Course Descriptions (as of 8 July 1999)
The following course descriptions have been written by individual instructors to provide more detailed information on specific sections than 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 history of the English
language? In English language study? Check out this graduate course
in Old English open to undergraduates:
ENGL 512A, Introductory Reading in Old English, meeting daily 8:30-9:20 with Professor Robert Stevick, 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. Add codes available in English Graduate Office, A-105 PDL
440 A (Special Studies in Literature)
Recent Feminist Writing on Race. This course will examine recent feminist writings that treat questions of race, racism, and anti-racism. In general the works we will read examine one or more of the following issues: the historical legacy of racism within the white feminist movement in the US and Europe; the elaboration of analytic methods capable of considering the inextricable nature of race and gender identity and oppression; and the problem of creatively representing this inextricable relationship in prose. The course is thoroughly interdisciplinary; it will focus on creative works as well as on writings by feminist theorists, historians, scientists and lawyers. Students who enroll in the course should ideally have some prior exposure to literary theory and/or have taken a course in women’s studies. Texts: Charlotte Perkisn Gilman, Herland; Ware, Beyond the Pale; Louise Newman, White Women's Rights; Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior; Ida B. Wells, The Memphis Diaries; Margaret Mead, Coming of Age in Samoa; Samuel R. Delany, Tales of Neveryon; Octavia Butler, Wildseed.
452 A (Topics in American Literature)
Race, Nation, God. This course examines the intersection of race, gender, religion, and nationalism in 19th- and 20th-century American autobiographical forms. We will read a variety of personal narratives that span the centuries and reveal the crucial role of the right to religious freedom in the development and expression of American identity. The religious denominations represented include Christian Protestantism, Judaism, and hybrid religions practiced by Native- and African-Americans. What philosophical and theological precepts are inherent in these texts? To what degree is religion inherent in the “national character”? In addition, students will present the results of further research on these and related issues in oral presentations and formal research papers. Texts: de Crevecouer, Letters from an American Farmer; David Walker’s Appeal (1829); Narrative of Sojourner Truth (1884); Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins, Life Among the Piutes; Mark Twain, Diaries of Adam and Eve; Mary Antin, The Promised Land; Tony Kushner, Angels in America; Lucille Clifton, Good Women; Lunsford & Connors, eds., Easy Writer: A Pocket Guide.
452 B (Topics in American Literature)
South Asian American Literature. This is a class in which we will explore the beginnings of a South Asian American literary tradition through the writings, mostly fiction, of South Asian American authors. Besides Anthology selections we will read and discuss works by Meena Alexander, C. S. Sharat Chandra, Bharati Mukherjee, among others. Weekly journals and one substantial paper are required. Meets with AAS 498B. Texts: Meena, The Shock of Arrival; Mukherjee, Jasmine; Chandra, Sari of the Gods; Women of the South Asian Collective, Our Feet Walk the Sky: Women of the South Asian Diaspora; Rustamji-Kerns, Living in America.
471 A (The Composition Process)
This course introduces students to the various approaches that guide the study and teaching of writing. In it, we will explore the different methods of teaching writing that have emerged in the last thirty or so years, ranging from methods for teaching students how to produce texts to methods for assessing these texts. We will also examine the theories that underscore these methods, starting with the emergence of the process movement in th 1960s and then inquiring into its various manifestations (and critiques of these manifestations) in the years since. Along the way, I hope we can begin to think critically about the various practices that inform the teaching of writing, in particular, what values and assumptions guide these practices so that we all can become more self-reflective readers, writers, and teachers. Most of all, though, I would like this course to give us all a chance to think about what it means to tach writing, to develop and share our own goals for teaching writing, and to generate and articulate practices that will help us achieve these goals. Coursework will include writing short response papers, conducting a brief teaching ethnography, and creating a teaching portfolio and bibliography. Add codes in English Advising office, A-2-B PDL; (206) 543-2634. Texts: Harris, A Teaching Subject: Composition since 1966; Wiley, Gleason & Phelps, Composition in Four Keys: Inquiring into the Field.
481 A (Special Studies in Expository Writing)
Style. 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 visually-oriented, computer-literate society of the twenty-first century, writers are experimenting with a multitude of styles to capture the uniqueness of their vision in the new millennium. This course will look at the changing notions of good style(s) in the past and present and consider their relation to shifting ideologies. Much of the class will be spent on analyzing a variety of prose (from literary masterpieces to home pages to business office memos) to get at how writers craft(ed) sentences, phrases, punctuation, graphics, etc., to breathe life or death into the writing and why. Course requirements will include a genuine interest in analyzing verbal style (we will be spending more class time scrutinizing sentence design and word choice than on web graphics); regular attendance and engaged class discussion (online and off); group oral presentations (analyzing style); and written stylistic analyses of your own and others’ prose. Texts: Strunk & White, Elements of Style; G. & G. Hoffman, Adios Strunk & White; Angell & Heslop, The Elements of E-Mail Style; Williams, Ten Lessons in Clarity and Grace; Lynch and Horton, Web Style Guide.
483 A (Advanced Verse Writing)
Intensive study of ways and means of making a poem. Prerequisite: ENGL 383 & writing sample. Add codes in Creative Writing office, B-25 Padelford, (206) 543-9865. Text: Heaney & Hughes, The Rattle Bag.
484 A (Advanced Short Story Writing)
This class will concentrate on the development of your individual voices as fiction writers, and particularly on revision. You will write two stories, revise both of them, and revise one of them a second time. We will meet as a class and in small group sto discuss your work. Be prepared to read each other’s work carefully and comment on it extensively. This is not a class in writing genre or commercial fiction. No texts. Prerequisite: ENGL 384 and writing sample to be screened by instructor. Add codes in Creative Writing office, B-25 Padelford.
485 A (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 and writing sample to be screened by instructor. Add codes in Creative Writing office, B-25 Padelford.Text: Dostoevsky, Notes from Underground.
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 and further information in English advising office, A-2-B Padelford.
492A (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 and further information available in Undergraduate Programs office, A-11 Padelford.
493A (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 and further information available in Creative Writing office, B-25 Padelford, open 11-3 daily.
494 A (Honors Seminar)
Theory and the Cultural Work of Reading. This course will explore recent developments in critical theory, in specific reference to the idea of reading. We will explore how the task of reading, and more generally, literacy, have been conceived and institutionalized, with specific reference to the church, the state, and the idea of the aesthetic. Readings will be wide ranging, including literary texts, philosophical and theoretical works. We may also spend some time on other art forms, particularly visual art and music. Deparmental honors students only; add code in English Advising office, A-2-B PDL. Texts: Adams & Searle, Critical Theory Since 1965; Sophocles, The Oedipus Cycle; Shakespeare, Hamlet; John Bunyan, The Pilgrim's Progress; Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter; Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness.
496A (Major Conference for Honors)
Individual study (reading, papers) by arrangement with the instructor. Required of and limited to honors seniors in English. Instructor codes and further information in Undergraduate Programs office, A-11 Padelford.
497/8 A (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)
(W; Service Learning)
Contracts of the Heart: Sacrifice, Gift Economy and Literary Exchange in Coleridge and Wordsworth. In this seminar we will study the literary relationship of Coleridge and Wordsworth who, as one critic remarked, “not only pervasively influenced one another, but did so in a way that challenges ordinary methods of assessments.” We will explore the possibility of deriving from theories of gift exchange and sacrifice a new model of literary influence that would shed light on this remarkably intimate and deeply conflicted relationship.
We will spend the first four weeks of the quarter studying theories of gift exchange and sacrifice as proposed, among others, by Marcel Mauss, Marshall Sahlins, Georg Simmel, Lewis Hyde and Pierre Bourdieu (on the gift); and by Sigmund Freud, Henri Hubert and Marcel Mauss, René Girard and Georges Bataille (on sacrifice). The next six weeks will be devoted to the study of major poems by Coleridge and Wordsworth in chronological order, showing how the two poets, while desiring to imitate each other, find themselves competing for the same themes and appropriating each other’s subjects. Thus, while early Coleridge wrote successful nature poetry and Wordsworth portrayed moving stories of human suffering in a supernatural setting, after their collaboration on the Lyrical Ballads, Wordsworth turned to the philosophy of the mind’s relationship with nature, while Coleridge started to explore the effects of supernaturalism on the psyche.
Such moments of merging and separation can be profitably viewed through the lens of gift exchange and sacrifice. The gift, for example, generates a number of paradoxes that are relevant to the relationship between Coleridge and Wordsworth, being at once an altruistic model of social interaction, placing value on human bonds above economic or private interests, while at the same time remaining embedded in a self-interested power structure. Gift exchange often secures the privileged position of the donor at the expense of receivers and yet, as Mauss showed, receivers seem to retain “a sort of proprietary right” over everything that belongs to the donor. The gift thus generates the obfuscation of ownership rights and an erasure of the differences between donors and beneficiaries. We will see how Wordsworth and Coleridge, while collaborating early on a single unauthored volume (Lyrical Ballads) and wanting to write the same poem (“The Wanderings of Cain,” “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”), found themselves increasingly asserting “proprietary rights” over the stock of inventions which they initially passed on to each other according to the law of the gift. Wordsworth continued to use Coleridge’s ideas but tried hard to displace Coleridge as a gift-giving source, turning to nature or his private fund of “possessions,” to “Something within, which yet is shared by none” (“Home at Grasmere”).
This is a service learning course which will require students to spend a number of hours interacting with people from the Seattle community and getting a first-hand experience of the modes of gift exchange and sacrifice studied in the course. For example, it will be interesting to test what is involved in charitable acts toward the needy, and how destitutes become sacrificial victims, by reading not only theoretical analyses of charity and sacrifice, or Wordsworth’s poem “The Old Cumberland Beggar,” but also by observing directly the position of a donor or receiver of gifts, of a perpetrator or victim of sacrificial violence. 497: Senior English honors students only; add codes in English Advising office, A-2-B PDL; 498: Senior majors only.
Assignments: A long paper (10-16 pp.), written in two stages and subject to revision; bi-weekly comments on assigned readings and community involvement; a final exam. Texts: The Oxford Authors: S. T. Coleridge; The Oxford Authors: William Wordsworth; Marcel Mauss, The Gift; René Girard, Violence and the Sacred; photocopied course packet.
497/8 B (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)
van den Berg
Patients’ Stories, Doctors’ Stories. This course examines poetry and prose about the experience of sickness, pain, and caregiving. Physician-writers will include Rudolph Fisher, William Carlos Williams, Oliver Sacks, Richard Selzer, and Rafael Campos. Novelists and poets will include Walt Whitman and Louisa May Alcott (both nurses during the American Civil War), and a number who have written about illness and pain: Fanny Burney, Audre Lord, Ernest Hemingway, Virginia Woolf, Gustave Flaubert, John Donne, Rebecca Brown, Anatole Broyard. We will consider different versions of the doctor/patient relationship. We will study how different writers sue the medical situation to portray the body as object and subject, the experience of disease as a breakdown of community and as a formation of community, the simultaneous experience of isolation and dependency, and the narratives of chaos, quest, and restitution that mark attempts to give meaning to pain and disease. Students will be asked to research literary depictions of a medical situation or disease, and present their findings to the class. Requirements: class participation; class presentation; term paper. Senior English majors only; Add codes for 497 available in English Advising Office, A-2-B Padelford. Texts: Rebecca Brown, Gifts of the Body; William Carlos Williams, The Doctor Stories; Richard Selzer, Mortal Lessons; Audre Lord, The Cancer Journals; John Donne, Devotions upon Emergent Occasions; Anatole Broyard, Intoxicated by my Illness; Gustave Flaubert, Three Tales.
497/8 C (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)
Beyond Race. This course concerns the effort on the part of a number of writers to have aesthetic experience (music, literature, art) become a way to remove the constraints of fixed racial and ethnic identity and to create an unraced “kingdom of culture” in the words of W. E. B. DuBois. Our selected texts portray both the power and precariousness of this ideal. 497: Senior English honors students only; add codes in English Advising office, A-2-B PDL; 498: Senior majors only. Texts: DuBois, Souls of Black Folk; Ellison, Invisible Man; Shadow and Act; Adrienne Kennedy, People Who Led To My Plays; David Hollinger, Post-Ethnic America; Richard Rodriguez, Hunger of Memory; Jane Kramer, Whose Art Is It?
497/8 D (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)
The Sense of Hearing. This seminar is based on two simple premises: (a) All good literature (in prose or verse; dramatic, narrative, argumentative, meditative, etc.) needs, asks, begs, to be performed. If you can’t hear a writer’s voice, or the play of voices he/she constructs, something’s badly wrong either with what you’re reading, or with you. (b) If it’s the latter, the situation can be remedied. Most people do not read as well as they might; the most common reason is that they don’t hear enough of what they read clearly enough. But one can improve. So, this is essentially a course in reading better by hearing better. Besides the assigned texts, we will be reading a lot of poems, shorter prose passages, etc., which I will photocopy for our use. Senior English majors only; Add codes for 497 available in English Advising Office, A-2-B Padelford. Texts: Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra; Austen, Pride and Prejudice; Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest.
497/8 E (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)
Jonathan Swift. We will focus on Swift’s achievement as a satirist. Included for in-depth study are Gulliver’s Travels, A Tale of a Tub and Swift’s misogynistic poetry. Requirements include frequent response papers, one class presentation, and one long (10 page) seminar paper.Senior English majors only; Add codes for 497 available in English Advising Office, A-2-B Padelford. Texts: Swift, Gulliver’s Travels; Tale of a Tub and Other Pieces; Complete Poems; A Modest Proposal and Other Satires.
497/8 F (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)
Fear, Gratitude, Grief, Joy, Anger, and Other Emotions I Have Known While Reading and Living. This is a course about emotional responses to literature (and some film). Its point is to explore the intense reactions we have to some things we read and view, and to try to understand exactly what they are, and why we have them. We’ll read fiction (mostly from contemporary writers) together with essays about emotions, feelings, and affects from other disciplines including psychology, philosophy, and anthropology. We’ll take up some provocative questions: What does it mean to “identify” with a character, really? How much of our own lives do we read into a character’s life? What does it mean to “escape” into a book? Why would someone want to do that, anyway? What does “being moved” by something we read/view involve? How do we account for the bodily responses that sometimes accompany intense emotional responses? Students will write short response papers, a longer seminar paper, and give a class presentation. Participation in discussion is required. So are lively opinions, and an interest in this topic. Senior English majors only; Add codes for 497 available in English Advising Office, A-2-B Padelford. Texts: Jeanette Winterson, The Passion; Tim O'Brien, In the Lake of the Woods; Nora Keller, Comfort Woman; Danzy Senna, Caucasia; Jane Hamilton, A Map of the World.
497/8 G (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)
British Writing in the 1920s.This seminar will explore British writing during the 1920s. The class will read a variety of works from this decade, ranging from its most famous (and difficult) poem: The Waste Land, to one of its favorite examples of popular fiction, The Inimitable Jeeves. We’ll read fiction by Katherine Mansfield, Virginia Woolf, and Aldous Huxley, as well as two notorious novels (both of them banned by the censors): D. H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover and Radcliffe Hall’s The Well of Loneliness. In addition, each student will be assigned a “lost” or neglected book written during this decade as the focus for individual research and writing. Course requirements include active participation in class discussion, library research assignments, oral reports, short and longer papers, and a final examination. Senior English majors only; Add codes for 497 available in English Advising Office, A-2-B Padelford. Texts: P. G. Wodehouse, The Inimitable Jeeves; Katherine Mansfield, The Garden Party; T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land; Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway; D. H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley’s Lover; Radcliffe Hall, The Well of Loneliness; Aldous Huxley, Point Counter Point.
497/8 H (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)
Darwin’s Descent. The publication of Charles Darwin’s theories about evolution in 1859 and his theories about sexual selection in 1871 irrevocably altered the way in which people thought about themselves, their relationships to one another, their belief systems, and their ideas about the physical world in which they lived. This course will examine several of Darwin’s central scientific works, and their impact on period literature. In particular it will focus on the effect of the theories of “natural selection” and “sexual selection” on a number of nineteenth- and twentieth-century texts that either implicitly or explicitly engage with Darwin’s ideas. Central questions that will guide our discussion include: How did Darwinian theories inform the representation of class conflict and struggle? How did ideas about sexual selection shape literary representations of women’s roles in society? How did ideas about “the survival of the fittest” impact on literary depictions of national and/or racial belonging? How did these ideas feed imperialist aspirations? In sum, how did Darwinism shape modern tarns-Atlantic literature, and how did this literature contest Darwinism? Senior English majors only; Add codes for 497 available in English Advising Office, A-2-B Padelford. Texts: Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man; The Origin of the Species; Rebecca Harding Davis, Life in the Iron Mills; Frank Norris, McTeague; Charles Chesnutt, The House Behind the Cedars; Henry James, Daisy Miller; Octavia Butler, Dawn; Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Women and Economics.
497/8 YA (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)
TTh 7-8:50 pm
The Gothic Revival and Nineteenth-Century Poetry. Nineteenth-century poets were fascinated by a medieval past that seemed to them to be defined by love, honor, violence, and magic, and in this seminar we will examine the development of medieval themes and images throughout the poetry of the period. We will briefly consider the work of Chatterton and Macpherson, two eighteenth-century fabricators of “antique” material, and then we will move through Coleridge’s “Christabel” and Keats’s “The Eve of St. Agnes” to texts such as Tennyson’s “The Lady of Shalott,” Morris’s The Defence of Guenevere and Other Poems, and (parts of) Swinburne’s Tristram of Lyonesse. A reading of all of Tennyson’s Idylls of the King will occupy a substantial part of the semester. Topics of discussion will include visuality in poetry, the relationship of poetry to material culture, and the conflict between nationalism and internationalism in nineteenth-century medievalism. We will consider a variety of critical approaches to these topics, and students should be prepared to attend both to poetic craft and to theoretical argument. Course requirements: brief midterm report, longer seminar paper, active participation.Senior English majors only; Add codes for 497 available in English Advising Office, A-2-B Padelford. Texts: Tennyson, Idylls of the King; Lang, ed., The Pre-Raphaelites and Their Circle; Arthurian Poets: Algernon Charles Swinburne.
499A (Independent Study)
Individual study by arrangement with instructor. Instructor codes and further information in Undergraduate Programs office, A-11 Padelford.