2012-2013 University Catalog 
    Jul 11, 2020  
2012-2013 University Catalog archived

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ENGL 413 - Senior Research and Writing

Credits: 3
Planned Offering: Fall, Winter

Prerequisites: Six credits in English at the 300 level, senior major standing, and instructor consent. Enrollment limited to six. A collaborative group research and writing project for senior majors, conducted in supervising faculty members' areas of expertise, with directed independent study culminating in a substantial final project. Possible topics include poetic voice, ecocriticism, literature and psychology, material conditions of authorship, and modern Irish studies.

Winter 2013 topics:

ENGL 413-01: Senior Research and Writing: The Many Faces of Epic (3). A concentrated study of the history and theory of one of literature's premier genres, this course surveys key theories of epic from Aristotle and Horace to Auerbach, Lukacs, Campbell, and Moretti (and even perhaps Adams) along with carefully selected examples from among the many epic poems, histories, novels, films, television programs, and video games before each student heads off into whatever theoretic, historical, generic, or modal instances of or debates surrounding epic interest him or her--with epic the sky is the limit. Adams.

ENGL 413-02: Senior Research and Writing: Poetry and Community (3). In the first half of this course, we discuss the social uses of poetry. Possible topics include inaugural poetry; poetry and education; poetry's healing functions for individuals and communities; and poetry and activism. Students generate ten-page essays on one of these topics. At midterm, we shift emphasis from reading to writing poetry. This work culminates in a short portfolio of original poems aimed at a particular audience or supporting a particular occasion or cause. Throughout the term, students must also volunteer two hours per week in a poetry-related service placement arranged by the Service Learning Coordinator. Wheeler.

ENGL 413-03: Senior Research and Writing: Studying Literature in Action (3). This capstone seminar explores the impact of reading literature and expressive writing using empirical methods, introspection, and traditional literary analysis. Shared theoretical readings augment individual directed readings in poetry, narrative fiction, drama, or children's literature, depending on the individual student's area of interest and expertise. A service learning experience, involving work with young readers through community schools or libraries, is a possibility. Students may conduct experiments about narrative impact. More traditional literary critical options are also available. Students also assist Professor Keen in her research on emotional responses to reading. Course meetings are held at Professor Keen's house on a weekday evening, 6-8 p.m. Supper will be served. Keen.

Fall 2012 topics:

ENGL 413-01: Senior Research and Writing: Memoir (3). This course examines twentieth- century self-writing, considering theories of selfhood within genres of fiction, memoir, and the personal essay. Concepts of memory, identity, experience, agency, and audience are theorized and studied in relation to disparate texts, including Pulitzer Prize-winning books, the novel Gilead by Marilynne Robinson, and the memoir Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt, and personal essays by James Baldwin, Joan Didion, and Annie Dillard. We also view self-writing as narrative, studying autobiographical texts as art forms, and thus, we read details about individual lives and historical moments primarily as crafted art forms. At the same time, we study the techniques of self-writing by analyzing individual texts in relation to specific tools writers have identified as useful to the composition of autobiography. We take all of this and apply it to the development of our own self-writing, which we practice in response to prompts that are keyed to the week’s topics and generic forms. In the second half of the course, after completing a research paper on autobiographical texts, we develop a longer piece of creative self-writing (25 pages) that reflects the careful thinking about theories of selfhood, as well as specific writing tools, that we have studied throughout the term. Gertz.

ENGL 413-02: Senior Research and Writing: Modernism and the Irish Experience (3). This capstone seminar focuses on three seminal works of Irish literary modernism: J. M. Synge’s groundbreaking play, The Playboy of the Western World (1907), James Joyce’s classic novel, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916), and W. B. Yeats’s greatest single volume of poetry, The Tower (1928). We read these three works together along with important studies in both Irish and European modernity, in an effort to gain a greater understanding of the individual works and authors, as well as of Irish modernism, and of Modernity writ large. Students produce research papers on related topics: Irish modernism, European or American modernism, etc. Knowledge of Irish history and literature is recommended, but not required. Conner
ENGL 413-03: Senior Research and Writing: Lyric Poetry (3). Lyric poetry has been variously described as the “utterance that is overheard” (Mill), the “spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings…recollected in tranquility” (Wordsworth), and an “intensely subjective and personal expression” (Hegel). One of our oldest and most productive literary genres, the lyric is nevertheless notoriously difficult to define on account of its long and diverse history in Western literature. This course introduces students to the chief interpretative questions of contemporary lyric studies and surveys the function and construction of English lyric in several major historical periods. Particular attention is paid to the Metaphysical poets (e.g. Donne and Herbert) and the Romantics (chiefly Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads). At midterm students commence independent research projects on lyric poets of their choosing and thereby direct our investigation of the genre’s changing face in both literary history and criticism. Jirsa.

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