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Hope College
Department of English
126 E. 10th St.
Holland, MI 49423
phone: 616.395.7620
fax: 616.395.7134


Fall 2014 Upper-Level English Courses

Notice: English 271 (British Literature II), English 281 (American Literature II), and English 282 (American Ethnic Literature) are now taught in rotations, two semesters on, one semester off.

  • 271 will be offered Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, and Spring 2015.
  • 281 will be offered Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, and Spring 2015.
  • 282 will be offered Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, and Fall 2014.

If you have any questions, please contact Sarah Baar (

155.01 Intro Creative Writing: Poems Rappleye MW 4:00-5:50 PM
213.01 Expository Writing II James TR 1:30-2:20 PM
213.02 Expository Writing II James TR 2:30-3:20 PM
214.01 Workplace Writing Aslanian MW 11:00-11:50 AM
214.02 Workplace Writing Aslanian MW 12:00-12:50 PM
231.01 Literature Western World I Schoon-Tanis MW 2:00-3:20 PM
232.01 Literature Western World II Verduin MWF 9:30-10:20 AM
248.01 Intro to Literary Studies Montano TR 12:00-1:20 PM
248.02 Intro to Literary Studies Dykstra TR 1:30-2:50 PM
248.03 Intro to Literary Studies Kipp TR 9:30-10:50 AM
254.01 Creative Writing: Fiction Kenagy MW 1:00-2:50 PM
255.01 Creative Writing: Poems Kenagy TR 1:00-2:50 PM
258.01 Creative Writing: Nonfiction Dykstra TR 9:30-10:50 AM
270.01 British Literature I Schakel MWRF 11:00-11:50 AM
271.01 British Literature II Hemenway MWF 11:00-11:50 AM
279.01 Writing for Teachers Kenagy MW 4:00-5:50 PM
280.01 American Literature I Dykstra W 6:00-8:50 PM
281.01 American Literature II Verduin MWF 1:00-1:50 PM
354.01 Intermed Creative Writing: Fiction Childress TR 1:30-3:20 PM
355.01 Intermed Creative Writing: Poems Peschiera MW 1:00-2:50 PM
360.01 Modern English Grammar Verduin MWF 12:00-12:50 PM
371.01 Beatnik Generation Hemenway MWF 1:00-1:50
373.01 Shakespeare's Plays Cox MW 3:00-4:20 PM
375.01 History of the English Language Gruenler MWF 9:30-10:20 AM
375.02 Ethnic American Young Adult Lit Montano MW 3:00-4:20 PM
375.03 Contemp. Black Women Novelists Parker TR 9:30-10:20 AM
380.01 Teaching Sec. Schoool English Moreau M 4:00-5:50 PM
395.01 Literary Translation Workshop Peschiera TR 9:00-10:50 AM
480.01 Intro to Literary Theory Gruenler MWF 9:30-10:20 AM
495.01 Advanced Studies in English Childress W 3:00-5:50 PM

Course Descriptions

ENGL 155 01A: Intro Creative Writing: Poems
Rappleye, Gregory
MW 4:00 PM 5:50 PM

Please contact instructor for course description.

ENGL 155 01B: Intro Creative Writing: Poems
Rappleye, Gregory
MW 4:00 PM 5:50 PM

Please contact instructor for course description.

ENGL 213 01: Expository Writing II
James, David
TR 1:30 PM 2:20 PM

In this workshop-oriented course, students will make their own choices of both topics and expository genres. In the process, everyone will focus on clarity and style to suit chosen audiences and purposes. Revising with feedback will then lead to a semester’s end portfolio. Full semester.

ENGL 213 02: Expository Writing II
James, David
TR 2:30 PM 3:20 PM

In this workshop-oriented course, students will make their own choices of both topics and expository genres. In the process, everyone will focus on clarity and style to suit chosen audiences and purposes. Revising with feedback will then lead to a semester’s end portfolio. Full semester.

ENGL 214 01: Workplace Writing
Aslanian, Janice
MW 11:00 AM 11:50 AM

Communication skills are currently ranked by employers as among the most desired job-related competency. No matter which career you pursue, this course will prepare you to respond effectively to various workplace situations. You will learn to write memos, letters, and digital documents aimed at a variety of audiences. Additionally, you will construct a resume and job application letter, and complete a short report. All major writing assignments will be submitted in a portfolio for a final grade at the end of the semester.

ENGL 214 02: Workplace Writing
Aslanian, Janice
MW 12:00 PM 12:50 PM

Communication skills are currently ranked by employers as among the most desired job-related competency. No matter which career you pursue, this course will prepare you to respond effectively to various workplace situations. You will learn to write memos, letters, and digital documents aimed at a variety of audiences. Additionally, you will construct a resume and job application letter, and complete a short report. All major writing assignments will be submitted in a portfolio for a final grade at the end of the semester.

ENGL 231 01: Literature Western World I
Schoon-Tanis, Kathryn
MW 2:00 PM 3:20 PM

Please contact instructor for course description.

ENGL 232 01: Literature Western World II
Verduin, Kathleen
MWF 9:30 AM 10:20 AM

This is a course in the classics of European literature from approximately 1600 up to (well, almost) the present. Alternating narrative and drama (and throwing in some representative poems along the way), we will consider the seventeenth century’s response to a racial reorganization of Christianity; the Enlightenment’s allegiance to rationality and satire; the Romantic era’s return to emotion and the fantastic; Realism’s portrayal of marriage and money; the fascination with myth and the primitive in the early twentieth century; the Existentialist writings highly popular at mid-century and in postwar academia; and, maybe, the rise of the art film as literature’s stepchild. Although it is of course impossible to do justice to four hundred years of literary production in a mere four months, we will endeavor to gain some continuity by tracing Joseph Campbell’s mighty archetype of the Hero’s Journey.

Texts (available as individual paperbacks) will include Bunyan, Pilgrim’s Progress; Racine, Phaedra; Voltaire, Candide; Sheridan, The School for Scandal; Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner; Goethe, Faust, Part I; Tolstoy, The Death of Ivan Ilych; Ibsen, A Doll’s House; Hesse, Demian; works by Sartre and other Existentialists, still to be selected; and probably a film or two by the Swedish director Ingmar Bergman. Three tests, three critical essays, weekly reaction papers. This course substitutes for IDS 172 and helps meet the second (“modern”) half of the Cultural Heritage requirement.

ENGL 248 01: Intro to Literary Studies
Montano, Jesus
TR 12:00 PM 1:20 PM

Please contact instructor for course description.

ENGL 248 02: Intro to Literary Studies
Dykstra, Natalie
TR 1:30 PM 2:50 PM

“ Literature is the question minus the answer.” ~ Roland Barthes

A deep pleasure of reading is the sense you’re accompanied by authors who’ve asked the questions you’re asking: who am I, why do I feel this way, what is love, who do I want to be, what is a meaningful life? Together, we’ll ask these questions and more as we read the genres of fiction, poetry, and drama. We’ll analyze narrative structures in stories and film, listen to poetry, and attend a play together and talk with the actors. We’ll deepen our understanding of literature by listening to one another and joining our voices with other writers. We’ll improve our writing skills with practice and peer review. All students welcome!

ENGL 248 03: Intro to Literary Studies
Kipp, Julie
TR 9:30 AM 10:50 AM

This course is an introduction to the literary forms of fiction, poetry, drama, and creative nonfiction, considering elements they have in common and elements unique to each. It will examine how genres differ, but also how they intersect and overlap and influence each other. It aims to teach how to read literature with sensitivity, understanding, and appreciation, and how to approach that reading from a variety of theoretical perspectives. It is not a course in writing stories or poems or drama--for that, see English 254 or 255 or 258. It is a foundational course, intended as preparation for all higher-numbered literature courses in the English department. But it also is of value in itself and is recommended for students looking for an elective dealing with literature broadly. Four credit hours.

ENGL 254 01: Creative Writing: Fiction
Kenagy, Rob
MW 1:00 PM 2:50 PM

Please contact instructor for course description.

ENGL 255 01: Creative Writing: Poems
Kenagy, Rob
TR 1:00 PM 2:50 PM

Please contact instructor for course description.

ENGL 258 01: Creative Non-Fiction: Portraits and Self-Portraits
Dykstra, Natalie
TR 9:30 AM 10:50 AM

This is a course in creative non-fiction, in particular the writing of portraits and self-portraits. Some of the best writing in America is about individuals – biographical portraits or memoir or a wonderful combination of the two. So that will be our emphasis. We’ll go to the archives for inspiration for our writing and as well as to our imaginations and memories. We’ll read a wide range of memoir, profile and personal essays. Our main focus will be on writing and responding to one another’s work, with three submissions of 7 – 10 pages pieces for workshop. Two submissions will be revised for a final portfolio due on the last day of class. Jack Ridl once said that writing is never a goal, always a “process. And that process includes feelings and dead ends and bursts and tangents and doubts and enthusiasms and discoveries and dreams and all the stuff that fills any day.” Come join us as we explore the past and the present on paper and with each other.

ENGL 270 01: British Literature I
Schakel, Peter
MWRF 11:00 AM 11:50 AM

Brit Lit I surveys literature written in England until the late eighteenth century. Its purpose is to give students a general knowledge and understanding of the great writers and works of early England (Beowulf and other Old English texts), medieval England (Chaucer, Langland, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight), Renaissance England (Sidney, Spenser, Marlowe, and Shakespeare), writers of the early seventeenth century (Donne, Jonson, Herrick, Herbert) and the later seventeenth century (Marvell, Milton, Bunyan, Dryden), and writers of eighteenth century England (Swift, Pope, Johnson, and Austen). These are the “classic” works and writers that established the tradition on which later writers built, works and writers that all students of English literature should be familiar with. Four credit hours.

ENGL 271 01: British Literature II
Hemenway, Stephen
MWF 11:00 AM 11:50 AM

Enter the world of ancient mariners, solitary reapers, Grecian urns, opium-eaters, angels of the house, night winds, goblin markets, speckled bands, garden parties, trenches, waste lands, fern hills, burned books, dumb waiters, cowboys, the prophet's hair. This scintillating survey course will introduce you to the major movements and writers in Great Britain, Ireland, and the British Commonwealth during the Romantic, Victorian, Modern, and Postmodern Eras (roughly 1773-2014 or about 240 years).

The literary canon (dead but vital white male poets, such as Blake, Keats, Tennyson, Eliot, and Auden) will be augmented by wondrous women warriors (Austen, Shelley, Woolf, Mansfield, and Atwood), Irish giants (Shaw, Wilde, Joyce, Yeats, and Heaney), and fresh Commonwealth voices (Rhys, Soyinka, Gordimer, Munro, and Rushdie). Most of the readings are poems and short stories, but a few dramas and essays are also prominent.

Forging links between geographical centers, genders, genres, races, and critical approaches will be among the impossible dreams of the teacher. Three tests and/or innovative test alternatives will measure your mastery of material. Three papers and/or nonpapers (musical, artistic, sculptural, choreographic, cinematic options) or a longer research project will engage your scholarly and creative impulses. Journal entries will keep you on your toes. You will move from "The Songs of Innocence" to the "The Moment before the Gun Went Off." Four credit hours.

ENGL 279 01: Writing for Teachers
Kenagy, Rob
MW 4:00 PM 5:50 PM

Please contact instructor for course description.

ENGL 280 01: American Literature I
Dykstra, Natalie
W 6:00 PM 8:50 PM

This course surveys American literature from its beginnings to the Civil War era, an opportunity to search and understand our fascinating past through the writers, genres, and movements of America’s abundant literary tradition. We’ll begin with the first English-speaking settlers and the Native peoples already here; we’ll confront the crucible of expansion, slavery, and division; and we’ll conclude with the conflagration of the Civil War and exploration of the American West. We’ll be asking: what is distinctly American about the literature we’re reading; how were writers – Rowlandson, Poe, Whitman, Emerson, Hawthorne, Dickinson, Melville, Douglass, Stowe – shaped by historical circumstance, gender, race, and class; and how does literature help create and influence our culture now. Our time in class will be a mix of lecture and discussion, with a lean towards discussion. There will be two reading exams, several short papers, class presentations, and a substantial final research project. It’ll be an adventure – come join us!

ENGL 281 01: American Literature II
Verduin, Kathleen
MWF 1:00 PM 1:50 PM

America lives in its literature. History shows us events: literature pictures, responds, incarnates. Rejoices. Sorrows. Brings to life. This course surveys the American past from the end of the Civil War—and marches prophetically into the future. We will watch as American writers (Henry James, Henry Adams, Edith Wharton) define their country in contrast with Europe; as Civil War veterans (Mark Twain, Stephen Crane, Ambrose Bierce) confront that apocalypse; as African Americans (Booker T. Washington, W. E. B. Du Bois) struggle to find their place; as Native Americans (Sarah Winnemucca, Zitkala) unfold their stories; as women (Emily Dickinson, Charlotte Perkins Gilman) explore the complexities of their condition; as the West is won, stolen, commandeered (Bret Hart, Jack London). We will trace the rise of Modernism (T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Amy Lowell), the explosion of new fiction in the 1920s (Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Nella Larsen), the confrontation of darkness in small towns (Sherwood Anderson) and rural strongholds (Robert Frost), the assertion of regional difference (Jean Toomer, William Faulkner, Flannery O’Connor), the establishment of a genuinely American theatre (Eugene O’Neill, Arthur Miller). We will exult in the carnivalesque variety of American literature in the last half-century (Tennessee Williams, Bernard Malamud, the Beats, Joyce Carol Oates)—and soberly reflect on still festering wounds in the social fabric (James Baldwin, John Updike, Yusef Komunyakaa). And in the process we’ll get to know ourselves better. A lot better.

Three examinations, four critical papers, one short research project. Four credit hours.

ENGL 354 01: Intermed Creative Wrtg: Fiction
Childress, Susanna
TR 1:30 PM 3:20 PM

According to Flannery O’Connor, “A story is a way to say something that can’t be said any other way, and it takes every word in the story to say what the meaning is.” She also said, “I write to discover what I know.” And also: “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you odd.”

So this is your chance! Say something that can’t be said any other way, and make every word integral in the saying. We’ll closely examine—as writers who are looking to steal their secrets—short stories from O’Conner and other literary giants in this genre, both classic and contemporary. Our course text, Behind the Short Story, provides not only a wide variety of styles and techniques in short fiction but also (incredibly insightful) commentary from each author about his/her story. We’ll undertake exercises to develop your characters, push your plot lines, and make your dialogue do good and gritty work. We’ll engage in plenty of in-class critique, also known as “the workshop.” Come prepared to read and to write—lots and lots of each! You’ll write several short stories, introduce your classmates to a “new” contemporary short story writer as well as a literary journal, and turn in a final portfolio of roughly 30 radically revised pages.

Come discover what you know. And let the truth set you strange.

ENGL 355 01: Intermed Creative Wrtg: Poems (Poetics of Hip Hop)
Peschiera, Pablo
MW 1:00 PM 2:50 PM

All poetry is a form of playing with language, and today among the greatest masters of linguistic play are Hip-Hop artists, especially rappers. This course will look at specific strategies and forms used in poetry while reading the best lyrics by the best Hip-Hop artists & writers today.

All poets play with form (I'm not talking just sonnets, villanelles, and sestinas, though they count, too). Today's poets work the razor's edge of form and technique: they look to the forms and techniques of the past and use them for a poet's purpose: to create art that speaks in today's vernacular. You'll get prompts and guidance along the way, and you'll see poetry as a living art in which a poet both resettles known territory and blazes new paths across unknown land.

In English 355 you'll practice poetic techniques and forms while you develop a more profound self-awareness of your innate language habits. You'll write about one dozen wonderful new poems, and make of them a chapbook while both new and experienced poets provide feedback on your work. You'll learn new strategies for getting more out of reading poetry and listening to Hip Hop (top among them: READ LOTS OF POETRY—LISTEN TO LOTS OF RAP), and you'll come to know fascinating poets and rappers who love what they do because they know it matters.

Prerequisites: English 113, and (suggested) 200 level creative writing

ENGL 360 01: Modern English Grammar
Verduin, Kathleen
MWF 12:00-12:50

Grounded in the State of Michigan’s standards for English teachers, this course will enable you to teach writing on the elementary and secondary levels—and, let’s hope, make you a better, more confident writer yourself. We will start by identifying common errors—those small but irritating mistakes that can make you look ignorant—and then progress to an understanding of the parts of speech, the basic forms of words, the principles of correct and sophisticated sentence structure, and the art (yes, art!) of skillful punctuation. A good deal of our activity, though, will focus on the diagramming of sentences: a daunting prospect for the novice, but eventually such a joy that it’s been called more fun than Sudoku! You will soon be batting around terms like “noun clause,” “adjectival,” “phrasal verb,” and “morpheme” as if you had known them all your life. And you will also gain a sense of how grammar—a word which means many things to many people—has become a thorny social and even political issue.
Four tests; numerous exercises; production of one error-free academic paper.

ENGL 371 02: Beatnik Generation
Hemenway, Stephen
MWF 1:00 PM 1:50 PM

Are you ready to “Howl”? This thrice-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 receive critical attention and a fresh look at what makes the works durable or degrading more than half a century later.

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, How I Became Hettie Jones by Hettie Jones, 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 (Blake and Shelley), American Romantics (Thoreau and Whitman) and American Modernists (Gertrude Stein and William Carlos Williams). Musical connections (John Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie, Bob Dylan, John Cage, the Beatles, and the Grateful Dead) get well-deserved attention, and campy old films about Beatniks (High School Confidential, The Subterraneans, The Cool and the Crazy) show cinema at its worst. Very recent films (Howl with James Franco, Kill Your Darlings with Daniel Radcliffe, Big Sur with Anthony Edwards) reveal the continued popularity of this era. Beat celebrators (e.g., Anne Waldman in The Beat Book) and Beat debunkers (e.g., Norman Podhoretz in “The Know-Nothing Bohemians”) 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.

ENGL 373 02: Shakespeare's Plays
Cox, John
MW 3:00 PM 4:20 PM

The textbook for this course organizes Shakespeare's plays into four kinds, or "genres": comedy, history, tragedy, and romance. The first "complete works" edition (the so-called First Folio, published in 1623) uses a similar organizing strategy, but it omits "romance" and often puts plays in very different categories from those a modern editor would select for them. Who is right, in a case like this, and why? How much did Shakespeare himself think in terms of genre, as he wrote his plays? Does genre have a fixed identity, or is it a cultural construct? This course will approach Shakespeare's plays by raising questions about the identity of dramatic form, trying to understand, as best we can, how the plays came to have the shape they do. An important question is whether film constitutes a new genre. Is Branagh's Hamlet a different kind of work from a stage production of the play? To help answer this question, the course will strongly emphasize filmed versions of the plays, using the extensive DVD and videotape collection in the VanWylen Library. Four credit hours.

ENGL 375 01: History of the English Language
Gruenler, Curtis
MWF 9:30 AM 10:20 AM

Top Reasons to Study the History of the English Language
1. Gain philological tools for better understanding and analysis of literature in English from any period and any culture, from the Old English of Beowulf to the Spanglish of Gloria Anzaldúa.
2. Get an overview of the entire English literary tradition in its linguistic and historical context.
3. Understand how English has changed over time and varies according to culture, nationality, class, and medium—and consider the social and political significance of these varieties.
4. Learn how English came to have at least three times more words than any other language and became the most widely used language in the world.
5. See how the Oxford Inklings, including J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis, made important contributions to the study of the English language and how their studies inspired their own fiction and poetry.
6. Think about how Standard English relates to other varieties. What is good English and who decides?
7. Imagine what the future of English is likely to be. How, for instance, are politics and technology changing the language?

You’ll learn just enough about Old English poetry to translate a passage from Beowulf if you had to and, more important, to analyze and evaluate the choices made by a published translation. Other short projects will focus on Middle and Early Modern English through the work of Chaucer and Shakespeare, help you learn how to study individual words and their histories, and take a critical look at language authorities like dictionaries. You will also write a research-based paper and give a class presentation, each on topics of your choice. All in all, this course cultivates literary, linguistic, and historical attention to English that will enrich your reading, make you sensitive in new ways to language in any medium, and improve your use of English in any kind of writing.

ENGL 375 02: Ethnic American Young Adult Literature
Montano, Jesus
MW 3:00 PM 4:20 PM

In this course we will analyze Ethnic American literature for young adults. The goal of this course will be to explore a wide range of texts, ranging from a young girl growing up in Chicago, to a young boy growing up in the Coeur d’Alene Reservation, or in the innards of Flint, as well as travel narratives taking us to the depths of war and destruction.

This course will be taught with a major emphasis on critical issues surrounding the renaissance of multicultural literature. Due to the novel nature of this approach, time and emphasis will be given to questions of intercultural production, intertextuality, historicism, and diversity in America. By exploring literature for young adults in this manner, we hope to raise fundamental questions over the very essence of our world and how we see it.

This course will require extensive reading and discussion, a variety of written responses through a variety of critical perspectives, multimedia presentations, and a more extensive final project. This course meets Hope College cultural diversity requirements.

ENGL 375 03: Contemporary Black Women Novelists
Parker, Kendra
TR 9:30 AM 10:50 AM

How do “healing,” “salvation,” and/or self-discovery change in the context of black women’s writing? This course considers one way to approach contemporary African American women’s writing through modes of healing, salvation, and/or self discovery. The novels we read will be those published after 1990 and up to the present moment. The notion of “healing” is indispensable in understanding how black women’s identities are formed and marshaled, particularly as the question of just what constitutes a body worth healing, saving, or writing about and its meanings are profoundly raised.

ENGL 380 01: Teaching Secondary School English
Moreau, Bill
M 4:00 PM 5:50 PM
ENGL 381 01 Field Placement TBD

Are you an English major who wants to be an English teacher in a secondary school? Are you an English minor who may end up teaching some English as part of your future career choice? If either of these situations fits you, this class is designed to help. We'll learn concrete, practical methods for choosing and teaching literature, for teaching and evaluating the process of writing, and for presenting the study of grammar and usage. Topics of interest related to the profession of classroom teaching as a whole will also be shared. Class sessions will include informal lectures, student projects and presentations, and discussions. Reading will be from texts to be named later, and a mountain of handouts. Three credits total—two for the class, one for a field experience TBA.

ENGL 395 01: Literary Translation Workshop
Peschiera, Pablo
TR 9:00 AM 10:50 AM

This course is an introduction to the history/theory of translation and a creative writing workshop in literary translation.

Literary translation is a deeply important art form in its own right. So much wonderful and influential literature wasn’t originally written in English! Most of us have heard of the Russians Dostoevsky and Tolstoy; the Spaniards Cervantes and Colombian Garcia-Marquez; the French Flaubert and Sands; the Germans Hesse and Celan, the great Italian Dante; the Romans Virgil and Horace, and the Greeks Homer and Sappho; and so many others. If you only know English, you know these writers ony through their translations.

Often the difference between accessing the genius of Paul Celan’s poems and not “getting it” is the difference between a skillful translation. Translations are written for many different purposes—sometimes to evoke the rhythmic beauty of the original, other times to capture the exactness of the original’s images. Reading different translations of a work of literature gives us multiple ways to experience his poems—and to understand how we all read the same, but differently.

Translation is fundamentally an act of balancing “literary” or “poetic” language with “literalness”—with how closely you communicate the words/ideas of the original poem in your new version. About half of the course will be spent in discussing and comparing our own translations.

We’ll also spend perhaps a third of the course looking at essays on the history and theory behind translation. Translation as an idea has provoked many different—and sometimes opposed—ideas about what makes for good translation practice. As you develop your own skills as a translator, you’ll formulate your own theories on how to do it.

Like with writing, there’s no one foolproof way to learn the art of translation, but there are best practices. While delving into the history (and some of the theory) of translation, we will attempt translations of various works from various languages, using the best practices as passed-on by great translators. We will read both great and less-great translations, and try to see why some work better than others. We will look at how translation has been done and why, and create our own motivations for translating.

Many literary translations are produced through collaboration between a writer (of the language into which the work is being translated) and someone who speaks both languages. Other literary translations are produced by those who speak and read the source text fluently. In translation much of the art is in the destination language—for us that will be English. A mediocre writer who speaks both languages is often not as effective a translator as a wonderful writer working in collaboration with a native speaker.

Keeping all this in mind, in this course we will not assume that you have any mastery of a language other than English (though knowledge of other languages will be very helpful), and much of the class will run very much like any other writing workshop. You’ll be given “trots” (or literal, word-for-word translations), and whenever possible, an expert in the language from which you’ll be translating will come in to answer questions about the language, etc. We’ll then workshop the versions of the poems you’ve developed form the trots much as we do your own writing (though we’ll generally spend a bit less time on each piece, since the question of “vision” is never on the table for discussion). We’ll be focusing on your language, syntax, line breaks, and all the other formal aspects of a piece of literature.

Prerequisites: two semesters of a language other than English (or equivalent), and English 113—ask instructor for more details

ENGL 480 01: Intro to Literary Theory
Gruenler, Curtis
TR 9:30 AM 10:50 AM

Literary theory has become part of what those pursuing literary studies are assumed to know. What does theory contribute to the discipline? How does it connect literary studies to other disciplines like philosophy, history, theology, and psychology? What are the principles behind the different “schools” of literary theory? What are their possibilities and limitations for reading texts? This course will inform and enrich your judgment about why literature is valuable and what kind of reading is important. I hope it will help you not only understand literary texts better, but enjoy them more. You may come out reading everything as a text, since that is what literary theorists tend to do.

We will begin by considering basic questions and points of view about literature as articulated by classic thinkers from Aristotle to Eliot. Most of the course will be a tour of the major schools of thought from the past century, such as formalism, structuralism, deconstruction, postmodernism, reader-response theory, psychoanalytic criticism, feminist criticism, gender and sexuality studies, cultural studies, postcolonial criticism, and ecocriticism. As we move through these schools, we'll consider the writings of major theorists such as Ferdinand de Saussure, Roland Barthes, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Stanley Fish, Paul Ricouer, Jacques Lacan, Judith Butler, Homi Bhabha, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Stephen Greenblatt, Wendell Berry, and Gloria Anzaldúa. We will give particular attention to René Girard’s mimetic theory of culture as both a literary theory and a theory of theory.

The course will be conducted as a discussion-based seminar. Requirements will include several short papers and a long final paper that apply theoretical approaches to the texts of your choice. One side benefit of the course is getting to write and talk critically about whatever texts (stories, poems, plays, films, games, etc.) you are interested in.

ENGL 495 01: Advanced Studies in English
Childress, Susanna
W 3:00 PM 5:50 PM

Malian musician Ali Farka Touré says that honey is never good when it’s only in one mouth. Let this be your invitation to share in the bright raw sweetness that is writing and reading in a group of talented and invested peers. Our multi-genre capstone course in creative writing will feature poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and art-writing collaborations like the graphic novel. In what we read as well as what we write, we’ll examine how genres blur and boundaries shimmy. We’ll also work backwards and forwards, technologically speaking; students will create a material art-piece, such as a broadside or a hand-bound booklet, as well as web-based new media, such as a poetry video or, for prose, a story/essay trailor. Mostly, we’ll be doing a sizeable amount of reading, with required weekly responses, leading discussions, and presentations. Students should be prepared to generate substantial new writing, committing to accountability and community in class as well as in small groups outside of class. The final project for each student will be determined individually, will consist of two or more genres, and will provide evidence of the pursuit of publication. Along the way we’ll discuss what it means to be a writer (post-college) and explore resources for writing at every stage of life. Let the goodness begin: honey for one, honey for all.

Prerequisite: any 300-level creative writing course