Undergraduate Courses Descriptions
ENG 1050.01 Understanding Literary Language – John, C.
MWF 1:00 – 1:50 PM
Language is the source of misunderstandings. ~ Antoine de Saunt-Exupéry in The Little Prince
One of our greatest gifts, language allows human beings to communicate with one another, to connect to and understand one another. But it also can be fraught with confusion, leading to misinterpretations and disagreements. Thus, it is not just what it allows that makes language so powerful – its power lies in what can potentially go wrong with it as well. This course is designed with these beliefs in mind, and its ultimate goal is to make students aware of and appreciate the power of words. Moreover, a secondary, but no less important, goal is to help students develop, cultivate, and understand some very specific uses of language: literary uses. 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.
ENG 1050.02 Understanding Literary Language – Sisson, A.
This course could easily be called “Cultivating the Art of Paying Attention”—paying attention to writing, to language, to literature. As such, it will focus on the elements of literature and the elements of writing about literature, the details that, when noticed and attended to, make a significant difference in our writing and reading experiences and our appreciation for these works as acts of creation—as the outcome of a series of creative choices.
This class will therefore encourage you to consider and reflect on how writing is at once a work of art and an act of rhetorical significance—in other words, how writing is the carefully crafted result of the specific strategies employed by writers for particular purposes that they were inspired to pursue. The critical texts that, as writers, you create in this class will be taken as seriously as the literature we study together, for our collective aim is to become highly aware of all aspects of our own written responses and analyses. You will also have occasional opportunities to flex your creative muscles as we try our hand at imitating the authors we are reading or creating similar works of our own.
We will read poetry, drama, and fiction (short stories as well as novels). In addition to reading literature, we will make regular use of M. H. Abrams and Geoffrey Galt Harpham’s A Glossary of Literary Terms and John Trimble’s Writing with Style: Conversations on the Art of Writing.
ENG 4900.01 Seminar in English Studies – Stover, A.
MWF 1:00 – 1:50 PM
ENG 4900, Senior Seminar in English is a course about time past, time present, and time future. Students will be looking back at their experiences as English majors, and looking forward to their future endeavors after graduation. But this course is more than a practical reflection on past/present values and future goals (though it is certainly that). It is also an exploration of the role literature and writing play in our understanding of where we have been, where we are, and where we are going. How have writers written themselves into being? How does the written word both complicate and illuminate our sense of time and our place in memory, history, and an imagined future? To reflect on questions of the relationships among literature, time, and identity we will read Nabokov’s Speak Memory, and Virginia Woolf’s Moments of Being, among other texts. Students will engage in writing reflectively about their past as English majors, analytically about their experience with the Nabokov and Woolf texts, and creatively about their future careers/endeavors as English major graduates.
ENL 2000.01 Critical Reading and Writing – Trout, S.
TR 12:30 – 1:45 PM
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 No Country for Old Men, East of Eden, and The Handmaid’s Tale.
ENL 2110.01G British Literature 1 – Ecke, J.
MWF 9:00 – 9:50 AM
This course will draw on epic, lyric, dramatic, and narrative works to trace the development of the English literary tradition in Old, Middle, and early modern English. By the end of the course, you will be able to read in Middle English, understand brief passages in Old English, and appreciate the shift from a manuscript to a print culture. You will also have a basic understanding of the social, political, and religious forces that motivated individual authors and the literary movements within which they worked.
ENL 2320.01G Continental Literature II – Paine, J.
TR 3:30 – 4:45 PM
In this course we will discuss major works and authors of European Literature from1650 to the present day. Much importance will be placed on careful reading of and reflection upon these texts. Authors will include Voltaire, Victor Hugo, Baudelaire, Dostoevsky, Rimbaud, Franz Kafka, Anna Akhmatova, and Gabriel García Márquez, among others.We will seek to uncover not only their literary value, but also their contributions to an emerging modern European culture and their importance to us today. This course is for fulfillment of general Humanities credit as well as English credit. There is no prerequisite beyond ENG 1010.
ENL 2895.01G, ASN 2000.01G, HUM 2990.01G Asian Studies Seminar:
Literature and Culture of Early Japan – Paine, J.
TR 3:30 – 4:45 PM
This course will study the early development of Japanese literature and culture, from their beginnings to the end of the eighteenth century. We will highlight the early emphasis on beauty as a value in human life in classical Japan, the rise of the warrior (samurai) ethos in medieval Japan, the close relation of Japanese Buddhism and Shinto to the culture of early Japan, and the roles these elements play in traditional Japanese prose, poetry, theatre, and the other arts.
ENL 3500 History of Language & Linguistics – Ecke, J.
MWF 11:00 – 11:50 AM
This course will trace the linguistic, literary, and cultural development of the English language from Anglo-Saxon through modern English. In doing so, we will study the forces and principles of syntactic, morphological, phonological, and semantic change that mark particular periods and shifts in the development of the English language. We will likewise explore the linguistic and cultural effect of language contact and exchange, as well as the role of literary innovation, translation, and linguistic standardization in constructing a “standard” English. Finally, we will consider how non-standard English, regional dialects, and the rise of English as a world language complicate the received narrative of a linear and uninterrupted development of the English language.
ENL 3620 Shakespeare – Representative Plays – McDonald, M.
We will begin our season with Much Ado About Nothing, one of Shakespeare’s great comedies, to take advantage of Nashville Shakespeare Festival’s performance of this play in Centennial Park in August and early September. We will read 8-9 plays, covering the range of genres (comedy, history, tragedy, romance) and the time frame of Shakespeare’s career (1590-1611). We will work on careful readings of the text to unpack the amazing bouquet of Shakespeare’s language, and we will consider theatrical issues and stagings of the plays. We will build an understanding of Shakespeare’s meaning for his age, and we will ask whether Shakespeare is still our contemporary. Class projects will include short papers, a creative project (I’m still thinking about what we’ll do this year!), a seminar final, and wicked line quizzes. Our text will be The Norton Shakespeare, ed. Stephen Greenblatt, et al.
ENL 3720.01 Special Topics: Love, Madness, and Imagination Romanticism in England – Hutchins, S.
TR 2:00 – 3:15 PM
Many besides Shakespeare have made connections among “the lover, the madman, and the poet.” English authors of the Romantic (and some Victorian and Modern periods) seem to have been fascinated by romantic love, various forms of “madness,” the primacy of the imagination and, often, the relationship among all three. In this course, we’ll make use of this thematic direction to consider selected works of major writers and to give a sense of major developments in literature and in Western culture from the late 1700’s until the present. In addition, we will use extra-fictional “evidence” from the period to learn how the period viewed and responded to love, to “madness,” to the creative imagination-- and to various forms of “fantasy” particular to this culture. Letters, diaries, advertising, sermons, journalism, children’s stories, etc., can also aid us in investigating how 19th and 20th Century authors and their readers viewed mental illness and how they expressed the glories and dangers of giving oneself over to romantic love or to the creative imagination. I aim to make reading assignments ample but also reasonable (“less can be more”). Students will also develop journal responses, a semester paper (analytical and/or creative), and a brief presentation. Please feel free come by WHB 207A to talk with me about the course.
ENL 3880.01 Gender Studies – John, Caresse
MWF 12:00 – 12:50 PM
“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 and from feminism, particularly works that look at 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 (in other words, we will read a lot and we will read difficult material) that relies heavily on your oral and written participation.
ENL 3930.01 American Realism and Naturalism – Trout, S.
This course will survey the literature of America in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. We will question the nature and accepted definitions of “realism” and “naturalism.” Throughout the semester, we will focus on prose fiction and consider how authors of the period understood and represented reality. We will also investigate the rapidly changing industrial American culture and the effects of urbanization, class conflict, gender, race, and Social Darwinism. Readings include:
William Dean Howells, The Rise of Silas Lapham; Henry James, The Golden Bowl; Mark Twain, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Pudd’nhead Wilson; Edith Wharton, The Age of Innocence; Frank Norris, McTeague; Theodore Dreiser: An American Tragedy; and short fiction by Charles W. Chesnutt, Grace King, and Kate Chopin. This is a reading intensive course—summer reading is a must.
ENW 2000.01: Theories of Writing – Cox, Cynthia
MW 3:30 – 4:45 PM
Designed as an introduction to the study of writing, ENW 2000 invites students to examine in depth and from a wide variety of perspectives how, when, where and why people read and write, exploring the following questions: What is a text? What is the nature of composing? How has the nature of composing changed over time? How does technology affect what and how people write? What is literacy? How have notions of literacy changed over time? In what ways is literacy socially and politically charged? The course also seeks to develop students’ reading and writing habits and skills; in this effort, we will practice the close reading of literary texts and scholarly articles, and we will write in a variety of critical and creative genres.
ENW 2430.01 & .02 Intermediate Creative Writing – McDowell, G.
(.01) MWF 8:00 – 8:50 AM and (.02) MWF 9:00 – 9:50 AM
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. 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 – Holt, L.
MWF 12:00 – 12:50 PM
Prerequisite: ENG 1010
We all read essays, but what characterizes a piece of writing as an “essay”? What qualities make an essay memorable, thought-provoking, and intriguing? To examine these questions, students in this reading-and-writing-intensive course will read and discuss essays by writers both past and present, ranging from Montaigne to Wendell Berry and Annie Dillard. Students will compose personal essays on a variety of topics and will be encouraged to explore the use of concepts such as persona, empathy, and reliable narration. Peer review sessions and instructor feedback will encourage students to regard the essay as an artistic form that that demands careful crafting. Required of all students following the writing emphasis track in the English major, this course promises thought-provoking reading, stimulating discussion, and enhanced writing skills, thereby helping to prepare students for future academic work and for an intellectually engaged life beyond college.
Open to Writing Fellows OnlyTutoring others in writing heightens our awareness of just how complex the craft of writing is. No matter how many skills and rules we have mastered, tutoring involves us in human interaction complicated by unarticulated emotions, expectations, biases, and assumptions held by both tutor and writer. In other words, in any given tutoring session we tutors must learn to read more than the text before us. We also learn to read the body language of the student writer; to negotiate silence; to determine the one issue that will most help the student develop as a writer; to gauge the success or failure of the approach we have taken; to recognize our own biases and limitations as writers and tutors; to understand our own writing process; to understand writing processes that differ from our own; and to quickly scan our store of rhetorical prowess . . . all in 30 minutes!
ENW 3050 Writing and Learning: Peer Tutoring Seminar – Blomeley, S.
TR 2:00 – 3:15 PM
In this course we will unpack all these complications by reading theories, stories, and practical advice from experienced tutors and scholars of writing. As we read and discuss theory, students will also engage in tutoring their peers both in the First-Year Seminar and in the Writing Center. Finally, students will write extensively to keep in touch with their own writing processes as they help other writers with theirs. We will share our work in the classroom, gaining even more experience in tutoring by providing feedback, guidance, and support to one another, and by frankly discussing which tutoring strategies work—and which don’t.
ENW 3410.01 Advanced Creative Writing: Writing Fiction – Hutchins, S.
TR 3:30 – 4:45 PM
I dreamed that I floated at will in the great Ether, and I saw this world floating also not far off, but diminished to the size of an apple. Then an angel took it in his hand and brought it to me and said, “This must thou eat. And I ate the world. Ralph Waldo Emerson
No one can “teach” you to write creatively; it is true. Yet there is much you can learn in this course, through your own writing process, through instruction, and through interaction with the teacher and your peers. Most students find creative writing classes both enjoyable and truly useful for encouragement, advice, challenge, motivation, personal growth, fostering a spirit of wonder—and as a guaranteed place where others are serious interested in your work. Yet this course is not just a space for self-expression or self-development, nor is it only a feedback workshop. We will study about fiction and hybrid genre, asking questions about their history and nature, using some theory (linked to recent literary patterns) and quite a few varied literary examples. I also work by using exercises that have proved helpful both for getting work started and for building skills. We will spend some time talking about publication and investigating the directions fiction seems to be taking as we enter the 21st Century.
Advanced fiction requires considerable reading at a sophisticated level. Above all, it demands commitment. You may use the course to begin or continue a novel, if you wish.
At the end of the term, you will have developed a portfolio of writing including finished work, work in progress, and exercises to stimulate further writing on your own. The portfolio also includes a reflection component. It is always my aim to provide ample freedom and stimulus for each individual but also to provide a comfortable and supportive environment for the risk-taking inherent in writing and sharing as a group. I’ll give you my best advice and assistance. The course welcomes “beginning” creative writers as well as those who are more experienced. Grading rewards participation, risk-taking, sharing, and effort (the process) even more than the finished product, in order to allow you to try new areas without risk.
The course has a pre-requisite of having completed at least one course in creative writing at university level. It is possible to enter by permission after submitting a portfolio of your writing.
Call or email me to ask questions (or get reassurance) if you’d like (460 6389; email@example.com). I’m on sabbatical this semester, but I check voice mail and email.
ENW 3530.01 Writing about Place – Pinter, R.
TR 12:30 – 1:45 PM
Herman Melville: “It is not on any map. True places never are.”
Place is more than just geography. It can be intellectual and subjective, as well as part memory, part cultural. For this class, we will write about several places: home (or the idea of it); a local neighborhood; an imaginary place; and a global place. We will read and write about some “real” places like the UN’s World Heritage sites ( http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/). We will also read from the following writers and from some not listed: Wendell Berry, David McCullough, Annie Dillard, Wallace Stegner, E. B. White, Walt Whitman, Barbara Kingsolver and Kathleen Norris.
ENW 3960: Internship – Cox, Cynthia
MW 2:00 – 3:15 PM
The purpose of the writing internship is to provide practical application of classroom learning in an off-campus professional setting. Students enrolled in the course will be in the process of performing the work of an internship designed and approved the prior semester. Class sessions will be devoted to discussions of workplace-writing issues and strategies. Students will keep a journal in which they will describe their internship experiences; complete a series of short professional-writing “cases”; compile a portfolio of documents they produce on the job; and write a reflective paper in which they assess the “lessons” of the internship and set goals for their future writing endeavors.
ENG 5000, Practical Literary Criticism – Sisson, A.
T 6:00 – 8:30 PM
We all use some kind of interpretive strategy when we read, view, or listen to texts. One purpose of this course is to make you more aware of the variety of assumptions people make about literary texts and the implications these have for critical reading and writing. This course should help you develop an awareness of reading as a creative act with social and political implications as you practice major critical approaches. In addition, by the end of the course you should have a better grasp on the controversies and tensions (productive and otherwise) that drive the teaching of English as a profession—and should have a familiarity with the critical conversations and research methods required to write a thesis.
We will use two textbooks in order to learn the vocabulary of, and to become familiar with, the various critical approaches we will be exploring. We will also read several (3-4) literary texts over the course of the semester. Through the writing of a number of shorter pieces, you will practice applying these theories and incorporating these critical approaches in your interpretations of these texts. Ultimately you will produce 1-2 longer interpretive readings, which will be further developments of some of your shorter, earlier pieces of writing.
• Critical Theory: A Reader for Literary and Cultural Studies, Robert Dale Parker, ed.
• How to Interpret Literature: Critical Theory for Literary and Cultural Studies (2nd ed.), Robert Dale Parker
• A Glossary of Literary Terms, M. H. Abrams and Geoffrey Galt Harpham, eds.
• MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (7th ed.), Modern Language Association
• King Lear, William Shakespeare (Norton Critical edition)
• The French Lieutenant’s Woman, John Fowles
• The Year of the Flood, Margaret Atwood
• Beloved, Toni Morrison
ENG 5820.01 Readings in British Literature II – Murray, C.
W 6:00 – 8:30 PM
Studies in the literature of the Restoration, 18th Century, Romantic and Victorian Periods. Readings from key poets (Dryden, Rochester, Behn, Pope, Gray, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Blake, Keats, Shelley, Tennyson, Browning, Arnold, Hopkins, Housman, Hardy), prose writers (Samuel Johnson and James Boswell), dramatists (William Wycherley and Oscar Wilde), and novelists (Defoe, Sterne, Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Charles Dickens, Robert Louis Stevenson, George Eliot, Rudyard Kipling). Texts: The Norton Anthologies of British Literature, Vols I and II; Defoe, Robinson Crusoe; Sterne, A Sentimental Journey; Austen, Emma; Bronte, Jane Eyre; Dickens, Hard Times; Eliot, Scenes from Clerical Life.
ENG 6250.01 19th Century American Literature – John, C.
R 6:00 – 8:30 PM
As America transformed in the decades following the Civil War, so too did its literature. The main literary movements of the century’s last few decades, Realism, Regionalism, and Naturalism, were very different from what had come before and paved the way for what would come next. This course will examine these three movements in depth, using William Dean Howells (an important realist author and critic) as a central focus. This is a reading intensive course; over the semester we will read novels and short stories from all three movements by authors such as Howells, Henry James, Frank Norris, Sarah Orne Jewett, Mark Twain, Theodore Dreiser, and Kate Chopin. We will also be reading both primary and secondary scholarship. Main course assignments will include weekly writing, a presentation, and a final conference length paper.
ENG 6420.01 Composition Theories – Hodges-Hamilton, A
M 6:00 – 8:30 PM
In Composition Theories, we will look at theories of composition from the 1960’s to the present, focusing on 1990 on, particularly the debates between and among proponents of expressivist, social-constructionist, feminist, collaborative, and cultural theorists and practitioners of writing. We will also consider the following questions: What is composing? How do these debates force us to question our definitions of discourse, both academic and personal? What should be taught in writing courses and how should it be taught?
Writing theorists continue to struggle to define key terms like “voice,” “community,” “error/grammar,” “writing across the curriculum,” and so on. We will look at our own composing processes and at recent collections that examine distinctions and connections between various theories of composition, in order to further pursue our interests in the field.