Student looking at bookshelf

Literature Course Offerings

Fall 2021

ENG 221- Survey of British Literature: 800-1798

This class starts in 800, when there was not even the faintest glimmer of the British Empire: overrun by raiding Vikings, England as we understand it did not exist. Reading literary texts major and minor, English 221explores the nascent ideas of national identity, the slow rise of the middle class, the emergence of capitalism, the eventual domination of the dialect we now speak, the place of women and outsiders, the relationship between science and religion, as well as how masculinity, class, and power were understood. All writing in the class is designed to give you confidence in putting forth your own ideas, rather than echoing the professor’s. You will learn not only about the periods, but about the literary theories that influence how we see and assess the past. Join us for an exciting, sometimes unsettling exploration of ideas and literature that still echo through our present!

ENG 221H- Survey of British Literature: 800-1798, Honors

Taught as a stand-alone section complementing 221, 221H reads an additional text—chosen by students. Discussions place the 221H text alongside the 221 texts and are driven by student questions and insights. 221H offers you the chance to tackle the texts by understanding and practicing various methods of literary interpretation. 

ENG 225- American Literature: Pre-Colonization to 1865

This course examines U.S. literature produced from the beginning of the colonization of North America through the start of the U.S. Civil War. As we read representative works of various genres (travel narratives, sermons, pamphlets, autobiographies, diaries, novels, and sketches), we will analyze how intellectual, religious, social, and political movements have influenced their major themes. In doing so, we will consider the significance of literary production in the early formation of the U.S. national identity and its ideological constructs.

ENG 241- Contemporary Women Writers 

Through fiction and memoir --how women writers portray the effect of political, cultural, and social constructs of gender on our most intimate and our most public decisions. How do the gendered roles (female, male, non-binary) we assume--or that are imposed upon us--play out in our romantic and sexual partnerships, our families, our friendships? How do gendered labels affect notions of place and self-worth? How does all of this shape our professional, public voices and identity? How does looking at the intersections of gender, race, class, age, nationality complicate and clarify the cultural myths of femininity, masculinity, romance, parenting, etc. across national and historical borders? These seemingly theoretical questions are what we ask ourselves when we ask "Who am I really?" or "Why did that person choose to do that?" What better way to explore these issues than through the stories of characters who engage us with their tales of struggle, sorrow, and triumph? By giving voice to the private and the public experience of gender, women writers encourage each of us to claim our voices and our spaces. They also open avenues of shared insights and realities that inform personal identity. Although this is a literature course, all majors are welcome as are the diverse perspectives of all students interested in joining this exploration. 

Program Description

In our information-based society, reading comprehension and writing skills are essential. The English Program offers a rich and varied education in these vital areas of literacy, serving the individual student, the academic community and society at large. The pre-freshman course (ENG 98) and the freshman English courses (ENG 110 and 111) provide students with a foundation in college writing and research through the study of nonfiction, fiction, drama, and poetry, while emphasizing the development of critical thinking skills. In order to further develop understanding of our cultural traditions and to stimulate students' imaginations, the department offers literature courses ranging from surveys of American, British, world and sacred literature, to introductory courses in Shakespeare, poetry, women's literature, contemporary fiction and drama. These sophomore literature courses provide enrichment to any student and fulfill the General Education requirements for students enrolled in degree and transfer programs. Also available to students who have completed freshman composition are courses in creative writing, technical writing and, when possible, advanced composition, each emphasizing development of different writing skills. The objective of the English Department is to provide each student with the opportunity to develop his or her own reading, writing, research and critical thinking abilities for successful transfer to universities and for functioning in society and the job market.

Department Office

English Office: Miriam Theis (IDC-317, ext. 2340)
Melissa Menendez Chair (IDC-319, ext. 2475)
Elizabeth Imhof, Dean (ext. 2354)

picture of English Composition department faculty