The academic catalog is currently being updated for the 2020-21 year. View the Catalog Archive to access the 2019-20 catalog as well as catalogs from previous years.
Lise Kildegaard (department head)
The English major at Luther College opens the mind and heart through literature, engages students and faculty in complex analysis and critical thinking, and seeks beauty and eloquence in writing and speech. English majors study the range of human experience in 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 students 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, 251 after they have completed PAID 111; students must have completed PAID 111 and 112 (or transfer equivalents), to enroll in courses numbered ENG 211, 212, 213, 214, 231, 232, 260, 261, ENG 312-ENG 350; and students must have junior status to enroll in courses numbered 361 and above. Students are encouraged to complete ENG 230 before enrolling in courses numbered ENG 350 and above. The full range of English courses is open to students of all majors.
Required for a major:
Plan I. ENG 230, 260 (Shakespeare), 485 (seminar); one American literature course from ENG 251 or 350; one early British literature course from ENG 361, 362, 364; one later British literature course from ENG 365, 366, 367; 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). The writing requirement is 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 211, 212, 213, 214, 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. The writing requirement is 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. The writing requirement is completed with ENG 230. Also see correlative requirement for the major, and Education Department for secondary education minor requirements. Students planning to apply for licensure in Minnesota should also take ENG 211 and COMS 132.
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 211, 212, 213, 214, 312, 314, 361, 362, 364, 365, 366, or ENG 367; one of ENG 251 or ENG 350; one 4-hour elective.
Required for a writing minor: Three courses from ENG 211, 212, 213, 214, 312, or ENG 314; one English department course in literature; one 4 hour elective from any of the other courses 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.
View program learning goals for an explanation of learning outcomes in English.
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. If placed in the course, students may only withdraw with permission of the Writing Director.
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 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.
This course introduces the concepts and strategies essential for the writing of instructions, proposals, fact sheets, and other types of professional correspondence. Students will communicate complex subject matter to specific audiences, lay and technical, in print and digital formats. The course will show how a professional writer's work is always rhetorically situated. Professional documents are not simply static templates waiting to be filled with information. They move through networks of real people and organizations, each with different needs, priorities, and cultural values, and are transformed along the way. By examining case studies of professional and technical writing in real-world situations and applying what they learn to their own work, students will become more attentive to the audiences of their writing.
Literature invites us into experiences and worlds familiar and strange. This course introduces students to careful reading, to discussion, and to writing about literature: both classics and little-known treasures. The course is open to any student wishing to cultivate perceptive reading and writing.
This course explores the world of film experience and cultivates visual media savvy. We will examine a wide range of films, from early moving-image media and Hollywood classics to Indie flicks, bleeding-edge documentaries, and global cinema from "Metropolis" and "Citizen Kane" to "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and "13th". Students will practice analyzing films in terms of history, techniques, and critical approaches in order to develop a broad knowledge of film as an intersection of art, technology, and industry that holds great power to move us.
This course explores specific areas of film experience and cultivates visual media savvy. We will examine films affiliated by a common theme, genre, director, era, or movement. Possibilities include science fiction, Shakespeare on screen, social documentaries, or Alfred Hitchcock. Students will practice analyzing films in terms of history, techniques, and critical approaches in order to develop a deep knowledge of a particular set of films as an intersection of art, technology, and industry that holds great power to move us. Students may enroll in more than one version of the course.
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)
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.
Mary Shelley composed her famous novel Frankenstein (1816) amid a whirlwind of personal turmoil, important friendships, and significant travel. This course will retrace the path of her journeys from childhood to Frankenstein, visiting sites associated with her and her circle - including John Keats, Percy Shelley, and Lord Byron - in London, Geneva, Venice, Florence, and Rome, as we investigate the relationships between an author's historical and imaginative realities.
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.
In this course, students will collaborate with nonprofit organizations in the Rochester area to design documents appropriate to the organizations' needs. These documents may include informational and promotional brochures, fact sheets, instructions, proposals, letters, and/or social media materials. As students engage in this collaboration, they will learn how to communicate essential, timely information to real-world audiences, and they will develop their understanding of the ethical and intercultural dimensions of community service. By working as partners with organizations that serve the Rochester community, they will come to know the community, its priorities, and its needs, as well as the ways in which these are rapidly evolving. In classroom discussions and through guided readings, students will share the challenges they face and the success they achieve while writing in community. This course fulfills the Human Expression requirement only when taken for 4 credits.
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 literature, as Walt Whitman writes, "contains multitudes" and all those multitudes are talking to each other and to us. This course dives into both classic and historically marginalized texts, with attention to the traditions that inspired, influenced, or haunted them. By exploring a range of texts, from novels and poetry to slave narratives, science fiction, and the blues, we will discern how American literature records and also shapes national conversations and culture. The course will focus on themes, genres, geographical regions, and literary movements that reflect the energy of American diversity. Students may enroll in more than one version of the course.
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)
Often called the golden age of English literature, the Renaissance offers poetry of wit, beauty, and philosophical depth and ground-breaking experiments in prose. We will look in particular at the ways writers used nature as a blank page to write their fantasies of a better world. Their works set the terms for how literature helps us think about our place in nature to this day. Can we live in harmony with natural cycles? Or do we only read the landscape through human systems of domination, gendered and politicized? Then as now, staggering challenges shook traditional conception of the world: "new" continents and planets; new capitalist values; new Potestant doctrines, not to mention deforestation, intensive mining, plague, and mass migration from farms to the city. Starting with Sir Thomas More's "Utopia" and ending with Milton's "Paradise Lost", this course will trace the establishment of modern stories imagining our relationship to nature. In the course you will join in critical and historical conversations, and cultivate in your writing a lively and scholarly voice.
This course explores British literature from England's most famous epic, Paradise Lost (1667) through the next century. Writers in this period were wildly creative, inventing new genres: journalism, travel writing, biography, and the novel. 18th-century literature was a crucible for modern understandings of gender, race, and class. Along with Milton, authors may include Dryden, Behn, Swift, Pope, Fielding, Burney, and Haywood. In the course you will join in critical and historical conversations, and cultivate in your writing a lively and scholarly voice.
Advancing technology. Near-constant war. Deep concern with how human beings--in all their varieties of gender, race, and class--might live together with one another and the natural world. Sound familiar? Welcome to the Romantic and early Victorian period, when everything was changing and some of the best-known writers in English were, in the words of Percy Shelley, "the unacknowledged legislators of the world." Engaging with authors such as Blake, Mary Shelley, Byron, Tennyson, Christina Rossetti, and Emily Bronte, the course will help you join in critical and historical conversations, cultivate your writing a lively and scholarly voice, and be inspired to further flights of curiosity and investigation. And yes, it comes with a soundtrack.
In this course we survey a variety of British literature, beginning with Dickens, arriving, after many pages, multiple plot twists, and a wealth of glorious images in the 20th-century modernists. We consider development of British poetry and fiction, its social and political contexts in this period, and a range of voices including Tennyson, George Eliot, Conrad, Woolf, and Forester. In the course you will join in critical and historical conversations, and cultivate in your writing a lively and scholarly voice.
The rebuilding of Great Britain after World War Two, the influx of Commonwealth subjects, and migration into Britain through its membership in the European Union have created a multicultural society. Its literature registers voices and influences from around the world: Doris Lessing, V.S. Naipaul, Seamus Heaney, Bruce Chatwin, Salman Rushdie, Kazuo Ishiguro, Hanif Kureishi, and Zadie Smith. In the course you will join in critical and historical conversations, and cultivate in your writing a lively and scholarly voice.
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.