan Svankmajer, dirs. Faust;
Titus; Brian Gilbert, dir.
My Fair Lady; Nancy Meckler, dir. Sister, My Sister; Sam
Mendes, dir. American Beauty; Moises
Kaufman, dir. The Laramie
Project; Mike Nichols, dir.
Angels in America;
Mike Nichols, dir. Wit.
the responsibility for viewing films by specific class dates set down
in the daily syllabus. The department owns two copies of each film,
available for student check-out. All films can also be acquired through
an online movie service like Netflix,
and some are available from local rental establishments.
2-3 page weekly reading/viewing responses (seven in all), one 20-minute
class presentation, 12-15 page critical essay, annotated bibliography.
4109-01: Film as Literature, Prof. Margaret Mitchell
Images of Women in 19th—Century British
MTWR 6:00PM-8:55PM, Humanities 209
May be repeated
for credit as topic varies. Note: This course may be substituted to satisfy
the British literature II requirement on the program sheet for majors.
The nineteenth-century novel has provided rich and complex material
for twentieth-century filmmakers. This course will consider how representations
of women in 19th-century British fiction have been appropriated
and revised through the medium of film. Taking as our central texts
three important British novels and a number of film adaptations of
those and other texts, we will examine the strategies and politics
of adaptation, exploring what happens when 19th-century representations
of gender are filtered through a twentieth-century lens.
Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice; Charlotte Bronte, Jane
Eyre; Thomas Hardy, Tess
of the D’Urbervilles. Films: Adaptations of these and other novels,
to be made available for viewing outside of class.
Participation, quizzes, film journal, research paper, final exam.
4120-01: 17th Century British Literature, Prof. Prasanta
TR 11:00AM-1:30PM, Humanities 208
We will divide the course into 5 different headings and try to cover
the vast literary output of 17th- century Britain.
We will begin with Love and contrast the reigning Petrarchan
model with other modes of early modern theories of love in the poetry
of Sidney, Shakespeare, Donne and Marvell. We will follow this up
with the divergent approaches to Religion (Meditative / Reformed
/ Antinomian / Pantheistic) in the writings of Herbert, Donne, Vaughan, Lanyer, Winstanley
and Milton. Ideas of Science
and Politics will then follow as we look into the works of Francis
Bacon, Hobbes and Locke. The English Revolution will be our
next station and Milton, Lucy Hutchinson, Lilburne and Coppe will
feature prominently in this section. We will conclude the course
with a critical study of arguably the greatest of English Tragedies:
William Shakespeare’s King Lear.
Norton Anthology of English Literature, 7th Edition.
Eds. M. H. Abrams
and Stephen Greenblatt. Norton, 2000
Weekly Response Papers and a final 6-8 page Term Paper.
4165-01W: Contemporary British and American Literature, Prof. Tom Dvorske
TR 2:00PM-4:30PM, Humanities 208
May be taken for
3 hours of WAC requirement.
The realist umpire calls the pitches what they are. The modernist
umpire calls ‘em
like he sees ‘em. The postmodernist umpire says, “They ain’t nothin’til I call ‘em.” This course
is an examination of selected texts produced in the last thirty years
in the British Isles and the United States.
Specifically, we will examine how writers and theorists contend with
the conditions of indeterminacy and immanence that Hans Bertens,
and others argue comprise the milieu of postmodern and contemporary
culture: What to call what’s already been called something by someone
at some possible point for some ostensible purpose that tells us more
about the umpire making the call than the event we characterize, however,
provisionally, as “pitched” and which nonetheless seems as ever-present
as the air “we” breathe. Toward the center of our study lie the concepts
of power and authority: how individuals and institutions construct
reality, history, gender, race, knowledge, nationality,
social and “individual” identity. Batter up!
Texts: Derek Walcott, Omeros; Graham Swift, Waterland; Don Delillo, White
Noise; Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale; Paula Geyh,
Postmodern American Fiction: A Norton Anthology; Course packet
of Essays and Poetry.
Requirements: Reading responses; short presentations
on scholarship; term paper; final exam.
Individual Authors, Prof. Stacy Boyd
MTWR 5:00PM-7:55PM, Humanities 208
May be taken for 3 hours of WAC requirement.
May be repeated for credit as topic
Described as the “Poet Laureate of the Negro Race” and “Harlem’s Shakespeare,” Langston Hughes is one
of the most important African-American writers in the twentieth century.
Although he is perhaps best known for his use of black vernacular
traditions in his blues-inspired poetry, Hughes also produced notable
works of fiction and drama. In this seminar, we will have a close
look at his major poems, short stories, and essays, paying particular
attention to the context of the various phases in Hughes' artistic career.
A prime focus will be on the period of the Harlem Renaissance in which
Hughes emerged as an influential innovator of significant trends in
twentieth-century African-American literature and culture. We will
pay particular attention to the idea of black pride as it relates
to personal and political liberty, equality, and art.
Ways of White Folks, Short Stories; The
Best of Simple; and Not Without Laughter all by Langston
Hughes. Also Langston Hughes and the Chicago
Defender: Essays on Race, Politics, and Culture, 1942-62, with
Christopher C. DeSantis,
and The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes, edited by Arnold
usually short response papers, reading quizzes, oral presentation,
8-10 page research paper (with proposal), active participation in
6120-01: Seminar in American Lit II, Prof. Debra MacComb
The Violence of Manners
MW 2:00PM-4:45PM, TLC 2237
“The manners, the manners: where and what are they,
and what have they to tell?”
James, The American Scene
”Nothing seems at first sight less important that the outward form
of human actions, yet there is nothing upon which men set more store;
they grow used to everything except living in a society which has
not their own manners.”
--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America
Description: A turn-of-the-century debate over the social, political
and economic enfranchisement of women, African Americans and immigrants
coincided with the emergence of the sciences of ethnography, anthropology
and sociology and a burgeoning industry in etiquette books.
This course proposes to read the American novel of manners against
this context in order to examine representations of the coercive force
exerted by mystified—but apparently “natural”—social practices/rituals.
A number of period authors adopt the stance of the objective social
scientist to reveal that manners cloak unspoken and unsuspected cultural
interests inimical to the individual and, as such, operate as the
“gentle, hidden form which violence takes when overt violence is impossible”
in order to maintain those interests. The novels covered will
consider the plight of the social “other” whose desire both “to
be” and “to belong” is hopelessly confounded by the hieroglyphic world
The American; Wharton, The House of Mirth and The
Age of Innocence; Chesnutt,
The Marrow of Tradition; Cahan,
Yekl; Crane, The Red Badge
of Courage; London, The Call of the Wild; Veblen, The Theory of the
Leisure Class; course reader.
Requirements: Informed participation in seminar discussions, weekly
response papers, an oral report, a research prospectus and essay.
6385-01: Seminar in Special Topics, Prof. Jane Hill
Ethical Criticism and Reading Film
MW 11:00AM-1:45PM, TLC 2237
Our project will be to examine how a basic film genre—the romance—morphs
into increasingly complicated multi-generic narratives and how those
transformations complicate the ethical offerings that these texts
make to their audiences. Using Booth’s seminal work on ethical criticism
as well as various other theorists of genre and ethical criticism
to ground our discussions, we will explore how the scaffolding of
the romance plot and the rhetoric of storytelling intersect in contemporary
cinema to create a complicated dynamic between text and audience.
While our subject matter and focus will be a particular type of film,
our larger project will be the refining of our abilities to view,
discuss, think, and write about visual texts with authority and sophistication.
My hope is that students will leave this class with a growing confidence
in various techniques for using film in their own scholarship and
their own classrooms.
C. Booth, The Company We Keep: An Ethics of Fiction; in addition
to this print text, we will study the following films, which you will
be expected to view outside of class: Big Fish, Pretty Woman,
Annie Hall, Kissing Jessica Stein, Chasing Amy,
Lost in Translation, Love Actually, Ordinary People,
You Can Count on Me, Crooklyn,
Pieces of April, Requiem for a Dream, Laurel Canyon,
Reds, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Do the Right Thing,
Friday Night Lights, and The Sea Inside.
In addition to thoughtful and active participation, several short
response papers and presentations and a fifteen-page critical paper
supported by scholarly secondary sources of an appropriate nature.