These descriptions are taken from faculty syllabi. The exact content of each of these classes is selected and developed by the professor offering the class, so the descriptions should be taken as samples of what the student may expect in the class, not prescriptions of content or class requirements.

EN 2203: Introduction to Literature

EN 2203 is a genre course designed to help students develop a more in-depth understanding of fiction, poetry, and drama, concentrating on elements and methods.  This is achieved through reading, lecture, class discussion, unit tests, and critical writing.


English 2213: English Literature before 1800

This course surveys British literature from its beginnings up to the Romantic period. That is a wider survey than we can manage in a one semester course; thus my apologies for the many authors we will not have time to sufficiently cover and the many works we will not quite do justice to. Some scholars judge the end of the 16th and beginning of the 17th centuries as possibly the most creative period in the history of English literature. The fine writers of that moment must, in this class, compete for our attention with the early English writers, Milton, and the entire 18th. Century. In this class we will read Beowulf in translation, some Chaucer in the original Middle English, and the anonymously written Sir Gawain and the Green Knight in translation. We will read two Elizabethean dramas (a Shakespeare romance and a Marlowe tragedy); a sample of the Metaphysical poets (Donne, etc.); some Milton; and a standard bit of Swift. We will talk about the beginnings of the novel, and you will be asked to read Daniel Defoe's Moll Flanders. We will also, in their proper places, manage to touch on Edmund Spencer, several 17th century poets, Alexander Pope, Samuel Johnson and a few other writers.

Course Requirements & Assessment

Two short answer objective tests (50 pts each).
Three short papers (3-4 pages) to be completed outside of class, due as noted on the syllabus. (100 possible points each).
Class participation (50 pts).
Reading quizzes.(10 quizzes; 100 possible points).
Final exam to be completed in class on the scheduled examination day and consisting of one to three essay questions (100 possible points)

English 2223: English Literature after 1800

This course surveys British literature from the beginning of the Romantic Period (about the beginning of the 19th century), through the Victorian Period, the early 20th century and to the present. We will begin with a glance at William Blake and Robert Burns, followed by the ‘first generation’ of Romantics, Wordsworth and Coleridge. Our look at the ‘second generation,’ Byron, Shelley, and Keats, will include a bit of background on Shelley’s wife, Mary Godwin Shelley, and her mother, Mary Wollstonecraft. Essayists Thomas Carlyle and John Stuart Mill will join novelists like Charles Dickens and George Eliot (short excerpts from both) and poets including Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Browning, Lord Tennyson, and Christina Rosetti and her brother, D.G. Rossetti in our examination of the Victorians. We will look at a play from Wilde as we move toward the 20th century. Conrad, Woolf, Joyce, and Lawrence will provide a bit of more modern fiction, with poets including Hardy, Yeats, Auden, and Seamus Heaney helping wrap up the class. As we are examining a large number of figures, we will tend to look at individual works in some depth rather than examining any large number of works from any individual author. The order will be roughly chronological, as that may provide us the best sense of the breadth of British and Irish literature.

English 2243: American Literature before 1865

In this class we will survey American literature from its beginnings to the Civil War. This class includes a particular diversity of types of literature. We will look at no drama. However, we will look a type of literature that can be broadly defined as 'chronicles,' or history or travel literature. We will look at diaries. We will look at essays. We will also look at short stories, poetry, and one novel. Our approach is going to be thematic rather than chronological. We will glance at histories or diaries, in the form of writings by John Smith, William Bradford, William Byrd III, and Samuel Sewall. We will look at Indian Captivity Narratives, including Mary Rowlandson's and Mary Jemison's accounts. We will look at the Devil in Massachusetts, from the perspective of Cotton Mather and the Puritans, and that of descendent Nathaniel Hawthorne. We will look briefly at the writings of Enlightenment philosophers Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison. Then we will examine some poetry -- Anne Bradstreet, Phillis Wheatley, Phillip Freneau, William Cullen Bryant, John Greenleaf Whittier, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. We will examine essays and nature writings by Transcendentalists Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Margaret Fuller. We will look briefly at slave narratives and slavery literature. We will look at Gothic writers Washington Irving and Edgar Allen Poe, as well as Hawthorne. We will read a novel (a healthy abridgement of Melville's Moby Dick). We will conclude the course with two major poets, Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman.
While this class includes a fair amount of what we normally think of as literature (poetry and fiction, including some very good poetry and fiction), it also includes material we might first categorize as 'history' or 'philosophy.' The chronicles, diaries, and political documents do stand as primary historical documents -- essential source material for anyone studying early American history. Thoreau and Emerson have serious standing as philosophers, with Emerson possibly the most intellectually influential American of his time and Thoreau a major influence in the 20th. century. The class offers more types of material than that generally found in the other survey classes.

English 2253: American Literature after 1865

This class is a survey, an historical excursion through the literature of post-Civil War America. However, my arrangement is thematic. We will begin with poetry and my focus will be on vision or perspective. As an introduction to 'vision' we will look at an Annie Dillard excerpt from Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, and use that as our focus as we touch on the most visual of American poets. We will begin with Emily Dickinson, follow with Walt Whitman and a sampling of poets influenced by him, then cast an eye on Robert Frost, Wallace Stevens, and T.S,. Eliot. Our second class segment will deal with fiction, as we work from Mark Twain's discovery of America through some of the currents of American fiction before World War II. My selection will tend toward 'frontier' material, with an emphasis on the grubby elements of the American experience. I will also use the Euro-centric "Daisy Miller" as a comment on Americanism. The cornerstone of our third class segment is a novel of the dispossessed, John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, as we examine, in prose and poetry, those members of American society who find themselves excluded from our supposed opulence and equality: the poor, the black, the immigrant, the 'outsider.' The fourth segment, post WW II, will center on the salesman, with Arthur Miller's play "Death of a Salesman" augmented by a couple very funny short stories which happen to feature salesmen, one being Flannery O'Connor's "Good Country People." We will conclude the course with some of the themes of self and self-worth, moving from Hemingway to post-modernism and giving us a taste of current literary concerns.