From classes in literature and creative writing to the welcoming environment of the Rose O’Neill Literary House, writers and students of literature alike will find Washington College home to a vibrant literary community. Each year, thanks to the endowment of the Sophie Kerr Fund, the College brings to campus a succession of distinguished writers, editors, and literary scholars. Jane Smiley, Billy Collins, Joyce Carol Oates, Jonathan Franzen, Heather McHugh, Li-Young Lee, Junot Díaz, Robert Creeley, Colum McCann, Eamon Grennan, Jayne Ann Philips, Bobbie Ann Mason, Tim O’Brien, and Ted Kooser are just some of the authors who have come to campus in the last decade to read, lecture and teach. The Sophie Kerr Fund also provides money for scholarships, library books and student publications, and supports the justly famous Sophie Kerr Prize (at $58,274 in 2012, the largest undergraduate literary prize in the country).
The major in English is the study of the arts of literature. Although the emphasis is on the critical analysis of great works, students are expected to attain a general knowledge of the historical development of English and American literature by the end of the senior year.
For Students Matriculating 2008-09 and After:
A student majoring in English must complete a total of twelve courses on the 200-, 300-, and 400-levels in the English Department in the following areas:
- Three courses selected from English courses on the 200-level, excluding ENG 204, 205, 206
- Three courses in pre-1800 literature (ENG 205/206 “Shakespeare” will also be counted here)
- Three courses in post-1800 literature
- Three electives
Note: Students who both major in English and minor in creative writing may “double count” no more than two courses.
Senior Capstone Experience (SCE)
The Senior Capstone Experience (SCE) in English is an opportunity for English majors to bring their interpretive abilities, their writing skills, and their understanding of the literary tradition to bear on a long-term, independent project in the form of a thesis or a comprehensive examination that will serve as the culmination of their literary studies at Washington College. The SCE for English majors exemplifies each student’s accumulated knowledge and mastery of literary analysis.
All seniors majoring in English may choose between two options as a means of fulfilling the SCE: writing a thesis or taking a comprehensive examination. Either option should be completed in the student’s final semester at Washington College. Students who choose to fulfill the SCE with the thesis option must begin planning for the thesis, including submission of a detailed thesis proposal, during the junior year.
SCE: Critical Thesis
The English Department sees the thesis option for fulfilling the Senior Capstone Experience as a privilege. Therefore, it is vital that the student wishing to pursue this option demonstrate sufficient preparation though coursework, have a good working knowledge of the topic proposed, and show evidence of strong research and writing skills.
A student who chooses to write a thesis can use an essay written in a particular course as the foundation for further development into a thesis. A student electing to write a thesis must show initiative by conducting preliminary research to develop an appropriate topic. The completed thesis should demonstrate the student’s ability to interpret literary texts and support the interpretation with secondary critical sources.
During the period of proposal formulation, a student should work in close contact with a member of the English Department. The English Department advises each student to begin consulting with this department faculty member during the junior year.
A student should contact a member of the English Department who represents the field or literary period in which the student proposes to work to ask if that faculty member would be willing to serve as his or her thesis advisor.
Each member of the English faculty may limit his or her Senior Capstone Experience students to six, thus students who elect to pursue a thesis may not have their choice of advisors.
After the student and advisor have agreed on a topic and approach, the student must complete a written proposal.
Once completed, and approved by the individual faculty member who has agreed to direct the thesis, the proposal must be sent electronically to the chair of the department, who will bring it to the entire department for its consideration.
Guidelines for Thesis Proposals
The proposal should be approximately two pages long (though it may be longer). It should be narrative and free of spelling errors and grammatical mistakes. The more specific the proposal (including the argument) is, the more likely it is to be approved without problems.
The thesis proposal must detail the project carefully. It must include a description of the scope and range of the projected thesis, an explanation of the problem or problems to be investigated, and a description of what strategies will be used in the investigation. The proposal must also include a clearly articulated thesis statement and well-documented bibliography.
It must include the following specific elements:
- A description of the proposed project (what the argument will be).
- A description of what has already been done. (This should include a list of relevant coursework and other preparation. It should also indicate if the thesis is an expansion of a paper from a class.)
- A description of critical or theoretical problems the thesis will investigate and the questions to be explored.
- A chapter outline with brief details about what each chapter will cover. For example, an introduction to the problem, chapter descriptions (this number will vary), and a conclusion.
- A working bibliography, including books and articles likely to be used, that shows familiarity with the field of study.
- A writing sample. This should be a sample chapter, if available, or the essay, submitted for a course, upon which the thesis will be developed.
For those graduating in May of 2014 (those who are juniors in the 2012-13 academic year), the deadline for a thesis proposal is March 29, 2013.
Research should begin as soon as the proposal receives formal approval from the English department. Following notification of approval during the spring of the junior year, students should begin researching their topic by surveying the critical literature related to the chosen subject. Students are expected to work through the summer. In early fall of the senior year, chapters must be completed to meet deadlines established by each thesis advisor. In the final semester of a student’s undergraduate career, when the student is completing the thesis, he or she should register for ENG SCE for academic credit.
The thesis itself should be at least 50 pages. Theses are to be turned in electronically. The digitized theses will be made available to the college community via the library catalog.
For those graduating in May of 2013, the deadline for completed theses is April 12, 2013 at 4 pm.
Important Note: Plagiarism is a serious academic and professional offense. Any thesis submission found to contain plagiarized material will be considered in violation of the Honor Code and will be reported to the Dean’s office. The consequences for plagiarizing may include expulsion from Washington College. Washington College has contracted with Turnitin.com, a web-based plagiarism prevention service. Theses submitted for the Senior Capstone Experience may be submitted electronically to Turnitin.com.
SCE: Senior Comprehensive Examination
For the comprehensive examination a student will be responsible for preparing to take a two-part examination and for writing a 15-page paper.
The General Exam treats five authors (a combination of British and American) from three periods. Students will be asked to select from a list of topics provided by the department and then write an essay on that topic as it applies to the work of five authors from three literary periods. Students may discuss any genre and should include works studied in the courses taken in the English major. At least one author should be British and at least one author should be American.
The Poetry Exam asks for an analysis of a poem.
The Period/Special Topics Paper requires knowledge of a particular literary period, major literary figure, or other specific topic that is selected in consultation with the advisor.
In the final semester of a student’s undergraduate career, he or she should register for ENG SCE for academic credit and plan to take the comprehensive exam at the time chosen by the department.
A faculty member selected by the student guides the preparatory work for the comprehensive examination. The faculty member’s qualifications with regard to a particular literary period should be the basis of the student’s selection.
Students must contact a member of the English department to ask the faculty member if he or she would be willing to serve as the comprehensive exam advisor.
Each member of the English faculty may limit his or her Senior Capstone Experience students to six, thus students who elect to take the comprehensive exam may not have their choice of advisors. If their first choice of advisor is not possible, students will select an alternative period to study.
During the last semester of a student’s undergraduate career the student will meet regularly with the comprehensive exam advisor. Active inquiry and integration of acquired knowledge and skills will be at the heart of the preparatory tutorial sessions.
In preparation for the General Exam, students should compile a reading list of literary works and selected critical texts they have studied in their English courses. Additionally, students are required to develop an annotated bibliography that shows familiarity with the critical literature related to the specific period that they have selected. Students are expected to use both the general reading list and the books on their period-specific bibliography to focus their preparation.
Successful completion of the comprehensive examination serves notice to the college community that a particular student has been recognized by the members of the English department as having acquired depth and range in English and American literary studies.
For those graduating in May of 2013, the deadline for completion of the period/special topics paper is April 12, 2013. The two-part examination will take place on April 13, 2013.
Important Note: Plagiarism is a serious academic and professional offense. Any comprehensive exam found to contain plagiarized material will be considered in violation of the Honor Code and will be reported to the Dean’s office. The consequences for plagiarizing may include expulsion from Washington College. Washington College has contracted with Turnitin.com, a web-based plagiarism prevention service. Comprehensive exams submitted for the Senior Capstone Experience may be submitted electronically to Turnitin.com.
SCE deadlines for students graduating in May of 2013:
- Friday, November 20, 2012: First departmental deadline to assess sufficient progress.
- Friday, February 1, 2013: Second departmental deadline to assess sufficient progress. This is the last date by which a student may switch from the thesis to the comprehensive exam option. Exceptions will be made only with the permission of both the advisor and department chair.
- Friday, April 12, 2013, 4 pm: Completed thesis and period/special topics papers due to the department.
- Saturday, April 13, 2013: Comprehensive exams given (General Exam 9:30-11:30 a.m.; Poetry Exam 2:00-4:00 p.m.).
The English Minor
Five courses at the 300/400-level are required for a minor in English.
Creative Writing Minor
The minor in creative writing can be achieved through the successful completion of five courses— Introduction to Creative Writing (students who previously completed Freshman Creative Writing or Intermediate Creative Writing may continue to count them) and then any combination of four 300/400-level creative writing courses including those indicated below, as well as additional “special topics” courses. Recent “special topics” courses have included The Screenplay, Poetry in Performance, and Seminar of the Book,
- ENG/DRA 351. Playwriting I
- ENG 352. Forms of Poetry
- ENG 353. Contemporary American Literature: Living Writers
- ENG/DRA 451. Playwriting II
- ENG 452. Creative Writing Workshop: Fiction
- ENG 453. Creative Writing Workshop: Poetry
- ENG 454. Creative Writing Workshop: Nonfiction
Distribution Credit in English
Students who wish to fulfill the Humanities Distribution Requirement with one Humanities course may do so by taking any course listed below. Students who chose to take two courses in English fulfill the Humanities Distribution Requirement are not required to take a sequence; they may take any two of the following:
- ENG 205. Shakespeare I
- ENG 206. Shakespeare II
- ENG 207. History of English Literature I
- ENG 208. History of English Literature II
- ENG 209. Introduction to American Literature I
- ENG 210. Introduction to American Literature II
- ENG 211. Introduction to American Culture I
- ENG 212. Introduction to American Culture II
- ENG 213. Introduction to African American Literature I
- ENG 214. Introduction to African American Literature II
- ENG 215. Foundations of Western Literature I
- ENG 216. Foundations of Western Literature II
- ENG 220. Introduction to Fiction
- ENG 221. Introduction to Nonfiction
- ENG 222. Introduction to Poetry
- ENG 223. Introduction to Drama
101. Literature and Composition
This course develops the student’s capacity for intelligent reading, critical analysis, and writing through the study of literature. There are frequent writing assignments, as well as individual conferences on the student’s writing. A college-wide requirement, the course is limited to matriculating students in their first year at Washington College.
103. Introduction to Creative Writing
A workshop introducing new writers to several forms of creative writing, specifically poetry and fiction. Students will use classic and contemporary literature as models for their own efforts. In the fall semester, this course is only open to first-year students. In the spring semester, beginning writers from all years may enroll in ENG 103.
205, 206. Shakespeare I and II
Reading and analysis of Shakespeare’s best known plays (comedy, tragedy, history, and romance) both in the context of early modern English culture and as play scripts/performances.
207, 208. History of English Literature
A survey of the development of English literature from Anglo-Saxon times to the present with attention to the historical background, the continuity of essential traditions, and the characteristic temper of successive periods. The second semester begins approximately with the Restoration in 1660.
209 (AMS 201). Introduction to American Literature I
Taught in the fall semester, the course is concerned with the establishment of American Literature as a school subject. Texts that have achieved the status of classics of American Literature, such as Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, Thoreau’s Walden, and Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, will be read in the context of the history and politics of their achieving this status. Texts traditionally excluded from the canon of American literature, in particular early Hispano- and Franco-American texts, will be considered in the context of their relative marginality to the project of establishing American Literature as worthy of being taught and studied in the American academy. Other-than-written materials, such as modern cinematic representations of the period of exploration and colonization of North America, as well as British colonial portraits and history paintings, will be studied for how they reflect on claims for the cultural independence of early America. Other-than-American materials, such as late medieval and early Renaissance Flemish and Hispanic still lifes, as well as the works of nineteenth-century European romantic poets and prose writers, will be sampled for how they reflect on claims for the exceptional character of American culture.
210 (AMS 202). Introduction to American Literature II
Taught in the spring semester, the course is concerned with the establishment of American Studies as a curriculum in post-World War II American colleges and universities. Readings will include a variety of written texts, including those not traditionally considered literary, as well as a variety of other-than-written materials, including popular cultural ones, in accordance with the original commitment of American Studies to curricular innovation. Introductions to the modern phenomena of race, gender, sexual orientation, generation, and class in U.S. culture will be included. A comparatist perspective on the influence of American culture internationally and a review of the international American Studies movement in foreign universities will also be introduced.
211, 212. (AMS 201). Introduction to American Culture I and II
213. Introduction to African American Literature I
This course is a survey of African American literature produced from the late 1700s to the Harlem Renaissance. It is designed to introduce students to the writers, texts, themes, conventions and tropes that have shaped the African American literary tradition. Authors studied in this course include Phillis Wheatley, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, William Wells Brown, Frances E. W. Harper, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Nella Larsen and Langston Hughes. There are no prerequisites for this course; however, students are encouraged to take HIS 319 “African American History to 1865” as a co-requisite.
214. Introduction to African American Literature II
This course surveys African American authors from the Harlem Renaissance to the present. It is designed to expose students to the writers, texts, themes, and literary conventions that have shaped the African American literary canon since the Harlem Renaissance. Authors studied in this course include Zora Neale Hurston, Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, Gwendolyn Brooks, James Baldwin, and Toni Morrison. There are no prerequisites for this course; however, students are encouraged to take HIS 320 “African American History from 1865” as a co-requisite.
215. Foundations of Western Literature I
No work has had a more profound impact on Western thought than the Bible. Familiarity with the Biblical texts is necessary for an informed understanding of almost any aspect of Western art and culture, from medieval love poetry to modern political debates. This course is designed to introduce students to the stories, doctrines, and themes of the Bible upon which most of English and American literature presumes.
216. Foundations of Western Literature II
This course will begin with an investigation of Greco-Roman mythology, and will then proceed to a study of some of the major works of Greek and Roman literature that paved the way for all subsequent Western literature. Readings will include Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, Virgil’s Aeneid, and Sophocles’s Oedipus Tyrannus.
220. Introduction to Fiction
This course will survey the rich tradition of prose fiction largely, but not exclusively, in English. Emphasis will be placed on the enduring features of this genre as it evolved throughout the centuries as well as to the innovations introduced by individual writers. The literary works selected for this course will draw upon a variety of fictional forms and styles. Class discussions will include, along with close readings of the works themselves, an appreciation of the historical and cultural contexts out of which they arose and to which they gave a fictional rewriting.
221. Introduction to Nonfiction
This course will offer students a selective overview of the “fourth genre” of nonfiction prose. Readings will be drawn from some of the principal subdivisions of this field, which includes autobiography and biography, documentary, the essay, literary journalism, memoir, and writing in new media.
222. Introduction to Poetry
This course will provide an introduction to the study of various styles and forms of poetry. By reading a wide range of poetic styles from a number of aesthetic schools, students will consider the ways in which poetry has become a conversation across centuries, how the genre may act simultaneously as a personal and a political voice, and how it may be interpreted not only as intimate confession but also as “supreme fiction.”
223. Introduction to Drama
This course will examine plays as literary texts, as play scripts, and as performances. It will investigate theatre/drama from a variety of styles and themes across several centuries (from ancient Greece to renaissance England to contemporary USA) to understand dramatic conventions and assumptions. The course will consider how writers from across the globe in various time periods consider, rework, and comment upon similar subjects and themes.
300. Medieval Literature
This course explores some of the texts and ideas that dominated the cultural landscape of Europe for centuries. We will consider many of the themes and topics that occupied the imagination of medieval writers, such as courtly love, the ways of Fortune, allegory, and authorship itself. We will sample many of the great authors of the Middle Ages, including Augustine, Boethius, Dante, and Chaucer. Most importantly, we will seek to come to a clearer understanding of how medieval readers looked at the world and how medieval writers expected their texts to be read.
A reading of The Canterbury Tales, Troilus and Criseyde, The Book of the Duchess, and lyric poems.
302. Arthurian Literature
Throughout the Middle Ages, the story of King Arthur and his knights was continually adapted and eagerly retold in epics, romances, and histories alike. In this course, we will examine the development of the Arthurian legend from its Celtic roots through the signature English treatment of the story by Sir Thomas Malory. We will end the semester with a look at the continuation of the legend in modern film
310. The Renaissance
The literature and culture of the Tudor period focusing on the age of Elizabeth. Poetry, prose and drama including Kyd, Shakespeare, Marlowe, Sidney, Spencer, More, and Whitney.
311. The Seventeenth Century
A study of the literature and culture of the Jacobean period through the Restoration. Poetry, prose and drama including Shakespeare, Jonson, Webster, Middleton, Donne, Herbert, Marvell, Lanyer, Cavendish, Philips, and Milton.
312. Renaissance Drama
The study of the development of the English drama before the closing of the theaters. A cultural approach with emphasis on Kyd, Marlowe, Dekker, Heywood, Jonson, Middleton, Webster, Beaumont, Fletcher, and Ford.
320. The Eighteenth Century
The triumph and decline of the neoclassic ideal in the eighteenth century. The course concentrates on the great figures of Swift, Pope, Johnson, and Boswell.
The movement from the late eighteenth century to 1832 considered as a revolution in the aims and methods of poetry. Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, and Keats.
322. The Victorian Age
Major poets, novelists, and essayists including Tennyson, Browning, Arnold, Rossetti, Carlyle, Newman, Mill, Pater, Bronte, and Gaskill will be studied in conjunction with the culture of the age of Victoria.
323. 19th-Century English Novel
Major writers such as Jane Austen, Emily Bronte, Charlotte Bronte, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, and Thomas Hardy will be studied. Attention will be given to the cultural and literary context of the novels.
330. Modernist Fiction I
A study of the major novels of such early modernist writers as Henry James, Joseph Conrad, James Joyce, D.H. Lawrence, Marcel Proust, Franz Kafka, and Virginia Woolf.
331. Modernist Fiction II
A study of the major novels of such late modernist writers as Vladimir Nabokov, William Faulkner, Samuel Beckett, Jorge Borges, Italo Calvino, Marguerite Duras, and Thomas Bernhard.
332. Modernist Poetry
A study of the major poetic innovators of the modernist period, including W.B. Yeats, T.S. Eliot, H.D. (Hilda Doolittle), Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, Marianne Moore, Wallace Stevens, and Mina Loy.
333. Experimental Fiction
A study of the major innovations in prose fiction since James Joyce’s Ulysses.
334. The Irish Short Story
The modern short story is part of an international tradition. The form is a relative newcomer to literature, and for various reasons that we will investigate, the Irish have taken to it with particular verve. Through lecture-discussions and response paper and essay assignments, the course teaches techniques for interpreting stories from the abundantly rich Irish imagination evident in its mythology and folklore to the modern agora of the written page. Writers include Maria Edgeworth, Elizabeth Bowen, Liam O’Flaherty, Frank O’Connor, Sean O’Faolain, Edna O’Brien, and William Trevor.
The beginning of the 20th century saw a major shift in literary thought and sensibility. While his peers, the modernists, were responding in one way, J.R.R. Tolkien was moving in a diametrically different direction, reviving a literary and linguistic culture from England’s past. With his astounding breadth of invention and his almost unequalled mastery of language, Tolkien crafted one of the most powerful and influential literary works of the century. In this course, we will begin with a study of the literary and theoretical foundations of Tolkien’s work and then move through a careful study of Tolkien’s major works: The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings.
340. Women’s Literature
A study of women writers with an emphasis on nineteenth- and twentieth-century works. Essays, fiction, poetry, and drama.
341. Native American Literature
This course will be a consideration of contemporary Native American prose and poetry. Most of the readings will focus on twentieth-century works and their sources in Native American and European American cultural and literary traditions. Students will consider how complicated the process of defining Native American literature can be; how works by native people relate to or depart from other ethnic American literatures; how indigenous speakers/writers respond to and resist colonialism; and how Native American perspectives and narratives continue today. Emphasis will be placed on the use of Native American myths and images of the natural world in the texts.
342. Children’s and Adolescent Literature
Various genres will be treated with regard to historical, social, cultural, and contemporary perspectives. Readings for the course will be drawn from the folk tale, fairy tale, poetry, myth, fiction, and picture books. The art and practice of storytelling will be treated, and students are expected to work up a performance. Prerequisite: Any two English courses on the 200 level.
343. American Short Story
Irving, Hawthorne, Poe, Twain, Crane, James, Hemingway, Porter, and Salinger are among the writers this course will consider. The study will be chronological and historical, placing emphasis upon the development of the genre.
344. The American Novel
This course is a survey of nineteenth- and twentieth-century novels written by Americans. Writers include Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Theodore Dreiser, Willa Cather, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, J.D. Salinger, Toni Morrison, and Tom Wolfe.
345. African American Novel
This course examines the origin and development of the African American novel. We will begin with the earliest novels and conclude with an analysis of contemporary novels by African American writers. We will examine novels from multiple genres and give careful attention to the intersection of race, gender, class and environment in representative novels of the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.
346. The Postmodern American Novel
The main focus of this literature course will be the careful reading and examination of seven ‘postmodern’ novels from the 1950’s to the 1980’s. We will look at historical fiction, memoir, realism, post-modernism, post-post-modernism, science fiction, and satire. We will discuss contemporary issues in the context of the stories and novels we read, but this is not a course in cultural studies; we will come back to the individual, the character, and his or her place, experience, and reflections upon cultural and psychological idiosyncrasies in the general context of contemporary America.
347. American Environmental Writing
The study of writing from an environmental perspective is both an emerging field in literary criticism and a rich tradition in American literary history. What does it mean to be green from a literary point of view? This course explores that question in looking at classic and contemporary authors of American environmental writing, from Henry David Thoreau to Annie Dillard to recent examples of eco-criticism. Though the primary focus will be on nonfiction prose, the traditional home of nature writing, the course will also explore environmental perspectives in poetry, fiction, and film as well as cross-disciplinary connections with the natural sciences and social sciences.
351. (DRA 351) Playwriting I
Analysis and practical application of techniques and styles employed in writing for the stage.
352. Forms of Poetry
This course explores the rich literary tradition of received forms in English and American verse. By studying a wide range of formal poems students will discover the adaptability of fixed forms like the sonnet, villanelle, and sestina. Class assignments will include both critical writing and creative “experiments” in poetic forms. Students are strongly encouraged to take Forms of Poetry in preparation for the “Creative Writing Workshop: Poetry.”
353. Contemporary American Literature: Living Writers
This course focuses on the study of American poetry, fiction, and nonficion from 1945 to the present. (The course focuses on poetry one year, novels and short fiction the next, and nonfiction the next, rotating among them.) Emphasis includes an examination of the work of major American poets or fiction writers of the past half-century. The course is structured in a way similar to a traditional offering in literature with this difference: some of the writers whose work is studied in class will at some time during the semester come to Washington College to visit the class, discuss their work with course participants, and give a public reading
360. The Literature of the European Colonies of North America and of the Early U.S.
Alvar Nuez Cabeza De Vaca, Pre Jogues, Rowlandson, Marrant, Wheatley, Bradstreet, Franklin, Jefferson, Brockden Brown, Poe.
361. Literary Romanticism in the U.S. I
Poe, Emerson, Thoreau. Stowe.
362. Literary Romanticism in the U.S. II
Hawthorne, Melville, Whitman, Dickinson.
363. The Gilded Age and American Realism
This course examines key prose fiction of the Gilded Age of American literary history and culture (roughly 1878 - 1901). Careful attention will be given to various treatments of “Big Business,” industrialization, urbanization, regionalism and social inequality in the work of Mark Twain, Stephen Crane, Kate Chopin, Frances E.W. Harper, Charles Chesnutt, and others.
370. The Harlem Renaissance
This course examines the literature and intellectual thought of the Harlem Renaissance. It is designed to move beyond a cursory treatment of the movement and offer students the opportunity to study key figures and texts at length. Authors studied in this course include Alain Locke, W. E. B. DuBois, Zora Neale Hurston, Wallace Thurman, Nella Larsen and Langston Hughes.
371. Faulkner and Modernism in the United States
The course will concentrate on the novels of Faulkner as exemplifying modernism.
372. American Poetry Since 1945
A survey of the major American poets who have written and published their work in the post-World War II era. Lowell, Wilbur, Stafford, Brooks, and Hecht are examples.
373. American Fiction Since 1945
A survey of major American fiction writers who have written and published their work in the post-World War II era. Salinger, Mailer, Updike, Cheever, and O’Connor are examples.
374. Main Divisions in American Culture: Race, Gender, Sexual Preference, Generation, Class
Ever since the Harvard-educated Midwestern American Studies founder V.L. Parrington identified the Main Currents in American Thought, the tendency of most influential scholars has been synoptically to emphasize the commonalities that unite “We, the people,” since even before the founding of the U.S. Conflictual approaches to American culture have been pursued mainly from the margins—by African-American, Latina/o, feminist, queer, and Marxian critics. Playing on the title of Parrington’s book, this course will pay attention to what divides us, still, approaching a century after Main Currents first appeared back in 1927.
375. Body Language: Representation and Transgression from Theodore Dreiser and Claire Chopin through Nicholson Baker and Brett Easton Ellis
A study of how bodies have been transformed from soma into vox in modern and post-modern culture. Curriculum will be a catholic mixture of a variety of genres and media, including standard school texts, literary and feminist theory, popular music, still images and video, and journalism. Readings will include fiction that has been labeled transgressive, and in all but the very latest examples for a time banned in the U.S.; theory from De Beauvoir to Judith Butler; and various works associated with the pornography debate from Katherine MacKibbon and Andrea Dworkin through Madonna and Linda Williams.
376. Culture of the Old/Cultures of the Young
Whereas what once seemed controversial topics—race, ethnicity, gender, sexual preference, borderlands —have become mainstream in college and university American Studies and English courses, one, arguably major category of cultural difference remains relatively understudied—at least in the humanities. The study of generation, like that of all of the topics listed above, is potentially subversive, and it may be neglected because of the fact that most college and university professors (admittedly with increasingly numerous exceptions) are members of the single, for some time now and for some time to come, dominant generation. The Baby Boom runs the same risks as do white people in the U.S., white Anglo-Saxon-Protestant people in the U.S., men everywhere, and heterosexuals everywhere when it acknowledges that the products of (sub)cultures other than its own are as worthy of becoming college and university curricula as its own traditional canon. The course will try to distinguish in a variety of ways the belated, frequently plaintive, cultures of the young from that of the Baby Boom.
377. 2PACalypse Now! The Cult of Heart of Darkness among White Male Anglophone Intellectuals
There’s something about Heart of Darkness—neither the most readable nor the most teachable of books, even of Conrad’s books. And there’s something about Conrad, too, a native Pole for whom English was a third language, a third language that he evidently spoke so poorly that when conversing with his American literary friend Henry James they both reverted to what was for both of them a second language: French. The course will try to explore what it is that has attracted so many white male Anglophone intellectuals—and prompted the condemnation of one African writer, the mockery of one black rapper, and, perhaps, the rivalry of a prominent, brown, novelist—over the more than hundred years now since the original publication of Heart of Darkness in 1899 in England in Blackwood’s Magazine. Class texts will include Conrad’s novella, Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, Tupac’s 2PACalypse Now, Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom! (which contains a prominent allusion to Heart of Darkness), Chinua Achebe’s essays, V.S. Naipaul’s A Bend in the River, a sampling of the blizzard of journalistic quotations of the novel’s title and of its most famous, four-word, speech, plus some theorizings of race and gender that might shed some light on why the book has managed to appeal so strongly to a relatively homogenous cohort of readers and adaptors.
410. Shakespeare Now: Shakespeare and Contemporary Criticism
This course focuses on the advanced study of plays initially covered in the 200-level Shakespeare course in conjunction with the study of contemporary literary theory. The semester begins with an introduction to literary theory and methodology. Then, using plays as case studies, we will examine each play in relation to historical, seminal, or controversial criticism. Reading will concentrate on important critical approaches to the study of Shakespeare (i.e., New Criticism, Reader Response Theory, Structuralism, Post-structuralism, Psychoanalytic Criticism, Marxism, Feminism, New Historicism/ Cultural Materialism, Queer Theory, Performance Criticism and Post-Colonialism).
This course focuses on Milton’s poetry, especially his epic poem Paradise Lost, with some attention to his minor poems and prose. Emphasis includes study of the following: the formal elements of his poetry; the importance of his poetry in literary history; Milton’s biography, especially his experience of blindness and revolutionary defeat; Milton’s writing in relationship to his culture (regicide and revolution, the turmoil of the seventeenth-century Puritan experiment, the commonwealth government, and restoration of the monarchy.)
430. Joyce, Eliot, and Beckett
An intensive study of James Joyce’s Dubliners, T.S. Eliot’s major poems, and Samuel Beckett’s major plays.
451 (DRA 451). Playwriting II
An advanced workshop in writing for the stage. Prerequisite: ENG 351 Playwriting I.
452. Creative Writing Workshop: Fiction
Prerequisite: Introduction to Creative Writing. (Students who completed Freshman Creative Writing or Intermediate Creative Writing in previous years are also eligible to register.) Primarily intended for juniors and seniors.
453. Creative Writing Workshop: Poetry
Prerequisite: Introduction to Creative Writing. (Students who completed Freshman Creative Writing or Intermediate Creative Writing in previous years are also eligible to register.) Primarily intended for juniors and seniors.
454. Creative Writing Workshop: Nonfiction
This course will use a workshop approach for students who are interested in developing their skills in a kind of writing which combines elements of journalism, such as the feature article, with elements of the literary, such as the personal essay. In addition, students will also develop their essay skills in the form of the personal narrative and travel writing. In essence this course treats the various forms of the essay with a special emphasis on the creative ways the genre can be interpreted and rewritten. Readings of representative essays will be included. Prerequisite: Introduction to Creative Writing. (Students who completed Freshman Creative Writing or Intermediate Creative Writing in previous years are also eligible to register.) Primarily intended for juniors and seniors.
190, 290, 390, 490. Internship
Internships in the English Department serve to give focus to a student’s prospective employment in the world beyond Washington College, and they aim to integrate and develop the writing, thinking, and communicative skills acquired in the course of completing an English Major. The specific conditions related to each internship will be developed among the faculty advisor, the representative of the institution offering the internship, and the student. This course may be taken only once for academic credit.
194, 294, 394, 494. Special Topics
The intensive study of a selected figure, movement, form, or theme.
195, 295, 395, 495. On-campus Research
196, 296, 396, 496. Off-campus Research
197, 297, 397, 497. Independent Study
Courses offered in the Washington College Abroad Programs
385. Literature and Landscape
This course is attached to the Kiplin Hall Summer Program. Literature connected to specific landscapes in Yorkshire and the Lakes will be studied in conjunction with firsthand experience of those landscapes by foot.
386. Literature of London
London through the literature of Charles Dickens, Virginia Woolf, T.S. Eliot, George Orwell, and contemporary writers; developments in literary movements (Romanticism, Realism, Modernism). Offered in the London program only, both fall and spring semesters. Three credits.
387. Studies in the Drama
Special topics in author or authors, a type or types of drama, a period, or theme. Emphasis is on the development, function, and continuing development of the theater in London. Variable content: may be repeated for credit. Offered in the London program only, both fall and spring semesters. Three credits.
388. English in Africa: West African Literature
This course offers, through the study of selected texts, an introduction to the modern literatures in English of sub-Saharan Africa, the theorization of colonial and postcolonial discourse, the politics of language, the question of African identity, and the relationship between art and social praxis. offered at Rhodes University, South Africa.
389. English in Africa: East and Southern African Literature
Offered at Rhodes University, South Africa.