400-Level Courses

Course Descriptions (as of 15 September 2000)
The following course descriptions have been written by individual instructors to provide more detailed information on specific section sthan that found in the General Catalog.  When individual descriptions are not available, the General Catalog descriptions [in brackets] are used. (Although we try to have as accurate and complete information as possible, this schedule remains subject to change.)


Interested in Medieval Literature?  In the history of English?  In English language study? Look at this graduate course in Old English open to undergraduates:
ENGL 512A, Introductory Reading in Old English, meeting TTh 9:30-11:20with Professor Anne Curzan, is a beginning course in the earliest written form of the English language, extremely helpful for study of English literature of the Middle Ages and early Renaissance and fundamental to historical study of the English language.  Read the course description, and if you are interested in registering, please e-mail Professor Curzan directly and provide the following information: your name; your student number; your year (junior, senior, etc.); a brief note about why you are interested in taking this course. 

440 A (Special Studies in Literature)
MW 12:30-2:20
--cancelled 4/12--

471 A (The Composition Process)
TTh 9:30-11:20
In this course, we will be talking about a number of the theoretical issues and concerns that have emerged over the past thirty years in the field of composition studies, focusing in particular on our ever-changing understanding of the act of writing in terms of product, process, and post-process.  Along the way, we will find ways to test these theories through practical activities in the classroom so that you can gain insights into what different students experience when they are asked to write and what different teachers and researchers think should go on when students are asked to write.  In the long run, the main goal of this course will be to expose you to a range of theoretical ideas, curricular approaches, and pedagogical strategies that various teachers, theorists, and researchers believe are likely to lead to the successful teaching of writing.  Your job will be to decide how to position yourself within this constellation of possibilities. Add codes available in English Advising office, A-2-B PDL.  Text: Joseph Harris, A Teaching Subject: Composition Since 1966.

474 A (Special Topics in English for Teachers)
MW 2:30-4:20
Training for English Department Writing Center tutors.  Add codes available from instructor, B-12 Padelford. C/NC only. Added 5/16; sln: 9307.

481 A (Special Studies in Expository Writing)
TTh 12:30-1:50
"Style is an essay's soul," write Gary and Glynis Hoffman in Adios, Strunk and White, the form of writing that breathes life into content.  As we move into the virtually-oriented, computer-literate society of the twenty-first century, writers are experimenting with a multitude of styles to capture the uniqueness of their visions in the Millennial Age.  This course will look at the changing notions of "good" style(s) from past to present and consider their relations to shifting ideologies.  Much of the class will be spent on analyzing a variety of prose (from the style guides themselves, to literary "masterpieces" to home pages, to your own writing) to get at the relation between how particular writers craft sentences, phrases, punctuation, graphics, etc., and what kinds of soul get reflected in these compositions.  Course requirements include a genuine interest in analyzing verbal style (we will be spending more class time scrutinizing sentence design and word choice than web graphics); regular attendance and engaged class discussion (online and off); oral presentations (analyzing style); and written stylistic analyses of your own and other's prose.  Computer-integrated. Texts: Strunk & White, Elements of Style; G.& G. Hoffman, Adios Strunk & White; Angell & Heslop, The Elements of E-Mail Style; Williams, Style: Ten Lessons...; Lynch & Horton, Web Style Guide.

483 A (Advanced Verse Writing)
TTh 11:30-12:50
[Intensive study of ways and means of making a poem.]  Prerequisite: ENGL 383, writing sample.  Add codes available in Creative Writing office, B-25 PDL.  No texts.

484 A (Advanced Short Story Writing)
MW 3:30-4:50
[Experience with theory and practice of writing the short story.] Prerequisite: ENGL 384, writing sample.  Add codes available in Creative Writing office, B-25 PDL. Texts: John Gardner, The Art of Fiction; Julie Checkoway, Creating Fiction; Northrup Frey, The Educated Imagination.

485 U (Novel Writing)
Tues 4:30-7:10 pm
This is not a course for beginning fiction writers. Just as one should never attempt a marathon before training at shorter distances, it is not wise to attempt a novella or novel without some experience in short fiction. It is presumed, then, that you are familiar with the fundamentals of fiction writing, of dramatizing experience, and creating a "fictional moment." For although we will pay attention to all dimensions of fiction, emphasis will be placed on those problems which arise from length--how one orders a longer sequence of events, how one manipulates a large cast of characters, how one retains a sense of unity and identity within the diversity which characterizes most novels. (Note: it is acceptable for this course, and in many cases advisable, to undertake a long story or novella before attempting a full-length novel.) Fiction writing is a serious way of knowing the world, and no time will be squandered on analyzing the purely commercial marketplace, or on how one might reduplicate fiction whose only function is the passing of time or the making of money. Prerequisite: ENGL 384 or 484 or equivalent, and writing sample  Prerequisite: ENGL 384 or 484, writing sample.  Add codes available in Creative Writing office, B-25 PDLText: Tolstoy, The Death of Ivan Ilych and Other Stories.

491 A (Internship)
Supervised experience in local businesses and other agencies. Open only to upper-division English majors. Credit/no credit only. Prerequisite: 25 credits in English. Add codes, further information in Undergraduate Advising office, A-2-B Padelford (206-543-2634).

492 A (Advanced Expository Writing Conference)
Tutorial arranged by prior mutual agreement between individual student and instructor. Revision of manuscripts is emphasized, but new work may also be undertaken. Instructor codes, further information available in Undergraduate Advising Office, A-2-B Padelford (206-543-2634).

493 A (Advanced Creative Writing Conference)
Tutorial arranged by prior mutual agreement between individual student and instructor.  Revision of manuscripts is emphasized, but new work may also be undertaken. Instructor codes, further information available in Creative Writing office, B-25 Padelford (206-543-9865; open 1-5 daily).

494 A (Honors Seminar)
MW 1:30-3:20
Whose Novel Is This: The Case of Wuthering Heights.  Study of the novel’s genesis, reception in its own time and since involves a variety of scholarly, interpretative, and theoretical issues.  A number of short papers and a term-long project will be required. English Departmental Honors students only; add codes in English Advising Office, A-2-B PDLText:  Brontë, Wuthering Heights (ed. Dunn & Sale).

496 A (Major Conference for Honors)
Individual study (reading, papers) by arrangement with the instructor. Required of, and limited to, honors seniors in English. Instructor codes, further information available in Undergraduate Advising Office (A-2B Padelford; [206] 543-2634).

497/8 A (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)
MW 9:30-11:20
Race and America.  Here we explore race as a central fact of American life and its literary expression.  Readings range from the 19th-century Huckleberry Finn to the contemporary Meena Alexander.  We will look at the controversies surrounding Twain’s classic, race and the color line as seen by DuBois at the beginning of the last century, and briefly how those problems have played out down to the present.  You will be encouraged to bring your own experience of life to bear on the topic as we trace the often tenuous-seeming links between “literature” and “life.”  Two papers and one class presentation. 497: Senior English honors students only; add codes in English Advising office, A-2-B PDL; 498: Senior majors only (open to non-majors Registration Period 2).Texts: Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn; W.E.B. DuBois, Writings: The Suppression of the African Slave-Trade, The Souls of Black Folk, Dusk of Dawn, Essays, Articles from the Crisis; Nella Larsen, Quicksand and Passing; Carlos Bulosan, America is in the Heart; Meena Alexander, The Shock of Arrival: Reflections on Postcolonial Experience; Manhattan Music.

497/8 B (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)
MW 10:30-12:20
The White Captive and the Literature of the Early Nation.  One of the first distinct, new literary genres to emerge out of colonial America was the Indian captivity narrative.  First popularized in the seventeenth century by Puritan propaganda campaigns after King Philip’s War, captivity narratives were best-sellers throughout the eighteenth century, and provided the raw material for a first generation of post-Revolutionary poets, novelists and dramatists who were self-consciously attempting to define and create a “unique” American literature.  We will begin with a brief sampling of colonial accounts of captivity, and discuss the particular functions captivity performed within colonial American culture.  Then we will examine how the figure of the white captive is appropriated and used by a range of early national writers, and deployed in a range of different genres and literary forms, especially in sentimental, gothic and historical novels, but also in tales, poetry and plays.  Finally, we will compare these "domestic" incidents of captivity to popular nineteenth-century narratives of white Americans taken captive by Barbary pirates off the coast of Africa. Course requirements will include extensive reading, independent historical research, a short (5-6 page) paper, and a seminar (12-15 page) paper. 497: Senior English honors students only; add codes in English Advising office, A-2-B PDL; 498: Senior majors only (open to non-majors Registration Period 2). Texts: Charles Brockden Brown, Edgar Huntly; Catherine Maria Sedgwick, Hope Leslie; Lydia Maria Childs, Hobomok; Richard Vanderbeets, Held Captive by Indians: Selected Narratives, 1642-1836; Paul Baepler, White Slaves African Masters; photocopied course packet.

497/8 C (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)
MW 12:30-2:20
The Constructive Imagination.  Through a careful reading of the twentieth-century American poets Wallace Stevens, Hart Crane, and John Ashbery, this course will grapple with such vexed questions as the ethical value of beauty, the utility of pleasure, and the reality of virtual worlds.  It will also address collateral issues such as the place of poetry in wartime, the relation between authorship and sexual identity, and the dangers of utopian dreaming.  The course will conclude by survey ing a few contemporary writers, most likely Susan Howe, Ann Lauterbach, and John Yau, who are actively revisiting and revising the earlier poets’ ideas in the light of a changed and changing America. 497: Senior English honors students only; add codes in English Advising office, A-2-B PDL; 498: Senior majors only (open to non-majors Registration Period 2).Texts: John Ashbery, Selected Poems; Hart Crane, The Complete Poems; Wallace Stevens, The Palm at the End of the Mind.

497/8 D (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)
MW 2:30-4:20
Literature of the Americas: Do the Americas Have a Common Literature? Using strategies from comparative literature, this course brings together major writers and texts from U.S. and Latin American literature.  Intended to break down barriers between American and Latin American literary and cultural studies, this course is organized around the question, Do the Americas have a common literature? In our cheek-by-cheek readings of literature from the Southern and Northern parts of the hemisphere, we will look at five major themes or categories which constitute possible sites of common ground in the literature and culture of the Americas: (1) Formative Definitions of American Identities: "Our (Mestizo) America" vs. the U.S. (Emerson, Jose Marti, Roberto Fernandez Retamar); (2) Representations of "the Indian" from the 19th century to the present in the U.S. and Peru (myths of the frontier and the "Vanishing American"; Reformism, Women Writers and the Sentimental Novel; indigenismo (Pero); contemporary Native American literature) (Fenimore Cooper, Dancing with Wolves, Helen Hunt Jackson, Clorinda Matto de Turner, Jose Maria Arguedas, N. Scott Momaday) (3) Harlem and Havana: the Black Atlantic, modernism and African-American/Afro-Cuban connections (blues poetry [Langston Hughes] and poesia negra [Nicolas Guillen]); (4) Modernism in the Americas: Modernity and the Search for a Usable Past/the Quest for Origins: hybrid genealogies, transculturation, hemispheric multiculturalism (Octavio Paz, Richard Rodriguez, Carmen Tafolla, William Carlos Williams, Alejo Carpentier) (5) Postmodern Connections and American Labyrinths of Fiction (Jorge Luis Borges and Thomas Pynchon). Part of the fun of this class is to "test-drive" a "discipline-in-progress": Comparative Hemispheric American Literary and Cultural Studies is just in its infancy as a discipline, and we can all pasrticipate in its creation and development.  Assignments: 2 short papers and 1 research paper. Required texts: Alejo Carpentier, The Lost Steps; Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49; Helen Hunt Jackson, Ramona; William Carlos Williams, In the American Grain; Clorinda Matto de Turner, Torn from the Nest; N. Scott Momaday, House of Dawn; photocopied course packet. 497: Senior English honors students only; add codes in English Advising office, A-2-B PDL; 498: Senior majors only (open to non-majors Registration Period 2).

497/8 E (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)
TTh 9:30-11:20
Tales of Two Cities: Paris and London in the 19th Century.  Two European cities earned the term “metropolis” in the 19th century: Paris and London.  The population of each grew enormously in that period and each saw vast reconstruction of streets, parks and architecture.  It may be that Louis Napoleon who used his dictatorial powers to redesign Paris between 1850 and 1870 was inspired by a previous period of exile in London.  In any case, the two cities spoke to each other, and we will respond to both by studying several novels along with paintings, architecture, and street plans.  In addition to novels by Charles Dickens and Emile Zola, there will be a packet of readings from writers adept in both cities along with material from contemporary newspapers and journals.  Seminar discussion, short essays and a research project. 497: Senior English honors students only; add codes in English Advising office, A-2-B PDL; 498: Senior majors only.  Texts: Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist; A Tale of Two Cities; Emile Zola, The Belly of Paris; The Masterpiece.

497/8 F (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)
MW 1:30-3:20
Nineteenth-Century Domestic Ideology.  In this class we will consider the literal and metaphorical representations of the domestic and “home” through readings of 19th-century literature and culture.  There will be weekly journal-style response papers, an oral presentation, and one long term paper.  This is a small seminar, and students are expected to actively participate in each class session. 497: Senior English honors students only; add codes in English Advising office, A-2-B PDL; 498: Senior majors only. Texts:  Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin; Edith Wharton, House of Mirth; Elizabeth Keckley, Behind the Scenes; Nathaniel Hawthorne, House of Seven Gables; Jane Addams, Twenty Years at Hull House.

497/8 G (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)
TTh 1:30-3:20
Jeanette Winterson: The Writer as Bad Girl.  Contemporary fiction writer Jeanette Winterson is both beloved by her fnas, and notorious for her outrageous comments about herself and the recent writing scene.  What do we make of someone who calls herself  “the greatest living prose stylist in English,” or who is convinced “there is no such thing as autobiography, only Art and Lies”?  Some of her fictions play with gender, others with fantasy and sexuality. As she writes, gives interviews, and responds to critics, she makes herself a fiction, even as she takes so much pleasure in making imaginary worlds.  We’ll read a number of her books, including Oranges Aren’t the Only Fruit, The Passion, Sexing the Cherry, and Written on the Body, along with interviews, and critical commentaries about her.  The seminar will be of particular interest to students interested in gender, queer studies, risky writing, and the fine art of making yourself a myth while you’re young. 497: Senior English honors students only; add codes in English Advising office, A-2-B PDL; 498: Senior majors only (open to non-majors Registration Period 2).

497/8 YA (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)
TTh 7-8:50 pm
Passing.  Judith Butler, describing a scene in Nella Larsen’s Passing, says that “queering is what upsets and exposes passing; it is the act by which the racially and sexually repressive surface of conversation is exploded by rage, by sexuality, by insistence on color.”  Many scholars, such as Juda C. Bennett, suggest that the passing figure is distinctly American and is crucial to our understandings of race.  In this course, though, we will seek ways to extend the concept of “passing” in order to explore the motivation behind a person’s decision, either to adopt a specific racial/gendered/ethnic guise or to conceal one.  In addition to Passing and a photocopied course packet, texts for the course MAY include Jeanette Winterson’s Written on the Body, D. H. Lawrence’s Women in Love, Philip Roth’s The Human Stain, Charles W. Chesnutt’s The House Behind the Cedars, Gad Beck’s An Underground Life, James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room, Natalie Davis’s The Return of Martin Guerre, Janet Lewis’s The Wife of Martin Guerre, Aphrodite Jones’s All She Wants, and Elaine K. Ginsberg’s Passing and the Fictions of Idenity.   Please check the syllabus for this course (found at http://students prior to purchasing texts for the course.  Evening Degree students only, Registration Period 1. 497: Senior English honors students only; add codes in English Advising office, A-2-B PDL; 498: Senior majors only.

499 A (Independent Study)
Individual study by arrangement with instructor. Prerequisite: permission of director of undergraduate education. Add codes, further information, available in Undergraduate Advising office, A-2-B Padelford (206-543-2634)

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