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II. Intermediate Courses

Course descriptions from the English Department to supplement the information in the college catalogue.


Introductory Creative Writing

Study and practice of various forms of prose and poetry.  Reading and writing assignments may include prose fiction, journals, poetry, drama, and essays.  Not open to freshmen in the fall semester.

One 2-hour period and individual conferences with the instructor.


Mr. Joyce            M         6:30-8:30

Introductory Creative Writing

In this section we will pay special attention to poetic writing, including narrative poems and hybrid poetic forms, such as multimedia, imagetexts, and so on. The course is, however, not restricted solely to those interested in writing poetry and we will welcome (and benefit from) the contributions of those interested in narrative and dramatic writing as well as transgressive, experimental, and lyrical forms of writing that verge upon the graphical, kinetic, and performative.


Mr. Joyce             R          6:30-8:30

Introductory Creative Writing

In this section we will pay special attention to the idea of translation, whether translation as traditionally understood, i.e., between languages, as well as works that translate language into hybrid forms including multimedia, sound, imagetexts, and so on. Everyone will attempt at least one translation of each kind, although you will not have to be fluent in your second language or an accomplished media person or a visual or sound artist to take part.


Ms. Mark             R          4:00-6:00

Introductory Creative Writing

Students in this course will read and write narratives in a number of modes. Though we’ll focus on short fiction and the elements of its composition (characterization, plot, structure, point of view, dialogue, voice, style, and so forth), we’ll also explore the increasingly permeable boundaries between fiction and nonfiction, prose and poetry. This section of Introductory Creative Writing is both a seminar and a workshop: students will read the work of experienced practitioners, analyze what they’ve read, and apply what they've learned to their own work. Readings may include works by Ashbery, Baldwin, Bambara, Barth, Barthelme, Beattie, Bishop, Bloom, Borges, Calvino, Carey, Carson, Chekhov, Cortázar, Edson, Erdrich, Faulkner, Hughes, Jen, Joyce, Kafka, Kincaid, Lahiri, Mullen, Munro, Nabokov, O'Connor, Packer, Paley, Saunders, Simic, Trevor, Wallace, Winterson, Wolff, and Woolf. Frequent conferences.


Mr. Smith             T         3:10-5:10

Introductory Creative Writing

In this section we will focus on the short story. In a supportive workshop environment, we will discuss recently published short fiction, engage in creative writing exercises, address key elements of craft, and offer peer feedback. Stories will not be limited to traditional narrative styles to encourage innovations in form, including prose poetry. Special emphasis will be placed on characterization, language, narrative voice, and the rigorous revisions often necessary to achieve what Edgar Allen Poe describes as ‘unified effect.’


Mr. Smith          R          3:10-5:10

Introductory Creative Writing

In this section we will focus on the short story. In a supportive workshop environment, we will discuss recently published short fiction, engage in creative writing exercises, address key elements of craft, and offer peer feedback. Stories will not be limited to traditional narrative styles to encourage innovations in form, including prose poetry. Special emphasis will be placed on characterization, language, narrative voice, and the rigorous revisions often necessary to achieve what Edgar Allen Poe describes as ‘unified effect.’


Mr. Means          T         3:10-5:10

Advanced Creative Writing:  Narrative

Development of the student's abilities as a writer and reader of narrative, with particular emphasis on the short story. 

Topic for 2018a:  Constructing Fiction.  In this class you’ll hone your skills as fiction writers, reinforcing the basic elements—sustained, authentic voice, point of view, vibrant characters, setting, and plot—necessary to create vivid narrative. You’ll be free to explore a wide range of styles—from writing prose that “feels” close to memoir/non-fiction, to writing in more traditional short story modes. Students will be expected to draft stories, participate in a workshop, and revise with care. We’ll form a cohesive, comfortable, deeply respectful, coherent, useful classroom environment in which we’ll critique new work in a constructive, supportive manner. Weekly exercise and readings will be assigned. Reading may include:  Samuel Beckett, Ben Lerner, Anton Chekhov, Grace Paley, ZZ Packer, Lorrie Moore, Langston Hughes, James Joyce, Isaac Babel, Gish Jen, Katherine Mansfield, George Saunders, Alice Munro, Mary Gaitskill, Lucia Berlin, Lydia Davis, Danielle Evans, Gayle Jones, Julio Cortazar, Haruki Murakami, Flannery O’Connor, John Edgar Wideman, Franz Kafka, to name a few.  Special permission.

Writing samples are due before pre-registration.  Check with the English office for the exact date of the deadline.  

*ENGLISH 209 is no longer yearlong course but is now being offered as a semester-long course for Fall and Spring semester.


Ms. Kane             TR       12:00-1:15

Literary Theory and Interpretation

A study of various critical theories and practices ranging from antiquity to the present day.

Topic for 2018a: Knowledge, representation, and power. This course introduces literary criticism and theory through tracing several dominant strains of thought about Western representation from antiquity to the present day.  We will focus particularly on theories of truth and representation; of subjectivity; and of linguistic systems of signification and knowledge production.  The last two sections of the course highlight the role of power. We will investigate formalism, psychoanalytic criticism, Marxist criticism, feminist criticism, poststructuralist theory and postcolonial critique.


Ms. Graham              TR       1:30-2:45        

American Literature, 1865-1925

Study of the major developments in American literature and culture from the late nineteenth to the early twentieth century.  Literary movements such as realism, naturalism, regionalism, and modernism are examined, as well as literatures of ethnicity, race, and gender. Works studied are drawn from such authors as Twain, Howells, James, Jewett, Chestnutt, Chopin, Crane, London, Harte, DuBois, Gilman, Adams, Wharton, Dreiser, Pound, Eliot, Stein, Yezierska, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, O'Neill, Frost, H. D., and Toomer.


Ms. Dunbar        TR       12:00-1:15

The Harlem Renaissance and its Precursors

(Same as AFRS 227) This course places the Harlem Renaissance in literary historical perspective as it seeks to answer the following questions: In what ways was “The New Negro” new? How did African American writers of the Harlem Renaissance rework earlier literary forms from the sorrow songs to the sermon and the slave narrative? How do the debates that raged during this period over the contours of a black aesthetic trace their origins to the concerns that attended the entry of African Americans into the literary public sphere in the eighteenth century?


Mr. Perez            TR       3:10-4:25

Latina and Latino Literature

(Same as LALS 230) Students and instructor will collaborate to identify and dialogue with the growing but still disputed archive of “Latinx Literature.” The category “Latinx” presents us then with our first challenge:  exactly what demographic does “Latinx” isolate (or create)?  How does it differ from the categories “Hispanic,” “Chicanx,” “Raza,” “Mestizx,” or “Boricua,” to name only a few alternatives, and how should these differences inform our critical reading practices?  When and where does Latinx literature originate?  Together, we will work to identify what formal and thematic continuities might characterize a Latinx literary heritage.  Some of those commonalities include border crossing or displacement, the tension between political and cultural citizenship, code-switching, indigeneity, contested and/or shifting racial formations, queer sexualities, gender politics, discourses of hybridity, generational conflict, and an ambivalent sense of loss (differently articulated as trauma, nostalgia, forgetting, mourning, nationalism, or assimilation). 


Mr. Amodio        MW     10:30-11:45

Old English

(Same as MRST 235) Introduction to Old English language and literature.


Mr. Markus         TR       10:30-11:45


(Same as DRAM 241) As the first half of our yearlong exploration of Shakespeare, this course offers an introduction to Shakespeare studies through the discussion of five plays from the first half of Shakespeare’s writing career: Titus Andronicus, Richard III, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Henry V, and Hamlet. By situating these plays in the cultural and historical contexts in which they were written and performed, we will be able to appreciate significant differences as well as intriguing continuities between early 17th century and early 21st century interpretations. Moreover, by examining these plays in production both on the stage and on the screen, we also focus on their current meanings and cultural significance. We view and discuss a stage production as well as several film adaptations of our plays and organize staged readings of selected scenes.

Not open to students who have taken ENGL 240.

Yearlong course 241-ENGL 242.


Mr. DeMaria           TR       3:10-4:25

The Enlightenment

Study of poetry, intellectual prose, and drama of importance in Great Britain in the late seventeenth and throughout the eighteenth century. Famous Enlightenment philosophers include John Locke, Isaac Newton, Voltaire, David Hume, and Adam Smith. Focus, however, will be on the great literary writers of the period: including John Dryden, Aphra Behn, Jonathan Swift, Anne Finch, William Congreve, Joseph Addison, Alexander Pope, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Samuel Johnson, Mary Leapor, William Cowper, James Boswell, and Olaudah Equiano.


Mr. Kane          TR       1:30-2:45

Topics in American Literature

(Same as ENST 253) The specific focus of the course varies each year, and may center on a literary movement (e.g., Transcendentalism, the Beats, the Black Mountain School), a single work and its milieu (e.g., Moby-Dick and the American novel, Call It Sleep and the rise of ethnic modernism); a historical period (e.g., the Great Awakening, the Civil War), a region (e.g., Southern literature, the literature of the West), or a genre (e.g., the sentimental-domestic novel, American satire, the literature of travel/migration, American autobiography, traditions of reportage, American environmentalist writing).

Topic for 2018a: American Environmentalism: Literature & Ecology. This course examines the development of environmental literature, from the classic “nature writing” of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to the emergence of contemporary ecological texts and various theories of ecocriticism.  Readings will draw from multiple disciplines and feature a wide range of writers, such as Henry David Thoreau, Aldo Leopold, Rachel Carson, Edward Abbey, Leslie Silko, Terry Tempest Williams, Bill McKibben and others.  Some local field trips included.


Ms. Zlotnick        TR       10:30-11:45

Nineteenth-Century British Novels                                                          

The nineteenth century was a preeminent age for novel writing in Great Britain, and in one semester we cannot acquaint ourselves with all the great books, or all the major novelists, of the period.  Instead, the aim of this course is to learn how to read a nineteenth-century British novel by familiarizing ourselves with the conventional plots of the period (i.e., the marriage plot, the inheritance plot), its common literary idioms (such as realism, melodrama and the Gothic) as well as some characteristic forms (the bildungsroman, the fictional autobiography) and central preoccupations (domesticity, industrialism, urbanization, imperialism, social mobility and class relations).  We will also focus on careful reading and writing through weekly quizzes and numerous short writing assignments. Finally, this course introduces students to secondary literature, in anticipation of the work carried out in 300-level English courses.  Readings vary but will include novels by Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot and Thomas Hardy.


Ms. Kane         MW     12:00-1:15

Modern British and Irish Literature

British and Irish Literature from the first half of the twentieth century. The mix and focus of genres, topics and authors varies depending on the instructor. However, the period in question covers such writers as Joseph Conrad, W. B. Yeats, George Bernard Shaw, Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, T. S. Eliot, Vera Brittain, Samuel Beckett, George Orwell, and Graham Greene.

Topic for 2018a:  Phenomenal Flesh.  High modernist writers are particularly taken with the relation of perception and consciousness to lived experience.  Their work shows close kinship with phenomenological philosophy, which explores the flesh as the medium of material existence.  The course will bring questions of the flesh as central attributes of particular groups to bear on these paradigms.  We will attend to the subtexts of gender, sexuality, desire, race, class, religion, nation, and ability.  Our reading may include novels such as Conrad’s Lord Jim, Forster’s A Passage to India, Ford’s The Good Soldier, Joyces A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, and Samuel Beckett’s Murphy; poems by W. B. Yeats, Wilfrid Owen, and T. S. Eliot; and some theory.            


Mr. Chang           TR       12:00-1:15

The Novel in English after 1945

The novel in English as it has developed in Africa, America, Australia, Canada, the Caribbean, Great Britain, India, Ireland, and elsewhere.

Topic for 2018a: The Dystopian Novel.  This semester we will read novels that re-envision their respective Nows as imminent dystopias, beginning with George Orwell’s incomparable – and more timely than we’d care to think Nineteen Eighty-Four. Other novels include: Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Doris Lessing’s Memoirs of a Survivor, J. G. Ballard’s High Rise, Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, J. M. Coetzee’s Waiting for the Barbarians, and Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash.


Mr. Antelyes          MW     12:00-1:15

The Comics Course

(Same as MEDS 281) An exploration of topics in comics history, theory, aesthetics, and politics.  Subjects and texts may include: women’s diary comics (Julie Doucet's My New York Diary and Gabrielle Bell’s July 2011), conflict comics (Joe Sacco’s Safe Area Gorazde), graphic horror and representation (Charles Burns’s Black Hole), race and representation (Jennings’ and Duffy’s The Hole: Consumer Culture, Volume 1), genre and gender (Wonder Woman from origins to contemporary permutations), meta-comics (Chris Ware’s Jimmy Corrigan), comics and the culture of children (Schulz’s Peanuts, Jansson’s Moomin, and Barry’s Marlys), comics and sexuality (Carol Swain’s Gast, Bisco Hatori’s Ouran High School Social Club, and Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home), disability comics (the Oracle series, Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye, and Allie Brosch’s “Hyperbole and a Half”), and comics and silence (Shaun Tan’s The Arrival).  Readings also include materials in comics studies, media studies, and literary studies.

290 a or b.

Field Work

Field work is open by special permission of the associate chair, and is usually offered for one-half unit of credit.

Field Work projects are sponsored by individual faculty members in the department.  Students interested in Field Work should see page 30 for further details on the requirements.

Independent Study

Independent Study is open by special permission of the associate chair. Independent Study is intended to supplement (not duplicate) the regular curricular offerings by defining special projects in reading and writing under the direction of an individual faculty member.  The prerequisite for Independent Study at the 200- or 300-level is 2 units of 200-level work in English.

Application forms for Independent Study are available in the English department office.

298 a or b.                                                                                          (1/2 Unit)

Open by permission of the associate chair. 1 unit of credit given only in exceptional cases.

399 a or b.                                                                                          (1/2 Unit)

Senior Independent Work

Open by permission of the associate chair.  1 unit of credit given only in exceptional cases.