Course Descriptions

185 — Seminar on Exposition and Argument - The Seminar on Exposition and Argument provides an intensive introduction to all of the skills that go into good writing: critical reading, framing arguments for different audiences, mechanics, style, and research. The seminar must be taken during a student's first year at the College. The core curriculum will ask students to continue to refine their writing, but this course lays the foundation for the kinds of writing expected of students throughout college. Four hours.

190 — Midnight Tales — Ambrose Bierce once defined the ghost as “an outward and visible sign of an invisible fear.” He might have said the same of any number of other supernatural creatures: vampires, zombies, werewolves, that thing you thought you saw out of the corner of your eye the other night when you were up late and the house was quiet . . . . But are all of these creatures manifestations of the same fear? What is it we are so afraid of, anyway? These are questions we will attempt to answer in this course, through reading, discussing, and writing about a range of horrifying poems, short stories, and novels. We will also practice our close reading skills and become familiar with literary terminology and critical approaches to reading. Partially fulfills the AOK requirement in Arts and Literature (literature). Three hours.

191 — Boys Don't Cry —This course examines the diverse (and sometimes conflicting) representations of masculinity in American literary culture. Taking as its material both “classic” and contemporary texts, this course aims to introduce students to the ways in which masculinity has been represented by both male and female authors, exploring not only how authors construct notions of masculinity based on the social and historical circumstances that surrounded them, but also how these notions continue to affect our present-day understanding of what it means to “be a man.” In this course, we work to expose the interpretive possibilities contained in even the most seemingly straightforward depictions of “manliness” (such as in texts like Hemingway's “Hills like White Elephants”) while also searching for more subtle explorations of alternative masculinities. Along the way, we’ll ask key questions about what have long been considered to be the developmental “touchstones” of a masculine identity: how is boyhood and masculine adolescence represented in literary culture? How are men depicted against backdrops of violence and war? How are men represented as they navigate relationships (familial, friendly, and romantic)? Students in this course will have the unique opportunity to be introduced to the work of textual interpretation through a cultural and theoretical lens, all the while investigating—and challenging—their own notions of masculinity. Partially fulfills the AOK requirement in Arts and Literature (literature). Three hours.

211 — British Literary Traditions I— Traces the literary imagination in Britain from Anglo—Saxon times to the late Renaissance through an examination of the changes in literary forms, audience, and modes of production. Works and authors studied include Beowulf, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Marvell, Herrick, and Donne. Partially fulfills the AOK requirement in Arts and Literature (literature). Three hours.

212 — British Literary Traditions II— A continuation of ENGL 211. Examines literary movements from the Restoration to the Victorian period. Authors studied include Finch, Dryden, Pope, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, Arnold, and the Rossettis. Partially fulfills the AOK requirement in Arts and Literature (literature). Three hours.

231 — Introduction to Poetry — An introductory study of various modes of poetry in England and in America. Instruction in techniques of teaching poetry will be offered to the members of the class who are minoring in education. Partially fulfills the AOK requirement in Arts and Literature (literature). Three hours.

232 — Introduction to Drama — A survey of dramatic literature, including classical, neo—classical, and experimental forms, with an emphasis on social context and performance. Includes comedies of manners by Moliere and Wilde, absurdist texts by Beckett and Pinter, "social consciousness" plays by Ibsen and Strindberg. Also includes plays from non—western and other minority traditions. Offered alternate years. Partially fulfills the AOK requirement in Arts and Literature (literature). Three hours.

233 — Introduction to the Short Story — A critical study of the short story as a form, examining works in the modes of fantasy, realism, and naturalism. A central focus will be on point of view. Partially fulfills the AOK requirement in Arts and Literature (literature). Three hours.

234 — Introduction to the Novel — An introduction to narrative that draws on works by Austen, Emily Brontë, Dickens, Woolf, and Manuel Puig. Partially fulfills the AOK requirement in Arts and Literature (literature). Three hours.

235 — Introduction to the Short Novel — An introduction to the art and technique of storytelling that focuses on the modern short novel. Partially fulfills the AOK requirement in Arts and Literature (literature). Three hours.

251 — Introduction to American Literature — The development of U.S. literature from its origins through the 19th century. Topics covered may include: discovery and exploration, the Puritan era, the Age of Reason, slavery and abolition, the American Renaissance and realism. Partially fulfills the AOK requirement in Arts and Literature (literature). Three hours.

252 — Introduction to American Literature — A continuation of ENGL 251. Major focuses include the rise of the United States as an international and cultural power, industrialization, realism and naturalism, and the development of modern and postmodern consciousness. Partially fulfills the AOK requirement in Arts and Literature (literature). Three hours.

253 — From Roaring Twenties to Depression Thirties: American Culture between the Wars — A study of the vibrant cultural life of America during the l920s and l930s using novels, short stories, plays, poems, music, and movies of the period. Partially fulfills the AOK requirement in Arts and Literature (literature). Three hours.

255 — Introduction to African—American Literature — A survey of writing by African—Americans from the 18th to 20th centuries, covering early texts, poetry and speeches, narratives of slavery and escape, abolition, the Reconstruction era, the Harlem Renaissance, the Black Arts movement and contemporary black writers. Offered alternate years. Partially fulfills the AOK requirement in Arts and Literature (literature). Three hours.

271 — Writing Women's Lives — Writing by and about women across time and geography. The course examines both literature and feminist literary criticism to explore a range of topics, including how expectations of women's and men's roles have affected women's access to and practice of writing, how differences of culture, race, sexuality and nationality register in women's texts, how women writers see themselves in relation to various literary traditions, and how distinguishing women's writing as a separate field poses both advantages and problems for the study of literature. Partially fulfills the AOK requirement in Arts and Literature (literature). Three hours.

300 — Advanced Expository Writing — A course designed to give intermediate and advanced students concentrated instruction and practice in expository writing. Three hours. Offered alternate years.

301 — Peer Tutoring of Writing — Theory and practice to prepare for tutoring in the college’s Writing Center. Students will study principles of effective writing and tutoring and will practice what they’ve learned. Topics include: the use of writing resources, writing across the disciplines, and the tutoring of students with varied backgrounds (including ESL). Permission of the instructor required. One hour.

302 – Autobiographical Writing – An examination of the history of autobiographical writing, its various purposes, and attendant controversies. Students will read a selection of memoirs and essays on autobiographical writing and draft their own memoir, which they will present to the class on days devoted to writing workshops. Not open to first year students, except with permission of instructor. Three hours.

304 – Creative Writing: Poetry Workshop – A study of the art and craft of writing poetry. Emphasis on understanding and practicing the process, developing skills of evaluation, and discovering new voices in the field. Prerequisite: ENGL 185 or permission of the instructor. Three hours.

306 — Creative Writing — A workshop experimenting with various approaches to creative writing. Emphasis on understanding and practicing the processes of writing poetry and fiction, among other forms, developing skills of evaluation, and discovering new and original voices. Prerequisite: ENGL 185. Three hours. 

307 – Creative Nonfiction – Focuses on crafting prose that is literary and factually accurate. Through writing techniques attributed to both fiction writing and journalism such as character development, narrative arc and loyalty to facts, it studies real people and events. To this end this course will focus on reading, writing and analyzing various forms of creative nonfiction including personal essays, memoir, and autobiography written by various authors including James Baldwin, Phillip Lopate, and Honor Moore. Students will produce their own nonfiction pieces during the semester that will focus on these various forms. Prerequisite: ENGL 185. Three hours.

308 — The Late Middle Ages — A variety of literature from the 12th through the 15th centuries, including manuals, romances, visionary works, letters, tale collections, and mystical treatises. The course will explore how literary works are transmitted from one culture to another and how they change to accommodate different traditions, values, and audiences. Works studied include Yvain, the Inferno, the Decameron and the Canterbury Tales. Not open to first-year students, except with permission of instructor.  Offered alternate years. Three hours. 

309 — Chaucer's Canterbury Tales — A study of how this 600-year-old tale collection both introduces the reader to some of the most vivid and enduring characters and stories in English literature and provides a serious meditation on the subjective nature of the creation and interpretation of literature.  Not open to first-year students, except with permission of instructor.  Three hours.

310 — Chaucer, the Court Poet — A study of how Chaucer's short lyric poetry, dream visions and his tragedy Troilus and Criseyde engage readers with both the stories his narrator recounts and the seemingly insurmountable artistic and ethical problems that confront the poet as he attempts to mediate between his sources and the interests of his powerful patrons. Offered alternate years.  Not open to first-year students, except with permission of instructor.  Three hours.

311 — Shakespeare and his England — An introduction to a selection of Shakespeare's Comedies, Histories, Tragedies, Romances, and the so-called "Problem" plays. These plays will be interwoven with the major literary, political and gender-related issues of the period from 1590-1613. Students will come to understand the plays not only as written texts but also as performed events.  Not open to first-year students, except with permission of instructor.  Three hours.

312 — "Full Fathom Five...": Shakespeare in Depth — A study of five of Shakespeare's more difficult plays in the context of current literary criticism and production theory. Special emphasis on gender and social relations and on the way these texts continue to have relevance today will drive the discussion and assignments. Students should be prepared to analyze critical perspectives of the plays, both literary and theatrical. Prerequisite: ENGL 311. Offered alternate years. Three hours.

313 — Hamlet: Perspectives and Productions — A January term course which studies a single text and its importance as a cultural artifact all over the world. We will consider Shakespeare's Hamlet from the perspectives of different theories of literary criticism, old and new, view productions which offer radically different interpretations of age-old questions, and see how Hamlet goes on being written ­ and re-written ­ today. Prerequisite: ENGL 311 or permission of instructor. Offered every third year. Three hours.

314 – Shakespeare’s Real Stage: Theater at the Blackfriars – This course, offered only in January term, offers students the opportunity to read a select group of Renaissance-era plays and see them performed at the American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Theater, a replica of the indoor theater where Shakespeare’s playing company staged some of their most famous works. Students will spend a portion of the course on the Randolph-Macon campus, reading, analyzing, and writing about plays (with a particular focus on their performance conditions and opportunities), and a portion on site at the ASC, where they will attend rehearsals, workshops, lectures, discussions (with actors and directors), and performances. Recommendation: Students should consider taking ENGL 311 before taking this course. Partially fulfills the AOK requirement on Arts and Literature (literature). Three hours.

315 – Tudor/Stuart Drama – A study of dramatic developments and social contexts of one of the richest periods of English literary history, the Renaissance. Plays from the mid-16th century through the 1630s, excluding Shakespeare. Topics covered include the development of “mixed” genres, political application, and the growing civil instability that resulted in the English Civil Wars. Not open to first-year students, except with permission of instructor. Offered every third year. Three hours.

317 – Renaissance Poetry and Prose – This course will study a rich and diverse range of literature that exemplifies the historical, political, intellectual, and artistic interests of the English Renaissance. Students will explore a number of different modes, tracing particularly the development of lyric poetry and its representations of love, courtiership, and the good life; students will also look at the development of prose (utopian fiction, travel narrative, and romance/pastoral). Not open to first-year students, except with permission of instructor. Offered alternate years. Three hours.

318 – The 17th Century – An examination of the lyric poetry of John Donne, Ben Jonson, George Herbert, Andrew Marvell, John Milton, and other Cavalier and religious writers, including some women writers. These poems will be read in conjunction with one dramatic work from the period. Instruction and frequent practice in explicating poetry. Not open to first-year students, except with permission of instructor. Offered alternate years. Three hours.

319 – Milton – A close study of the works of John Mil- ton, with attention to his life and times. Not open to first-year students, except with permission of instructor. Three hours.

321 – The 18th Century – A survey of British literature, 1660-1798, focusing on Restoration comedy, the public poetry of Dryden and Pope, the satire of several Restoration and Augustan figures, the emergence of the sentimental, the advent of new literary genres such as biography and the journal, and the transition from a Neo-Classical to a Romantic aesthetic. Not open to first-year students, except with permission of instructor. Offered alternate years. Three hours.
 
322 – The 18th Century Novel – An examination of the novel as it gradually developed into a major literary genre. The course considers the formative shorter fiction by Aphra Behn, Delariviere Manley, Jane Barker, Daniel Defoe, Penelope Aubin, Eliza Haywood, Mary Davys, Elizabeth Singer Rowe, and the later more developed novels by Samuel Richardson, Henry Fielding, Laurence Sterne, Frances Sheridan, and Fanny Burney. Not open to first-year students, except with permission of instructor. Offered alternate years. Three hours.

325 – Uses of the Bible in Literature – The Bible-that is, the Judeo-Christian scriptures–has been, for good and ill perhaps the most influential compilation of texts in the development of Western culture. Western (and some non-Western) literature is saturated with biblical allusions that deepen meaning and transcend mere plot. For readers, whether we are religious or not, understanding the origins and contexts of these allusions both enriches the experience of reading and enlarges one’s cultural vocabulary. This course will unpack some of the more frequent of these allusions as drawn from the biblical text (s), and consider examples of their use in literary–and some non-literary–contexts. Students will explore the problems presented by translation, changing cultural circumstances and the distortion of scripture to advance particular agendas. Not open to first year students, except with permission of instructor. Three hours.
 
331 – The Romantic Movement in American Writing – A study of the key period in American literature, focusing on such themes as the need to destroy what exists, the dangers posed and opportunities afforded by democracy to spirit, the cosmic significance of America, despair and ecstasy. Authors studied include Dickinson, Whitman, Poe, and Hawthorne. Not open to first-year students, except with permission of instructor. Offered alternate years. Three hours.

332 – American Novel Between the Wars – A study of novels written by major American novelists of the Roaring 20s and Depression 30s, focusing on such authors as Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Sinclair Lewis, William Faulkner, Gertrude Stein, John Steinbeck, and Richard Wright. Not open to first-year students, except with permission of instructor. Offered alternate years. Three hours.
 
334 – American Poetry Between the Wars – An analysis of the poetry of the great early modernist American poets, who dominated the period between 1920 and 1940. The course focuses on the poems of Robert Frost, Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens, William Carlos Williams, and Marianne Moore. Not open to first-year students, except with permission of instructor. Offered alternate years. Three hours.

335 – Literary London – London has been represented as a royal seat, a financial hub, a cultural Mecca and (in some instances) a squalid cesspit. It has been home to great literary figures and the setting of great literary works. This course invites the student to travel the streets of London, past and present, and explore the rich literary heritage contained therein. Three hours.

336 – Post-World War II American Fiction – A study of the major thematic and stylistic trends in American fiction since 1945. Not open to first-year students, except with permission of instructor. Offered every third year. Three hours.

339 – Genre Fiction – Genre Fiction is an introduction to popular historic and contemporary genre literature – the types of books frequently found in grocery stores, airports, and best sellers lists, and only very rarely found in the college classroom. Romances, science fiction novels, detective stories, fantasy epics, and horror stories may be snubbed as escapist, “low-brow” literature, but the pleasures these texts yield reveal much about contemporary culture. By scrutinizing genre fiction with the same academic rigor we apply to “great” literature, we will try to define a variety of popular genres and come to an understanding of what makes these genres – and the specific texts we will read – so appealing. Not open to students who have completed HONR 282. Not open to first-year students, except with permission of instructor. Three hours.

341 – Sports and Literature – This course offers a study of sports literature. Topics include: the ability of sports to encourage self-examination and redemption of the individual; whether more can be learned about life from winning or from losing; the impact athletic success may have on one’s character; and the greater societal impact which sports can have on our culture. These issues will be examined through novels, short stories, and poetry. Among the writers studied are John Cheever, Pat Conroy, Bernard Malamud, and John Up- dike. Prerequisite: ENGL 185. Three hours. 

351 – Romantic Literature in England – A critical and historical study of English literature from 1789 to 1832, with emphasis on the lyric and the novel. Not open to first-year students, except with permission of instructor. Offered alternate years. Three hours.

352 – Victorian Literature – A study of England’s literature between 1842 and 1901, with special attention to the crisis in religious belief sparked by theories of evolution, serial fiction, and the “woman question.” Not open to first-year students, except with permission of instructor. Offered every second year. Three hours.

353 – Children’s Literature – A historical study of children’s literature from 1749 to today with particular emphasis on the genre’s Golden Age (1865-1925). Not open to first-year students, except with permission of instructor. Three hours.

354 – 19th Century British Novel – A study of the nineteenth century novel from Austen to Gissing, paying special attention to forms of emergence, the “woman question,” and social history. Not open to first-year students, except with permission of instructor. Offered every third year. Three hours.

355 – Literary England/Travel Course – London has been represented as a royal seat, a financial hub, a cultural Mecca and (in some instances) a squalid cesspit. It has been home to great literary figures and the setting of great literary works. This course invites the student to travel the streets of London, past and present, and explore the rich literary heritage contained therein. Partially fulfills the AOK requirement in Arts and Literature (literature). Three hours.

361 – 20th Century British Literature – A study of masterpieces by major authors of the British Isles, with emphasis on the modernist novel and lyric. Prerequisite: Not open to first-year students, except with permission of instructor. Offered every third year. Three hours. 

363 – Contemporary British and American Drama – A survey of dramatic developments and social contexts in Britain and America since the 1960s. Topics include AIDS, the Vietnam War, one class/race relations with an emphasis on non-traditional dramatic performance, incorporating music, dance, and graphic design. Not open to first-year students, except with permission of instructor. Offered every third year. Three hours.

364 – The Novel in the 20th Century – This course examines some of the astonishing experiments that have transformed the way we think of the novel, which many agree is the central literary form of the twenti- eth century. We will consider the political, artistic, and philosophical questions raised in masterpieces by British, American and European novelists like Woolf, Faulkner, Kafka, and Beckett. Works originally written in languages other than English will be read in English translations. Not open to first-year students, except with permission of instructor. Offered every third year. Three hours.

365 – Literature of the American South – A wide-ranging survey of southern literature, across genres, from the colonial period until the present, this course will investigate how the American South has served as a cradle of regional and national mythology and consider identity formation in a robust, contradictory, and enduring literature. Not open to first-year students, except with permission of instructor. Three hours.

366 – Southern Women Writers – A study of selected prose works by southern women writing after 1960, including prominent authors such as Tina McElroy Ansa, Dorothy Allison, Rita Mae Brown, Ellen Douglas, Kaye Gibbons, Gail Godwin, Josephine Humphreys, Jill McCorkle, Dori Sanders, Lee Smith, Anne Tyler, and Alice Walker. This course will explore how con- temporary southern women writers explore issues of race, gender, and class identity in works set in a changing southern landscape, and it will address the question of what, if anything, makes southern writing unique. Not open to first-year students except with permission of instructor. Three hours.

367 – Post-1950 Canadian Literature – An intensive survey of the modern English literature written outside of the United States and the United Kingdom in the nation of Canada. Among the writers studied are Margaret Laurence, Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro, Mordecai Richler, and Michael Ondaatje. Not open to first-year students, except with permission of instructor. Three hours.

368 – Post-1950 Australian Literature – An intensive survey of the modern English literature written outside of the United States and the United Kingdom in the nation of Australia. Among the writers studied are Patrick White, Peter Carey, Tim Winton, Janette Turner Hospital, and Kate Greenville. Not open to first-year students, except with permission of instructor. Three hours.

369 – Post-1950 African Literature – An intensive survey of the modern English literature written outside of the United States and the United Kingdom in several nations of Africa, such as Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa. Among the writers studied are Chinua Achebe, Buchi Emecheta, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, J. M. Coetzee, and Nadine Gordimer. Not open to first-year students, except with permission of instructor. Three hours.

370 – Post-1950 Caribbean Literature – An intensive survey of the modern English literature written outside of the United States and the United Kingdom in several nations of the Caribbean, such as Jamaica, Barbados, and Trinidad. Among the writers studied are Michelle Cliff, V. S. Naipaul, Derek Walcott, Jean Rhys, and Edward Brathwaite. Not open to first-year students, except with permission of instructor. Three hours.

372 – Commonwealth Women Writers – A study of selected modern works written in English by women in the nations of the British Commonwealth. Among the writers studied will be Margaret Laurence, Margaret Atwood, L.M. Montgomery, Alice Munro, Marian Engel, Joy Kogawa, Michelle Cliff, Merle Hodge, Jean Rhys, Buchi Emecheta, Bessie Head, Nadine Gordimer, Christina Stead, Elizabeth Jolley, and Helen Garner. Not open to first-year students, except with per- mission of instructor. Offered every third year. Three hours.

373 — The Craft of Editing — Editors have to know everything about everything. Introduces students to the essential skills of editing that help assure clarity, coherence, consistency, correctness, and elegance in written communication. Considers how the rapid and dramatic changes in print culture are blurring the lines between writer and editor. Cross-listed as JOUR 373. Prerequisite: ENGL 185.  Three hours.

374 — News Writing I — An introduction to the different types of newspaper writing: news reports, reviews, editorials, etc. Includes a brief introduction to the general operations of a newspaper. Three hours.

375 — News Writing II — A continuation of ENGL/JOUR 374 (formerly JOUR 204) in which each student concentrates upon one or two types of newspaper writing. Prerequisite: JOUR 204 or ENGL/JOUR 374. Three hours.

376 — Feature Writing — This hands-on course will teach you how to write feature articles and submit them for publication to magazines and weeklies. You will learn ways to develop marketable ideas and to write feature stories, profiles, how—to articles, and more. The class includes field trips to local magazine publisher and visit from guest editors and writers. Prerequisite: ENGL 185. Three hours. 

377 – The History of the English Language – A dual focus on the linguistic processes through which all languages change and the development of English from its origins to the present. This course will explore the political, social, economic, intellectual, and technological influences that have shaped English and the historical conditions that can accelerate or impede change. The course will take up such topics as Ebonics, sexism in language, and the varieties of Modern English and pro- vide practice in the analysis of texts from the recent and remote past. Offered alternate years. Three hours.

378 – Grammar for Writers, Readers, and Teachers – This course offers a survey of the principal components of English grammar with an eye to enhancing students' appreciation and comprehension of good writing, their ability to recognize and correct errors, and their capacity to produce sophisticated prose.  Offered alternate years.  Three hours.

381-382 – Special Topics – Intensive study of literature or criticism not covered by other courses, tailored to the needs of advanced students. Three hours each.

391 – Junior Independent Study – An independent study of a particular writer or group of writers under the guidance of a member of the Department of English. At least a 3.25 cumulative grade point average and approval by the curriculum committee are required. Three hours.

392 – Junior Independent Study – A continuation of ENGL 391. Three hours.

400-401 – Internship in English – An intensive experience in a professional setting which will give students the opportunity to put into practice skills learned in their English coursework. Possible internships include supervised work in employee communications, public relations, and technical writing. Prerequisite: open to English majors and minors with at least junior status and six hours of English coursework numbered 300 and above. Application required; see Internship Program. Three hours each.

487-488 – Departmental Honors I and II – Offered as needed. Three hours each.

491 – Senior Independent Study – An independent study of a particular writer or group of writers under the guidance of a member of the Department of English. At least a 3.25 cumulative grade point average and approval by the curriculum committee are required. Three hours.

492 – Senior Independent Study – A continuation of ENGL 491. Three hours.

495 – Capstone Seminar – An intensive study of an author or topic that culminates in a major research paper. As the English major capstone, the seminar provides a culminating experience in which students will widely integrate, extend, critique, and apply knowledge and skills from the student’s major program. Prerequisite: junior standing. Three hours.
 
496-498 – Senior Project – The preparation and oral defense of a lengthy thesis in the field of British or American literature. Open only to seniors. Departmental approval is required. A degree credit for the first term of a two-term senior project will not be recorded until both terms have been successfully completed. Six hours.