EH 102: Seminar in Critical Thinking and Writing
Various professors and times.
A seminar on college-level writing and critical inquiry. The course emphasizes clear and engaging prose, persuasive reasoning, various rhetorical strategies, research documentation, and standard English grammar and mechanics.
EH 205, Introduction to Creative Writing (CE)
EH 205, Introduction to Creative Writing, consists of beginning work in creative writing in several genres, including fiction, poetry, and either drama or creative nonfiction, at the discretion of the instructor[s]. Using a combination of in-class exercises, readings, and workshops, the course introduces students to the fundamentals of creating, reading, and evaluating short pieces of creative writing. Prerequisite: EH 102 or 208.
Objectives: The purpose of this section of EH 205 will be to teach students the basic techniques of creating, reading, and evaluating poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. We will study the elements of creative writing across the three genres as well as discuss distinctions between the genres. Students can expect a great deal of writing—both in- and out-of-class exercises to build skills, as well as longer, finished projects—and a good deal of class discussion.
Requirements: The requirements are: (1) a journal of writing and reading response exercises; (2) at least four formally submitted writing assignments—two-three poems, a short-short, and either an extended piece of fiction or a nonfiction piece (3) verbal critiques of all pieces submitted for workshop and written critiques of all pieces not workshopped; (4) class preparation and participation; (5) attendance at one related Common Hour or off-campus event (attendance at additional ones for extra credit); (6) at least one conference with the professor; (7 ) a final portfolio of revised writing; and (8) negative capability, a willing suspension of disbelief, and a sense of humor.
EH 208: Intermediate Writing
Various professors and times.
The development of intensive analytical skills, precise and extensive vocabulary, and consciousness of style.
EH 302, Poetry Workshop
Poetry workshop fosters a setting where emotion, memory, language, and form collide to produce an artifact, a poem. In this course, the students must explore their deepest emotional landscapes and fasten these emotions to the imprecise, yet suggestive, medium of language. The results are often powerful and revelatory.
Class Format: Class centers on the students’ poems and work-shopping individual student’s poetry. Each student must submit his/her poem on time (Monday by 5:00), print up copies of all the poems in advance (Monday night), and read and critique each poem in a careful, critical, and sensitive manner.
Requirements: Attend every class. Read all of the assigned material, including all handouts, student poems, any assigned poems and/or other material. Complete all poems and critiques ON TIME. Submit a final portfolio of nine new (and completely revised, when necessary) poems. The portfolio is revised throughout the semester, and resubmitted on the last day of class. On the date of the Final Exam, every student will submit between two and four poems for publication to refereed poetry journals that we will select (ex: POEM).
Literature Course Offerings
EH 210, Introduction to Fiction (IA)
Storytelling was crucial to the development of human beings as a species. Early human beings used storytelling to pass on their culture, spread the news, and gather in groups for entertainment. Storytelling plays an important role in our own prehistory as individuals. Parents and other adults read us storybooks and pass on family and lore cautionary tales. We ourselves are storytellers as we recount our day to friends.
In Introduction to Fiction, EH 210A, we will read fiction that does some or all of these things. Stories will include classics, contemporary fiction, and even graphic fiction. We will also read one novel.
The primary intent of this course is to make reading fiction enjoyable. J Of course, you will write two short papers (there is that) and take two exams. But class experience depends on student opinion and your honest response to the readings.
EH 228, Gender, Race, and Class in Literature (ES)
An introduction to the study of literature through reading, discussion, and community service. Students examine works of fiction, poetry, and drama that wrestle with differences of gender, race, and socio-economic class that have the capacity to divide us as well as enrich our perspectives. Fifteen hours of community service tutoring at local after-school programs and providing meals and conversation to women and children at a local shelter creates a powerful connection between literary study and the lives of our neighbors.
HON 243, Literature, Medicine, and the Body
Much like the work of interpreting literature, we also interpret our bodies, their health, and even their pain. With advances in medical technology during the twentieth century, we have seen an influx of literature about medicine, illness, and healing. How, then, do medicine and literature correspond? What does literature offer to the world of medicine? How does medicine run central to the task of writing? What are the overlapping philosophical or theoretical concerns which inform both literature and medicine, and the practice of each? How might medicine and literature—in addition to addressing the physiology and etiology of illness—also consider the intangible facets of healing, like compassion and empathy?
The relationship between literature and medicine is at least as old as ancient Greek culture: above the door to the Library at Thebes the words “Medicine for the Soul” were inscribed. This course will be interdisciplinary in nature, identifying and evaluating the way in which medicine and literature inform—and are informed by—one another through engaging in examination of health, illness, and healing.
Utilizing a seminar-style discussion, we will use literature as the basis for investigating universal concerns about moral and ethical issues, including historic and modern medical practices as represented in literary texts about the experience of doctoring from medical, patient, and family perspectives alike. Through the use of selected poems, stories, and essays, we will employ literary analysis as an essential tool in aiding us to “read” bodies, whether our own or of others, sometimes physical and sometimes textual.
These interpretive skills are especially crucial when we ourselves are patients, and this also assists the medical community in fully attending to their patients. In this respect, the interplay of medical humanities plays a fundamental role in fostering the humane side of medicine, and in cultivating compassion and empathy for those in need of healing attention. In effect, one of our primary goals in this course will be to think critically—yes about texts, but also about history, culture, politics, and the power of representation. This seminar will examine all aspects of medicine, literature, and the body as we dissect the politics of health and suffering, illness and recovery, hope and healing.
EH 260, Survey of American Literature (IA)
Students in this course march, or saunter, chronologically through American literary history, from pre-Columbian legends of indigenous peoples to early 21st century postmodern narratives. In short, we read a sampling of writers, influential in the U.S., in an effort to discover the dominant themes, styles, and issues that have become particularly American. Our examination of texts takes the form of close-reading as well as contextualization—understanding works of literature in relation to each other and in the context of the times in which they were produced.
As we examine the works of each time period, we consider whether generalizations and labels (“-isms” such as “modernism”) help or hinder our understanding of the development of American literature. At the same time, we try to locate ourselves between the two poles in current debate within American literary studies: Is there such a thing as an American literature (one literary heritage to be maintained and passed down) or is the idea of America (and therefore the texts representing the American experience) fluid and ever-changing?
Basic requirements: Two papers, a midterm and final exam, reading quizzes, and weekly Moodle discussion posts.
Upper-Level Literature Courses
EH 300, Theories and Methods of Literary Analysis (WR)
EH 300 was conceived as a "gateway" course for the English major. Its purpose is to focus on what literary study means and how we go about doing it. We will practice close-reading literary texts and writing literary research papers. We will also gain exposure to a number of issues within the English academic profession and to a number of theoretical approaches to textual analysis. The course is meant to prepare you for other upper-level English courses, but especially for Senior Seminar. Most of the work in the course will be connected to a research paper due toward the end of the semester.
EH 325, Natural, Wild, and Free: American Environmental Literature
Aligned with the mission and goals of the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment (ASLE), this course examines poetry, fiction, and nonfiction classified as “environmental literature” and “nature writing”. We will consider how specific literary texts and the works of particular writers explore the consequences of human activity on local, regional, and global natural systems. The literary material of this course is deeply engaged in conversations about the human connection to the environment, nature, wilderness, conservation, and preservation, and in assessing environmentally sustainable urban development as figured in the literature of our national, regional, and urban writers expressing such concerns.
Our study will be threefold in organization: first we will focus on some of the canonical and foundational nature writing of twentieth-century America; secondly we will take a bioregional approach and give specific attention to environmental literature of the South, examining poetry and prose considered southern nature writing which grows from an established tradition of American environmental literature; and lastly we will extend our environmental consciousness to include literary texts in the newly emerging field of urban nature writing and urban environmental literature.
Overall, this course will urge you to especially consider the role of language in negotiating, representing, and expressing the connections between our lives and the external world. In effect, we will listen intensely to the natural world, work to recover its “forgotten language” (as W.S. Merwin claims), and analyze how the patterns, themes, images, and concerns of this “forgotten” language reveal critical intersections in our own—perhaps forgotten or as yet undiscovered—lives. Writers we study will include, Aldo Leopold, Gary Snyder, Wendell Berry, Annie Dillard, James Dickey, Janisse Ray, Susan Cerulean, Christopher Camuto, Melissa Walker, bell hooks, and Terrell Dixon.
EH 330, Major Author: W. B. Yeats (Cat. 2)
Course Description: EH 330, Major Authors, is a focused study of the works of one to three authors; this particular course will focus on the writings of W. B. Yeats. Credit: 1 unit. Prerequisite: Any 200-level literature course. Category: 2 (depth).
Objectives: The major objective of this course will be intensive, in-depth reading and research of the writings of (arguably?) the most influential figure in twentieth-century poetry. Through such intensive study, we should gain a depth of knowledge impossible to gain in "survey" courses, though a secondary objective is to gain a knowledge of where one major author fits into the "canon" of major authors; specifically, we should also gain an appreciation of literary inheritance, of how one writer influences others and vice versa.
Required Texts: W. B. Yeats, The Collected Poems of W. B. Yeats, 2nd ed., Ed. Richard J. Finneran; W. B. Yeats, Autobiographies; Richard Ellmann, Yeats: The Man and the Masks, Rev. ed.; John Unterecker, A Reader’s Guide to William Butler Yeats.
In the interest of fair disclosure: Yeats’s work was the subject of my dissertation and I still love the poetry and feel ambivalent about the man—poetry that spanned two centuries, two wars, two countries, two literary movements, and a life that embraced many influential women. Yeats, like William Blake, thought that “without contraries is no progression,” and so his work and life also married heaven and hell, the physical and metaphysical, the ordinary and the just plain weird. So . . . “Marie, Marie, hold on tight”; the allusiveness of Yeats’s work makes reading his poetry as Olympic a feat as bobsledding the mountains of a Caribbean island, or, in this case, the mountains of Ireland. Yeats often challenges, but he very rarely disappoints.
EH 381, Victorian Literature and Culture (Cat. 1)
The Victorians have a terrible problem with PR. Often simplified as repressive, Victorian England was a time of impressive cultural change. The Victorian era was the first era to call into question institutional Christianity on a large scale. Many distinctively “modern” innovations and cultural concepts made significant strides during this time period, including democracy, feminism, unionization of workers, socialism, Marxism. This is the age of Darwin, Marx, and early Freud, as well as Queen Victorian, the Oxford Movement, and Utilitarianism.
This course is designed as a survey of the major Victorian writers and the cultural events which transformed the era. The course covers the time period from 1832-1900. Victorian literature excels in three traditional literary genres: prose, poetry, and fiction. We will examine, in particular, the dramatic monologue, the prose essay, and the novel, this last the pre-eminent genre of the period.
The cultural context of the Victorian period—the era’s many transformations—is also an important topic of investigation. Like all literary periods, the Victorian Era is rich, diverse, and complicated. Thus, we will focus on the literature and culture of the era, not theoretical criticism. As always, the primary goals of this course are to introduce the student to the pleasures and rigors of reading, to develop the skills necessary to be able to appreciate sophisticated works of literature, to ask the reader to become engaged the text, and to participate in the class by voicing thoughtful, informed opinions.
Requirements include regular attendance and class participation, individual assigned worksheets on the specific texts, midterm, research paper, and in-class presentation.
EH 385, Contextual Studies in World Literature: Dante (Cat. 3)
This Spring Term EH 385 will explore Dante and the world he inherited and the world he helped shape. Our primary texts will be Dante’s Comedy- all three books [Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso]-The Vita Nuova, and selected Lyrics by Dante. We will give substantial attention to Dante’s predecessors in the European lyric, especially the “French,” Catalan, German, and Latin. I expect we will get a chance to spend time with Boccaccio, Petrarch, and some others who followed Dante. I hope we get time to trace other influences of Dante and his vision and world. We will read key works in the critical and theoretical tradition. We will do a big paper and some other work. I am planning some inventive and alternative options for assignments. The reading will be substantial, but always invigorating.
EH 400, Studies in Culture and Text: Postmodernism (Cat. 5)
This is a Category Five course that will focus on theories of language, culture, and the arts particularly since about the mid-fifties (though always premised on much earlier thought). We will read an introduction to postmodern thought, and then focus on essays by such theorists as Roland Barthes, Julia Kristeva, Frederic Jameson, Michel Foucault, Laura Mulvey, Jean-Francois Lyotard, Jacques Derrida, and Jean Baudrillard. I will structure the readings around issues of art and culture, such as film, architecture, music, photography, and, of course, literature. Students will give short presentations throughout the semester applying the theory to cultural phenomena. They will also keep a journal, take a midterm, and complete a research paper.
EH 471, Senior Seminar
This course will be unlike any you have taken in part because you and what you have learned will be the content and the object of study. Senior Seminar and Senior Conference serve as the capstone to your English major. You will work on synthesizing what you have learned and focusing that knowledge as you develop a seminar topic, research that topic, and produce an 18-28 page seminar paper. For the Senior Conference, you must take that 18-28 page seminar paper and effectively condense it into a 15 minute oral presentation. That presentation must be made smoothly and professionally.
This particular Senior Seminar is "open topic," meaning you can study a work of your choice--something you may at first see as a blessing, come to believe is a curse, but ultimately find rewarding.
To prepare you for this work you will compose an intellectual autobiography and explore the work of professionals in the field of literary study. We will become familiar with the scholarly journals and study journal articles. What you produce in your seminar paper should be suitable for submission to such a journal for publication. Your senior conference presentation should be suitable for presentation at a scholarly conference