Spring 2012 Upper Level English Courses

By Purnell T. Cropper | November 22, 2011

EN 229: Voices of America

MWF 1:30-2:35 p.m.
Instructor: Dr. Kalenda Eaton

“Writing Life, Writing Experience”

This course will focus on the “voices” born out of culturally-specific, lived American experiences. In various examples, the writers present philosophical musings on how culture, language, and writing become portals of hope and pleasure for Americans faced with a shattered perception of reality. A New Historicist approach to the American histories explored in the following texts (and articles not included on this list) will anchor class discussion:

  • Multicultural American Literature: Comparative Black, Native, Latino/a, and Asian American Fictions-A. Robert Lee
  • Flight to Canada-Ishmael Reed
  • Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work– Edwidge Danticat
  • When the Emperor Was Divine-Julie Otsuka
  • Ceremony-Leslie Marmon Silko
  • Angels in America-Tony Kushner

EN314/414, Writing for Magazines

Tuesday 4:00-6:50 p.m.
Instructor: Gretchen Haertsch

Writing for Magazines is a workshop class that offers a practical introduction to the consumer and trade magazine industry. It aims to equip students with the basic skills and understanding necessary to pursue a full-time or freelance career as a magazine writer or editor. We explore all forms of feature writing including: opinion, how-to, review, profile, personal experience, memoir, humor, travel, research, and service articles. In addition to a strong emphasis on writing technique and form, the class provides practical instruction on targeting markets, writing query letters, and preparing manuscripts for submission.

By semester’s end, students will have written and revised three articles, each targeted for a specific market. This class is student-driven so, within some parameters, students are free to develop the types of articles that most interest them, aimed at the magazines for which they would most like to write.

Classes are conducted as seminar-workshops. Usually classes begin with a brief lecture on a specific type of feature article and an instructor- or student-led discussion on model essays from that genre (which students must read before coming to class).

In-class workshops throughout the semester focus on the craft of writing non-fiction using literary techniques. The course also covers such practical skills as idea generation, interviewing technique, use of dialogue, descriptive writing, and editing skills.

A primary emphasis in Writing for Magazines is the student’s work-in-progress. By the fifth or sixth class of the semester, we will workshop student articles (usually two) each week. Students are responsible for a written and oral critique of each student’s work and, in turn, will receive written and oral critiques of at least one of their own articles from every member of the class.

At the end of the semester, each student hands in a portfolio of work done for the class, including critiques. The goal is for every student in the class to have at least one article ready for submission to a targeted market by semester’s end.

Text: Feature & Magazine Writing, 2nd Edition, by David E. Sumner and Holly G. Miller, Wiley-Blackwell, 2009, ISBN 978-1-4051-9204-0

EN 315/415: Technical Writing

Section 1: Tuesday 12:20 – 2:00 p.m.
Section OL1: Online
Instructor: Dr. Sandra Hordis

Intensive study of technical documents for various careers. Covers catalogue descriptions, descriptions of mechanisms, instructional and procedural manuals, proposals, reports, memos and letters responding to customer inquiries. Emphasizes preparation of effectively written documents for various audiences (from expert to non-expert) and purposes. Presents the integration of graphic and copy elements in well-structured and designed documents. Includes individual and group assignments from a problem-solving approach. Requires portfolios of work, one of which focuses on the documentation development of a single product.

EN 320/420: Studies in Classical and Medieval Europe

Monday 7:00-10:00 p.m.
Instructor: Dr. Sandra Hordis

A selective study of texts from Western antiquity and the Middle Ages that remain influential and alive in our own time. These texts are considered within the cultural contexts from which they sprang and to which they helped give definitive shape. Typically, readings are drawn from the plays and epics of ancient Greece; great Roman authors such as Virgil, Augustine, and Boethius: and such medieval works, genres and authors as Beowulf, the Arthurian romances, Dante and Chaucer.

EN 321/421: Renaissance & Enlightenment Literature

Monday/Wednesday 4:00-5:40 p.m.
Instructor: Dr. Hugh Grady

EN 321/421 is one of four survey courses at the 300-level required for the English major, and it serves M.A. graduate students in English as a possible elective. The course ranges over three centuries of (mostly) British literature and pursues the interaction between the development of literature and the developing of early modern society.

This version is organized according to genres, so that we will begin by reading epics, novels, and essays, continue with drama, and end with lyric poetry. However, the first week will be devoted to understanding the major ideas of Renaissance humanism, represented by Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince and Thomas More’s Utopia, and required sections of a critical study, Greenblatt’s Renaissance Self-Fashioning are also assigned.

Required Readings

  • More, Utopia and Machiavelli, The Prince
  • Spenser, The Faerie Queene (selections)
  • Montaigne Essays
  • Milton, Paradise Lost (selections)
  • Behn, Oronooko
  • Defoe, Moll Flanders
  • Fielding, Joseph Andrews
  • Marlowe, Tamburlaine I and The Jew of Malta
  • Shakespeare, The Tempest
  • Congreve, The Way of the World
  • Sixteenth-Century English Lyrics: Wyatt, Sidney, Marlowe, Shakespeare, Elizabeth, and Lady Wroth
  • Seventeenth-Century English Lyrics—Donne, Marvell, Crashaw, and Vaughn
  • Selected Poetry, Dryden and Pope

EN 329/429 Narrative Form in Fiction & Film

Wednesday 7:10-10:00 p.m.
Instructor: Dr. Thomas Hemmeter

This course explores the art of story-telling in two popular contemporary media, print and film. The course will (1) provide an understanding of the ways in which two popular narrative media, film and print, use their respective languages to tell fictional stories; (2) use the contrast between the two media to build a critical vocabulary with which to analyze both film and literary texts; and (3) conduct comparative reading and analysis of several literary and film texts.

Titles: Films will range from classics like Citizen Kane and Rashomon to recent movies like Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Like Water for Chocolate, and Run, Lola, Run. We will discuss both Hitchcock’s classic Psycho and Gus Van Sant’s recent Psycho. Related short novels or short stories will be discussed with the films, including work by Anton Chekhov, Joseph Conrad, William Faulkner, and Russell Banks

EN 344.2/444.2 Literature Adapted into Graphic Form

Thursday 4:00-6:50 p.m.
Instructor: Dr. Thomas Hemmeter

This course covers reading literary print texts alongside graphic adaptations, learning the difference between visual and print languages, writing interpretive essays, and studying the best original graphic novels and stories and the transformative possibilities of graphic translations. Covers artists like Satrapi and Spiegelman and writers like Kafka and Poe. Some possible texts: Coraline, Hamlet, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Pride & Prejudice, V for Vendetta, Maus, and American Born Chinese.

EN 359/459 Literature After War

Tuesday 7:10-10:00p.m.
Instructor: Dr. Jo Ann Weiner

The focus of this course is on literature written after wars in the 20th century. Some of the texts are about experiences in war, but many are not, instead reflecting the perspective of the war time or post-war writer on mortality, moral decision-making, concepts of heroism, marriage, sex, politics, patriotism, race relations, psychic health, and in general the mood of the community.

Some possible texts:

  • Pat Barker. Regeneration
  • Ernest Hemingway. The Sun Also Rises
  • Virginia Woolf. Mrs. Dalloway
  • Charles Fuller. A Soldier’s Play
  • Kazuo Ishiguro. The Remains of the Day
  • William Styron. Sophie’s Choice
  • Tim O’Brien. from The Things They Carried
  • The poetry of Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen, Rupert Brooke, Amy Lowell, W. H. Auden,Randall Jarrell and others

EN 363/463 Modernism & Postmodernism

Thursday 7:10-10:00p.m.
Instructor: Dr. Hugh Grady

Mixing theoretical essays, novels, drama, and poetry, this course will explore the continuities and contrasts of the literature and culture of the twentieth century’s two aesthetic periods: Modernism and Postmodernism.

We will begin with a broad overview of the issues involved, defining the related terms modernity and postmodernity, Modernism and Postmodernism. Then we will read in translation some of the seminal poems of perhaps the earliest Modernist, the French poet Charles Baudelaire (and two of his influential critics). As the major example of the High Modernism of the beginning of the 20th century, we will read selected chapters from James Joyce’s masterpiece Ulysses and then several of the period’s most celebrated poets—T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, W. B. Yeats, H. D., Hart Crane, William C. Williams, Wallace Stevens, and others. This first section of the course will end with the transitional play of Joyce’s secretary, Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot.

Our study of Postmodernism will commence with a look at the most influential critical theories of Postmodernism by Jameson and Hassan, then sample Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49 as a celebrated example of the Postmodernist sensibility. Shange’s poetic drama For Colored Girls will follow, and then we will study examples of the wide variety of Postmodernist poetry, from the Beats to the contemporary era. The course will end with a review of one of the major debates about modernity and the postmodern between Jurgen Habermas and Jean-François Lyotard.

EN 372/472 Corporate Writing

Tuesday 4:00-6:50 p.m.
Instructor: Laura Fitzwater

Corporate Writing is an advanced business writing class. Students should know how to write basic business documents, including emails, memos, and letters. Through a combination of lecture and discussion, we will use these documents and others to construct a scenario-based business plan. Each student will develop a business plan for a controversial business (i.e. community corrections site, bar, skateboard park), and present it to the class at the end of the semester.

Textbook: Strategies for Business and Technical Writing, 7th edition, by Kevin J. Harty

ID 381.7/481.7: Studies in African Literature and Culture: Postcolonial Ghana (A Study and Travel Course)

(English majors can receive elective course credit if enrolled)
Monday 7:10-10:00 p.m.
Instructor: Dr. Kalenda Eaton

At the completion of the study and travel course the student will be able:

  • To understand and appreciate Ghanaian literature, history, and culture.
  • To have an opportunity to compare the various cultures of sub-Saharan Africa with representative American experiences through artistic mediums of popular culture: music, film, and video.
  • To learn about indigenous languages and the movement to preserve the oral tradition in the 21st century.
  • To discuss gender roles in Ghanaian society and spend time with a Ghanaian family.
  • To compare and contrast American access to cultural education and preservation of cultural sites to that of contemporary Ghana.
  • To discuss the role of the student and educator in international education and trends in the country of Ghana.
  • To discuss the role of contemporary politics and economy within the government systems of Ghana.
  • To plan a service project related to African Diasporic studies and implement the project in Ghana.
  • To participate in a cultural exchange with current or former university students at the University of Ghana, Legon.

Textbooks: American Africans in Ghana: Black Expatriates and the Civil Rights Era (Kevin Gaines); The Prophet of Zongo Street: Stories (Mohammed Ali); Readings in Ghanaian Popular Fiction; (Stephanie Newell) No Sweetness Here and Other Stories (Ama Aidoo); The Souls of Black Folk (WEB Du Bois); Changes (Aidoo); Children of the Street (Quartey); The Marriage of Anansewa/Edufa (Sutherland)

EN 644 Willa Cather

Monday 7:10-10:00 p.m.
Instructor: Richard Wertime

EN 644, Willa Cather, gives students an opportunity to read major works by one of America’s greatest woman writers. We will read O Pioneers!, My Antonia, The Song of the Lark, Death Comes for the Archbishop, The Professor’s House, and Cather’s great short novel, A Lost Lady. Students will do some reading in the scholarship and criticism on Cather’s life and work, write one short critical paper and a final longer paper, and try their hand at writing a very short piece of fiction in the style of the author. In addition, each student will give a concise seminar report on some facet of Cather’s “world.” The final exam will give students an opportunity to reflect on their total experience of Cather’s work in the course.

The major aim of this course is to give students the opportunity to read great works of fiction they will come to love. The course is less an exercise in scholarship than an adventure in appreciation!

EN 659 / HU 650 Myth & Literature: Verbal Forms of the Unconscious

Thursday 7:10-10:00 p.m.
Instructor: Dr. P.S. Chauhan

Myth, as bedrock of social and communicative practices, has intrigued poets as well as philosophers, anthropologists as much as marketing directors. Homer made a perennially powerful epic out of Greek myths; however, Plato questioned their social usefulness. In our own time, psychoanalysts, like Freud and Jung, have found myth embedded in the very structure of the human psyche; however, postmodernist critics question its independent entity, indeed even its literary power. In fact, human institutions, from a family to a nation, get lost in the absence of an organizing myth.

Myth, in this context, means not only the ancient Judaic, Greek, or Roman mythology; it includes too the modern constructs that poets, painters, and strategists invent or design to lend power, appeal, and unity to their works.

A reader, like an analyst, is invariably forced to grapple with the mystery of the nature and appeal of a myth.

Altogether, the study of mythic theories should be challenging, literary texts interesting, and practice in mythic interpretation, stimulating.


  • Book of Job (The Old Testament)
  • Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound
  • Sophocles, Oedipus the King, Antigone
  • Christopher Marlowe, Dr. Faustus
  • Conrad, Heart of Darkness
  • Faulkner, The Bear
  • D.H. Lawrence, The Man Who Died
  • Eugene O’Neill, Mourning Becomes Electra
  • Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea
  • Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull
  • Short pieces from Tennyson, Yeats, and Lawrence