English (ENG)

Academic Catalog: 2012–2013

  • Rebecca Taylor Fremo, Chairperson
  • Florence Amamoto
  • Elizabeth Baer
  • Philip Bryant
  • Sean Cobb
  • Deborah Downs-Miers
  • Eric Eliason
  • Robert Kendrick
  • Baker Lawley
  • Sun Hee Lee
  • So Young Park (On leave, 2012–2013)
  • Donald Scheese
  • Joyce Sutphen
  • Eric Vrooman (Visiting, 2012–2013)

The study of literature has always been a way to experience the past, reflect on the present, and imagine the future, and in recent years the texts that we are reading come in many and varied forms. We continue to read in the traditional genres—fiction, drama, and poetry—but we are also drawn to study memoir, film, archival documents, graphic, and cyber novels. Whatever we study—whether a medieval ballad or a detective film—we put the emphasis on reading closely, thinking creatively and critically, and writing well. Just as we are interested in many different kinds of texts, we are also eclectic in our theoretical and critical approaches, finding many ways to connect literature with science, history, culture, and other intellectual fields—but always, we come back to the literary text as a unique way of telling us about the world, telling us what others believe and value, as we learn to think and write about our own beliefs and values. Narrative, then, engenders empathy and commits us to social justice.

The department’s curriculum seeks to acquaint students with historical and current developments in language, literature, and film; develop students’ competence as writers; and foster a sense of literary values. The English Department courses are numbered to indicate approximate level of difficulty and subject area. The department encourages most students to begin their work in the department at Level I courses. The type of writing and reading assignments that will be emphasized are indicated in the individual course description. Students enrolling in Level III courses (those numbered 300 and above) must first have completed a “gateway” of three courses: ENG-115 or ENG-116, ENG-121 or ENG-122 and ENG-201. We recommend students enroll in ENG-201 as early in their career as possible.

Majors in English are encouraged to study abroad in order to broaden their perspectives in literature and culture, and the department allows appropriate coursework from approved international programs to apply toward the major. Students also are encouraged to pursue internships and domestic study opportunities that will enhance their understanding of literature and language and the liberal arts.

The department also allows select literature courses taught at Gustavus in other departments to fulfill elective credit for the major. Students are encouraged to talk to their advisor in English about this possibility, as well as co-curricular opportunities.

  1. English Major: Twelve regular semester courses specified as follows and approved by a departmental advisor:
    1. Interpretation: ENG-201.
    2. Survey:
      1. ENG-115 or ENG-116.
      2. ENG-121 or ENG-122.
      3. An additional course from ENG-115, ENG-116, ENG-121, ENG-122, ENG-124, ENG-126, ENG-130, ENG-217. At least one of the courses used to satisfy requirements in a, b, and c must be selected from ENG-115, ENG-121, or ENG-130.
    3. Genre: One course from ENG-142, ENG-228, ENG-231, ENG-234, ENG-251, ENG-253, ENG-256, ENG-261, ENG-273 or ENG-281.
    4. Literary Period: One course from ENG-317, ENG-325, ENG-333, ENG-334, ENG-336, or ENG-337.
    5. Muticultural Literature: One course from ENG-126, ENG-130, ENG-226 or ENG- 281.
    6. Shakespeare: ENG-321.
    7. Senior Seminar: ENG-399.
    8. Electives: Three English electives. Only one may be numbered 112 or below. At least one must be numbered above 201.
  2. English Major with Emphasis on Writing: The student who wishes to concentrate on writing as an emphasis in the English major must take the courses required of all English majors. However, the three electives must be satisfied by taking writing courses such as ENG-112, ENG-212, ENG-247, ENG-251, ENG-253, and ENG-256. The student who wishes to pursue this variation on the English major should carefully work out the course of study with the major advisor.
  3. Communication Arts/Literature Teaching Major: This major may be taken only in conjunction with the Secondary Education Teacher Certification Program. Students interested in pursuing this major are urged to identify themselves to the Education Department and the English Department as early as possible. To be certified for licensure to teach Communication Arts/Literature at the secondary level, a student must maintain a minimum grade point average of 2.67 in courses to be counted toward the teaching major. No course with a grade lower than C– may be counted toward the Teaching major.

The Communication Arts/Literature Teaching major consists of the following:

  1. Interpretation: ENG-201.
  2. Survey: Two courses:
    1. ENG-121 or ENG-122.
    2. ENG-115 or ENG-116.
  3. Multicultural: ENG-126.
  4. Composition: ENG-247.
  5. Adolescent Literature: ENG-237.
  6. Media: One course ENG-142 or COM-235.
  7. Shakespeare: ENG-321.
  8. Senior Seminar: ENG-399.
  9. Communication: COM-120 and one of COM-117, COM-237, or COM-257.
  10. Secondary Specialization: The additional pre-professional courses required for Secondary licensure. (See Department of Education.)

English Minor: Any five regular semester courses in English numbered 101 or above, with the consent of a departmental advisor. Only one section of ENG-101 will count toward the minor.

101 Reading In the World (1 course) Reading in the World teaches students to appreciate the intrinsic aesthetic value of literature, while engaging its social, historical and cultural contexts. This course treats literary texts as a canvas, mirror and lens; recording the purposeful beauty of language, reflecting the importance of self-understanding, and inviting us as readers to consider how texts-novels, poems, plays, non-fiction and film-participate in the issues and debates that shape our world. For the most current list of courses, please consult the individual course descriptions on the English Department website. LARS, offered annually.

107 Introduction to Shakespeare (1 course) In spite of writing long, hard plays full of long, hard speeches, Shakespeare continues to be wildly popular. This course is designed to introduce students to a popular Shakespeare. We will read several plays, a generous sample of comedies, tragedies, and histories. Students will be expected to read aloud in class, to memorize passages from plays, to write brief essays in appreciation, and to write essay examinations. We will focus our energies on experiencing and appreciating the plays rather than on interpreting them. We will view filmed productions of plays, but this is a reading course, not a movie course. Offered occasionally.

112 Introduction to Creative Writing (1 course) Practice in writing and rewriting poems, dialogs, stories, and reviews. Class meetings will combine in-class exercises with discussions of student work. Grade based on participation. Frequent reading and writing assignments. Offered annually.

115 British Literature I (to 1789) (1 course) A chronological study of the achievements of British literature during the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Restoration, and the Augustan Age. One or two continental works which help to illuminate some aspects, themes, or works of British literature may be included. LARS, offered annually.

116 British Literature II (since 1789) (1 course) A survey of British literature during the Romantic, Victorian, and Modern periods, tracing the response in literature to the succession of social, political, and literary revolutions that characterize the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. LARS, offered annually.

121 American Literature I (to 1865) (1 course) A survey of American literature from pre- Columbian Native American oral traditions through the Puritan and Revolutionary periods, culminating with the American Renaissance. The writings of authors such as Bradstreet, Franklin, Douglass, Fuller, Thoreau, Hawthorne, Melville, Whitman, and Dickinson will be studied for their aesthetic, historical, and cultural implications. LARS, offered annually.

122 American Literature II (since 1865) (1 course) A survey of American literature since the Civil War emphasizing the richness and diversity of American voices and literary traditions. The prose, poetry, and drama of authors such as Twain, James, Chopin, Eliot, Hemingway, Faulkner, Hughes, Baldwin, Kingston, and Erdrich will be studied for their aesthetic, historical, and cultural implications. LARS, offered annually.

124 American Women Writers (1 course) This course is an historical survey of women writers from the earliest periods of colonial history to contemporary times. We will examine all genres of writing included in the American literary tradition (autobiography, poetry, fiction, drama, and the essay) in order to address continuing issues in the study of American literature. However, we will focus on the particular responses to these issues that have been made by American women, tracing a continuous tradition of women’s writing in America. This course counts toward the Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies major or minor. LARS, Spring semester, even years.

126 Introduction to U.S. Ethnic Literature (1 course) A course which surveys non-fiction, fiction, poetry, and drama by African American, Native American, Asian American, and Chicano/a writers. Emphasis is placed not only on how these literary artists have diversified and enriched the American scene through their own unique ethnic and racial perspectives, but also on the ways literature of “marginalized” peoples has accepted, contributed to, and challenged “mainstream” American values. Some writers who may be taught include Frederick Douglass, Black Elk, Zora Neale Hurston, Ralph Ellison, Rudolfo Anaya, Leslie Marmon Silko, Maxine Hong Kingston, Toni Morrison, and others. LARS, Spring semester.

130 Introduction to World Literature (1 course) This course gives students a wide-ranging introduction to the literatures of Africa, Latin America, India, Asia, and/or the Middle East. Texts may include fiction, non-fiction, poetry, drama and film, and will be studied in their cultural and historical context. Issues that may be explored include the slave trade, colonialism, nationalism, religious and ethnic conflicts, gender, social justice, and interrogation of globalization in contemporary texts. The emphasis of the course will vary from year to year and students are English encouraged to consult the department website for details. Texts studied will be read in English. LARS, NWEST, Spring semester, even years.

142 Film Art and History (1 course) This course provides a survey of film history-from 1895 to the present-and teaches the analysis of film from a perspective rooted in literary interpretation. Students will learn to interpret film. They will also learn the language of filmmaking, the important historical development of film as a medium and the important historical context that led to that development. In an all-too-brief course through the landmarks of cinematic history, students will learn how to win critical distance from what they see and hear in the cinema so that they can produce informed, focused readings of particular film texts. Discussion topics include: silent films, the European New Wave of the 1960s, the advent of the blockbuster and the rise of homegrown independent filmmaking since the 1980s. Fall semester.

144, 244, 344 Special Topics (1 course, 1 course, 1 course) Special topics in English studies. Content will vary from semester to semester. Courses will explore a topic or problem in depth and students will read, discuss and write. More than one special topic may be taken. Offered occasionally.

201 The Art of Interpretation (1 course) This course is designed for students interested in majoring in English and must be taken prior to enrolling in 300-level courses. The course introduces students to the historical backgrounds of contemporary literary theory and criticism and to several current approaches. Students will also learn about basic elements of prosody and form and the methods and skills of English studies through reading and discussing primary and secondary texts, writing criticism, and doing research. Fall and Spring semesters.

212 Academic Writing (1 course) This intensive, process-based writing course introduces students to rhetorical approaches to academic writing. Students will learn to use the concepts of context, purpose, audience, and genre in order to make appropriate choices in academic writing situations. Students will generate several academic genres, including analytical and argumentative essays. The course also encourages students to analyze examples of both their own prose and academic writing across the disciplines in order to examine the relationship between style and context. This course emphasizes multiple drafts and revision, peer response, and the student’s responsibility for final editing. WRITI, offered annually.

217 British Women Writers (1 course) This course introduces students to the historical existence and achievements of women writers of the English language from ca. CE 800 to the present. With specific attention to the social contexts of the development of women’s writing we scrutinize and enjoy the wide range of genres and modes, utilizing a variety of critical and theorized approaches in conversation and writing. Exploring the cultural contexts within which women write helps students understand and appreciate the complexities of material culture and the challenges of articulating effectively the sensibilities and values of women. This course counts toward the Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies major or minor. LARS, Fall semester, odd years.

226 Topics in U.S. Ethnic Literature (1 course) This course offers an in-depth study of the culturally diverse literatures of the United States. From year to year, the course focuses on a specific topic in U.S. ethnic literature: either a particular ethnic tradition, such as U.S. Latino literature, Native American literature, or Asian American literature, or a comparative framework such as a historical period or genre. Regardless of the particular topic, the course emphasizes critical reading and thinking, learning about different cultures, and exploring issues of justice and equality. The course especially welcomes students interested in expanding their cultural awareness and understanding. LARS, Fall semester, odd years.

228 American Pastoralism (1 course) Pastoralism has been defined as the desire, in the face of the growing complexity of the Industrial Age, to disengage from the dominant culture in order to seek a simpler, more harmonious way of life “closer” to nature. We will consider the promise as well as the problems posed by pastoral literature from the 1500s to the present. Writings of Thoreau, Willa Cather, Aldo Leopold, Edward Abbey, Faulkner, Mary Oliver, and other English writers will be considered, as well as how nature is represented in the visual arts. LARS, WRITI, Spring semester, even years.

231 Modern Poetry (1 course) A study of groups of poets who represent significant movements in twentieth-century poetry. The work of major modern British or American poets will be emphasized, but we also may examine the translated work of poets from other cultures. LARS, Fall semester.

234 Modern Drama in Text and Performance (1 course) Highlighting drama as a dynamic and transformative genre, this course explores important texts and performances of major works from the late nineteenth century to the present. The course covers important conventions and theories that inform significant dramatic and theatrical movements such as Realism, Surrealism, Epic Theatre, and the Theatre of the Oppressed and investigates written plays in conjunction with productions and adaptation. The course will supplement with recorded productions and films, and include as many plays being produced at Gustavus or in the general area. Reading material will come from multiple cultures, including the works of Henrik Ibsen (Norway), August Strindberg (Sweden), Bertolt Brecht (Germany), Lorraine Hansberry (United States), Caryl Churchill (England), and Wole Soyinka (Nigeria). LARS, Spring semester, odd years.

237 Adolescent Literature And Literacy (1 course) This course introduces prospective teachers and others to the history and range of literature typically regarded as written primarily for diverse readers age 10 to 15. We study beloved classics and very recently published texts, which may include a range from Anne of Green Gables and A Wrinkle in Time to Whale Catcher and Speak. We study changes in expectations and practice in this body of literature and also examine additional examples in both print and electronic media. Students engage in lively conversation, produce several essays based on primary texts and research, and also scrutinize and discuss state education requirements and effective pedagogy. LARS, Spring semester, odd years.

241 Science Fiction (1 course) Through a primarily historical approach to the development of science fiction and fantasy, we read, converse about, and write about a variety of texts contributing to this branch of the literature of ideas. The content of science fiction texts fascinates and educates through revealing technical notions—many of which have become realities—and discourse which challenges readers to expand their cultural, social, and political notions as well as their understanding of language itself. Intrinsically interdisciplinary, science fiction demands and teaches the fundamental liberal arts of understanding and practicing the eclectic and synthesizing world-view. LARS, offered annually.

242 Language and Society (1 course) This course studies problems arising from the uses of language in education, politics, business, religion, law, the arts, and the media. Emphasis is on problems encountered in the United States, but some international issues will be considered. Spring semester.

247 Teaching Writing: Theory and Practice (1 course) This course introduces students to contemporary theories and practices of teaching writing. Topics covered include: the writing process; contemporary theories of composition; classroom strategies for teaching creative and critical writing; and an introduction to evaluation and assessment. The course also models a variety of activities related to the teaching of writing, including peer response, in-class invention strategies, collaborative writing, and journaling. Prerequisite: FTS-100 or CUR-100. WRITI, Spring semester, even years.

248 Film Theory (1 course) This course expands and develops the analytical focus first explored in ENG-142, Film Art and History, by having students read primary and secondary theoretical texts paired with film selections. The course aims to cover all major film theories and help students learn to analyze film through these theoretical lenses. The course will be reading and writing intensive and expects students to add theoretical complexity to close readings of film, exploring how films complement and complicate film theory. The course will cover the English major historical and thematic groupings of film theory, including film realism and the film image, montage, semiotics, psychoanalysis, feminism, auteurism, queer theory, and reception theory. Prerequisite: ENG-142. Spring semester, odd years.

251 Writing Poetry (1 course) Directed practice in the repertoire of techniques, genres, subjects, and schemas available to contemporary poets. This course will also examine the points of view of modern practitioners of poetry. During the course, each student will produce and revise a substantial portfolio of original poems. Some classes will be conducted as workshop sessions in which students will criticize each other’s work. Prerequisite: ENG-112 or consent of instructor. WRITD, Fall semester, odd years. 253 Writing Fiction (1 course) Students will be required to write short fictions and/or chapters from long fictions, and to submit their writing to class scrutiny and criticism. A variety of exercises also may be required in the techniques appropriate to fiction, such as management of point of view, characterization, tone, etc. Some published fictions will be read not as models to be imitated, but as interesting examples. Prerequisite: ENG-112 or consent of instructor. WRITD, Spring semester, even years.

256 Writing Creative Nonfiction (1 course) Students will write short pieces of creative nonfiction, sharing their work on a regular basis with peers and instructor. In order to learn as much as possible about the wide range of forms available to creative nonfiction writers, students will read extensively, considering book-length and shorter pieces of creative nonfiction by a diverse group of writers. Forms studied may include memoir, travel narrative, personal essay, literary critical essay, and nature writing. Some classes may be conducted as workshops, during which writers will read and critique the work of their peers. WRITD, Fall semester, odd years.

261 The British Novel (1 course) A generous selection of novels from Defoe, Richardson, and Fielding through Austen, Dickens, and Hardy to Conrad, Joyce, Lessing, and Fowles. The selection should represent the wonderful range of character, technique, and subject exhibited in great British novels. The selection will vary from year to year but will usually include novels from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. LARS, Spring semester.

268, 368 Career Exploration, Internship (Course value to be determined) Off-campus employment experience related to the student’s major. See description of the Internship Program. Prerequisite: junior or senior status. Fall and Spring semesters and Summer.

273 The American Novel (1 course) This course explores the various themes, social contexts, and intellectual backgrounds of select American novels from the late 1700s to the present. Works in this genre will be read chronologically to trace changing concepts of the roles and techniques of the novel, and will be chosen to examine the diversity of the American experience throughout the nation’s history. LARS, Fall semester.

281 Postcolonial Literatures in English (1 course) This course is a broad survey of what has come to be called “Postcolonial literature,” i.e., literature written in English by peoples who have been dominated by the British Empire and marginalized by cultural imperialism, ethnocentrism, and racism. Texts include postcolonial theory, personal narratives, fiction, and film, as well as canonical English literature interrogated through a postcolonial lens. We will explore the complex relationship between texts and their social context as well as such themes as identity and community, gender, migration, hybridity, the colonized mind, and self-determination. This course counts toward the Peace Studies minor. LARS, Fall semester, even years.

291, 391 Independent Study (Course value to be determined) Each student will design a detailed proposal in consultation with an appropriate member of the department. The proposal must include a well-written rationale, details of reading and written work, and a list of all previous English courses and instructors. The proposal must be submitted, on proper forms, to the department chairperson no later than the third week before the end of the current term for work to be done in the next term (including January Interim and Summer).

317 Renaissance Studies (1 course) Literature written in England between about 1500 and 1650, at various moments rejected its medieval roots, tried to give rebirth to a classical heritage, and invented the basis for what we regard as our “modern” selves. In the midst of religious turmoil, world exploration and colonization, economic expansion, and technological development, love poetry flourished, religious devotion found sublime expression, rulers crafted words to confirm their domination, and playwrights kept crowds spellbound. Topics will vary from term to term, but readings will cover works by authors such as Thomas More, Edmund Spenser, Philip Sidney, Elizabeth I, Aemilia Lanyer, Christopher Marlowe, John Donne, Ben Jonson, Robert Herrick, Lady Mary Wroth, and George Herbert. Prerequisites: ENG-115 or ENG-116, ENG-121 or ENG-122, ENG-201. WRITD, Fall semester, odd years.

321 Shakespeare (1 course) A study of the development of Shakespeare’s dramatic and poetic art with special emphasis upon the reading and analysis of his better-known plays and sonnets. Prerequisites: ENG-115 or ENG-116, ENG-121 or ENG-122, ENG-201. WRITD, offered annually.

325 The Age of Revolution: Studies in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries (1 course) From the early 17th century through the 18th was a time in the English-speaking world, continental Europe, and South America of hugely significant change. In this course we will explore, through readings in several modes/genres by many different writers, the meaning of “revolution,” focusing on changes in literary style and form and the way people began to think about selves, culture, politics/society, and thinking itself. The course is interdisciplinary, exploring thinking about and developments in architecture, music, and painting as well as in literature and philosophy. The specific focus of the course may vary from year to year. Some possible topics include: Johnson and His Circle; 17th- and 18th-Century Women; Drama from the Restoration to the Late 18th Century; Alongside the Novel: Genres and Modes in the Age of Revolution; From Alchemy to Chemistry in 100 Years: The Royal Society and the Creation of the Scientific World View; the Athens of the North: Queens, Pretenders, Poets, and Rhetoricians; The Voice of Dissent: Milton, Paine, Blake. Prerequisites: ENG-115 or ENG-116, ENG-121 or ENG- 122, ENG-201. Spring semester, even years.

333 Studies in Romanticism (1 course) The “Romantic Movement” has been viewed in various ways, including in terms of political and social upheavals, such as the revolutions in America and France; in terms of a specific group of English writers, the first generation (Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge) and second generation (Byron, Shelley, Keats) of British Romantic poets; in terms of a broad intellectual movement that affected the fine arts, music, and literature on the Continent and America as well as in Britain. This course will take up topics drawn most often from the literature of Britain in the period 1789–1850, but may from time to time focus on other writers from Continental Europe or America. Prerequisites: ENG-115 or ENG-116, ENG-121 or ENG-122, ENG-201. WRITD, Fall semester, even years.

334 The Victorian Age (1 course) During the Victorian era, England reached its pinnacle of power and prestige. Its trade was four times that of the United States, France, Germany, and Italy combined. It had established a world empire. England also experienced the upheavals of the Irish Rebellion, the Women’s Movement, Industrialism, Darwinism, and foreign wars. Such a culture nurtured one of the great literary periods, producing such novelists as Charles Dickens, Charlotte Brontë, Emily Brontë, Thomas Hardy, and George Eliot; such poets as Alfred Lord Tennyson, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Browning, Christina Rossetti, Gerard Manley Hopkins; and such great essayists as Matthew Arnold, John Stuart Mill, John Henry Newman, and Thomas Carlyle. Prerequisites: ENG-115 or ENG-116, ENG-121 or ENG-122, ENG-201. WRITD, Fall semester, odd years.

336 American Renaissance (1 course) The mid-nineteenth century saw a burst of literary activity in America. Writers reacted to religious, social, and political issues of the day such as Transcendentalism, slavery, and “the woman question.” We will read authors traditionally associated with the American Renaissance—Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, and Dickinson—as well as less well-known figures to enrich our appreciation of the variety and quality of the writing of this important period. Prerequisites: ENG-115 or ENG-116, ENG-121 OR ENG-122, ENG-201. WRITD, Spring semester, odd years.

337 Contemporary American Literature (1 course) This course examines a selection of poetry, prose, and drama written during the past three decades. We also will engage questions of acceptance into the academic literary canon, the influence of publishing and marketing trends on an author’s success, the challenges of studying living authors in a college course (including a relative lack of critical secondary sources), and the effect of nonprint and electronic media on the study of literature. Possible authors include: John Barth, Carolyn Chute, Don DeLillo, Joan Didion, Rita Dove, Louise Erdrich, Tony Kushner, Cormac McCarthy, David Mamet, Bobbie Ann Mason, Toni Morrison, Tim O’Brien, Adrienne Rich, Philip Roth, Sam Shepherd, Leslie Marmon Silko, John Updike, and John Edgar Wideman. Prerequisites: ENG-115 or ENG-116, ENG-121 or ENG-122, ENG-201. WRITD, Spring semester, even years.

350 Literary Magazine Editing Practicum: Firethorne (.5 course) A supervised course in which student editor(s) design and produce the Firethorne, the campus literary magazine, in both hard copy and online forms. Responsibilities include organization of staff, establishment of procedures and standards, solicitation of student contributions of prose, poetry, and artwork, and work with layout and desktop publishing. Participants are selected by permission of the instructor; may not be repeated.

399 Senior Seminar (1 course) This course offers students directed practice in original scholarly research with study of primary and secondary materials, preparation of reports and reviews, and scholarly writing. Depending on the number of majors, students can choose from among two to four seminar sections a year. Students will write a substantial critical and/or creative essay. Prerequisites: senior status as an English major and permission of the department chair. WRITD, offered annually.