The English and Creative Writing Department offers two concentrations, one in the study of literature and one in the art of creative writing. Each concentration consists of a total of 12 courses: 10 courses in the target concentration, and two courses in language study (see the description of the language requirement below).
A concentration in creative writing consists of 10 courses: four workshops (215, 304, 305 and 419) and six courses in literature written in English:
1) 204 and 205;
2) at least one course in pre-1660 literature;
3) at least one course in literature from 1660-1900;
4) at least one course in post-1900 literature;
5) at least one additional course (which may be a 100-level English course).
Note that the change in historical periods (from 1700 to 1660) applies to Class of 2015 and later. For Classes of 2014 and earlier, the previous definition of historical period (using 1700 as dividing year) will still apply.
At least one literature course must be at the advanced level (numbered 300 or higher).
A course in film study, a course in a foreign literature taught in the original language (not used to complete the language requirement; see below), or a course in comparative literature may be counted as the elective.
The chronological period for a course is stated at the end of its description in the catalog. Not all courses fit into one of the chronological periods. Courses in expository writing (Writing 110 and Writing 310) do not count toward the concentration or minor in creative writing. Students may take no more than one creative writing workshop in a term. Transfer courses are not accepted as substitutes for the workshops.
The Senior Program in creative writing consists of the Seminar in Creative Writing (419).
Students who have not taken a 100-level English course must take 204 before taking 215. Alternative prerequisites (or direct AP placement) are not permitted for 215, 304, 305, or 419. Students who wish to concentrate in creative writing must take 215 by the end of the sophomore year.
Students who have attained distinguished achievement in the concentration at the end of the junior year (normally a 3.5 average) may be considered for honors. The department will recommend for honors students who receive an A- or better on work submitted for honors and who earn a cumulative average of 3.5 or better in courses taken for the concentration (the cumulative average of 215, 304, 305 and 419 must also be 3.5 or better).
A minor in creative writing consists of five courses: two courses in literature written in English (which may include a 100-level English course), 215, and either 204 and 304 or 205 and 305. Students concentrating in English literature may not minor in creative writing.
The concentration consists of 10 courses in literature written in English:
1) at least one course from among 204, 205, and 206;
2) at least one course in pre-1660 literature;
3) at least one course in literature from 1660-1900;
4) at least one course in post-1900 literature;
5) at least one 500-level seminar, taken in the spring of the senior year;
6) at least five additional courses (only one of which may be a 100-level English course).
Note that the change in historical periods (from 1700 to 1660) applies to Class of 2015 and later. For Classes of 2014 and earlier, the previous definition of historical period (using 1700 as dividing year) will still apply.
At least three of the 10 courses must be at the advanced level (numbered 300 or higher).
A course in Creative Writing, film study, in a foreign literature taught in the original language (not used to complete the language requirement; see below), or in comparative literature may be counted toward the concentration (though not as an advanced course). Courses cross-listed into English and Creative Writing from another department or program can be counted only as an elective, unless otherwise noted.
The chronological period for a course is stated at the end of its course description. A few courses do not fit into one of the chronological periods. Neither courses in expository writing (Writing 110 and Writing 310) nor workshops in creative writing may count toward the concentration or the minor in English literature.
The Senior Program in English requires all concentrators to complete a 500-level seminar in literature during the spring of their senior year. The seminar may not be used to meet requirements 2-4.
Unless otherwise noted in the course descriptions, the department accepts the following as alternatives to a 100-level English course as a prerequisite for courses in literature: any writing-intensive course offered by the Comparative Literature Department; French 200, 211, and 212; German 200; Hispanic Studies 200, 201, 210, and 211. Sophomores, juniors and seniors may take 204, 226, and 267 without a prerequisite. Seniors may take 225 without a prerequisite. Students from any class year with AP scores of 4 or 5 may take the following literature courses without a prerequisite: 204, 205 (spring only), 213 221, 222, 225 (spring only), 255, 256, 267, 293. AP 5 students will receive a general College credit after completing a first English course (at the 200 level) if they receive a grade of B- or higher. AP 4 students are eligible for placement at the 200-level, but not for an additional credit. Beginning in Fall 2013, first-year students may also take 100-level English courses for AP credit.
Students can only receive a total of one unit of credit for both AP English Literature and Language.
Students who have attained distinguished achievement in the concentration at the end of the junior year (normally a 3.5 average) may be invited to write an honors thesis. Students so invited will submit a proposal in the fall of the senior year; students whose topics are approved will complete the thesis in the spring. The department will recommend for honors students who receive an A- or better on the honors thesis and who earn a cumulative average of 3.5 or better in courses taken for the concentration. Students aiming for honors are strongly encouraged to take a course in literary theory.
A minor in English literature consists of five courses: at least one course from among 204, 205 and 206; at least one course from among 222, 225, and 226; and three electives in literature written in English, one of which may be a 100-level English course and one of which must be at or above the 300 level. Students concentrating in creative writing may not minor in English literature.
A student considering teaching English at the secondary level should consult with his or her adviser about the kinds of departmental coursework that would offer the best preparation for that goal.
Concentrators in creative writing and English literature must fulfill a language requirement:
1) completion of two courses at the college level in a language other than English (courses taught in a foreign language department in which class readings and discussions are in English may not be counted toward the foreign language requirement, nor may two courses taken in two different languages);
— or —
2) completion of 221 and 293 (or equivalent courses in Old English and the history of the English language taken elsewhere and approved for transfer credit);
-- or --
3) completion of either 221 or 293 (or equivalent) and a language course in Latin or Greek.
Courses taken to complete the language requirement may not be counted among the 10 courses for the concentration.
All proposals for Independent Study and Independent Coverage must be approved by The Department.
215F,S Introductory Poetry and Fiction Workshop.
Introduction to fundamental techniques of fiction and poetry. Regular writing and reading assignments as well as critiques in class. (Proseminar.) Prerequisite, a 100-level writing-intensive course in English or 204W, 222W, or 225W. Not open to first-year students in the fall. Maximum enrollment, 16. Springer.
Introduction to the techniques of realistic and non-realistic playwriting through a variety of exercises and improvisations, culminating in the writing and staging of a one-act play. Prerequisite, Theatre 100,130 or a 100-level writing-intensive course in English or English 204, or consent of the instructor. While no prior acting experience is required, students participate in staged readings of works. (Same as Theatre 224.) Maximum enrollment, 16. Latrell.
304F,S Intermediate Poetry Workshop.
For students whose work and purpose have developed sufficiently to warrant continuing work in poetry. Regular writing and reading assignments as well as critiques in class. Prerequisite, 204 and 215. Maximum enrollment, 16. Guttman.
305F,S Intermediate Fiction Workshop.
For students whose work and purpose have developed sufficiently to warrant continuing work in fiction. Regular writing and reading assignments as well as critiques in class. Prerequisite, 215 and a 200-level course in literature. Maximum enrollment, 16. Larson.
309F Creative Non-Fiction Workshop.
For students whose work and purpose in creative writing have developed sufficiently to warrant work in creative non-fiction. This course will focus on food-writing in some of the following genres: personal essay, profile, narrative essay, journalism. Regular writing and reading assignments as well as critiques in class. Prerequisite, 215 and a 200-level course in literature. This course can be counted as an elective towards the concentration in Creative Writing. Maximum enrollment, 16. Guttman.
419S Seminar: Creative Writing.
For students whose work and purpose have developed sufficiently to warrant advanced work in fiction or poetry. Students will construct individual projects leading to a final collection of writings in the form of a novella, a series of stories, or a series of poems. Regular writing and reading assignments, as well as critiques in class. Prerequisite, 304 and 305. Open only to senior concentrators and, if there is room, senior minors. Maximum enrollment, 12. Prerequisite, 304 and 305. Open only to senior concentrators and, if there is room, senior minors. Maximum enrollment, 12. Hall.
498F Honors Project in Creative Writing.
Independent study under the supervision of creative writing faculty, for honors candidates who wish to qualify for honors in creative writing. Prerequisite, Permission of Department. Students will be assigned to CW faculty for the project. Maximum enrollment, 8. Naomi Guttman.
501S Honors Project.
Independent study for honors candidates in Creative Writing. Prerequisite, approval of the department.
117F Interpretation and Self-Knowledge: “Till this moment I never knew myself”.
We will look at texts in which characters work to interpret the world in which they live and come to some self-understanding in the process. Reading their stories, we too will face questions of interpretation as we try to make sense of the fictional worlds before us. We will read two plays—Middleton’s The Changeling and Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman; two novels—Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Dickens’s Great Expectations; stories by writers such as Chaucer, Melville, Wharton, and Banerjee; and a selection of poems. (Writing-intensive.) (Proseminar.) Proseminar open to first-year students. Maximum enrollment, 16. Thickstun.
122F Literary CSI: Case Studies and Insights.
Through a forensic or close analysis and discussion of selected texts by writers such as John Donne, Shakespeare, Poe, Melville, Edna St Vincent Millay, Dylan Thomas, Toni Morrison, Sonia Sanchez and August Wilson (considered in their contexts), students will acquire the skills necessary for critical thinking and communication of their insights about literature. (Writing-intensive.) (Proseminar.) Proseminar open to first-year students only in Fall. WI and open to first-year students and sophomores in Spring. Maximum enrollment, 16. Odamtten.
123S Days of a Future Past.
Reading a variety of works that may be described as fantastic or speculative and written by authors from different cultures, we shall discuss and write about these texts in order to develop and improve students' critical reading, thinking, and writing skills. (Writing-intensive.) Open to first-year students and sophomores who have not take a 100-or 200-level course. Maximum enrollment, 20. Odamtten.
The Literary Animal.
Humans have always been deeply interested in animals, and literature reflects this interest in many ways. We’ll examine the complexity of representing animals in literature by reading poetry, novels, and plays that reflect the human/animal divide, imagine being animal, or use animals as symbols. We’ll also discuss how these texts reveal philosophical and moral issues that arise from our relationships with animals. Texts include Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, London’s Call of the Wild, and Barbara Gowdy’s The White Bone. We’ll also read a range of poetry. (Writing-intensive.) (Proseminar.) Proseminar open to first-year students only in Fall. Maximum enrollment, 16.
A focus on monsters and the monstrous in literature. Readings will include Beowulf, Frankenstein, Dracula, stories by Poe and Angela Carter, a selection of poems, and the movie Aliens. Throughout the semester, we will question what makes something monstrous and how monsters function in literature and culture. We will also examine how monsters intersect with the categories of gender, race, sexuality and class. (Writing-intensive.) (Proseminar.) Proseminar open to first-year students only in Fall. Writing Intensive in Spring and open to first-year students and sophomores who have NOT taken a 100- or 200-level course. Maximum enrollment, 16.
127S Stages of Identity.
This course studies the problem of determining who we are in relation to society, our families, and our sense of what should be important in life by looking a plays ranging from a comedy by Shakespeare involving twins to a 20th Century drama about an imitator of Abraham Lincoln. We’ll pay some attention to the changes over time in performance spaces and practices, but the main focus will be on analyzing character, structure, and language. (Writing-intensive.) Maximum enrollment, 20. (Writing-intensive.) Writing Intensive and open to first-year students and sophomores who have NOT taken a 100- or 200-level course. Maximum enrollment, 20. Strout.
129S Truth and Justice, the American Way.
Truth is often a difficult thing to determine. The difficulty is compounded when the stakes of debate over the truth are high, as they are in searching for justice for individuals or communities. We will read poetry, drama, fiction and films that suggest the peculiarly American factors that shape notions of truth when justice is under debate. We will read recognized literary authors such as Hawthorne, Melville, Hellman and Baldwin, as well as writers who experienced imprisonment, including Malcolm X, Leonard Peltier and Kathy Boudin. (Writing-intensive.) Open to first-years and sophomores only; not open to students who have taken a 100- or 200-level English course. Maximum enrollment, 20. Larson.
The Experience of Reading: Books as Stories, Books as Objects.
Consideration not only of stories in books but also the representations of readers and reading within them and about the cultural and physical experience of reading. How have attitudes toward reading changed over time? Works by Bunyan, Franklin, Blake, Austen, Alcott, Stevenson, Haddon, Creech. Workshops using Hamilton's Rare Book and Book Arts collections and manual printing press. (Writing-intensive.) Open to first year students and sophomores; not open to students who have taken a 100- or 200-level course in English. Maximum enrollment, 20.
Apocalypse Now and Then.
End of days, end of empire, end of the world as they knew it -- a focus on the apocalyptic in literature. Possible authors include Mary Shelley, William Butler Yeats, Cormac McCarthy, Ian McEwan, Matthew Arnold, Margaret Atwood, P.D. James and Kazuo Ishiguro. We will examine how these writers envision the end, whether it be on a personal or pandemic scale, and how the anxieties and issues of their times influenced these visions. (Writing-intensive.) Open to first-year students and sophomores. Not open to students who have taken a 100- or 200-level English course. Maximum enrollment, 20.
134S Heroic Narratives.
What blend of physical prowess, spiritual strength, moral courage and intellectual power creates a heroic figure, and what sets these exemplary men and women apart from the ordinary run of humanity? In this course, we will examine heroes and heroines from medieval monster-slayers to modern Holocaust survivors, in genres ranging from epic poem to graphic novel. Readings will include Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Spenser's Faerie Queene, novels by Charlotte Bronte, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Art Spiegelman, and the play Angels in America. (Writing-intensive.) (Proseminar.) Open to first-year students only Maximum enrollment, 16. Terrell.
This course examines the ways pairs of works from different historical periods present the individual in relation to, or as separate from, the family--husband and wife, parents and children, brothers and sisters. Focus on differences of genre, structure, and imagery. Close reading of plays by such authors as Shakespeare, Eugene O'Neill, and August Wilson, and narratives, novels, and autobiographies by such writers as Edmund Spenser, Frederick Douglass, Emily Bronte, and Kamila Shamsie. (Writing-intensive.) (Proseminar.) Open to first-year students only; not open to students who have taken a 100- or 200-level English course. Maximum enrollment, 16.
An examination of narratives about dreams, and of those that use dream-logic to present aspects of waking life. We’ll ask why and how certain stories lend themselves to dreamy forms. We will pair our analysis of literary and cinematic texts (by authors such as JL Borges, R Ellison, F Kafka, and J Kincaid, and directors like L Bunuel, T Gilliam, R Linklater, and the Wachowski Bros.) with theoretical accounts of dreaming’s form and function. We will also keep dream journals, in order actively to explore the challenges and the rewards of attempting to convey our solitary dreamscapes to others. (Writing-intensive.) (Proseminar.) Open to first-year students only. Maximum enrollment, 16. Widiss.
Truth, Lies, and Literature.
In an age of Internet dating, conspiracy theories, and fierce politicking, the line between fact and fiction quickly blurs. Examines how and why literature manipulates “truth” to formulate a story, as well as texts in which falsity is to be believed; in which biographical details invade what is claimed to be a work of fiction; in which the reader is also a character; and in which historical or literary fact is altered or invented. Works may include those by Bierce, Butler, Calvino, Dick, Fforde, Fuentes, O’Brien, and Vonnegut. (Writing-intensive.) Maximum enrollment, 20.
141F,S The Short Story: Theme, Form, History.
Introduction to literary study through the example of the short story. Sustained attention to the history, development, variety, and contexts of the short story as a literary form. (Writing-intensive.) (Proseminar.) Maximum enrollment, 16. Andrew Rippeon.
The Literary Outsider: Narratives of Alterity.
Considering novels, stories, poems and films that concern themselves with characters on the margins of history and culture, this course pays close attention to the ways that fictional narratives challenge the notion of a “whole” story, and in so doing, often challenge dominant constructions of “normal,” “complete,” “healthy,” etc. We’ll examine the ways in which the act of narration serves as a productive force in order to prompt readers to think more critically and empathetically about the cultural, political, historical, and psychological implications of identity formation. (Writing-intensive.) Open to first-year students and sophomores. Not open to students who have taken a 100- or 200-level English course. Maximum enrollment, 20.
143F,S Literature and/of Empowerment.
Literature has always played important roles in the cultivation of personal, social, and political empowerment. This course explores a range of debates surrounding literature as a means of individual and group empowerment, issues including the cultural politics of representation; the dynamics of different forms of literary address such as testimony, protest, narrative, and abstraction; the construction of personal and group identity and difference; and writing as a tool for self empowerment. (Writing-intensive.) (Proseminar.) Open to 1st years only. Maximum enrollment, 16. Steven Yao.
“There’s something in the mountains/ And the hills that is stronger than people,/ And you will grow like the place where you live.” So says Jeanne Robert Foster—fashion model, journalist, friend of Pound and Yeats, and an Adirondack-born poet. This course introduces the poetry, prose, and essays of the Adirondack region, a unique mix of protected wilderness and human industry in upstate NY. Readings may include Emerson, Foster, Cooper, Doctorow, Banks, Barrett, LaBastille, and Kanze, and may cover creative non-fiction, historical fiction, mystery, memoir, nature writing, and narrative poetry. (Writing-intensive.) Maximum enrollment, 20.
The Short Story.
A survey of the short story with a focus on its evolution from the 19th century to the present, largely within the American tradition. Examines the growth of the genre and various trends in the form, from "local color" sketches to other-worldly tales, realism and experiments in modernism and postmodernism. Considers issues of structure, characterization, style, voice, as well as context. Authors include Edgar Allen Poe, Hawthorne, Chekhov, Chesnutt, Jewett, Twain, Hemingway, Joyce, Baldwin, O'Connor, Welty, Carver, Bambara, Munro and others. Prerequisite, one course in literature.
204F,S Poetry and Poetics.
This course examines how poems work: how they are constructed, and how they produce meaning, pleasure, and cultural value. We will study poetry in terms of prosody, conventions, history, genre, and reception, with the goal of teaching the essential skills of close reading and contextual interpretation. Readings are primarily from the traditions of poetry written in English. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, For first-years, one course in literature. No prerequisite for upperclass students. Not open to senior English or Creative Writing concentrators. Maximum enrollment, 20. The Department.
205F,S The Study of the Novel.
Forms of prose fiction since the 18th century. Attention to the primary structural features of the novel and the relations of narrative forms to social and historical contexts. Prerequisite, One course in literature. Open to first-year students in the spring semester only. The Department.
Extreme Adventure Narratives.
This course surveys adventure writing of various "extreme" regions. It looks closely at the relationship of such radical landscapes to human exploration, endurance and epiphany, while also investigating how and why this literature captures the reader's imagination (as we're nestled safely inside). (Proseminar.) Maximum enrollment, 16.
Examines contemporary science fiction, horror and ghost tales such as Neuromancer, Beloved, The Handmaid’s Tale, Interview with the Vampire, and the films Resident Evil and Dark City in relation to their Gothic precursors. We consider why the Gothic persists, what features have been adapted for the 20th and 21st centuries, and how the audience for the Gothic has mutated. To establish the foundations of the Gothic, we read The Castle of Otranto, Wuthering Heights and The Picture of Dorian Gray (post-1900). (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, One course in literature. Not open to senior English or creative writing concentrators. Maximum enrollment, 20.
Novel Approaches: Science Fiction and Film.
According to Philip K. Dick, whose stories have inspired such films as Total Recall, Blade Runner, The Minority Report, and The Adjustment Bureau, science fiction must “have a fictitious world…; it is a society that does not in fact exist, but is predicated on our known society.” This course explores the possibility of seeing in imagined worlds a reflection of ourselves, our myriad disguises and raw revelations, and then how such worlds are reimagined in their cinemagraphic counterparts—and to what effect. Prerequisite, one course in literature.
Literature and History of the British Empire.
This course examines the British Empire by juxtaposing literary texts and a variety of historical sources. It develops thematic subjects such as the civilizing mission and the violence of imperial rule, and it introduces students to literary and historical methodologies. It mainly addresses British representations of and relationships with Ireland, India, and Africa, highlighting both British and colonial writers. Authors include Schreiner, Conrad, Kipling, Tagore, and Bowen. Prerequisite, one course in history or English. (Same as History 213.)
216F Caribbean Literature in the Crucible.
A critical overview of Caribbean literatures in the light of the complex legacies that have given rise to a body of creative work that seems to constantly fashion and refashion itself. Such literary recasting helps to communicate an intricate history of genocides, survival, exile, resistance, endurance, and outward migrations. Particular attention to writers such as Roger Mias, Martin Carter, George Lamming, Derek Walcott, Patricia Powell, Earl Lovelace, Paule Marshall and Michelle Cliff. (post-1900). Prerequisite, One course in literature. Odamtten.
Literatures of Witness.
Witness literature is testimonial by individuals who have suffered injustice incurred not as a result of what they have done but of what they are, as in Holocaust and slave narrative. We will study this literature and ask how its definition might be adapted to an era that has seen wide growth in systems of police action. We will read classic witness texts, work by political prisoners and by ‘common criminals’: writers who have been convicted for violations of law but also challenge collectively experienced limits on life opportunities, such as those imposed by race, class, and/or gender.
221F Introduction to Old English.
Exploration of the language, literature and culture of early medieval England, from the Anglo-Saxon invasion through the Norman Conquest. Emphasis on reading and translating Old English prose and poetry, as well as developing an understanding of its cultural context. Culminates with a reading of Beowulf in translation (pre-1660). Offered in alternate years. Prerequisite, One course in literature. Terrell.
222F Chaucer: Gender and Genre.
Examines how Chaucer engages and transforms prevailing medieval ideas of gender and genre. Particular emphasis on his constructions of masculinity and femininity in relation to themes of sex, religion, social power and narrative authority. Readings include Troilus and Criseyde and The Canterbury Tales in Middle English, as well as select medieval sources and modern criticism (pre-1660). (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, one course in literature. First-year students need a 4 or 5 on AP English exam. Maximum enrollment, 20. Terrell.
223S Gender and Violence in the Middle Ages.
This course serves as an introduction to the field of Medieval and Renaissance Studies. Drawing on multiple disciplinary perspectives, including those of literature, law, history, and art, we will examine the intersection of ideas about the body, gender, and violence in the European Middle Ages. Readings may include the Bible and early patristic writings; the lives of saints; poems and advice manuals on courtly love; depictions of women in the Crusades; Icelandic sagas; and perspectives on the trial of Joan of Arc. (Oral Presentations.) Prerequisite, One 100-level course in literature or history, or AP 4 or 5 in English or history. (Same as History 223 and Medieval and Renaissance Studies 223.) Maximum enrollment, 24. Katherine Terrell and John Eldevik.
Survey of selected plays (pre-1660). Prerequisite, One course in literature. No prerequisite for seniors. Not open to junior or senior English or creative writing concentrators in either semester except with permission of the instructor. Strout.
Study of Milton’s English poetry and major prose, with particular attention to Paradise Lost. Topics for consideration include Milton’s ideas on Christian heroism, individual conscience, the relations between the sexes and the purpose of education (1660-1900). Not open to those who have taken English 228 or to first-year students. (Same as Religious Studies 226.) Thickstun.
238F Readers, Writers, and the Rise of Secular Print Culture.
Explores the effects of rapidly increasing literacy rates and increasingly affordable printed books on the rise of reading for pleasure as a common cultural activity in England and Colonial America between 1630 and 1750. Who could read? What was available? Who was making money off it, and how? We will consider the ways that writers (and booksellers) at this time tried to influence reading practices. We will also look at books as physical objects through explorations in the library, conversations with book conservators and workshops on Hamilton’s manual printing press. Open to sophomores, juniors and seniors. Thickstun.
Romanticism, Realism and Representation in Victorian Arts and Literature.
Study of a range of British poetry, prose and visual arts, including early cinema, from the death of John Keats to the sinking of the Titanic. Authors may include Keats, Charlotte Bronte, Gaskell, Arnold, the Brownings, Tennyson, Ruskin, Dickens, Eliot, the Pre-Raphaelites and Hardy (1660-1900). Prerequisite, One course in literature.
The Marrow of African-American Literature.
Exploration of how African-Americans, in the face of enslavement, exclusion and terror, produced literature expressing their identities and aspirations. In examining themes such as abduction, separation and resistance, students will assess the inscription of self on the emergent national culture by writers such as Olaudah Equiano, Phillis Wheatley, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Wilson, Frances Harper, Sutton Griggs and Charles Chesnutt (1660-1900). Prerequisite, One course in literature, or consent of instructor. Open to sophomores and juniors only.
American Literature of the 19th Century.
Survey of representative literary texts in their historical, social and aesthetic contexts. Attention to issues of access to the literary market and the cultural work of literature, particularly in figuring the rise of a distinctly American tradition. Readings from such writers as Cooper, Brown, Poe, Emerson, Whitman, Hawthorne, Melville, Douglass, Dickinson, Jewett, Clemens, Chestnutt and James (1660-1900). Prerequisite, One course in literature. Not open to students who have taken 257. Not open to seniors except with permission of the department.
Introduction to Native American Literature.
Survey of Native American literature and the cultural and historical forces that shape it, with particular focus on the literature of the “Native American Renaissance” during the 1960s. In order to situate the formation of indigenous literature in a broader historical context, we will examine federal policies that impact Native American life in this country, particularly policies and laws surrounding reservation lands. Attention also given to examples of Native-authored works from the nineteenth century, as well as works from the “oral” tradition recorded by settlers. Prerequisite, 1 course in literature.
266F US Modernisms.
Effects of the international modernist movement on the literature of the United States from the beginnings of the 20th century to the 1950s. Attention to authors such as Ellison, Faulkner, Hemingway, Hurston, Stein, and Stevens. (post-1900). Prerequisite, One course in literature, or consent of instructor. Not open to first-year students or seniors. Widiss.
Literature and the Environment.
Surveys the history of environmentalist thinking as it has been reflected in literary texts. Examines key ideas of environmentalism and questions of representation, literary value and political relevance. Authors include Thoreau, Faulkner, Abbey, Lopez and Jeffers, as well as a few non-American writers. Texts include memoirs, essays, novels and poems. Open to sophomores, juniors and seniors, and to first-year students with advanced placement.
283S Introduction to Asian American Literature.
Examination of themes, forms, and history of literary production by people of Asian descent in the United States. We will survey translated and English-language works by Asian American writers of varying ethnic affiliations, including Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Korean, Indian, and others. We’ll explore how each writer negotiates a relationship with a particular cultural heritage, as well as confronts the racial, cultural, and political formations of the U.S.. Authors include Maxine Hong Kingston, Carlos Bulosan, John Okada, the Angel Island poets, and others. Prerequisite, One course in literature. (post-1900) (Same as American Studies 283.) Yao.
Detective Story, Tradition and Experiment.
Survey of a broad range of works, both “popular” and “serious,” showing the continual renewal of the genre through the manipulation of conventional elements to produce new effects and to argue a variety of positions. Includes readings from Sophocles, Dostoevsky, Christie, Faulkner, Hammett, Chandler, Nabokov, Robbe-Grillet, Borges, Butor, Stoppard, Cortázar and others. Prerequisite, one course in literature. (Same as Comparative Literature 285.)
The Making of English.
History of the English language from its origins in Old English to its present-day proliferation into World English(es). Particular attention to how the internal development of English (its sound system, syntax, grammar and vocabulary) relates to political and cultural transformations among English-speaking peoples throughout history, and how the English language continues to provoke political and cultural controversy. Offered in alternate years. Prerequisite, One course in literature, or consent of instructor.
295S Literary CSI: Casebooks.
Through an introduction to literary theory, students will carefully examine and discuss a variety of literary texts by such writers as Toni Morrison, Kazuo Ishiguro, June Jordan, Carolyn Forche, Samuel Beckett, and Athol Fugard. In addition, students will communicate their insights in casebooks that examine the texts from multiple critical perspectives. Prerequisite, One course in literature. Open to first-year and sophomore students only. Odamtten.
297S Introduction to Literary Theory.
Exploration of the kinds of questions that can be asked about literary texts in themselves, and in relation to the aesthetic, political, historical and personal contexts in which they are written and interpreted. Readings include drama, fiction and theoretical essays. Although the emphasis will be on 20th-century theory (including feminist, structuralist, poststructuralist and rhetorical theory), readings will range from Aristotle to the newest work on the relationship between narrative and cognitive psychology. Prerequisite, two courses in literature. Open to sophomores, juniors and seniors only. (Same as Comparative Literature 297.) J Schwartz.
300F Women Filmmakers.
The history of cinema takes on new dimensions when the focus is on women filmmakers. Their contributions begin with the earliest productions of the silent era; their influence ranges from narrative and documentary to experimental films; and their work raises awareness of the different struggles in women's lives around the world. By raising questions of genre, gender and cultural identity, this course will investigate alternative histories of cinema and develop new approaches to feminist film theory. Prerequisite, one 200-level course in literature or a course in film studies. Not open to students who have taken College 300. P O'Neill.
At the Crossroads of Science and Literature.
This interdisciplinary course studies the lesser known natural historical records of European scientists alongside the more familiar literary works of Romantic Era poets and prose writers. We investigate the way all of these texts employ the non-human as that which restricts the human to, just as it emancipates the human from, the animal that it is. We consider the principles of taxonomy and natural aesthetics, the generation debates, and theories of evolution, in order to understand 18th- and 19th-century efforts at representing the natural world. Prerequisite, 2 courses in literature or 2 courses in science. (Same as Comparative Literature 311.)
313F Ghanaian Literature: From Colony to Post-Colony.
Through a close examination of selected works by West African writers such as Kobina Sekyi, Casley-Hayford, Mabel Dove, Ayi Kwei Armah, Efua Sutherland, Ama Ata Aidoo, Kofi Awoonor, Atukwei Okai, Yaw Asare, Akosua Busia, Kofi Anyidoho and Amma Darko, students will examine how the Slave Castles, the Sankofa Bird and Ananse the Spider have shaped the manner in which Ghanaian writers portray their society (post-1900). (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, one 200-level course in literature (204, 205 or 264 preferred). Maximum enrollment, 20. Odamtten.
315F Literary Theory and Literary Study.
In this course we’ll work through many of the high points of twentieth-century theory, considering the varying purchases offered by structuralism, deconstruction, Marxism, and feminism, theories of race, nation, and sexuality, of materiality and the digital, and even of the resistance to theory, in the work of literary and cultural analysis. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, a 200-level course in literature. Not open to students who have taken 297. Maximum enrollment, 20. Widiss.
317F The Laws of Cool: Knowledge Work and Literary Futures.
Based on the ideas of contemporary scholars in digital humanities, this course introduces students to new modes of reading, interpreting and thinking about literature. As a group we will apply new media and text analysis tools to works of contemporary literature including Chimamand Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah, Dave Eggers’s The Circle and poetry of Agha Shahid Ali. The class concludes with students’ completion of an original digital project. Prerequisite, One 200-level course in literature. (Same as Cinema and Media Studies 317.) P O'Neill.
Other Worlds in Middle English Literature.
From the spiritual realms of heaven and hell to the supernatural world of fairies, medieval culture was immersed in alternative and transcendent versions of reality. Explores medieval literature's frequent forays beyond ordinary experience in Middle English works by the Pearl-poet, Chaucer, Malory and Langland, as well as anonymous romance and drama. (pre-1660). (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, one 200-level course in literature. Not open to first-year students. Maximum enrollment, 20.
326F Women Writers in Early Modern England.
Work by women writing in English during the 17th and early 18th-centuries. Examination of how women developed individual and public voices, appropriated and adapted received literary forms, and entered into debates about the status and education of women. Attention to the tension between manuscript circulation and print culture, to the reception of these writers in their day, and to their reception in literary history. (1660-1900) (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, one 200-level course in literature. Maximum enrollment, 20. Thickstun.
English Renaissance Literature: 1550-1660.
Study of the ways works and writers of this period are "in conversation" with each other on such matters as love, death, religious belief, the human response to the natural world and the role of women (in society and as authors). Readings of poems and other works by such writers as Shakespeare, Spenser, Donne, Herbert and Mary Wroth (pre-1660). (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, one 200-level course in literature. Not open to first-year students. Maximum enrollment, 20.
"When God Shakes a Kingdom:" Literature of the Seventeenth Century.
Addresses the role of religious issues in the literary life of mid-17th century England. Attention to devotional poetry and spiritual autobiography in light of debates about prayer, meditation and church practice; literary reworkings of Scripture; debates about women's preaching and religious autonomy; and literary and historical documents envisioning the implementation of God's kingdom on earth. Texts will range from self-defenses and personal narratives to lyrics, plays and epics. Authors will include English and colonial American writers (pre-1660). (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, one 200-level course in literature. Maximum enrollment, 20.
330F Comedy and Tragedy, 1580-1780.
Study of tragedies and comedies from the time of Shakespeare through the end of the 18th century, with special attention to changes in the representation of masculinity and femininity before and after 1660, when women first became participants in London’s professional theater as actors and playwrights. Plays include Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra (c. 1606) and Dryden’s version of the same tragedy in All for Love (1677), and works by such writers as Ben Jonson, John Webster, Aphra Behn, and Hannah Cowley (pre-1660). (Writing-intensive.) (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, one 200-level course in literature. Maximum enrollment, 20. Strout.
335S The Romantic Poets.
The Romantic Period in English literary history has long been defined by the work of six male poets: Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley, Keats, and Byron. We will study their poetry in the context of form, history, and politics, and investigate how their work might be seen to form an ideology or movement. We will also read work by poets such as Barbauld, Clare, Burns, and Hemans, popular in their own day, but thought of as ‘minor’ subsequently, in order to evaluate how questions of gender and literary value inform our sense of what is ‘Romantic’. (1660-1900). (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, one 200-level course in literature. Not open to first-year students. Maximum enrollment, 20. Oerlemans.
342F Seminar: Written on the Wall: 20th-Century American Prison Writing.
The writing of the men and women inside the American prison system constitutes a kind of shadow canon to that of better-known literary artists. We will read broadly in 20th-century American prison writing, asking questions about the generic coherence, social and moral import, and historicity of prisoners' non-fiction, fiction and poetry. Authors will include Eldridge Cleaver, George Jackson, Assata Shakur, and Japanese and Chinese internees. Students will visit a writing class taught inside Attica Correctional Facility (post-1900). Prerequisite, one 200-level course in literature. Open to juniors and seniors only. Does not fulfill the senior seminar requirement for the English concentration. (Same as American Studies 342.) Maximum enrollment, 12. Larson.
343S Seminar: Women Writing Against the Grain.
A comparative investigation of U.S. women writing their own stories through the genre of autobiography in the 19th and 20th centuries. Attention to theoretical and practical questions of ideology, genre, language, audience and reception. Particular focus on women's self-representation as hegemonic transgression at the intersections of race, class, gender, sexuality, nationality and ableism. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, One course in Women's Studies and some coursework in comparative literature or literary theory or consent of the instructor. (Same as Women's Studies 343.) Maximum enrollment, 12. Vivyan Adair.
353F Anglo-American Modernism.
Principal trends in Modernist literature written in the United States and the United Kingdom roughly from 1900-45. Examination of the contours of the primary tradition, as well as attention to counter-traditions that evolved alongside the accepted canon. Readings of poems, novels and stories by such writers as Yeats, James, Conrad, Joyce, Woolf, Eliot, Pound, Lewis, Ford, West and Loy will provide the context for understanding the larger trajectory of Modernism together with the opportunity for more detailed consideration of specific individual writers (post-1900). (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, one 200-level course in literature. Maximum enrollment, 20. Yao.
Be(com)ing Virtual: Literature and New Media.
What do we do with/make of literature in our so-called “digital age”? What does it mean to read narratives that no longer rely on the printed and bound page, but rather exist—perform even—on screen? Beginning with an introduction to new media studies, largely asking “what makes new media ‘new’?”, this course explores the way we read, study and understand literature as it is developing today. From hypertexts to interactive fiction to flash-ing literature, we will examine such emerging forms of the literary against their more established—though arguably no less innovative—counterparts. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, 1 200-level course in literature. Maximum enrollment, 20.
The Hollywood Novel.
A look at novels dealing with or set in Hollywood and at adaptations of novels to film. Students will write short screen adaptations from short fiction and work together as a team (or in teams) on digital video productions of one or more student screenplays (post-1900). (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, one 200-level literature course on narrative fiction and one of the following: 215, Art 213, 313, 377 or College 300. Open to juniors and seniors only. Maximum enrollment, 20.
375S Contemporary American Fiction.
Study of short stories and novels by authors writing in the past 30 years, such as Barth, Acker, Hawkes, Morrison, DeLillo, Mazza, Wideman, Anaya, Kingston, Proulx (post-1900). Prerequisite, one 200-level course in literature (205 or 266 preferred). Not open to first-year students. Widiss.
Africana Literatures and Critical Discourses.
An examination of literature produced by writers of former European colonies in Africa and its Diaspora, with particular attention to literary and theoretical issues, as well as responses to such developments as Negritude, feminism and post-colonialism. Readings will include selected twentieth and twenty-first century writers. Assignments will involve both written and digital work. (Post 1900) (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, one 200-level course in literature. Not open to first-year students. Maximum enrollment, 20.
African American Literature Beyond the Edge.
A critical survey of literatures from multiple genres concerned with conjuration, speculation, investigation, transgression or science fiction produced by African-American writers from the 19th century to the present. Includes works by such writers as Chesnutt, Sutton Griggs, W. E. B. Du Bois, Fisher, Chester Himes, Ernest Gaines, Octavia Butler, Walter Mosley, Steve Barnes, Jewelle Gomez, Samuel Delaney, Gayle Jones, Derrick Bell, Paula Woods, Tananarive Due and Nalo Hopkinson. (Post-1900) (Writing-intensive.) One 200-level course in literature. Maximum enrollment, 20.
Ut Pictura Poesis: Contemporary Graphic Narrative.
An exploration of form and innovation in the rapidly evolving medium of graphic narrative. Includes a study of comics’ development through the 20th century and the myriad experiments in reportage and autobiography, as well as in long-form fiction, that increasingly characterize comics’ endeavor. Readings in contemporary American literature and critical theory consider comics’ shifting social and cultural status, as well as the particular purchase this hybrid representational form has on experience and cognition. Prerequisite, one 200-level course in literature, American studies, art, art history or history. (Same as American Studies 380.)
428/528S Seminar: Muslims, Women and Jews: Alterity and Identity in the Middle Ages.
How did medieval Christians perceive difference and define the boundaries of identity? Study of medieval literature dealing with disenfranchised populations within European Christian society (women and Jews) and those outside its bounds (Muslims). Readings by authors such as Chaucer, Margery Kempe and John Mandeville, as well as anonymous dramas and crusade romances, and modern criticism. Particular consideration of literary and cultural contexts, including sermon stories, histories, medical and legal texts, polemics and religious tracts (pre-1700). Prerequisite, three courses in literature. Open to juniors and seniors only. Maximum enrollment, 12. Terrell.
435F Seminar: Jane Austen: Text and Film.
Close reading and discussion of Austen's six published novels. Attention to questions of genre raised by treatments of the novels in film and television productions (1700-1900). Prerequisite, three courses in literature. Open to juniors and seniors only. Does not fulfill the senior seminar requirement for the English concentration. Maximum enrollment, 12. J O'Neill.
Seminar: George Eliot.
While Mary Ann Evans was shunned by Victorian high society for living with a married man, her reputation as the author George Eliot established her as the most respected and influential female novelist of the 19th century. In this seminar we will study Eliot's art as a novelist and her contributions to debates concerning science, religion and the woman question in works such as The Mill on the Floss, Middlemarch and Daniel Deronda (1700-1900). Prerequisite, three courses in literature. Open to juniors and seniors only. Maximum enrollment, 12.
Seminar: Race and Nation in the Middle Ages.
What did race and nation mean in the Middle Ages? We’ll start by investigating English attempts to establish a unified national identity out of a history of invasion and colonization; we will also consider examples of Celtic resistance to English imperialism. We will then turn to writing that explores English (or British) identity in an international context, to examine how real and imagined contact with other cultures—particularly in the context of the Crusades—influenced English conceptions of nation, race, and identity. Genres will include travel writing, romance, and historical narrative. Prerequisite, Three courses in literature. Open to Juniors and Seniors only. Maximum enrollment, 12.
Seminar: Booked: Prison Writing.
Prisons have been the settings for scenes of tragedy, comedy, romance and social protest. While aware of this use of the prison as a literary device, we will read writers who have actually suffered incarceration. We will read canonical texts (by Plato, Boethius, King), post-colonial prison writers (Abani, Thiong'o), and the work of men and women inside the American prison system. Among other requirements, students will read work by and visit men in a writing class taught inside Attica Correctional Facility. Prerequisite, three courses in literature. Open to juniors and seniors only. Does not fulfill the senior seminar requirement for the English concentration. Maximum enrollment, 12.
447/547S Seminar: James Joyce.
In-depth study of Joyce's major works in their historical and cultural contexts. Readings include Dubliners and Finnegans Wake, Major emphasis on Ulysses. Prerequisite, three courses in literature. Open to juniors and seniors only. post-1900 Maximum enrollment, 12. Steven Yao.
Seminar: The 19th Century American Novel and the Marketplace.
The American market for home-grown novels developed in the 19th century. In competition with each other and pirated British novels, American novelists hoped to write the next best-seller. We will read some of those best-sellers -- novels by Cooper, Lippard, Sedgwick, Child, Warner and Stowe -- along with now-canonical novels (such as those by Melville and Hawthorne) that did considerably less well in the market, with an eye toward understanding some of the tensions between the literary marketplace and the development of the literary canon (1700-1900). Prerequisite, three courses in literature. Open to juniors and seniors only. Maximum enrollment, 12.
Seminar: TransAtlantic Romanticisms.
Exploration of Romantic ideologies in literature (poetry and novels) from England and the United States. Discussion of nationalism, nature, individualism, and imagination as they appear in authors including Wordsworth, Byron, Scott, Cooper, Whitman, Dickinson, and Melville. Attention to the paradox of influence in asserting notions of national identity. (1660-1900) Prerequisite, three courses in literature. Open to juniors and seniors only. Maximum enrollment, 12.
Seminar: The Pound Era.
Examination of the age of Modernism through the efforts of one of its most influential and controversial figures: the poet, promoter, polemicist and propagandist Ezra Pound. Readings of poetry and fiction from the period by such writers as T. S. Eliot, H.D. and James Joyce. Discussion of such issues as the poetic movements of Imagism and Vorticism, translation as a form of Modernist expression, the role of history in literary discourse, the relationship between poetry and politics, questions of formal innovation, and the question of American poetic identity (post-1900). Prerequisite, three courses in literature. Open to juniors and seniors only. Maximum enrollment, 12.
Seminar: Faulkner and the South.
Study of Faulkner's major novels in the context of the ongoing effort to write the South (post-1900). Prerequisite, three courses in literature. Open to juniors and seniors only. Maximum enrollment, 12.
Seminar: Major African Writers.
A comprehensive comparative investigation into works by two or more contemporary African writers. Attention to theoretical and practical questions of ideology, genre, language, gender, class and geographic region to determine the multiple articulations among authors, texts and audiences (post-1900). Prerequisite, three courses in literature or consent of instructor. Open to juniors and seniors only. Maximum enrollment, 12.
474/574S Seminar: Major African-American Writers.
An in-depth investigation of selected 20th-century and contemporary works by African-American writers. Focus on the theoretical and practical questions of genre, language, gender, class and ideology to determine the multiple articulations among authors, texts and audiences. Traditional written assignments, critical discussion and digital media coursework in the computer lab are required (post-1900). Prerequisite, three courses in literature. Open to juniors and seniors only. Odamtten.
500S Honors Thesis.
Independent study for honors candidates in English, culminating in a thesis. Prerequisite, approval of the department. The Department.
(from the Hamilton Course Catalogue)