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Course Descriptions



Spring and Summer 2015

English Classes (ENG)
ENG 1050              Understanding Literary Language                                                                          Sisson
Understanding Literary Language aims to sharpen your skills in the close reading of poetry, fiction, and drama, considering both the contexts that influence the production of the literary works and the tropes that give them their distinctive shape and character. We will practice slow reading in order to appreciate the art of word-crafting used in poetry, fiction, and drama. We will also practice writing about literature analytically and persuasively, as well as clearly and concisely. Texts will include Shira Wolosky, The Art of Poetry: How to Read a Poem; John Trimble, Writing with Style; and M. H. Abrams and Geofrey Galt Harpham, A Glossary of Literary Terms. Literary selections will include poems by various poets; Henrik Ibsen, Hedda Gabler (which will be performed on campus), Susan Glaspell, Trifles, William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray and Edith Wharton, The Age of Innocence.

ENG 2000.01        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, Serena, and The Handmaid’s Tale. 
 

ENG 2000.02        Critical Reading and Writing                                                                         John
This course is designed to introduce English majors and minors to the nature of critical reading and writing. Students will be exposed to a number of theoretical approaches that they will practice applying to several major literary works. We will also spend the semester cultivating effective, critical writing skills. This is both a reading and writing intensive course. The class will also foster serious critical discussion and effective oral communication. Course texts will include Atonement, Passing, and The Handmaid’s Tale.              

ENG 3000              Junior Seminar in English                                                                                                     Trout
(Pass/Fail, 0 credit hours). Prerequisite: ENG 1010 or 2000. This requirement for all English majors, though open to English minors as well, is designed to be taken late in the junior year or early in the senior year. Students prepare for their future, considering such issues as preparation for graduate school, teaching, and other professional tracks. Guest speakers and graduates of the program will help introduce students to a variety of career paths. Fall semester only.

ENG 3960              Internship                                                                                                                                Cox
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. Cox, 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 96 hours total); 2 hours Belmont course credit = 5 hours/week (approximately 60 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 keep a journal in which they 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 4900              Seminar in English Studies                                                                                                     Sisson
In Senior Seminar, you will consider “where you have been” by reflecting on your academic and co-curricular experiences at Belmont and how your study of the Humanities fits into your understanding of the education that you have gained over the past four years. 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 Jack Gilbert’s The Great Fires: Poems 1982-1992, Ian McEwan’s Atonement, Robert Penn Warren’s All the King’s Men, and Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet. You will also enter into the conversation about the field of English Studies and produce a major research project about your individual future interests.                                                                                             

Literature Classes (ENL)
ENL 2120               British Literature II: 19th, 20th, and 21st Centuries                                                                Murray
Poetry, drama, and novels from Romantic, Victorian, Modern and Post-Modern Periods.  Austen, Pride and Prejudice; Bronte, Jane Eyre; Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest; Woolf, To the Lighthouse; Rushdie, East, West. HUM 3015.01.  Jane Austen on Page and Screen.  Close reading of Pride and Prejudice, Emma and Persuasion;  study of movie and TV versions of these works.

ENL 2210               American Literature I: From the Beginnings to the Civil War                                           Trout
This class will survey the development of America’s literature and cultural identity up to the Civil War. The literature of this country will be addressed from a number of historical, social, and critical perspectives.  This course will foster better critical reading and writing skills and encourage independent, sensitive responses to reading, writing, and discussion.  ​

ENL 2220               American Literature II (online)                                                                                                 John                                                       
This course will examine the formation of America’s cultural and literary identity from 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. As an online course, students are expected to maintain a vigorous level of self-directed reading and writing. 

ENL 2320               European Literature II                                                                                                              Paine
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/ENW  3500   History of Language and Linguistics                                                                               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.  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.  While class content is the same for undergraduates and graduates, out of class assignments differ, with graduate students, for example, producing either a teaching unit or researched essay in conjunction with the course.             

ENL 3800  Seminar in World Literature: ExileHomeMemory.                                                                      Paine
This course will examine multiple permutations of the perpetual human condition of exile, the desire to return home, and the role which memory plays in this drama.  In addition to the Book of Ruth and the Parable of the Prodigal Son, we will consider the following texts, which should be acquired in the editions given.

Homer. The Odyssey. Transl. Lombardo. Hackett, 2000.

Joseph Conrad. “Amy Foster.”

Vladimir Nabokov. Speak, Memory. Everyman’s Library, 1999.

 ____________________. Pnin. Vintage International, 1989.

Rebecca West, The Return of the Soldier, Penguin, 1998.

W.  G. Sebald. The Emigrants. New Directions, 1996.

Milan Kundera. Ignorance. Harper Perennial, 2003.

Leila Sebbar, Silence on the Shores. Bison Books, 2000.

Andreï Makine. Dreams of My Russian Summers. Scribner, 1998.

Kazuo Ishiguro. When We Were Orphans. Vintage, 2000.

Marilynne Robinson. Home. Picador, 2009.

Salman Rushdie. The Wizard of Oz. Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.

Ha Jin. The Writer as Migrant. University of Chicago Press, 2008

ENL 3840               Twentieth-Century Poetry                                                                                                John
English 3840 offers both a micro and macro analysis of the content and aesthetics of Twentieth-Century American and British poetry. Thus, students can expect close, careful reading of individual poems as well as exploration of the broader historical and cultural contexts to which and in which poets were responding and participating. We will be studying, in-depth, movements such as Modernism, Postmodernism, the Harlem Renaissance, Imagism, Symbolism, and recent trends in the later part of the century. This class will be based heavily upon class discussion and student participation, with the course objectives being twofold: first, to familiarize students with Twentieth-Century Poetry; and second, to give students the tools with which to read any poem more closely and with greater pleasure.

ENL 3850               The American Short Story                                                                                 Trout
This is a genre course that will consider the development of the American short story from Poe to the present.  We will approach these stories from a number of historical, cultural, and theoretical perspectives.  We will attempt to identify the defining characteristics of the American short story and its value as a genre.  This is a reading intensive course and will require a significant commitment.  Writers will include Poe, Hawthorne, Chopin, Wharton, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, O’Hara, O’Connor, Chandler, Updike, Carver, Dubus, Alexie, Smith, Salinger, Mason, Rash, and others.

ENL 4360               Benjamin Franklin: A Life in Writing                                                                                Curtis
This course serves as an upper division elective in the English major and can also be used to fulfill the Single Author requirement.

Benjamin Franklin is best known to most people as a scientist, statesman, and inventor, but from the time he was 21 he was a professional writer and a writing entrepreneur—if anyone has lessons to teach about how to exploit “new media” and make a living through writing, it’s Benjamin Franklin. In this class, we’ll be analyzing Franklin’s more than 60-year career as a writer in terms of his specifically literary output as well as exploring the career-making insights afforded to him through spending years meeting deadlines as a popular writer of newspapers and almanacs; his numerous forays into travel writing; and  his humorous bagatelles, satires, and hoaxes. All this effort will help us understand why and how he came to write perhaps the most influential book in American literary history. Writing will include critical and creative projects and maybe an exam or two.

Writing Classes (ENW)

ENW 2430             Intermediate Creative Writing                                                                        Finch
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; and 3) 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. This semester, we will focus on fiction and poetry.

ENW 2510.03       Art of the Essay                                                                                                    Overall
ENW 2510 is a three-hour course required of all students following the “writing Emphasis” in the English major. Our semester’s work will focus on defining what we mean by “essay” through close readings and analyses of this complex genre. While we consider the range and complexity of essays, we will ponder such questions: How do we write about our own experiences and make the writing significant for readers? How are essays different from fiction? How do blogging and other new media expand/fit into the genre? To examine these questions, students in this reading-and-writing intensive course will read a wide variety of essays from authors such as Michael Pollan, Cheryl Strayed, Edward Hoagland, Annie Dillard, and Jonathan Franzen. Finally, the focus of our course will be to write complex, creative, and interesting essays, and much of the course will take the format of a writing workshop. ENG 1010 is a prerequisite for this course.

ENW 2510.02       Art of the Essay                                                                                                    Cox
This section of ENG 2510, The Art of the Essay, will survey the long and varied history of the literary form known as the essay. We will read and analyze works in several subgenres of the essay, including the memoir essay, the profile essay, the travel or nature essay, and the analytic meditation essay. We will examine both historical and contemporary works by noted essayists, such as George Orwell, Virginia Woolf, Natalia Ginzburg, M.F.K. Fisher, James Baldwin, E.B. White, David Foster Wallace, Annie Dillard, Wendell Berry, and David Sedaris. Your writing assignments will prompt you to produce your own essays; they will also prompt you to develop critical responses to published texts and to essays authored by your peers.

ENW 3020             Theories of Writing                                                                                                  Blomeley
Ever since Plato lamented the invention of writing 2500 years ago—saying, in Phaedrus, that writing is downright dangerous because it allows writers to “be thought very knowledgeable when they are for the most part quite ignorant”—theorists in the subsequent millennia have attempted to reconcile the simultaneous power, danger, and potential of the written word.  This course is designed to introduce students to the study of writing, rhetoric, and critical theory.  We’ll consider broad questions: What is composing? What is literacy? What does it mean to write about the self? What does it mean to write in the academy? What does critical theory teach us about the composition and interpretation of texts?  And what is “good” writing anyway?  We will read and write broadly to answer these questions, considering texts ranging from Aristotle’s On Rhetoric to Derrida’s Differance to Disney’s Frozen.

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, two of which will be visiting campus, (Charlotte Pence and Adam Day) 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 3560             Life Writing: Home, Memory, and Text                                                                    Stover
In this writing course, we will begin by reading four life-writing texts, each of which centers around the author’s home as not only the starting place, but also as the enduring memory, that marks a sense of identity and of belonging. Because the texts vary in style and approach, each student will get a sense of rich options for writing about his or her own home and its role in shaping an identity and a life. The homes described in the texts range from a Russian immigrant’s idyllic home place now lost, to the hardscrabble home of a farm boy in Georgia, to a Laguna pueblo in New Mexico where the community relies on the land and the oral tales passed down through generations, to a childhood home in an East Texas oil town filled with hard-drinking men, tough kids, and dark secrets. We will see that the motivation to write about home in order to know the self has little to do with the appeal of the home itself; instead, each writer’s sense of his or her present self is tied to the past home place which must be written to be fully understood. Approximately half of the class time will be spent on discussing the texts and writing short imitations of memorable passages, and half the class time on producing our own life-writing texts.

We will read:

Vladimir Nabokov, Speak, Memory

Leslie Marmon, Silko, Storyteller

Harry Crews, A Childhood: The Biography of a Place

Mary Karr, The Liars’ Club

ENW 3680             Literary Editing in Context: The Belmont Literary Journal                         McDowell
In this course we will, from the ground up, conceive, edit, and produce the 2015 edition of The Belmont Literary Journal.  We will split into Editorial teams (for Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction, Art, 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 first time, transitioning to 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.  If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Gary L. McDowell at gary.mcdowell@belmont.edu. TIP: If you like/KNOW web design, we NEED you in ENW 3680!!  

ENW 4010             Writing Seminar: Portfolio                                                                                        Stover
Prerequisite: ENG 1010. This course serves as the capstone for students completing the Writing Minor. Students will compile a professional portfolio of their best writing for public exhibition.

Undergraduate Offerings (Summer 2015)

ENL 2210               American Literature I (web)                                                                                        John
This online class will survey the development of America’s literature and cultural identity up to the Civil War. The literature of this country will be addressed from a number of historical, social, and critical perspectives.  This course will foster better critical reading and writing skills and encourage independent, sensitive responses to reading, writing, and discussion.  

Graduate Offerings (Spring 2015)

ENG 5040              History of Language and Linguistics                                                                 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.  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.  While class content is the same for undergraduates and graduates, out of class assignments differ, with graduate students, for example, producing either a teaching unit or researched essay in conjunction with the course. 

ENG 5820              Readings in British Literature II                                                                            Yeo
In 1643, England’s Parliament moved to censor publications and destroy any books that were offensive to the government. Poet John Milton responded with an astonishing speech, arguing that we cannot build a better world without the free exchange of ideas. His response raises questions about the relationship between writing and social change that resound throughout this period—a time that saw the emergence of constitutionalism, colonialism, scientific inquiry, and human rights.
This course witnesses the unfolding of literary history during these years, from the Elizabethan period to the eighteenth century (1558-1799). We will read a broad a broad range of authors in order to discover how they responded to cultural, historical, and social movements through innovative developments in lyric and epic poetry, prose fiction, and drama. Ultimately, the aim of this course is to increase your analytical competency and familiarity with pre-modern British literature, but I also hope it will help you simply to understand and enjoy the literature of the past. Assignments for this course include a final essay and exam.

ENG 6100              Genre Seminar                                                                                                     McDonald
This course will consider primarily dramatic comedy, beginning with Aeschylus’s Lysistrata and including Shakespeare (Twelfth Night, which we will be able to see at the Troutt Theater) and Ben Jonson’s Bartholomew Faire,  a Restoration comedy (The Country Wife, Wycherley), Wilde’s The Importance of Being Ernest.  For the 20th and 21st centuries, we will look at an array of comedies selected by class members (including plays, films, satires and sketches, musical comedy, prose fiction, etc and etc).  Guiding our discussion will be three questions:  to what extent can comedy be considered “philosophical” (in other words, offering more than diversion and entertainment)?  To what extent is comedy a genre (with discernable forms)?  To what extent is comedy subversive—gaining its power from undermining the status quo? 

ENG 6300              Special Topics in Writing: Materialism, Technology, and Writing               Lovvorn                
What does it mean to say that a novel held our rapt attention? Are we merely expressing our gratitude to the author?  Or are we also saying something deeper about the titillating, physical act of reading? Who—or perhaps what—is responsible when we transform physical symbols on a page or screen into imaginative worlds that affect us deeply? And what of the many people and objects, including other texts, that prepared us to be captivated by a novel? Do they deserve any credit?

This class will explore such questions as we look at reading and writing practices through the lens of “new materialism,” a growing body of work that stretches ideas of agency to include not just humans, but also nonhumans and environmental contexts. This work contends that things do a great deal of autonomous work in the world. A timely example here involves the growth of Internet connectivity and the ubiquity of peripheral devices—material conditions that actively give shape to distinct forms of reading, writing, and thinking. ​ 

As we pursue such ideas connected to technologies of writing, we will also follow a related line of inquiry involving the emergence of technology writing as a distinct genre. In this vein, we will read and write extensively about technology’s connections to our literate lives, casting our gaze on everything from tech blogs to the “Best Technology Writing” series of books. Other readings for the course will include theoretical work like Jane Bennett’s Vibrant Matter, historical investigations such as Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel, fictional pieces like Bruno Latour’s Aramis, and other work—creative and academic—that suggests connections between materiality, technology, writing, and culture.

ENG 6420              Composition Theories                                                                                        Blomeley

This course is designed to introduce students to the field of Rhetoric and Composition, with an emphasis on historical and contemporary theories of writing and writing pedagogy. Students will read broadly and deeply in the field, but there will also be many opportunities for hands-on learning as they conduct writing tutorials, respond to student and peer writing, design lesson plans, and create a teaching portfolio. Texts include the Norton Book of Composition Studies (Ed. Susan Miller) and A Guide to Composition Pedagogies (Eds. Tate, Taggart, Schick, and Hessler).​

Graduate Offerings (Summer 2015)

ENG 6000                Single Author: Faulkner                                                                                         Trout                     
This single author’s course will offer an intensive study of the life and work of William Faulkner.  We will consider his place in American Modernism and Southern Literature, and his influence on contemporary writers like Toni Morrison and Cormac McCarthy.  Since this is a concentrated study of one writer, we will look at Faulkner’s major novels, his short fiction, and his interviews.  You will also be required to read secondary scholarship including biography.  The novels will include The Sound and the Fury, Sanctuary, Light in August, Absalom, Absalom!, The Wild Palms, The Unvanquished, The Hamlet, and Go Down, Moses.  I strongly urge you to begin reading as soon as possible.

ENG 6200              Creative Writing Seminar: The Novel – Plot and Point of View                           Finch

For Creative Writing Seminar: The Novel, we will be examining the structure of the novel – specifically as it deals with point of view and plot. Percy Lubbock says in The Craft of Fiction: “The most important question of method in the craft of fiction is point of view,” and yet, most early novelists feel more concerned with the issue of plot, determining what story to tell and how to structure it. Both craft issues deserve examination and often can only be discussed together. This class strives to expose writers to a variety of points of view, story shapes, and authors, to encourage the critical examination of both published work and workshop material, and finally, to inspire writers to create a variety of original pieces in various points of view and to plot the early stages of a novel.
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.”​​

 



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