Courses in English Language and Literature (Division 361)

For all English classes, registered students must be present at each of the first two meetings to claim their places. Any students 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. A more advanced course for creative writers is English 323 (Fiction or Poetry), which is available by either permission of instructor or completing the prerequisite, English 223. More experienced writers may apply for admission to specialized sections of English 227 (Playwriting), English 423 (Fiction), English 427 (Playwriting), and English 429 (Poetry). Admission to these advanced courses is by permission of the instructor, who will 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 (3 in 226; 6 in 299, 426, and 499). All elections require permission of the professor, on an election authorization (override) form to be turned in at CRISP and also on a departmental approval form. GSTA's are not normally authorized to supervise independent study.

125. College Writing. ECB writing assessment. (4). (Introductory Composition).

English 125 (College Writing) prepares students for the various kinds of academic writing required of them as undergraduates at the University of Michigan. In addition to informal exercises or impromptu essays, students can expect to write about five formal papers exemplifying the various modes of discourse which comprise our academic community.

223. Creative Writing. Completion of the Introductory Composition requirement. (2). (HU). 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. 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 discussing student writing. Final portfolio of revised finished work of 25-35 manuscript pages may be required.

225. Argumentative Writing. Completion of the Introductory Composition requirement. (3). (HU).

This course furthers the aim of English 124 and 125 in helping writers to analyze the various claims of a given issue and to develop ways of exploring and defending positions, ideas and beliefs. 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 rhetorical articulation. 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 for the purposes of both individual reflection and audience persuasion.

230. Introduction to Short Story and Novel. (2). (HU).
Section 101.
Rather than a comprehensive survey of the short story and novel, this course offers an introduction to the basic techniques of analyzing prose fiction. Beginning with short stories, students learn to define questions of narrative construction, voice, characterization, theme, and style. As critical facility increases, the course will consider more challenging and in some cases experimental fiction. At least three novels will be read in addition to numerous short stories. Students should expect to read substantial amounts of fiction, to participate in class discussions, and to write several short literary analyses. WL:1

Section 102. We will be reading short fiction, mostly modern, to discuss issues and themes, but especially to examine the nature of fiction, narrative, or story. There will be frequent short writings and a final exam. WL:1 (Cloyd)

239. What is Literature? Prerequisite for concentrators in the Regular Program. (2). (HU).
Section 101.
In this course, we will ask questions that provoke us to think about what literature is, and what our purposes are in reading and discussing novels, poems, and other forms of writing. We will consider some problems of making literary judgments and assigning value to what we read, and examine some of the ways that categories such as "traditions," "popular," and "canonical" are interpreted in our era. We will explore these questions through reading of novels, stories, poems, and other kinds of writing. Class proceeds by small-group and large-group discussion and the occasional short lecture. Attendance is mandatory. The texts are likely to include: Atwood, Cat's Eye; Oates, Because It Is Bitter, and Because It Is My Heart; Phillips, Machine Dreams; Speigelmann, Maus; Mansfield, Stories; Lawrence, Stories; and The Norton Introduction to Poetry. Course requirements include frequent 1-2 page response papers, two 5-7 page essays, possibly some quizzes, certainly a midterm and a final exam. This course is a prerequisite for concentrating in English, but it is open to all students, including non-concentrators. (Heininger)

240. Introduction to Poetry. Prerequisite for concentrators in the Regular Program and in Honors. (2). (HU).
Section 101.
This course is a prerequisite for concentration in English, but it is open to all students, including non-concentrators. In this course we'll explore various forms, techniques, modes and historical conceptions of poetic expression. While reading a wide range of poets in English from different periods, cultural traditions, and genres, we'll examine some critical approaches to analyzing and writing about poetry, and also consider the issues entailed in evaluating poetic and critical compositions. Giving close attention to poets' prosody and form, voice and rhetoric, theme and ideology, we'll also discuss how other influences, such as public reception and publication media, contribute to the meaning and significance of poetic conventions. Be prepared for participating in class discussion and for rigorous evaluation of writing skills. Several essays and revisions, midterm exam, and reading journal are required. WL:1 (Ross)

Section 102. The aim of this course is to introduce you to the art of poetry so that you can read and discuss any poem with understanding and delight. Our basic strategy in the course will be to explore poetic expression in as many ways as possible: through silent reading and reading aloud, through close analysis and more impressionistic response, through class discussion and individual study, and through various forms of writing (both spontaneously exploratory and more carefully argued). During the semester, we will move from a general survey of poetic techniques and forms to a more detailed study of the work of a selection of authors from the Renaissance to the present. For the former, we will use WESTERN WIND by John Frederick Nims. For the latter, we will use The Norton Anthology of Poetry. To record your day-to-day interactions with texts, I will ask you to keep a poetic journal. More formal writing will include four (ungraded) exercises in poetic analysis and four (graded) papers (3-5 pages) on individual authors and poems. Cost:2 (Cureton)

270. Introduction to American Literature. (2). (HU).

This course proposes to make a study of American literature and of the American experience as that is manifest in the short story. The primary reading will be a collection of stories by numerous American authors each represented by one or two stories: 50 stories in all. That way the range and variety of American themes and styles will be present for discussion. Having these in common, each student will also select one author for further study, making a reading list specific to each student and the author chosen. On this author a paper will be written (8-10 pages); preceding that will be two shorter papers (4-5 pages each) on the work in common. The course will require no final exam nor hourly exams. Instead, evaluation will be derived from thorough commitment, preparation and participation in the work of the course and through brief writing in connection with every class meeting. Cost:2 WL:1 (McNamara)

Primarily for Juniors and Seniors

301. The Power of Words. (3). (Excl).

Students will explore various uses of words in writing descriptive, analytic, and persuasive pieces, with a focus on types of writing that will be useful in professional life beyond the university. Since we gather vocabulary and writing patterns from observing, reading, and listening, the writing will be based on a diverse array of materials. To clear up any lingering grammatical and mechanical problems with students' work, each class will feature a brief lecture on an issue such as comma usage, sentence variety, or pronoun agreement. WL:1

305. Introduction to Modern English. Recommended for students preparing to teach English. (2). (HU).

This course surveys the forms and functions of contemporary English. We will consider some of the major dimensions of English structure (orthography, phonetics, intonation, word formation, syntax, etc.) and how these structures characterize both English speakers and their linguistic purposes. During the semester, we will explore the social and geographical dialects of Modern English (e.g., British vs. American English and Black English Vernacular), its professional jargons (e.g., the language of advertising, religion, law, and politics), and its situational varieties (e.g., the language of conversation, oral narrative, and literature) and will affect our actions and attitudes (e.g., our notions of 'good' English vs. 'bad'). Requirements for the course will include a language journal, a midterm, a final exam, and a project investigating some aspect of Modern English structure or use. Cost:4 WL:1 (Cureton)

317. Literature and Culture. (2). (HU). May be repeated for credit with department permission.
Section 102 Literature and Culture of Ireland.
This course presents for study the literature of Gaelic Ireland in translation, from early saga to modern poetry and fiction. We will read translations of the chief heroic saga, THE CATTLE RAID OF COOLEY, of early Irish religious and nature lyric, of medieval satire, of later bardic verse; of the eighteenth-century masterpieces, LAMENT FOR ART O'LEARY and THE MIDNIGHT COURT; of love poems and folk songs; of twentieth century poetry and prose fiction by the men and women who have continued the tradition of writing in Irish Gaelic. An outline history of Gaelic Ireland will be given to furnish context for the literature. Two short papers, one hour exam, one final examination. This course satisfies the New Traditions requirement for English concentrators. WL:1 (McNamara)

320/CAAS 338. Literature in Afro-American Culture. (3). (HU).

See Afroamerican and African Studies 338. (Johnson)

325. Essay Writing: The Art of Exposition. (3). (Excl).

This is an upper level composition course for students interested in improving their writing. All classes will proceed on the assumption that these basic principles inform good writing: that writing is thinking, that writing well requires attention to issues of audience; that revision is a necessary part of the writing process; and that all writing reflects the writer's view of the world. Class discussion will include a consideration of student writing. To focus discussion and to provide subject matter for writing assignments, readings by professional writers will be assigned. WL:1

367. Shakespeare's Principal Plays. (3). (HU).

This is a course that will concentrate on the Shakespearean tragedy by focusing on "the grand style" of HAMLET, MACBETH, OTHELLO and KING LEAR. But in doing so, we will study the origins of this tragic mode in the earlier tragedies and its later manifestations in ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA, and CORIOLANUS. There will be a midterm and a final exam. This course satisfies the Pre-1830 requirement for English concentrators. WL:1 Cost:3 (Brater)

English 370, 371, & 372

Each of these courses will range over the materials of the periods indicated below in one or more of a variety of ways. Some may be multi-generic surveys; some may focus on the development during the period(s) of specific genres; some may be topical, others formal in their principle of organization. All sections will emphasize the development of student skill in writing essays analyzing the materials and evaluating the approaches in question.

370. Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Literature. (3). (Excl). May be repeated for credit with department permission.

This course is an introduction to a few of the great texts written from the earliest appearance of English through the Renaissance. We'll start with a few days on Beowulf and spend the rest of the term reading Chaucer's CANTERBURY TALES, SIR GAWAIN AND THE GREEN KNIGHT, Spenser's FAERIE QUEEN and Milton's PARADISE LOST for pleasure and understanding. I will occasionally supplement our reading with historical and critical background, illustrated with slides and recordings. There will be frequent short writings, two or three papers, a midterm and a final. I expect regular and active participation in class meetings from members of this class. Satisfies the Pre-1600 requirement. (Cloyd)

371. Studies in Literature, 1600-1830. (3). (Excl). May be repeated for credit with department permission.
Section 101 Revolutionary Writing in the 1790s.
This course explores the decade of the 1790s as a pivotal moment in British literary and cultural history, a moment poised between the possibility of revolution and the reality of reactionary politics. Just as the 1790s was a decade of revolutionary political activity, it was also a time of literary experimentation when writers attempted to burst old patterns of social behavior by forging new forms of writing. We'll examine how the intellectual and political trends of the eighteenth century (such as Enlightenment thinking, sexual libertinism, orientalism, religious enthusiasm, the cult of sentiment, the parliamentary reform movement, and commodity capitalism) converge in the writing of the 1790s, and how this volatile decade projects and gives way to some of the dominant trends of the following century (such as intensified class rivalry, nationalist imperialism, and reform in politics, education, and labor). We'll read a wide range of genres, including the radical political novel, the domestic novel, the gothic romance, the political tract, the philosophical inquiry, the radical dissenting sermon, the ballad, the nature poem, the scientific poem, the psychological tragedy, the travel letter, and the children's story. Writers include Burke, Paine, Wollstonecraft, Godwin, Richard Price, Joseph Priestley, H. M. Williams, Elizabeth Inchbald, Hannah More, Barbauld, Erasmus Darwin, Monk Lewis, Fanny Burney, Blake, Southey, Wordsworth, and Coleridge. Several short essays, occasional quizzes, weekly question assignments, and class participation required. Be prepared for heavy reading schedule. This course satisfies the Pre-1830 requirement for English concentrators. Cost:4 WL:1 (Ross)

372. Studies in Literature, 1830-Present. (3). (Excl). May be repeated for credit with department permission.

The fiction of Virginia Woolf, D.H. Lawrence, K. Mansfield and F.S. Fitzgerald. Although the course will include reference to a few essays and poems, it will concentrate on the fiction of these four seminal modernists, reading at least three (and perhaps more) novels by each. Specific novels to be specified later. (Gindin)

412/Film-Video 412. Major Directors. (2). (HU). May be repeated for credit with department permission.
Section 101 JOHN FORD.
We will make a careful analytical study of the style, content, and contexts of major films spanning the career of an American master, John Ford. The course will emphasize his cinematic "language" and dramatic themes, the relationship between what he says and how he says it. I will post the exact schedule of films outside my office [2627 Haven Hall] before the end of Winter Term. The selection will surely include STAGECOACH, THE GRAPES OF WRATH, HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY, MY DARLING CLEMENTINE, THE SEARCHERS, THE QUIET MAN, THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE, maybe more, if we can schedule them. There will be 2 two-hour lecture classes and at least one film per week, as well as mandatory small discussion groups scheduled at your convenience. English/Film-Video 412 may be repeated if content is different from a previous election. There are no prerequisites. Nevertheless, the course is not "An Introduction to the Movies." Previous work in film history, theory, mechanics, critical analysis, and aesthetics couldn't hurt. You will not be alone, and the course's reading will give you a solid foundation. I will also be happy to recommend preparatory reading; come see me this term. The obligatory purchase of a pass, cheaper per showing even than admission to campus film societies let alone commercial houses, covers the cost of seeing films, most of them probably at the Michigan Theater. Some reading [Giannetti's UNDERSTANDING MOVIES or an alternate text if that is old news to you]. If you harbor the deplorable opinion that rigorous standards for composing analytical/critical prose are inappropriate for film courses, this class is not for you. Two 2-page papers; one 5-page paper; final exam; no "Incompletes" except under catastrophic circumstances. Anyone who uses "media" with a singular verb flunks. WL:1 Cost:2 (Bauland)

413/Film-Video 413. Film Genres and Types. (2). (HU). May be repeated for credit with department permission.
Section 101 Comic Film.
This course examines a number of comic American films from different periods to establish comedy as a motion-picture genre with specific themes and techniques, but also to see the way individual films are influenced by the social climate of their times. We shall explore, from a larger perspective, the nature of comedy in respect to other art forms and in the context of our everyday reality. All of these approaches will significantly assist us in a major goal of the course, to understand better our psychological responses to the comic. The class will begin by studying two silent classics of "The Golden Age of Comedy," Charlie Chaplin's GOLD RUSH and Buster Keaton's THE GENERAL, and then continue by examining such diverse (and yet related) examples of sound comedy as DUCK SOUP, BRINGING UP BABY, SOME LIKE IT HOT, THE GRADUATE, THE PRODUCERS, and ANNIE HALL. Students will write a term paper of about eight pages and take a final examination. Cost:2 W1:1 (Konigsberg)

434. The Contemporary Novel. (3). (Excl).
Section 101 Contemporary Fiction.
This will be a course in some influential and (I hope) interesting novels in the changing French, British, and American traditions since World War II. The novels will be discussed as singular works, as well as representations of changing social and cultural issues and perspectives. The course will also include some discussion of questions of literary history and of classification (what "postmodernism" may or may not be, for example). Tentative book list: Sartre, NAUSEA; Robbe-Grillet, JEALOUSY; Doris Lessing, THE GOLDEN NOTEBOOK; Fowles, THE FRENCH LIEUTENANT'S WOMAN; Heller, SOMETHING HAPPENED; Bellow, SEIZE THE DAY; Pynchon, GRAVITY'S RAINBOW; Murdoch, A SEVERED HEAD; A.S. Byatt, POSSESSION. Classes will proceed through discussion and the entirely interruptible lecture. Three five page papers, a midterm, and a final exam. (Gindin)

447. Modern Drama. (2). (Excl).
Section 101 Ibsen to Brecht.
This course will examine the rise of modern drama in the Western world by concentrating on the work of Ibsen, Chekhov, Strindberg, Shaw, Pirandello, and Brecht. Emphasis will be placed on learning how to read a dramatic text for its performative qualities as well as for its potential for enactment. Although no previous experience in the study of drama or theater is required, the course will begin by concentrating on the differences between the modern repertory and the forms we associate with Classical and Shakespearean dramatic conventions. Other topics of consideration include: the transformation from melodrama to modern drama, the social consciousness of the twentieth century stage, and the rise of the female figure as subject of dramatic inquiry. Requirements: There will be a midterm and a final exam. Cost:4 WL:1 (Brater)

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