Literature for Everyone
Read great literature! Rotating topics will include prizewinning contemporary novels from around the world; Jane Austen's novels; masterworks of American literature; and more. Open to all members of the Goucher community; auditors welcome. Low-stakes writing assignments and P/NP course grading only. Fall, spring. Department.
Introduction to Fiction Writing
(3 Cr.) (LER-ARC)
Introductory weekly seminar/workshop, developing basic techniques of fiction writing: plotting, characterization, imagery, tone, and other fundamentals. The discussion group employs student work as text along with exemplary works of fiction. Fall semester, repeated spring semester. Flann, U'Ren.
Close Reading, Critical Writing
This course is intended to provide new English majors with the skills that will enable them to approach unfamiliar texts with confidence. Students will learn what is meant by-and how to perform-close readings of texts. Students will also explore how one goes about conducting literary research. Overall, this course intends to provide a strong foundation to make future encounters with literature more meaningful and rewarding. This is the English major's "Writing in the Disciplines" (WID) course. Prerequisite: limited to students who have completed their college writing proficiency or WRT 181, and who intend to major in English. May confer writing proficiency in the major. Fall semester, repeated spring semester. Marchand, Rauwerda, Robinson, Wells.
(3 Cr.) (LER-ARC)
Fiction techniques, with special attention to the short story. Supervision of individual short stories. Seminar discussion of student work. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or permission of instructor. Fall semester, repeated spring semester. U'Ren, Flann.
Introductory Poetry Workshop
(3 Cr.) (LER-ARC)
A poetry-writing course with in-class discussion of each class member's poems. Assignments in common poetic forms (sonnet, sestina) as well as "free verse." Readings in recent British and American poetry. Fall semester.
The Early English Canon
Comparative study of the literary forms and attitudes dominant in England from Beowulf to Dryden. Prerequisite: college writing proficiency or WRT 181 or sophomore standing. Fall semester. Bess.
Humans & Nature in British Poetry
Considers British poets and their reflections on humans, nature and human nature in the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries respectively. Charts the evolution of poetic form from the neo-classical interest in rhetorical devices to modern image-driven verse. Prerequisite: ENG 200 (or concurrent enrollment). Spring semester. Rauwerda.
Literary Theory: Eight Ways of Looking at a Text
This course explores why we do what we do. Prerequisite: ENG 200 or permission of instructor. Spring semester. Marchand.
Literature & Film: Screenplay Adaptation
Writing for a visual medium poses a set of unique challenges, especially in the adaptation process. This course guides participants through the elements of film writing and the methods of transforming the literary narrative into a feature film script. Students analyze award-winning adaptations of novels and short stories in order to understand cinematic language and its unique method of communication, the demands of its particular form of narrative design, and the importance of advanced structural planning for the medium. Students then are shepherded through the complex screenwriting adaptation process, going through several related projects and approval stages to ensure that their semester project reaches full potential. Students examine storyline and structure from concept to synopsis to script, with particular attention to dialogue, adaptation techniques, characterization, plot development, pacing, subtext, and visual storytelling. The class also features a roundtable workshop format in a demanding environment where students participate as both artist and critic, providing analyses of each other's work. The course allows each student the opportunity to complete a large-scale project in a fully realized workshop environment. Prerequisite: WRT 181 or sophomore standing. Fall semester. U'Ren.
Women and Literature
(3 Cr.) (LER DIV)
Topic: Working Class Women's Literature. For too long the working class has been used as a coded term for white male blue-collar workers. Women, including women of color, form a large part of the working class. In literary works - fiction, poetry, and memoirs - these women represent themselves and their communities. Yet many readers are not even aware that the category "working-class women's literature" exists. In ENG/WS 222 we'll begin by talking about just what we mean by working-class women's literature. We will then look at several literary works in their historical and cultural context. Writers we'll study include Sandra Cisneros, Rebecca Harding Davis, Dorothy Allison, and June Jordan. Fall semester. Tokarczyk.
Creative Nonfiction I
(3 Cr.) (LER - ARC)
An introduction to the techniques of creative nonfiction and possible subjects. Peer revision, readings of contemporary essays, conferences. Prerequisite: certified proficiency in writing or instructor's permission. Fall semester, repeated spring semester. Tokarczyk, Flann.
The Classical Tradition
This survey of Greek and Roman literature will provide useful background for further study in English literature and such fields as women's studies, theatre, anthropology, and history. The focus will be "Continuity and Change in the Classical Tradition," studying the transmission and reception of classical literature from Homer and Archilochos to Virgil and Longus. Next offered 2017-2018.
Study of plays in all of the Shakespearean genres and an introduction to the criticism of the plays. Viewing one or two plays to supplement an approach to the plays as drama. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or permission of the instructor. Spring semester.
Archeology of Text
This interdisciplinary English course uses hands-on "laboratory" methods to introduce students to archival research using Goucher's Rare Book Collection and online digital archives. Working backward in time, from the present to the Early Modern and Medieval periods, the course will survey ways people have packaged and used written/visual information, from digital media to early printed books to manuscripts. After training in codicology (rare book and document analysis), iconography (study of visual design), and paleography (study of old handwriting) students will conduct independent research using materials from Special Collections and Archives. Field trips to the Garrett Library (Johns Hopkins), the Library of Congress Rare Book Collection, and the Folger Shakespeare Library. Students who have completed the course will be equipped to do additional archival research in 200- and 300-level courses, and for continued work in Special Collections and Archives and internships at Johns Hopkins, LC and the Folger. Prerequisite: college writing proficiency or WRT 181 or permission of instructor. Next offered 2017-2018.
From Puritan Diaries to Oprah's Book Club: Readers and Writers in American History
Using insights gleaned from various disciplines, this course examines the history of reading and writing in America. In particular, we will study how written texts are produced, disseminated, and consumed. Topics include Indians and the discovery of print; the sentimental novel; slave narratives; religious readers; the making of an American literary canon; comic books in modern America; and, of course, Oprah's book club. Prerequisites: sophomore standing or HIS 210 or HIS 111 (course now inactive). Spring semester. Hale.
The Legacy of Slavery
(3 Cr.) (LER - DIV)
In this interdisciplinary course on African-American literature, culture, and history students will examine the impact and legacy of slavery on the experiences of all Americans, but particularly African Americans as they negotiate and define "freedom" for themselves throughout history. The theme of enslavement will be explored from the American Colonial period to the present in literary genres that include slave narratives, poetry, drama, fiction, nonfiction, and science fiction. Authors include Butler, Chesnutt, Douglass, Hansberry, Ellison, and Wright. Prerequisite: college writing proficiency, or WRT 181, or permission of the instructor, or sophomore standing. Spring semester. Robinson.
The Roots of American Literature
This course explores issues of nationality, spirituality, race, gender and sexuality from the Colonial Period to the Civil War in literary genres that include letters, journals, essays, poetry, the sermon, autobiography, short story, novel, and the slave narrative. Prerequisite: college writing proficiency or WRT 181. Next offered 2017-2018. Robinson.
The American Novel
This course traces developments in American literature from the 1880s through the 1920s, a period dominated by the rags-to-riches plot. Students will explore how writers such as Alger (Ragged Dick), Twain (Puddn'head Wilson), Dreiser (Sister Carrie), James (Daisy Miller), Wharton (The House of Mirth), Chopin (The Awakening), Harper (Iola Leroy), Norris (McTeague), and Burroughs (Tarzan) obsessively reworked this plot, even as they grappled with the moral costs of social ambition and the obstacles that women, minorities, and the lower classes faced in their struggle upward. Prerequisite: college writing proficiency or WRT 181. Fall semester. Marchand.
The Modern American Novel
Studies of modern American fiction. Prerequisite: college writing proficiency or WRT 181. Next offered 2017-2018. Marchand.
Multiethnic American Literature
(3 Cr.) (LER-TXT AND DIV)
An examination of literature written by Americans of various ethnic and racial backgrounds. Works studied may include Native American tales, Sui Sin Far, Anzia, Yezierska, Rudolfo Anaya, and Maxine Hong Kingston. Course also discusses theories of ethnic literature and immigrant experience. Prerequisite: college writing proficiency or WRT 181. Spring semester. Tokarczyk.
Poverty & Privilege in Victorian Novels
What responsibilities does privilege confer? What do marginalized or struggling people have to offer to the culture at large? Such questions -- all too familiar to us -- also deeply concerned authors during the Victorian period (1837-1901), a time of enormous social, economic, and political change. Using the technique of literary realism, Victorian novelists sought to increase awareness of and sympathy for those disadvantaged by social class, gender, and disability. We'll read Elizabeth Gaskell's Mary Barton (1848), Charlotte Brontë's Shirley (1849), Charles Dickens' Bleak House (1853) and George Gissing's The Odd Women (1893) in the context of contemporary social debates as well as in terms of each work's publication history and critical reception. Prerequisite: college writing proficiency or WRT 181. Next offered 2017-2018. Wells.
The English Novel, from Austen to Woolf
This course examines the evolution of the novel in English from the Romantic era through the Victorian to the Modern. We will explore changes in authors' techniques and concerns, paying particular attention to the evolution of styles of narrative; approaches to psychological characterization; the appearance of other genres within the realist tradition; conventions of fiction, and responses to these conventions; attitudes towards authorship, especially when influenced by gender; and representations of "Englishness". Readings: Austen's Pride and Prejudice , Shelley's Frankenstein , Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre , Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights , Dickens' Great Expectations , Hardy's Jude the Obscure , Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway . For majors, this is a recommended core course in later British literature. Prerequisite: College Writing Proficiency, or WRT 181, or permission of the instructor. Recommended prior course: ENG 200. Spring semester. Wells.
Intensive Course Abroad
Course includes a pre-departure or post-departure, seven-week course or both in the fall and/or spring and a three-week intensive course abroad in the winter or summer.
Literature of the Harlem Renaissance
(3 Cr.) (LER-TXT AND DIV)
Poetry and Fiction conventionally assigned to the Harlem Renaissance. Authors include Hughes, Hurston, Cullen, McKay, and others. Discussion of the delineation of the movement's boundaries, both temporally and by subject, the construction and reconstruction of a racial identity, and the tension between a progressive literary movement and the "masses" it would represent. The approach will be interdisciplinary. Fulfills American studies elective. Prerequisite: college writing proficiency or WRT 181. Fall semester. Robinson.
20th and 21st Century American Poetry
This course will be focused around the theme of "making it new" in poetry: experimenting with new forms, taking on risky subjects, or revisioning traditional forms. We will focus both on reading poems closely and on putting them in their cultural and historic context. The list of poets studied will change slightly every semester; but may include T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, Anne Sexton, Yusef Komunyakaa, Carolyn Forche, Claudia Rankine, Julia Alvarez, and Adrienne Rich. Prerequisite: Frontiers or Sophomore Standing. Spring semester. Tokarczyk.
Contemporary Literature From India, Africa, and Australia
(3 Cr.) (LER-TXT AND DIV)
How do the time you spend abroad and the time you spend on campus fit together? What is the legacy of colonialism in the modern world? This contemporary literature course may allow you to find some answers by examining works from three very different locales (India, Africa and Australia).We will pursue our literary study of novels, plays and poetry while also considering the socio-cultural contexts that produce these works and the historical events and legacies that have made them what they are. Prerequisite: Frontiers or sophomore standing. Spring semester. Rauwerda.
Internship in English
Internships involving the application of knowledge and skills in composition, language, and literature, typically in editing, publishing, journalism, radio and television, advertising, and public relations. Businesses, professional firms, and government agencies sometimes accept students with composition skills as interns. Credit for off-campus experience is available in some cases to students working for the college newspaper. Prerequisite: Varies according to the nature of the internship, but usually consists of a course in journalism, ENG 221 (course now inactive), or a 200-level course in composition. Faculty sponsorship required. May be taken either for a letter grade or pass/no pass.
Independent Work in English
Special Topics in English
Advanced creative writing workshop taught by a visiting writer to the Kratz Center for Creative Writing. Prerequisite: ENG 315 and/or manuscript submission and approval of Madison Smartt Bell. Can be taken twice. Spring semester.Visiting Instructor.
Writing Workshop: Poetry
Supervision of individual creative projects in poetry. Formal and thematic weekly assignments with in-class discussion of class members' poems. Suggested prerequisite: ENG 205 or permission of the instructor. Spring semester. Spires.
Writing Workshop: Fiction
Supervision of individual creative projects. Individual conferences and weekly seminar meetings. Prerequisites: ENG 202 and submission of a sample of creative writing to the instructor. Spring semester. Bell.
Creative Nonfiction II
Further work in creative nonfiction. This writing workshop requires several extensively revised papers, peer critiques of essays, and submission of a final portfolio. Prerequisite: ENG 226 or another 200-level writing course, certified proficiency in writing. Spring semester. Tokarczyk.
Advanced Seminar in Creative Writing
An advanced workshop with sections in fiction and poetry. Written work for the seminar will be an extended project consisting of either three or four finished short stories or 10 to 12 pages of poetry. Can be taken twice if different genre. Suggested prerequisite (one of the following): ENG 202 or ENG 306, or ENG 205 or ENG 305; or permission of the instructor. Open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Fall semester. Bell (fiction) and Spires (poetry). Spring semester, Flann (fiction).
Overseas: When World Travelers Write
This course starts by examining iconic non-fiction travel narratives like Graham Greene's Journey without Maps and its contemporary successor, Tim Butcher's Chasing the Devil: A Journey Through Sub-Saharan Africa in the Footsteps of Graham Greene. We then consider how creative non-fiction narratives of being an immigrant differ from travel narratives, using Michael Ondaatje's Running in the Family as an example. Finally we shift to what will be the course's primary focus: fiction written by third culture authors (where "third culture" means authors who spent their formative childhood years outside their ostensible "home" nation). As examples of third culture authors we treat, among others, Ian McEwan and Barbara Kingsolver. Prerequisite: Junior standing or permission of instructor. Next offered 2017-2018. Rauwerda.
Special Topics in English Literature to 1700
Topic: Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales: A complete reading of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, with attention to the critical controversies of the past five hundred years, and to the cultural context from which the tales emerged. Early Modern (1475-1700) commentaries on, and editions and translations of the tales will be consulted in Goucher's Rare Book Collection and at the Garrett Library (Johns Hopkins). May be repeated for credit with different topic. Prerequisite: junior standing or permission of the instructor. Next offered 2017-2018.
Jane Austen and Her Readers
Enduringly popular as well as critically praised, the novels of Jane Austen have intrigued and inspired readers from her day through ours. We will make extensive hands-on use of Goucher's Jane Austen Collection in order to explore changing responses to her writings; film adaptations will part of our study as well. Our special focus for 2016 is Emma . Prerequisite: Junior standing or permission of instructor. Also counts towards the Book Studies minor. Next offered 2017-2018. Wells.
Special Topics in English Literature Since 1700
Topic: Austen, Brontë, Eliot. What does it mean for a novel to be both critically acclaimed and beloved? Our discussions of Austen's Pride and Prejudice (1813), Brontë's Jane Eyre (1847), and Eliot's Middlemarch (1871-72) will be enriched by both scholarship and writings by readers, including Rebecca Mead's My Life in Middlemarch (2014). We'll also take advantage of the resources in Goucher's Jane Austen Collection. Spring semester. Wells.
Seminar in Shakespeare
Topic: A very close reading of Hamlet in an attempt to understand (or at least understand why we don't understand) every line in the play. We will also examine the quarto and folio texts, supplemented by important secondary material on the play. Prerequisite: ENG 211 or ENG 232. Next offered 2017-2018.
Seminar in American Literature
The Whale. Several years ago the New York Times Book Review surveyed readers about the book they most regret not having read. The number one answer? Moby-Dick . Avoid their terrible fate and read Moby-Dick , the true story it was inspired by, and the works it inspired in turn, including satires (Mad Magazine’s “Call me Fish-Smell”), films, and a techno-opera. Fall semester. Marchand.
Seminar in African American Literature
Topic: The African American Novel—an examination of thematic, structural, and stylistic characteristics of the African American novel from its rise in the 19th century through contemporary works. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing and a course in literature, or permission of the instructor. Spring semester.Robinson.
Contemporary Literary Theory
An introduction to Postcolonial Theory, which is one branch of literary theory, this course deals with international contexts and the power differences between the western world and its former colonies. We study works by Said, Fanon, Bhabha and Spivak. Though this counts as a literature seminar for students in the English major, we do not emphasize the study of literature, but rather ideas about what "postcoloniality" means and what its implications are. The texts we read are, admittedly, challenging, but are provocative and exciting too. This course will hopefully expand your own ideas about race, gender, nationalism and the effects of political and cultural influence. Prerequisite: ENG 200 and junior standing. Fall semester. Rauwerda.
Independent Work in English
Fall and spring semesters.
Senior Capstone in English
Open to all students in the English major and minor, this seminar offers an opportunity to reflect on and integrate prior learning in literature and creative writing, as well to consider both broadly and personally the significance of these disciplines. You will convey to a range of audiences and in a variety of modes -- including electronic portfolios and oral presentations -- the knowledge, skill set, and habits of mind that you are taking with you from your English coursework into your life beyond Goucher. In other words, you'll be fully prepared to address the enduring question, "Why study English?" Offered Pass / No Pass. Spring semester. Wells.
Fall and spring semesters.