Course Topics

ENG 230: The Writer's Voice

When writers write, they sing, whisper, and shout. This course, an introduction to the English major, emphasizes literature and writing as forms of personal and cultural expression. Our central literary focus is on poetry, but may include fiction, drama, or nonfiction. The course also gives extended attention to student writing as a performative act, conscious of voice, audience, and purpose.

ENG 260: Shakespeare

For four centuries Shakespeare has been celebrated as the greatest writer in English. This course will help students more fully understand the power of his plays, both as literature for reading and scripts for performance. Reading plays of each major type (comedies, tragedies, and histories; typically seven to eight plays), we will explore such topics as language, moral vision, gender, politics, and historical context. Students will have the opportunity to explore their interpretations in writing and by staging a scene.

ENG 361: Chaucer and Medieval Literature

From heroes fighting monsters to Arthurian romances, medieval literature is best known for its stories of chivalry. Less well-known but equally wonderful are the comic tales of sex in trees and greedy friars dividing a fart. We will read Beowulf, narrative poems about love and adventure by Marie de France, the tale of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and much more, with in-depth attention to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.

ENG 362: Renaissance Literature

English literature came into its own during the Renaissance, as Sidney, Spenser, and Raleigh courted Queen Elizabeth's favor through love poetry, and sonnets were all the vogue. The period also produced the counter-cultural poetry of Donne and Marvell, and profound religious lyrics of Herbert, and the golden age of English drama with the plays of Marlowe, Shakespeare, and Jonson. The course will explore this rich body of literature through both literary and cultural analysis, with options for a range of student writing.

ENG 363: Milton

How could angels in Heaven and humans in Paradise rebel against the God who created the world and made it good? Is it better to rule in Hell than serve in Heaven? What would it be like to live in Edenic bliss, anyway? John Milton sought to answer those questions in Paradise Lost. Second only to Shakespeare in its influence on later writers, Milton's work probes religion, politics, and gender in a remarkable melding of classical and Christian traditions. We will read this epic, as well as other poems and prose in which Milton engaged the tumultuous events of the English civil wars and its aftermath.