English Courses

List of Courses:
  • 150 - Introduction to the Major
    Required of all majors. This course invites students to explore the theoretical, philosophical, or creative groundings of the English major. Students read a central text focused on these questions and respond metacognitively. From this examination, students create a proposal of study designed to help them engage productively and cohesively in their areas of interest in and out of the major.
  • 178 - Renaissance Themes
    This course explores the major themes of Renaissance thought. It includes readings from both Italian and English Renaissance writers.
  • 180 - Environmental Themes
    Readings (essays, poetry, and short stories) focus on the theme of nature and how it relates to human culture. The wide variety of roles that nature has played in literature are examined. Reflective writing, analytical writing, and creative writing are used to explore and communicate ideas.
  • 182 - Intro to Creative Nonfiction
    An introduction to the art and craft of creative nonfiction. Students study the elements of creative nonfiction and apply that study to their own creative writing. Students read published essayists and write multiple creative nonfiction essays themselves, including essays of place, portraits, and memoir.
  • 202 - Understanding Poetry
    Selections from four to five major poets designed to equip students with a variety of reading strategies.
  • 204 - Understanding Short Fiction
    Selections from several major short fiction writers from a range of historical periods and cultural backgrounds, designed to equip students with a variety of critical reading strategies.
  • 232 - The Gothic Novel
    The study of a specific kind of literature which began to flourish in the middle decade of the eighteenth century and which remains with us today in horror films and novels. The course traces the development of this literature, mainly in the form of the novel, from its beginnings in sentimentality and basic conventions, through romanticism and the addition of psychological elements, to modern existential and sociological themes.
  • 234 - The Language of Film
    The course serves to acquaint students with basic film theory and terminology as tools for the analysis of film as a type of text.
  • 238 - Orality and Literacy
    Orality and Literacy explores the way in which "literature" is created, transmitted, and retained. For most of human history, people have been largely illiterate, yet that has not prevented the creation of stories, tales, myths, and legends. Student will gain a greater awareness of how the different paradigms of oral performance/composition and written texts influence literary art.
  • 240 - Poetry Writing I
    An introduction to the art and craft of poetry writing. Students study formal poetics and apply that study to their own creative writing. A substantial portion of the course is devoted to writers' workshop in which students read and critique each other's poetry. Students also read and write about the work of important contemporary poets in order to discover and understand the ways in which these writers apply formal poetics in their work.
  • 241 - Fiction Writing I
    An introduction to the art and craft of fiction writing. Students study the elements of short fiction and apply that study to their own creative writing. A substantial portion of the course is devoted to writers' workshop in which students read and critique each other's short stories. Students also read and write about the work of important contemporary fiction writers in order to discover and understand the ways in which these writers use such elements as pacing, structure, voice, dialogue, character, and scene in their work.
  • 242 - Theory as Practice
    This class explores the links between critical theory and creative practice in contemporary literature and visual culture. Regarding critical theory as a creative practice, students investigate the ways in which writers and artists pose creative problems, solve them by developing working methods based on ideas, and cultivate distinct voices through inventive and informed reformulation of extant practices and theoretical models.
  • 243 - Theory as Practice on Location
    This class explores the links between critical theory, creative practice, and cultural context. The location in which the course is taught determines its focus and usually includes interaction with working artists and writers. The title will be extended to describe the current location. May be taken more than once provided the locations differ. Offered only on Principia abroads and field programs.
  • 253 - Gender Studies in Literature
    Analyzes texts (which may include fiction, films, poetry, and essays) by authors from a range of cultural backgrounds that focus on and question the dominant gender roles of their time and place. These texts may span historical eras or focus on one particular period. Students examine the literature primarily through the lens of feminist and gender theories and historical context.
  • 256 - U.S. Literature to 1860
    A survey of European-American writers, including Puritans, Transcendentalists, and reactionary writers, as well as early slave narratives and traditional Native American texts in translation.
  • 257 - U.S. Literature 1860-1940
    An exploration of the rise of naturalism, realism, and modernism in U.S. literature from the end of the Civil War to the beginning of World War II.
  • 258 - U.S. Literature Since 1940
    Explores texts by a diverse range of authors vis-a-vis geography, ethnicity, religion, gender, and sexuality, focusing on the experimental nature of their writing, the questions they raise about U.S. identity and history, and the social and political concerns they address, including the Civil Rights and feminist movements, the Vietnam War, and the emergence of gay culture and identity.
  • 260 - Scottish Literature
    Introduces students to Scottish literature. The course emphasizes literature written in the 18th and 19th centuries, though literature before and after that period may also be addressed. Emphasis is placed on issues of Scotland's complex relationship with England and the English language.
  • 262 - Postcolonial Literature
    Explores literature and theory by writers from previously colonized countries. These texts may span a variety of geographic areas, such as the West Indies, South Asia, Africa, and Ireland, or may focus in depth on writers from one particular continent. Texts by white Europeans writing from the perspective of the colonizing power may be included as a basis for comparison.
  • 263 - Literature of Conflict
    A study of the literature of conflict, with emphasis on war literature and its related literature of dislocation, social disruption, and dissent.
  • 264 - Southern Literature
    A study of the literature of the southern United States with emphasis on both contemporary writers and such writers as James Dickey, Ralph Ellison, William Faulkner, Zora Neale Hurston, Harper Lee, Carson McCullers, Flannery O'Connor, Walker Percy, Eudora Welty, and Richard Wright.
  • 265 - Native American Literature
    This course centers on texts from the Native American Renaissance in the 1960s to the present, by writers such as N. Scott Momaday, Leslie Marmon Silko, Sherman Alexie, and Louise Erdrich. The class may also include some traditional Native American texts in translation, as well as examples of representations of Native Americans by European-American writers and filmmakers.
  • 278 - Shakespeare in England
    Taught as part of an abroad program, this course introduces students to the life and writings of William Shakespeare. Besides studying plays in a classroom setting, students attend productions at the Globe Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. Students also undertake intensive research at the British Library and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust regarding a single character from a Shakespearean play. This course fulfills the single author requirement for English major or minor students.
  • 279 - Shakespeare I
    This course offers an overview of Shakespeare's writings including both his poetry and his plays. The course is designed to help students gain confidence in reading Shakespeare's work and to understand it in the context of both his culture and our own.
  • 280 - British Renaissance Literature
    Surveys British literature from the mid-1500s to 1660.
  • 283 - Romantic Literature
    Examines the important themes of the British Romantic period and their cultural contexts through the study of the works of poets and prose writers of the period.
  • 284 - Victorian Literature
    Explores texts of the period, focusing on questions of nationalism, colonialism, religion, gender roles, and sexual orientation, and emerging psychological and evolutionary theories, by considering how authors such as Bronte, Eliot, Dickens, and Wilde reflected the dominant ideologies of their day and called them into question.
  • 285 - Modern British Literature
    Fiction, poetry, and drama of the 20th century, with emphasis on writers such as Yeats, Eliot, Conrad, Woolf, and Beckett.
  • 286 - History of British Drama
    This course examines British drama from the medieval period to the 21st century both as literature and as performance. This course is usually taught on an abroad program to England.
  • 290 - Poetry Writing II
    An intermediate-level poetry-writing seminar for students familiar with the formal elements and techniques of poetry writing. Emphasis is placed on beginning to cultivate distinct voices as writers, more advanced study of poetics, and research about poets and their creative processes. Students produce a number of original poems within the writer's workshop structure of the course. Prerequisite: ENGL 240.
  • 291 - Fiction Writing II
    An intermediate-level fiction-writing seminar for students familiar with the formal elements and techniques of fiction writing. Emphasis is placed on beginning to cultivate distinct voices as writers, more advanced study of narrative elements and structures, and research about fiction writers and their creative processes. Students produce a number of original short stories within the writer's workshop structure of the course. Prerequisite: ENGL 241.
  • 314 - 18th Century Literature
    Study of the development of the literature of the long eighteenth century (1660 to 1800), including the rise of the novel, restoration and eighteenth century drama, and trends in both poetry and prose.
  • 315 - Shakespeare II
    Examines Shakespeare's plays through either specific themes or critical approaches. Some familiarity with Shakespeare's works will be helpful as the course is not a survey course but instead delves deeply into a select number of plays.
  • 320 - History of the British Novel
    Novels selected from early and late periods trace development of this form.
  • 325 - Film as Literature
    The study of film as a text. Students read and apply film theory and literary criticism to the in-depth analysis of films as alternative narratives. Prerequisites: ENGL 234 and one additional English literature or world literature course.
  • 330 - Single Author
    Examines the work of a single author. Analyzes the style of the author and introduces major biographical or critical approaches to the author. The title will be extended to describe the current topic. May be taken three times provided the authors studied differ.
  • 335 - Contemporary Issues
    An advanced seminar examining contemporary literature in the context of current critical debate. The title will be extended to describe the current topic. May be taken more than once provided the topics differ.
  • 345 - Creative Writing on Location
    Creative writing on location for students enrolled in an abroad or field program. Coursework provides opportunities for in-depth individual research and creative work based upon the cultural and programmatic content of the abroad or field program. The title will be extended to describe the current location. May be taken more than once provided the locations differ. Offered only on Principia abroads and field programs.
  • 351 - Adv Creative Writing Seminar
    An advanced creative writing seminar for poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers. The course is organized as a community of serious writers who are beginning to develop portfolios of coherent work, exploring and articulating their influences, and expanding their practical understanding of what it means to maintain a creative literary practice. Prerequisites: one complete sequence in the creative writing series (ENGL 240 and ENGL 290) or (ENGL 241 and ENGL 291).
  • 353 - Literary Editing
    A workshop in which students learn the fundamental skills and methods of arts/literary editing and are introduced to the issues involved in editing a literary publication (either print or electronic).
  • 358 - Seminar
    Centering upon a literary theme or form at the advanced level, this topics course is designed primarily for majors to engage in intense study or original research under the guidance of the professor. It is conducted with an emphasis on student-defined learning and incorporates sophisticated expectations for scholarship and scholarly writing. The title will be extended to describe the current topic. May be taken more than once provided the topics differ.
  • 388 - Literature and Critical Theory
    The application of various critical theories to literary texts.
  • 399 - Capstone Proposal
    Prepares students for their capstones. Students research possible topics and write a formal proposal for their capstones. Usually taken the semester preceding the capstone but can be taken concurrently. May be offered for variable credit from one to three semester hours. Prerequisite: ENGL 388 (may also be taken concurrently).
  • 400 - Capstone in Literature
    Individual reading, research, and writing on a single literary issue or author culminating in an in-depth thesis essay. Required for the major.
  • 401 - Capstone in Creative Writing
    This course is the culmination of the creative writing concentration in the English major. Students create a substantial and coherent body of original fiction or poetry, accompanied by an artist's statement. Students also read deeply the work of writers who have influenced them and conduct serious research about their work and working process. A public presentation - a reading or some other form of publication - at the completion of the capstone is encouraged. Prerequisites: one complete sequence in the creative writing series (ENGL 240 and ENGL 290 or ENGL 241 and ENGL 291) and ENGL 351.

Literary Themes and Forms: Scottish Literature

There’s more to Scotland than bagpipes and haggis. This class introduces students to the long and complex history of Scottish literature, from early Latin religious authors to modern Gaelic, Scots, and English speaking authors.