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ENGL 270-289 Genre Studies (CORE—Methods of Inquiry/Aesthetic Appreciation/Literature)

Prerequisite: ENGL 100, 101 or 3 credits from ENGL 110-139. May be repeated with a different topic. (3 credits) 

A study of a particular genre, such as the novel, the short story, poetry, drama or autobiography.

Topics for 2010-2012 

  • ENGL 271 Studies in the 19th and 20th Century Novel: Portraits of Women
    A close analysis of representative examples of 19th and 20th century English novels with particular emphasis on social and psychological portraits of women. Texts may include novels by Austen, Bronte, Eliot, James, Lawrence and Woolf.

  • ENGL 272 The Short Story
    Students will read, discuss and write about a wide-ranging selection of short stories, studying authorial and historical technique, point of view, voice, structure and subject matter.

  • ENGL 273 Renaissance Drama
    We consider plays written by contemporaries of Shakespeare and his heirs. We will study dramatic traditions (such as revenge tragedy and social comedy) and theatrical contexts in the light of Elizabethan and Jacobean culture. The playwrights include Christopher Marlowe, Ben Jonson and John Webster.

  • ENGL 274 Modern Drama
    Modern English and American drama with some attention to continental influences. Authors studied may include Ibsen, Shaw, O’Neill, Miller, Williams, Albee, Beckett, Pinter, Stoppard and Shepard.

  • ENGL 275 The American Novel
    An introduction to the development of the American novel from the late 18th century through the 20th century. May include works by Rowson, Hawthorne, Melville, Harriet Wilson, James, Chopin, Cather and Plath.

  • ENGL 277 English Renaissance Poetry
    We explore the major poetic traditions of the late 16th and early 17th centuries. The sonnet, mythic/erotic narratives, religious lyric and pastoral are among the many forms and conventions considered in the readings. The poets studied include Sidney, Shakespeare, Donne, Herbert, Herrick and Marvell.

  • ENGL 278 The Woman in the Poem
    A study of 20th century American poetry by and about women. The class will emphasize close analysis of particular texts by poets such as Denise Levertov, Adrienne Rich, Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton.

  • ENGL 280 20th Century Ethnic Narratives: Writing Ourselves into America
    In this course, we will explore how national and personal histories of ethnicity in the United States are handed down, revised and contradicted in both autobiography and fiction. Along the way, we will also pay attention to themes of family, work and growing up, as well as definitions of community and individuality, asking how someone’s ethnicity might inform his or her world view. Readings may include fiction by Paule Marshall, John Edgar Wideman, John Okada, Julia Alvarez, Sherman Alexie and Cynthia Ozick.

  • CLEN 281 Greek and Roman Drama
    This course focuses on the tragedies and comedies produced in Athens and Rome beginning with the Oresteia of Aeschylus (early 5th century B.C.) and concluding with the tragedies of Seneca (late 1st century A.D.). Plays are selected to analyze the diachronic treatment of popular stories, such as those of Oedipus and Medea, and to highlight the various roles theatre played in Greco-Roman society (religious, social, economic, etc.). Students will be expected to write critically about ancient plays both as literary texts and in their original performance contexts.

  • ENGL 284 The Medieval Romance: Audacious Knights, Daring Deeds and “Virtuous” Maidens
    We will explore the development of the romance as a literary genre. Included in our investigation are societal influences on the texts and literary influences on society: how did authors use the genre to depict idealistic love and, likewise, to interrogate society’s emphasis on courtly love as the perfect form? The texts that we will examine include (but are not limited to) “Gawain and the Green Knight,” “The Lais of Marie de France,” selections from Chaucer’s works such as “The Canterbury Tales” and “The Book of the Duchess” and Mallory’s “Le Morte de Arthur.”

  • ENGL 285 The British Novel
    This course will explore the British novel as a site of ongoing experimentation and development. We will move from the genre’s 18th century hybrid origins, to the romance and realist traditions of the 19th century, and into the modernist and postmodernist movements of the 20th and 21st centuries. Consideration of formal features and traditions will unfold in the company of historicized discussions about identity formation and representations of gender, class, race and nation. We will ask how novels as material constructs come to “matter” in the socio-political circumstances in which they arise, and why novels—old and new—continue to matter today. Authors may include Defoe, Sterne, Austen, Dickens, Hardy, Woolf and Ishiguro.