English (ENG)Academic Catalog: 2019–2020

  • Sean Cobb, Co-Chairperson
  • Sun Hee Lee, Co-Chairperson
  • Philip Bryant
  • Brett DeFries (Visiting, 2019-2020)
  • Rebecca Taylor Fremo
  • Vera Foley (Visiting, 2019–2020)
  • Robert Kendrick
  • So Young Park (On leave, 2019-2020)
  • Nissa Parmar (Visiting, 2019–2020)
  • Matthew Rasmussen
  • Eric Vrooman

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 novels and digital narratives. 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. Generally, students enrolling in Level III courses (those numbered 300 and above) must first have completed ENG-102 and one survey course or one course in theory.

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.

English Major:

Eleven regular semester courses specified as follows and approved by a departmental advisor:

  1. Foundations: ENG-102.
  2. Introduction to Literary History or Genres: Two courses from ENG-112, ENG-116, ENG-117, ENG-121, ENG-122, ENG-124, ENG-126, ENG-130, and ENG-142.
  3. Genre: One course from ENG-142, ENG-228, ENG-231, ENG-234, ENG-251, ENG-253, ENG-256, ENG-261, or ENG-273.
  4. Advanced Seminar in Literary History pre-1900: One course from ENG-217, ENG-220, ENG-317, ENG-321, ENG-333, ENG-334 or ENG-336.
  5. Multicultural Literature: One course from ENG-126, ENG-130, ENG-226 or ENG-281.
  6. Theory: ENG-201 or another theory course approved by department.
  7. Electives: Four English electives. Only one may be numbered 112 or below. At least one must be numbered above 201 and two numbered above 300.

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-210, ENG-251, ENG-253, ENG-256, ENG-310 and ENG-350. The student who wishes to pursue this variation on the English major should carefully work out the course of study with the major advisor.

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. Foundations: ENG-102.
  2. Introduction to Literary History or Genres: Two courses from ENG-116, ENG-117, ENG-121, ENG-122, ENG-124, ENG-126, ENG-130 and ENG-142.
  3. Multicultural: ENG-126, ENG-130, ENG-226 or ENG-281.
  4. Composition: ENG-112 or ENG-210.
  5. Young Adult Literature: ENG-237.
  6. Media: One course ENG-142 or COM-115.
  7. Theory: COM-257 or another approved theory course.
  8. Senior Seminar: ENG-399.
  9. Communication: COM-120 and one of COM-117, COM-237, or COM-270.
  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.

English Courses

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.

102 Foundations in Literary Studies (1 course) This class prepares students to close read and analyze texts, in various modes and from different perspectives, and to argue interpretations of texts articulately, intelligently, and persuasively in both discussion and writing. The course grounds students in the skills crucial to their success in later English courses, the analysis of texts and the construction of persuasive written interpretations, and covers at least three genres in literature and film. LARSWRITI, Offered annually.

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 discussion 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 occasionally.

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.

117 Arthurian Literature and Its Cultures (1 course) This course examines the origins of the legend of King Arthur and how that legend was turned into stories that reflect their target cultures. Students will read a wide array of Arthurian material and study the cultures that valued Arthur as the figure for Englishness. Authors and texts may include Geoffrey of Monmouth’s History of the Kings of Britain, tales from the Welsh collection The Mabinogion, poetry of Chretien de Troyes, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, The Quest for the Holy Grail, and Sir Thomas Malory, as well as later appropriations of Arthurian legends by Edmund Spenser, Tennyson, and Monty Python. LARS, Offered occasionally.

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 occasionally.

124 American Women Writers (1 course) This course is a historical survey of women writers in the U.S. We will examine multiple genres of autobiography, poetry, fiction, drama, and the essay and trace a tradition of women’s writing concerned with both national issues and women’s experiences. The course will pay particular attention to the ways in which women’s literature resists patriarchal oppression, and engages with liberation and empowerment of women, U.S. Women’s literature offers valuable insights into U.S. gender construction, feminist thought, and intersectional identities. This course counts toward the Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies major/minor. LARS, Offered annually.

126 Introduction to U.S. Ethnic Literature (1 course) This course surveys non-fiction, fiction, poetry, and drama by U.S. writers of color including African American, Native American, Asian American, and Latinx 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 reflected, contributed to, and challenged mainstream American values. The course will also emphasize important historical contexts that inform U.S. Ethnic literatures such as genocide of indigenous peoples, slavery, the Civil Rights Movement, immigration policies, and U.S. imperialism. This course counts toward the Peace, Justice and Conflict major/minor. GLOBLLARS, 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 encouraged to consult the department website for details. Texts studied will be read in English. This course counts toward the African Studies minor. LARS, Offered annually.

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 Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory (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 form and the methods and skills of English studies through reading and discussing primary and secondary texts, writing criticism, and doing research. Offered annually.

205 Topics in Film (1 course) This course is an intermediate film course that builds on the beginning level courses in film offered at the 100-level. Topics in Film will focus on a particular film genre, issue, period, director/s, or nation, and will provide an advanced, detailed investigation of that particular topic that can only be achieved at the 200-level. The course topic depends on the individual instructor, but will focus on (for example) crime films, women in film, Korean films, films of the 1970’s, or auteurs. By focusing on a particular, specific scope of film, students will learn the historical and cultural context for that film topic and investigate the details and particular issues raised by that topic. Offered occasionally.

210 Writing Process (1 course) How do writers generate texts and suit those texts to meet the needs of diverse audiences? The course considers stages of the writing process, including invention, drafting, revising, and editing, and then challenges students to rethink the relationships among those categories. Using scholarship from Composition and Literacy Studies as a guide, students will consider how the writing process is recursive and culturally responsive. ENG 210 invites students to describe and analyze their own writing and to study the writing processes of others in multiple contexts. Students will generate print and multimodal genres. WRITI, Offered occasionally.

217 British Women Writers (1 course) A survey of works by pioneering women writers with special attention to the historical, theoretical, and cultural contexts of their artistic production. Students will read works by Jane Austen, Charlotte and Emily Brontë, George Eliot, and Virginia Woolf, among others. This course counts toward the Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies major/ minor. LARS, Fall semester, odd years.

220 The Fin de Siècle: Literature and Culture of the 1890’s (1 course) Sherlock Holmes, The Time Machine, the New Woman, Dracula—they all had their start in the 1890s. This course will explore an exciting decade that saw the rise of the metropolis, popular culture, and the urban, professional New Woman. We will read iconic works by Arthur Conan Doyle, Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde, and H. G. Wells, alongside avant-gardist works by Sarah Grand, Elizabeth Robins, and Olive Schreiner. Readings will cover the myriad cultural and political movements of the 1890s, including aestheticism, decadence, naturalism, and feminism. LARS, Offered occasionally.

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. Latinx literatures and Native American literatures, or a comparative framework based on 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. GLOBLLARS, Offered annually.

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. This course will explore American literature based on the theme of building lives or societies shaped explicitly by the natural environment, beginning with early nation-building literature and Transcendentalism, and continuing with Westward Expansion. The course will conclude with modern texts that consider the blurring line between technology and the natural world. LARSWRITD, Offered annually.

231 Modern Poetry (1 course) A study of groups of poets who represent significant movements in 20th 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 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 Young Adult 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 written by a culturally diverse group of writers. Texts may include a range from The Outsiders and A Wrinkle in Time to The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian and Wintergirls. 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 projects based on primary texts and research, and also discuss state education requirements and effective pedagogy. LARSWRITI, Spring semester, odd 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 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, Offered annually.

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) In this course, students will read novels by iconic English and Irish writers and consider the social and intellectual questions explored in their worlds of fiction. Major novels by Charles Dickens, Lewis Carroll, Thomas Hardy, Joseph Conrad, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and Samuel Beckett. Topics include realism, modernism, and cosmopolitanism. LARS, Spring semester.

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 by peoples who have been dominated colonial empires 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. The course is divided into regional explorations of texts from the Caribbean, India, Australia, and Native America. This course counts toward the African Studies minor and the Peace, Justice, and Conflict Studies major/minor. GLOBLLARS, Offered occasionally.

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 and Summer).

310 Writing in the World (1 course) In this course, students utilize advanced writing and literacy skills as they write for audiences both on campus and beyond the classroom. Writing in the World highlights the production and reception of writing within specific contexts, including non-academic ones (i.e. the nonprofit sector, the publishing industry, political movements). As students consider the rhetorical and cultural forces that invite particular genres of response, they will in turn produce a range of forms, which may include: poetry chapbooks, novellas, screenplays, grant proposals, web pages, unit plans, digital magazines, or podcasts. Prerequisites: ENG-112, ENG-210, ENG-251, ENG-253 or ENG-256. WRITD, Offered occasionally. 317 Renaissance Studies (1 course) This course focuses on significant aspects of literature and culture in England and Europe between 1400 and 1700 and how early modern literature and culture serve as foundations for modern subjecthood. Course topics vary, and recent versions have included Literary Representations of Elizabeth I and England; Elizabeth I in Literature and Film; and Gender and Sexuality in Early Modern Literature. Prerequisites: ENG-115, ENG-116, ENG-117, ENG-121 or ENG-122, and ENG-102 or ENG-201. WRITD, Spring semester, odd years.

321 Shakespeare (1 course) A study of the development of Shakespeare’s dramatic and poetic art, his cultural and historical contexts and sources, and his historical reception with emphasis upon the reading and analysis of his better-known plays and sonnets. Prerequisites: ENG-115, ENG-116, ENG-117, ENG-121 or ENG-122, and ENG-102 or ENG-201. WRITD, Offered occasionally.

333 Romanticism (1 course) This seminar explores Romanticism, a literary and arts movement that developed as a response to and critique of political, industrial, and social revolutions that occurred in Britain and in Europe between 1789 and 1830. Topics include the Gothic (in fiction and film), novels of education, biography, and literary careers, as well as theories of imagination and dream life. Readings from Wordsworth, Austen, Radcliffe, Keats, Shelley, and Freud. Prerequisites: ENG-115, ENG-116, ENG-117, ENG-121 or ENG-122, and ENG-102 or ENG-201. WRITD, Fall semester, even years.

334 Victorian Studies (1 course) The Victorian era invented modern life by creating the railway, the London Underground, and transatlantic steamships, as well as everyday things like the postage stamp and breakfast cereal. It also produced an amazing array of novelists, essayists, and poets who explored what it felt like to live in a brave new world of urbanism, consumerism, and breakthrough technologies. This course will examine the cultural contexts and legacies of Victorian literature with readings from the Brontës, Collins, Darwin, Eliot, and Hardy, among others. Prerequisites: ENG-115, ENG-116, ENG-117, ENG-121 or ENG-122, and ENG-102 or 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, ENG-116, ENG-117, ENG-121, ENG-122, ENG-124 or ENG-126, and ENG-102 or 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. Some topics we may study include 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 non-print and electronic media on the study of literature. Prerequisites: ENG-115, ENG-116, ENG-117, ENG-121, ENG-122, ENG-124 or ENG-126, and ENG-102 or ENG-201. WRITD, Offered occasionally.

350 Editing and Publishing: Professional Practice in Literary Journals (1 course) This course is an immersive, hands-on experience in professional publishing. Students will work as an editorial staff and produce an issue of the campus literary journal Firethorne. Student editors will work through all phases of the publishing process, including receiving submissions of fiction, poetry, and art; editing the journal layout; discussing content to be accepted for publication; and promoting the final product to wider audiences. They will also research current literary journals, discuss cutting-edge literature and art, study the publishing marketplace, and learn about publishing’s role in literary history. The course will teach students practical skills in editing and publishing as well as an understanding of publishing as a means to further the literary and graphic arts. WRITD, 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.

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. Students will write a substantial critical and/or creative project. Prerequisites: senior status as an English major and permission of the department chair. WRITD, Offered annually.