Martin Klammer (department head)
The English major at Luther College explores the world through works that open the mind and heart, engages in complex analysis and critical thinking, and seeks beauty and eloquence in writing and speech. English majors study the range of human experience in works of English literature from its medieval beginnings to the present, in literary traditions from around the world, and in a range of genres from poetry and drama to novels, film, and creative non-fiction.
Students choose one of three tracks in the major: literature, writing, or teacher education. Enrollments in English courses are kept small to allow professors and students to get to know each other in conversation and to allow professors to pay close attention to the development of students' writing.
The English major at Luther College develops the student in the highly valuable and transferable skills of close reading, critical thinking, and clear writing. Typical careers for English majors at Luther are in writing, editing, marketing, public relations, journalism, teaching, law, librarianship, arts administration, non-profit work, and ministry.
Prerequisites: First-year students may enroll in courses numbered ENG 110, ENG 114, or ENG 130 in their first semester and courses numbered ENG 139, 147, 185, 230, 239, 240, 245, 247, 251 after they have completed PAID 111D (beginning in January); students must have completed PAID 111D and 112D (or transfer equivalents), to enroll in courses numbered ENG 210, 211, 212, 213, 231, 260, 261, ENG 312-ENG 356, and junior status to enroll in courses numbered 361 and above. Students are encouraged to complete ENG 230 before enrolling in courses numbered ENG 352 and above. The full range of English courses is open to students of all majors.
Required for a major:
Plan I. ENG 230, 260 or 261, 485; one course from ENG 251, 352, 353, 354; one course from ENG 361, 362, 363, 364; one course from ENG 365, 366, 367, 368; and three additional courses (one of which may be a foreign language literature course when the literature is read in its original language, LING 131, or ENG 380 when completed for four credits). Writing requirement completed with ENG 230. Also see correlative requirement for the major.
Plan II (writing emphasis). Same major requirements as in Plan 1, but includes at least three of the following courses: ENG 210, 211, 212, 213, 312, or 314. Writing internships (ENG 380) are available and are encouraged, but they do not count as one of the three writing courses required for the Plan II major. Students who have completed the appropriate course work may write an extensive work of poetry, fiction, or nonfiction as their senior project. Writing requirement completed with ENG 230. Also see correlative requirement for the major.
Plan III (teaching). Same major requirements as in Plan I, except that the electives must be ENG 314, 334, and LING 131. Writing requirement completed with ENG 230. Also see correlative requirement for the major, and education department for secondary education minor requirements.
Correlative requirement for all three of the major plans: Successful completion of at least one foreign language course at the intermediate level or above (i.e. 201 intermediate level or above); or foreign language proficiency as described in the all-college foreign language requirement (option D).
Required for a minor: ENG 230; ENG 260 or 261; one of ENG 210, 211, 212, 213, 312, 314, 361, 362, 363, 364, 365, 366, 367, or ENG 368; one of ENG 251, 352, 353, or ENG 354; one 3–4 hour elective.
Required for a writing minor: Three courses from ENG 210, 211, 212, 213, 312, or ENG 314; one English department course in literature; one 4 hour elective in the department. A student with an English major may not also earn a writing minor.
Required for a journalism minor: See requirements listed under Journalism in the Curriculum section of the catalog.
Required for a second teaching area: See Education department for specific requirements. The second teaching area license is offered only in the state of Iowa.
Preparation for graduate school: Students considering graduate school in English may wish to take an additional seminar and/or additional period courses in American or English literature, or ENG 314. They should also consider a 4-credit senior project with an emphasis on criticism or theory.
An introductory English course designed to help students become more fluent, confident, and effective writers and readers. Focus on strengthening skills in writing college-level essays, including identification of surface errors. Frequent writing, reading, and individual conferences. Hours do not count toward an English major or minor. Students may not earn credit for both ENG 110 and ENG 114.
This course helps students become fluent, confident, and effective writers and readers in U.S. academic culture. It strengthens skills in writing college-level essays (including thesis-driven, analytic essays), in responsible use of outside sources, and in making surface corrections and refinements. Some instruction takes place in individual conferences. Students will usually take this course concurrently with PAID 111. Student may not earn credit for both ENG 110 and ENG 114.
An introductory literature course, with specific focus and readings announced each semester. This course is both an introduction to the pleasures of reading and interpretation and also an opportunity for student writing in a range of analytic and creative forms. Open to all students in all majors. Students may enroll in more than one version of the course. Sample topics: Carribean Women Writers, Literature of the Apocalypse, Multiple Hamlets, Poems for Life.
Modern African writers are some of the most dynamic and innovative writers as they draw from and respond to different literary traditions, such as their own oral and written traditions, as well as European models. This course serves as an introduction to the various themes and styles of written literature of the 20th century. Central to discussion will be an analysis of gender within various African cultural contexts. Understanding constructions of masculinity and femininity, dominant female and male roles in society, and the ways in which the works challenge traditional norms of gender will be priorities within applied theoretical approaches. (Same as AFRS 147 and WGST 147)
A writing course for students in all disciplines. The course includes practice and instruction in writing for a variety of audiences, emphasizing revising and responding to others' writing. Students discuss well-crafted prose essays that include effective argument and clear language and organization. This course cannot be taken concurrently with PAID 111 or 112.
A comprehensive course in news writing, reporting, and writing for media. Focus on the issues and skills central to journalism and professional writing for various media. Readings and examples from newspapers, on-line and print magazines, and electronic journalism.
An introductory course in the writing of poems and stories that explore lived and imagined experience. Writing will include experiments in each genre and in-class exercises in craft inspired by a variety of readings in contemporary poetry and fiction. Student work will be discussed in a workshop format.
A reading and writing course in the art of the personal essay. Reading will survey the genre, examining essays from a variety of periods and kinds. Writing will include some larger pieces and attention to matters of craft such as voice, tone, and patterns of development, which will help students cultivate a personal style.
Literature invites us into experiences and worlds both familiar and strange. This course introduces students to the appreciation and analysis of literature through close reading, discussing, and writing about literary texts from renowned classics to hidden gems. An introduction to the English major, the course is open to any student who wishes to cultivate perceptive reading and writing while expanding his or her imaginative world.
Study of the varieties of film experience from documentaries to feature-length films, American and foreign. Practice in film analysis and criticism of current films based upon viewing, discussing, and writing about films. Emphasis upon acquiring knowledge and appreciation of the techniques by which filmmakers achieve their effects, rather than upon systematic study of film history.
A study of writing by selected Africana women writers from Africa, the Caribbean, the United States and elsewhere in the African diaspora. Topics may vary by geographic region or theme. (Same as AFRS 240, WGST 240)
A study of how women writers from different historical periods use poems, stories, essays, and plays to address gender issues in the private and public world. The course looks at how literature both presents and critiques culture and its construction of gender, as well as how it offers new visions and choices for women and men. Readings include such writers as Mary Wollstonecraft, Charlotte Bronte, Emily Dickinson, Toni Morrison, Gloria Anzaldua, and Octavia Butler. (Same as WGST 245)
What kinds of stories help us confront, ignore, deny, or re-imagine the ecological challenges we face? How do we use narratives and poetry to perceive and imagine ecosystems? And why do we think things like mountains, wind turbines, fjords, limestone, bonobos, the influenza virus, or snow-globes are beautiful or ugly, natural or unnatural? This course explores how literature and other cultural texts shape the ways we think about and act in the biophysical world and the systems that comprise it. Readings will vary but may come from traditions of nature writing; explorations of place, space, and time; connections between religion and ecology; relationships linking literature and science; and intersections of ecology and social issues like ability, class, gender, and race.
A survey of African-American literature with special attention to the intersection of race, class, and gender as writers engage with the struggle to achieve the democratic promises of freedom, justice and equality. Primary emphasis will be on literature written since 1920 when the Harlem Renaissance began. Includes authors such as Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, Zora Neale Hurston, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, Alice Walker, and Toni Morrison. (Same as AFRS 251, WGST 251)
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 in 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.
The study of approximately five representative Shakespeare plays, with special emphasis on the close analysis and public performance of one play. All students will do analytical writing and will be involved in some aspect of the performance. ENG 260 and 261 have common goals and both fufill the departmental "Shakespeare" requirement, but because of the two courses' differing emphases, students may earn credit for both courses. Although students with previous experience in Shakespeare or acting are welcomed, the course is open to all students sophomore and above.
J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, two of the most popular English writers of the 20th century, lived strangely parallel lives, and worked together to create mythologies of places where the sacred is threatened by the spread of evil. Our travels will follow the lives of these two writers from childhoods in Northern Ireland and Warwickshire, to England's national center of London, to the battlefields of France, and to the universities they loved (Oxford and Cambridge) to see how the ideas of countryside, mechanization, disenchantment and religion, heroism, and humanity that figure in their work have their roots in the life experiences of each author.
An advanced-level course in the writing of poems and stories for students dedicated to making imaginative, emotional, and technical discoveries in the practice of their craft. Readings in contemporary poetry and fiction, as well as in-class exercises and student workshops.
A study of the origin and development of rhetoric. Readings in rhetorical theory and case studies of oral and written rhetorical discourse with an emphasis on written composition. Extensive analytical and persuasive writing.
A study of significant works written since 1945, predominantly by British and/or American writers, in both poetry and prose. Readings trace the recent evolution and refinement of literary techniques and themes, with emphasis on the variety of aesthetic responses to contemporary culture and thought.
Study of literature for young adults (ages 12-18), with emphasis on reading of representative fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. Course also includes history of the genre, interpretive approaches to texts, resources, and materials for teaching. Designed for teaching majors; useful for others working with young people.
American writers since the very beginnings have inscribed the natural landscape and crossed frontiers of the human heart and soul. We will explore these frontiers and the authors who transcend boundaries into uncharted space in stories of Spanish conquistadors and Native Americans; the narratives of English colonists, African-American slaves, and explorers Lewis and Clark; nature essays of Emerson and Thoreau, illustrated by the Hudson Valley School; poetry by Bradstreet, Wheatley, Whitman, and Dickinson; fiction by Hawthorne, Melville, and Beecher Stowe. Offered alternate years.
An invitation to explore currents and crosscurrents, traditions and individual talents, movements and masterpieces from the Civil War era to the present. Works will be chosen from a variety of genres, and course units may emphasize particular regions, periods, or themes, such as Southern voices (Faulkner, Hurston, Welty), the era of World War I (Hemingway, Cummings, Dos Passos), and feminist fiction and poetry (Kingston, Walker, Sexton). Offered alternate years.
A study of major American novelists from the mid-19th century to the present, such as Melville, Stowe, Twain, Cather, Faulkner, and Morrison. Some attention is given to theoretical approaches to American 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.(Same as WGST 361)
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 Engish 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. Offered alternate years.
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.
This course explores the range and variety of British literature written after the restoration of the British monarchy in 1660, and before the revolution in France in 1789. Literary artists in this era produced innovative writing in several new genres, including journalism, travel writing, biography, satire, and the novel. The literature of the 18th century was also a crucible for modern understandings of gender, race, and class identities. In this course, we explore these literary developments within their historical contexts, aiming for a broad coverage of canonical and not-so-canonical texts. Representative authors may include Dryden, Congreve, Behn, Swift, Pope, Johnson, Fielding, Burney, and Haywood. Offered alternate years.
The era of the American and French revolutions profoundly affected England, inspiring cultural debates about slavery and women's roles, as well as new ways of looking at the natural world, human perception, imaginative creation, and the Gothic past. We will study the cultural milieu and read such writers as Blake, Equiano, Burke, Wollstonecraft, Austen, William and Dorothy Wordsworth, Coleridge, Percy and Mary Shelley, Byron, and Keats. Offered alternate years.
The Victorians experienced cataclysmic changes in science, economics and industry, national identity, gender roles, and faith. Novelists wrestled with these changes, chronicling the broad social world and the schisms that divided it. Poets of the period registered extremes of doubt, or returned to an idealized past, or looked forward to developments like the liberation of women. Representative authors may include the Brontes, Dickens, George Eliot, Hardy, Tennyson, and Barrett Browning. Offered alternate years.
Many Europeans braced themselves for the start of the 20th century, firm in their belief that it might augur the end of the world. For thousands of soldiers slaughtered during the "war to end all wars," it was. Between World War I and II, British writers and Irish nationalists transformed the literary landscape with a radically new approach to language, form, and style. Women writers explored new freedoms in sexuality and in their literary subjects. In the second half of the century, novelists and poets confronted the legacy of economic reform, urbanism, and the remnants of British colonialism around the globe. Readings might include writers such as Yeats, T.S. Eliot, Woolf, Forster, Katherine Mansfield, Jean Rhys, Ted Hughes, and Graham Greene. Offered alternate years.
In Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen's heroine remarks, "The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." In this course, we defy stupidity by enjoying a variety of good British novels, beginning with the eighteenth-century, and arriving, after many pages and multiple plot twists, in the modern era. We consider the history of the genre, the social and political context of the texts, and the development of the British literary tradition. Representative authors may include Burney, Fielding, Austen, Dickens, George Eliot, Thackeray, Conrad, and Woolf.
An intensive, collaborative study of a selected period, movement, or writers, emphasizing the methods and assumptions of literary analysis and selected critical theories. The course format is student-initiated discussion and presentation, with significant independent projects and an oral presentation. Intended primarily for seniors. Students - especially those preparing for graduate school - are encouraged to complete more than one seminar.
Together with the required Senior Seminar, the Senior Project is the English major's culminating experience. Projects build upon students' previous experience with scholarly research, creative writing, or the secondary education program. Students wishing to do a creative writing project are expected to complete the requirements for the English Writing Emphasis major. Ideally, these students would have completed the Writing Emphasis requirements and would have had coursework and sustained writing experience in the genre of their project. At a minimum, all students wishing to do a creative writing project must be completing their third writing course during the term in which a senior project will be submitted; students intending a creative nonfiction project must have completed ENG 210, 211, or 213; students intending a poetry or fiction project must have completed ENG 212, and must have completed or be completing ENG 312 during the term in which the senior project will be submitted. Permission to register for a Senior Project will be given after submission of the application form available on the English department website. The application form also outlines the required oral presentation component. Registration ought to be completed during the semester preceding the semester in which the project is begun. The English department does not require students with more than one major to complete an English Senior Project.