ENGL 299 - Seminar for Prospective Majors
Planned Offering: Fall, Winter
Prerequisites: Completion of FW composition requirement, at least one course chosen from English courses numbered from 203 to 295. A study of a topic in literature issuing in a research process and sustained critical writing. Some recent topics have been Justice in Late Medieval Literature; Tragedy and Comedy; Western American Literature; Emily Dickinson; and Thomas Hardy: Novelist and Poet.
Winter 2015 topics:
ENGL 299-01: Seminar for Prospective Majors: Henry David Thoreau and American Transcendentalism (3). This course focuses on the writing of Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), reading them in relation to other major figures of American Transcendentalism. During Thoreau's short lifetime, New England culture was the site of far-reaching and profound social, political, scientific, and literary innovations. We combine close attention to works like Walden and The Maine Woods with research into the lyceum lecture series, anti-slavery movements, communitarian experiments, natural history and travel narratives, and the essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson. (HL) Warren.
ENGL 299-02: Seminar for Prospective Majors: Revenge (3). In this seminar, preparatory to more advanced study in the English Department, we sharpen our skills as close readers of texts and as clear and compelling writers about literature and film. Our topic is one of the most common themes and sources of conflict in world literature: revenge. From Greek drama (such as Medea), to the Old Testament, to English Renaissance drama (The Spanish Tragedy, Hamlet), to contemporary film (Kill Bill), to world literature and film (Chushingura, The Virgin Spring), the revenge motive has propelled plots and characters and has spun off sub-genres, such as detective fiction, gangster violence, and legal drama. The course culminates in a longer paper on the topic and texts of your choice that showcase your skills in textual analysis, application of pertinent theory, and research. (HL) Dobin.
Fall 2014 Topics:
ENGL 299-01: Seminar for Prospective Majors: Detective Fiction (3). A close study of the popular sub-genre, detective fiction, culminating in the writing of a research paper. We study detective fiction from the beginnings of the form in the nineteenth century to contemporary examples, touching on the golden age of British detective fiction ("whodunits" and puzzlers), private eyes, hard-boiled detectives, police procedurals, psychological thrillers, and historical and metaphysical mysteries. Authors are selected from among the following: Wilkie Collins, Arthur Conan Doyle, Dorothy Sayers, Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain, Josephine Tey, P. D. James, Ruth Rendell, Paul Auster, Laurie R. King, Walter Mosley, P. B. Kerr, and Alan Bradley. Some authors and modes are represented by film adaptations rather than by novels. (HL) Keen
ENGL 299-02: Seminar: The Native Writes Back:American Indian Literatures and U.S. History (3). "History is written by the victors. Literature is written by the survivors." For most of U.S. history, the voices and testimonies of Native American writers have been absent, silenced, or erased from our textbooks and cultural mythology. With few exceptions, non-natives usually told the Native American story in America. With the start of the Native American Literary Renaissance in the late 1960s, however, Indian writers have been using fiction, memoir, poetry, creative non-fiction, film-making, stand-up comedy, and music to re-write U.S. history from a Native point of view. This course examines specific events in U.S History from a Native American perspective as reflected in Native-authored texts to see how Indians present that re-visioning, how it is translated from various sources into literature, and the effectiveness it has in helping U.S. citizens re-imagine ourselves in contemporary times. (HL) Miranda.
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