2013-2014 University Catalog 
    Dec 11, 2023  
2013-2014 University Catalog archived

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ENGL 299 - Seminar for Prospective Majors

Credits: 3
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 2014 Topics:

ENGL 299-01: Seminar for Prospective Majors: Stuck on the Dixie Express: William Faulkner and Flannery O’Connor (3). In this seminar, we study two of the South’s greatest writers, talking about the picture of the South they have conveyed to the world and the problems it has caused. Is the South a Gothic land of dilapidated old mansions, freaks, murder, incest, rape, and mental torture destroyed by moral evils, or a glorious land of mint juleps, learning, culture, civility, and honor we prefer to reenact at Washington and Lee? Why did Faulkner and O’Connor tell their gruesome stories? What have we who live in the South gained and lost because of their literary power? And how do Southern readers and writers get rid of these stereotypes now and move on, so everyone is not stuck forever on this version of the Dixie Express, but can tell other stories that paint the South in a more positive light? (HL) Smout.

ENGL 299-02: Seminar for Prospective Majors: Speculative Poetry (3). “Speculative fiction” encompasses science fiction and fantasy, but can it include poetry, too? In this gateway seminar, we read recent poetry that departs from consensus reality and estranges the status quo. As students study verse by James Merrill, Tracy K. Smith, and others in conjunction with theories of the fantastic, they also practice the skills of research writing in stages, preparing for the essay requirements of upper-level English courses. (HL) Wheeler.

Fall 2013 Topics:

ENGL 299-01: Seminar for Prospective Majors: The Brontës (3). This class studies the lives and literature of the three Brontë sisters, Charlotte, Emily and Anne. We focus on Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, and the poems of Emily Brontë, asking how young women living relatively secluded lives beside the Yorkshire moors produced works of imaginative brilliance. Other authors, read in excerpted form (Byron, Scott, Austen), provide a literary context for the Brontës’ achievement. We also consider how the Brontës’ work commented on political and social issues in Victorian England, such as Caroline Norton’s divorce case, The Custody of Infants’ Act of 1839, the education of young children, and working conditions for the poor. (HL) Brodie.

ENGL 299-02: Seminar for Prospective Majors: American Indian Literatures and History: The Storyteller Writes Back (3). Indigenous literatures outside the European canon are the focus of this particular section, and we take as our guide this anonymous statement: “History is written by the victors. Literature is written by the survivors.” With few exceptions, non-natives have usually narrated the story of being Indian in America. With the start of the Native American Literary Renaissance in the late 1960’s, however, Indian writers have been using fiction, memoir, poetry, creative non-fiction, film-making and music to re-write U. S. history from a Native point of view. This course examines specific Native American novels, creative non-fiction and poetry to see how Indians present that re-visioning, asks questions about how that re-visioning is translated into literature, and the effectiveness it has in helping all U. S. citizens re-imagine ourselves in contemporary times. (HL) Miranda.

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