Faculty-English

English

Patricia L. Bizzell, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Humanities

Maurice A. Géracht, Ph.D., Stephen J. Prior Professor of Humanities

Shawn Lisa Maurer, Ph.D., Professor

Jonathan D. Mulrooney, Ph.D., Professor

Lee Oser, Ph.D., Professor

Leila S. Philip, M.F.A., Professor

Paige Reynolds, Ph.D., Professor

Sarah Stanbury, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Arts and Humanities

Susan Elizabeth Sweeney, Ph.D.,Monsignor Murray Professor in Arts and Humanities

Christine A. Coch, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Chair 

Oliver de la Paz, M.F.A., Associate Professor

Debra L. Gettelman, Ph.D., Associate Professor

Nadine M. Knight, Ph.D., Associate Professor

Sarah Luria, Ph.D., Associate Professor

K.J. Rawson, Ph.D., Associate Professor

Stephanie Reents, M.F.A., Associate Professor

Madigan Haley, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

Jorge Santos, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

Melissa Schoenberger, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

Leah Hager Cohen, M.S., Visiting Professor and James N. and Sarah L. O'Reilly Barrett Professor in Creative Writing

Morris Collins, M.F.A., Visiting Assistant Professor

Rebecca Kastleman, Ph.D., Visiting Assistant Professor

Sarah Berry, Ph.D., Visiting Lecturer

Nora Caplan-Bricker, M.F.A., Visiting Lecturer

Gregory Chase, Ph.D., Visiting Lecturer

Jennifer Deren, Ph.D., Visiting Lecturer

Joel Simundich, Ph.D., Visiting Lecturer

Language and literature lie at the heart of a liberal education. The study of English attends to the use of language as a means of communication as well as to literary works of the imagination — poems, plays, stories, novels, and creative non-fiction.   Students explore how literary forms manifest meaning, how they develop across time and cultural bounds, and how they engage a society's fears and aspirations.  As students grow adept at analyzing literary techniques, they hone their skill at shaping language to their own ends, developing into powerful writers and speakers.  Courses in the English Department offer the added benefit of preparing students for graduate study in law, medicine, business, and education, and for careers in all professional fields that value effective communication.

Each semester the English Department offers approximately 25 upper-division courses as well as numerous courses for non-majors at the introductory and intermediate levels. Literature courses are organized by historical period (Age of Elizabeth, Contemporary African-American Literature and Culture); by literary genre or theme (Medieval Romance, Solving Sinister Mysteries, Reality Hunger); and by author (Milton, Poe's Haunted World, T.S. Eliot).  Other English Department courses deal with aesthetics and criticism (Feminist Literary Theory, Queer Theory).  A third type of course focuses on the craft of speaking and writing (Rhetoric; Intermediate Academic Writing; Introduction to Creative Writing – Narrative).  Tutorials, seminars, and courses on special topics are also offered.  Many of the Department’s courses are cross-listed with the College’s concentrations in Africana Studies; Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies; and Latin American, Latinx, and Caribbean Studies; as well as with interdisciplinary majors and minors including Asian Studies and Environmental Studies. 

 

Majoring in English

 

English majors in the class of 2021 and later take 11 courses in English, fulfilling the following specific requirements:

 

One Introductory Course:  Poetry and Poetics

Two Intermediate Courses:  Touchstones I and either Touchstones 2A or Touchstones 2B.  

Touchstones courses may be taken in any order.  If the student intends to study abroad in a non-English-speaking country in the third year, it is particularly important that these courses be completed in the second year.

Eight Advanced Courses, fulfilling the following categories:

GROUP A – Pre-1800:  2 courses, each from a different period among Medieval, Renaissance, and 18th-century historical periods.

GROUP B – 19th century:  1 course from the 19th-century historical period, British or American.

GROUP C – Marginalized Voices:  1 course. This group includes all courses focused on literature or theory written by or about groups traditionally underrepresented in the canon — e.g. with respect to gender, ethnicity, or class.

GROUP D – Theories and Methodologies:  1 course. This group includes all seminars and all courses that offer a sustained methodological or theoretical consideration of the study of literature or language.

Advanced courses can simultaneously fulfill any of these four groups. That is, “double-dipping” or “triple-dipping” is allowed (e.g. a seminar on “Gender in the Renaissance” could conceivably fulfill Groups A, C, and D at the same time). The remaining courses required for the major can come from any of the upper-division courses listed below, including courses that are approved for Study Abroad and tutorials and honors theses devoted to British, American, or world Anglophone literature. Up to two creative writing courses (at any level) or academic writing courses (intermediate level or above) may also be counted among these courses.

If the student is in the Teacher Certification Program, which requires a full semester during senior year, it is necessary to take all of the requirements for the major by the end of the first term of the senior year.

 

English majors in the classes of 2019 and 2020 follow the same requirements, except that they take one additional introductory course and only seven advanced courses.  The additional introductory course may be any Critical Reading and Writing (CRAW) course or a Montserrat “L” course that (a) is taught by an English Faculty member AND (b) receives approval of its instructor to substitute for the CRAW requirement.

 

Study Abroad: Students who study abroad for their third year may transfer a maximum of four courses' worth of credit toward the English major, with the exception that students studying at Oxford University or Trinity College, Dublin may transfer five courses' worth of credit toward the major.

 

Advanced Placement Credit: Students with AP credit in English are not awarded credit in the major or advanced placement in the English curriculum.

 

Concentrations and Minors

 

Creative Writing Concentration: Students have the opportunity to pursue a creative writing concentration within the English major.  The creative writing concentration is open only to English majors and requires three courses: 

  • one creative writing course at the introductory level in either prose or poetry (ENGL 141 or 142); and

  • two creative writing courses from the intermediate level in fiction, nonfiction, or poetry (ENGL 241, 242, and 243). 

Majors who complete the three-course sequence will be certified as having completed the concentration on their transcripts. Note that the limit of counting two creative writing courses towards the English major means that creative writing concentrators will take a minimum of 12 courses in English rather than 11.  Beyond the three required courses, the department offers creative writing electives such as screenwriting and science writing so that students can deepen their practice as writers.  Students may also complete an English Honors thesis in creative writing.

 

Creative Writing Minor: The creative writing minor enables students who are not English majors to focus on the practice of creative writing, providing them with a solid grounding in literary reading as well as opportunities for interdisciplinary coursework.  The creative writing minor requires six courses: 

  • the three-course sequence required for the creative writing concentration (described above),

  • two literature courses, one of which must be at the English 300 level or above, and

  • one elective, which could be another English course, or (with the consultation of the Creative Writing Coordinator) could come from outside the English Department.

In consultation with their advisors, students take literature courses that amplify their creative interests and suit their abilities.  For example, if a student is working primarily in fiction, she could enroll in a course in the novel genre.  To fulfill a non-300-level course possibility, students can take a relevant introductory or intermediate English course (e.g. CRAW: Fiction, Poetry and Poetics), a Creative Writing elective (e.g. Introduction to Screenwriting), a writing course (e.g. Intermediate Academic Writing), or a relevant non-English course (e.g. Creative Writing in Spanish, Studio Art, or a relevant computer coding course).  The point of these substitutions is to tailor the minor to the student’s interests.  For example, a Computer Science coding course might serve a student interested in narrative video game development, while a course in Photography or Film production might serve a student interested in multimedia creative composition.

 

Rhetoric and Composition Minor: The English Department offers a number of courses that serve the interdisciplinary Rhetoric and Composition Minor, housed in the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies.  See the Center's section of the catalog for a complete description of the minor. 

 

Honors

 

The English Department Honors Program is designed for selected members of the senior class who have demonstrated excellence in the discipline and an aptitude for independent work. Candidates for honors in English must take a course in literary theory and a seminar, in addition to writing a two-semester English honors thesis in their fourth year. Only one semester of this thesis may count as a course toward the major. Admission to honors is by invited application to the English Honors Committee in the student's third year. Students may be members of both the College Honors Program and the English Honors Program. Such students need write only one English thesis for both programs.

 

Sigma Tau Delta:  a chapter of the national English honor society was established at Holy Cross in 1987.  Eligible English majors are elected to membership and actively engage in the promotion of English studies

 

 

 

Courses

English Courses

Introductory Courses
English
110
Introduction to Academic Writing
Fall, spring

Devoted to improving the student’s writing through frequent revisions. Intensive work during the semester concentrates on the student’s own writing, which is examined in class and in conference with the instructor. Class size limited to 12 students. One unit.

English
121
Critical Reading and Writing: Fiction
Fall, spring

Course topics are the elements of fiction: narrative structures, various aspects of style, and point of view. This course is also devoted to the writing of student essays on the literature. One unit.

English
122
Critical Reading and Writing: Drama
Fall, spring

Studies carefully dramas from the Western tradition selected because they clearly reflect both the elements of drama and the nature of genre. Professors emphasize the critical analysis of each text rather than performance of them, though each class will attempt to attend at least one production. Students will be asked to write a series of essays which demonstrate their growing ability to write well-organized analytic/argumentative essays. One unit.

English
124
Critical Reading and Writing: Multigenre
Fall, spring

Compares different genres of literature and their elements, and can include any combination of the following: poetry, fiction, drama, and non-fiction. The course is organized around a particular theme, e.g. Civil War Literature, Writing about Place. Equal emphasis falls on helping students to write perceptive critical essays about the texts. One unit.

English
130
Poetry & Poetics
Fall, spring

This course presents an introduction to the poetic use of language. Exploring a broad range of poets, genres and periods, students will hone close reading skills and learn to discuss poetic form in critical and imaginative ways.  Required for English majors, who are encouraged to take this course as early as possible to prepare for more advanced literary study. Prerequisite: ENGL 121, 122, 123, or 124. One unit.

English
141
Introduction to Creative Writing: Poetry
Fall, spring

An introductory course in the study of the form and technique of poetry. As readers of literature we study how a work of art and an artist’s vision is pieced together; as aspiring writers of literature we come to have a hands-on understanding of how a poem is created. Emphasis is on the intensive reading of modern and contemporary poems, though the assignments are creative. Class size limited to 12 students. One unit

English
142
Introduction to Creative Writing: Narrative
Fall, spring

An introductory course in the study of the varied prose forms and techniques of fiction and non-fiction. Emphasis is on the intensive reading and writing of various prose forms. Lectures on form, language and finding material for inspiration. Class size limited to 12 students. One unit

Upper-Division Courses
English
200
Masterpieces of British Literature
Annually

A study of selected major works of British Literature. Non-majors only. One unit.

English
201
Masterpieces of American Literature
Annually

A study of selected major works of American Literature. Non-majors only. One unit.

English
210
Intermediate Academic Writing
Alternate years

Geared toward sophomores and juniors who aim to improve their academic writing. Focused on the student’s own writing with attention to developing arguments, critically engaging with sources, and improving organization and style. Students for whom English is a second language and students who come from a diverse or multicultural background are especially welcome. Students should expect frequent writing, revision, workshops, and conferences with the instructor. Class size limited to 12 students. One unit.

English
211
Opposites Attract: Writing Science
Every third year

Focuses on the study and practice of various types of writing about scientific phenomena; considers fundamental questions about the relationship between scientific and humanistic modes of inquiry. One unit.

English
212
Introduction to Screen Writing
Every third year

Covers the fundamentals of screenwriting (format, characterization, narrative arcs) through original creative work and close reading of example screenplays. Students will adapt a literary work to learn form, as well a draft, workshop, and revise their own scripts. Class size limited to 12. Permission of instructor required. One unit.

English
230
Touchstones 1: Early British Literature
Fall, spring

This course examines the development of British literature from its beginnings to 1720, presenting at least six common texts while developing the close reading skills initiated at the introductory level of the major. Approved authors include Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, Milton, Pope and Defoe. Should be taken after Poetry & Poetics and before any 300 level offering. One unit.

English
231
Touchstones 2A: American Literature
Fall, spring

This course examines the development of American literature from its beginnings to the present, presenting at least six common texts while developing the close reading skills initiated at the introductory level of the major. Approved authors include Nathaniel Hawthorne, Emily Dickinson, Frederick Douglass, Robert Frost, William Faulkner and Toni Morrison. One of two courses that can fulfill the English major Touchstones 2 requirement. Should be taken after Poetry & Poetics and before any 300 level course. One unit.

English
232
Touchstones 2B: British & Anglophone Literature
Fall, spring

This course examines the development of British literature from 1720 to the present, presenting at least six common texts while developing the close reading skills initiated at the introductory level of the major. Approved authors include Wordsworth, Coleridge, Dickens, T.S. Eliot, Woolf, Beckett and Ishiguro. One of two courses that fulfill the Touchstones 2 requirement. Should be taken after Poetry & Poetics. One unit.

English
241
Intermediate Poetry Workshop
Fall, spring

For students who have taken any introductory creative writing course. A more advanced course on the reading and writing of poems with emphasis on prosody, writing in closed and open forms, and writing various types of poems. Lecture and workshop format with more attention to student writing. Class size limited to 12. Prerequisite: English 141 or 142. One unit.

English
242
Intermediate Fiction Workshop
Fall, spring

For students who have taken any introductory creative writing course. A more advanced course on the reading and writing of the short story with emphasis on refining the skills learned in the introductory course. Workshop format with lectures and readings. Class size limited to 12. Prerequisite: English 141 or 142. One unit.

English
243
Intermediate Creative Non-fiction Workshop
Fall, spring

For students who have taken Introduction to Non-fiction. A more advanced course on the reading and writing of essays with emphasis on the structural composition of longer, more investigative pieces. Class size limited to 12. One unit.

English
312
Medieval Romances
Every third year

A study of the flowering of the Romance genre in late medieval England. Exploration of Continental and Middle Eastern origins; focus on popular subject matters of Romance in England, including Robin Hood and King Arthur. One unit.

English
314
Chaucer
Annually

A reading and critical discussion of the complete Middle English text of The Canterbury Tales and selected minor poems. One unit.

English
315
Sex and Gender in the Middle Ages
Every third year

An exploration of gender and sexuality in the Middle Ages in popular works of Arthurian romance, warrior epic, and saint’s life, as well as in letters and trial records. The course also draws on classical, medieval and modern gender theory relevant to topics under discussion, such as virginity, homosexuality, chivalry, and romantic love. One unit.

English
320
Age of Elizabeth
Every third year

An exploration of the “golden age” of English Renaissance literature during the reign of Elizabeth I, asking how texts interacted with the Queen, her court, the city of London, the English nation, and ultimately the New World. Readings include poetry, drama, and prose by Sidney, Shakespeare, Spenser, Donne, Harriot, Nashe, and Elizabeth herself. One unit.

English
324
Milton
Alternate years

A study of Milton’s early poems, Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, and Samson Agonistes, and selections from the prose. One unit.

English
329
Shakespeare
Fall, spring

A one-semester survey of the major works of Shakespeare, focusing on individual texts as representative of the stages in his dramatic development, with some discussion of Shakespearean stage techniques. One section each for majors and non-majors. One unit.

English
330
Shakespeare and Religion
Every third year

An examination of theological and philosophical issues in Shakespeare’s plays, with emphasis on tragedies. There will be additional readings from a number of sources, including the Bible, Luther, Montaigne, and major Shakespearean critics. One unit.

English
336
18th-Century Novel
Alternate years

A close examination of the novel as formal prose narrative. Novels by Defoe, Fielding, Richardson, Smollet, the Gothic novelists, Sterne, and Austen are considered in detail with collateral readings. One unit.

English
337
18th-Century Poetry
Every third year

A study of the development of 18th-century English poetry from the canonical Augustans, Dryden, Pope, Swift, Anne Finch and Lady Montagu through the mid-century and later work of Gray, Collins, the Wartons, Smart, Cowper, Charlotte Smith, Joanna Baillie and Anna Seward, ending with Blake’s lyrics. One unit.

English
338
18th Century Satire
Every third year

The course will focus on a variety of 18th-century prose, dramatic, and verse satires, including works by Defoe, Swift, Pope, and others. Special attention will be given to modes of satire (burlesque, parody, travesty, mock epic, etc.) as well as to the objectives of satire (amendment, punishment). One unit.

English
339
Restoration and 18th-Century Drama
Every third year

A survey of English drama from Dryden to Sheridan, including heroic drama, Restoration comedy, sentimental developments of the 18th century, and the re-emergence of laughing comedy. One unit.

English
344
The Romantic Revolution
Alternate years

A study of the major writers of the Romantic movement – Edmund Burke, Mary Wollstonecraft, William Wordsworth, Dorothy Wordsworth, Coleridge, Mary Shelley, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Byron, Keats, Hazlitt, Lamb, and DeQuincey. One unit.

English
345
British Women Writers: 1780-1860
Every third year

A study of novels, poetry, and prose writings by women writing during and after the Romantic Movement — Frances Burney, Jane Austen, the Brontes, Mary Wollstonecraft, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and others. One unit.

English
346
Victorian Poetry
Every third year

A study of the British poetry and poetic theory composed during Queen Victoria’s reign (1837-1901). Authors treated may include Alfred Lord Tennyson, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Browning, D. G. Rossetti, Christina Rossetti, Matthew Arnold, and Gerard Manley Hopkins. One unit.

English
347
19th-Century Novel
Every third year

A close examination of the British novel in the 19th century, including novels by Thackeray, Dickens, the Brontes, George Eliot, and Hardy. One unit.

English
348
Reality Hunger
Alternate years

A study of the evolution of contemporary American non-fiction narrative, which traces its roots to the 19th-century writing of Emerson and Thoreau. One unit.

English
349
Mark Twain and Henry James
Alternate years

A comparative study of two 19th-century American masters, who revolutionized American writing and made modern fiction possible. Consideration given to works throughout each author’s career and to the ways in which the formal innovations of each can illuminate the other’s work. One unit.

English
350
Early American Colonialism
Every third year

A study of the development of cultural contact between Native Americans and Europeans, the Puritan experiment, and the founding of the nation from 1600-1830. One unit.

English
352
American Realism
Alternate years

A study of the rise of variant expressions of realism, its evolution into naturalism, the revival of local color and the flowering of regionalism, all in response to the changing American scene through immigration, segregation, business, technology and other forces between the Civil War and World War I. One unit.

English
353
American Women Write the World
Every third year

A study of various genres in which 19th-century women engaged restrictive definitions of woman’s sphere. Authors treated may include Davis, Child, Stowe, Alcott, Dickinson, Phelps, and Wharton. One unit.

English
354
Lincoln, Civil War, & Memory
Every third year

A survey of how the Civil War and Reconstruction periods have been described in American literature, from both the northern and southern perspectives. Possible works include selected Civil War poetry and speeches, Stephen Crane’s Red Badge of Courage, Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind, and Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain. One unit.

English
355
Poe’s Haunted Poetry
Every third year

This course examines Poe’s contribution as editor and critic; as pioneer of short fiction and science fiction; as inventor of the detective story; as author of strange and powerful poems; and as master of horror. It surveys recurrent topics such as doubleness, death, and insoluble mystery in Poe’s poems, essays, tales, and novel, within the broader context of 19th-century American culture. One unit.

English
357
The United States of Poetry
Every third year

A close analysis of the development of American poetry from the early 20th century up to the contemporary period, including such poets as Pound, Eliot, Williams, Crane, Frost, Stevens, Bishop, and others. One unit.

English
358
Tales of American Experiences
Alternate years

A study of the emergence of Modernism and other currents in the American novel from 1900 to the contemporary period. One unit.

English
362
T. S. Eliot
Every third year

A close study of Eliot’s poetry, criticism, and drama, including unpublished and lesser-known writings. One unit.

English
363
Joyce
Every third year

A close study of Joyce’s modernist epic novel Ulysses as an experimental narrative; preceded by a close reading of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man or Dubliners. One unit.

English
364
Contemporary Irish Literature
Alternate years

A study of the prose, poetry, and drama produced in Northern Ireland and the Republic from the last quarter of the 20th century to the present. Writers studied include Boland, Doyle, Friel, Heaney, and Ni Dhomhnaill as well as those less familiar to American readers, and readings are explored in light of relevant contemporary cultural concerns such as sectarianism and secularization, globalization, gender and race,the rise and fall of the Celtic Tiger, and post-colonial identity, among others. One unit.

English
365
Modern British Poetry
Every third year

A study of the major British poets in the 20th century, including Hardy, the Georgians, the Imagists, Lawrence, Yeats, Eliot, Auden, and Dylan Thomas. One unit.

English
366
Modern British Novel
Alternate years

A study of developments in the British novel from 1900-1950, with an emphasis on Modernist texts, through an examination of works by novelists such as Forster, Joyce, Woolf, Lawrence, Rhys, Greene, and Waugh. One unit.

English
368
African-American Literature
Annually

A survey of the literary tradition from slave narratives to contemporary writing by authors of African and African-American descent, with emphasis on the tradition’s oral beginnings and the influence of the vernacular on the written literature. One unit.

English
369
Modern Drama
Every third year

A study of developments in drama from 1890 to 1960 in England, America, and on the Continent through an examination of selected works of such playwrights as Ibsen, Chekhov, Shaw, Pirandello, O’Neill, Brecht, Williams, and Beckett. One unit.

English
371
Solving Sinister Mysteries
Every third year

A study of detective fiction from its 19th-century beginnings (Poe, Doyle) to the British Golden Age (Christie, Sayers), and recent metaphysical parodies of the genre (Pynchon, Auster). One unit.

English
372
Contemporary African-American Literature and Culture
Alternate years

An investigation of literature by African-American authors dating from the 1970s to the present day in the genres of science fiction/fantasy, mystery, memoir, novels exploring gender and sexuality, and cultural theory, with emphasis on the issues of visibility and invisibility as well as the theme of the American Dream. One unit.

English
373
Chesterton and Catholic Modernity
Every third year

A study of G.K. Chesterton as a novelist and essaying, in relation to other modern thinkers and writers, including Arthur Schopenhauer, Friedrich Nietzsche, Joseph Conrad, Walter Pater, Leo Tolstoy, and H.G. Wells. This course is especially recommended for students interested in the Catholic intellectual tradition. One unit.

English
375
Asian American Literature
Every third year

A survey of representative Asian American literature from early twentieth century immigrant narratives to contemporary writings. Examines Asian American literary production and its main literary themes. One unit.

English
376
Postmodern British Novel
Every third year

A study of the rise and development of the “postmodern” novel in Britain from the late 1960’s to the present, including works by Rhys, Fowles, Lodge, Rushdie, Weldon, Winterson, Amis, and Barnes. Topics to be discussed include: postmodernism, historicity, post-colonialism, pop culture, and constructions of race/gender/sexuality. One unit.

English
378
21st-Century Literature
Every third year

Explores award-winning British and American literature of the new millennium in an attempt to “take the pulse” of what’s going on in our most contemporary literature. Texts are read in the contexts of late 20th-century literary and theoretical movements such as: postmodernism, post-colonialism, gender studies, and multiculturalism. One unit.

English
381
Rhetoric
Annually

A consideration of rhetorical theory in the classical texts of Plato and Aristotle, an analysis of some famous examples of persuasive eloquence, and the student’s own exercise of persuasive speech on subjects of public concern. One unit.

English
382
Queer Theory
Every third year

Built upon but departing from the identity-based approach of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) Studies, Queer Theory critically investigates cultural normativities related to sexuality, sex, and gender. This highly theoretical course introduces students to the foundational thinkers of the field, including Foucault, Sedgwick, and Butler.  Readings will also include literary works that enact queer theory. One unit.

English
383
Feminist Literary Theory
Every third year

An examination of major directions in 20th-century feminist literary theory, with study of works by writers such as Charlotte Bronte, Chopin, Gilman, Woolf, Atwood, and Morrison. Theory may address such issues as gendered reading and writing, representation of the body and sexuality, gender/race/class, feminism and ideology. One unit.

English
384
Literary Theory
Every third year

A study of the aims and procedures of literary criticism and of representative approaches, both ancient and modern. Selected readings from influential critics from Plato and Aristotle to the late 20th century, with application to literary works. One unit.

English
385
Contemporary Literary Theory
Every third year

An introduction to some of the major positions in modern and contemporary literary criticism: the “old” and “new” historicisms, formalism, reader-response criticism, structuralism, hermeneutics, deconstruction, critique of ideology, and cultural studies. Seeks to clarify literary criticism’s place among the contemporary disciplines. One unit.

English
387
Composition Theory and Pedagogy
Annually

An investigation of how people learn to write, and how they can be helped to write better. Topics include individual composing processes, academic discourse constraints, and cultural influences on writing. This by-permission course is required for all students who wish to become peer tutors in the Holy Cross Writer’s Workshop. One unit.

English
399
Irish Literary Activism
N/A

Course Description:

Irish Literary Activism explores how literature and writers act as effective agents of social and political change. Using modern and contemporary Ireland as a case study, the course looks to writers who have influenced culture in real and meaningful ways. We start by studying the early twentieth-century Irish Literary Revival, thinking about Lady Gregory, W.B. Yeats, J.M Synge, and others who imagined poetry and drama might help the Irish obtain political independence. Their ideas worked: books and plays and other cultural objects and practices really did inspire the Irish to fight for and ultimately gain their freedom from England. Since independence in 1921, Irish writers have continued to intervene effectively in public culture to make us think harder about terrorism, clerical abuses, financial crimes, feminism, marriage equality, and abortion, among other momentous social concerns. By looking at new theoretical work on literary activism in tandem with riveting texts from all literary genres, this course will study texts and aesthetic practices that have meaningfully influenced Irish culture by asking citizens to think critically about "real life."

Class Notes:

Enrollment is limited to 2nd, 3rd, and 4th year students.

Exams and Assignments:

 

English
399
Theories of English Language & Literacy
N/A

Course Description:

This course provides an overview of the study of the English language as it developed from Old English to Middle, Early Modern, and into contemporary American English. While tracing this history, we discuss the shift from oral (spoken) to literate (written) language/culture, examine key literary texts of each era, and explore the effects literacy has on English speakers/writers in regard to various social issues including class, race, regionalism, and gender. Course work includes exams and a research project. The course fulfills Group D-Theories and Methodologies for the major and additionally can be used to fulfill the Group A (Pre-1800) requirement if a student chooses a research project topic focused on pre-1800 material. Counts toward the Rhetoric & Composition minor.

Class Notes:

Enrollment is limited to 2nd, 3rd, and 4th year students.

Exams and Assignments:

Final exam

English
399
Stranger Things: Gothic Old & New
N/A

Course Description:

Frankenstein turns 200 this Fall. And yet the popularity of Netflix's recent Stranger Things series reaffirms the endurance of gothic as a relevant story form. This course will trace a genealogy of gothic tales from novels to poems to plays to films to serial television. Much of our attention will be devoted to the 18th- and 19th-Century gothic literary tradition in Britain, including authors such as Horace Walpole, Ann Radcliffe, Jane Austen, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Mary Shelley, Christina Rossetti, and Bram Stoker. As we move into the 20th Century we will contend with the question of film, considering why early filmmakers were so fascinated by gothic stories, especially Dracula. We will also explore how American authors engaged and adopted gothic forms to suit their own aims. Our readings will provide a basis for rigorous examination of current popular versions of the gothic tale, culminating in an exploration of Stranger Things seasons 1 and 2. Fulfills Group B (19th Century) and Group D (Theories & Methodologies).

Class Notes:

Enrollment is limited to 2nd, 3rd, and 4th year students.

Exams and Assignments:

Final exam

English
399
Renaissance Marvels & Monsters
N/A

Course Description:

In this course we will explore the literature of Renaissance England through its fascination with romance. Knights, dragons, magic, adventure, fair queens and foul seductresses, even a werewolf – all fill the pages, stages, and entertainments of the day. The course will consider how such excesses came to have value in an age that privileged classical learning and Reformed faith. We begin by considering poetic responses to the Protestant Reformation in such works as Marlowe's Doctor Faustus and the first book of Spenser's The Faerie Queene, tracing how romance elements came to serve higher literary aims. Extravagant performances brought the realm of romance to life at court. We will think about what happens when the language of romance becomes the language of politics and power relations in the courts of Elizabeth I and James I and John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi. In travel narratives, period writers transposed marvels and monsters into stories of modern ventures, both fictional, like Thomas Nashe's picaresque tale of The Unfortunate Traveller, and factual, like Thomas Harriot's A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia. We will close with Shakespeare's version in The Tempest, his last romance and a test of the genre's limits. Fulfills Group A: Pre-1800.

Class Notes:

Enrollment is limited to 2nd, 3rd, and 4th year students.

Exams and Assignments:

Final exam

English
399
Special Topics in English
Fall, spring

The study of a special problem or topic in literature or language, or a body of literature outside present course listings. Representative examples include: Renaissance Love Lyric, Arthurian Tradition, Contemporary Women Writers, Renaissance Women Writers, 19th-century Novel & Crime, Frost/Stevens. One unit.

Advanced Courses
English
400
Tutorials and Independent Study Projects
Fall, spring

Permission of the instructor and/or the department chair ordinarily required for such courses. One unit

English
401, 405
Seminars
Annually

Advanced seminars are classes that offer the student an opportunity to pursue an ambitious independent project and to take more responsibility for class experience. Recent seminars have included:  Global Modernisms, American Historical Romance, Transgender Memoir, Catholicism in Irish Literature, Dickens, Medieval Drama, Tolkien, Jane Austen, Nineteenth-Century Activist Rhetoric, Modernist Afterlives, The Brontes, and Shakespeare's Comedies.

One unit each semester.

English
407, 408
English Honors Thesis
Annually

Candidates selected from invited applicants to the English Honors Committee. Two semesters credit, granted at end of second semester. One unit each semester.

English
409
English Honors Colloquium
Fall, spring

English Honors thesis students and College Honors English thesis students. One-half credit, granted at end of second semester.