Skip to main content
Belmont University | Belief in Something Greater

Course Descriptions

Course Offerings
Department of English
Spring 2019

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

English Core Courses (ENG)

ENG 1050                              Understanding Literary Language                         Trout

In this general education English course, students will focus on learning to read texts closely and learn to analyze critically and rhetorically. Students will read in a number of genres such as poetry, short fiction, drama, and the novel while developing the technical literary vocabulary required to write about them. Additionally, students will gain a heightened appreciation of connections, patterns, and themes. This course aims to begin students on a four-year (and ultimately lifelong) path to better, stronger, reading and writing skills. This semester we will be reading, among other texts, Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four and O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night.

ENG 2000                              Critical Reading and Writing                                  Trout             

This course is designed to introduce English majors and minors to the nature of critical reading and writing.  You will be exposed to a number of theoretical approaches that you will practice applying to several major literary works.  You will also concentrate on writing an effective essay on literature.  This is both a reading and writing intensive course.  The class will also foster serious critical discussion and effective oral communication.  We will consider several novels, including In the Lake of the Woods, The Bluest Eye, and The Handmaid’s Tale.

Please note that this course is primarily for English majors and minors, and will not count for BELL Core 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 = 9 hours/week (approximately 108 hours total); 2 hours Belmont course credit = 6 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 and design a digital portfolio with documents they produce on the job. 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, see http://www.joeloverall.com/courses/ENG3960/

ENG 4900                              Senior Seminar in English                                        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 can 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 Veil by (Belmont graduate) Rafia Zakaria; The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead; a spring production of the Belmont theater; and Life on Mars, the Pulitzer prize winning volume of poetry by the current Poet Laureate of the US, Tracy K. Smith.

Literature Courses (ENL)

ENL 2120                                  British Literature II                                               Murray

British and Post-Colonial Literature of the Romantic, Victorian, Modern and Post-Modern Eras.  Fiction by Austen, Bronte, Elizabeth Bowen and Salmon Rushdie.  Poetry of Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, Tennyson, Browning, Hardy, Eliot.  Nonfiction Prose by Virginia Woolf.  Drama by Oscar Wilde and Joe Orton.  Essays, annotations, reports and journals.

ENL 2210                               American Literature before 1865                            Curtis

We’ll approach the study of American literature from British colonization through the Romantics by way of three themes: Providential Returns, in which we examine how the idea of providence competes with and compliments colonial exploration and exploitation in the new world; American Gothic, in which we trace the religious roots of--and Romantic possibilities afforded by--this developing mode of artistic expression; and Songs of Ourselves, in which we consider Hector St. Jean de Crevecoeur’s still-pertinent question, “What is an American?” Writers studied include Bradstreet, Franklin, Wheatley, Irving, Poe, Thoreau, Hawthorne, Douglass, Fuller, Whitman, and many less famous but no less fascinating folks.

ENL 2340                                     European 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 around the globe. 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 will 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 beneficial for anyone (a group which should include all people studying English literature and/or writing) who want to develop a deeper awareness and understanding of our language.

ENL 3740            Victorian Literature: “Victoriana & the ‘Woman Question’”     Sisson

Queen Victoria occupied the throne of Great Britain for 63 years, from 1837 to 1901, making her its longest-reigning monarch until Queen Elizabeth II, who currently holds that title. In honor of Queen Victoria’s 200th birthday, on May 24, 1819, we will explore the life and times of the queen; the Victorian debate about women’s rights and gender equality known as the “Woman Question”; the 19th-century women writers that were increasingly prominent; and other texts (some written by men) that address gender and society.

Over Christmas Break, you might stream a season or two of Victoria on Masterpiece Theater—there’s even a Christmas episode!—and do some pre-reading for the course. We will read selected biographical material about the queen, selections from classic feminist studies like Gilbert and Gubar’s The Madwoman in the Attic, and other gender theory and criticism that focuses on the Victorian era. Our literary works include Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Aurora Leigh, Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South, George Eliot’s The Mill on the Floss, Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles, George Gissing’s The Odd Women, and Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own. (George Eliot is a woman—a.k.a. Mary Ann Evans—and Woolf is not Victorian, but her essays address women writers throughout history.) Finally, we will read selections by and about women from The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol. II.

ENL 3880                   Gender Studies: Feminist Literary Theory                        John

“Re-vision--the act of looking back, of seeing with fresh eyes, of entering an old text from a new critical direction--is for women more than a chapter in cultural history: it is an act of survival. Until we can understand the assumptions in which we are drenched we cannot know ourselves. And this drive to self-knowledge, for women, is more than a search for identity: it is part of our refusal of the self-destructiveness of male-dominated society. A radical critique of literature, feminist in its impulse, would take the work first of all as a clue to how we live, how we have been living, how we have been led to imagine ourselves, how our language has trapped as well as liberated us, how the very act of naming has been till now a male prerogative, and how we can begin to see and name--and therefore live--afresh. […] We need to know the writing of the past, and know it differently than we have ever known it; not to pass on a tradition but to break its hold over us.” 

So argued Adrienne Rich in 1971. This course will aim to be both an act of re-vision as well as an exploration of others’ re-visionings. We will explore the major schools of thought within feminist literary theory. We will spend a considerable amount of time reading theoretical works about feminism in relation to issues such as canon formation, genre studies, race studies, individual agency, the politics of writing, and the social construction of identity. We will also spend time applying the theoretical frameworks to our novels. This is a reading intensive course, as well as a course that relies heavily on your oral and written participation. 

ENL 3895       True Stories Well Told: American Non-Fiction Post World War II    Hobson

Since World War II non-fiction has matched, or surpassed, other genres in American literature in scope and sales. Starting with the genre-shaping work of Joseph Mitchell (1940s-50s) and Gay Talese (1960s-70s), we will meet/read writers whose non-fiction puts them inside the pantheon of great American writers.

ENL 4350                  Advanced Studies in British Literature                  McDonald

“Shakespeare and Beckett”

Shakespeare and Beckett may seem like an “odd couple” in theater—one the author of long, often multi-plot plays, the other the author of minimalist, sparse, almost fragmentary plays. Yet the two have been linked ever since Beckett’s emergence on the modern stage with Waiting for Godot in 1953, in part because of allusions to Shakespeare that sprinkle Beckett’s works. However, the two can be considered side by side because they are at the forefront of two distinct theatrical movements: Shakespeare--the origin of the commercial theater that allowed for the development of a wide range of plots, characters, and themes within a rich theatrical art; Beckett--the expansion of the theater of the absurd on to a main stage and into a complex development of themes against a (deceptively) simple set and language. We will read four plays by Shakespeare—Hamlet, King Lear, The Tempest, and Twelfth Night—and Beckett’s major stage plays: Waiting for Godot, Endgame, Happy Days, and Krapp’s Last Tape. We will also read a selection of Beckett’s shorter plays and radio plays. In our close readings and comparisons of these plays, we will be able to explore how each playwright conceives the theater, how each uses language, how each develops character, and how each reflects and refracts his time. We will also ponder how each playwright interrogates the human condition, how each places humanity on a bare stage and queries, “What a piece of work is man!”

Writing Courses (ENW)

ENW 2430                           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                                     Stover

What is an essay, exactly? You may be relieved and surprised to learn that the genre is far more varied, intimate, and malleable than the reductive five-paragraph structure we have come to call an “essay.” Instead, true to Michel de Montaigne’s notion of the essay, it is a “trial” or an “attempt” to follow the pattern of one’s thinking when examining one’s experiences, observations, and inner life. We will read a wide variety of contemporary essay forms (braided, segmented, lyric), along with the more traditional personal essays from earlier periods. After reading literary criticism of the genre and essays ranging across time (from Montaigne to David Foster Wallace), students will be responsible both for their own theoretical reflections on the genre and for their own “essais” or attempts at producing the genre.


ENW 2895       Writers in Context: Conversations in Writing Studies
                Lovvorn

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

Designed as an introduction to writing studies, also known as composition and rhetoric, the course offers insights into how this field of study informs our identities, shapes our uses of language, and aids in our communication. Students will examine core conversations in the field and apply foundational texts as interpretive frameworks while building a critical awareness of writing and rhetoric. The class will:

  • Learn about how writing shapes identity and our use of language.
  • Study 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, and race 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?

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, perhaps, Terrance Hayes, Max Ritvo, Hieu Minh Nguyen, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, among others—and, hopefully, 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 will 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 beneficial for anyone (a group which should include all people studying English literature and/or writing) who want to develop a deeper awareness and understanding of our language. 

ENW 3680                             Literary Editing in Context                          McDowell 

In this course we will, from the ground up, conceive, edit, and produce the 2019 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 fourth 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                                Invention and Inspiration                          Smith Whitehouse

Invention and Inspiration is a class for anyone who wants to learn concepts and practices aimed at igniting the creative process. You may already know that “invention” is one of the five canons (or principles) of rhetoric, and you’re probably familiar with feeling a jolt of something you’d call “inspiration.” In this class we will dive into the what and how of invention and inspiration by studying 26 strategies writers and rhetors have used to ignite and enhance the creative process across time and throughout different cultures. There are 26 strategies because the class is structured as an abecedarian—that is, arranged alphabetically! This class will emphasize application and regular practice; be prepared to write and give feedback to your peers (and your professor) in nearly every class meeting.

You’ll leave this class having gained a cross-cultural and historical understanding what inspiration and invention actually is—and you’ll understand at least 26 tried and true techniques for sparking creativity in yourself and others. You’ll leave this class with a commonplace book that you may carry with you throughout the rest of your life. And you’ll leave this class with a sizeable portfolio of work—work in which you have taken risks, embraced imperfection, and practiced new (and old!) methods.

Nonmajors and/or those who consider themselves novices are welcome in this class.

Readings, Supplies, and Inclinations

Readings: Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones; Claudia Rankine, Citizen: An American Lyric; Donald Ritchie, A Tractate on Japanese Aesthetics;David Whyte, Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words; Selected readings to be posted on Blackboard

Supplies: 2 blank journals or notebooks you have purchased specifically for this class. (I suggest Leuchtturn 1917 dotted journals in two different colors).

Fine point gel or colored pens

Inclinations: A willingness to develop a habit of keeping with the daily news by reading The New York Times

ENW 3895                             Essaying a Life, Montaigne Style                                         Stover

Because Michel de Montaigne’s style is quirky, personal, allusive, engaging, and full of delicious contradictions, he has always pleased readers, making them feel that they know the man. And because his style is so free and lively, he has inspired writers from the 17th Century to the present day to try their hand at the essay. In this upper-level writing course, we will enjoy selections from the collected essays of Michel de Montaigne in order to get a sense of his style, but the ultimate object of the course will be for students to write their own collection of essays, modeled after the personal, meandering, and thought-provoking style of Montaigne. My hope is that in writing such essays, students will experience the pleasure of writing as they also gain a new kind of self-awareness. As Montaigne says, “And if no one reads me, have I wasted my time, entertaining myself for so many idle hours with such useful and agreeable thoughts? . . . Painting myself for others, I have painted my inward self with colors clearer than my original ones. I have no more made my book than my book has made
me . . .”

The style of the class will be to read a few essays, then read contemporary writers who have imitated (loosely) the same essays, and then imitate them ourselves—always putting our own twist on the original. By the end of the course each student will have made a slim book of essays that traces “some features of [their own] habits and temperament.” I can imagine students saying to their readers, as Montaigne does, “I want to be seen here in my simple, natural, ordinary fashion, without straining for artifice; for it is myself that I portray.”

Texts for the course include:

Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Essays, trans. Donald Frame

Sarah Blackwell, How to Live: or A Life of Montaigne in one question and twenty attempts at an answer.

David Lazar, ed., After Montaigne: Contemporary Essayists Cover the Essay

ENW 4895                             Advanced Studies in Rhetoric                                  Lovvorn

“Modern Tribes: Marking Memberships with Writing and Rhetoric”

How do we belong? And how do we signal these connections? Such questions sit at the center of this course, which draws upon lenses commonly taken up in composition/rhetorical studies to explain and to describe group memberships and communications. Focusing on the linguistic and rhetorical ties that create identification with groups, the course will include discussions of constitutive rhetoric (James Boyd White), identification (Kenneth Burke), sociolinguistics (Norman Fairclough, James Gee), genre theory (Carolyn Miller, Anis Bawarshi), and theories of discourse communities and communities of practice (Étienne Wenger, James Porter, John Swales). The course will engage these ideas by way of an extended ethnographic project/paper that applies theoretical perspectives, methods of data collection, and methods of data analysis.

 

Graduate Courses (ENG)

ENG 5040                              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 will 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 beneficial for anyone (a group which should include all people studying English literature and/or writing) who want to develop a deeper awareness and understanding of our language.

ENG 5860                               Readings in American Literature II                                   John

This course will examine the formation of America’s cultural and literary identity from the end of the Civil War to present day.  We will analyze literary texts in relation to their cultural and historical contexts.  This course expects that students demonstrate not only a knowledge of the historical development of the culture from which these texts come, but also an ability to apply analytical and interpretive skills to the examined texts and contexts through reading, writing, and critical thinking.  This is a reading intensive course, as well as a course that relies heavily on your oral and written participation.

ENG 6200      Creative Writing Seminar: Poetry; Documentary Poetics           McDowel

Poetry is music; poetry is magic; poetry is a real toad in an imaginary garden. Poetry is also a record of the events, people, and issues that constrict and curb both cultural and societal prosperity. The type of poetry that practices these aims is called documentary poetry: It, according to poet and scholar Philip Metres, “arises from the idea that poetry is not a museum-object to be observed from afar, but a dynamic medium that informs and is informed by the history of the moment.” We will study poetry that engages with the cultural moment and answer the following questions: Who gets to document? Who is documented? What are the formal and ethical issues inherent to documentary poetics? Students will read and respond to books of poetry and essays on the topic, as well write their own poems. Poets studied may include Javier Zamora, C.D. Wright, Philip Metres, Danez Smith, and Tarfia Faizullah. The idea that the more we know the better off we will be is challenged by documentary poetry, which exploits the subjective nature of language, and therefore questions how we use language to know, and therefore how we can engage with the world through our poems.

ENG 6420                  Advanced Studies in Rhetoric: Modern Tribes                  Lovvorn

How do we belong?  And how do we signal these connections? Such questions sit at the center of this course, which draws upon lenses commonly taken up in composition/rhetorical studies to explain and to describe group memberships and communications. Focusing on the linguistic and rhetorical ties that create identification with groups, the course will include discussions of constitutive rhetoric (James Boyd White), identification (Kenneth Burke), sociolinguistics (Norman Fairclough, James Gee), genre theory (Carolyn Miller, Anis Bawarshi), and theories of discourse communities and communities of practice (Étienne Wenger, James Porter, John Swales). The course will engage these ideas by way of an extended ethnographic project that applies theoretical perspectives, methods of data collection, and methods of data analysis.

Time

Monday

Wednesday

Friday

Time

Tuesday

Thursday

9

ENG 2000

ENL 2210

ENG 2000

ENL 2210

ENG 2000

ENL 2210

9:30

ENL 3740

ENG 1050

ENL 3740

ENG 1050

11

ENW 2430

ENL 4350

ENW 2430

ENL 4350

ENW 2430

ENL 4350

11

ENL 2400

ENW 3895 (Stover)

ENL 2400

ENW 3895 (Stover)

12

ENL 2120

ENW 2430

ENW 3680

ENL 2120

ENW 2430

ENW 3680

ENL 2120

ENW 2430

ENW 3680

12:30

ENW 2895

ENL 3880

ENW 2895

ENL 3880

1

ENG 2000

ENG 4900

ENG 2000

ENG 4900

ENG 2000

ENG 4900

2

ENW 2510

ENL 3895

ENG 1050

ENW 2510

ENL 3895

ENG 1050

2

ENW 3420

ENW 3420

 

3:30

ENL 2340

ENW 3895 (BSW)

ENL 2340

ENW 3895 (BSW)

 

3:30

 

 

 

 

4

ENW/L 3500

ENW/L3500

 

 

 

 

6

ENG 5860

 

6

ENW 4895/ENG 6420

ENG 6200