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Spring Course Descriptions

SPRING 2022 UPPER-LEVEL LITERATURE AND COMPOSITION COURSES


ENG 210 | Introduction to Professional and Technical Writing | Dr. Luke Redington

This course provides theoretical and practical approaches to technical communication. As an introductory course, it welcomes interested students from all disciplines. Its first major unit, “What Is Technical Writing?,” gives students the opportunity to identify and describe the powerful role technical communication is currently playing in their own lives. In the second unit, “Technical Writing and the Law,” students will use primary documents from an actual court case to navigate a realistic workplace scenario. The third unit, “Technical Writing and the Cutting Edge of Science,” gives students experience in the key skill of making technical concepts understandable to public audiences. This course fulfills a Writing and Rhetoric requirement.


ENG 338 | Victorian Literature: (Non)Fictional Representation and Cultural Debate | Dr. Chad Stutz

During the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901), Britain witnessed the unprecedented growth of modern science and technology; it undertook an imperial expansion that covered the globe; it struggled to locate God in a rapidly changing world that seemed at times in danger of squeezing Him out; it celebrated domesticity, home, and family even as it argued over the roles of men and women within the family structure; it generated an explosion of print culture that made a wide variety of texts readily available to the masses; and it produced some of the most memorable literature of all time. Perhaps above all, the Victorian period was marked by paradox: it was an era full of both optimism and anxiety, faith and doubt, peace and conflict. This course will explore the literature and culture of this influential era in British history through an examination of key prose texts, both fictional and nonfictional. We will consider five interrelated and hotly contested issues that occupied countless Victorian writers—science, religion, art, gender, and the nation. As we will see, these discourses interacted with and influenced one another in intriguing and often surprising ways. Authors will include, among others, Matthew Arnold, Thomas Carlyle, Frances Power Cobbe, Charles Darwin, George Eliot, Elizabeth Gaskell, T.H. Huxley, Florence Nightingale, Olive Schreiner, H.G. Wells, and Oscar Wilde. This course fulfills the British Literature after 1800 requirement.


ENG 351 | Topics in Representational Ethics: Caring for Our Common Home—Literature and the Environment | Dr. Andrew Logemann

In this time of profound environmental transformation, literature's power to transform our understanding of ourselves, of others, and of the diverse and broken world represented in literary texts has never been more important. In this course, we will explore how students studying English can best contribute to a broad societal conversation about humanity and the fate of the planet. We will seek answers to questions like these: Can art help us survive times of ecological crisis? Is there a relationship between storytelling and environmental justice? Do the humanities and environmental sciences share a vision of a sustainable future? To address these and other questions, we will draw readings from a number of genres, including philosophical reflections on nature, theological writing about caring for our common home, environmental journalism, novels, and poems. As we consider these texts together, we will reflect on how they each enable us to imagine humans' diverse relations to the world – relations that are joyful, uncertain, and fearful, but also infused with hope for a more just future. This course fulfills the Representational Ethics requirement.


ENG 362 | Classical Literature | Dr. Graeme Bird

In this course, we will read the great Greek and Roman epics – Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey and Virgil’s Aeneid. We will also cover Aeschylus’ Greek tragic trilogy the Oresteia, Lucretius’ On The Nature of Things, and extracts from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. We will discuss aspects of poetic composition, as well as the ways in which these works influenced later writers such as Dante, Shakespeare, and Milton. In addition, particularly in the case of Homer and Virgil, we will consider the “Anxiety of Influence” – how a classical poet dealt with his illustrious predecessor(s). For the first time this spring semester, we will be using two new translations, both done by women, of the Odyssey and Aeneid. This course fulfills the Literature before 1800 requirement.


ENG 491 | Senior Seminar: The Short Story Cycle | Dr. Andrea Frankwitz

This course will examine the fascinating genre of the short story cycle, a tradition that begins in 1820 with Washington Irving’s The Sketchbook (or even more loosely with Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales). More than simply a collection of tales, the cycle is a novel-length grouping of inter-related stories that are linked by character, theme, and/or setting. Variously known by the names “composite novel,” “short story sequence,” “serial story,” and “short story cycle,” this genre came of age in the first half of the twentieth century. We’ll examine this “integrated” variant of the short story genre and how it works, consulting relevant theory and criticism and reading a range of examples of the cycle, such as Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio, Ernest Hemingway’s In Our Time, Eudora Welty’s The Golden Apples, John Updike’s Too Far To Go, Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club, Richard Wright’s Uncle Tom’s Children, and Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies. This course fulfills the Senior Capstone requirement.


SPRING 2021 CORE LITERATURE COURSES


ENG 140 A: Cast-Offs and Castaways: Fictional Tales of Survival | Dr. Chad Stutz (2 credits)

From Robinson Crusoe to The Martian, castaway narratives and other tales of survival have long captured readers’ imaginations. In addition to feeding our desire for adventure, such stories raise important questions about human nature, good and evil, our relationship to the natural world, and our confrontations with the “other.” Through an examination of fictional narratives of cast-offs and castaways from around the globe, this course will explore the evolution of the survival fiction genre, its differing perspectives on human motivation and achievement, and its historical role in both perpetuating and challenging various political and cultural ideologies. We will also consider how these stories of survival reflect and respond to their authors’ distinctive cultural contexts.


ENG 140 B & C: Nobel Literature | Dr. Andrea Frankwitz (4 credits)

First awarded in 1901, the Nobel Prize in Literature represents the acme of literary artistry, and, in the words of Alfred Nobel, is given to “the person who shall have produced in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction.”  Considering not a particular text but a writer’s oeuvre (a writer’s work regarded collectively), the awarding committee, the Swedish Academy, bestows this honor for the tremendous contributions which the writer has made to the world of literature and which also have “conferred the greatest benefit to mankind.”  In this course, we will study texts by authors from several different countries and continents, with the aim of developing both an appreciation for their respective texts and represented cultures and also an understanding of how literature can enable us to transcend our own borders.  Course texts will include the genres of poetry, drama, short fiction, and the novel. 


ENG 140 OL: Modern Mythology | Dr. Andrew Logemann  (Online, Asynchronous; 4 credits)

Stories are fundamental to human experience. They sustain cultures and communities, and help us define who we are. In myth, we find stories that delve into the deepest aspects of human self-understanding, exposing and questioning the value systems that govern cultures, and even the universe itself. We write myths to understand who we are as individuals, where we come from, where we are going, and why our lives matter. In this course, we will focus on works of fiction from around the world that tap into the ancient traditions of mythmaking to allow myth to resonate in our modern age. 


ENG 141: Western Literature | Prof. Alex Miller (4 credits)

This course, subtitled “The Order of Myths,” explores Western Literature from a particular angle: the development, reuse, and reinterpretation of Greek mythology by western and non-western writers over the centuries. Though our readings progress in loosely historical order, this is not a "history of literature" course. Instead, it is organized according to a theme: plagiarism. Beginning with Homer, the development of literature in the West has involved creative retellings of certain myths. Shaped and contorted by the assumptions and contexts of each author and generation, myths are the spine of western literature. They constitute a common narrative currency that unites western literature’s many tribes, languages, and epochs, and even forms a point of entry for non-westerners to begin interacting with western ideas. By studying the appearance and reappearance of these myths over time, you will develop a sense of the images, characters, and themes that have haunted all exchanges in the history of western culture. But, if you are paying attention, you will also notice how individual authors’ personalities have been just as important as the myths themselves: it is not just the tales that matter, but the telling and the teller. Western Literature is the product of a unique mixture of corporate and individual influences, of myths (for which we can never locate an original author) and interpreters (the well-known authors who, again and again, have made those myths memorable and relevant). By paying attention to the way western myths have been ordered and reordered over time, my hope is that you will learn to appreciate the unique collisions of style and substance that characterize the western heritage.


For a complete list of the literature and creative writing course offerings this semester, see the spring course schedule.

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