Current Courses

Spring 2019

Here are the English courses being offered in Spring 2019 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 101 10-24: Literature and Composition

    W2 ENG 101 10-24: Literature and Composition

    This course is intended to develop 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.


    ENG 101 10:          MWF 9:30          Meehan

    We will study literature and writing 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 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. This emphasis on “first-hand” will be evident and prominent in the attention we will give to the writing process in developing a series of essays (with deliberate attention to revision and editing strategies) and in experimentations we will pursue with different media formats for our writing and reading: from printing press to blog to wiki to word processing to digital imaging to oral presentation. Indeed, as the title of another course text suggests, we will be focusing intensively on writing as rewriting.


    ENG 101 11:          MWF 10:30          O’Connor

    Transformations in Literature: Through our readings we will discuss what it means to change and the different ways one can change. We will focus on how transformation is impacted (or prevented) by gender, class, and ethnicity. To accomplish this we will read writers ranging from Charles Perrault and Angela Carter to James Joyce and Lê Thi Diem Thúy.


    ENG 101 12:          MWF 12:30-1:20          Rydel  

    Description TBA


    ENG 101 13:          MWF 1:30-2:20          Charles

    Americans in Paris: This course aims to help each student develop a self-reflective writing practice. Our readings will center on (mostly) twentieth-century American authors who inscribed the city of Paris into artful narratives about their origins as professional writers. While almost all of these authors did spend time living and writing in Paris, a few wrote about the city with only an armchair knowledge of it. Focusing on questions of identity, place, and artistic practice, we will consider how Paris functions as a site of literary production and cultural imagination, and we will work together to make our classroom another such site.


    Counts for: Intro-level (ENG major), Humanities distribution, JEP minor, W2 (writing requirement)

  • ENG 103 10-11: Intro to Creative Writing

    W2 ENG 103 10-11: Intro to Creative Writing

    ENG 103 10:        TTH 2:30-3:45        Abdur-Rahman

    ENG 103 11:        MWF 10:30-11:20        Andrews         


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


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

  • ENG 201 10: Art of Rhetoric

    MWF 12:30-1:20          Meehan


    Students will study and develop the rhetorical knowledge readers and writers use to generate persuasive critical analysis and compelling expository prose in any discipline or field of inquiry. Topics chosen by the instructor (for example: the rhetoric of documentary, the rhetoric of science, the rhetoric of identity) explore the ways writers, artists, and thinkers use rhetoric to communicate in a range of circumstances and texts, both print and multimedia, literary and multidisciplinary. Guided by readings in classical elements of rhetorical study (the 5 canons of rhetoric, rhetorical tropes and figures) students will develop knowledge of writing process and effective style; attention will also be given to the oratorical delivery of composition in the form of speech and/or multimedia presentation. The guiding principle of the course is emulative: while students read and critique various models of rhetorical knowledge evident in the course texts, they will also apply that knowledge to the texts they generate as writers.


    Focus for Spring 2019: The Rhetoric of Documentary

    The documentary focus in the course pairs nonfiction texts that represent and/or raise the question of how we document truth, experience, history, and memory alongside relevant models from visual media, specifically documentary films and photography. Questions and critical problems that will emerge: Is truth the same as fact? Can the representation of truthful experience or memory involve the imagination? What are the characteristics of rhetorically persuasive composition—and how do we know when we are using them effectively and honestly? Ongoing critical response to, and rhetorical analysis of, the course texts (both print and film) will be developed in several shorter writing assignments throughout the semester and culminate in a substantial final assignment in which students will create and critique a rhetoric for their own documentary project.


    Likely texts and authors:

    Films: The Central Park Five, Standard Operating Procedure

    Authors: Joan Didion, Sarah Burns, Nick Flynn, N. Scott Momaday

    Guides: An Introduction to Documentary FilmWords Like Loaded Pistols: Rhetoric from Aristotle to Obama


    Counts for: Intro-level (ENG major), Humanities distribution, JEP, W2 (writing requirement)

  • ENG 206 10/THE 206 10: Shakespeare II

    TTH 2:30-3:45          Moncrief       


    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, Humanities distribution

    Also counts for: Theatre major

  • ENG 208 10: Intro to Brit Lit & Culture II

    MWF 10:30-11:20          Charles           


    This course offers a survey of literature written in English between 1688 and 1892, a timeframe that spans what scholars have retrospectively identified as four periods of literary activity: the Restoration, the Eighteenth Century, Romanticism, and the Victorian age. Our reading focuses on major texts and authors, and analyzes them in the context of their historical moment and aesthetic movements. In particular, we will focus on the role that literature played in both representing and influencing the periods’ barrage of social changes. For it is during this time that technology first made print cheaply reproducible, and the subsequent increase in literacy rates produced a new mass audience eager to consume newspapers, magazines, and the new prose genre of the novel.


    Counts for: Intro-level (ENG major), Humanities distribution

  • ENG 209/AMS 209: Intro to American Lit and Culture II

    TTH 11:30-12:45          De Prospo      

    TTH 1:00-2:15          De Prospo      

    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.


    Counts for: Intro-level (ENG major), Humanities distribution

    Also counts for: American Studies major

  • ENG/AMS/BLS/CMS 214: Intro to African American Lit and Culture II

    MWF 12:30-1:20          Knight


    This course is a survey of 20th and 21st century African American literature. It is designed to introduce students to writers, texts, themes, and conventions that have shaped the African American literary tradition. The course will focus on tracing the influences blues, jazz and hip hop music have had on black literature. Authors studied in this course will include Langston Hughes, Toni Morrison, August Wilson, and Jay-Z. By the end of this course, you should have a clear understanding of the interplay between black music and black literature. You should also be able to understand these works within their literary, historical, social and political contexts.


    Counts for: 200-level, Humanities distribution

    Also counts for: American Studies major, Communications major, Black Studies minor

  • ENG/GEN 216: Classical Literature

    MWF 9:30-10:20          Rydel  


    This course will survey the rich literary and cultural heritage of Greek and Roman antiquity, with an eye towards its inheritance in the modern world. We will read texts from several major literary genres, including drama (Aeschylus, Euripedes, Aristophanes, and Seneca), lyric poetry (Sappho, Pindar, Catullus, and Horace), and epic (Virgil’s Aeneid, Ovid’s Metamorphoses, and Homer’s Odyssey). The culture and history of the ancient world, and the spread of Greek and Roman culture through conquest, intermarriage, trade, and hybridization will provide a rich context for understanding these literary works. Comparing various translations and examining modern adaptations of these texts will help us grapple with how these works have shaped our world today and what we wish to learn from them to better create our future.


    Counts for: 200-level, Humanities distribution

    Also counts for: Gender Studies minor

  • ENG 220 10-11: Intro to Fiction

    ENG 220: Intro to Fiction  


    ENG 220 10:         MWF 2:30-3:20         Knight

    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.


    ENG 220 11:         TTH 10-11:15         Kesey

    No form of literature is more varied in its approach to representations of the human experience than prose fiction. Students in this course will hone their close-reading skills and deepen their understanding of the elements of fiction as they analyze work from a wide range of cultures and historical periods. Particular attention will be paid to the ways in which writers have experimented with length, style, and structure, and the specific effects they sought to create in so doing. 


    Counts for: Intro-level (ENG major), Humanities distribution, W2 (writing requirement)

  • ENG 222: Intro to Poetry

    MWF 11:30-12:20          Andrews


    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: Intro-level (ENG major), Humanities distribution, W2 (writing requirement)


  • ENG 224 10: Intro to Journalism

    MWF 1:30-2:20           O’Connor       


    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: Intro-level (ENG major), Humanities distribution, W2 (writing requirement)

  • ENG/GEN 323: The Nineteenth Century Novel

    MWF 9:30-10:20         Charles


    Voodoo, creepy castles, the madwoman in the attic: for nineteenth century novels, close encounters with the unknown are never far away. This course brings together the overlapping genres of transatlantic fiction and gothic novels to interrogate how nineteenth-century readers of English conceptualized the newly-global British Empire and their places within it. Primary texts will include Jane Eyre, The Woman of ColorFrankenstein, Northanger Abbey, and Great Expectations.


    Counts for: Post-1800, Elective

  • ENG 332 10: Modern & Contemporary British Lit

    MWF 12:30-1:20          O’Connor


    This course will cover a range of British and American writing from World War II and the retreat to realism in the 1950s through the postmodern turn and the current literary landscape. Writers will include W.H. Auden, Samuel Beckett, Elizabeth Bowen, Angela Carter, Caryl Churchill, Graham Greene, Edna O’Brien, Graham Swift and Zadie Smith.


    Counts for: Post-1800, Elective

  • 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: Education

  • ENG/AMS/BLS/GEN 345: The African American Novel

    TTH 10:00-11:15          Knight 


    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.


    Counts for: Post-1800, Elective

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

  • ENG 353: Contemporary American Lit (Living Writers)

    TTH 2:30-3:45          Kesey 


    This course will focus on some of the most compelling work in all of contemporary American fiction, with the goal of understanding where we are, how we got here, and where we’re going next. Four of the writers we’ll read—Edward P. Jones, Lidia Yuknavitch, Lucy Corin and Rion Amilcar Scott—will visit our class to discuss their work with students in person, and will give a public reading as part of the Literary House & Sophie Kerr Reading Series. 


    Counts for: Post-1800, Elective

    Also counts for: Creative Writing Minor (for students who matriculate fall 2017 or before; also counts for creative writing for students who matriculate fall 2018 or after in the literature course category)

  • ENG 354 10: 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 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-visdiversity and representation.  All students who wish to join the editorial staff and be included on the masthead of Cherry Treemust complete one semester of ENG 394: Literary Editing & Publishing.


    Counts for: Elective

    Also counts for: Creative Writing Minor, JEP minor

  • ENG 377: 2PACalypse Now!

    T 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 Darknessin 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, Black Studies minor, Gender Studies minor

  • ENG 393/493 10: Journalism Practicum

    F 2:30-3:45          Abdur-Rahman                                                                                 


    This practicum for The Elm 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. (Students must take both ENG 393 and ENG 493 to earn credit for a course in the major.)


    Counts for: Elective, JEP (must take both 393 and 493 for a total of 4 credits for it to count for the English major or the JEP minor)

  • ENG/HUM/ILC/GEN 394 10: The Global Middle Ages

    MWF 11:30-12:20          Rydel              


    Global Middle Ages will explore literature from many languages and cultures, but just three genres: travel narratives, lyric poetry, and short stories from larger collections. Our goal will be to gain depth in these three specific genres, the breadth of seeing these texts in a larger multinational, multilingual context, and the specificity of students examining how travel itineraries link the locales, languages, and literatures across Europe, North Africa, and Asia. Instead of culminating in a traditional research paper assignment, this course will build towards the students collaboratively creating a website with the assistance of experts from the on-campus GIS Program, undertaking short writing assignments over the course of the semester. 


    Authors will include Abraham bin Ezra, Alfonso X, Bhavakadevi, Beatrice of Dia, Christine de Pizan, Geoffrey Chaucer, Du Fu, Giovanni Boccaccio, Hildegard of Bingen, Hafez, Ibn Battuta, Jahan Khatan, Li Quingzhao, Li Bo, Marie de France, Marco Polo, Rumi, Sei Shonagon, Vidya, and anonymous, among others.


    Counts for: Pre-1800, Elective

    Also counts for: Humanities major, ILC major, Gender Studies minor

  • ENG 394 11: Journalism - Adv Writing & Reporting

    TTH 10-11:15          Abdur-Rahman


    This course will expand upon the foundations of journalistic research, reporting, and writing. Students will learn elements of investigative reporting, literary journalism, and beat development. Students will produce news and feature articles publishable in professional newspapers, magazines, or online publications.


    Prerequisite: ENG 224: Intro to Journalism, or with permission from the instructor

    Counts for: Elective, JEP minor

  • ENG 411: Milton

    TTH 1-2:15          Moncrief


    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.)


    Counts for: Pre-1800, elective

  • ENG 454: Creative Writing Workshop: Nonfiction

    TTH 11:30-12:45          Abdur-Rahman


    If in the personal one finds the universal, then the personal essay contains entire worlds. In this course, students will explore how to affect the public through the private by examining persona, structure, narrative, and epiphany in the creative nonfiction form of personal essay. The class will study both classic and contemporary essayists, paying particular attention to language and specificity, and how they combine to produce revelation. Students will workshop with the aim of submitting polished work to literary journals and mainstream publications.


    Prerequisite: ENG 103 Introduction to Creative Writing, or with permission from the instructor

    Counts for: Elective, Creative Writing minor, JEP minor

  • ENG 493: Journalism Practicum

    F 2:30-3:45          Abdur-Rahman            


    This practicum for The Elm teaches basic news reporting and writing—the who, what, when, where, why, and how of story organization; getting 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. (Students must take both ENG 393 and ENG 493 to earn credit for a course in the major.)


    Counts for: Elective, JEP minor (must take both 393 and 493 for a total of 4 credits for it to count for the major or minor)            

  • ENG 494 10: Creative Writing Fiction Workshop: The Novella

    W 10-12:30          Kesey  


    Robert Lee called the novella the most “philosophical of the genres.” Stephen King called it an “anarchy-ridden literary banana republic.” Ian McEwan called it “the modern and postmodern form par excellence.” And of course they were all correct. This workshop will focus on the dynamics and mechanics, the aims and charms of these works of middling length. Class texts will include novellas from masters of the form such as Virginia Woolf, Nathaneal West, Marguerite Duras, Franz Kafka, Gabriel García Márquez and Yoko Tawada. By the end of the course, students will have made significant headway on novellas of their own devising. 


    Prerequisite: ENG 103 Introduction to Creative Writing or permission of the instructor

    Counts for: Elective, Creative Writing minor

  • ENG 494 11: Creative Writing Workshop: Prose Poetry

    W 1:30-4          Andrews


    What can be done with a rectangle of text? In this course, we will explore the possibilities inherent in one of the more generically-vexing forms of creative writing: the paragraph. Capable of containing entire stories and essays as well as experiments in the lyric, the paragraph-as-genre has both a rich history and an exciting present, and can offer creative writing students a wealth of new ways to explore and play with language. In this class, we will develop a kind of negative theory of the line—a theory, in other words, about what happens in the line’s absence. In the process of “building blocks,” students will generate a fine sense of where the boundaries lie (or don’t lie) between the main genres of creative writing. 


    Prerequisite: ENG 103 Introduction to Creative Writing

    Counts for: Elective, Creative Writing minor

JEP Courses, spring 2019:

  • ENG 101: Literature and Composition
  • ENG 103: Intro to Creative Writing
  • ENG 201: The Art of Rhetoric
  • ENG 224: Intro to Journalism
  • ENG 354 Literary Editing & Publishing
  • ENG 393/493 Journalism Practicum
  • ENG 454 Nonfiction Workshop
  • ENG 394 11: Advanced Writing and Reporting

Creative Writing courses, spring 2019:

  • ENG 103 Intro to Creative Writing
  • ENG 220: Introduction to Fiction
  • ENG 222: Introduction to Poetry
  • ENG 353: Contemporary American Lit (Living Writers)
  • ENG 354: Literary Editing & Publishing (2017 and before; counts in lit category for 2018 and after)
  • ENG 454: Creative Writing Workshop: Nonfiction
  • ENG 394 10: Creative Writing Workshop: The Novella
  • ENG 391 11: Creative Writing Workshop: Prose Poetry