Program Description

Courses in the English Department have two goals: to teach students to express themselves clearly in writing and speaking, and to help them understand and interpret the great literature of the English-speaking world. The curriculum is broad and diverse.

    • Writing courses include expository writing, critical analysis, and creative writing in several genres.

  • Courses in literature span the centuries, from Old English poetry and Medieval drama to contemporary film and postmodern literary theory. They encompass a wide range of works and authors from both Western and non-Western traditions.

The Department of English regularly hosts lectures and readings by nationally-known poets, novelists, and nonfiction writers, many of whom also meet with students for meals or coffee and visit writing classes. The "Reading Series" includes:

    • Poetry and Prose Readings by Authors of National Stature. Visitors have included nonfiction writer Geraldine Brooks, novelist Vikram Chandra, short story writer Peter Ho Davies, memoirist J.D. Dolan, freelance writer Kim Wiley, poet Stephen Dobyns, and former poet laureate of the U.S. Rita Dove.

  • The Croll Lecture, an annual lecture in honor of Morris Croll, an English major and graduate of Gettysburg College. The lecturer is normally of a national stature in her or his field, and is chosen on the basis of professional prominence, a personal history of mentorship, and accessibility to students.

Program Requirements

 

The department offers a major in English, a major in English with a Writing Concentration, a major in English with Education Minor, a minor in English, as well as a minor in Writing.

Major in English

The major in English requires eleven courses in language and literature. To obtain the desired mix, majors select courses from several categories and levels, including introductory, intermediate, and advanced courses.

Requirements: 

  • Three 200-level intermediate literature courses. Eng 210 - 289
  • One 200-level Theories and Methods course. English 290 - 299, prerequisite for 400-level seminar.
  • Four 300-level advanced literature courses. Courses 310 - 399.
  • One 400-level seminar
  • Two electives:
    -One may be a 100-level literature course.*
    -One may be a 200-level writing course, includes Jour 203.
    -Additional 200-or 300-level literature courses may count.
    -English 101 may not be used to fulfill the department's major.
    -One may be an academic-year internship or individualized study.

*ENG 111, 113, IDS 103 or 104, or designated FYS in literature.

Three of the eleven courses must focus on literature before 1800.

One literature course taken outside of the English Department may count toward the major. (Advisor must provide approval to Registrar's Office for course to count in English.)

Study Abroad: Two courses (one 200-level and one 300-level) from a semester-abroad program may count toward the major. A third course (200- or 300-level) from a full-year abroad program may count. 

English Major Checksheet 

Major in English with Writing Concentration

English with a Writing Concentration is designed for those students who want a concentration of writing courses while still earning an English degree.

This major requires fourteen courses -- more than the standard English major, but less than the combination of an English major with a writing minor. Students experience a balance of literature and writing courses.

Requirements:

  • ENG 205, pre-requisite for all 300-level writing courses.
  • Three 200-level literature courses. Eng 210 - 289
  • One 200-level Theories and Methods course. Eng 290 - 299, pre-requisite for 400-level seminar.
  • Four 300-level literature courses. Eng 310 - 399.
  • Three advanced writing courses. Eng 300 - 309.
  • One 400-level seminar. Eng 400-405
  • One elective.
    -May be a 100-level literature course.*
    -Additional 200-or 300-level literature or writing courses may count.
    -English 101 may not be used to fulfill the department's major.
    -May be an academic-year internship or individualized study.

*ENG 111, 113,  IDS 103 or 104, or designated FYS in literature.

Three of the fourteen courses must focus on literature before 1800.

Up to two literature courses taken outside the English Department may count toward the Writing Concentration major. (Advisor must provide approval to Registrar's Office for such courses to count in English.)

Study Abroad: Two courses (one 200-level and one 300-level) from a semester-abroad program may count toward the major. A third course (200- or 300-level) from a full-year abroad program may count. 

 

English Major with Writing Concentration Checksheet

Major in English with Education Minor

The English major can be combined with a minor in secondary education, along with teaching certification.  All English majors who are interested in receiving certification in secondary education should meet with their major advisor and the chair of the Education department no later than the fall of their sophomore year to begin planning how they will meet departmental, college, and state requirements.

Students pursuing education certification take a range of courses in literature, in writing, and in the history or structure of the English language. They develop both historical depth and awareness of the diverse voices that have helped shape literary tradition.  The secondary education program also requires an "education semester" of student teaching in the senior year, or as an additional semester after graduation.  

More information on requirements for adding an Education Minor to the major in English.

English majors seeking teaching certification follow the standard English major except, instead of their two electives, they must take:

  • A language or linguistics course, usually fulfilled with ENG 281. For students studying abroad at Lancaster University, LING 130 or 151 would also serve as a substitute for ENG 281. AFS 280 may substitute for ENG 281, although it will not count toward the ENG major.
  • A 200-level intermediate writing course. ENG 201 or 205 and JOUR 203 fulfills the Multiple Inquiries Arts requirement.

 

Secondary education students should take a variety of English, American, and African American literature. They are also encouraged to take a Shakespeare course. THA 214, 329, or 331 may serve as a substitute for one ENG literature course. 

English Major with Secondary Education Certification Checksheet

Minor in English 

An English minor requires six courses in English.  Although it is not necessary to declare an English minor before the senior year,  students are encouraged to talk to an English professor if interested in pursuing a minor.

Requirements:

  • Two 200-level intermediate literature courses. ENG 210 - 289.
  • Two 300-level advanced literature courses. ENG 310 - 399.
  • Two electives:
    -No more than one introductory literature course (English 111, 113, IDS 103 or 104, or designated FYS in literature).

    -Writing courses at 200- or 300-level may be counted for one or both electives, includes Jour 203.
  • - One may be an academic-open internship or individualized study.

Study Abroad: Two courses (one 200-level and one 300-level) from a semester-abroad program may count toward the minor. A third course (200- or 300-level) from a full-year abroad program may count.

English Minor Checksheet

Program Requirements

Writing Minor Requirements

The writing minor requires six courses.

  • Introduction to Creative Writing (Eng 205)
  • Three courses from the grouping Eng 300-309, 405
  • Two electives:
    -One or both may be 200- or 300-level writing courses.
    -JOUR 203 may count.
    -One may be a 200- or 300-level English literature course.
    -One may be an academic-year internship or individualized study.

  Writing Minor Checksheet

Course Listing

Course level:
100 | 200 | 300 | 400
ENG-101 Introduction to College Writing
Course develops students' ability to express themselves in clear, accurate, and thoughtful English prose. Offered regularly. Fulfills first-year writing requirement. Open to first-year students only.


ENG-111 Writing through Literature
Writing-intensive introduction to literature using poetry, drama, short stories, and novella. Emphasis is placed on the process method of writing, basic techniques of literary analysis, and library research. Offered regularly. Fulfills first-year writing requirement. Open to first year students only.


ENG-112 Writing the Classics
An introduction to academic writing based on the close reading of classical texts from the Greek, Roman, and/or Judeo-Christian traditions. Students write regularly in response to reading assignments and take a series of essays through an extensive revision process. Critical thinking and links with a variety of academic disciplines are stressed along with research, documentation, editing, and writing fundamentals. Offered regularly. Fulfills first-year writing requirement. Open to first-year students only.


ENG-113 Writing In and About the Native American Tradition
Study of ancient and contemporary Native American poetry and fiction with emphasis on academic writing. Students write regularly in response to reading assignments and engage in extensive revision of their work. Close attention is given to the development of academic voice, editing, documentation, critical thinking, research skills, and writing a reflective preface that is representative work from a first year writing course. Offered regularly. Fulfills first-year writing requirement. Open to first-year students only.


Back to the top of course listing

ENG-201 Writing the Public Essay
An examination of public essays: reviews, political commentary, letters to the editor, op-ed articles, art criticism, problem analysis, proposals for change. Students practice the craft of writing with grace, clarity, and fluency. Students read, study, and debate essays about significant topical issues by writers whose prose styles have much to teach about the art of writing. The course is for all students, majors, minors, and those interested in developing their expository and persuasive writing skills. Offered regularly. Prerequisite: English 101 or equivalent.


ENG-205 Introduction to Creative Writing
Workshop in the writing of short stories, verse, and plays, with an analysis of models. Offered regularly. Prerequisite: English 101 or equivalent. Fulfills arts requirement.


ENG-210 Topics in Medieval and Renaissance Literature
Intermediate study of a variety of authors, themes, genres, and movements, ranging from Anglo-Saxon literature through Shakespeare’s works.


ENG-211 Shakespeare: the Major Plays
Course endeavors to communicate an awareness of Shakespeare's evolution as a dramatist and his importance in the development of Western literature and thought. Designed for students not majoring in English. Offered occasionally. Fulfills humanities requirement.


ENG-212 Survey of English Literature: Medieval & Renaissance
Selective survey of medieval and early modern English literature from the likes of Beowulf through the death of Queen Elizabeth in 1603 - almost a millennium. The goals of the class are to introduce students to several major writers and works of these centuries, to give an outline of the development of the literature, and to help develop skills in reading critically and discussing and writing about literature. Fulfills humanities requirement and English department Pre-1800 requirement.


ENG-214 C17th English Drama
This course will chart the development of English drama from Shakespeare to Gay. Our exploration of the drama will include the thematic, the dramatic, and the theoretical and will be informed by an understanding of early modern history and culture. Students will read works by Marlowe, Shakespeare, Kydd, Jonson, Dekker, Milton, Etherege, Congreve, and Gay and think about the role the theater -- public, private, and closeted -- played in early modern England. Offered occasionally. Fulfills humanities requirement.


ENG-221 Survey of English Literature:17th &18th Century
Historical survey of English literature from Beowulf through the twentieth century, with some attention to the social, political, and intellectual backgrounds of the periods under investigation. Selected works are discussed in class to familiarize students with various methods of literary analysis; students write several short critical papers each semester. Offered occasionally. Fulfills humanities requirement.


ENG-222 The Unreasonable Age of Reason
The eighteenth century has been called "The Age of Reason," a designation that implies straight and narrow thinking about straight and narrow subjects. To those of us who know and love the eighteenth century, it is hardly that. In Fact, its literature is full of such things as horses that talk like humans, gangs of criminals that sing operatic arias in praise of their "profession," and young men who journey to London in search of adventure and get much more than they bargained for. Through plays, poems, novels, and personal journals, we will discover just why the "Age of Reason" is a misnomer for the eighteenth century in England. Offered occasionally. Fulfills humanities requirement.


ENG-223 Milton and the Eighteenth Century
Course introduces students to Milton’s masterpiece, Paradise Lost, and reads representative eighteenth-century British texts that respond to and re-imagine the key questions that shape the poem. Representative authors and genres of the period are studied, and students practice basic skills of literary analysis in regular writing assignments that introduce them to resources and research methods in literary studies.


ENG-232 Romanticism to Modernism
Students will look at the changing shape of English literature from the nineteenth to the early twentieth century. At a time when some theorists are asking "Is literary history possible?" we will attempt to understand a small portion of English literary history and some of the terms used to define it: "Romanticism," Victorianism," and Modernism." Among the representative authors, we may study from these three periods are Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley, Tennyson, Browning, Rossetti, Yeats, Eliot, and Woolf. Through the fiction and poetry of these authors, we will also explore some of the ideas and anxieties of this age, such as the relationship between science and faith, the role of women, and the impact of colonialism. Offered occasionally. Fulfills humanities requirement.


ENG-233 Survey of American Literature to 1865
A chronological study of American writing from colonial days through the present, with some attention to the social, political, and intellectual backgrounds. Primary emphasis during the first half of the sequence falls on the Puritans and American Romantics; the second half surveys writers from the Romantics forward, including such figures as Twain, Chopin, James, Williams, Stevens, Faulkner, Hughes, as well as selected contemporary writers. Offered occasionally. Fulfills humanities requirement.


ENG-235 Survey of African American Literature
Intensive study of a single writer, group, movement, theme, or period. May be counted toward the major. Open to first-year students. Offered occasionally. Fulfills humanities requirement.


ENG-237 American Realism and Naturalism
In 1901, Charles Chesnutt observed that the United States "was rushing forward with giant strides toward colossal wealth and world-dominion," an assertion that captures the energy, anxieties, and priorities of the later decades of the nineteenth century. The nation’s "rushing" vigor, simultaneously exhilarating and troubling, is likewise evident in the period’s literature, which sought to document how vast cultural, technological, economic, and political changes impacted individual American lives. In this course, we will explore these decades through the works of Rebecca Harding Davis, William Dean Howells, Mark Twain, Henry James, Sarah Orne Jewett, Charles Chesnutt, Pauline Hopkins, Frank Norris, Theodore Dreiser, Edith Wharton, and Paul Dunbar, among others. Offered occasionally. Fulfills humanities requirement.


ENG-238 The Early American Novel
For a variety of reasons -- cultural, political, and logistical -- the development of the American novel is delayed until political independence from England is won. In this course, we will examine novels written during the early years of the nation, tracing the ways in which the works attempt to define a distinct national identity. Authors considered will include Brown, Foster, Tenney, Cooper, Sedgwick, Child, Poe, and Dana. Offered occasionally. Fulfills humanities requirement.


ENG-240 Antebellum American Literature
American literature written between 1830 and 1860 is the focus of this course, a period that has come to be known as the "American Renaissance." As we explore the texts and contexts of these three decades, we will consider the implications of this name, what it assumes, and what it excludes. The reading list will likely include Cooper, Emerson, Poe, Thoreau, Fuller, Hawthorne, Stowe, Douglass, Brown, Whitman, and Melville, among others. Offered occasionally. Fulfills humanities requirement.


ENG-241 Literature of the Civil War Era
Course introducing students to American literature written around, or about, the Civil War. Beginning with a novel rumored (wrongly) to have started the conflict, students read a series of works that engage the political and social turmoil, from both Northern and Southern perspectives.


ENG-251 Survey of American Literature Since 1865
A chronological study of American writing from colonial days through the present, with some attention to the social, political, and intellectual backgrounds. Primary emphasis during the first half of the sequence falls on the Puritans and American Romantics; the second half surveys writers from the Romantics forward, including such figures as Twain, Chopin, James, Williams, Stevens, Faulkner, Hughes, as well as selected contemporary writers. Offered occasionally. Fulfills humanities requirement.


ENG-252 20th Century African American Literature
An introduction to 20th-Century African American authors who have acquired prominent and permanent status in American letters and a study of literary theories that have addressed specifically questions of black writing and representation. Investigating the link between African American literary production and changes in the social and political landscape of United States, it analyzes the ways in which the historical and political moment of production accounts for the different ways that the black experience is represented by African Americans. This course examines a wide range of texts in light of shifting paradigms-with regard to race, gender, and sexuality-in American culture and thought. It pays close attention to the ways literature by African Americans assert black humanity, revise history, and redress historical injury. Offered occasionally. Fulfills humanities and conceptualizing diversity requirements.


ENG-253 Images of Women in Literature
Survey of literature and film from the second half of the 20th century. Drawing on novels, short stories, popular movies, and social and political history, this course takes an interdisciplinary look at women's and men's differences and commonalities, examines the various ways women and men have been imagined, how these images affect us, and how they have transformed as a result of the feminist revolution. ENG 253 and WGS 253 are cross listed. Counts toward WGS major. Offered occasionally. Fulfills humanities and conceptualizing diversity requirements.


ENG-254 American Poetry
Study of the development of American poetry from 1620 to 1945. Though other writers are studied, course emphasizes Taylor, Whitman, Dickinson, Frost, Eliot, and Stevens. Offered occasionally. Fulfills humanities requirement.


ENG-255 Identity and Imagination: Jewish American Women Writers
Identity and Imagination: Jewish American Women Writers. A study of Jewish American women in literature and film. Praised as Yiddische mamas, derided as over-bearing Jewish mothers, condemned as materialistic Jewish American princesses, identified as red-hot mamas and sob sisters, active in Zionism, socialism, and feminism, Jewish American women fashioned complex identities for themselves. Fascinated with the ambiguity of identity in all its ramifications – gender, sexual, racial, religious – they used their literary and visual imaginations to explore and expand possibilities.


ENG-257 Sex and Love in Jewish Literature
"The Modern Age is the Jewish Age, and the twentieth century, in particular, is the Jewish century. Modernization is about everyone becoming urban, mobile, literate, articulate, intellectually intricate, physically fastidious, and occupationally flexible . . . . Modernization, in other words, is about everyone becoming Jewish." Thus declared Yuri Slezkine in his recent book The Jewish Century. Whether or not you accept Slezkine’s argument, certainly the twentieth century witnessed some of the most powerful and extraordinary works of the Jewish imagination. From the ironic to the sentimental, from the controversial to the off-beat, from nostalgic exhumation of the past to raucous satires of the present and the future, from Avalon to Zelig, Jewish writers and filmmakers tackled the full spectrum of contemporary life. In this course, students will focus on novels and films that represent Jews in love. Course readings will include Philip Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint, Grace Paley’s The Little Disturbances of Man, S.Y. Agnon’s A simple Story, A.B. Yehoshua’s The Lover, and Rebecca Goldstein’s The Mind-Body Problem. This course will also include evening discussions of literary texts and film screenings of such films as Annie Hall, Invincible, Crossing Delancey, Avalon, and Walk on Water. Offered occasionally. Fulfills humanities requirement.


ENG-258 African American Women Writers
Survey of poems, essays, novels, short stories and plays written by African American women. Starting with late 18th century poet Phillis Wheatley and ending with 1993 Nobel Prize Laureate Toni Morrison, we investigate the political, social, and aesthetic concerns with which these women writers contend: spiritual conversion; woman's labors under slave bondage; reconstructing the womanhood and family ties in the post-Emancipation Era; protest against racist violence, specifically lynching and rape; black women's moral reform movement; racial passing and socioeconomic mobility; government challenges to black women's reproductive rights; and collaborative methods to organize black women-centered communities. Cross-listed with AFS-248. Offered occasionally. Fulfills humanities and conceptualizing diversity requirements.


ENG-259 Amerika: Global Perspectives on the United States
Now more than ever America’s role in the world is being decided in other places perhaps even more vigorously than it is in the U.S. itself. "Amerika" takes an international approach to the study of American literature. This course examines the idea of America in relation to the place of the United States, considering how it may be transferred, reflected, perceived, and debated globally, as we read fiction written about the United States by foreign writers. For some, such as Kafka, this means imagining an entirely fabricated space, whereas for others, such as Nabokov and Lorca, it means critiquing a culture found in a newly-adopted homeland. Although we will cover early accounts, such as those by Tocqueville and Columbus, the syllabus is weighted toward the 20th century fiction from countries as wide-ranging as Germany, France, Egypt, and Palestine in order to engage current questions about the reception and creation of American culture in the twenty-first century. Offered occasionally. Fulfills humanities requirement.


ENG-263 Voice and Visibility: African Americans and the Power of Spoken Word
Politics and poetics of Hip Hop and Spoken Word, framed within African American oral traditions. We consider the significance of orality in crafting and cultivating the forms, styles, and content of African American cultural expressions, including written and oral poetries, music, and public speeches. Ultimately, spoken word is positioned as central to exploring complex issues of identity, culture, and politics shaping the African American presence in American society.


ENG-265 U.S. Latino Voices
The study of selected masterpieces of Latino literature from the United States. Special emphasis is given to writers representing the largest segments of the U.S. Latino population: Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, and Dominicans. Other Latino communities are represented in shorter reading selections. This is primarily a literature course engaging students in literary analysis of each text’s themes, structure and style. ENG 265 and LAS 265 are cross-listed.


ENG-281 History of the English Language
Course provides a historical understanding of the vocabulary, forms, and sounds of the language from the Anglo-Saxon or Old English period to the twentieth century. Ideal for secondary education minors. Offered one semester per academic year. Fulfills humanities requirement.


ENG-298 Critical Methods: History of Literary Criticism
This course will trace changing ideas and assumptions about literature from antiquity to the nineteenth century. In order to appreciate more fully the various ideas about literary value (broadly conceived), we will consider the arguments in tandem with examples of the specific genres literature being celebrated as exemplary or, in some cases, derided as dangerous. Throughout the semester, our goal will be to acquire a sense of the historical basis for the practice of literary criticism, as well as an appreciation of the kinds of questions and problems raised by the study of literature. Students may expect to read selections from some of the following: Plato, Aristotle, Horace, Longinus, Sidney, Boileau-Despreaux, Pope, Vico, Hume, Burke, Kant, Schiller, Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud. Offered occasionally.


ENG-299 Critical Methods
Introduction to advanced literary study. Attention is placed on close reading, using the library and electronic resources and incorporating scholarly perspectives. Course also considers a variety of theoretical approaches to literature and their place within contemporary literary scholarship. Offered regularly.


Back to the top of course listing

ENG-300 Forms of Fiction Writing
Discussion course in the writing and reading of alternative forms of fiction. Aim is to enhance understanding and implementation of various alternatives to short fiction, including short-short fiction, the novella, and the novel. Each student completes two short-short stories and a fragment of a novella or the opening of a novel. All styles and subjects are welcome, and students are encouraged to discover and exercise their unique writing voices. Offered regularly. Prerequisite: English 205.


ENG-301 Writing Short Fiction
Workshop in the reading and writing of short stories. Aim is to understand and implement various techniques and strategies of short fiction, including characterization, character development, variance of voice, transport, and resonance. Each student is to complete a number of exercises and two short stories (with both revised), as well as written critiques. Offered regularly. Prerequisite: English 205.


ENG-302 The Writing of Poetry: New Poems, New Poets
Course will provide a sampling of the vital new poetry being published today. We will read powerful volumes of poetry published within the last couple of years. Reading with attention craft, students will study the art and practice of writing poems.


ENG-302 Free Verse & Form in Poetry
Whether writing in form or free verse, poets make careful choice of sound, diction, and line length. This course will pay particular attention to the way a poem's form (the way it looks on the page and sounds to the ear) reflects and amplifies its meaning. Readings may include poems by James Merrill, Anthony Hecht, Greg Williamson, Linda Gregerson, and Jorie Graham. Requirements will include seven original poems with revisions, two short papers ("close-readings" of particular poems), and a presentation. Prerequisite: English 205.


ENG-304 Writing the Personal Essay
Workshop in the personal essay. The personal essay presents an idea from a personal point of view, requiring both persuasiveness and a distinctive voice. Students develop a series of essays over the semester, and read a wide variety of published essays for analysis and inspiration. Students are expected to serve as peer critics, and to complete various exercises and revisions in order to write ambitious, compelling essays. Offered occasionally. Prerequisite: English 205.


ENG-306 Writing the Memoir
Workshop in the reading and writing of memoir. Students develop narratives based on personal experience and address the question of how to transform memory into compelling writing through the analysis of appropriate models and discussion of student work. Each student is expected to complete various exercises and critical responses, as well as a substantial memoir project. Offered regularly. Prerequisite: English 205.


ENG-307 Extending the Personal
Course explores ways to infuse your writing with other elements, such as art, science, history, and the natural world. Students read poetry, non-fiction, and fiction models. Offered occasionally. Prerequisite: English 205.


ENG-308 Experiment and Tradition
This course will focus on the long-acknowledged division between traditional and experimental styles. Instead of asking students to take a side in this debate, we will read fiction and poetry that attempts to bridge the gap between the experimental and the traditional. In addition to reading and responding to published texts, students will be asked to produce work in two genres: poetry and fiction. The emphasis will be on helping students produce formally innovative texts that embrace the new and unique while remaining aware of the importance of tradition. Assignments will include two short stories, two poems, and a final project. Offered occasionally. Prerequisite: English 205.


ENG-309 Topics in Writing
Advanced level writing workshops that are organized according to theme, motif, or subgenre, or that address the problem of writing with a specific audience in mind. Offered regularly. Prerequisite: English 205.


ENG-311 Metaphysical & Baroque Literature
Examination of literature often mistermed "metaphysical." Course considers the philosophic, religious, and cultural upheavals of that time as background for the great aesthetic changes that evolved through at least two distinctive styles, the metaphysical (or manneristic) and the high baroque. Offered occasionally.


ENG-312 Medieval Drama
Exploration of conflicting theories concerning the origin and development of medieval drama. Course examines social roles, discusses issues of text and performance, and compares the relative merits of 'good literature' and 'good drama.' Students read examples drawn from a variety of genres of drama, and view performances of several plays on videotape. Class stages its own production of the Noah story. Counts toward Theater Arts major. Offered occasionally.


ENG-313 In Search of Beowulf: Fact, Fiction, & Fantasy
Students in this course explore ancient Denmark and Scandinavia with Beowulf as guide, navigating a mystical landscape of trolls, dragons, and witches. Moreover, archaeological work now is allowing us to place the poem in a physical geography, opening up more fully our understanding of the world which produced the poem. In addition to a fantastic literary work, therefore, we may now begin to understand Beowulf as an artifact in a historical setting.


ENG-316 Growth of Romance
The Growth of Romance Course examines the literary, social and historical factors that led to the development of Medieval romance and its subsequent flowering in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Works read include lais and romances by Marie de France, Chr tien de Troyes, Chaucer, and Malory, and others. Offered occasionally.


ENG-318 Shakespeare:Earlier Plays
Course seeks to communicate an understanding both of Shakespeare's relation to the received traditions of his time and of his achievement as one of the most important figures in Western literature. Language, characterization, and structure in each of the numerous plays will be carefully analyzed. Counts toward Theater Arts major. Offered regularly.


ENG-319 Shakespeare:Later Plays
Course seeks to communicate an understanding both of Shakespeare's relation to the received traditions of his time and of his achievement as one of the most important figures in Western literature. Language, characterization, and structure in each of the numerous plays will be carefully analyzed. Counts toward Theater Arts major. Offered regularly.


ENG-321 Restoration & Early 18th Century Literature
Course focuses on literature written between 1660 and 1743, and examines dominant literary forms and modes, as well as such issues as the education of women and marriage, changing social behavior, and growing consumerism. Through plays, prose writings, diaries, and poetry, students sample the literary richness of the period. Offered occasionally.


ENG-322 Eighteenth-Century British Public Sphere
In 1675, King Charles II tried to shut down London’s coffee-houses, declaring them dens of scandal and sedition. In 1710, Joseph Addison declared that he would bring philosophy out of the colleges and libraries into the very same coffee-houses. This debate over coffee-houses represents one element of a larger contest over the emergence of an eighteenth-century "public sphere," a space for supposedly free debate and investigation that also promised participants the chance to talk their way into a new understanding of both their own social status and their relationship to state authority. This course will examine how the eighteenth-century British public sphere was thought and brought into being, paying particular attention to the ways its emergence was defined in and by literary texts. We will also investigate broader questions about how the ways in which individuals imagine their communities and their social relationships helps to define the scope of their agency, and how the debates that structured the eighteenth-century public sphere give us ways to approach the shifts in our own public sphere brought about by the digital revolution and the rise of Web 2.0. Offered occasionally.


ENG-323 The Secret History of the Novel
Most accounts of novel’s “rise” in eighteenth-century Britain emphasize the genre’s “formal realism” and attribute its development to a triumvirate of male novelists—Defoe, Fielding, and Richardson. But behind and alongside that story exists a “secret history of the novel”: a story largely about fiction by women frequently more salacious, less realistic, and more formally experimental than the mainstream novel. Students will learn about this alternate tradition while practicing skills of formal analysis, historical research, and critical reading and writing.


ENG-324 The Eighteenth-Century City
“When a man is tired of London,” Samuel Johnson famously opined in 1777, “he is tired of life.” In the eighteenth century, London was bursting with life. One tenth of England’s population called it home. Many who migrated to or flourished in London found in the city a way of life that was fresh, exciting, and novel—in short, modern. In this course, we will explore how eighteenth-century cities, from London to Dublin to Philadelphia, give rise to distinctly modern forms of experience. We will examine the role that cities play in the eighteenth-century literary imagination by reading works of poetry, prose, and drama. We will focus on the nature of the individual who inhabits the modern city, and on the people who live in modernity’s shadow, at the margins of the city. Throughout, we will keep in mind Johnson’s further observation that “a great city is, to be sure, the school for studying life.”


ENG-325 Rise of the Novel
In this course, we will explore what was “novel,” or new, about the formal conventions and the style of the novel; we will examine what questions, problems, and themes preoccupied eighteenth-century novelists; and we will make connections between the novel and its historical and cultural context. Many of the texts we will be reading were bestsellers in their day, and one of our main tasks will be to understand how these works delighted, absorbed, and scandalized eighteenth-century readers. We will investigate the early novel's relationship with other forms of prose fiction, and we will explore the relationship between the so-called "realist novel" and some of its alternatives. Offered occasionally.


ENG-326 The Literature of Sentiment
In the sentimental literature of the late eighteenth century, hearts flutter, pulses race, and ladies swoon. The fineness of one’s feelings signifies one’s social refinement and one’s moral virtue alike. This course investigates the philosophical and social origins of this shift to sentiment and examines the poetry, novels, and plays in which sentiment circulated in late eighteenth-century Britain. Offered occasionally.


ENG-332 Moving Through Nineteenth-Century American Narrative
Nineteenth-century Americans were, seemingly, always on the go. This course will explore narratives -- novels, poems, plays, and autobiographies -- that represent the possibilities and limitations associated with mobility, broadly understood. To provide critical perspective on the train trips and sea voyages depicted in these works, we will also explore critical writings on space, place, geography, and mapping. Offered occasionally.


ENG-333 Victorian Aesthetics
Exploration of the intersection between literature and the visual arts, with special attention paid to the Pre- Raphaelite, Aesthetic, and Decadent movements, which affected all branches of art. Offered occasionally.


ENG-334 19th Century English Women Writers
Exploration of the various ways in which women contributed to the intellectual and political excitement of mid-Victorian England. Course looks at novels, paintings, and other writings by women to determine if women presented different perspectives, if these perspectives were skewed, and what might have been the causes and consequences of their different ways of looking. Special attention is given to women's collective action in reforming lunacy laws, attitudes toward prostitutes and prostitution, and married women's property rights. Offered occasionally.


ENG-335 Charles Dickens
Study of Charles Dickens, a writer of inexhaustible fertility and energy, but also a complex, flawed, and troubled figure. Students examine a selection of stories and novels, ranging from his early and optimistic Christmas Carol to his last (unfinished) novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, a dark study of violent obsession. Course reviews leading events and people in Dickens’s life; the larger Victorian context of his fiction; and the notably recurrent features of his fiction, such as orphans, murderers and other criminals, hypocrites, angels, and angry women. Offered occasionally.


ENG-336 Romanticizing History
Momentous historical events, including the fairly recent French Revolution, helped catalyze some of the most significant poems of the romantic era. Our inquiry will focus on writing that responds to and also reimagines history. The central question facing us will be whether the past, as it is appropriated for modern purposes, remains recognizable. Most of the reading will come from well known British romantic writers-particularly Mary Shelley, Sir Walter Scott, and Lord Byron-but we will also spend a few weeks taking a comparative approach, and read a play by Schiller and a novel by Stendhal. Offered occasionally.


ENG-337 The Romantic Mind
The writers who helped shape the Romantic movement in England were particularly fascinated by the experience of interiority. As a group they became preoccupied with the mind/body problem. They speculated about the relationship between emotions and cognition and studied the operations of what they termed "the passions" on the individual consciousness. Some believed the mind created the world it perceived; some puzzled over madness and whether it was remediable and whether it conferred insight. They recounted memories and assigned philosophical weight to Memory; they gave free reign to their imaginations, and elaborated intricate theories of Imagination. In this course, we will read a wide range of poems, letters and essays by the principal writers of this generation, and we will read several longer works-Blake’s Milton, Wordsworth’s The Prelude, and Shelley’s Prometheus Unbound-that try to anatomize consciousness, to put forward challenging symbolic representations of it, and to narrate ways in which it can be dramatically transformed. Offered occasionally.


ENG-338 Romanticism: Revolution in Language
Study of the British Romantic movement, with attention to two of its dominant concerns: renovating the language of poetry and documenting the revolutionary changes in late eighteenth and early nineteenth century European life and thought. While the course will explore the relationship between these two facets of romanticism, it will largely fall into two halves. During the first, attention will mainly be given to the close analysis of the language of the writers we will explore, along with a reading of some of the key statements about their stylistic aims. During the second half, the focus will be on romanticism as urging a radical political agenda. Offered occasionally.


ENG-339 Birth of Modernism: 1880-1920
In this course, we will take an interdisciplinary look at the literature and culture of the "transitional" period from Victorianism into Modernism, i.e., 1880-1920. The course traces the movement in art away from representationalism towards the abstract and the surrealistic, which parallels the movement in literature away from realism towards stream-of-consciousness narrative techniques and symbolist poetry and also explore the period's interest in psychology, primitivism, and decadence. Offered occasionally.


ENG-340 Early Romantics: Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Contemporaries
Early Romantics : A study of Romanticism, and its emergence as a dominant presence in British culture starting with the last decade of the eighteenth century. We will concentrate on the generation of writers—most familiarly Blake, Wordsworth and Coleridge—who established themselves during these years, and who were united by a desire to create a new poetic idiom, grounded in claims they could make for imagination, and less conventionalized than that which they saw as dominating British poetry.


ENG-341 American Gothic
In this course, we will examine the conjoined roles of sensation and sentiment in American literature from the early national period until the Civil War. In addition to considering how the gothic challenges assumptions about the primacy and reliability of reason and rationality, we will examine how these texts negotiate issues of identity, race, gender, and sexuality. We will consider the writings of Alcott, Brown, Freneau, Melville, Poe, and Stoddard, among others. Offered occasionally.


ENG-342 Early 19th Century Fiction in Britain
An exploration of three writers whose first and anonymously-published novels appeared between 1810 and 1820: Jane Austen, Walter Scott, and Mary Shelley. Because they initially staked out discrete areas of their fictional works -- domestic life, English and Scottish history, the findings of modern science -- studying these writers alongside one another should permit students to appreciate something of the range of concerns that preoccupied British readers of fiction during this period. Offered occasionally.


ENG-343 Romantic Poetry and Poetics
During the romantic period in Britain, poetic culture was strongly influenced by a range of aesthetic concepts, often the focus of vigorous debate, that affected both the composition and reception of much of the writing of the period. Attempts to define sublimity and beauty, the possibility of writing in an organic form in keeping with spontaneity of expression, the prizing of gusto, the aspiration to reconcile competing desires and aims, the effort to use figurative language as a means of exploration and revelation, the recovery of "the real language of men" for artistic purposes, the naming (through "romantic irony") of the gap between the real and the ideal, are among the concerns taken up by the writers of the period. Offered occasionally.


ENG-344 Victorians Abroad
Course will explore the complex relationship between British Victorians - poets, novelists, explorers, adventurers - and the larger world. The nineteenth century witnessed the beginnings of what we now call globalization. The British Empire stretched around the globe, and for the first time, the "common people" (rather than simply military and merchant class) were able to travel far beyond the British Isles. Victorians explored the world at large in unprecedented numbers. This course will survey the accounts of these explorations. Offered occasionally.


ENG-345 Second Generation Romantics
Second Generation Romantics. A study of the poetry, and their writing about poetry, of Byron, Shelley, and Keats, particularly as a response to the conservative turn of the best known and most influential poets of their world. Alongside them we will look at representative novelists—Scott and Austen—whose sympathies inclined more toward a tradition their poetic contemporaries tended to resist.


ENG-348 The Victorian Novel
Between 1837 (when Victoria was crowned) and 1901 (when she passed away), approximately 60,000 novels were written and published in England. If the eighteenth century witnessed the birth of the novel as a legitimate literary genre, and the twentieth century has seen its dissolution, then the nineteenth century must be seen as the novel's heyday. Because most of the novels written during this period were "triple-deckers," long three-volume novels, it is impossible to study more than a few in a single semester. But even our short list of six works shows the variety of presentation possible within the limits of the term "novel."


ENG-351 Contemporary American Poetry
Study of American poetry written since World War II by such poets as Elizabeth Bishop, James Wright, Charles Wright, Charles Simic, Rita Dove and Sharon Olds. The class may be visited by one or more poets. Offered occasionally.


ENG-352 Contemporary American Fiction
Course studies form, content, and diversity in American fiction since the 1940s, drawing on a selection of novels and short stories by such writers as Updike, Nabokov, Carver, Bellow, Pynchon, and others. Offered occasionally.


ENG-353 Fitzgerald Hemingway & Circle
Intensive study of the writings of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Earnest Hemingway, especially during their salad days in the 1920s, with a look at some other contemporary writers who influenced them or were associated with them. Course examines the nature of Fitzgerald and Hemingway's imaginations, the development and characteristics of their distinctive fictional voices, and the causes of their declining powers in the 1930s. Offered occasionally.


ENG-354 Wharton, Dreiser, Cather
A study of three early twentieth-century American novelists: Edith Wharton, the cultivated member of high society in old New York; Theodore Dreiser, the relentlessly unsentimental journalist from Indiana; and Willa Cather, the nostalgic Nebraskan. We will read two or three novels by each writer, focusing on each novel individually, to place it in its biographical, geographical, literary and cultural context; but also stepping back to look at the three writers in relation to one another, looking for both connections and diverging outlooks among them. We will also look at critical works and some primary documents, such as correspondence and memoirs. Among the novels to be read will be The House of Mirth, Ethan Frome, The Age of Innocence, Sister Carrie, Jennie Gerhardt, My Ántonia, and Death Comes for the Archbishop. Offered occasionally.


ENG-355 Radical American Women
Course will look at the ways in which women writers in the U.S. have experimented with and invented new literary forms in their respective engagements with personal identity, starting with Emily Dickinson and running through the 21st century. Offered occasionally.


ENG-356 The Beats and Beyond
Students begin by examining the work of key figures in the beat movement. Our focus here will be on the autobiographical imperatives behind the work of these writers; specifically, they sought to make their everyday lives the bases of their literary art. Our next concern will be with extensions of the beat impulse beyond the 1950s. In the 1960s certain comically inclined writers continued the linguistic innovations of the beats yet at the same time began to scrutinize beat efforts to construct an alternative identity. Specifically, we will look critically at the "primitivist" impulses informing the desire to become a "White Indian." We will then read works that emerged out of the more politically explosive 1960s as the hipster gave way to the hippie. Throughout this course we will be making reference to adjacent developments and innovations in the field of avant-garde or underground film practice. In addition we will investigate the decline of utopian aspirations in the 70s in the aftermath of the Vietnam War. Among the writers included are Burroughs, Kerouac, Ginsberg, Snyder, Pynchon, Percy, Doctorow, Acosta, Berger, Kesey, Barth, Didion, Brautigan, and Southern. Offered occasionally.


ENG-357 Writing Out of Black Childhood
Course investigates 19th and 20th century African American literary and cultural representations of black childhood across multiple genres -- autobiography, memoir, drama, poetry, and fiction. Our readings focus not on children’s literature, but rather, on how African American authors write about black child experiences. Our readings have inter-related threads. Primarily, we will investigate what functions figurative black children serve in the African-American and U.S. imaginary. Secondly, we will consider how African American literature relates to American literature in ways that mimic fractious relations between child and parent. Ultimately, our course invites us to reflect and rethink meanings of both the categories "blackness" and "childhood," which converge upon and at times threaten to subsume our notion of "the black child" and the black child writer. Authors may include Frederick Douglass, James Baldwin, Lucille Clifton, Toni Morrison, Suzan-Lori Parks, among others. Offered occasionally.


ENG-358 Contemporary Women Writers
At the end of A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf foresees the coming of a new generation of women writers. It is now over 70 years since Woolf wrote her manifesto. Since then, many women have written many books. Perhaps now it is time to explore the new directions taken by modern women writers. How have they used their new "habit of freedom"? Are they writing exactly what they think? What are they writing about? What innovations have they made on literary tradition? What shapes do their imaginative visions take? How have they revised literary history? In this course, student will read such contemporary women writers as Julie Alvarez, Margaret Atwood, A.S. Byatt, Angela Carter, Maryse Conde, Allegra Goodman, Bharati Mukherjee, Jewell Parker Rhodes, and Jeanette Winterson. During the second half of the semester, we will read and discuss writers selected by the students. Offered occasionally.


ENG-359 British Writers 1918-1939
A study of the literature of the two decades between the two great European wars of the first half of the 20th century, including poetry, fiction and non-fiction. Writers to be studies include Eliot, Yeats, Auden, Woolf, Waugh and Greene. Offered occasionally.


ENG-360 The Harlem Renaissance
Examination of the African American literary cultures of the 1920s and 1930s. Emphasis is on the transnational dynamics of African diaspora creative expression and the development of modern artistic practices. Genres include poetry, drama, fiction, oratory, essay, painting, film, and music. Offered occasionally.


ENG-361 The Worlds of William Faulkner
This course will undertake an in-depth study of William Faulkner’s major works of fiction and their impact on -- and place within -- literary Modernism. We will begin by looking at some of Faulkner’s early influences, such as Sherwood Anderson, and then trace the arc of Faulkner’s major novels and stories, considering both their experimental and their more conventional aspects, particularly in light of the literary movements and artistic developments surrounding him and the reception of his work throughout the twentieth-century. Of particular concern will be Faulkner’s invented Yoknawpatapha County in Mississippi, his various methods of narration, and his interest in "truth," all in an effort to explore what he meant when he stated, "I don’t care much for facts, am not much interested in them, you can’t stand a fact up, you’ve got to prop it up, and when you move to one side a little and look at it from that angle, it’s not thick enough to cast a shadow in that direction." At the end of the semester, we will discuss Faulkner’s film work in Hollywood. Finally, we will begin to consider his legacy as it is expressed in more recent cultural production, particularly in literature of the Global South by writers such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Offered occasionally.


ENG-371 The Dream of the Artificial Wo/Man
Survey of the golem/cyborg genre. Although Western culture sees persons as sites of individuality, authenticity, and autonomy, this notion is always shadowed by irrepressible fears of artificiality, mechanism, and impersonality. Drawing on the mystical lore of Kabbalah, this course considers the significance of the figure of the artificial wo/man in a wide range of literature from early golem stories to the cyborgs of present day imagination. Offered occasionally. Fulfills conceptualizing diversity and science/technology/society requirements.


ENG-372 The American South in Literature
A study literature about the American South. The South is not only a region, but an idea — both loved and hated. Southern literature reflects both attitudes (and much in between). This course will look at works from and about the South, from nineteenth-century writers like George Washington Cable, Mark Twain, Kate Chopin, and Joel Chandler Harris, to twentieth-century writers like William Faulkner and Flannery O’Connor.


ENG-381 Geographies of the Mind
The so-called Age of Exploration and Discovery (the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries) witnessed the compiling, writing, and publishing of a great number of travel accounts, geographic descriptions of new lands, and maps of recently explored territories. Paradoxically, the same period also saw the appearance in literature of numerous popular, albeit fictional, imaginary journeys, discoveries, and explorations. Basic to obtaining an appreciation of the genesis, appeal, and "uses" of imaginary exploration and travel literature, the course will explore particularly the roles played by curiosity, imagination, wonder, and awe in the human quest to understand our world. Offered occasionally.


ENG-383 Truth and the American Way
This course will examine the problems and parameters of truth in the American literary traditions of realism and naturalism. While considering the sundry implications of a fictional practice that defines itself according to standards of accuracy and truthfulness, we will also explore the ways in which such a program challenges basic assumptions about the purpose of literature, the limits of fiction, and the nature of reality. Although the focus of the course will be on nineteenth-century American literature, we will also consider the ways in which the evolution of photography, the development of various academic disciplines (like, for example, psychology or anthropology), and changing information technologies impacted the definitions of truth, of reality, and of fiction. The reading list will include works by Dreiser, Howells, Wharton, Norris, Chesnutt, James, and Twain. Offered occasionally.


ENG-391 Feminine/Feminist Aesthetics
Students will explore questions of difference. Do women and men write differently? Do women and men read differently? Do men and women represent themselves and each other differently? According to Cynthia Ozick, the answer is no: "When we write we are not women or men but blessed beings in possession of a Promethean art." However, many people disagree with her. According to Whitney Chadwick, "Patriarchal power is structured through men’s control over the power of seeing women." We are all involved in power struggles to name the real. "It is crucial," writes Felicity Nussbaum, "to open texts to the power struggles that define subjectivities." Students will look at how different subjectivities are constructed and at how they are challenged and subverted. Readings will include both theoretical texts about aesthetics as well as literary texts. Offered occasionally.


ENG-392 Speculation, American Style
This course will explore the philosophical impulses, and pretensions, of American literature in the nineteenth century. Students will read the prose of Emerson, Poe, Thoreau, Melville, Fuller, Douglass, and James in tandem with philosophical and theoretical works by Cavell, Arsic, Agamben, Deleuze, Nussbaum, and others. It is strongly recommended that students complete a course at the 290 level before enrolling in this class. Offered occasionally.


Back to the top of course listing

ENG-400 Seminar: Special Seminar Themes
Intensive studies of announced special themed literature. Prerequisite: one course from 290-299.


ENG-401 Seminar: Medieval & Renaissance Lit
Intensive studies of announced topics in Medieval and Renaissance literature. Prerequisite: one course from 290-299.


ENG-402 Seminar: Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Literature
Intensive studies of announced topics in seventeenth and eighteenth century literature. Prerequisite: one course from 290-299.


ENG-403 Seminar: Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Literature
Intensive studies of announced topics in nineteenth and twentieth century literature. Prerequisite: one course from 290-299.


ENG-404 Seminar: American Literature
Intensive studies of announced topics in American literature. Prerequisite: one course from 290-299.


ENG-405 Seminar in Writing
An advanced writing workshop, focused on any of several genres, including, but not restricted to, fiction drama, screen-writing, poetry, and personal memoir. Prerequisite: 205 and one course from 290-299 .


ENG-450 Individualized Study-Tutorial
Individualized tutorial counting toward the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded A-F


ENG-451 Individualized Study-Tutorial
Individualized tutorial counting toward the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded S/U


ENG-452 Individualized Study-Tutorial
Individualized tutorial not counting in the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded A-F


ENG-453 Individualized Study-Tutorial
Individualized tutorial not counting in the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded S/U


ENG-460 Individualized Study-Research
Individualized research counting toward the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded A-F


ENG-461 Individualized Study-Research
Individualized research counting toward the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded S/U


ENG-462 Individualized Study-Research
Individualized research not counting in the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded A-F


ENG-463 Individualized Study-Research
Individualized research not counting in the minimum requirements in a major or minor graded S/U


ENG-464 Honors Thesis
Individualized study project involving the research of a topic and the preparation of a major paper under the direction of a member of the department. Research and writing are done during the fall semester of the senior year. Prerequisites: By invitation of department only.


ENG-466 Honors Thesis



ENG-470 Individualized Study-Intern
Internship counting toward the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded A-F


ENG-471 Individualized Study-Intern
Internship counting toward the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded S/U


ENG-472 Individualized Study-Intern
Internship not counting in the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded A-F


ENG-473 Individualized Study-Intern
Internship not counting in the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded S/U


ENG-474 Summer Internship
Summer Internship graded A-F, counting in the minimum requirements for a major or minor only with written permission filed in the Registrar's Office.


ENG-475 Summer Internship
Summer Internship graded S/U, counting in the minimum requirements for a major or minor only with written permission filed in the Registrar's Office


ENG-477 Half Credit Internship
Half credit internship, graded S/U.


Back to the top of course listing