Featured Upcoming English Courses
English 200: Global Literature
The purpose of this course is to introduce students to European and other world literatures, with a particular emphasis on the theme of exile. Students will pay attention to the ways in which authors themselves are dispossessed—politically, psychologically, spiritually—and how their poems and stories often express an intense longing for home. Students will also acquire a broad sense of literary history and a familiarity with authors mostly outside the pantheon of American letters. In addition, they will confront texts that have, at times, scandalized audiences and their preconceptions about literature—both in terms of style and content. In so doing, they will explore the nature and aim of the literary arts.
While reading must always be critical, first and foremost, this class seeks to listen to and understand the diverse voices of global writers, to engage the world—not shun it. As sympathetic readers, students will sift poems and stories for what is true, what is significant, what is worthy of delight.
Other sections of English 200 being offered with:
Prof. Anker, 8:35-9:50 TTh
Prof. Rienstra, 1:30-2:45 TTh
English 213: Survey of British Literature II: Restoration through Romanticism - Milton's Satan & Literary Responses
These sections of English 213 will begin with generous selections from John Milton's restoration text Paradise Lost, with some emphasis on the magnificent poetic creation of Milton's Satan, who became a figure of great literary influence in the Romantic period. We will also study the Romantic reactions to and recreations of Satan offered by William Blake (in his illustrations to Paradise Lost), Lord Byron (in Manfred), Percy Bysshe Shelley (in Prometheus Unbound) and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (in Frankenstein), as well as C. S. Lewis' discussion of Milton's Satan in his critical writings.
This survey course will also include drama by Congreve (his Restoration comedy The Way of the World), fiction by Swift, Johnson, and Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice), and poetry by Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, and others.
English 320: Literature of the United States I, Settlement to Civil War
This course looks at the works of the "greats" of mid-nineteenth American literature--Douglass, Thoreau, Hawthorne, Dickinson, and Melville--through the contemporary prism of another "great," filmmaker Terrence Malick. At the start, Malick's war film, The Thin Red Line (1998), in many ways a re-telling of Moby-Dick (1851), sets forth those perennial contests between nature, God, and humankind, and at the end we view Malick's own recognitions in his recent award-winning The Tree of Life (2011).
English 330: Post Colonial African Literature
In this course we will study modern African literature from sub-Saharan Africa, written, for the most part, in English. Using postcolonial theory, we will focus on the contact and conflict between indigenous religious belief and monotheism, usually Christianity but also Islam.
English 332: The American Novel
This year’s course reading list will include some of America’s best: Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn; Willa Cather, My Antonia; William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury; John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath; Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest; Toni Morrison, Beloved; Tim O'Brien, The Things They Carried; and Cormac McCarthy, The Road.
English 335: The Graphic Novel
Students who have not taken English 295 may enroll with the permission of the instructor.
English 350: Teaching of Writing
This course, focusing on the theory and practice of teaching composition in middle and high school writing and language art programs, is great for English Education majors. But those headed for grad school would also benefit greatly from the course.
English 362: Creative Writing, Poetry
Poetry relies on self-expression—imaginatively rendering your personality, observations, impressions—on the page and for an audience. As such, poetry is a vulnerable art; language is the medium. But if poems were only self-disclosure, we might rightly shy away from the exhibition. Rather, the writer explores possible selves, possible worlds, and is just as often motivated by experimentation and discovery as she is by the compulsion to confess, emote, divulge. Frequently, the poet arrives at an unexpected understanding of self in the process of composing the poem.
In this class, as a poet or “maker,” you will try your hand at crafting forms, making music, evoking sensations. Because you are apprentices, you will read extensively in the field. The selection of poems and poetics assigned for the course are intended to illuminate your own artistic preferences and to generate new directions for your writing.
Our Reformed perspective affirms the writing and study of poetry. Language is fundamental to the cultural mandate; we are called to unlock the potential of speech, to explore its properties, to develop it as a vehicle for art and thought. Given the negative effects of the Fall, poetry can offer a way to resuscitate language—to recover and celebrate the music of speech, to play with words, to bend them, to reshape them into new and vital sense.
W40: New England Saints Interim
Prof. Schmidt, Hull, and Vande Kopple
During this interim, we’ll be studying the work of Hawthorne, of transcendentalists like Emerson, Fuller, Alcott (father and daughter), and Thoreau, of romantics such as Whittier and Longfellow, and of Emily Dickinson. As the course begins, we’ll travel to Plymouth and Plimoth Colony, living there for two days in 1652 -- sleeping in their homes, working in their fields, marching in their formations, eating their meals. Then we’ll travel to Concord and live in the town of the great writers of the New England Renaissance.
We’ll visit Boston for on-site presentations; we’ll tour Salem and Boston’s Back Bay district, visit Haverhill, Amherst, Lexington; and journey to Plymouth and Cape Cod. We’ll hike around Walden Pond and stand where Thoreau fished. We’ll sit in the parlors of the Old Manse, the House of Seven Gables, Alcott’s home, and Whittier’s birthplace. We’ll walk the streets and beaches of New England and meet authors working there now as we come to understand how this influential literary group sprang up and flourished.
You can pick up a detailed syllabus, an information sheet, and a registration form for this Interim in the English Department Office.