Undergraduate Courses, Spring 2007

English 101:001 Introduction to English Studies
Professor Sealy Gilles
Thursdays 6:00-8:30 pm

This course introduces students to the field of English studies both theoretically and practically. It takes for its focus the craft of the rhetorician and the literary artist. We will therefore explore the overlapping territories of the literary scholar, the essayist, the story-teller, the poet, the dramatist, and the professional writer. Three units of genre study - on lyric, prose and tragedy - are accompanied by excursions into the profession, as the course introduces students to issues in the critical tradition, the history of the discipline, and contemporary opportunities for English majors. Students will have opportunities to create texts, even as they acquire the tools to critique them. They will also receive intensive training in the research essay and the use of library resources.

English 104:001 Introduction to Creative Writing-Finding Our Voices
Professor John High
Tuesdays 12:00-2:30 pm

This class is designed for anyone who has ever wanted to write creatively yet who is not sure how to begin or how to move beyond where they are presently in their own writing. Topics include: getting started, establishing a passionate discipline, making time, focusing on ideas and feelings and giving them shape through the language of fiction, poetry and drama. The course will also zero-in on back bone issues of style and technique, ranging from those of characterization and plot, continuity and vividness of imagery, clarity of diction and the use of phrasing and structure in the writing of our worlds-the various ways that elements of craft inherently dovetail with content. There will be weekly creative writing exercises, workshops and group discussions, as well as commentary on the writing process and how to make it work. What do we mean when we talk about issues of style, form and voice(s)? What is a fiction, a poem-what is a metaphor, what is the magic of language, the ghost of echoes, which reflect your own vision of the world, your experience or past, your dreams or visions? What do we mean when we talk about taking chances in writing? We'll look at the work of Modern and contemporary writers ranging from James Baldwin to Anna Akhmatova to Jorge Luis Borges to that of younger writers publishing today. Critiques will focus on motivating the student to tap the undefined territory of his or her own imagination in order to more fully cultivate and mature her or his own voice/s and styles. The goal of the course includes completing a portfolio and/or anthology of our work.

English 104:002 Introduction to Creative Writing
Professor Lewis Warsh
Wednesdays 6-8:30 pm


The goal of the workshop is to expand our ideas of "what is a poem?" and "what is a work of fiction?" Are poetry and fiction exclusive or related genres? Weekly assignments will question preconceived notions of form, content and gender, with emphasis on the best ways of transcribing thought processes and experiences into writing. We will also attempt to engage the present moment-the issues of our time, if any, that influence our writing. is it possible to write in a vacuum while ignoring the rest of the world? What is the writer's responsibility? Can writing change the world? We will read as models the work of Marguerite Duras, Lydia Davis, William Carlos Williams, Amiri Baraka, Frank O'Hara, Andre Breton, Victor Hernandez Cruz, Elizabeth Bishop, John Ashbery and Ernest Hemingway, among others.
Much of the workshop time will be spent reading and discussing each other's writing.

English 129:001 British Literature II: Faces of Modern Britain
Professor Patrick Horrigan
Tuesdays 6:00-8:30 pm

The course will examine the changing face of modern Britain from its explosive industrialization in the late-eighteenth century, through the cresting and fall of its world empire during the nineteenth- and early-twentieth centuries, to its current, uneasy position as the primary ally of the United States in the global "war on terror." Using images from London's National Portrait Gallery as our guide, we will approach the literature of this 200-year period as a series of "close-ups" in which questions of national and personal identity will be especially important. The major texts under discussion, many of which deal quite literally with the enigma of portraiture, will include William Wordsworth's The Prelude, Jane Austen's Emma, Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray along with transcripts from the Wilde trials, Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse, Alan Bennett's Talking Heads, Mike Leigh's film Secrets and Lies, and the still-on-going documentary film project known as The Up Series. Throughout the semester, students will compose critical as well as creative texts in response to the material. They will also give in-class presentations.

English 150:001 Contemporary African-American Writers
Professor Carol Allen
Tuesdays & Thursdays 3:00-4:15 pm


This course focuses exclusively on African American writing from 1970 to the present. It will be divided into units based on genre: poetry, drama, the essay, autobiography, short story, the novel, and testimonial (lyrics, oratory). Expect to encounter such artists as June Jordan, Michael Harper, Quincy Troupe, Adrienne Kennedy, August Wilson, Anna Devere Smith, Toni Morrison, Charles Johnson, Alice Walker, James Baldwin, Itaberi Njeri, and John Wideman. Critical pieces will be studied as well from the likes of Houston Baker, Henry Louis Gates, Ntozake Shange, and Larry Neale.

English 159:001 Literature of the U.S. II: Faces of Modern America
Professor Patrick Horrigan
Mondays & Wednesdays 4:30-5:45 pm

Between the end of the Civil War and the beginning of the first World War, the United States transformed itself from an isolated, primarily agrarian nation into an industrialized, increasingly influential world power. Today it is the embattled, self-proclaimed leader in the global "war on terror." Using images from the recently re-opened American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC, the course will chart these historical developments by looking closely at some important, modern American novels, stories, poems, films, and works of nonfiction, many of which deal with the question of portraiture (how do you represent an individual human being?) and the related enigma of American identity (what does it mean to be an "American"?). Major texts will include Henry James' "The Real Thing," Gertrude Stein's word portraits, Alain Locke's anthology The New Negro, Orson Welles' film Citizen Kane, James Baldwin's Giovanni's Room, Truman Capote's In Cold Blood, and Vikram Seth's The Golden Gate. Throughout the semester, students will compose critical as well as creative texts in response to the material. They will also give in-class presentations.

English 166:001 Fiction Writing Workshop—The Short Story
Professor John High
Thursdays 6:00-8:30 pm

This workshop will focus on the way autobiography and dreams overlap with story writing and how the past is fictionalized as a way of giving it a voice. The premise is that the source of much fiction is based on memories and dreams. We'll look at writers of the last century as well as contemporary writers of today: Jean Toomer, Marguerite Duras, Jorge Luis Borges, Michael Ondaatje. Lydia Davis, John Berger, Rosemary Waldrop, Ernest Hemingway, Zora Neale Hurston, Virginia Woolf, James Baldwin, Jamacia Kincaid, and Sherman Alexie (among others) who often blur the borders between fiction, dream and life story. We'll concentrate on the various traditions of narrative, including plot, character, and conflict-with an eye towards expanding on what's already been done. There will be weekly creative writing exercises, workshops and group discussions, as well as commentary on the writing process and how to make it come alive for you. The course offers relaxed, though thorough and individualized investigation of the participants' work in relation to craft, theme and content of writing. Our writing project will include working with dreams, secrets, memories, observations, opinions, overheard conversations and random fragments of language. The goal of the course includes completing a portfolio and/or anthology of our work.

English 168:001 Creative Non-Fiction Workshop
Professor Mary Hallet
Mondays & Wednesdays 3:00-4:15 pm


This course will give students the opportunity both to read and write creative nonfiction. Creative nonfiction means "factual" writing that uses fictional strategies in order to convey to readers the complexities and nuances of "real life" situations and topics. Because fiction and nonfiction, as well as memory and fact, intersect and sometimes collide in creative nonfiction, we will explore the complicated notion of "truth" in such writing. While much creative nonfiction incorporates autobiographical elements, it is not restricted about simply writing about "the self." While it often (but not always) incorporates the personal, it is also reflective and analytical. Students in the course will have an opportunity to examine and write a variety of diverse creative nonfictional pieces—from texts that report on and analyze current events to those that explore in depth events in their own personal lives. Readings may include texts by Annie Dillard, Oliver Sacks, Joan Didion, Maya Angelou, David Sedaris, and Lee Gutkind.

English 169:001 Non-Western & Post-Colonial Literature
Professor Maria McGarrity
Mondays & Wednesdays 4:30-5:45 pm

This class will offer a basic grounding in the literatures and cultures of the Caribbean, including a focus on such nations as Haiti, St. Lucia, Montserrat, and the Dominican Republic. We will study the work of Nobel Prize-winning St. Lucian, Derek Walcott as well as such writers as Jamaica Kincaid, Edwidge Danticat, Caryl Phillips, Jean Rhys, and EA Markham. Our reading of short stories, poetry, longer fiction, and film will take us through the 20th century struggle for decolonization as we examine issues of gender, class, race, and colonialism.

English 171:001 Introduction to Classical Rhetoric
Professor Mary Hallet
Mondays & Wednesdays 12:00-1:15 pm

In current contexts, the term "rhetoric" often has a negative meaning. For example, we often hear this term tossed about in relation to politicians who are bombastic, people who "twist" their words to suit their own ambitions and goals, regardless of "the truth." But in the times of Classical Rhetoric, the ancient Greeks and Romans—Aristotle, Quintilian, and Cicero, to name a few—often saw rhetoric as way of discovering and conveying "truth." Rhetoric in this sense was a means of persuasion, and the study of rhetoric was particularly important in a world where oral traditions—the art of delivering speeches and tributes—held precedence over the written word. Significantly, the rhetorical strategies employed by the great orators of the past remain pertinent today and can be applied to both written and spoken forms of argument and persuasion. From the age of the ancient Greeks and Romans until the present time, theorists and scholars continue to study the effects of Classical Rhetoric on current forms of, and ideas about, communication. In this course, we will focus both on the original texts of the classical rhetoricians and the theories that have evolved from the on-going studies of these texts over several centuries. We will place these readings and theories within the contexts of the times from which they evolved, and trace their influence on our study of a variety of current texts, both print and visual.

English 184:001 Henrick Ibsen & Modern Drama
Professor Howard Silverstein
Tuesdays & Thursdays 1:30-2:45 pm


In 2006 we are celebrating the centennial of the death of the playwright referred to as "the father of modern drama." The plays of Ibsen are constantly revived in cities across the nation, on college campuses, and on Broadway and off Broadway. Hardly a season goes by that critics don't acclaim a new Nora in A Doll House or rave about an actress's portrayal of Hedda in Hedda Gabler. Theatergoers are struck with the freshness of Ibsen's dramas, with their close examination of the social and psychological conflicts of the characters. It was this nineteenth century Norwegian who transformed the theater of his time and most of the drama that followed. Ibsen brought realism to the stage: he eliminated the clumsy five-act structure of dramas and the painted scenery of his era. If a play were set in a living room, it looked like a real living room with sofas placed strategically for actors to sit on. The dialogue was believable, and the themes of his plays mirrored the issues of his own time as well as significant problems of our own.
The course will therefore start out with a close analysis and discussion of four plays by Ibsen: The Wild DuckA Doll HouseHedda Gabler, and Rosmersholm. All of the authors studied in the course are indebted to Ibsen, from the European writers Chekhov, Strindberg, Shaw and Brecht, to American authors Eugene O'Neill, Tennessee Williams, and August Wilson.

Course requirements include two critical papers, a midterm and final exam. Depending on theatrical productions being offered, the class will attend an off-Broadway or Broadway play.

English 190:001 Senior Seminar (Literature Concentration)
Professor Leah Dilworth
Thursdays 12:00-2:30 pm

This course will guide students through the process of writing a long research paper (20-25 pages) on a topic of their own choosing. Students will use a range of research resources and write an informal proposal, a formal proposal, a first draft, and a final draft of the paper. You will also read and critique each other's work. Required reading will include essays on research methods and writing as well as a literary text and selected critical essays.
This course should be taken during your final year of study.

English 191:001 Senior Seminar (Creative Writing Concentration)
Professor Lewis Warsh
Mondays & Wednesdays 1:30-2:45 pm

We will investigate the lives and writings of innovative 20th century authors--Gertrude Stein, Robert Creeley, Zora Neale Hurston and Frank O'Hara, among others; attend and report on poetry readings--and give readings ourselves; go to museums; listen to music; pay close attention to our surroundings, what we do every day, and the way we think; keep intensive reading journals. Our final project will be putting together a manuscript of our best writing.
This course should be taken during your final year of study.

English 192: Senior Seminar (Writing & Rhetoric Concentration)
Instructor & times to be arranged.

Consult the Chair of the English Department (Professor Sealy Gilles) or the Undergraduate Advisment Coordinator (Professor Wayne Berninger) if you think you need to take this course now.

This course should be taken during your final year of study.

Graduate Courses, Spring 2007

English 520: Non-Fiction Writing Workshop
Professor Deborah Mutnick
Wednesdays 4:10 - 6:00 pm

The nonfiction writing workshop is designed to give you the opportunity to develop your writing in a community of writers. The focus this semester will be on the personal essay in relation to nonfiction writing in general. The course explores various approaches to nonfiction writing, such as the use of autobiography to anchor criticism and of fictional techniques like dialogue and point of view to write about real places, people, and events. It also raises theoretical questions such as what distinguishes nonfiction from fiction. What constitutes "creative" writing? What does the personal essay tell us about larger social and historical issues? And what role does the "I" play in different types of nonfiction writing? You will benefit from a group of readers with different perspectives whose job it will be to provide close readings and constructive criticism of your work.

Those interested in oral history and ethnography will have the opportunity to participate in one of two ongoing documentary projects. "Making a Legacy: The Story of an Urban Public School" is a seven-year project tracking the progress of the pioneering sixth grade class at the Urban Assembly Academy of Arts & Letters, a new secondary school that started in fall 2006 and is located at 225 Adelphi Street, a few blocks from LIU. "Homegrown Stories" is an intergenerational storytelling project sponsored by the Prospect Lefferts Gardens (PLG) neighborhood association. PLG is an area in Brooklyn bordered by Prospect Park, Crown Heights, Flatbush, and Parkside Avenue.

Throughout the semester, we will read published essays as models, identifying and experimenting with different techniques, styles, and approaches to nonfiction writing. 

Among the writers we will read are Virginia Woolf, James Baldwin, Vivian Gornick, Susan Griffin, Alice Walker, Richard Rodriquez, Edward Hoagland, Harvey Wang, Jane Lazarre, and Warren Lehrer and Judith Sloan. The emphasis of the class, however, will be on your own writing, which will be discussed at least twice in workshop during the semester. You will be required to complete two short (4-6 page) essays, and one longer (15-20 page) essay or the equivalent, as well as keep a writer's notebook.

English 524: See Sun, Think Shadow—Poetry Writing Workshop
Professor Lewis Warsh
Mondays 6:10 - 8:30 pm

"See sun, think shadow" is a quote by Louis Zukofsky, a great poet of New York City, whose poetry attempted to capture the light and darkness of his immediate surroundings. "Sun" and "shadow" are states of mind and also emotional states-the external world of the sun (what we see) and the interior world lost in shadow (what we're feeling). One goal of poetry is to transcribe the shifts from one state to another and also recreate the experience of what it feels like to be in the sun and in the shadow simultaneously.

We will use this workshop to expand the range of what's possible as poets and will begin by exploring the traditions and the various forms of poetry (among them the sonnet, the sestina, the villanelle). One primary concern is the way that poetry changes through time (in the same way that painting and music changes) and how poetry reflects the time in which it is written. We will also discuss the notion of experimentation, and how writing is an act of risk-taking, i.e. without taking risks nothing ever changes. Is all great writing, for instance, experimental writing? In what ways is writing poetry similar to scientific discovery of invention? We will discuss, at length, what "experiment" means in relation to poetry. Among the poets we will look at closely are Louis Zukofsky, Charles Reznikoff, Ted Berrigan, Elizabeth Bishop, Gertrude Stein, William Carlos Williams, Robert Creeley, Bernadette Mayer, Amiri Baraka, Alice Notley, Jack Spicer, Frank O'Hara, and Allen Ginsberg. We will also explore the ways in which poetry connects to theory, touching on essays by Maurice Blanchot and Lyn Hejinian.

English 525: Playwriting Workshop
Professor Katt Lissard
Wednesdays 6:10 - 8:30 pm

This course will be divided into three parts. We'll begin with a brief introduction to the history and basics of dramatic writing, using Aristotle's Poetics, David Ball's Backwards and Forwards and Shakespeare'sHamlet. The second phase will focus on scene and character development, through a series of written exercises and assignments, as each student begins drafting a one-act play. The final section of the course will be devoted to workshopping each student's play-in-progress. Ongoing discussion of playwriting craft, theory, and form will be directly related to the individual needs of participating student playwrights and the work each student is developing. Along with the texts mentioned above, we'll be reading relevant plays and using Keith Johnstone's Impro: Improvisation and the Theatre as an ongoing resource. The workshop will culminate in an evening of public readings of student work.

Katt Lissard, a writer and director, spent most of 2005 in Lesotho, Africa on a Fulbright Award - teaching in the Theatre Unit at the National University of Lesotho, producing and directing plays, and researching the dramatic response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Her most recent play, The Law of Falling Bodies, was part of the Third Millennium Festival. Her work has been seen at a variety of NYC venues, including: Dixon Place, HERE, NYU's Experimental Theatre Wing, the ArcLight, St. Mark's in the Bowery, and the former Circle Rep Lab. She is a Mabou Mines Resident Artist alum, an Affiliate Artist of New Georges Theatre Company and a MacDowell Colony Fellow. Lissard also teaches in the Goddard College Interdisciplinary Masters Program and at the State University of New York, Empire State College.

English 527: Web Authoring
Professor John Killoran
Tuesdays 6:10 -8:00 pm

According to a 2004 study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, 44% of American Internet users have contributed some of their own work to the online world. Projecting from current economic and cultural trends, we can reasonably assume that almost 100% of writers and professional communicators will be expected to author some part of the online world.

To increase their understanding of, participation in, and marketability for such online authorship, students of this course will learn the principles, research, and practices of creating and publishing work on the Web.

Classes will be devoted to such topics as…

•Web rhetoric practices by commercial and non-profit organizations, throughout civic society, and in        personal, professional, and communal publishing;
• information architecture and hypertext navigation;
• information design principles and Web layout practices;
• writing for and reading from the computer screen, screen typography;
• rhetoric of integrating text with photographs, graphics, and color;
• user analysis and usability testing.

As a major part of their course work, students will write, design, and publish a Web site on a topic of their specialty.

Web Knowledge, Skills, and Prerequisites

As this is a graduate-level course, much class time will be devoted to developing students' conceptual knowledge: the principles of and research on Web rhetoric. Students will also develop their Web authoring skills:

• hand coding XHTML and CSS,
•using a Web editor,
•creating basic graphics and modifying photographs in Photoshop,
•publishing and maintaining their sites.

The course is designed to accommodate students with little or no Web-authoring experience, though such students should…

• have regular computer and Internet access,
•be very familiar with the Internet,
•be willing to learn quickly.

Students who have already developed these Web-authoring skills will focus their learning on Web research and Web rhetoric and, in consultation with the professor, will be permitted to complete and submit certain basic in-class course work from home.

English 625: 19th Century American Literature
Professor Michael Bennett
Mondays 4:10 - 6:00 pm

In this course, we will be studying literature written in the United States between 1840 and 1900 and the body of critical work that responds to this literature. The first part of this course will be devoted to the antebellum period. We will consider why this period has been called "the American Renaissance" and explore what, if anything, that label adds to our understanding of American culture before the Civil War. The last part of this course will examine American culture in the postbellum period. We will explore the adequacy of the term Realism for describing American literature written during the period of rising industrialism after the Civil War. In both parts of the course, we will interrogate what is meant by some of our key terms: American, literature, author, culture. We will keep in view how issues of gender and race shape (or misshape) our understanding of these terms.
Readings from: Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, Henry Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Fanny Fern, Rebecca Harding Davis, Mark Twain, Henry James, Kate Chopin, Charles Chesnutt.

English 641: Literacy/ Basic Writing
Professor Xiao-Ming Li
Thursdays 4:10 - 6:00 pm


In this course we will examine whom we teach and what we teach in basic writing courses, i.e. who are basic writers? And what is literacy? Based on the understanding of those two issues, we will discuss how to teach basic writers what we claim to teach. To answer the question of whom, we will read Shirley Brice Heath and Shondel Nero, whose studies of basic writers, the latter of students at LIU in particular, provide useful templates for our own ethnographic or case studies. For the question on literacy, we will read such influential educators as E.D. Hirsch, Paulo Freire, and Patricia Bizzell. To ponder the last question of how, we will examine models such as the Pittsburg model (Batholomae and Petrosky) and the Amherst model (Robin Varnum), and those described by Mina Shaughnessay and Geneva Smitherman in their well celebrated books. A Sourcebook for Basic Writing Teachers edited by Theresa Enos will be used as a companion book for all discussions.

All participants will keep a reading journal to "think aloud" all reading assignments. Each will also engage in a semester-long project to study one of the three key issues proposed above. The project will culminate in a paper of 10-15 pages, which should 1) synthesize and evaluate the readings pertinent to the issue; 2) analyze one basic writer's written texts throughout the semester in the context of the writer's life experience; and 3) propose concrete methodology tailored to this particular basic writer.

English 651: 16th & 17th Century English Literature
Professor Seymour Kleinberg
Tuesdays 6:10 - 8:00 pm


In this course we will explore the sonnets of Shakespeare, and the lyrics of John Donne, George Herbert, and Andrew Marvel (these last 3 known as the Metaphysical Poets). A term paper and a final essay in lieu of an exam are required. In addition, students will lead discussions each week. The course is a close reading of 4 major lyric poets to see how their ideas are expressed in their language and forms.

English 700: Practicum in Teaching Composition
Professor Donald McCrary
Tuesdays 4:10 - 6:00 pm

This course prepares graduate English students to teach in the LIU/Brooklyn Writing Program by examining the theories and practices that guide the program, including social constructionism, process writing, portfolio assessment, and thematic course design and applying those theories and practices to the creation of a viable English 16 syllabus. In addition, the course will explore managing the classroom, creating/integrating reading and writing assignments, responding to student texts, teaching grammar, organizing/facilitating teacher-student conferences, and addressing the linguistic issues of a multicultural student population.

Possible texts for the course might include Facts, Artifacts, and Counterfacts by Anthony Petrosky and David Bartholomae, The St. Martin's Guide to Teaching Writing by Cheryl Glenn et al, and Portfolio Assessment in the Reading Writing Classroom by Robert J. Tierney, Mark A. Carter, and Laura E. Desai.

English 707: Methods in Research & Criticism
Professor Bernard Schweizer
Thursdays 6:10 - 8:00 pm

This course will expose students to major schools of 20th-century critical theory, including New Criticism, Marxism, Feminism, Historicism, and Postcolonialism, and it will familiarize them with fundamental aspects of methodology and research. We will approach the critical heritage from three perspectives: first, we will engage in a discourse about the why and wherefore of theory in general, using Jonathan Culler's meta-theoretical Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction; next, we will encounter various schools of criticism" in action;" that is, we will see how specific critical tools are used in interpretations of our core text,Jane Eyre; third, we will compare two different critical editions of Jane Eyre, assessing the theoretical premises underpinning each edition and identifying the editorial assumptions that went into the making of these textbooks. Finally, we will put what we learned in the first half of the course into practice. The class will be divided into groups, each of which will put together a "critical edition" of their own. That is, each group will act as an editorial committee working with either Rebecca West's The Return of the Soldier or Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited. The group is to collect a number of relevant critical treatments of these novels, write introductions, and collate the material to resemble an editorial apparatus. The groups are to give a progress report on their evolving critical editions week by week.

Assigned Texts: Jane Eyre, Bedford St. Martin's Critical Edition; Jane Eyre, Norton Critical Edition;Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction, Jonathan Culler; The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West; and Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh.