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Courses

Course descriptions listed on this page for the Department of English are from the 2016-2017 College Catalog. For more information on the courses offered during the fall and spring semesters, please log in to the course schedule through STAR.

Introductory Courses

English 110 - Introduction to Academic Writing
Fall, spring
Devoted to improving the student’s writing through frequent revisions. Intensive work during the semester concentrates on the student’s own writing, which is examined in class and in conference with the instructor. Class size limited to 12 students. One unit.

English 121 - Critical Reading and Writing: Fiction
Fall, spring
Course topics are the elements of fiction: narrative structures, various aspects of style, and point of view. This course is also devoted to the writing of student essays on the literature. One unit.

English 122 - Critical Reading and Writing: Drama
Fall, spring
Studies carefully dramas from the Western tradition selected because they clearly reflect both the elements of drama and the nature of genre. Professors emphasize the critical analysis of each text rather than performance of them, though each class will attempt to attend at least one production. Students will be asked to write a series of essays which demonstrate their growing ability to write well-organized analytic/argumentative essays. One unit.

English 123 - Critical Reading and Writing: Non-fiction
Fall, spring
Examines the genres of literary non-fiction, including literary journalism, the personal essay, and the memoir. Among the literary techniques examined are aspects of style, narrative structure, and narrative voice. Equal emphasis falls on the student’s production of critical essays, which logically organize and persuasively present responses to the texts from a close reading. One unit.

English 124 - Critical Reading and Writing: Multigenre
Fall, spring
Compares different genres of literature and their elements, and can include any combination of the following: poetry, fiction, drama, and non-fiction. The course is organized around a particular theme, e.g. Civil War Literature, Writing about Place. Equal emphasis falls on helping students to write perceptive critical essays about the texts. One unit.

English 130 - Poetry & Poetics
Fall, spring
This course presents an introduction to the poetic use of language. Exploring a broad range of poets, genres and periods, students will hone close reading skills and learn to discuss poetic form in critical and imaginative ways.  Required for English majors, who are encouraged to take this course as early as possible to prepare for more advanced literary study. Prerequisite: ENGL 121, 122, 123, or 124. One unit.

English 141 - Introduction to Creative Writing: Poetry
Fall, spring
An introductory course in the study of the form and technique of poetry. As readers of literature we study how a work of art and an artist’s vision is pieced together; as aspiring writers of literature we come to have a hands-on understanding of how a poem is created. Emphasis is on the intensive reading of modern and contemporary poems, though the assignments are creative. Class size limited to 12 students. One unit

English 142 - Introduction to Creative Writing: Narrative
Fall, spring
An introductory course in the study of the varied prose forms and techniques of fiction and non-fiction. Emphasis is on the intensive reading and writing of various prose forms. Lectures on form, language and finding material for inspiration. Class size limited to 12 students. One unit

Upper-Division Courses

English 200 - Masterpieces of British Literature
Annually
A study of selected major works of British Literature. Non-majors only. One unit.

English 201 - Masterpieces of American Literature
Annually
A study of selected major works of American Literature. Non-majors only. One unit.

English 210 - Intermediate Academic Writing
Alternate years
Geared toward sophomores and juniors who aim to improve their academic writing. Focused on the student’s own writing with attention to developing arguments, critically engaging with sources, and improving organization and style. Students for whom English is a second language and students who come from a diverse or multicultural background are especially welcome. Students should expect frequent writing, revision, workshops, and conferences with the instructor. Class size limited to 12 students. One unit.

English 211 - Opposites Attract: Writing Science
Every third year
Focuses on the study and practice of various types of writing about scientific phenomena; considers fundamental questions about the relationship between scientific and humanistic modes of inquiry. One unit.

English 212 - Introduction to Screen Writing
Every third year
Covers the fundamentals of screenwriting (format, characterization, narrative arcs) through original creative work and close reading of example screenplays. Students will adapt a literary work to learn form, as well a draft, workshop, and revise their own scripts. Class size limited to 12. Permission of instructor required. One unit.

English 230 - Touchstones 1: Early British Literature
Fall, spring
This course examines the development of British literature from its beginnings to 1720, presenting at least six common texts while developing the close reading skills initiated at the introductory level of the major. Approved authors include Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, Milton, Pope and Defoe. Should be taken after Poetry & Poetics and before any 300 level offering. One unit.

English 231 - Touchstones 2A: American Literature
Fall, spring
This course examines the development of American literature from its beginnings to the present, presenting at least six common texts while developing the close reading skills initiated at the introductory level of the major. Approved authors include Nathaniel Hawthorne, Emily Dickinson, Frederick Douglass, Robert Frost, William Faulkner and Toni Morrison. One of two courses that can fulfill the English major Touchstones 2 requirement. Should be taken after Poetry & Poetics and before any 300 level course. One unit.

English 232 - Touchstones 2B: British & Anglophone Literature
Fall, spring
This course examines the development of British literature from 1720 to the present, presenting at least six common texts while developing the close reading skills initiated at the introductory level of the major. Approved authors include Wordsworth, Coleridge, Dickens, T.S. Eliot, Woolf, Beckett and Ishiguro. One of two courses that fulfill the Touchstones 2 requirement. Should be taken after Poetry & Poetics. One unit.

English 241 - Intermediate Poetry Workshop
Fall, spring
For students who have taken Introduction to Poetry. A more advanced course on the reading and writing of poems with emphasis on prosody, writing in closed and open forms, and writing various types of poems. Lecture and workshop format with more attention to student writing. Class size limited to 12. Prerequisite: English 141 or 142. One unit.

English 242 - Intermediate Fiction Workshop
Fall, spring
For students who have taken Introduction to Fiction. A more advanced course on the reading and writing of the short story with emphasis on refining the skills learned in the introductory course. Workshop format with lectures and readings. Class size limited to 12. Prerequisite: English 141 or 142. One unit

English 243 - Intermediate Creative Non-fiction Workshop
Fall, spring
For students who have taken Introduction to Non-fiction. A more advanced course on the reading and writing of essays with emphasis on the structural composition of longer, more investigative pieces. Class size limited to 12. One unit.

English 312 - Medieval Romances
Every third year
A study of the flowering of the Romance genre in late medieval England. Exploration of Continental and Middle Eastern origins; focus on popular subject matters of Romance in England, including Robin Hood and King Arthur. One unit.

English 313 - Middle English Literature
Every third year
Develops the student’s ability to deal directly with Middle English texts. Works read include Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde, Piers Plowman, and a selection of romances, lyrics, and other 13th- and 14th-century texts. One unit.

English 314 - Chaucer
Annually
A reading and critical discussion of the complete Middle English text of The Canterbury Tales and selected minor poems. One unit.

English 315 - Sex and Gender in the Middle Ages
Every third year
An exploration of gender and sexuality in the Middle Ages in popular works of Arthurian romance, warrior epic, and saint’s life, as well as in letters and trial records. The course also draws on classical, medieval and modern gender theory relevant to topics under discussion, such as virginity, homosexuality, chivalry, and romantic love. One unit.

English 320 - Age of Elizabeth
Every third year
An exploration of the “golden age” of English Renaissance literature during the reign of Elizabeth I, asking how texts interacted with the Queen, her court, the city of London, the English nation, and ultimately the New World. Readings include poetry, drama, and prose by Sidney, Shakespeare, Spenser, Donne, Harriot, Nashe, and Elizabeth herself. One unit.

English 324 - Milton
Alternate years
A study of Milton’s early poems, Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, and Samson Agonistes, and selections from the prose. One unit.

English 327 - Shakespeare’s Predecessors
Every third year
An examination of representative plays from the “native tradition” of Medieval England (in translation) as well as those plays which were popular on the early modern stage when Shakespeare first began his career. One unit.

English 328 - Shakespeare’s Contemporaries
Every third year
A look at playwrights who are often dwarfed by Shakespeare, but who legitimately competed with him for that greatness. Other topics will include early modern notions of rivalry and collaboration, as well as the increasing tension between governing authorities and the theatre. One unit.

English 329 - Shakespeare
Fall, spring
A one-semester survey of the major works of Shakespeare, focusing on individual texts as representative of the stages in his dramatic development, with some discussion of Shakespearean stage techniques. One section each for majors and non-majors. One unit.

English 330 - Shakespeare and Religion
Every third year
An examination of theological and philosophical issues in Shakespeare’s plays, with emphasis on tragedies. There will be additional readings from a number of sources, including the Bible, Luther, Montaigne, and major Shakespearean critics. One unit.

English 336 - 18th-Century Novel
Alternate years
A close examination of the novel as formal prose narrative. Novels by Defoe, Fielding, Richardson, Smollet, the Gothic novelists, Sterne, and Austen are considered in detail with collateral readings. One unit.

English 337 - 18th-Century Poetry
Every third year
A study of the development of 18th-century English poetry from the canonical Augustans, Dryden, Pope, Swift, Anne Finch and Lady Montagu through the mid-century and later work of Gray, Collins, the Wartons, Smart, Cowper, Charlotte Smith, Joanna Baillie and Anna Seward, ending with Blake’s lyrics. One unit.

English 338 - 18th Century Satire
Every third year
The course will focus on a variety of 18th-century prose, dramatic, and verse satires, including works by Defoe, Swift, Pope, and others. Special attention will be given to modes of satire (burlesque, parody, travesty, mock epic, etc.) as well as to the objectives of satire (amendment, punishment). One unit.

English 339 - Restoration and 18th-Century Drama
Every third year
A survey of English drama from Dryden to Sheridan, including heroic drama, Restoration comedy, sentimental developments of the 18th century, and the re-emergence of laughing comedy. One unit.

English 340 - Caribbean Literature
Alternate years
A study of selected writers from the Caribbean whose texts help to address the ways in which Caribbean literary thought and culture has evolved from the colonial times to the present. One unit.

English 341 - Advanced Poetry Workshop
Every third year
An advanced course in poetry writing. Only those who have completed the Creative Writing Concentration will be considered. Permission of instructor required. One unit.

English 342 - Advanced Narrative Workshop
Every third year
An advanced course in prose writing. Only those who have completed the Creative Writing Concentration will be considered. Permission of instructor required. One unit.

English 344 - The Romantic Revolution
Alternate years
A study of the major writers of the Romantic movement – Edmund Burke, Mary Wollstonecraft, William Wordsworth, Dorothy Wordsworth, Coleridge, Mary Shelley, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Byron, Keats, Hazlitt, Lamb, and DeQuincey. One unit.

English 345 - British Women Writers: 1780-1860
Every third year
A study of novels, poetry, and prose writings by women writing during and after the Romantic Movement — Frances Burney, Jane Austen, the Brontes, Mary Wollstonecraft, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and others. One unit.

English 346 - Victorian Poetry
Every third year
A study of the British poetry and poetic theory composed during Queen Victoria’s reign (1837-1901). Authors treated may include Alfred Lord Tennyson, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Browning, D. G. Rossetti, Christina Rossetti, Matthew Arnold, and Gerard Manley Hopkins. One unit.

English 347 - 19th-Century Novel
Every third year
A close examination of the British novel in the 19th century, including novels by Thackeray, Dickens, the Brontes, George Eliot, and Hardy. One unit.

English 348 - Reality Hunger
Alternate years
A study of the evolution of contemporary American non-fiction narrative, which traces its roots to the 19th-century writing of Emerson and Thoreau. One unit.

English 349 - Mark Twain and Henry James
Alternate years
A comparative study of two 19th-century American masters, who revolutionized American writing and made modern fiction possible. Consideration given to works throughout each author’s career and to the ways in which the formal innovations of each can illuminate the other’s work. One unit.

English 350 - Early American Literature
Every third year
A study of the development of cultural contact between Native Americans and Europeans, the Puritan experiment, and the founding of the nation from 1600-1830. One unit.

English 351 - American Renaissance
Alternate years
A study of the American Renaissance through selected prose and poetry of Poe, Dickinson, Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman, Hawthorne, and Melville. One unit.

English 352 - American Realism
Alternate years
A study of the rise of variant expressions of realism, its evolution into naturalism, the revival of local color and the flowering of regionalism, all in response to the changing American scene through immigration, segregation, business, technology and other forces between the Civil War and World War I. One unit.

English 353 - 19th-Century American Women Writers
Every third year
A study of various genres in which 19th-century women engaged restrictive definitions of woman’s sphere. Authors treated may include Davis, Child, Stowe, Alcott, Dickinson, Phelps, and Wharton. One unit.

English 354 - Civil War & Reconstruction Literature
Every third year
A survey of how the Civil War and Reconstruction periods have been described in American literature, from both the northern and southern perspective. Possible works include selected Civil War poetry and speeches, Stephen Crane’s Red Badge of Courage, Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind, and Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain. One unit.

English 355 - Poe’s Haunted Poetry
Every third year
This course examines Poe’s contribution as editor and critic; as pioneer of short fiction and science fiction; as inventor of the detective story; as author of strange and powerful poems; and as master of horror. It surveys recurrent topics such as doubleness, death, and insoluble mystery in Poe’s poems, essays, tales, and novel, within the broader context of 19th-century American culture. One unit.

English 356 - Growing Up American
Every third year
The course will examine the various traditional and heterodox ways in which American writers have conceptualized growing up. Characteristic writers of both fiction and non-fiction that might be examined include M. Twain, E. Wharton, W. Cather, J.D. Salinger, S. Millhauser, M. Robinson, T. Morrison, R. Baker, D. Barthelme, M.H. Kingston. One unit.

English 357 - Modern American Poetry
Every third year
A close analysis of the development of American poetry from the early 20th century up to the contemporary period, including such poets as Pound, Eliot, Williams, Crane, Frost, Stevens, Bishop, and others. One unit.

English 358 - Modern American Novel
Alternate years
A study of the emergence of Modernism and other currents in the American novel from 1900 to the contemporary period. One unit.

English 359 - Southern Literature
Every third year
A study of the writers of the so-called Southern Renaissance that began in the 1920s because of Old and New South tensions, including such figures as Faulkner, Penn Warren, Welty, Tate, Ransom, Styron, Flannery O’Connor, and Tennessee Williams. One unit.

English 360 - The African Diaspora
Every third year
A study of selected contemporary writers from the African Diaspora who are mostly living in Britain and the United States. Such writers include Claude McKay, Jamaica Kincaid, Samuel Selvon, Caryl Phillips, Erna Brodber, Eric Walrond and Curdella Forbes. One unit.

English 361 - Modernism and the Irish Literary Revival
Alternate years
A study of the relationship between international modernism and the cultural nationalism of the Irish Literary Revival. Authors treated include Oscar Wilde, G. B. Shaw, W. B. Yeats, Lady Augusta Gregory, James Joyce, Sean O’Casey, Elizabeth Bowen, Samuel Beckett, and Liam O’Flaherty, among others. One unit.

English 362 - T. S. Eliot
Every third year
A close study of Eliot’s poetry, criticism, and drama, including unpublished and lesser-known writings. One unit.

English 363 - Joyce
Every third year
A close study of Joyce’s modernist epic novel Ulysses as an experimental narrative; preceded by a close reading of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man or Dubliners. One unit.

English 364 - Contemporary Irish Literature
Alternate years
A study of the prose, poetry, and drama produced in Northern Ireland and the Republic from the last quarter of the 20th century to the present. Writers studied include Boland, Doyle, Friel, Heaney, and Ni Dhomhnaill as well as those less familiar to American readers, and readings are explored in light of relevant contemporary cultural concerns such as sectarianism and secularization, globalization, gender and race,the rise and fall of the Celtic Tiger, and post-colonial identity, among others. One unit.

English 365 - Modern British Poetry
Every third year
A study of the major British poets in the 20th century, including Hardy, the Georgians, the Imagists, Lawrence, Yeats, Eliot, Auden, and Dylan Thomas. One unit.

English 366 - Modern British Novel
Alternate years
A study of developments in the British novel from 1900-1950, with an emphasis on Modernist texts, through an examination of works by novelists such as Forster, Joyce, Woolf, Lawrence, Rhys, Greene, and Waugh. One unit.

English 367 - American Women Writers
Every third year
A study of the history of female authorship in America, emphasizing the ways in which individual women circumvented cultural proscriptions against female reading and writing, and manipulated existing literary genres in order to make their voices heard. One unit.

English 368 - African-American Literature
Annually
A survey of the literary tradition from slave narratives to contemporary writing by authors of African and African-American descent, with emphasis on the tradition’s oral beginnings and the influence of the vernacular on the written literature. One unit.

English 369 - Modern Drama
Every third year
A study of developments in drama from 1890 to 1960 in England, America, and on the Continent through an examination of selected works of such playwrights as Ibsen, Chekhov, Shaw, Pirandello, O’Neill, Brecht, Williams, and Beckett. One unit.

English 370 - Tragic View
Every third year
A study of the theory of tragedy in dramatic and non-dramatic literature. Readings in Greek tragedians, Latin and Continental, as well as English and American literature. One unit.

English 371 - Detective Fiction
Every third year
A study of detective fiction from its 19th-century beginnings (Poe, Doyle) to the British Golden Age (Christie, Sayers), and recent metaphysical parodies of the genre (Pynchon, Auster). One unit.

English 372 - Contemporary African-American Literature and Culture
Alternate years
An investigation of literature by African-American authors dating from the 1970s to the present day in the genres of science fiction/fantasy, mystery, memoir, novels exploring gender and sexuality, and cultural theory, with emphasis on the issues of visibility and invisibility as well as the theme of the American Dream. One unit.

English 373 - Chesterton and Catholic Modernity
Every third year
A study of G.K. Chesterton as a novelist and essaying, in relation to other modern thinkers and writers, including Arthur Schopenhauer, Friedrich Nietzsche, Joseph Conrad, Walter Pater, Leo Tolstoy, and H.G. Wells. This course is especially recommended for students interested in the Catholic intellectual tradition. One unit.

English 374 - The Bible and Literature
Every third year
This course takes its title from Northrop Frye’s book, “The Great Code.” Studies what Frye calls the “mythological universe” of the Bible that stretches from creation to the end of the world, looking particularly at the narrative structures of the Bible and its recurrent patterns of imagery. One unit.

English 375 - Asian American Literature
Every third year
A survey of representative Asian American literature from early twentieth century immigrant narratives to contemporary writings. Examines Asian American literary production and its main literary themes. One unit.

English 376 - Postmodern British Novel
Every third year
A study of the rise and development of the “postmodern” novel in Britain from the late 1960’s to the present, including works by Rhys, Fowles, Lodge, Rushdie, Weldon, Winterson, Amis, and Barnes. Topics to be discussed include: postmodernism, historicity, post-colonialism, pop culture, and constructions of race/gender/sexuality. One unit.

English 378 - 21st-Century Literature
Every third year
Explores award-winning British and American literature of the new millennium in an attempt to “take the pulse” of what’s going on in our most contemporary literature. Texts are read in the contexts of late 20th-century literary and theoretical movements such as: postmodernism, post-colonialism, gender studies, and multiculturalism. One unit.

English 379 - Contemporary Drama
Every third year
A study of developments in Anglo-American drama from 1960 to the present through the work of playwrights such as Shepard, Mamet, Wasserstein, Norman, Hare, Churchill, Wilson, Fugard, Parks, and Kushner. One unit.

English 380 - Representing the Law in Drama
Alternate years
A study of drama from various epochs and genres, inquiring how legal systems shape plays centered on questions of justice and how drama itself critiques different systems of law. One unit.

English 381 - Rhetoric
Annually
A consideration of rhetorical theory in the classical texts of Plato and Aristotle, an analysis of some famous examples of persuasive eloquence, and the student’s own exercise of persuasive speech on subjects of public concern. One unit.

English 382 - Queer Theory
Every third year
Built upon but departing from the identity-based approach of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) Studies, Queer Theory critically investigates cultural normativities related to sexuality, sex, and gender. This highly theoretical course will introduce students to the foundational thinkers of the field, including Foucault, Sedgwick, and Butler. We will also consider literary works that enact queer theory. One unit.

English 383 - Feminist Literary Theory
Every third year
An examination of major directions in 20th-century feminist literary theory, with study of works by writers such as Charlotte Bronte, Chopin, Gilman, Woolf, Atwood, and Morrison. Theory may address such issues as gendered reading and writing, representation of the body and sexuality, gender/race/class, feminism and ideology. One unit.

English 384 - Literary Theory
Every third year
A study of the aims and procedures of literary criticism and of representative approaches, both ancient and modern. Selected readings from influential critics from Plato and Aristotle to the late 20th century, with application to literary works. One unit.

English 385 - Contemporary Literary Theory
Alternate years
An introduction to some of the major positions in modern and contemporary literary criticism: the “old” and “new” historicisms, formalism, reader-response criticism, structuralism, hermeneutics, deconstruction, critique of ideology, and cultural studies. Seeks to clarify literary criticism’s place among the contemporary disciplines. One unit.

English 387 - Composition Theory and Pedagogy
Annually
An investigation of how people learn to write, and how they can be helped to write better. Topics include individual composing processes, academic discourse constraints, and cultural influences on writing. This by-permission course is required for all students who wish to become peer tutors in the Holy Cross Writer’s Workshop. One unit.

English 388 - Jewish Literature of Exile and Return
Every third year
Jews have dispersed all over the world, while retaining a collective identity based in their religious culture and attachment to the Promised Land. This course explores literature (from different times and places — mostly written in English) that treats their experiences of living in exile and returning to homeland. One unit.

English 399 - Special Topics in English
Fall, spring
The study of a special problem or topic in literature or language, or a body of literature outside present course listings. Representative examples include: Renaissance Love Lyric, Arthurian Tradition, Contemporary Women Writers, Renaissance Women Writers, 19th-century Novel & Crime, Frost/Stevens. One unit.

Advanced Courses

English 400 - Tutorials and Independent Study Projects
Fall, spring
Permission of the instructor and/or the department chair ordinarily required for such courses. One unit

English 401, 405 - Seminars
Annually
Advanced seminars are classes with prerequisites that offer the student an opportunity to pursue an ambitious independent project and to take more responsibility for class experience. Some recent advanced courses have been: Book as Text/Object; Keats and Wordsworth; Gender in the Renaissance; Austen: Fiction to Film; Shakespeare’s Romances; Literary Constructions of Romantic Love; Tolkien; Slavery & the Literary Imagination; and Shakespeare’s Comedies. One unit each semester.

English 407, 408 - English Honors Thesis
Annually
Candidates selected from invited applicants to the English Honors Committee. Two semesters credit, granted at end of second semester. One unit each semester.

English 409 - English Honors Colloquium
Fall, spring
English Honors thesis students and College Honors English thesis students. One-half credit, granted at end of second semester.