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Belmont University | Belief in Something Greater

Course Descriptions

Department of English
Spring 2018

Note: ENG 1010 is a prerequisite for all of the following courses except ENG 1050.

English Classes (ENG)

ENG 1050                                             Understanding Literary Language                                            Trout

In this general education English course, students will focus on the craft of reading and understanding texts in a variety of genres such as poetry, short fiction, drama, and the novel while developing the technical literary vocabulary required to write about them. Students will learn to perform close readings of texts and should thereby gain a heightened appreciation of connections, patterns, and themes. Students will also be introduced to the study of grammar, syntax, and etymology. As the first of four core courses for undergraduate English majors, this course aims to begin students on a four-year (and ultimately lifelong) path to better, stronger, more critical reading and writing skills. This semester we will be reading, among other texts, Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

ENG 2000                                             Critical Reading and Writing                                                       John

This course is designed to introduce English majors and minors to the nature of literary theory and writing about literature. You will be exposed to a number of critical approaches that you will practice applying to several major literary works. This is both a reading and writing intensive course. This class will also consist of serious critical discussion and will seek to develop students’ oral communication skills. Please note that this course will not count for General Education Humanities credit.

ENG 3960                                                             Internship                                                                           Overall

The purpose of the writing internship course is to provide practical application of classroom learning in an off-campus professional setting. Students enrolled in the course are in the process of performing the work of an internship designed and approved the prior semester in collaboration with Dr. Overall, the English Department’s Internship Coordinator. The number of hours you must complete in your work as an intern at your chosen workplace varies according to the number of credit hours for which you are enrolled: 3 hours Belmont course credit = 8 hours/week (approximately 108 hours total); 2 hours Belmont course credit = 5 hours/week (approximately 72 hours total); 1 hour Belmont course credit = 3 hours/week (approximately 36 hours). Class sessions are devoted to discussions of workplace writing issues and strategies. Students write reflections in which they describe their internship experiences; complete a series of short professional-writing “cases”; and compose a digital portfolio and a cover letter that frames experiences in the internship for future employers. Half of the course grade will be determined from the above assignments while the internship supervisor evaluation will determine the other half. For more information, visit http://www.joeloverall.com/courses/ENG3960/

ENG 4900                                             Seminar in English Studies                                                     McDonald

In Senior Seminar, you will consider “where you have been” by reflecting on your academic and co-curricular experiences at Belmont and how your major in English (Writing and Literature tracks) links to the national dialogue in English Studies and the Humanities and to your overall undergraduate education at Belmont. You will also consider “where you are going” by exploring where your path will take you after graduation and how your English major will inform your efforts to “make a life” as well as to “make a living.” You will revisit old writing, write reflectively about your experience as an English major, and write analytically and creatively in response to works in creative nonfiction, fiction, drama, and poetry:  The Upstairs Wife by (Belmont graduate) Rafia Zakaria; The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead; Men on Boats by Jaclyn Backhaus, a spring production of the Belmont theater; and Shakespeare’s Sonnets. (Note on book orders:  I have ordered a text for Shakespeare’s sonnets that is listed as “optional.”  We will read Shakespeare’s complete sonnet sequence, so if you don’t have a copy of the complete sonnets, you will need this text.  If you are also taking Shakespeare this semester or have taken it in the past, you will find the complete sonnets in the Norton Shakespeare and need not order this text.)

Literature Classes (ENL)

ENL 2120                                                  British Literature II                                            Sisson

This is a British historical survey course, so we will read broadly in the Romantic, Victorian, Modern, and Postmodern/Postcolonial periods—in other words, the beginning of the 19th century to the present. Our specific texts will be as follows:

  • Stephen Greenblatt et al. The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol. 2. 9th edition. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 2012.

  • Mary Shelley, Frankenstein—or The Modern Prometheus. Ed. Marilyn Butler. New York: Oxford World’s Classics, 2008 (1818).

  • Charles Dickens, Hard Times. Ed. Paul Schlicke. New York: Oxford World’s Classics, 2008 (1854).

  • Ian McEwan, Atonement. New York: Anchor Books, 2001.

Since in this class you will submit reading responses on a regular basis, keeping up with the reading is imperative. There will be an in-depth poetry project you will conduct on a particular poem of your choosing (from a list I will provide), as well as essay exams (a final and very likely a midterm). Participating in the class discussion is required, as this is not a lecture-based class; although relevant information will be provided on an as-needed basis, our class meetings will operate primarily through discussion. Since you are assigned to read introductions to the literary periods and to each author we address, you will be able to construct a great deal of context for the readings, allowing us, during class time, to simply clarify and adjust your understanding.

You are encouraged to read at least one of the novels before the spring semester begins. This preparation is not required, but doing so will certainly make your reading schedule more manageable through the semester. I suggest beginning with Shelley’s Frankenstein since we will read it first and your recall of the text will be more immediate.

ENL 2210                                              American Literature to 1865                                                       Trout

This course will examine the formation of America’s cultural and literary identity from the beginnings to the Civil War (basically from the early explorers through Walt Whitman).  We will consider literary texts from a number of historical, cultural, and theoretical perspectives.  Students are expected to apply analytical and interpretive skills through critical reading, writing, and discussion.  In this class you will be required to read widely and closely.  This is a reading intensive course and one that relies heavily on your oral and written participation.

ENL 2220                                              American Literature since 1865                                                 Curtis

Participants in this online course will survey U.S. literature in some of its Realist, Naturalist, Modernist, and Postmodern forms. Major contexts will include concurrent movements in the visual and performing Arts and technological innovations in publishing, as well as political and social upheavals since the U.S. Civil War.

ENL 2340                                                   World Literature II                                                                     Gustke

What is World Literature? Or better yet, what is not World Literature? In an increasingly globalized world, our understanding of World Literature has expanded beyond Eurocentric masterpieces to include a broadened understanding of the importance of multifarious literary cultures as they are produced from both the margins and the center. In this course, we examine a wide-range of distinctive works from the Enlightenment era to the modern period, prioritizing an interdisciplinary approach to the analysis and interpretation of literary expression. Exploring, through comparison and contrast, the historical and artistic perspectives of the writings we encounter, this survey seeks to establish common ground between European and non-Western literatures while honoring the location and culture in which the works were created. At the end of the course, students will have an enhanced appreciation of the diversity of human experience as it is demonstrated through a variety of literary genres from around the globe.

ENL 3500                                              History of the English Language                                                Monteverde

Recognizing that any description of this course is destined to be off-putting, let me begin by stating that ideally this course should make your own language come alive for you as a living entity whose current form is the result of all its childhood experiences and whose future shape though predictable to some extent is also yet to be determined. We will study the growth of our language from its origin as a descendant of the Indo-European language family in distant prehistory to its current position as the 2nd most widely known language in the modern world. Topics covered include the relationship between English and other languages, the evolution of modern English grammar, and the causes of the mess we call the English spelling system (if it can be called that). Tests will be augmented with a variety of assignments, such as a personal language history, designed to help you appreciate the on-going and individual process of change that can be experienced in the study of English. An optional service learning unit can also be taken as part of the course. This course is required for all students pursuing secondary education licensure in English and students pursing an English Language Learners certificate; it is also highly recommended (and really should be required) for all students combining an English major with elementary certification or pursuing a minor or second major in foreign language.

ENL 3620                                        Shakespeare: Representative Plays                                              McDonald

Shakespeare remains a standard text for secondary schools; thus, those of you considering this course have likely read or seen some Shakespeare as part of your education.  However, Shakespeare is somewhat daunting because of the language.  This course approaches Shakespeare as both literary text and theatrical script.  We will read a range of plays from the canon to develop clear understandings of action, characters, themes, and genres; we will also use low-stakes staged readings to help develop our understanding of the basic meaning of the language and how that language creates theatrical art.  This course will begin with Hamlet, which will be staged in Belmont’s Troutt Theater in January by the Nashville Shakespeare Festival.  We will develop the materials for archiving this production in the Nashville Shakespeare Performance Archive, created by students in the Fall 2016 Shakespeare and Spring 2017 Digital Literacies classes.   Thus, you will have a published project as one of the components of this class.  As appropriate for a single-author course, we will examine the scope of Shakespeare’s artistic and theatrical career by reading plays written at different points in his career and in a range of genres.  Our text will be The Norton Shakespeare (Essential Plays + the Sonnets); this format also includes access to extensive digitalized material that will expand our access to primary and secondary materials.

ENL 3920                                                      American Romanticism                                                        Trout

This course will survey the literature that represents the first maturing of American letters. Although romance was never used in any systematic sense, it continues to be helpful in characterizing generic conventions, narrative patterns, and a specific mode of representation in American literature of the nineteenth century. We will explore the fiction, poetry, and essays of this period through historical, cultural, rhetorical, and critical lenses. We will investigate what may emerge as specifically American concerns: the wilderness, the American Gothic, rugged individualism, gender, and race. Writers we will read include: Washington Irving, James Fenimore Cooper, Catherine Maria Sedgwick, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allan Poe, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Ann Jacobs, Walt Whitman, and Herman Melville. This is a reading intensive course. I strongly encourage you to begin reading during Christmas break, and I am happy to provide a reading list: sue.trout@belmont.edu

ENL 4360                                    Modern Wastelands: Eliot & Fitzgerald                                            John

“What are the roots that clutch, what braches grow / Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man, / You cannot say, or guess, for you know only / A heap of broken images, where the sun beats, / And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief, / And the dry stone no sound of water.”

                                                                                                                                                ~Eliot, The Waste Land

At these times the country gave him a feeling of profound melancholy—it offended him that the links should lie in enforced fallowness, haunted by ragged sparrows for the long season. It was dreary, too, that on the tees where the gay colors fluttered in summer there were now only the desolate sand-boxes knee-deep in crusted ice. When he crossed the hills the wind blew cold as misery, and if the sun was out he tramped with his eyes squinted up against the hard dimensionless glare.

                                                                                                                                                ~Fitzgerald, “Winter Dreams”

This double-author course will examine two of the most important American Modernist authors, T.S. Eliot and F. Scott Fitzgerald. As a double-author course, we will have the opportunity to dig in deep to the major works by these authors, enacting close readings of much of Eliot’s poetry, as well as four of Fitzgerald’s novels and a number of his short stories. We will analyze these works alongside cultural/historical contexts, looking at the ways in which these men represented the Modern experience throughout their oeuvres. Major course assignments may include weekly reading responses, a final course essay, and a presentation. This is a reading intensive course, as well as a course that relies heavily on your oral and written participation.

ENL 4380                                      Children’s Literature                                                                              Finch

This class will challenge you to examine the intent and purpose of children’s literature: who is the audience for a children’s book (is it only children?) and what is the book’s wider purpose or message (should it always be “educational”?) and how do we categorize children as different from adults (is this treatment always positive?). We'll consider both the interpretation and analysis of the stories as well as the crafting of the stories (basically you'll be asked to both analyze and critique stories as well as write a few stories yourself!). This course aims to help you improve your rhetorical and analytical skills by focusing on close readings of children’s literature ranging from fairy tales (Folk and Fairytales) to picture books (Edwina the Emu and Cloudette) to young adult novels (Speak and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl).

Writing Classes (ENW)

ENW 2430.01                                     Introduction to Creative Writing                                              McDowell

This course is designed to introduce you to the beginning writing of poetry and fiction.  The course will also be used to develop and foster a community of working writers.  Through workshopping and class discussion of your own work and readings of creative and critical texts, you will learn 1) what makes a poem or story effective to the audience of your choice; 2) how to manipulate your own life experiences, even the small, seemingly insignificant ones, into powerful poems and stories; 3) how to generate material that you can later turn into literature; and 4) how to learn about your own writing through the close reading of your classmates drafts.  This class will set the groundwork for future writing by leading you through the motions of writing, revising, and rewriting.  You will also gain insight into the creative process by reading past and present masters of fiction and poetry.  Rather than merely studying writing, though, we will be doing; we will spend a lot of in-class time doing writing exercises and practicing our craft. With this new set of skills, you will be ready to embark on further writing away from class with a basic foundation in how not just to write but how to be a writer.

ENW 2430.02                                    Introduction to Creative Writing                                                              Finch

The goal of this class is for students to come away with an understanding of genre expectations for both poetry and fiction. For poetry, we will examine the writer’s attention to language, tone, line breaks, etc., and for fiction, we will focus on using specific concrete details while avoiding cliché, creating characters and scenes, and understanding how to tag dialogue. In this class, you can expect to be introduced to some of the aspects of the creative writing process that you might not be familiar with (such as workshop and revision). Finally, we will also read and discuss a number of different styles and voices in both fiction and poetry.

In Making Shapely Fiction, Jerome Stern describes a creative writing workshop as a place where “you are learning to articulate your reactions to a story…And you are teaching yourself to look at your own work with the same critical eye.” A story or a poem can benefit from guidance, but it needs to be the right kind. The ability to critique is not an innate skill, and instead, you must learn how to analyze a story through practice and instruction. Perhaps more importantly, you must also train yourself to be open to new ideas, to new ways of writing, new ways of reading, and even new ways of creating. As Albert Einstein said, “The mind that opens to a new idea never returns to its original size.” With this new set of skills, you will be ready to embark on further writing away from class with a basic foundation in how not just to write but how to be a writer.

ENW 2510                                                           The Art of the Essay                                                        Curtis

In this course, we will work to define this slippery art form as we read, discuss, and emulate a wide variety of essays, including more recent modes of writing online. This course is both reading and writing intensive. In addition to reading essays, students will be responsible for technical reflections on the genre and a portfolio of polished work.

ENW 2895                                                      Writers in Context                                               Smith Whitehouse

This course introduces you to the discipline of Writing Studies, a field that makes writing itself the main topic of study. In Writers in Context, we will: 

  • Learn about how writing shapes identity and our use of language. 

  • Study the historical, social, ethical, technological, cognitive, and pedagogical aspects of writing.  

  • Explore a variety of genres (literary, rhetorical, digital, creative) as we learn about core conversations in Writing Studies. 

  • Consider questions such as: Can writing be taught? What do we know about how writers write? How do issues of class, gender, race, and language intersect with writing? How does writing work in the personal, academic, and civic realms? And finally, what does it mean to write in our time?

Students in the Writing Emphasis may substitute ENW 2895 for Theories of Writing.

ENW 3420                                           Creative Writing: Poetry                                                              McDowell

Richard Hugo tells us, in his essay, “Writing off the Subject,” that “all truth must conform to music.”  In other words, how we shape our experiences to the music of our language creates poetry.  We owe reality nothing and the truth about our feelings everything, and yet still we find it hard to move beyond mere experience and memory to create image-driven, sonically pleasing poems.  In order to practice doing so, we will read widely among contemporary poets (including Jorie Graham, Traci Brimhall, Carl Phillips, Bob Hicok, Morgan Parker, Layli Long Soldier, among others—and at least one of the poets will either Skype in to class or visit campus for a reading) and through writing exercises and imitations (poems written under the influence of the poets we’ll be reading) in both verse and prose, we’ll create a polished and varied portfolio of original poems.  Other requirements will include active participation in workshops and written responses to our readings.  This is a workshop-style course in the writing of poetry, so come prepared to read, write, and have fun learning not only how to write but how to be writers.

ENW 3500                                           History of the English Language                                                Monteverde

Recognizing that any description of this course is destined to be off-putting, let me begin by stating that ideally this course should make your own language come alive for you as a living entity whose current form is the result of all its childhood experiences and whose future shape though predictable to some extent is also yet to be determined. We will study the growth of our language from its origin as a descendant of the Indo-European language family in distant prehistory to its current position as the 2nd most widely known language in the modern world. Topics covered include the relationship between English and other languages, the evolution of modern English grammar, and the causes of the mess we call the English spelling system (if it can be called that). Tests will be augmented with a variety of assignments, such as a personal language history, designed to help you appreciate the on-going and individual process of change that can be experienced in the study of English. An optional service learning unit can also be taken as part of the course. This course is required for all students pursuing secondary education licensure in English and students pursing an English Language Learners certificate; it is also highly recommended (and really should be required) for all students combining an English major with elementary certification or pursuing a minor or second major in foreign language.

ENW 3570                                           Professional Writing                                                      Lovvorn

When you visit a website, how do shapes and colors influence your reading? How can a résumé redesign attract attention at the same time it conveys information more efficiently?

This section of Professional Writing will take up such questions and consider at length how a message’s form rivals its content in conveying meaning. In Literacy in the New Media Age, Gunther Kress argues, “The world of communication is now constituted in ways that make it imperative to highlight the concept of design.” This emphasis on design stems from the ways in which modern textual practices increasingly emphasize visual elements alongside alphabetic text. As a class, we will study related best-practices in composition, combining visual domains (form, space) with writing style (diction, syntax).

In addition, the class will take up the idea of genre and cover various categories of professional writing—including correspondences (emails, memos, letters) and public communications (news releases/stories, websites). In all these generic compositions, we will work at understanding common conventions while we put design principles into practice.

ENW 3680                                           Literary Editing in Context                                                           McDowell

In this course we will, from the ground up, conceive, edit, and produce the 2018 edition of The Belmont Literary Journal.  We will split into Editorial teams (for Editor-in-Chief, Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction, Managing, and Design editors) and advertise for and accept submissions; select poems, stories, essays, and artwork for inclusion in the journal; design the journal (which is, for the second time, going to be published in an online format!); work within our monetary budget; and advertise, celebrate, and represent the final product across campus, the Belmont/Nashville community, and the entire web.  In addition, we will read literary journals from all over the world to learn what makes good writing, what makes good journal design, and what makes a literary journal a sum of its many, many parts.

ENW 3895                              Sound and Persuasion: The Rhetoric of Music                                            Overall

How does sound persuade? What impact does music have on audiences? These questions will drive our investigations of texts that theorize the persuasive power of sound. From the ability of jazz music to overcome racial barriers to the Nazi regime’s overt use of German music as propaganda, our investigation will call upon a variety of situations to illuminate our theoretical readings. In addition to exploring how sound and music move an audience to a judgement, an emotion, and even a change in identity in written assignments, students will also create texts that use sound to persuade such as podcasts, soundscapes, and even videos. No prior technical experience is required.


Graduate Course Descriptions

ENG 5000                                                              Practical Literary Criticism                                                          Yeo

This course will awaken you to the different interpretive strategies that critics have used to read literary and filmic texts over the past century. In doing so, it will help you understand the aesthetic, linguistic, and political implications of writing. Ultimately, through gaining familiarity with the questions and controversies that drive how we understand literature, you will become more incisive readers, writers, and thinkers.

We will cover one school of criticism each week, with sample readings from the philosophers, historians, political writers, and authors who have contributed to our understanding of literature. In addition, we will read Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible, Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse, as well as poems, short stories, and short-form films that will serve as the basis for our analysis throughout the term. Assignments will include weekly reading responses, two short essays, and one conference-style paper and presentation at the end of the term.

ENG 5850                                                             Readings in British Literature III                                                Sisson

This is a Readings course, so we will read broadly and fairly deeply in the Romantic, Victorian, Modern, and Postmodern/Postcolonial periods—i.e. 19th century to the present. Our specific texts will be as follows:

  • Stephen Greenblatt et al. The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol. 2. 9th edition. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 2012.

  • Mary Shelley, Frankenstein—or The Modern Prometheus. Ed. Marilyn Butler. New York: Oxford World’s Classics, 2008 (1818).

  • Charles Dickens, Hard Times. Ed. Paul Schlicke. New York: Oxford World’s Classics, 2008 (1854).

  • Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse. Foreword by Eudora Welty. New York: Harcourt Brace & Co., 1981 (1927).

  • Ian McEwan, Atonement. New York: Anchor Books, 2001.

  • John Fowles, The French Lieutenant’s Woman. New York: Back Bay Books, 1998 (1969).

As in all Readings courses, 50% of the grade is determined by the Final Exam. In this class, 30% of that will be an out-of-class essay, and 20% will be an in-class exam. Other assignments will include weekly Journal Responses and one short paper, called a “Launch Essay,” presented to the class.

You are strongly encouraged to read Frankenstein, and possibly also Hard Times, before the spring semester begins.

ENG 6000                             Single/Double Author Seminar: Jane Austen                      Murray

Who is Jane Austen?  The spinster swooning over Darcy?  The mother of chick-lit? The stylistic innovator?  The inventor of the psychological novel?  The conservative enforcer of heteronormativity?   The simple homebody and aunt?  The engaged commentator on current events?  The wickedly savvy and sharp-eyed satirist who revealed "frankly and with such sobriety/ The economic basis of society" (W. H. Auden)?  We will ask these questions as we read Austen's teenage fiction,  the six novels, and selected works by Austen's contemporaries and predecessors (Shakespeare, Sheridan, Burney).  Seminar format, with reports on selected critics and on fiction and drama from the late 18th and early 19th centuries.  Final project:  a conference-ready presentation with accompanying essay.

ENG 6200                             Creative Writing Seminar, Fiction: The Young Adult Novel          Finch

In A Wrinkle in Time, Madeline L’Engle writes “Life with its rules, its obligations, and its freedoms, is like a sonnet: you’re given the form but you have to write the sonnet yourself.”  In Fiction Writing in the spring of 2018, we will be exploring the form of the young adult novel. The beginning of the semester will be dedicated to reading, dissecting, and examining novels, and our texts will range from fantastic worlds like L’Engle’s to more traditional high school locales to novels that may challenge our traditional expectations of “young adult” content. The second half of the semester will be dedicated to brainstorming plots and writing novel chapters, primarily the introductory chapters of a manuscript.

This course strives to expose writers to a variety of styles, structures, and authors, to encourage the critical examination of both published work and workshop material, and finally, to inspire writers to create a variety of polished original pieces. In order to accomplish these goals, you, as the writer, must be willing to try different techniques and exercises, and you must be open to criticism from peers as well as your instructor. The more you are willing to challenge yourself as a writer (and risk failure), the more you will gain from this class. As Hemingway said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” Please note: although this class focuses on the form of the young adult novel, the techniques and skills that students gain concerning elements like point of view, narrative distance, or believable dialogue, can be translated to virtually any genre of creative writing. The form might be dictated, but the creations will be your own!

Course Timetable

Time

Monday

Wednesday

Friday

Time

Tuesday

Thursday

9:00

ENG 1050

ENW 3895

ENG 1050

ENW 3895

ENG 1050

ENW 3895

9:30

ENL 2210

ENL 3620

ENL 2210

ENL 3620

11:00

ENL 4380

ENW 2430

ENL 4380

ENW 2430

ENL 4380

ENW 2430

11:00

ENW 3570

ENW 3570

12:00

ENG 1050

ENG 2000

ENG 4900

ENG 1050

ENG 2000

ENG 4900

ENG 1050

ENG 2000

ENG 4900

12:30

ENL 4360

ENW 2895

ENL 4360

ENW 2895

1:00

ENG 2000

ENW 2430

ENW 3680

ENG 2000

ENW 2430

ENW 3680

ENG 2000

ENW 2430

ENW 3680

2:00

ENL 3920

ENW 2510

ENL 3920

ENW 2510

2:00

ENW 3420

ENW 3420

 

3:30

ENL 2120

ENL 2120

3:30

ENL 2340

ENL 2340

 

5:00

ENL/W 3500

ENL/W3500

6:00

ENG 5000

ENG 6200

 

 

ENG 5850

ENG 6000

 

 

Online: ENL 2220 - Alternate format: ENG 3960, ENW 4010