Check out your upper-level English options for next semester! Remember, registration starts the week of March 30.

ENGL 248: Intro to Literary Studies – Dr. Emily Tucker

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We will explore a variety of texts from different genres, including poetry, short fiction, drama, and the novel. We will begin by focusing on methods of close reading in order to examine ways in which authors use literary devices and forms to communicate meaning. After that, we will turn our attention to the ways in which literary works both reflect and construct the societies around them. In order to facilitate this inquiry, we will examine a number of contemporary critical theories. Throughout the course, we will practice methods of critiquing and appreciating literary works. Both English majors and non-majors are welcome. Authors will include Flannery O’Connor, Virginia Woolf, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Claude McKay, Adrienne Rich, Margaret Atwood, Robert Browning, Bharati Mukherjee, Gwendolyn Brooks, Emily Dickinson, Edwidge Danticat, Toni Morrison, Franz Kafka, and Bram Stoker. TR 9:30-10:50, Lubbers 224.

ENGL 270: British Literature to 1800 – Dr. Curtis Gruenler

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This course surveys the formation of the British literary tradition from its beginnings at the intersection of Christianity and pre-Christian culture in Anglo-Saxon England to the literature of the Enlightenment. We will focus on works that represent major literary and intellectual movements of the first millennium of English literature, written by great and influential authors you may have run across before (but are always worth going back to), such as Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, and Swift, as well as by lesser known but fascinating figures such as Marie de France, Julian of Norwich, Philip Sidney, John Donne, and Eliza Haywood. Goals: to acquaint you with basic forms and classic works of English literature, to develop your skills in reading and writing, and to help you learn to ask good questions that open up these texts. Format: some lecture, mostly discussion. Requirements: short papers/take-home exams. MWF 1-1:50 PM, Chapel B16.

ENGL 281: American Literature II – Dr. Stephen Hemenway

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Make American Literature II Great Again!! I am so glad to be teaching this class again after a ten-year hiatus! This scintillating and daunting course will acquaint you with the major movements and writers in the United States from the end of the Civil War (1865) to the beginning of the COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic (2020). The literary canon (i.e., dead but vital white males, such as Twain, Hemingway, Faulkner, Fitzgerald, O’Neill, and Frost) will be augmented by wondrous women warriors (Dickinson, Welty, Bishop, Cather, Plath, and Rich), African-American pacesetters (Washington, Hurston, Hughes, Brooks, Morrison, and Walker), and fresh ethnic voices (Zitkala Sa, Black Elk, Alexie, Cisneros, Lee, and Lahiri). Approximately equal time will be devoted to poetry, short stories, and drama. Forging links between geographical sections of the country, between genders, between genres, between races, and between critical approaches will be among the impossible dreams of the teacher. Four credit hours. MWF 2-2:50 PM, Anderson Werkman B03.

ENGL 358: Memoir: Intermediate Creative Nonfiction Writing – Dr. Rhoda Burton

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Make art from experience.
Memoir is the literary craft of understanding where we’ve been.
Prerequisite: Multi-Genre Creative Writing 253. TR 12-1:20 PM, Lubbers 224.

ENGL 360: Modern English Grammar – Dr. Kathleen Verduin

Is it “lie” or “lay”? “Who” or “whom”? “I” or “me”? And when is a sentence not a sentence, and what is a dangling participle, and where (on earth) should you place commas? If you’ve ever been troubled by these questions, sign up for this course. We start simply, learning to identify the seven (some say eight) parts of speech, recognizing phrases and clauses, and yes—but fear not!—diagramming sentences. We go over the conventions of usage: affect vs. effect, amount vs. number, imply vs. infer, like vs. as, and a fearsome lineup of similarly daunting verbal mysteries. But (and yes, you can—indeed, you may—begin a sentence with this word!) we also look into the history of grammar, the invention of sentence diagrams, and the cultural questions surrounding the role of grammar in contemporary society: why does grammatical correctness matter (or does it?), who decides what’s “correct,” and why (for heaven’s sake) are grammarians so often represented as crabby old ladies? By the end of the semester, you will write with increased confidence, secure in the knowledge that your prose won’t be blotched with distracting and embarrassing errors. A great course for writers, future teachers, or anyone who just wants to look good in print. Lots of support, lots of exercises, lots of encouragement: if you take this course, you ain’t gonna be sorry. MWF 11-11:50 AM, Lubbers 222.

ENGL 371: The Beatnik Generation – Dr. Stephen Hemenway

Are you ready to “Howl”? This fifth-in-a-lifetime (mine, at least) course on “The Beat Generation” explores the “beaten down,” “beat up,” and “beatific” aspects of many nonconformist, rootless, drugged, and searching American writers of the 1950s and 1960s. Secular and sacred aspects of the Beatnik movement will receive critical attention and a fresh look at what makes the works durable or degrading more than half a century later.

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Harvey Pekar’s recently released The Beats, a graphic history with works by eleven artists, serves as an excellent introduction. Classic and controversial memoirs, novels, and plays nestle next to each other: On the Road and The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey, Minor Characters: A Beat Memoir by Joyce Johnson, and Dutchman by Amiri Baraka. Poems by Gregory Corso, Diane di Prima, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Allen Ginsberg, Joanne Kyger, Denise Levertov, Michael McClure, and Kenneth Rexroth sidle up to nonfiction and essays by William Burroughs, Carolyn Cassady, Ann Charters, Edie Parker Kerouac, and Norman Mailer.

The course briefly examines early influences on the Beat writers from British Romantics, American Romantics and American Modernists. Musical connections get well-deserved attention, and campy old films about Beatniks show cinema at its worst. Very recent films reveal the continued popularity of this era. Beat celebrators and Beat debunkers get equal coverage. The squeamish need not apply; some material is R-rated. Four credit hours.

Reading: moderate to heavy.
Writing: journal pieces, two analytical papers, research project.
Evaluation: numerous methods of class participation and a variety of writing assignments.

TR 1:30 – 3:50 PM, Chapel B16

ENGL 373: The Serious Comedy of Jane Austen and Oscar Wilde – Dr. Emily Tucker

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“I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.” “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” Jane Austen and Oscar Wilde are among the wittiest and most quotable writers in the history of English literature. Their writing also addresses some serious concerns about 19th-century British culture, and their humor often enables them to challenge societal ideals about gender, romance, propriety, money, and the role of the arts. We will use major texts by these two figures in order to explore their complex blend of hilarity and earnestness at the very beginning and very end of the 19th century. Austen’s novels will invite us into the century’s earliest years, at the high point of Regency-era culture and literary Romanticism. Wilde’s works will introduce us to the final decade of the 19th century—a decade marked by tremendous social upheaval and a literary culture starting to shift toward Modernism. We will also pay attention to some more recent works based on the writings and life stories of these two figures in order to explore their legacies in the 21st century. Assignments will include short presentations and reflections, a film review, a research essay, and a final project that will include options for both critical and creative work. MWF 9:30 – 10:20 AM, Lubbers 121.

ENGL 375: Children’s and Young Adult Literature – Diverse Books in Diverse Hands – Dr. Regan Postma-Montaño

This course is perfect for anyone interested in reading kid lit, in teaching, in scholarship, and/or in literacy advocacy. Together we will consider the importance of diverse children’s and young adult literature—the way it offers mirrors for diverse kids who see themselves reflected and for others, windows onto a different experience. We will think critically about race, ethnicity, language, gender, and ability in children’s lit and what is at stake for readers, parents, and educators. In addition to reading kid lit for a variety of ages and in a variety of genres, we will meet with practitioners in the field including librarians, teachers, literacy advocates, scholars, and publishers, and we will share what we learn through a service learning project with kids in the community. Authors considered in this course include Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Angie Thomas, Dawn Quigley, Stan Yogi, Jason Reynolds, Guadalupe García McCall, and Isabel Quintero, among others. Meets Hope College GLD credit. MW 3-4:30 PM, Martha Miller 243.

ENGL 454: Advanced Fiction Writing – Professor Susanne Davis

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The heart of this course is about the writing each student writer produces.
In this advanced workshop, we’ll focus on reading, writing, and discussing contemporary fiction. What has been said? Do we feel moved by what has been said? What remains to be said? And how shall we say it?

Texts: John Truby, The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller; David Benihof’s novel City of Thieves; and a linked short story collection and reading packet which includes short stories by Junot Diaz, Louise Erdrich, James Baldwin, Sherman Alexie, Kevin Barry, Alice Munro, Haruki Murakami, ZZ Packer, Ernest Hemingway, Raymond Carver, George Saunders and others.

We will spend two-thirds of our class time workshopping student writing, and the other third discussing craft and published writers. We will divide our attention between the short story form (including how to create linked short stories) and the novel, using Truby’s screenwriting text to guide that development of longform story concepts. We’ll be writing and workshopping roughly 40 pages. Consider for portfolio development — one masters the art of storytelling through practice of techniques (in fiction: character, plot, dialogue, scene, and point of view, among others). In this advanced course we practice those techniques in greater depth, adding others and attending to what it is we have to say as we develop an aesthetic. MW 12-1:50 PM, Lubbers 224.

ENGL 480: Introduction to Literary Theory – Dr. Curtis Gruenler

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Literary theory equips you to think better about how to read and why, and maybe to enjoy it more too. Tour major schools of thought from Plato to the twenty-first century, such as formalism, structuralism, deconstruction, psychoanalytic criticism, gender and sexuality studies, postcolonial criticism, ecocriticism, and disability theory. Meet theorists such as Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, René Girard, Adrienne Rich, Judith Butler, Edward Said, Chinua Achebe, and Wendell Berry. Connect literature to other disciplines such as philosophy, theology, and the social sciences. You’ll have
a chance to write and talk critically about whatever texts you like—stories, poems, films, TV, games, etc. The course will be conducted as a seminar with several short papers and two longer ones. TR 9:30 – 10:50, Lubbers 220.

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