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Current Courses

Spring 2017

Here are the English courses being offered in Spring 2017 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. 


  • W2 ENG 101 10: Literature and Composition

    W2 ENG 101 10: Lit & Comp            MWF 1:30-2:20            Meehan        


    English 101 develops your capacity for intelligent reading, critical analysis, and writing through the study of literature. This section will study literature in which questions and implications of writing and technology are present, if not prominent: Mary Shelley’s nineteenth-century novel Frankenstein; Sven Birkerts’s lament for the fate of reading and the book in that digital age, The Gutenberg Elegies; a variety of film versions and adaptations of the Frankenstein story (film is a multimedia writing machine); and various electronic (or hypertext) literary works. At the same time, reading and writing about such technology in literature, we will explore and interrogate reading and writing in relation to technology—indeed, reading and writing as technologies. Our focus, in this sense, is also a first-hand exploration of what it means for us to read and write and interpret texts thoughtfully and creatively, including the very texts we are working on—what it means for us to be and become skilled in the techniques and rhetoric of writing and critical thinking. Further information on the course can be found here: https://comppost.wordpress.com/syllabus/


    Counts for: ENG major 200-level course for students matriculating 2016-17 and after

    Also counts for: Humanities distribution, W2 (writing requirement)

  • W2 ENG 101 11: Literature and Composition

    W2 ENG 101 11: Lit & Comp            TTH  1-1:25            Sovich


    English 101 develops your capacity for intelligent reading, critical analysis, and writing through the study of literature. In this section, you will examine how and why writers call upon the senses (touch, taste, smell, hearing, sight) to manipulate their readers’ experiences. How can certain collections of words provoke emotional reactions, such as empathy, or even trigger physiological reactions?  We will write frequently, and read poetry, fiction, and nonfiction by authors such as: Diane Ackerman, Maggie Nelson, Patrick Süskind, Susan Sontag, Banana Yoshimoto, Oliver Sacks, Louise Glück, Jane Kenyon, William Carlos Williams, Italo Calvino.


    Counts for: ENG major 200-level course for students matriculating 2016-17 and after

    Also counts for: Humanities distribution, W2 (writing requirement)

  • W2 ENG 103 (10-11): Intro to Creative Writing

    W2 ENG 103 10: Intro to Creative Writing            TTH 11:30-12:45            Wagner

    W2 ENG 103 11: Intro to Creative Writing            TTH 1-2:15            Mooney


    A workshop on the forms of creative writing—primarily poetry and fiction as practiced by the students themselves. Readings in contemporary literature and craft.


    Restriction: None (open to all students)

    Counts for: Creative Writing minor, W2 (writing requirement)

  • ENG 206/THE 206: Shakespeare II

    ENG 206/THE 206: Shakespeare II             TTH 2:30-3:45            Moncrief


    This course, the second part of the Shakespeare sequence, will examine some of Shakespeare’s best known later plays 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 through the consideration of issues including authority and justice, appearance and identity, seeing and believing, memory, forgiveness, family, sexuality, and gender. Using films and local live productions (if available), we will also consider the plays as they have been and as they might be interpreted for performance.


    Counts for: Pre-1800, elective

    Also counts for: Humanities distribution, Theatre major

  • ENG 208 10: History of English Literature II

    ENG 208 10 History of English Literature II            MWF 1:30-2:20            Foster            


    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/AMS 201 10: Intro to American Lit II

    ENG/AMS 201 10: Intro to American Lit II            TTH 1:00-2:45            De Prospo     


    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 US culture will be included.


    Counts for: 200-level

    Also counts for: Humanities distribution

  • ENG/AMS/BLS 213 10: Intro to African American Lit II

    ENG/AMS/BLS 213 10 Intro to African American Lit II            MWF 12:30–1:20            Knight


    This course is a survey of African American literature from its beginnings to our current time. 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, Langston Hughes, and Toni Morrison, along with other black writers of the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. We will study representations of African American identity as it relates W.E.B. Du Bois’s notion of “double consciousness.” Each of the narratives, poems, essays and stories contemplates what it means to be both black and an American.  By the end of this course, you should have a clear understanding of how representative works by African American writers address intersectional identities in their work. You should also be able to understand these works within their literary, historical, social and political contexts.


    Counts for: 200-level

    Also counts for: Humanities distribution, Black Studies minor, American Studies major

  • W2 ENG 220: Intro to Fiction

    W2 ENG 220 Intro to Fiction            MWF 11:30-12:20            Knight           


    This course surveys the rich tradition of prose fiction in English (and in translation), with an emphasis on the enduring features of this genre as it evolved throughout the centuries, as well as the innovations introduced by individual writers. 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. The literary works selected for this course draw upon a variety of fictional forms and styles; however, all of the texts touch on the idea of difference. Nearly all of the protagonists find themselves at odds with their families, communities, cultures and/or societies in which they live. One of the central questions we will contemplate in this course is “How do these characters deal with being different?” We will also consider how they are perceived by others, and how each author uses the trope of difference and otherness to articulate various themes in her/his writing. 


    Counts for: 200-level

    Also counts for: Humanities distribution, W2 (writing requirement)

  • W2 ENG 221 10: Intro to Nonfiction

    W2 ENG 221 10 Intro to Nonfiction            MWF 10:30-11:20            Meehan         


    We study the essay, the oldest and arguably most significant form of nonfiction. As you will see, this is not necessarily the “essay” you were asked (or forced) to write in earlier schooling. Essayists, from Montaigne and Emerson to contemporary writers of what’s called creative nonfiction have viewed this literary form not as punishment or even pedagogy so much as performance and experiment. “Essay is a verb, not just a noun,” the contemporary essayist John D’Gata notes, “essaying is a process.” We will explore that process as both readers and writers of essays across three parts of the course, moving us from classic to contemporary examples, and from critical perspectives on the essay to creative performance of our own essaying. Part One: The Philosophy of the Essay—origins and principles of the form. Part Two: The Rhetoric of the Essay—the essay in series or book collection, used to argue, expose, explore. Part Three: The Poetics of the Essay—innovations of the essay in recent forms of “creative nonfiction,”  including multimedia. The course will culminate with a substantial essay that students develop and prepare for actual publication.


    Counts for: 200-level

    Also counts for: Humanities distribution, W2 Writing Requirement

  • W2 ENG 222 10: Intro to Poetry

    W2 ENG 222 10: Intro to Poetry             TTH 10-11:15            Sovich


    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.”


    Counts for: 200-level

    Also counts for: Humanities distribution, W2 (writing requirement)

  • ENG 294 10: Intro to World Lit

    ENG 294 10:  Intro to World Lit            TTH 11:30-12:45            Kesey


    Students in this course will explore a number of superb contemporary texts drawn from outside the Anglo-American literary tradition. Very nearly all of the work will be read in translation; knowledge of the source languages will be helpful but is not required or expected. The cultural and historical contexts of each work studied will be provided by lectures, student-led discussions and oral presentations, and the reading of secondary sources. Close attention will be paid to both the values that might be seen to serve as bridges between literary traditions and to the characteristics that help each work stand out from others that happen to share its time, place and genre.


    Counts for: 200-level

    Also counts for: Humanities distribution

  • ENG 342/EDU 354 10: Children’s & Young Adult Lit

    ENG 342/EDU 354 10: Children’s & Young Adult Lit            TTH 1-2:15            Bunten   


    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.


    Counts for: Post-1800, elective

    Also counts for: Eduction

  • ENG 344: The American Novel

    ENG 344: The American Novel            TTH 2:30-3:45            Mooney


    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.


    Counts for: Post-1800, elective

  • ENG 363/AMS: The Gilded Age and American Realism

    ENG 363/AMS: The Gilded Age & Am. Realism            TTH 10:00-11:15            Knight 


    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.


    Counts for: Post-1800, elective

    Also counts for: American Studies major

  • ENG/HUM 360: Literature of European Colonies, North America, and of the Early US

    ENG/HUM 360: Lit of European Colonies, of North America, & of the Early US            

    T  7-9:30            De Propso     


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


    Counts for: Pre-1800, elective

    Also counts for: American Studies major

  • ENG/AMS/HUM/GEN/BLS 377: 2PACalypse Now

    ENG/AMS/HUM/GEN/BLS 377: 2PACalypse Now            W 7-9:30            De Prospo  


    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.


    Counts for: Post-1800, elective

    Also counts for: American Studies major, Humanities major, Gender Studies minor, Black Studies minor

  • ENG 393/493: Journalism Practicum
    ENG 393/493: Journalism Practicum            Th 6-7 pm            McIntire      


    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 practicum credits toward the English major.


    Counts for: Elective

  • ENG 394 10/GEN: Queer Lit

    ENG 394 10/GEN: Queer Lit            MWF 10:30-11:20            Foster                        


    This course offers an introduction to selected works of queer literature. Together, we will explore a range of texts from the 19th- 21st-centuries that present a variety of perspectives on LGBTQ experiences. We will place these works within their cultural and historical contexts, and we will explore a number of theoretical lenses through which we might interpret them, including constructivist theories of gender and sexuality and intersectional approaches. Questions to which we will return throughout the course include: how do we define “queer literature”? what are its main characteristics? does a writer who identifies as queer automatically produce a queer text? What is the queer author/artist’s relationship with form? What is the relationship between queerness, narrative and social justice? self-help? entertainment? politics? power? privilege?, and finally, how do issues of sexual/gender identity intersect with other kinds of personal identity such as race and social class?


    Counts for: Post-1800, elective

    Also counts for: Gender Studies minor

  • ENG 394 11: From Biography to Fiction: Transformation and Revision

    ENG 394 11: From Biography to Fiction: Transformation and Revision            

    TTH 11:30-12:45            Saxton  


    This course explores the relationship between biography and the imaginative process of writing fiction. We will read biographical accounts of three well-known early American novelists: Catherine Maria Sedgwick, Louisa May Alcott, and Harriet Beecher Stowe as well as studying a popular text by each: Hope Leslie, by Sedgwick, Work, by Alcott, and Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Each novel has significant autobiographical content, but the authors have transformed their personal experience—as well as their individual experiences of their social and cultural worlds into popular stories. This will be a discussion-based class in which students will trace the relationships between the lived experience of the authors as recounted by their biographers and the ways in which the writers used memories of those incidents and impressions in stories for a broad audience. These writers shared significant religious and social influences that shaped their expectations about gender, work, marriage, family, and community. Students will explore the similarities and differences in the authors’ treatment of these themes in their plots and development of character. Pairs of students will be expected to lead class discussion at least once during the semester.


    Counts for: Post-1800, elective

  • ENG 394 12: Disability & (In)Visibility: Representations in Contemporary Lit.

    ENG 394 12:  Disability & (In)Visibility: Representations in Contemporary Lit.     

    MWF 12:30-1:20            Foster


    Through an examination of contemporary literature, this course will take up a number of current topical debates In Disability Studies. We will consider disability as a form of embodied difference and explore the different ways in which DS can offer a richer perspective from which to view literature and culture. We will begin by discussing foundational texts in DS—and then draw on a range of contemporary literary texts to examine the multiple meanings the human body comes to bear in various social and cultural contexts. Exploring both questions of physical difference and ‘normality’, you will be encouraged to think and write critically about the significance of the body with regard to questions of individual and communal identities as well as larger social and political issues. You will also examine the intersections of the body and text and the ways in which a thoughtful examination of the body as representation coincides with an exploration of the text (in its many forms) as a representation or a means of representing. Throughout the course, you will engage with questions of representation: How can the body be translated into a text? What is at stake? Can the body ever be fully textualized or does it resist representation? How does the body come to bear the weight of contemporary debates and concerns? What role does representation play in the constitution of bodies?


    Counts for: Post-1800, elective

  • ENG 394 13: SpTp Literary Editing & Publishing

    ENG 394 13: SpTp Literary Editing & Publishing            M 1:30-4            Hall    


    During the 2015-16 academic year, The Rose O’Neill Literary House launched Cherry Tree, a professional literary journal featuring poets, fiction writers, and nonfiction writers of national reputation and which will be staffed by Washington College students. In this course, students receive hands-on training in the process of editing and publishing a top-tier literary journal. They analyze literary markets even as they steward into print work from the nation’s most prestigious emerging and established writers. This class includes extensive research and discussion of nationally recognized literary magazines and covers topics such as a publication’s mission statement, its aesthetic vision, and its editorial practices. Some attention will also be paid to the history of literary editing and publishing and theories regarding the role of the literary journal vis-à-vis diversity and representation.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: Elective, Creative Writing minor

  • ENG 410/THE: Shakespeare Now: Shakespeare & Contemporary Criticism

    ENG 410/THE: Shakespeare Now: Shakespeare & Contemporary Criticism          

    TTH 1-2:15             Moncrief    


    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, Performance Criticism and Post-Colonialism).


    Counts for: Pre-1800, elective
    Also counts toward the Drama major

  • ENG 452 10: Creative Writing Workshop: Fiction

    ENG 452 10: Creative Writing Workshop: Fiction            W 4-6:30            Mooney         


    This workshop offers guided practice in the writing of short fiction.  Using the work of established writers as models, considerable effort is put toward the objective of learning to read as writers and, in the process, becoming better critics of the student’s own work and the work of others in the group.  By offering a more intimate familiarity with the elements of fiction, students write and revise prodigiously and, in the process, learn and practice a repertoire of literary strategies in preparation and in support of short stories of their own composition. 


    Prerequisite: ENG 103 Introduction to Creative Writing.

    Counts for: Elective, Creative Writing minor

  • ENG 494 10: Creative Writing Workshop: Travel Writing

    ENG 494 10: Creative Writing Workshop: Travel Writing            T 1:30-4            Kesey


    This creative writing workshop will focus on reading, analyzing and writing within this most inclusive of all literary genres. We will bear witness to the ways in which travel writers from Herodotus through Marco Polo and Mary Wortley Montagu to Beryl Markham and Paul Theroux have made use of an incredibly wide range of other genres (including but not limited to memoir, journalism, ethnography, scientific report, correspondence, history, and fiction) in the course of their attempts to bring news of the Other back home. In the interest of stealing tricks for our own travel writings, we will explore the ways in which the genre-based parameters of travel writing work to create and give form to our knowledge of the world, as well as the ways in which specific travel writing texts use, perform, allude to and transform these parameters. This course will include a number of short field trips, both literal and metaphorical.


    Prerequisite: ENG 103 Introduction to Creative Writing

    Counts for: Elective, Creative Writing minor

  • ENG 494 11-12/ART: Poetry and Book Arts: Writing, Printing, Binding

    ENG 494 11/ART            M 10-12:30            Sovich  

    ENG 494 12/ART            W 1:30-4            Sovich


    Letterpress printing allows writers to consider the printed page as a form with its own limitations, its own rules to test and break. Students will learn to hand set their writing in lead type and feel the physical weight of their own words. The class will work toward writing, designing, letterpress printing, and hand binding a small-edition chapbook that will feature each student’s poetry, written during the semester. The focus of the class will be the exploration of briefer forms and experimentation with utilization of the page. Class time will be split between discussions and demonstrations.


    Prerequisite: ENG 103 Introduction to Creative Writing

    Counts for: Elective, Creative Writing minor, Art major