Department of English -- Core Courses – Fall 2014

These courses satisfy the division II requirement and are open to all students who have passed or were exempt from Writing 111.

NOTE: PROSPECTIVE ENGLISH MAJORS should register for ENG 265,  266, or 275,

the gateway courses to the English major.

See ENG 265 and 266 descriptions at the bottom of this list.

150. Literature Interprets the World: Introduction to ways literary artists shape experience, focusing on one topic or selected topics.

Casting Shadows: Gothic Fiction

Prof. Adrian Greene

150-A. MWF 8:00-8:50 (86047)              

150-B. MWF 9:00-9:50 (84232)                  

150-C. MWF 10:00-10:50 (84235)        

Transcendentalism was inherently optimistic, believing in a natural world through which an immanent God flowed; however, a dark backlash reacted against this American philosophical movement: Gothic fiction, which was pessimistic and in which torture, addiction, and obsession roiled. In this course, we are intrigued by the various modes of Gothic fiction, how they made their ways to American shores, and what forms they took upon arrival. We will investigate texts that present the Gothic as a form of architecture, as a genre linked to a particular setting (usually dark and brooding), and, perhaps most terrifying, as a state of mind, influenced by personal history, biology, religion, and/or violent capitalist institutions. As we review these different modes, we will consider the influence of earlier Gothic works on later counterparts and how those counterparts changed (or refused to change) the Gothic for new audiences of differing cultures. Finally, we will ponder whether Gothic fiction is designed simply to frighten us or whether it has a deeper meaning: to encourage us to look beyond the given.

Readings may include:

Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto (1764)

Charles Brockden Brown, Wieland (1798)

E.T.A. Hoffmann, The Tales of Hoffmann (1819)

Edgar Allan Poe, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym (1838)

Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights (1847)

Herman Melville, “Bartleby the Scrivener” (1853)

Robert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886)

Flannery O’Connor, A Good Man is Hard to Find (1955)

Horacio Quiroga, “The Feather Pillow” (1907)

Toni Morrison, Beloved (1987)

Literature Interprets the World: Life in a Divide State

150-D. MW   5:00-6:15 (86673)                Prof. Olga Valbuena

In this course we’ll explore the relation of self to place, time, and destiny, particularly when the individual will finds itself at odds with what appears “normal” to the many. We’ll look closely at how judgment, frequently informed by a protagonist’s reading and writing, drives the choices of intrepid and sometimes

tragic protagonists. Readings will include some or most of the following titles: Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four, Ian McEwan Atonement, Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey, Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway, Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita, Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go, Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried, and Shakespeare’s Othello and Hamlet.

Coursework includes essays, presentations, and in-class writing.

Literature Interprets the World: Hotel Stories

Prof. Randi Saloman

150-E. TR     9:30-10:45 (89409)        

150-F. TR     11:00-12:15 (86319) 

150-H. TR     2:00-3:15   (90309)        

How do modern and contemporary novels figure hotels as real and imagined spaces of interaction? And how has the rise of modern hotel culture impacted the ways in which writers think of space, plot, and character? These central questions inspire this course's exploration of hotels in literature. The increased ease of travel, both domestic and international, led to rapid growth in the hotel industry during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Many authors spent significant periods of time in hotels, and, in the process, developed an interest in these establishments that extended to their writing. In A Small Boy and Others, Henry James refers to himself as “a hotel child,” a phrase that reflects both the transience of James’s early life and the allure that the hotel environment still held for the adult author—and for any number of his literary contemporaries. While recent scholarship has cast hotels in a negative light— as “non-places” or spaces without any history or implicit meaning attached to them—we will find that hotels serve just the opposite role in modern novels, offering sites of purpose and continuity to modern travelers. The ways in which authors use hotels to define, arrange, and engage with their characters—and to allow those characters to engage with one another—will be at the heart of our inquiry as we read novels, short stories, journals, plays, and memoirs. Requirements will include 3 short essays, a midterm, final, and class presentation.


Possible readings include:

Arnold Bennett, The Grand Babylon Hotel

E.M. Forster, A Room with a View

Conrad Hilton, Be My Guest

Henry James, Daisy Miller

Joseph O’Neill, Netherland

Jean Nicol, Meet me at the Savoy

Ali Smith, Hotel World

Sherill Tippins, Inside the Dream Palace: The Life and Times of New York's Legendary Chelsea Hotel 

Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest

Literature Interprets the World: Innovation, Rebellion and the Individual Genius in British Literature

150-I. TR 2:00-3:15        Prof. Gale Sigal

We will approach some of the greatest works of British literature as innovative guidebooks to life: as a way to “make friends and influence people” or to attack one’s foes with a persuasive argument; to court lovers or kings; to defy authority; to understand, explain and interpret one’s experience; to live well or to live virtuously. Over the course of the semester, we will read some of the most original and creative writers in the English language: authors whose artistic genius and originality influenced the literature that followed. We will seek the answer to the question: “How does literature function to grasp a changing world and, at the same time, to resist or critique those changes?” We will read works from a number of literary eras and genres by great writers, some of whom were rebels in their own right or were invested in writing about the important conflicts of their times. Readings will be selected from the following: Ovid’s great collection of mythology, Metamorphoses; Sir Walter Scott’s historical novel, Ivanhoe; Milton’s Paradise Lost; Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; selected poetry; and George Eliot’s Middlemarch. This course will introduce and familiarize you to works that are not only an essential part of any student’s college education, but that also present the author’s imaginative vision of how to live a better life.

Literature Interprets the World: Contemplating the Environment: Medieval and Modern    

150-P2.  TR 12:30-1:45  Prof. Gillian Overing


This course will consider how your experience of your environment shapes who you are.  How is identity connected to landscapes and places, real or imagined?  If as cultural geographers argue, the perception of place is always a dialogue between physical environment and human perception, a sense of place must be a dynamic, lived experience, and   can  provide  a  window   onto   human  activity in the present and in the past. Places might then connect us with medieval people and with the past, and enable us to ask questions about both medieval and modern senses of space and place. Some of the literary environments we will visit include the Anglo-Saxon mead-hall, the contemporary mall, the medieval monastery, the glacial and volcanic landscapes of the Icelandic Sagas, Virginia Woolf’s lighthouse, and the Roman remains of Thomas Hardy’s Wessex. We will also consider literal and local places in the present, including “medieval” Graylyn, the Benedictine Belmont abbey, and the Yadkin river. The key to our investigation of all these environments will be the practice of contemplation. We will contemplate many ideas of “place”, thinking them through, and allowing the many questions they raise to surface as we discover more about our own relationship to place, places and environmental issues.


Texts to include:


 A Readable Beowulf , trans. S. Greenfield (SIU Press), The Anglo-Saxon World  ed.K. Crossley-Holland (Oxford),Grettir’s Saga  (Toronto), Thomas Hardy, Mayor of Casterbridge,(Norton),  Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse (Harcourt) and A Room of One's Own (Harcourt),  Catherine O’Flynn What Was Lost, (Henry & Holt)

165. Studies in British Literature: Emphasis on important writers representing different periods and genres; primarily discussion; writing intensive.

Studies in British Literature: Growing Up: An Epic Adventure

Prof. Claudia Kairoff

165-D. WF 11:00-12:15 (90499)                

165-E. WF 2:00-3:15 (84241)                

In this course we will read texts, by seven British writers spanning several centuries and genres, grouped loosely around the theme of “growing up.” We will study how writers over the past four hundred years have envisioned the maturation process, and how individual maturation relates to larger historical processes. How does the concept of maturity change over the centuries? How is it envisioned in different genres? For men and women? Through this broad lens we will familiarize ourselves with the development, scope, and flexibility of British literature, while thinking about the relationship between epic form and the growth from childhood to maturity. The course will require four (5-page) essays in addition to class attendance and participation.


Shakespeare, Henry IV, Parts I and II

Milton, Paradise Lost

H. Fielding, Joseph Andrews

Wordsworth, The Prelude

E. B. Browning, Aurora Leigh

Woolf, Orlando

Joyce, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Innocence and Experience in British Literature

Prof. Elizabeth Way

165-A. MWF 9:00-9:50 (81030)

165-B. MWF 10:00-10:50  (84240)

165-C. MWF 11:00-11:50 (90498)

In The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, William Blake proclaims, “Without Contraries is no progression. Attraction and Repulsion, Reason and Energy, Love and Hate, are necessary to Human existence.” This belief in the power of contraries is at the heart of our investigation of innocence and experience in British literature. Using Blake’s ideas as the jumping off point for our journey through over three centuries of British literature, we will we explore how some major British writers conceive of, portray, and experiment with notions of innocence and experience in their writings. We will consider how matters of religious belief, science, aesthetics, domesticity, class, gender, and race all come to bear on how we find innocence and experience represented in these texts. After starting with William Shakespeare’s classic drama of innocence and experience guided by “evidence” and “proof” in Othello, we move to John Milton’s Paradise Lost where we encounter the epic poem that imaginatively reconstructs Man’s first fall from innocence in Eden into the world of experience. Moving forward to Blake’s Songs of Innocence and of Experience, the inspirational text for this course, we shall consider how Blake’s revolutionary poetry and illustrations depict this collection’s subtitle of “the two contrary states of the human soul.” More than simply envisioning innocence and experience as opposite states of the human condition, we will, from a Blakean point of view, investigate them also as companionate modes of human existence that—far from being regrettable—become valuable sources of energy and inspiration for writers into our modern world. Students will write three formal papers, give two oral presentations, sit for a mid-term exam, and complete various informal in-class writing assignments.


William Shakespeare, Othello (Norton)

John Milton, Paradise Lost (Norton)

Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto (Oxford)

William Blake, Songs of Innocence and of Experience (Oxford)

Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice (Norton)

Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (Norton)

Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Selected Poems (Broadview)

Bram Stoker, Dracula (Norton)

Kazuo Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day (Vintage)

Studies in British Literature- The Hero with a Thousand Faces

165-F. TR 12:30-1:45 (85080)                Prof. Susan Harlan

In 1949, Joseph Campbell published his seminal work The Hero with a Thousand Faces, in which he examined the archetypal hero across world mythologies. In the late nineteenth century, the writer Thomas Bulfinch and the anthropologist Sir James George Frazer were transfixed by the hero. And now heroes show up popular films such as Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, and 300. This course focuses on the representation of this figure from antiquity through the English Renaissance. We will examine the characteristics and codes of “the heroic” (as a genre and as an ideology), as well as the fraught and fascinating cultural moments that produced different incarnations of the hero. Our inquiry will take us across a range of genres, including epic, chronicle history, mythic legend, romance, drama, non-dramatic poetry, and prose. We will examine how the hero – as warrior, ruler, revenger, or knight – operates as a site for tensions regarding masculinity, violence, conflict, community, hierarchy, and authority. Texts may include excerpts from Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey and Virgil’s Aeneid, Aeschylus’ Agamemnon, Plutarch’s On Sparta, excerpts from Wace, Layamon, and Geoffrey of Monmouth, Beowulf, Judith, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Sir Thomas Malory’s Morte Darthur, Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene, William Shakespeare’s Henry V and Coriolanus, Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote, poetry of Sir Philip Sidney and Andrew Marvell, and Francis Beaumont’s The Knight of the Burning Pestle. Course requirements include a midterm exam, a cumulative final exam, and a final paper.

Studies in American Literature

175-A. TR 9:30-10:45 (88410)                        Prof. Philip Kuberski

Melville, Moby-Dick

Dickinson, Final Harvest

Robert Hayden, Collected Poems

James, The Portrait of a Lady

Kingston, The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts

Three papers; oral presentations; quizzes.

American Literature: Race, Heredity, and Genetics 

Prof. Lisa Klarr

175-B. TR 9:30-10:45 (88411)                        

175-C. TR 11:00-12:15 (89194)                        

175-F. TR 2:00-3:15 (81726)                        

In this course we will study representations of race, heredity, and genetics in literature, taking our examples from a wide range of American authors: Octavia Butler, William Faulkner, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Pauline Hopkins, Edgar Allan Poe, and Leslie Marmon Silko. Our investigations of these literary texts will be punctuated with considerations of the ways in which race in America is never neutral but always politically, economically, and ethically charged.  

Possible Texts:  

Butler, Octavia. Dawn

Hopkins, Pauline. Of One Blood

Faulkner, William. Absalom, Absalom! 

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The House of the Seven Gables 

Silko, Leslie Marmon. Ceremony

Skloot, Rebecca. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks 

Watson, James D. The Double Helix: An Autobiography

Studies in American Literature: Freaks, Outsiders, and Eccentrics

Prof. Casey Wasserman
175-D. TR 11:00-12:15 (81034)                
175-E. TR 2:00-3:15 (81036)                

This course focuses on American literary texts concerned with the concepts of ideological and physical bodies that challenge the notion of normativity. We will consider the ways our national literature attempts to address the body as a site for deliberation or contestation with an emphasis on fears and anxieties surrounding race, gender, and sexuality when filtered through the figure of the outsider, eccentric, or “freak.” Assignments will include active class participation, several

short response papers, a research project, and a final paper.

Possible Readings May Include:

Katherine Dunn, Geek Love

Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

Charlotte Perkins Gilman, “The Yellow Wallpaper”

F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Nella Larsen, Passing

Toni Morrison, Beloved

Short fiction by Herman Melville, Flannery O’Connor, and Eudora Welty

Studies in American Literature

175-G. WF 9:30-10:45 (87499)                         Prof. James Hans

Leaves of Grass
Final Harvest
 Light in August
Absalom, Absalom!
Collected Poems (1951-71)

Studies in American Literature

ENG 175-H.  TR 9:30-10:45  (91801)  Prof. Dean Franco

This course will examine traditional and innovative examples of American literature, from the middle nineteenth century to the present, including poetry, fiction, and drama.  Assigned texts will likely include:

Ralph Waldo Emerson:  Essays

Walt Whitman:  Song of My Self (poetry)

Herman Melville:  Benito Cereno and other stories (novella, stories)

Charles Chesnutt:  The Conjure Stories (stories)

Emma Lazarus:  Selected Poems

Willa Cather:  My Antonia

Tomas Rivera, And the Earth Did Not Devour Him (novel)

Toni Morrison, Beloved (novel)

Tony Kushner, Angels in America (play)

190. Literary Genres: Emphasis on poetry, fiction, or drama; primarily discussion; writing intensive.

ENG 190 “Introduction to the Novel”

190-A. TR 12:30-1:45 (91536)                Prof. Jessica Richard

This course will examine the novel, the literary form of the modern era, from its roots in eighteenth-century England to its uses across the English-speaking world in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.  Why has the novel become so dominant a literary genre?  What do we expect from and enjoy in novels?  We will consider the elasticity of the novel form and its various strategies for representing individual consciousness and experience.  This is a writing intensive seminar; course requirements include 3 papers (7 pages each), midterm and final essay exams, vigorous class participation, and frequent formal discussion preparation.

Required Texts:

Daniel Defoe. Robinson Crusoe (Oxford)

Samuel Johnson.  The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia (Broadview)

Jane Austen.  Pride and Prejudice (Broadview)

Charlotte Bronte.  Jane Eyre (Penguin)

Virginia Woolf.  To The Lighthouse (Harcourt)

Willa Cather.  My Antonia (Broadview)

John Barth.  The Floating Opera (Knopf/Doubleday)

Andrea Levy.  Small Island (Picador)

Literary Genres

190-B. WF 9:30-10:45 (91537)        Prof. Jefferson Holdridge

Throughout the history of poetry, the epic (a literary form which celebrates the achievements of one or more heroic personages of history or tradition in the shape of a continuous narrative) has always been in conversation with the lyric (a name for short poems usually divided into stanzas or strophes, and directly expressing the poet's own thoughts and sentiments). Among the considerations of this course are the various types of the lyric and epic, the social uses of each form, why the epic became the provenance of the novel and no longer was defined by or defined the poetic voice, why the lyric voice is important to our age, and how it continues to speak to the epic—whether the latter is in poetry or prose. The critical aim will be how to read poetry and how to write on it. Participation is equally encouraged and appreciated, as this is not a lecture course; however, I’ll endeavor to outline the contexts and critical debates as the course progresses.

Poetry and the World

190-C. WF 11:00-12:15 (91538)                Prof. Omaar Hena

190-D. WF. 12:30-1:45 (91802)

This course introduces students to the long history of poetry, from Beowulf and John Milton's Paradise Lost through Seamus Heaney and Adrienne Rich. We will explore a variety of verse forms, techniques, and poetic devices with the goal of developing skills in close reading and gaining a broad understanding of poetry. Along the way, we will investigate the numerous ways in which poets have adapted the English language, and its rich formal inheritances, to address and re-shape urgent social, political realities both large and small, public and private, communal and personal. This seminar will further speculate upon the value of a literary education -- and an immersion in poetry -- to put readers in tune with the historical complexities and restless uncertainties of the lived world. Students will write three papers (4-5 pages each), conduct an in-class presentation, and write a final paper. Required texts will likely include The Norton Anthology of Poetry (shorter, 5th edition) and Poetic Designs by Stephen Adams.

200 level core literature classes:

These courses are intended for PROSPECTIVE ENGLISH MAJORS ONLY,

as they are gateway courses to the major.

. ENG 265 (A&B): British Literature- Intro to Major: The Mythical,The Imagined, and the Fantastic in Early English Literature (Professor Sarah Hogan)

"This introductory course to the major will broadly survey early British literature, beginning in the late Middle Ages and moving through the eighteenth century. Thematically, the course will focus on fantastical works from a variety of genres like romance, pastoral, utopia, epic, and proto-SciFi. To help us chart the formation and development of these traditions, texts that directly or indirectly “dialogue” with each other will be read in pairs and “intertextuality” will be a key concept of discussion.  Our readings will indulge our imaginations, depicting mythical Arthurian pasts, unknown lands that lie across the sea, and an England itself made strange through the frightening or liberating possibilities of a New Science. At the same time, we will also explore how writers employed fantastical or mythical fictions to real world ends, critiquing sovereigns, imagining an imperial or republican destiny for England, or grappling with the relationship between religion and science.  All along the way, we will also reflect on what is at stake in interpretation by approaching these texts from various critical angles and learning about some of the most influential methods of literary criticism. "

ENG 266: Gateway Course: British Literature 1800-Present (Professor Eric Wilson)

This gateway course for English majors will survey significant works from the British and postcolonial literary traditions since 1800.  Writers covered will include Blake, Wordsworth, Keats, Mary Shelley, Emily Brontë, Tennyson, Robert Browning, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Wilde, Yeats, Joyce, Woolf, Auden, Derek Walcott, Rushdie, and Zadie Smith.  The texts will be The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol. 2, and selected novels.

ENG 275. Gateway Course: American Literature: Introduction to the Major (Prof. Judith Madera)

English 275 is designed to introduce English majors to significant American authors from a succession of periods and movements. It is also designed to broaden students’ awareness of the range and richness of American literature. In this class we will consider a number of different genres of writing. Seminar lectures and discussions will highlight key ideas and styles associated with various literary movements.  Students should expect to develop a strengthened foundational understanding of American literature from the 18
th through 20th centuries. Required readings from the Norton Anthology of American Literature Shorter 8th edition and select additional texts.  Authors we will consider include: Mather, Edwards, Crèvecoeur, Emerson, Hawthorne, Walker, Thoreau, Douglass, Dickinson, Turner, Martí, Jewett, Eliot, Faulkner, Larsen, Hemingway, Welty, Capote, Morrison.