Courses in English Language and Literature (Division 361)


Spring 1997

A complete up to date listing of English Department course descriptions can be found on the World Wide Web at http://www.lsa.umich.edu/english/.

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).

WRITING COURSES:

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 permission of instructor and completion of 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:

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 turning in a Spring Independent Study proposal is May 16, 1997. the deadline for turning in a Summer Independent Study proposal is July 10, 1997.

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.

223. Creative Writing. Completion of the Introductory Composition requirement. (2). (HU). May not be repeated for credit.
Section 101 Creative Writing and The Other Arts.
This section of 223 explores ways of combining writing with other forms of art in various media, including pictorial/graphic and performance arts. It presupposes experience with at least one art form and interest in finding ways of combining it with others in a workshop setting of collaboration and group discussion. (Wright)

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 of audience persuasion.

239. What is Literature? Prerequisite for concentrators in the Regular Program and in Honors. (2). (HU).
Section 101.
Our world seems less and less literate every day, as advertising images, video, and music become our principal means of expression, but we continue to speak to one another in words, and literature is made up of words. In what ways are words relevant to your daily life and to your attempts to understand and to be understood? This is another way of asking the question "What is literature?" and it will guide our thinking about how language is central to everyday existence. Our accent will be on storytelling and its basic components (ideas about action, character, and plot). Our goal will be to understand why it is important for everyone to know what a story is. Our readings will be chosen from among the writings of Isak Dinesen, Adrienne Kennedy, Gabriel Garci·-M·rquez, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Leo Tolstoy. Requirements include short weekly writing assignments, two 5-7 page papers, and exams. (Siebers)

Section 102. In this course, we will examine a range of literary genres, including short stories, novels, plays, and movie adaptations of novels and plays, as we try to answer one question "What is literature?" by asking others: what do we expect from different kinds of literature? what are the different approaches we can use while reading literature, and what does each have to offer? what is involved in writing literary analysis? This course is intended for students considering an English concentration and useful for anyone interested in literary studies.

240. Introduction to Poetry. Prerequisite for concentrators in the Regular Program and in Honors. (2). (HU).

In this class we will practice the skills of reading, listening to, and voicing poetry (broadly defined) for purposes of appreciation and understanding, including: description, interpretation, explanation, and evaluation. We will also deal with procedures of communication, role-taking, memorization, performance, and short essay writing. Requirements: a journal; write-ups and small group interpretation projects; and three or four 3-5 page essays. Cost:2 (Wright)

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.

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. You will write one paper (4-5 pages) per week.

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 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.

371. Studies in Literature, 1600-1830. (3). (Excl). May be repeated for credit with department permission.
Section 101 Romanticism and Revolution in England and America.
An examination of notions of the political and personal renovations proposed for literature as authors confront tyranny and tumultuous rebellion in the Romantic period. We will hope by this to raise some fundamental questions about the uses and capacities of literature to change the world and the self. English writers may include Blake and Wordsworth, Austen and BrontÎ. Americans may include Whitman and Dickinson, Hawthorne, Melville, Emerson. Two brief essays and a final exam. This course fulfills the Pre-1830 requirement for English concentrators. (Weisbuch)

372. Studies in Literature, 1830-Present. (3). (Excl). May be repeated for credit with department permission.
Section 101 Introduction to Fantastic Literature.
Romanticism was a movement of poetic lyricism, artistic rebellion, and personal idiosyncrasy. Fantastic literature enshrines differences and peculiarities of all kinds, highlighting those aspects of experience that venture beyond the strictly human toward a supernatural realm. In fantastic literature, then, the visionary poetics of the Romantic generation and the superstitious nightmares of common people converge, affirming idiosyncrasy, originality, and irrationality on all fronts. This course will descend into the maelstrom of fantastic violence, irrationality, and rebellion to ask how such apparently marginal phenomena prove to be not only central to the nature of literature itself but remarkably stimulating to the modern mind. Works include the short fiction of Hawthorne, Henry James, Poe, Washington Irving and the European writers, Nikolai Gogol, E.T.A. Hoffmann, and Guy de Maupassant. Requirements include a few short papers, some exams, and class participation. This course fulfills the American Literature requirement for English concentrators. (Siebers)

412/Film-Video 412. Major Directors. (2). (HU). Laboratory fee ($35) required. May be repeated for a total of nine credits with department permission.
Section 101 Hitchcock.
In a career that spanned a half-century of filmmaking, from the silents to cinemascope, Alfred Hitchcock created a distinctive body of work that has been frequently imitated, but rarely equaled. His thrillers, with their ingenious plots, virtuosic cinematic devices, and probing analyses of human relations, succeeded, in his own words, in bringing "murder back into the home where it belongs." We will view a selection of his most important films, including The 39 Steps, The Lady Vanishes, Rebecca, Shadow of a Doubt, Strangers on a Train, Rear Window, Vertigo, Psycho and North by Northwest. Readings will include interviews with Hitchcock and essays with a variety of theoretical approaches (semiotic, psychoanalytic, feminist, historical, etc.). Class attendance is mandatory. Sessions will consist of film viewings followed by lecture and discussion. In addition, there will be an opportunity (Tues. 7-11) to see each film a second time. Students without a previous film course will be expected to master the terminology of film during the first weeks of the course. Requirements: film viewings, readings, discussion, viewing notes, a midterm and a final. Cost:2 (McDougal)

413/Film-Video 413. Film Genres and Types. (2). (HU). Laboratory fee ($35) required. May be repeated for credit with department permission.
Section 101 The Horror Film.
This course focuses on the horror film as a specific genre of motion picture, discussing a number of films from diverse perspectives. The class studies: (1) the psychological impact of these films (why certain motifs continue to be popular and how they affect the viewer), (2) their cinematic techniques (how directors use certain kinds of setting, lighting, shots, and editing to achieve particular effects), (3) their cultural background (the history of certain character types and subject matter in fiction, poetry, and painting), (4) their social background (variation and change according to the contemporary scene), and (5) their place in the history of the genre. These films are a starting point for an examination of what people fear and how they handle their fears through ritual, religion, and art. The class will view The Haunting, King Kong, Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, Dracula, Horror of Dracula, Psycho, The Exorcist, and Alien, while reading the novels, Castle of Otranto, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Frankenstein, and Dracula. Cost:2 (Konigsberg)

432. The American Novel. (3). (Excl).

Why do American writers express the subtlest philosophical issues through violent and melodramatic actions? Why do they create characters who aren't quite people, plots which interrupt themselves so often that they aren't quite stories, environments that are not the streets and houses we know, and endings that are not resolutions or answers so much as disturbing open questions? We will wrestle with these problems in an attempt to define what is unique about American fiction. At the same time, our primary focus will be on each work in terms of itself. The course will proceed historically, by concerns rather than dates. This is a tentative listing of those concerns and the writers and works we will consider. Frontier as Metaphor: Hawthorne Stories, Twain Huckleberry Finn, Barth End of the Road. Ontological Insecurity, or Anxiety and Power: Melville Benito Cereno, James Turn of the Screw. The Gendering of America: Chopin The Awakening, Morrison The Bluest Eye. We will move forward and back in time to identify literary and experimental issues that have seemingly permanent status in American lives. Two essays, several one pagers, and final examination are required. This course satisfies the American Literature requirement for English concentrators. Cost:4 (Weisbuch)

433. The Modern Novel. (3). (Excl).

We shall explore changes and innovations in the novel from the late nineteenth century until after the Second World War, especially as they reflect the unstable world of Western Civilization. We shall begin with Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment and examine the author's profound impact on the portrayal of human psychology in fiction. We shall then explore human existence in the nightmare world of Kafka's The Trial. We shall place James Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man in the context of his entire career but also relate it to the development of art in general and the novel specifically. Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway will extend our discussion of such issues as identity, time, and eternity, while Malraux's Man's Fate will allow us to consider the exploration of politics and history in the novel. Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury will force us to confront our own American dilemma, while allowing us to make a final assessment of the accomplishments of the modern novel. Cost:2 (Konigsberg)


Summer 1997

See English Department Summary Paragraphs under the Spring listing.

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

See English 125 (Spring Term).

240. Introduction to Poetry. Prerequisite for concentrators in the Regular Program and in Honors. (2). (HU).
Section 201.
The first part of this course will teach prosody, the techniques of poetry, how poems are put together and how they work. The examples here will range from Renaissance to contemporary poems. The second part of the course, a sort of mini-mini-history of poetry, will concentrate on some of the major British and American poems. The text is The Norton Anthology of Poetry. Grades will be based on two exams and frequent, short writing exercises. (Beauchamp)

Section 202. Work in class will be devoted to discussion of particular poems selected from The Norton Anthology of Poetry. The aim of the discussion will be to increase your understanding and appreciation of poetry. The first course objective will be to develop some common questions or assumptions about poetry. The second objective will be to find ways of answering such questions or testing such assumptions, and we will spend the greater part of the course reading poems in an effort to accomplish this. In the final weeks of the course we will read a number of poems by one poet. There will be a midterm, a short paper or two, in-class exercises, and a final. Cost:1 (Lenaghan)

Primarily for Juniors and Seniors

325. Essay Writing: The Art of Exposition. (3). (Excl).
Section 201.
This is a writing course and its goal, as you might expect, is to help you write better. To that end you will write a paper every week and the writing cycle preparation, writing, peer editing, revision, submission, and return will determine how class time is spent. To provide some common focus we will read Shakespeare's Richard III and see the McKellen and Pacino films. The course grade will be calculated as the average of the individual paper grades. (Lenaghan)

Sections 202 and 203. 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. You will write one paper (4-5 pages) per week.

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 Literature requirement for English concentrators. Cost:2 (Brater)

413/Film-Video 413. Film Genres and Types. (2). (HU). Laboratory fee ($35) required. May be repeated for credit with department permission.
Section 201 Sexual Politics in Film Noir.
This course examines the sexual politics of and meanings given to masculinity and femininity in film noir, an American film phenomenon appearing in the period from 1941 to 1958. In order to understand film noir's depiction of sexuality and gender as inseparable from an American landscape of violence and corruption, we will also investigate its relationship to obvious film and literary antecedents, including hard-boiled detective fiction and existential thought. Particular attention will be paid to film noir as a distinctive vision of American life as well as a unique approach to cinematic storytelling that continues to exert a strong influence on modern filmmaking. This course fulfills the New Traditions requirement for English concentrators. Cost:3 (Studlar)

448. Contemporary Drama. (2). (Excl).

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the variety of dramatic forms in the Western European tradition of the second half of the twentieth century. To accomplish this goal, the class will focus its attention on a variety of topics, including the rise of the theatrical avant-garde, the theater of the absurd, the theater of social protest, and new constructions of dramatic realism with an accent on gender and multi-cultural issues. Playwrights whose work will be considered include Beckett, Ionesco, Genet, Pinter, D¸rrenmatt, Duras, Osborne, Bond, Arden, Stoppard, Churchill, Hare, Heiner Muller, and Hanif Kureishi. Class assignments will include a midterm, a final, and several short written exercises. This course will make extensive use of video, film, and other recorded material. Cost:4 (Brater)

473. Topics in American Literature. (2). (Excl). May be repeated for credit with department permission.
Section 201 Class and Money in American Fiction.
This course will explore the interrelationships of class and money in some American fiction. These will range from the rags-to-riches success formula of Horatio Alger's Ragged Dick of the 1889s to Tom Wolfe's satire of the glitzy get-rich 1980s, Bonfire of the Vanities. In between, we will read Jack London's Martin Eden, Theodore Dreiser's Sister Carrie, Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth, F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, Sinclair Lewis' Babbitt, John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, Philip Roth's Goodbye Columbus and Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye. Grades in the course will be based on two exams and frequent, short writing exercises. This course satisfies the American Literature requirement for English concentrators. (Beauchamp)


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