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.

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