Course Offerings for Summer 2014

If you don't see a description for the course you are interested in, contact the instructor for more information. We try to keep this information about English department course offerings as accurate, timely, and complete as possible. However, schedules may change, and students are advised to consult the Banner schedule as the most authoritative source for scheduling information. Fall course descriptions can be found here.


301 • Reading, Writing, and Research • TTh 3:00-5:00 pm • Quinlan

EH 301 students should be able to: (1) read literary texts closely & confidently; (2) conduct research using professional databases; (3) write a critical essay which situates an original thesis in an informed scholarly context; & (4) demonstrate familiarity with literary terminology & with some of the main theoretical approaches to literary analysis. The course may be better thought of as literature and its trappings in slow and meditative motion, allowing for delight and a heightened consciousness without quite the frenzy of regular literature courses. Knowledge that will change your life.

Requirements will include reading quizzes, short exercises, short papers, and an annotated bibliography.


350 • Introduction to Linguistics • TTh 5:20-7:20 pm • Basilico

Areas of linguistics and fundamentals of linguistic science; world language families. Prerequisite: EH 102 or equivalent.


366 • African American Literature, 1954–Present • TTh 10:20 am-12:20 pm • Dunbar

This course will examine the significance of an African American literary tradition in the specific context of the contemporary American and global worlds. We will begin by positioning African American literature within an American literary history. We will look at African American literature both as a literary tradition in its own right and as a lens through which we can better see contemporary African American culture and American culture as a whole. These cultural texts will allow us to see the ways in which African Americans have contributed to, have been influenced by, and have transformed America, and continue to do so. We will also closely consider verbal and literary modes, including: African retentions, oral traditions, signifying, folklore, and music, as well as their evolutions and how they have created a uniquely African American literary voice and how that voice has transformed to fit this contemporary moment. In an effort to critically map the trajectories of contemporary African American literature we will be interrogating not only the historical and political contexts of the works, but also the ways in which issues of gender, sexuality, and class specifically inform the works.


424/592 • Special Topics in African American Literature • TTh 12:40-2:40 pm • Dunbar

"Cries but Little, for Nobody Cares for His Crying": Black Childhood in African American Literature

In 1959, American developmental psychiatrist, Erik H. Erikson called attention to a blind spot in historical scholarship on childhood. "Students of history," Erikson states, "continue to ignore the simple fact that all individuals are born by mothers; that everybody was once a child; that people and peoples begin in their nurseries; and that society consists of individuals in the process of developing from children into parents." This was anything but a "simple fact" for historians of African American history, for the lines of childhood and adulthood were blurred so dramatically that it became difficult to define even the variable of childhood. Novelists such as Ralph Ellison argued that chronology, an ally to historians is the enemy to creative writers who seek to manipulate or destroy linear understandings of time. In this course we will study the manners in which African American authors fill gaps where historians left off to flesh out the lives and experiences of black children from the Antebellum era to the Black Arts Movement. We will read the works of such canonical authors as Olaudah Equiano, Harriet Jacobs, Jean Toomer, Toni Morrison, and Ernest Gaines and analyze their uses of the special though difficult freedom they have to write about lives that are outside the reach of scholarly treatment, but no less important.


452/552 • Grammar & Usage for English Teachers • TTH 7:40-9:40 pm • Basilico

(Also LING 452.) Intensive review of structure of English; usage, punctuation, and style as these relate to grammar. Prerequisite: EH/LING 250 or EH/LING 251 or written permission of instructor.


464/564 • American Literature, 1914-1945 • TTh 7:40-9:40 pm • Quinlan

“Make it New!” was the mantra of American literary culture at the beginning of the 20th century. Following a conflict in social and religious outlooks between the older and younger generations—compellingly depicted in Willa Cather’s My Antonia and Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey into Night--the era presented a startling degree of experimentation in all of the arts. This experimentation was intertwined with other innovations of the age—cars, skyscrapers, radio, and movies (for which several of the writers worked). At the same time, the Great War served as yet another disruptive marker between the coherent past and the fragmented present. We will explore these issues in texts by O’Neill, Cather, Stevens, Eliot, Faulkner, Hughes, and others as we reel our way through the Jazz Age and the bewilderments that followed.


482/582 • 18th Century: Theory and Interpretation • M 4:50-8:50 pm • Graves

East Meets West: Commerce and Conquest in Eighteenth-Century Literature

As London became a showplace for wealth, fashion, and imported luxury goods during the Restoration and eighteenth century, English authors chronicled their country's international quest for pleasure and profit in the near and far east. This course will examine literary depictions of conflicts between eastern and western cultural values that played themselves out beneath London's glittering social scene and rapidly expanding foreign markets. Specifically, we will look at how authors use literary forms such as the oriental tale, Gothic fiction, epistolary fiction, sentimental fiction, formal realism, mock epic, and satire to represent conflicts between commercial and cultural values. 

Course Texts

  • Norton Anthology of World Literature from 1650-1880. Vol. D 2nd Ed. Sarah Lawall. General Editor. (Norton)
  • Beckford Vathek (Oxford World's Classics)
  • Montagu The Turkish Embassy Letters (Virago)
  • Sterne Journal to Eliza (Oxford World's Classics)

Course Assignments

  • Midterm 100 pts.
  • Final 100 pts.
  • 8-10 page term paper 100 pts.
  • Optional Short writing assignments 3 @ 33 pts. each 100 pts. total

610 • Prosody, Poetics, and Close Reading • MTWThF 12:20-2:20 pm • Grimes • May Term

This seminar will offer a quick but intensive study of poetic language. We will look especially at the musical, rhythmic, and graphic elements of poetic language, considering formal questions (What--if anything--distinguishes poetic language from ordinary prose?), semantic questions (What--if anything--do metrical or rhythmic effects contribute to the meaning of poems?), and aesthetic questions (How is the reader's experience or enjoyment of linguistic art shaped by prosodic effects?). In the process we will become more familiar with the historical development and use of conventional forms (e.g. sonnet forms, Spenserian stanzas, heroic couplets, &c.), nonce forms, and the recent emergence of free verse. If all goes well, we will all become more sensitive and appreciative readers of poetic language and we will find more significance and joy in the poetry we read.

The course will likely be of particular interest to aspiring teachers, who will find the terminology and techniques of close reading and explication to be useful in the classroom; similarly, the course will likely be illuminating for aspiring poets, who will be encouraged to develop a more subtle and nuanced ear for the rhythms of English as well as an historical perspective on the metrical and formal craft of poetry. And, of course, the class will be helpful for students of literature, not only for the grounding it offers in traditional forms and foot-based metrics (as well as more recent "generative metrics" and rhythm-based metrics), but also for the many close readings of both canonical and non-canonical poems we will produce during our class discussions.

This seminar will meet every weekday during the short May term, but students will have most of June and July to research and write a final paper.