Washington Signature
[ Search and Navigation ]   [ View Full Site ]


Current Courses

Fall 2014

Here are the English courses being offered in Fall 2014 and the different ways in which they can be used to fulfill the English major and the Creative Writing minor. For a full description of each course, including the Special Topics courses, click on the course numbers below.

  • ENG 103 Introduction to Creative Writing

    A workshop on the forms of creative writing—primarily poetry and fiction as practiced by the students themselves. Readings in contemporary literature and craft.  Sections 10 and 11 are reserved for first year students.  Section 12 is open to upperclassmen.


    Counts for:  Creative Writing minor

  • ENG 205 Shakespeare I

    This course will examine some of Shakespeare’s best known earlier plays (those written before the death of Queen Elizabeth in 1603) both in the context of early modern English culture and as play scripts/performances.  Class discussions, with significant contributions from student papers, will explore Shakespeare’s writings as products/producers of early modern culture through the consideration of issues including identity, politics, monarchy, religious conflicts, crime and justice, play and festivity, enclosure and urbanization, world exploration and colonization, nation and national identity, theatricality and theatre-going, religion, family, sexuality, and gender.  Using films and live productions (if available) we will also consider the plays as they have been interpreted for performance.

    Counts for:  Pre-1800, elective

    Also counts for: Humanities distribution, Drama major

  • ENG 207 History of English Literature I

    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.


    Counts for:  200-level

    Also counts for:  Humanities distribution

  • ENG 209 Intro 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.


    Counts for:  200-level

    Also counts for:  Humanities distribution, American Studies major

  • ENG 215 Foundations of Western Literature I

    We will read and analyze the Bible as literature, covering as much of the Hebrew and Christian scriptures as a semester allows.  Our focus will be in gaining familiarity with the major stories, characters, images, and diverse genres of biblical literature, with some attention to the historical and cultural context in which these texts were composed.  This course will provide you with the background to appreciate later literary and artistic works that assume biblical knowledge, as well as understanding the Bible itself as a unique and influential literary work.


    Counts for: 200-level

    Also counts for:  Humanities distribution

  • ENG 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.


    Counts for: 200-level

    Also counts for:  Humanities distribution

  • ENG 220 Intro 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.


    Counts for:  200-level

    Also counts for:  Humanities distribution

  • ENG 294 SpTp: Intro to Journalism

    This course will cover the foundations of reporting, writing, fact checking, and editing. Students will write a range of news and feature stories, including an obituary, an event, and a profile. We will also discuss journalistic ethics and the way the field has been transformed by the Internet.


    Counts for: 200-level

    Also counts for: Humanities distribution

  • ENG 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.


    Counts for:  Pre-1800, elective

    Also counts for: Humanities distribution, Drama major, Gender Studies minor

  • ENG 321 Romanticism

    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.

     Counts for:  Post-1800, elective

    Also counts for: Gender Studies minor

  • ENG 342 Children’s & Adolescent Lit

    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.


    Counts for: Post-1800, elective

  • ENG 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.

    Counts for:  Post-1800, elective
    Also counts for: American Studies major

  • ENG 351 Playwriting I

    Analysis and practical application of techniques and styles employed in writing for the stage.


    Counts for: Creative Writing minor, elective
    Also counts for: Drama major

  • ENG 353 Contemporary American Literature: Living Writers Nonfiction

    This semester will focus on Lyric Nonfiction, a hybrid genre that marries poetry and nonfiction.  We will study works of poetry and creative nonfiction in order to see how image, metaphor, silence, burnished diction, compression, and other poetic tools can be used to tell true stories beautifully.  Students will examine contemporary American writers, some of whom will visit Washington College and our class, discuss their work with participants, and give a public reading.  The course is structured as a literature class but may include some elements of creative writing.  


    Counts for: Post-1800, Creative Writing minor, elective

  • ENG 360 The Literature of the European Colonies of North America and of the Early US

    Alvar Nunez Cabeza De Vaca, Pere Jogues, Rowlandson, Marrant, Wheatley, Bradstreet, Franklin, Jefferson, Brockden Brown, Poe.


    Counts for: Pre -1800, elective
    Also counts for:  American Studies major

  • ENG 370 10: Harlem Renaissance (Honors)

    This interdisciplinary course examines the literature and intellectual thought of the Harlem Renaissance, a period in African American history that covers, roughly, the 1920s and 1930s. This course will offer more than a cursory introduction to a cultural movement. Instead, students will study key figures and texts at length, including the works of Wallace Thurman, Langston Hughes, Alain Locke and Zora Neale Hurston. By the end of the course, students should be able to explain the different conceptualizations of the black aesthetic that were prevalent during this movement, and articulate how the confluence of race, class and gender have impacted literary productions of the period.

    Counts for: Post-1800, elective
    Also counts for: Black Studies minor, American Studies major

  • ENG 393 Journalism Practicum

    This course teaches basic news reporting and writing – the who, what, when, where, why & how of story organization; getting quickly to the point; conciseness; straightforward exposition; accuracy, fairness and balance, and ethical issues.


    This is a two-credit course. Students may count no more than 4 journalism credits toward the English major.


    Counts for: elective

  • ENG 394 10 SpTp: Anglo-Saxon Lang. & Lit.

    Have you ever wondered why English has irregular verbs, what dragons would dream, or how the first European vernacular literature developed?  Anglo-Saxon Language and Literature will answer those questions and more.  This course will focus on learning to read and translate Anglo-Saxon (Old English), the Germanic language from which present-day English evolved.  We will emphasize basic grammar, syntax, and some vocabulary acquisition, with regular homework, quizzes and online exercises to build your proficiency.  Since Anglo-Saxon and present-day English are closely related, from the first weeks we will able to start translating short pieces.  We will also delve into Anglo-Saxon literature by reading the epic poem “Beowulf,” in modern English translation over the course of the semester.  Prior experience in medieval literature (History of English Literature I, Medieval Literature, Chaucer, or Women Writers to 1800) is recommended, but not required. 


    Counts for:  Pre-1800, elective

  • ENG 394 11 SpTp: James Joyce

    This course is devoted to the works of James Joyce, the Irish novelist and poet considered to be one of the most influential and experimental writers of the early 20th century. We will begin by reading A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) and then proceed with a close reading of his 1922 masterpiece, Ulysses. Our analysis will focus on important motifs, tropes, and recurring themes in the novel as well as its historical and cultural information and different critical approaches.  We will conclude with a brief consideration of Finnegans Wake (1939). 


    Counts for:  Post-1800, elective

  • ENG 394 12 SpTp: Remembering Food

    Popular food memoirs, such as Ruth Reichl’s Tender at the Bone (1998) and Julia Child’s My Life in France (2006), now warrant their own shelf in most large bookstores and have started to gain a scholarly following as well. This course is designed to help students think critically about food and how it gets represented by contemporary female memoirists from varied geographies throughout the United States. Food is reflective of childhood, family, and culture; the food memoir, however, goes beyond that by opening up spaces for larger conversations about race and ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, and the politics surrounding food production, access, and distribution. Topics of discussion will include the ways that life narratives about food influence representations of women and the domestic sphere in contemporary US culture; both urban and rural experiences of food; cultural hybridity and authenticity; language and bilingual descriptions of food; and generic expectations of self-reflective storytelling practices. Texts may include: Denise Chavez’s A Taco Testimony: Meditations on Family. Food, and Culture (2006), Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life (2007), Bich Minh Nguyen’s Stealing Buddha’s Dinner (2007), Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor’s Vibration Cooking or The Travel Notes of a Geechee Girl (1992), and Patricia Volk’s Stuffed: Adventures of a Restaurant Family (2001).


    Counts for:  Post-1800, elective

  • ENG 394 13 SpTp: Literary Editing and Publishing

    During the 2014-15 academic year, The Rose O’Neill Literary House will launch Cherry Tree, a professional literary journal which will feature poets, fiction writers, and nonfiction writers of national reputation and which will be staffed by Washington College students.  In this class, students will receive hands-on training in the process of editing and publishing a top-tier literary journal. They will analyze literary markets even as they steward into print work from the nation’s most prestigious emerging and established writers.  This course will include extensive research and discussion of nationally recognized literary magazines and will cover topics such as a publication’s mission statement, its aesthetic vision, and its editorial practices.  All students who wish to join the editorial staff and be included on the masthead of Cherry Tree must complete one semester of ENG 394:  Literary Editing & Publishing.  


    Counts for: Creative Writing minor, elective

  • ENG 493 Journalism Practicum

    This course teaches basic news reporting and writing – the who, what, when, where, why & how of story organization; getting quickly to the point; conciseness; straightforward exposition; accuracy, fairness and balance, and ethical issues.


    This is a two-credit course. Students may count no more than 4 journalism credits toward the English major.


    Counts for: elective