English (For 2016–2017 academic year) Professors
Balakian, Cerasano, Coyle, Davies (Chair
), Harsh, L. Johnson,
Knuth Klenck, Maurer, Staley, Wider NEH Professor of the Humanities
Watkins Associate Professors
Brice, Page Assistant Professors
Ames, Child, Hauser, Klein, Rajasingham, Warren Olive B. O’Connor Writing Fellows
The Department of English offers courses in two programs of study, one in literature written in the English language and the second in English with an emphasis in creative writing. Students may pursue majors and minors in both these areas.
An English major develops students’ ability to use language effectively and enhances their critical and analytical skills by making them aware of the social and historical context in which writing, in any of its forms, is produced. English study provides an excellent basis for professional programs in law, journalism, publishing, and business as well as for graduate study in literature, the theater, or creative writing.
Students pursuing one of the majors in the department take courses in specified categories described in detail below. There is considerable choice from among the courses that fulfill these requirements, and students should discuss their programs with an adviser in planning a major. English courses also serve as electives for students in other programs. Normally 200-level courses are for first-year and sophomore students; 300-level courses, for sophomores, juniors, and seniors; and 400-level courses for juniors and seniors. There are a few specified prerequisites for individual courses. Non-majoring students considering 400-level English courses as electives, however, should consult catalogue descriptions and may wish to speak with instructors to determine their readiness for particular courses.
Continued study of a foreign language or work in the literature of other languages in translation is par-ticularly recommended as complementary to an English major and is especially important for students interested in further literary studies. Writing is an important component of coursework.
Major Program in Literature
Passing grades are required in a minimum
of nine departmental courses, with a major GPA of 2.00 averaged over all courses taken in the department. Students are strongly encouraged to elect more than the required number of courses and to support their studies in English with appropriate courses in art, music, history, the literatures of other languages, and the classics.
The minimum number of courses must include the following:
- ENGL 200, Major British Writers
- ENGL 201, American Texts and Contexts
- A course in postcolonial literature at the 200 or 300 level (ENGL 202, 207, 208, 333, 337, and 349; also 363 when so designated)
- Four full-credit courses at the 300 and 400 level, one of which must be a 400-level seminar in literature; (that is, ENGL 477, 489, 490, and 491 do not meet the seminar requirement). Among the courses taken at the 300 or 400 level must be two courses in literature before 1800. Only one of the courses meeting the pre-1800 requirement may be ENGL 321 or 322.
Juniors or seniors who come to the major later in their undergraduate careers should consult with the department chair for permission to enroll in ENGL 200
, or 202
Major with an Emphasis in Creative Writing
English majors may pursue an eleven-course sequence leading to a degree in English with an emphasis in creative writing. Passing grades must be earned in all courses counted for this major, with a GPA of 2.00 averaged over all courses taken in the department. The sequence of courses must include the courses required in categories 1, 2, 3, and 4 listed above as well as:
- Three workshops chosen from among the following: ENGL 217, 374, 377, 378, 379, 477, or 491. ENGL 217 may be taken only once. Instructor permission is necessary for admission to creative writing courses at the 300 or 400 levels.
Students interested in the major with an emphasis in creative writing should talk with the department chair or with a member of the department who teaches the writing workshops in order to plan an appropriate program of study.
Minor in Literature
Passing grades are required in six departmental courses, with a GPA of 2.00 averaged over all courses taken in the department. The minimum of six courses must include the following:
- One course at the 200 level
- Three courses at the 300 and 400 level, including one course in literature before 1800
Minor in Creative Writing
Passing grades are required in a minimum of five courses, with a minimum GPA of 2.00 averaged over all courses taken in the department. The minimum of five courses must include the following:
- Three workshop courses chosen from among the following: ENGL 217, 374, 377, 378, 379, 477, or 491. ENGL 217 may be taken only once. Instructor permission is necessary for admission to creative writing courses at the 300 and 400 levels.
- Two literature courses chosen from English offerings at the 300 and 400 level.
Students interested in the minor in creative writing should talk with a member of the department who teaches the writing workshops in order to plan an appropriate program of study.
Honors and High Honors: English
The privilege to work toward honors is granted at the discretion of the faculty. Seniors with an average of 3.5 in ENGL courses are eligible to apply to pursue an honors project. Interested students should begin discussing their projects with potential directors in their junior year.
Candidates in literary criticism must enroll in ENGL 489
, a 0.25-credit course offered in the fall se-mester. In consultation with a member of the faculty, the student selects a topic and submits a formal prospectus, which must be approved by two faculty supervisors, the director of the honors program, and the department as a whole. The deadline for submission of the prospectus normally falls in October, while the deadline for an annotated bibliography normally falls in December.
Candidates in creative writing must enroll in ENGL 477, Advanced Workshop
in the fall of their senior year. They should also speak with a creative writing professor (Ames, Balakian, Brice, or Hauser) in the spring of their junior year. Permission to pursue a creative writing honors the next spring will be granted on the basis of the quality of work in ENGL 477
Students pursuing an honors project are enrolled in ENGL 490, Special Studies for Honors Candidates
, during the spring term of their senior year. ENGL 490
must be taken in addition to the required 400-level seminar and in addition to the minimum number of courses required for the major. Students must successfully complete the honors seminar and submit a final version of the thesis on a date specified by the department. If the thesis is provisionally approved by the faculty supervisors and the director of the honors program, the student then discusses the project at an oral presentation scheduled during finals week.
A student who completes a project judged worthy of honors by the department and maintains at least a 3.5 average in all ENGL courses, including ENGL 490
, is awarded a degree in English with honors. Students are awarded high honors on the basis of the quality of the thesis and the oral presentation. If a student withdraws from the program, or if the thesis is not approved for honors, ENGL 490
is converted to ENGL 491, Independent Study
, and a grade is assigned by the faculty member who supervises the completion of the work.
Students with further questions should contact the director of honors in the Department of English.
See “Honors and Awards: English” in Chapter VI.
The department does not award Advanced Placement credit.
Because transferred courses must conform in content and rigor to Colgate’s curriculum, students intending to take a course in English literature at another institution must meet with the department’s transfer-credit adviser before
enrolling in a course at another institution. Transfer credit for an English course taken at another college or university will be granted only by the approval of the department. The transfer-credit adviser grants preliminary
approval for appropriate courses, which generally must resemble 300- or 400-level courses at Colgate. Upon return to campus, the student brings the course syllabus, all papers written for the course, and a transcript registering its completion to the transfer-credit adviser to receive final approval. No more than two courses (in the case of a minor, one course) may be transferred for major credit. Students may not
use a transferred course to fulfill the 400-level seminar requirement of the major.
Preparation for Graduate Study
Students interested in graduate study should consult with their advisers and the department chair early in their programs to be advised about preparation for advanced work. The department also designates special advisers to meet with students interested in graduate work, and informational meetings are held to help juniors and seniors plan their applications for fellowships and graduate admission.
The Department of Educational Studies offers a teacher education program for majors in English who are interested in pursuing a career in elementary or secondary school teaching. Please refer to “Educational Studies
MAT Degree in English
The Masters of Arts in Teaching with a major in English is awarded by Colgate in the program described above under teaching certification.
London Study Group
Each year, and often twice a year, a group of juniors and seniors spends a term in London studying British literature and theater under the direction of a member of the English department. Preference normally is given to majors or prospective majors who have completed at least three courses toward the requirements for the major. ENGL 290, London English Study Group Preparation
, is a 0.25-credit course limited to participants in the London English Study Group in a subsequent term. The course prepares students for the English course-work to be undertaken in London. For further information, see “Off-Campus Study” in Chapter VI.
Santa Fe Study Group
Students interested in American literature are encouraged to consider participation in the Santa Fe Study Group. When directed by a member of the English department, the program features courses in contemporary Native American literature and contemporary methods of criticism across the arts as well as providing opportunities for students to continue work in creative writing. The study group also involves service learning work at one of the pueblos near Santa Fe.
Jamaica Study Group
Students interested in Caribbean literature and black Atlantic literature are encouraged to consider participation in the Jamaica study group. When directed by a member of the English department, the program features courses in contemporary Caribbean literature and criticism as well as Jamaican culture.
Course Offerings ENGL courses count toward the Human Thought and Expression area of inquiry requirement, unless otherwise noted.
Courses Required of All English Majors ENGL 200
and ENGL 201
are open to all first-years and sophomores. Junior and senior majors may enroll with the permission of the department chair. 200 Major British Writers S. Cerasano, A. Klein, D. Knuth Klenck, M. Maurer, L. Staley
Works by prominent British writers, from Geoffrey Chaucer in the 14th century to Seamus Heaney in the 21st. The course emphasizes the development of reading and analytical skills. Required of all majors, normally in their first or sophomore year; junior and senior majors admitted only by permission of the department chair.
201 American Texts and Contexts B. Child, L. Johnson, L. Warren
An introduction to American literature exploring the relations among key texts and various contexts, both critical and historical. The course engages a wide range of issues in American literary history, from the age of discovery through the colonial period and Revolution to debates over slavery and race in the decades before and after the Civil War. The diverse authors studied include Anne Bradstreet, Jonathan Edwards, Benjamin Franklin, Ouloudah Equiano, Phillis Wheatley, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Harriet Jacobs, Frederick Douglass, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, and Mark Twain. Required of all majors, normally in their first or sophomore year; junior and senior majors are admitted only by permission of the department chair.
Other Courses at the Introductory Level ENGL 202–219 (with the exception of ENGL 217) are open to all first-years and sophomores, and to juniors by permission of the instructor. For additional courses crosslisted in English and Theater, see the listings for THEA 266 and 267. ENGL/THEA 266 and 267 are open to all first-years and sophomores, and to juniors and seniors by permission of the instructor. 202 Justice and Power in Postcolonial Literatures
An introduction to significant debates and texts in the field of postcolonial literatures. This course will explore how the field engages with questions of race, gender, sexuality, class, caste and migration. It will consider how writers located in the global south or in the West as migrants navigate their spaces when faced with inequality and marginalization. The course will examine both the legacies that empires have left and the nature of new empires that are being constructed.
203 Arthurian Tradition
An introduction to literary study focusing on the nature of literary tradition and its relationship to cultural and historical contexts. The rich, varied, and enduring tradition connected with the figure of King Arthur is explored through a consideration of English, French, and Welsh texts written between the early Middle Ages and the 15th century, although some more modern works may be considered. The course is concerned with (among other topics) how different cultures, historical epochs, and individual authors have adapted Arthurian tradition to meet their own needs and concerns and with what has made Arthurian tradition such a compelling source of material for so many different interests right up to the present.
204 Native American Writers
An introduction to literary study focusing on the question of what it means to identify a national tradition of literature. This course examines Native American authors of the late 20th century in relation to the works of some of their contemporaries, including works by Linda Hogan, Louise Erdrich, N. Scott Momaday, Leslie Marmon Silko, and Simon Ortiz.
205 The Jazz Age
An introduction to literary study that explores the relations among different arts and kinds of writing. Focusing on American culture in the 1920s, this course includes poetry by T.S. Eliot, Langston Hughes, James Weldon Johnson, and William Carlos Williams; fiction by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dorothy Parker, and Nella Larsen; plays by Dubose Heyward and Eugene O’Neill; and music from Paul Whiteman and Duke Ellington. This course explores how ways of reading inform (and inevitably transform) what we read and interpret.
206 Approaches to Literary Analysis
C. Harsh, M. Maurer
An introduction to literary study with attention to essential questions. What counts as literature? Why group writers in literary periods? What effect does a work’s genre, or mode have on a reader? How are the formal elements of writing in prose or verse related to its meaning? As “Innocence and Experience” this course examines works sharing a thematic concern with innocence and experience. These works may include William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience, Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. As “Much Ado about Nothing” the course takes its cue from Shakespeare’s play of that name (which his first audience would have heard as “much ado about noting”) and examines other works in prose and poetry (sonnets, short stories, and novels) that reward a reader’s attention to detail in particularly interesting ways.
207 New Immigrant Voices
An introduction to literary study focusing on narratives of 20th-century American immigration. What does it mean to say “America is a nation of immigrants”? As a literary form, the American immigrant narrative describes the process of migration, Americanization, and (un)settlement. In this course, students pay particular attention to how race, gender, class, and sexuality, as well as the changing character of American cities, shape the immigrant experience. Is ethnicity in opposition to Americanness? How is identity transformed by migration? How and why is home remembered? How is coming of age paralleled with migration? What narrative strategies are deployed? Finally, what are the constitutive tropes of American immigrant fiction?
208 Sex and the Global City
K. Page, N. Rajasingham
An introduction to literary study using the relationship between sexuality, literature, and the history of global cities as a jumping off point for considering the problems, practices, and possibilities of literary study. The course undertakes close reading of modern texts to discover how urban settings influence our understandings of racial and ethnic identity, gender roles, and multiple forms of sexual relationships. It also addresses the ways that the cosmopolitan city provides new forms and content for both modern identities and post-modern narratives. Works of literature are contextualized by a variety of critical and historical works from the modernist and post-modernist periods.
211 Tragedy and the Tragic Vision
An introduction to literary study that focuses on readings in western drama, chosen primarily from authors writing in the period from classical antiquity through the Renaissance, and explores theories, definitions, and the performance of tragedy. This course is crosslisted as THEA 211.
213 Imagining Apocalypse
An introduction to literary study that explores the tradition of apocalyptic imagination and its relationship to practices of reading and interpretation. Why has the idea of apocalypse been so pervasive in Western literature and civilization? How has apocalypse been variously conceived as the destruction or uncovering of meaning (and sometimes as both at once)? Is apocalypse a full stop, or a transfiguration? Is reading by nature an apocalyptic pursuit? Students consider apocalyptic texts as anticipations of millennial promise, as works of political protest, and as dire prophecies of impending ecological catastrophe. Students also think about the particular character of apocalyptic imagination in contemporary American culture. Writers to be studied include William Blake, William Wordsworth, Lord Byron, Mary Shelley, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Sigmund Freud, Samuel Beckett, Jorie Graham, and Margaret Atwood.
214 Inside/Out: The Literature of Interiority and the Interiority of Literature
An introduction to literary study focusing on interiors — psychological, architectural, and literary. Aligning 19th-century developments in domestic architecture with changing ideas of personal subjectivity, we ask, in turn, how such models structure our understanding of the literary text — as that which has been written and is to be read in private, as that which speaks to our most intimate experience, as that whose formal complexity doubles the domestic interior as a world apart from work and public politics.
217 Introductory Workshop in Creative Writing
See course description under “Course Offerings: Creative Writing,” later in the English section.
219 American Literature and the Environment
An introduction to literary study that focuses on human responses to their environments and ecologies. This course explores representations of relationships between people, places, and animals in American fiction, poetry, and non-fiction from the early American Renaissance to the postmodern period. Questions of how environments are inflected by gender and racial positions, as well as literature’s insights into issues of environmental justice and sustainability, are addressed through works by writers such as Wendell Berry, Charles Chesnutt, Annie Dillard, William Faulkner, bell hooks, Aldo Leopold, Mari-lynne Robinson, Wallace Stevens, and Jean Toomer. This course is crosslisted as ENST 219.
266 Introduction to Drama
See course description under “Course Offerings: Theater.”
267 The Modern Stage
See course description under “Course Offerings: Theater.”.
Advanced Courses 301 History of the English Language M. Davies
A study of the historical development of the English language from the first written records of the Anglo-Saxon period to the present day. The course is concerned both with the linguistic “laws” governing the development of English and with the political, economic, and cultural factors that have helped to determine the character of the language spoken today. Students engage in some close study of earlier forms of English. (Pre-1800 course.) 302 The Literature of the Early Middle Ages M. Davies
A study of early medieval literature, focusing mainly on the great tales and poems of the Germanic and Celtic traditions. Readings include such representative major works as Beowulf, the Irish Táin Bó Cúailnge, the Welsh Mabinogi, and selected Icelandic sagas. By approaching these texts both as literary works and as characteristic expressions of their respective cultures, the course works toward situating Old English literature in a broader European context. Texts are in translation, with some exposure to original languages for interested students. (Pre-1800 course.) 303 Medieval Merchants, Knights, and Pilgrims L. Staley
A study of engagements with the world in medieval English accounts of history, adventure, travel, and pilgrimage, suggesting the sense of challenge, opportunity, and threat that the world beyond Britain’s wa-tery borders seemed to offer. (Pre-1800 course.) 304 Introduction to Early Medieval Languages of Britain and Ireland M. Davies
An introduction to the languages, literatures, and history of the early medieval cultures of Britain and Ireland. Depending on the semester, the course may concentrate on Old English, Old Irish, or Middle Welsh. The heart of the course is an intensive study of the chosen language, combining thorough and systematic instruction in the basic elements of the language with translation of selected readings from texts by early medieval authors. The course examines the cultural and historical backgrounds of early medieval literature; students work on developing the philological expertise to be able to address such topics as the heroic ethos, the impact of Christianity on the pagan peoples of western Europe, and the roles of women in early medieval society. (Pre-1800 course.) 305 The Female Protagonist D. Knuth Klenck,
A study of women’s roles in British and American fiction in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. (Post-1800 course.) 306 Race, Slavery, and Society in the American Renaissance L. Johnson
A study of American literature in the context of society and culture in the United States from 1830 to the end of the Civil War in 1865, with special emphasis on the impact of the abolitionist and women’s rights movements. The diverse readings include works by Frederick Douglass, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Fanny Fern, Margaret Fuller, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Harriet Jacobs, Herman Melville, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Henry Thoreau, and Walt Whitman. 307 The American Novel L. Johnson
A study of representative works by 19th- and 20th-century American novelists. 309 Fiction G. Ames
A study of narrative fiction. Students should consult the department and registration material to learn what specific topic will be considered during a given term. 310 African American Humor M. Watkins
A study of public and private African American humor as entertainment and survival, as well as a vivid expression of the black experience in America. The course traces African American humor from its African roots, through slavery, minstrelsy or blackface entertainment, vaudeville, early silent movies, and radio, on to television and today’s more explicit expressions in concerts, comedy clubs, and motion pictures. 313 Restoration and 18th-Century Literature and Culture D. Knuth Klenck
Works of John Dryden, John Milton, Mary Astell, Daniel Defoe, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Jonathan Swift, and Alexander Pope analyzed in light of their political, religious, and literary background. Figures from the cultural context of the period — Wren, Handel, Hogarth — are also studied. (Pre-1800 course.) 315 The Romantic Poets and Essayists A. Klein
An intensive introduction to the momentous literary historical period (from the late 18th century through the early 19th century) identified retrospectively as Romanticism. The course considers how Romantic poets and essayists employ the literary medium to figure, participate in, process, and/or respond to intertwined developments in history, aesthetics, philosophy, and literature itself. Readings include works by Edmund Burke, Lord Byron, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Thomas De Quincey, William Hazlitt, John Keats, Charles Lamb, William Wordsworth, the Shelleys, Charlotte Smith, and more. 316 Banned Books G. Ames
This course is a study of books banned in the United States and/or elsewhere in the World. It will examine the controversies that have surrounded these works and consider why historical and sociopolitical episodes led to acts of censorship. The course will interrogate arguments for and against free speech. What is intellectual freedom? How and why have various pressure groups protested? Should there be limits on a citizen’s freedom to read and/or publish work that does not accord with the religious or political beliefs of another person or interest group? Students will engage complex works of literature that have been called obscene, irreligious, racist, sexually explicit, and/or graphically violent. Writers to be studies may include Richard Wright, Vladimir Nabokov, Toni Morrison, Ken Kesey, Alison Bechdel, and Sherman. 317 American Poetry P. Balakian
An exploration of the evolution of American poetry from the Romantic era — during which Ralph Waldo Emerson and Walt Whitman created new poetic forms and ideas out of an emerging American culture. The course deals with the traumatic impact of the Civil War on American culture and the ensuing transition from late Victorian culture to the dynamic period of artistic change defined by Modernism and Word War I. Poets studied include Emerson, Longfellow, Whitman, Dickinson, Melville, Stephen Crane, Pound, H.D. (Hilda Doolittle), Eliot, Hart Crane, Sterling Brown, William Carlos Williams, Wallace Stevens, and Robert Frost. 318 Post World War II American Poetry P. Balakian
An exploration of major poets of the post World War II era. The course contextualizes the poets within the major social and political climates of the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s — the Cold War, McCarthyism, the Civil Rights movement and the rise of the Black Arts Movement, and the second wave of Feminism. Poets include Roethke, Lowell, Ginsberg, Berryman, Bishop, Plath, Sexton, Rich, Brooks, Baraka, Hayden, and others. This course is offered in the spring term. 321, 322 Shakespeare S. Cerasano, D. Knuth Klenck, M. Maurer
Selected comedies, tragedies, and histories of Shakespeare, considered from a variety of critical, theatrical, historical, and textual perspectives, depending on the individual instructor’s interests. The fall (ENGL 321) and spring (ENGL 322
) term courses include different plays; therefore, students may elect both 321
, although only one of these courses may be counted toward the pre-1800 requirement for the English major. These courses are crosslisted as THEA 321
and THEA 322
. (Pre-1800 courses.) 323, 324 Periods in British Literature Staff
A detailed study of works chosen to illustrate the historical development of literature in Great Britain. ENGL 323
counts toward the pre-1800 requirement for the English major and minor. Taught in London. 325 Milton D. Knuth Klenck
A study of the works of Milton with emphasis on the early poems and the epic Paradise Lost. The course includes close reading of the texts and an examination of their relationship to the art and ideas of the period. (Pre-1800 course.) 329 Inventing Ireland: National Identity — Literary Form in the Irish Republic M. Coyle
A study of Irish writers since the late 19th century. Eager to shake off colonial influences, Irish writers have sought to define a distinctly Irish literary tradition. This project characteristically worked by turning to history older than anything English, either to the forgotten writings of Irish antiquity or to elements from Classical antiquity. What these writers made is nothing less than our modern sense of Ireland; and Ireland itself figures as perhaps their most important literary creation of all — an all-encompassing palimpsest of history kept present in the very landscape and its monuments. ENGL 329
ordinarily runs as an extended study course. 331 Modern British Literature Staff
A study of British fiction, poetry, and drama of the 20th century. This course is offered in London. 332 London Theater Staff
A study of the drama, both classic and modern, as it is represented in current London productions. This course is offered in London. 333 African/Diaspora Women’s Narrative
Narratives by African, African American, and African Caribbean women writers. The focus of this course is the concept of the African diaspora with its broad cultural, social, political, and economic implications. Students explore how these texts represent women’s experience cross-culturally. How does the condition of each nation-state, with its attendant hierarchy of race, ethnicity, class, and gender shape the (dis)continuities in these texts? Ultimately, they question whether these narratives can cohere under the rubric of African/diaspora women’s literature. 334 African American Literature L. Warren
A study of works by and about black Americans. Short fiction, the novel, drama, poetry, and the essay are examined with an eye for determining the nature of the black American’s role, as writer and as subject, in the context of American literature as a whole. 335 Searching for Home in South Asian Literatures: Gender, Nation, Narration
An exploration of what South Asia is and how it has been described/defined using key literary texts and theoretical arguments from writers who reside both inside and outside the region. Students critically examine the different representations of South Asia from the colonial period to the present. The course begins by examining classical texts that were revived during British colonialism, moves to exploring colonial representations of countries in the region, and concludes by discussing contemporary postcolonial texts. The gendered nature of colonial, postcolonial, and global processes is an important part of this course. 336 Native American Literature S. Wider
A study of literature by First Nations peoples. Works of fiction, nonfiction, drama, and poetry are studied with emphasis on the combination of, and oftentimes conflict between, different expressive traditions. Can an oral tradition become part of a written literature? What is the function of “story” within different cultural traditions? Writers include N. Scott Momaday, Leslie Marmon Silko, Simon Ortiz, Louise Erdrich, Linda Hogan, Luci Tapahonso, Irvin Morris, Esther Belin, and Craig Womack. 337 African Literature Staff
A survey of African literature written in English in the decolonizing, post-colonial, and neo-colonial eras. This course examines novels and critical writing by African writers, with a particular focus on the ways literary aesthetics change to reflect dynamic national, cultural, and subjective identities. 339 Modernist Poetry M. Coyle
A study of selected British and American poets active between 1900 and 1950. Amidst all the discourse about the “postmodern,” it becomes increasingly clear that there is no consensus on what it is “post.” More recent versions of the “postmodern” argue that it is not a period but a mode — one coeval with Modernism itself. Modernity and postmodernity can thus be understood only in relation to one another. This course pursues that relation by focusing on poets like W.H. Auden, Sterling Brown, T.S. Eliot, Robert Frost, Langston Hughes, Mina Loy, Marianne Moore, Ezra Pound, Muriel Rukeyser, Wallace Stevens, Melvin Tolson, or William Carlos Williams. 340 Critical Theory: Language, Semiotics, and Form M. Coyle
A survey of important developments in the formation of literary criticism as a modern discipline. Topics may include Freudian, feminist, deconstructive, Marxist, semiotic, and historical approaches. 341 Critical Theory: History, Sexuality, and Queer Time Staff
A survey of key texts in the history and theory of sexuality. This class examines the methodological and epistemological issues involved in writing the history of same-sex desire, and explores the kinds of affect and identification that structure our relation to the past. Topics include 19th- and 20th-century philosophies of history, psychoanalysis, gender and performance, the affective turn in critical theory, and the definition of “queer.” Course readings include works of literature and film. 345 Victorian Fiction C. Harsh
An examination of the forms that British fiction took during the era commonly known as the Victorian age (roughly 1837–1901). Texts include works by such writers as Charles Dickens, William Thackeray, Charlotte Brontë, Wilkie Collins, Anthony Trollope, Elizabeth Gaskell, George Eliot, Thomas Hardy, Rudyard Kipling, Robert Louis Stevenson, George Egerton, and George Gissing. Attention is paid to the many forms that Victorian fiction took, and to the variety of topics that it addressed. There are opportunities to consider such subjects as Victorian publishing practices, fiction as a vehicle for social criticism, the relationship of fiction to other cultural forms, and the growing frankness of mainstream fiction. 346 Victorian Poets and Essayists A. Klein
A close study of works by British poets and essayists of the Victorian era (1837–1901), with emphasis on their place in nineteenth-century thought and art and on their varied responses to the period’s sweeping political, economic, scientific, and technological transformations. Authors studied include Tennyson, the Brownings, Arnold, Mill, Carlyle, Ruskin, the pre-Raphaelites, Lewis Carroll, Pater, Swinburne, Hopkins, Housman, and Wilde. 349 Global Theater
This course is crosslisted as THEA 349
. See course description under “Course Offerings: Theater.” 351 American Theater: The Melting Pot
This course is crosslisted as THEA 351
. See course description under “Course Offerings: Theater.” 360 Living Writers J. Brice
An examination of how serious writing is achieved. The focus of Living Writers is on contemporary fiction writers, who are present in this class at Colgate each fall. Students read work by each writer on the syllabus. The class is taught by one or more faculty with guest lecturers from across the university. Each week the writer whose work has been under discussion visits the class. The presentation is followed by a public reading. 361 The Canterbury Tales L. Staley
The social, political, and cultural background to Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. This course is open to juniors and seniors. Sophomores admitted by permission of instructor only. (Pre-1800 course.) 363 Contemporary Fiction G. Ames, K. Page, N. Rajasingham
A study of very recent short and long fiction by writers both renowned and slightly secret. Students should consult the department and registration material to learn what specific topic will be considered during a given term. 364 American Writers: Studies in Nonfiction J. Brice
A course in 20th- and 21st-century writers and the forces — historical, social and cultural — that shaped their work. This course focuses on traditional forms of nonfiction, such as literary journalism, the memoir, and the personal essay, as well as innovative forms that blur the boundaries between fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Among the writers are Henry Adams, Mary McCarthy, James Agee, Truman Capote, Norman Mailer, Hunter S. Thompson, Tom Wolfe, Joan Didion, David Foster Wallace, Susan Orlean, and Dave Eggers. 368 After Genocide: Memory and Representation P. Balakian
An investigation of the impact of genocide on the self and the imagination’s representations in literature, film, and art; primary texts include poetry, memoir, video testimony, film, and visual art. Scholarly methodology involves readings of literary criticism and theoretical work in the study of trauma, literary theory, and testimony. Among the questions the course asks are: How does trauma shape imagination and open up access to the site of disaster that is now carried in fragments which inform memory? How do representations of violence shape and inflect aesthetic orientations and literary and artistic forms? The course concerns itself with the aftermath of two 20th-century genocides — that of the Armenians in Turkey during World War I and of the Jews in Europe during World War II — both seminal events of the 20th century that, in various ways, become models for ensuing genocides. Students are permitted to write about other post-genocidal texts with the instructor’s permission. This course is crosslisted as PCON 368
. 374, 377, 378 Workshops in Creative Nonfiction, Fiction, and Poetry Writing
See course description under “Course Offerings: Creative Writing,” later in the English section. 379 Literary Journalism J. Brice
A course in canonical and cutting-edge works from the 1930s to the present. When journalists borrow the tools of fiction writers to craft compelling true stories, we call them literary. Students read and analyze texts by such writers as Joseph Mitchell, Calvin Trillin, John Hersey, Truman Capote, Norman Mailer, Hunter S. Thompson, Tom Wolfe, Joan Didion, Michael Herr, Tracy Kidder, Jane Kramer, Susan Orlean, and Alec Wilkinson. For the final project, students research and write a work of literary journalism. 385 Drama, Fiction, and Poetry of Tudor England M. Maurer
Courtly and popular writing in England, 1485–1603. Writers studied include the canonized greats (Sidney, Spenser, Marlowe, and Shakespeare) and their equally flamboyant contemporaries. (Pre-1800 course.) 386 Literature in the 17th Century M. Maurer
A study of the impact of Renaissance science and political and economic turmoil on English literature through the revolution of mid-century. The course includes works in prose, poetry, and drama of the “metaphysical” and “cavalier” schools: Donne, Jonson, Webster, Herbert, Herrick, Browne, Marvell, and their contemporaries. (Pre-1800 course.) 388 British Fiction I, ca. 1700–1870 C. Harsh, D. Knuth Klenck
A study of representative works, from the early novel through the Victorian period. Readings include novels by such writers as Defoe, Richardson, Fielding, Sterne, Austen, Brontë, Eliot, and Dickens. 389 British Fiction II, ca. 1870–1930 M. Coyle
A study of representative works. Texts may include Hardy, Tess of the D’Urbervilles; Conrad, Lord Jim; Lawrence, Sons and Lovers; and Woolf, To the Lighthouse.
Seminars 402 Medieval Celtic Literature
An intensive study of selected texts from the medieval Welsh or Irish literary traditions. Readings span the period from the 8th to the 14th centuries and include such works as the tales of the Ulster Cycle, the Buile Shuibhne (Sweeney Astray), Mabinogi, and the poetry of Dafydd ap Gwilym. The course considers these works as cultural and historical artifacts, and also explores their accessibility to more modern critical and theoretical approaches. (Pre-1800 course.)
405 The Brontës
A consideration of the major works of the Brontës: Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre and Villette, Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, and Anne Brontë’s Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. This seminar also examines Brontë biography, taking Elizabeth Gaskell’s The Life of Charlotte Brontë as its point of departure. Students gain an understanding of the Brontës’ literary and social contexts; they also gain an appreciation of the powerful myth that has grown up around these three sisters.
408 Literature of Medieval Women
A study of key medieval texts from the 12th to the 15th centuries in which the authors attempt to articulate individual identity in relation to the medieval social codes and expectations that shaped their experience. Students consider such issues as love, gender, religious vocation, and court and town life. (Pre-1800 course.)
412 Jane Austen and the Rise of the Woman Novelist
D. Knuth Klenck
A reconsideration of the history of the novel in the 18th century, using contemporary critical approaches to early women novelists. Jane Austen has held an unchallenged place in a great tradition of 19th-century authors, but has only recently been read in the context of her female predecessors. Reading Maria Edgeworth, Fanny Burney, and Charlotte Lennox gives students a new way to read Austen; reading among the many current critical theories about women as producers and consumers of fiction in the 18th century helps raise more general questions about the literary canon and how it has been formed.
420 Emerson and Thoreau
L. Johnson, S. Wider
A study of the two major figures of American transcendentalism in their social, political, and religious context. The course focuses on the major writings of Emerson and Thoreau, with some attention to related works by their contemporaries.
421 The Epic Poem in America
An exploration of the long poem cycle in American literature. The course argues that the poem of collage-like sequences and open-ended structures is a distinctively American form that embodies a vision of American poets, history, and culture. Poets to be studied include Walt Whitman, Hart Crane, H.D. (Hilda Doolittle), Gary Snyder, William Carlos Williams, and others.
422 Confession and Rebellion: American Literature in the 1950s
An investigation of the innovative forces of post-World War II American literature. The course will review the tumultuous decade of the 1950s during which time the United States was catapulted into a Cold War with the Soviet Union and a congruent episode of anticommunist hysteria known as McCarthyism. This initiated the new nuclear age created with the dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima. It was also a decade defined by the struggle with Jim Crow racism and the emergence of a new Civil Rights movement, the birth of the second wave of feminism, and the emergence of a rich range of cultural criticism focused on issues including the social construction of the American family, corporate and suburban conformism, sexual repression, and the destructive capacities of the new military industrial complex. Out of this charged political and cultural situation, writers created some of the most innovative literary works in modem American history.
425 Dickens and His Time
D. Knuth Klenck
A study of Dickens’s writings in their intellectual and social context and as major works of art.
433 Caribbean Literature
A study of the literature and culture of the Caribbean through prose and poetry written in English. Topics vary from term to term. They include routes and roots, Caribbean women writers, and Caribbean identities.
436 Johnson and His Circle
D. Knuth Klenck
A study of British literature of the later 18th century. During the latter part of the 18th century, there was an expansion of the definition of “literature.” The new genre of fiction became both more popular and more respected; new importance was attached to literary criticism and the essay; and literary biography emerged as a significant genre. Texts include the writings of the poet, literary critic, lexicographer, and biographer Samuel Johnson; those of his biographer James Boswell, who was also one of the most important autobiographers in history; the first epistolary novel, Evelina, by Johnson’s protegée Frances Burney; and Tristram Shandy, the first “anti-novel,” by their contemporary Laurence Sterne. (Pre-1800 course.)
437 Literature and Culture
A study of seminal writings from the 100-year period between Carlyle’s Sartor Resartus (1834) and Ezra Pound’s Guide to Kulchur (1938). The course considers how the notion of culture has informed understanding of the nature and purpose of art and literature. One course in 19th-century British literature is recommended.
441 James Joyce
A study of several of the author’s major works, including Ulysses.
443 Modernist Poetry
P. Balakian, M. Coyle
An advanced seminar in the work of one or several authors, examining the relations between modernist literary experiment and its cultural contexts.
445 Life Writing: The Renaissance
An exploration of the relationship between life writing, as practiced by modern biographers of Renaissance subjects, together with the autobiography and “self-fashioning” practiced by early modern subjects. Emphasis is given to understanding of the literature and the cultural history of the early modern period as a narrative told by both early subjects and their later commentators. The scope of subjects extends across a variety of countries representing “characters” that include the Merchant, the Prince, the Artisan, and the Common Person. Open to junior and senior English majors; juniors and seniors from other disciplines with permission of instructor. (Pre-1800 course.)
447 Studies in the 19th Century
An advanced seminar in a topic, author, genre, or theme in English literature, 1798–1901.
458 Shakespeare’s Contemporaries
English drama from the mid-16th century to the closing of the theaters in 1642, including plays by Kyd, Marlowe, Jonson, Middleton, Webster, and others of Shakespeare’s contemporaries. This course is crosslisted as THEA 458. (Pre-1800 course.)
460 Studies in the Middle Ages
M. Davies, L. Staley
An advanced seminar in a topic — author, genre, or theme — in medieval English literature. (Pre-1800 course.)
461 Studies in the Renaissance
S. Cerasano, M. Maurer
An advanced seminar in a topic — author, genre, or theme — in English literature, 1580–1660. (Pre-1800 course.)
489 Preparation for Honors in English Literature
A 0.25-credit seminar, taken in the fall of the senior year, required of all English concentrators pursuing a scholarly honors project. This course has a twofold purpose. First, on a theoretical level, it problematizes familiar attitudes about and approaches to literary texts and contexts, while introducing students to the methodologies of 21st-century scholarship. Second, it inaugurates honors research, requiring the completion of essential preliminary tasks for the thesis that will be written in the spring.
490 Special Studies for Honors Candidates
Writing the honors essay. This course must be taken in addition to the nine courses required for the major in English literature and eleven courses required for the major in English with an emphasis in creative writing. See “Honors and High Honors: English” above.
291, 391, 491 Independent Study
Individually supervised studies for students of high ability. Prerequisite: approval of department chair.
492 English Department Fellowship
Individually supervised studies for students selected by the department. Prerequisite: approval of department chair.
Course Offerings: Creative Writing 217 Introductory Workshop in Creative Writing G. Ames, P. Balakian, J. Brice, C. Hauser
An introduction to the reading and writing of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. In a given term, the emphasis is determined by the instructor. This course is open to sophomores and first-year students only. 356 Playwriting
See course description under “Course Offerings: Theater; Advanced Theater Courses,” below. This course is crosslisted as THEA 356
. 374 Creative Nonfiction Workshop J. Brice
A workshop in the reading and writing of creative nonfiction, especially the memoir and the personal essay. Prerequisite: instructor’s approval on the basis of writing samples. 377 Fiction Writing Workshop G. Ames, C. Hauser
A workshop in the writing of prose fiction. The course includes study of other writers’ work, with group analysis of students’ work and individual conferences. Prerequisite: permission of instructor on the basis of writing samples. 378 Poetry Writing Workshop P. Balakian
An advanced workshop in the writing of poetry; includes group analysis and criticism. Prerequisite: instructor’s approval on the basis of writing samples. 379 Literary Journalism
See course description under “Course Offerings: Literature; Advanced Courses,” earlier in the English section. 477 Advanced Workshop G. Ames, P. Balakian, J. Brice, C, Hauser
An advanced workshop in the writing of fiction, poetry, and/or creative nonfiction. Depending on the semester and the instructor, the course may be structured around a topic, a genre, or both. It always includes the study of literary texts, discussion of student work, and one-on-one conferences. Prerequisite: permission of instructor on the basis of writing samples. Preference is given to students who have already taken at least one 300-level creative writing workshop and who are majoring in English with an emphasis in creative writing. As a workshop in creative writing, this course does not fulfill the major requirement for a 400-level seminar in literature.