Courses in English Language and Literature (Division 361)

Fall Term, 1998 (September 8-December 21, 1998)

100- and 200-level



A complete up to date listing of English Department course descriptions can be found on the World Wide Web at

For all English classes, registered students must be present at each of the first two meetings to claim their places. Any student who does not meet this requirement may be dropped from the course. NOTE: If you must miss a class due to religious observances, contact the instructor or leave a message for the instructor with the department (764-6330).


After taking or placing out of Introductory Composition, students may elect either English 224 or 225 for further practice in the fundamentals of expository and argumentative prose. English 325 offers the opportunity for work in argumentative and expository prose at a more advanced level.

Several sections of English 223, the beginning course in creative writing, are available each term. The work is multi-generic, and two of the following will be covered in each section: fiction, poetry, and drama, or you may take English 227 (Introductory Playwriting). A more advanced course for creative writers is English 323 (Fiction or Poetry), which is available after completion of the prerequisite, English 223. More experienced writers may apply for admission to specialized sections of English 327 (Playwriting), English 423 (Fiction), English 427 (Advanced Playwriting), and English 429 (Poetry). Admission to these advanced courses is by permission of the instructor, who may require writing samples.


Independent study in English must be elected under one of the following numbers: 226 (Directed Writing, 1-3 hours), 299 (Directed Reading, 1-3 hours), 426 (Directed Writing, 1-4 hours), 499 (Directed Reading, 1-4 hours). There is a limit to the total hours that may be taken under any one number. Students interested in independent study should obtain an application from the English Department office on the third floor of Angell Hall. Independent study proposals must be approved by a supervising professor and by the Undergraduate Chair of the department. The deadline for Independent Study in the Fall Term 1998 is September 14, 1998.

Take me to the Fall Time Schedule

124. College Writing: Writing and Literature. ECB writing assessment. (4). (Introductory Composition).
By connecting the two terms of its title, Writing and Literature aims to help prepare the student to produce the range and quality of expository prose expected in college courses. Works of literature will be considered for their effective use of language and argument. They will serve as reference points for thinking and writing strategies. Characteristically, sections of English 124 will involve the writing of a minimum of five essays, with considerate attention given to the preparation of drafts and to revision. The literary works which will serve as points of reference will vary from section to section and from term to term. Section descriptions can be found on the department's Web page or in 3020 Angell Hall.

Section 009. This composition class incorporates the reading of literature as an approach to good writing and analytical thinking. Focusing on the details of language from overall paper organization to the specifics of word choice and sentence structure, students will be asked to write in a variety of stylistic forms. For discussion and analysis, we will read American literature in the context of the centrality of "place" in society: how authors configure their identity in relation to where they come from and/or the places that have meaning in their lives. We will read short stories, poetry and several short novels by writers such as Edgar Allan Poe, Mark Twain, Eudora Welty, Emily Dickinson, and Jamaica Kincaid among others. You will be asked to write three papers, weekly short response essays, and a longer revised paper at the end of the term. (Lee)

Section 050. This course will develop the ability to write critically about literature. Working within the confines of the essay form, we will ask what it means to formulate an argument about a literary text, and how one most successfully goes about advancing that argument. Above all we will be concerned with questions of rhetorical structure, organization, clarity, and documentation. For example, we will ask how specific claims can be presented in their most compelling form, at the level of the sentence, the paragraph, and the essay itself. What should an introduction accomplish? What kind of sentence structure fits best with a speculative argument? When are conclusions necessary? We will pursue these and similar questions in the context of the 20th-century American short story. Taking up authors such as Jane Bowles, Raymond Carver, Robert Coover, Jamaica Kincaid, William Gass, Amy Tan, Eudora Welty, and Richard Wright, we will focus on how each uses the economy of form in their stories to rhetorical and argumentative advantage, asking, in effect, how essays on literature might similarly capitalize on the constraints of "shortness." Students will deliver drafts of their writing to the rest of the class on a regular basis and will use feedback from their peers to assist in the revision of these drafts. (Szalay)

Section 052. Good manners, in writing as in life, require us to maintain a sense of audience if you win the lottery, for example, do you tell your rich friend the same way you tell your newly bankrupt friend? So this course aims to develop our manners within a specific writing situation, namely, college-level writing. In the opening weeks we discuss a modified version of classical rhetoric, where logos (logic), pathos (feeling), ethos (ethic or attitude), and style are the components of any communication. In the subsequent weeks, students deliver advanced drafts to the class in a friendly open forum, gathering praise, queries, cautions, and advice on final revisions. Our texts range widely in style and content, and will include at least one novel, lots of short stories, a play, and a film. (Thomas)

Section 053 Film and Society. In this course we will view eight films by major directors, all of which deal with political or social issues, as the basis for discussion and writing. The earliest film is D.W. Griffith's Intolerance (1916), the latest, Akira Kurosawa's Rhapsody in August (1991). Other directors and films include: Charles Chaplin, Monsieur Verdoux; John Ford, The Grapes of Wrath; Orson Welles, Citizen Kane; Stanley Kubrick, Dr. Strangelove; Francis Ford Coppola, Apocalypse Now; and David Lean, A Passage to India. We will also read some of the sources for these films. Frequent writing with opportunities for revision. Paper topics will be drawn both from the films themselves (e.g., the styles of different directors), and from some of the issues they deal with. (Howes)
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125. College Writing. ECB writing assessment. (4). (Introductory Composition).
No one ever finishes learning to write, so this course focuses on helping students further develop their unique potentials as writers, readers, and thinkers. By analyzing texts from a variety of academic disciplines, students will come to understand the conventions writers follow to present their ideas effectively to their chosen audiences. What rhetorical strategies are common in different disciplines and why? How and when might we use those strategies in our own writing? For instance, what writing strategies would we call upon for a lab report, and would we use any of those strategies for a philosophical speculation, a history exam, a love letter? Throughout the term, students will work to identify the writing skills they most need to develop, and they'll invent and refine a personal style of expression that can be adapted to different audiences and purposes. Course requirements include at least 40 pages of writing, including at least 20 pages of revised, polished prose. Section descriptions can be found on the department's Web page or in 3020 Angell Hall.
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140(126). First-Year Literary Seminar. (3). (HU).
Section 002 Renaissance Drama.
In this seminar, we will be reading both Shakespearean and non-Shakespearean Renaissance drama and using our encounter with these rich plays to develop tools useful to future literary study. Close attention to language, imagery, and characterization will be combined with an examination of historical conflicts and issues disputes over gender, class, power, and many more which are of continuing relevance in today's world. In addition, we will be emphasizing the performance of the plays, viewing recorded productions and experimenting in class with our own ideas for their staging. Among the plays to be read will be The Taming of the Shrew, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Jew of Malta, The Merchant of Venice, The Spanish Tragedy, Hamlet, and The Duchess of Malfi (all available at Shaman Drum Bookshop). There will be weekly, brief writing assignments as well as two longer essays. Cost:2 (Mullaney)

Section 003 Colonization and Resistance in Native America. This course is a study of the historical representations of the American Indian. We will rely on European/Euramerican texts and, when possible, on native historical writings to discuss the construction of "Indian" and the negotiations of tribal identity and lands. In addition to literary materials we will use popular films depicting white/Indian encounters and native testimony. The course span is "discovery" to the end of the 19th century. Students are not expected to have previous knowledge of native histories or cultures. Attendance, participation, and midterm and final papers (each 10 pages) are required. (Bell)
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217. Literature Seminar. Completion of the Introductory Composition requirement. (3). (HU).
Section 001 Comic Responses to Catastrophe.
Study of post World-War II texts and films which take thematic material traditionally treated with "high seriousness," cast it in an essentially comic mode, and keep us laughing all the way to the grave. We will try to determine how and why these works are comic, to discover why, in our time, their mostly grisly subject matter elicits comic responses, and to define and describe the nature of comedy. About six books and two or three films; I will post the list outside my office [3180 Angell Hall] in April. Students also read a four-page anthology of comic theory covering a mere 2,500 years. Class size should allow each student a chance to lead discussion. One short paper; one longer critical/analytical essay. Course requires your actively and intelligently participating presence as we try to learn together [which is the nature of a seminar] why we laugh at other people's pain. (Bauland)
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223. Creative Writing. Completion of the Introductory Composition requirement. (3). (CE). May not be repeated for credit.
All sections of 223 teach the writing of two of the following three genres: fiction (including personal narrative), drama, and poetry. Different sections will emphasize the individual genres to varying degrees. Class work involves the discussion of the process of writing and the work of a few published authors. Students will do exercises meant to develop a sensitivity to language and a facility with evocative detail, voice, form, and so forth. Most classroom time, however, is devoted to reading and discussion of student writing. A final portfolio of revised finished work of 35-50 manuscript pages may be required. Section descriptions can be found on the department's Web page or in 3020 Angell Hall.

Section 001. To progress as a writer, you must be willing to write and to write badly. This class will be a refuge for your original fiction and poetry. Through discussion of your own creative writing and the reading of primarily contemporary authors, we will navigate the difficulties of writing well and meaningfully. Questions of voice, style, and the politics of writing will be addressed in relation to your work. Requirements will include: approximately eight original poems and two short stories, a writer's journal, and attendance of at least one outside reading. (Jaleel)

Section 002. In this introductory creative writing class we will explore the crafts of fiction and personal narrative (memoir). To do this we will ask and attempt to find answers to questions such as: How do we transfer personal experience onto the page? What makes our favorite stories our favorite stories? To these ends we will read published works, but our main goal will be to write and discuss our own fiction and nonfiction. Together we will discover previously not-thought-of ways to write about our lives and the lives of others. There will be a requirement of 35-40 pages of combined fiction and personal narrative. You are expected to complete assigned readings and to thoughtfully comment on the works of your classmates. You need only your experiences and imaginations. The rest we will wrestle with together. (Sayman)

Section 003. This course will allow you to explore and experiment with new ways of writing and reading poetry and fiction. Although the course will primarily be a workshop focused on your own writing, we also will read and discuss contemporary poems and stories and use exercises designed to get original, imaginative thoughts and techniques flowing. The goal of this course will be to achieve authenticity of voice and expression, drawing upon each writer's unique set of experiences and stories. We will explore how specificity and attention to sensory detail can create real worlds within your works. Requirements include class attendance, participation in discussions and critiques, attendance at two outside readings, and a final revised portfolio of 7-10 poems and 20-30 pages of fiction. By the end of term you will have improved as both writers and readers and will have gained the dedication necessary for re-thinking and rewriting stories and poems. Most importantly, your passion for reading and writing will grow to sustain itself beyond the classroom. (Durrett)

Section 004. This course will provide students with a foundation in the craft of writing fiction and poetry. To get a sense of what makes up a successful story or poem, we will begin the term by looking at the work of published masters. Written exercises will accompany reading assignments. Students also will be encouraged to keep a journal for collecting ideas for stories, stray sentences, bits of dialogue, dreams, thoughts on favorite writers. Once we have established a common ground for discussing issues of craft, the course emphasis will shift to student writing. Each student will be expected to turn in 5-10 poems and 20-30 pages of fiction. At least two poems and one short story must be distributed to class for workshop. Students will be expected to ask themselves, "How can I help the author fully realize this work?" rather than dwell on simple likes and dislikes. Thoughtful, respectful criticism is a key component of the final grade. Other requirements include timely submission of assignments, attendance at two readings by local or visiting writers, and participation, participation, participation. (Munoz)

Section 005. According to Louis Simpson, American poetry "must have/ A stomach that can digest/ Rubber, coal, uranium, moons, poems." That list is almost infinitely expandable with race riots, television shows, amusement parks, dawns, and poets. This course will be an experiment in how we learn to digest in language the facts of our lives. It will concern the writing of poetry and fiction, though the emphasis will be on poetry. Students will be expected to write and revise 8-10 pages of poetry, a 10-15 page short story, and five pages of short-shorts. Toward this end, we will workshop student pieces and examine the processes that lead from experience to writing and back again. Students will keep a writing notebook with in-class and out-of-class exercises designed to train the inner eye on places it might not normally focus. We will read closely the works of writers such as Heaney, Kafka, Neruda, O'Connor, James Wright, Plath, Rich, Kinnell, and spend some time on an in-depth examination of one writer's career. But our main focus will be on helping each student find a voice that can digest uranium and still "swim for miles through the desert/ Uttering cries that are almost human." (Haskell)

Section 006. This course is an introduction to the writing of contemporary literary fiction and poetry. Although the focus will be on your writing, we will also read and discuss selections from one of the recent Pushcart Prize anthologies. We will learn to discuss writing with intelligence and care before anyone's writing is workshopped (have no fear!). Each student will assemble a 30-35 page writing portfolio (which will include both in-class writing assignments as well as workshopped and revised stories and poems) and a journal (which is more like an "idea book," and can include sketches, pictures, words, etc.). Also, because listening to language should always be encouraged, attendance of at least two public readings is required. The goals of this class are to learn to read and write with both intelligence and passion and to generate fiction and poetry that causes commotion. Enthusiastic participation is expected. (Kochick)

Section 007 Writing the New. This will be an introductory course on the writing of poetry and fiction, with an emphasis on poetry. Be prepared to discuss your own and others' work at a relaxed, respectful, creative, and energetic level. The texts for this course will be a contemporary poetry anthology and a fiction anthology. There will also be some hand-outs of short but creative criticism which we will discuss in class. There will be a weekly writer's journal, in which you are encouraged to discuss the process of your writing; there will be one required review of a group of poems from the anthology or one work of fiction; and, at the end of the term, a final portfolio of your work (5-10 poems and 20-25 pages of fiction). If time and enthusiasm permit, there will be some experimental assignments to end our term. (Morrissey)

Section 008. This course offers an introduction to the writing of poetry and fiction, with a slightly greater emphasis on the former. We will consider some of the tools (style, point of view, rhythm, etc.) that you can effectively use in the craft of writing, and we will discuss issues that arise from your creative efforts. We will endeavor to provide discerning, constructive criticism to each member of the class, with the hope of discovering those gratifying moments of connection among writer, text, and reader. Since good readers make good writers, we will also look at individual pieces by an eclectic variety of authors and poets. To name a few examples: W.H. Auden, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Langston Hughes, Sylvia Plath, Jorge Luis Borges, Franz Kafka, and Alice Munro. Work requirements: attendance, significant contributions to class discussions, 8-10 pages of poetry, 20-25 pages of fiction, and a complete portfolio of well-polished revisions by the end of the term. (Pontee)

Section 009. "My father reads the dictionary every day. He says your life depends on your power to master words." (Arthur Scargill) Power: gaining control over language, finding your individual voice. We are all caught in a cacophony of juxtaposed lights and images; we are all hallucinating from media fixes, choking on best-seller-made-for-TV-movies, paralyzed by the courtroom gleam of OJ and Louise Woodward, and trembling from the machinery that murdered rap singers. In this class we will stumble through the intoxicating possibilities of voice through exercises involving poetry, monologue, performance art, and media. We will explore a range of voices to be the lady shoplifting gum in the express line, to be the man in drag yellowing in his childhood pictures, to be the eighteen-year-old who finds America in a beat-up Chevy with a carton of cigarettes. This course will give you the tools to be experimental and thought-provoking. Course requirements: workshop attendance and involvement, 8-10 revised poems, 20 pages revised fiction, and a writer's journal. (D. Smith)

Section 010. In terms of creative writing, we are all always beginners from now until the end of our lives; there is much to learn from each other and from established authors. This introductory writing course will focus on poetry and fiction, with a reading focus on poetry. We will spend most of our time workshopping each other's work, but will also read the works of several authors, including Denis Johnson, Raymond Carver, and Guy de Maupassant (fiction), as well as Louise Gluck, Theodore Roethke, and Adam Zagajewski (poetry). As we read and write we will discuss the significance of the singular word, as well as the development of punctuation and syntax in relation to theme, content, and style. Students will be expected to complete a portfolio of approximately 30 pages, comprised of some parts fiction, some parts poetry the balance of which will be discovered by the individual. Various exercises and excursions will help inspire and tune our creative impulses. Attendance and a voice are mandatory. (B. Lewis)

Section 011. People say that writing cannot be taught, and they are right. Writing is something you just have to sit there and do: an act of faith in yourself and whatever else. What can be taught is reading, and this introductory creative writing class, with an emphasis on fiction, will focus on helping students to become better readers of their own and other writers' work. We will start off by reading published stories and poetry with an eye towards technique: what effect is this poet/author trying to achieve here? What technique does he employ to that end? To what extent does he or she succeed? This rigorous reading will refine our ear for cliché, abstraction, and other enemies of clear self-expression. It will bear special fruit in the process of revision, arguably as important as the original act of writing itself. We will go on to use and develop these active reading skills as we workshop each other's poetry and diction. In addition to lively student speculation and a few selected writing assignments, 10 pages of poetry and 20 of fiction will be required. (Buckholtz)

Section 012. Our workshop in fiction and poetry will approach creative writing as an occasion for expressing the personal. To this end, we will try to learn the trick of original voice, and meditate upon the concept of writerly attention; but mostly we're going to give the brain a pen and some paper, and get out of the way as writing happens, excruciatingly and inevitably. Though students' work will always have priority, there may be assigned readings from contemporary writers, with slightly more emphasis on fiction than poetry. Requirements will include 5-8 pages of poetry and 20-35 pages of fiction, two major revisions due at the end of the term, consistent and careful critiques of classmates' work, and regular attendance. (Hyoun)

Section 013. This introductory creative writing course is for students who want to discover their writing voices, but don't know where to start. Through weekly writing exercises and readings, we'll help you get your words down on paper, then we'll experiment with the mechanics of writing (form, voice, characterization, etc.) in order to produce finished poems and short stories. This class will function as a workshop, which means that everyone will share his/her work with the group, and be willing to give as well as receive generous and helpful criticism. This will be a writing-intensive course, with the focus on the production and examination of your work. You will be expected to maintain a writer's notebook, complete weekly writing assignments, attend two local readings, and produce 25-30 pages of revised work for a final portfolio. Come prepared to get down to work, but also to gain valuable tools which will benefit you for a lifetime. (Morrow)

Section 014. "It is necessary to any originality to have the courage to be an amateur." Wallace Stevens. Is it possible to "learn" creative writing? Are there techniques and habits that seem to pop up more often than not in literature? Were you able to drive in the Indy 500 the first time you ever got behind the steering wheel? You get the idea. This introductory creative writing course will focus on poetry and fiction, a bit more on the latter than the former. It's a workshop, which means class participation is essential. We will read, we will write and we will explore exactly what an "amateur" has to gain from a little courage. Respect and open-mindedness are the only two prerequisites. Required work includes 5-10 revised poems, 25-30 pages of revised fiction, attendance at two readings by local or visiting writers and frequent writing exercises. (Downey)

Section 015. Why do we write? Simply to express the inner landscapes of our grief, joy, or laughter to what we call the world? In this introductory course we will use a variety of poetry and prose writings from different countries and time periods as stimuli as we begin our own great imaginative adventures. The emphasis will be on your writing; you will be expected to participate in class discussions and in the considered and constructive criticism of your classmates' work. So bring your open hearts and minds as we embark upon our unique dialogue with the world. Texts will include one short novel, a short story anthology, and a course pack of poems. Requirements will also include a personal journal, two brief in-class presentations and two conferences with the instructor. By the end of term, each student will have completed and revised twenty to thirty pages of fiction and at least six poems. (Tovanche)

Section 016 A Semester of Writing Dangerously. True story: one of America's greatest screenwriters teaches a college-level writing course whose only requirement for admission is one great obsession (e.g., Mommy, God, that terrible prom night). He actually hand-picks his students according to the intensity of their neuroses. Well, don't worry; I don't go that far I don't believe that fresh, compelling poetry and prose require relentless confessionalism or shock-value content. And workshop is certainly not a therapist's couch. But this course will require a fearless imagination, hearfelt sincerity, strong opinions, and dogged enthusiasm. We will inspire each other to write surprising, radiant pieces, and produce, at the end of the semester, an impressive, intelligent and polished thirty-page portfolio of poems and fiction. We will also be reading from a course pack and responding weekly to these readings. The workshop is a wonderful opportunity to write what is most dangerous that which is closest to your heart. (Hutton)
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225. Argumentative Writing. Completion of the Introductory Composition requirement. (4). (HU).
This course furthers the aims of English 124 and 125 in helping to analyze the various claims of a given issue and to develop ways of exploring and defending positions, ideas, and beliefs in writing. Careful attention will be paid to the process of reasoning, the testing of assumptions and claims, the questioning of beliefs, and the discovery of ideas and evidence through analysis and rigorous articulation in written discourse. The course will also focus on considerations of style, formal strategy techniques, and revision as integral to precision in making points and developing argumentative ideas both for purposes of individual reflection as well as for the purpose of persuading an audience. Section descriptions can be found on the department's Web page or in 3020 Angell Hall.
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227/Theatre 227. Introductory Playwriting. (3). (CE).
In this course, we will write a one act play. We will start with the first whisperings of an idea, then nurture it, develop it, workshop it, and by the end of the term we will share our work with an audience of friends. Class time will be divided in three ways: (1) Writing games to stir imagination, touch passion, inspire ideas, explore voice. (2) Lectures on story telling principles and dramatic structure common to plays, screenplays, and teleplays. (3) Discussions of student writing. Other assignments will include reading plays, keeping a journal and meeting regularly with the teacher. Ambitious students are encouraged to write more than a one act play, e.g., a series of 10 minute plays or a first draft of a full length play. (Hammond)
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230. Introduction to Short Story and Novel. (3). (HU).
Section 001 The Romance of Imagination.
Fiction has always given pride of place to the imagination's ability to transport us to another world. In this course we'll explore fiction's romance with the imagination by reading fiction from the romantic period to the present day. We'll begin with the romantic imagination's ability to remake the world, and trace the problems and possibilities that this ability offers prose fiction. When we reach the twentieth century we'll explore the link between imagination and the act of writing itself. And we'll end by asking what the romantic imagination offers us in the late twentieth century. Throughout, we'll shuttle back and forth between the idea of the romantic and the idea of romance as we explore how fiction is continually falling into and out of love with the human imagination. We'll read works by, among others, Jane Austen, Mary Shelley, James Joyce, Jorge Luis Borges, John Barth, Nadine Gordimer, Tim O'Brien, and Jeanette Winterson. (Jager)

Section 002 Exploring America. This class is an introduction to American fiction as well as an exercise in the practice of democracy. We will explore narrative strategies deployed by various American writers during the 19th and 20th centuries with a particular focus on how these narrators situate themselves within a "democratic" system. This subject matter will, I believe, be complementary to the situation in the classroom as we forge our intellectual identities as literary critics. I will begin with a course pack of short stories that might include Robert Coover, Raymond Carver, Achy Obejas, Randall Kenan, Elizabeth Bishop, and James Baldwin or Ann Petry. Any of these authors will be suggested for student consideration as possibilities for longer reading in the student-generated "second half" of the syllabus. I will also assign segments from Steinbeck and Faulkner, Melville, Douglass, and Harriet Jacobs as alternative samples for more canonical historical literature. We will then vote on a contemporary novel and a more traditional novel (or two, depending on length) to be studied later in the term. Options for evaluation will include weekly quizzes or one page critical responses as "short" assignments and traditional choices between analysis, comparison, and close reading in two 3-5 page papers as "long" assignments. Either category could be combined with student presentations on particular works or authors. (O'Brien)

Section 003. This course is an introduction to fictions which explore the most human experiences of joy and pain, fear and courage and the just as human means of covering them up. By reading three novels and a number of short stories, this class will consider how fiction drapes its concerns and the concerns of its characters with language, nuance, and even plot. We will ask ourselves how the fictions determine our reactions, and how we can find room also to react in our own ways. We will explore the ways fiction differs from, imitates, complicates, and conjures up life. We will read three novels: Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston; Wide Sargasso Sea, by Jean Rhys; and Orlando, by Virginia Woolf. We will also study short stories by such diverse writers as James Baldwin, William Faulkner, Jean Toomer, Flannery O'Connor, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Louisa Levinson, Amy Tan, Elizabeth Bowen, James Joyce, and Neil Jordan. There will be weekly response papers, one short (4-6 pp.) essay and a final longer (8-10 pp.) paper. (Linett)

Section 004 The Home and the World. Can one ever return "home" as Kazuo Ishiguro's and David Leavitt's characters attempt to do? Can you take "home" with you if forced to flee Nazi Germany for England as those in Jonathan Wilson's "Boxes From Shanghai" must? In this course we will discuss these issues and the concept of home in relation to some literature written in Britain and its former colonies. We will pay particular attention to the ways in which where one lives is linked to questions of who is "civilized" and who is not, who is "English" and who is not, and also to the ways in which the house is connected with issues of race, gender, sexuality, and class. Requirements: Writing (three papers, two short and one longer), participating (actively), and thinking (constantly). Readings: Brontë, Wuthering Heights; Dangarembga, Nervous Conditions; Forster, Howard's End; Ishiguro, "A Family Supper"; Leavitt, "Territory"; Lessing, The Grass is Singing; Mphahlele, "Mrs. Plum"; and Wilson, "Boxes from Shanghai," among others. (Kodesh)
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239. What is Literature? Prerequisite for concentrators in the Regular Program and in Honors. (3). (HU).
This class is designed to stimulate your thought about issues that should prove central to all your subsequent engagements with literature, inside and outside the classroom. The course is designed to help you formulate productive questions about the nature of literary study and the changing meanings of "literature" itself. Often ranging over a wide variety of genres and historical periods, sometimes including the study of film or other visual arts, 239 asks students to consider texts in a comparative, analytical light. Sections of 239 often devote some time to talking about the social and historical forces that shape a culture's ideas of what constitutes literature. Students in 239 also often address questions of literary value and evaluation. Though discussions often prove theoretical in nature, they are usually tied to particular texts. 239 is designed to help students develop skills that will be crucial to further work in the English concentration: discussion, writing papers about texts, reading critically and with an eye for detail.

Section 001. What does it mean to be an author, to create a story? To figure that out, we'll be authors ourselves a little and ask about our own responses as readers. We'll read texts closely, attempting to understand their less accessible meanings, the effect of the social and economic context in which they are written and read, and what's at stake for us, if anything, in the content. We'll be interested in the social purposes of literature and in questions of authors' responsibilities. We'll read or view The Official Story, Interviews with My Lai Veterans, Wiesenthal's The Sunflower, Coetzee's Age of Iron, Thomas' The White Hotel, Kingsolver's Pigs In Heaven, Washington's Iron House, Cervantes' Emplumada, and Shange's "spell #7." Class participation will be important, and you'll write 25 pages worth of essays and literature, the nature of which we'll determine together. No exams. Cost:3 (Alexander)

Section 002. Our class will think about how the act of telling stories creates power in the individual and strengthens the connectedness among people. For example, a character in Ursula Hegi's Stones From the River thinks: "Every time I take a story and let it stream through my mind from beginning to end, it grows fuller, richer, feeding on my visions of those people the story belonged to until it leaves its bed like the river I love. And then I have to tell the story to someone." Our readings will often focus on the dynamics of the imaginative process our own as well as the author's. We should find ourselves grappling with issues as basic as what defines the dimensions of a character and how an author prepares these amazing creations to "speak" to us, to tell their stories. Although the complete syllabus decisions are yet to be made, I'm sure the following novels, among others, will help us unfold the ingenious visions of those who seek to "tell us their stories": French Lieutenant's Woman; A Prayer For Owen Meany; Alias Grace; and Stones From the River. (Back)

Section 003. "There's no there there," Gertrude Stein dismissively about her hometown (Oakland, California). So, nearly a century ago, she set out for Paris and became famous. For her, there was elsewhere. Too often, I think, Michiganders fail to see there's a here right here, a place that writers have used as the foundation for literary invention. So in our search for answers to the question that titles this course, we will read writers who have made our part of the world into fictional worlds. We will read novels and short stories by Sherwood Anderson, Charles Baxter, Theodore Dreiser, Stuart Dybek, Jim Harrison, Sinclair Lewis, Alice Munroe, Toni Morrison, and Richard Wright. A midterm, final, and a series of 3-5 page papers will be required. We will learn about literature by writing and talking about it. (Bailey)

Section 004. (Honors). This course will address the question of why and how we read literature, not by providing an answer to "what is literature?" but by considering the historical and cultural implications of reading. Why do we tell stories? Who decides what stories should be told when and which ones should be told again and again? How do we decide what stories mean? The course will introduce students to the purpose and function of literary criticism as well as to an understanding of how we are everywhere interpreting signs that involve a process of "reading," from fashion items to sports events. Readings will include various literary critical approaches to a classic text, a film adaptation of a novel, a 20th century rewriting of a 19th century text and a story based on a real event. Writing assignments will include response papers, a literary critical essay and a take-home final. (Herrmann)

Section 005. In asking the question "What is Literature?" we will be more interested in exploring boundaries and characteristics of different types of writing than in arriving at a specific answer. In that process of exploration we will look back upon our experiences as readers and writers, as well as examine closely a variety of texts. Texts will include long and short fiction, drama, film, poetry, and critical essays, drawn from a wide range of cultures and historical periods. Among other works we will read Dorris, A Yellow Raft in Blue Water; Morrison, Beloved; Silko, Ceremony; Forster, A Passage to India; Shakespeare, King Lear and Twain, Huckleberry Finn. There will be frequent writing of short pieces and a final examination. Cost:3 (Howes)

Section 006. What follows when we consider The Word and the World that it produces as creations of (i) God or Allah, (ii) William Shakespeare or Confucius, (iii) Walt Disney, or (iv) F. Scott Fitzgerald and Grazia Deledda? What kinds of flexibility do WE have to discover meaning in, or control the value of, "books" produced by such users of the word? How does author relate to authority; and what roles do power and relevance play when we ask the question, "What is literature?" We'll get under way with a discussion of two chapters from two books: Ariel Dorfman's The Empire's Old Clothes: What The Lone Ranger, Barbar, and Other Innocent Heroes Do To Our Minds, and Phyllis Trible's Texts of Terror: Literary-Feminist Readings of Biblical Narratives. Thereafter, con/texts from a variety of cultures will help us along as we explore who has the power to persuade us that some con/texts are "classics" while others have to do with "trash." There will be individual reports on the readings; two five-page papers, and a final comparative essay project. (Johnson)

Section 007. This course is an introduction to literary studies, rather than an introduction to literature. Our primary task will be to develop interpretive strategies for reading a wide variety of cultural texts (including both the "literary" and the "popular.") The reading will include fiction, literary and cultural theory, and criticism. We will ask questions about the social and political meanings of authorship as these meanings change over history; about the social functions of literature in changing historical situations; about the relationships between "high" culture and popular culture; about the importance of social relations in thinking about the way texts are read and received. TENTATIVE Reading: Melville, Benito Cereno; Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper; Glaspell, Trifles; Williams, Dessa Rose; Erdrich and Dorris, The Crown of Columbus; DeLillo, White Noise; Hagedorn, Dogeaters. Requirements: Attendance, vigorous class participation, frequent short writing assignments, group presentation, two 4-5 page papers, and one 6-8 page paper. (S. Robinson)

Section 008. If literature is always historical, in that it arises from and speaks to a particular culture in time and space, how do we respond to works of literature that weren't written with us in mind? What does it mean to study an ancient text? To read it for pleasure? Can we appreciate an ancient work on its own terms, without judging it from a contemporary perspective? In this section of English 239 we will be reading works from the past (selections from The Iliad, Le Morte D'Arthur, and King Lear beside contemporary novels that either recreate past worlds (Christa Wolf's Cassandra, Bradley's Mists of Avalon) or enable us to interpret present conditions in terms of the literary past (Smiley's A Thousand Acres). There will be a reader containing various essays in literary theory. Plan on two short papers and one longer term paper. (Tanke)

Section 009. Our focus will be fiction and drama, our readings, some of the most innovative, engaging representations of these genres, our goal, the enhancement of reading pleasure that current methods of literary analysis invite. To organize our study, I have arranged clusters of interrelating texts in which writers with differing purposes, from different cultures, work with the same subject, defining evil. Shakespeare's Richard III, Tey's Daughter of Time, Pacino's Looking for Richard, and McKellen's, Richard III will allow us to consider our subject through the prism of genre and questions of historical and literary truth. Fowles' The French Lieutenant's Woman, Morrison's Sula, and James', Washington Square will situate our study of evil in particular times and places. Warren's All the King's Men, O'Brien's In the Lake of the Woods, and Roy's The God of Small Things will offer a context for questioning the relationship between narrative, evil, and the emerging self. (Wolk)
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240. Introduction to Poetry. Prerequisite for concentrators in the Regular Program and in Honors. (3). (HU).
Section 001.
Poetry is a game and a source of pleasure, and to understand a poem fully, just as to understand any complex game, we need to acquire knowledge and skill: fluency. We will read aloud, memorize, analyze, discuss. There will be frequent short writings, and a few longer papers, a computer conference, and, probably, a midterm and a final. Regular attendance and active participation in class meetings are required. Cost:1 (Cloyd)

Section 002. In this course, we shall study closely a variety of poems written in English from about 1600 to the present. The task of the course is a pleasurable and progressive understanding of how poems work, that is, what techniques poets use to articulate their visions of experience. We shall pay close attention to the language, forms, figures, and themes of verse, to literary-historical conditions that influence poetic craft, and to the intertextual connections that create constellations of poems across the centuries. The textbook, Norton Introduction to Poetry (sixth edition) by J. Paul Hunter, will be our chief reading, in addition to handouts. Because this is a discussion class, regular attendance and participation are required. Other requirements include a series of short papers, supplemented by a reading journal, a midterm, and a final examination. Cost:1 (Goldstein)

Section 003. An introduction to poetry: its traditional forms, themes, techniques, and uses of language; its historical and geographical range; and its twentieth century diversity. The course will include discussion of oral and written traditions, and the place of performance in contemporary poetry; the kinds of power (from the magical to the political) which have often been associated with poetry; the relationships between secular and sacred traditions in poetry; and the varying roles of audiences and readers in the traditions of poetry. There will be discussion of the function of historical and national categories, as well as those of race and gender and class. (Goodison)

Section 004. This course, a prerequisite for concentrators in English, is an introduction to English and American poetry. In this section, students will read a wide variety of poems organized in six or seven units devoted to specific themes or poetic kinds. Within each unit, we will work chronologically, in most cases tracing particular developments in the history of poetry up to the present moment. The course will end with a detailed study of a single poet. Occasional brief lectures will serve to focus discussion, which will be the primary method of instruction. Student responsibilities in the course include the following: three or four short writing exercises, an oral report, a long end-of-term essay, and a final examination. Regular class attendance is required, and each student's contribution to class discussion will be a factor in the assignment of grades. Cost:2 (Jensen)

Section 005. An introduction to lyric poetry, with reading drawn from a wide range of English and American examples, from the earliest English poetry to the present. We will begin by considering some basic elements of poetry (including prosody, diction, tone, metaphor) and various verse forms, with attention to the evolution of some of these (the sonnet, for example). The class will typically proceed by intensive discussion of a few poems each day. We will conclude by spending a couple of weeks on the work of a contemporary poet. Assignments will include exercises, three or four short papers, and a final examination. (Knott)

Section 006. (Honors). This course is an introduction to the pleasures and challenges of reading poetry written in English over the past four centuries. You will learn how to interpret poems with special emphasis on the analysis of poetic form; you will learn how to write and revise critical essays about poetry; you will also be asked to memorize a poem and to attend at least one poetry reading. In the course of the term we will consider various lyric genres (including sonnets, elegies, odes, and dramatic monologues), and conclude with a unit on narrative verse. The course will proceed by class discussion in small groups, student presentations, and a series of informal writing exercises; you will write three short papers, with an emphasis on revision; there will be occasional quizzes but no final exam. (Prins)

Section 007. The focus of this course will be on the interplay of orally performed poetry and written/published poetry. Why are stores told in poetry? how does the sound of a story turn into verse? why would a poet choose rhyme? and how does the process of writing and revision end in what we will learn to define as poetry? The class will consider many genres and forms of poetry from nursery rhymes to ballads to epics to lyrics to songs to song lyrics. Political protest has, over the centuries, found its voice in oral and written poetry. How does poetry facilitate the telling of these too-long-silent stories? Does it? Where is the sound of poetry in contemporary cultures? The writing in the class will consist of frequent two-page papers on the poems or the poetic and critical devices and `divisives' discussed in class. This class will be composed of written and oral endeavors, so students will be expected to engage as private writers and as classroom participants. (Skantze)

Section 008. A course in ways to understand, feel, enjoy, evaluate, and interpret poems. Poetry differs from ordinary language and from prose in certain fairly conventional and (for poetry) advantageous ways, and we shall try to understand how it does so. As we look at and hear poems, we shall consider such things as sound, diction, rhythm, figures of speech, the line, form, and genre, authorship, audience, and context. Our readings will come from various cultures, old and now; most readings will be British and American, most of these recent or contemporary. We'll pay some attention to the histories of poetry, and try to get a feel for the contemporary poetry scene. Texts: an Introduction to Poetry book, and an anthology, both in course pack form. Everyone will write three essays on increasingly challenging topics. There will be a test on "technical terms," another on the course readings, and a final exam asking for the interpretation and evaluation of some new poetry. (M. Smith)

Section 009. The aim here is to enhance our enjoyment of poetry. How poetry uses language uniquely, how rhythm, rhyme, and meter give pleasure and highlight meaning these are some of the subjects we will study, along with metaphor and other kinds of figurative language. We will also examine how a poem means one thing by saying something different (irony). Most Wednesdays a short quiz will be given on details of what we have been studying. These quizzes and other brief assignments will count for 25% of your total grade. You will also be assigned the occasional two-page paper, one five-pager, and a take-home final. Textbooks: Elizabeth Bishop, The Complete Poems: 1929-1979. Seamus Heaney, Selected Poems: 1966-1987. Seamus Heaney & Ted Hughes, The Rattlebag. Also a short course pack. Cost:2 (Tillinghast)

Section 010. Poetry? Poe-tree. Everything we love and hate about it. It stores the language of the heart, the psyche, the mind in dreaming contact with every living thing. What is sacred, what endangers, what voices carry us across time? We'll read poetry from a wide historical range to discover its power to speak in all languages of what matters, its tendency to shape shift and spill into new forms, and its capacity for infinite beauty and strife. We will meet live poets and dead ones, too. We will read, write, talk, and perform poetry. There will be several short papers. (Agee)

Section 011. See Section 006. (Goodison)

Section 012. Is poetry a different language? Why does it sing to us, resist us, move us to a place where words either sting or seem solid, like stone? Does poetry have a politics? Why does it invoke, so consistently, dreams of a female muse, of carpe diem, of male mastery? How have Western expectations of "the poetic" changed over time? In this course we will examine four centuries of English, Afro-American, and Anglo-American poetry, with an emphasis on form (that is, on defining traditional poetic forms and seeing how they have changed over time) and on the relations between form and culture. There will be in-class writing, two papers, and two exams. (Yaeger)
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245/RC Hums. 280/Theatre 211. Introduction to Drama and Theatre. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in RC Hums. 281. (4). (HU).
See RC Humanities 280. (Cardullo)
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267(326). Introduction to Shakespeare. Completion of Introductory Composition. (4). (HU).
In this section of English 267, students will read several of Shakespeare's plays and a sampling of criticism designed to illuminate them from a number of angles. Lectures will be focused in part on matters of stage presentation and in part on matters of critical history. Taken together, these approaches should enable us to see how the play texts continually re-form themselves in response to pressures from both the stage and the study. I will be choosing plays from every period of Shakespeare's career and from most of the genres in which he worked. Students will be expected to write three or four short response papers and one major essay, participate in a group project, attend class regularly, join in daily discussion periods, and successfully complete a final examination. (Jensen)
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270. Introduction to American Literature. (3). (HU).
Section 001 The American Experience.
One of the major themes in American literature is the "Americanization" of members of the various racial, religious, and ethnic groups within American society. This section of English 270 will follow the theme of Americanization beginning with pieces from Nathaniel Hawthorne, one of the writers in the traditional American canon, and continuing with novels and short stories from other American voices and talents including women, Chicano, Asian-, African-, Native- and European-American writers, selections which more fully represent "American" or United States literature. The class will be a mix of lecture and discussion and all students are expected to read and be fully prepared to discuss the works in class and on COW, a computer conferencing system on the Web. Requirements also include a final and a 6-8 page paper. Cost:2 (Kowalski)
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274/CAAS 274. Introduction to Afro-American Literature. (3). (HU).
This course will introduce students to some of the major writers of the African American literary tradition (e.g., Wheatley, Douglass, Jacobs, Hopkins, DuBois, Ellison, Morrison.) Works will be drawn from the late 1700s to the present, and we'll be reading widely (e.g., poetry, novels, autobiography, political essays, etc.), and textual discussions will be augmented with one, possibly two film showings. As we study this material, we'll be considering the following: What does a Black literary canon look like? What has allowed or hindered its formation? What has its impact been on "American" literature? What kinds of assumptions are we as modern readers bringing to the material? What kinds of self-conscious, critical questions about aesthetics, literary history, and the politics of writing should we bring to the material? Grades will be based on regular class attendance, reading quizzes, two in-class exams, and a six-page paper. (Gunning)
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285. Introduction to Twentieth-Century Literature. (3). (HU).
To give focus to an impossibly broad subject 20th century literature - I have turned to Sweden for help, to the Nobel Prize Committee. Why not, thought I, select works by the century's Nobel winners in literature? So I have, mostly (although not exclusively) those who wrote in English, as befits an English course. We'll study works, then, mostly novels, but a few poems and a couple of plays, by Shaw, Yeats, Thomas Mann, Eugene O'Neill, T.S. Eliot, Faulkner, Hemingway, Camus, Steinbeck, Saul Bellow, William Golding, Nadine Gordimer, Toni Morrison, and Seamus Heaney. Grades will be based on three hourly exams and frequent, short, in-class writing assignments. Cost:2 (Beauchamp)
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100- and 200-level



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