English 100 - English for Non-Native Speakers
English for Non-Native Speakers is an introductory course in reading, writing, and speaking skills for students whose first language is something other than English. Course work will include essays, presentations, and a research project, but will be adjusted to meet the needs of the current group of students. The class emphasizes an introduction to American culture and college life as well as language skills. Departmental permission required.
English 101 - Expository Writing
English 101 introduces writing on the college level. Its purpose is to foster the skills necessary to produce coherent, persuasive prose: developing ideas thoroughly, using rhetorical strategies appropriate to subject and audience, focusing and supporting a thesis, structuring well developed paragraphs, generating mature and effective sentences, choosing precise and expressive language, and observing the conventions of written prose.
Individual sections employ a variety of techniques for inculcating standards of good prose; but
all 101 classes require a variety of writing assignments including paragraphs and short essays written in and out of class (about 4000 words in total) and a short research paper designed to introduce techniques of library research and documentation (about 2000 words).
English 101 - Expository Writing
This course is an introduction to composition. We will cover many of the foundational skills of expository writing in class, and we’ll work with style and revision exercises from writing handbooks. But ultimately better writing comes from practice, practice, and more practice. Writing is not a matter of chance or good luck. It’s not a matter of first-draft inspiration. Successful prose in all disciplines is based on specific techniques any writer can master. We discover these techniques, in part, by analyzing prose we admire and by applying what we learn in that analysis to our own developing style. For this reason, I’ll urge you to become an active reader as well as an active writer and to study the essays and narratives in the course as a source for techniques you can use yourself.
English 101 - Introduction to Expository Writing
“You learn to write by writing. It’s a truism, but what makes it a truism is that it’s true.” –William Zinsser.
English 101 introduces students to academic reading and writing processes. You will develop critical reading, writing, and thinking skills through class discussions as well as through the rhetorical analysis of various texts based on the readings in Signs of Life in the USA: Readings on Popular Culture for Writers. The essays reflect diverse viewpoints and voices exploring the signs and symbols of popular culture, including those found in film and television, advertising, icons and idols, consumerism, etc. Keep in mind that the dictionary lists “essay” only secondarily, as a noun. It is first a verb—“to try out; attempt.” In response to the essays you’ll be reading, analyzing, and writing about, you’ll be developing your own voice and testing your own thoughts. And remember that the key to good writing is revision. As the medieval mystic Meister Eckhart once said, “Only the hand that erases can write the true thing.”
Writing assignments: Three argumentative or persuasive essays based on readings in the textbook using MLA-style documentation. The fourth assignment is a researched essay.
English 101 - Introduction to Expository Writing
Preparation of the academic essay is the focus of this writing intensive course. Students read essays from several different academic disciplines in order to prompt their own writing on issues from these fields. Emphasizing writing as a process, the course asks students to prepare several drafts of their work. We will work together to improve style and grow as college-level writers and thinkers. Four revised essays, two exams, and twelve informal pieces of writing will be evaluated during the term.
English 101 – Expository Writing
“To develop the whole person,” reads Wittenberg’s mission statement; this course takes up that challenge. The first half of the course teaches academic strategies through the reading of difficult but academically valued writing by professionals and through the writing of personal narratives in response. These narratives allow each student to draw on her own lifestory as a body of evidence. That evidence can then be drawn into service as the student analyzes it using basic academic strategies, complicating stereotypes, etc., to create the kinds of arguments that will ultimately be most valuable to professors. The first half of the course uses portfolio grading to allow for the kind of risk taking that is scary, but essential, to successful college level writing. The second half of the course builds on that foundation. First, we analyze and explore powerful academic writing, read during the first half of the semester, in line with the way this analysis is practiced within the discipline of English. Then we analyze and explore the way popular magazines identify and target audiences. Finally, all students conduct a research project into an academic discipline in which they are interested, and, specifically, the kind(s) of writing and research that is practiced in the scholarly journals of that field. This course is writing intensive.
English 101 - Expository Writing
The American frontier–home to Native American prophets, drought-and-grasshopper–dueling farmers, black cavalrymen, women earning more in the gold fields from their pie baking than their customers did in the mines, Irish and Chinese railroad construction workers, bank robbers and cattle rustlers and social reformers–was declared “closed” 111 years ago. Yet it has remained a central element of American culture.
We’ll use the 19th century American frontier as the focal point for the term’s writing and research. Students will write a series of short papers culminating in a research paper. The course goals are to develop writing skills which will be useful in subsequent college courses and to explore a fascinating period of America’s past and its influence on contemporary American life. Occasional out of class assignments, probably including a visit to an 18th century trade fair on Labor Day weekend, will be required; do not plan visits home that weekend until the first paper assignment is discussed.
English 101 – Expository Writing
This course will teach the writing process through essays, extensive class discussion and work shopping, reading, and journal keeping. Students will improve their academic writing skills, including grammar and punctuation, and will learn that there is much more to successful writing than the dreaded five paragraph essay. Along the way, students should learn more about themselves, their world and the many different values of writing, including the revolutionary concept that writing can be fun.
Class requirement includes four papers, class attendance and participation, regular journal writing and frequent in class writing.
English 101 - Expository Writing: Writing and the Environment
This section of English 101 focuses on writing and the environment. The course explores the ways in which people have used writing as a means of understanding the rights, duties, and obligations we have in relation to the natural environment. This course will offer students the opportunity to learn to write effective statements and arguments, to support arguments with evidence, to write in clear prose, and to consider their reader as they write. It will also help students to approach writing as a process, from initial planning through drafting and revision, and to conduct college-level research. Course work will include reading the work of numerous environmentally-concerned writers, keeping a journal of informal responses to course readings, writing multiple drafts of four papers, writing a research paper of 6 to 8 pages, and a final essay exam. Instruction in the MLA system of documentation is included. Writing intensive.
English 101 – Expository Writing: Memory, Memorial, and Restitution
All writing is to a large extent an act of memorial. When we write, we record what has happened, give shape and meaning to the past, and name what often feels elusive in the immediacy of the present. This course will use this natural connection between the act of writing and the act of remembering as a broad thematic rubric for developing the skills in writing you will need to succeed in college, and even more importantly, begin to make meaning out of the experience of one’s life. The course will include a personal essay, an interpretative/analytical essay, a research paper, and finally the construction of a web site. We will read works by Tim O’Brien and Maxine Hong Kingston, essays by Edward Said and Patricia Hampl, and articles that explore the nature of memory and the act of memorializing. We will also debate issues surrounding the theme of restitution; how do we make right the past, particularly when some injustice has occurred?
In the process of exploring these themes, you will be asked to reflect on your own process of writing, expected to work through several drafts of each paper, and reminded of the value of careful editing in all writing projects. We will meet in conference, work together in small groups, participate in class discussions, and write frequent informal responses.
English 101 - Expository Writing
This course has been designed to aid in your development into a confident, responsible and persuasive writer. Specifically, it should help you to develop competency in all stages of the writing process, develop critical thinking and reading skills and develop a writing standard consistent with the MLA style guide. Students will be required to write four essays and participate in class discussion that focuses on the reading for the course. There will probably be quizzes on the reading throughout the semester, a midterm, and a final exam. This is a computer classroom setting.
English 101 - Expository Writing
This course aims to sharpen your writing by developing your skills in argumentation, the assumption being that the qualities often valued in a variety of writing tasks–qualities like clarity, strong critical thinking, logical organization, and unity–are salient features of successful argumentative writing. In the process of practicing this style of composition, you will have opportunities to hone your research, public speaking, and writing skills, and you will read essays by some influential writers who have used their argumentative techniques to persuade readers on topics such as environmental policy, civil rights, and freedom of speech issues. The writing component of this class involves multiple drafts and the sharing of critical feedback among classmates.
English 180 – “Sailing the Wine Dark Sea: Why The Ancient Greeks Matter”
The ancient Greeks invented everything from Western warfare to mystical prayer, from logic to statecraft and the city-state. That includes nothing less than Western literature, poetry, drama, philosophy, art, history, and architecture. The Jews gave us our Christian values; the Greeks set the foundation and framework for our intellectual lives, providing the tools we bring to bear on problems in philosophy, math, medicine, physics, and, really, all the sciences.
I am cribbing from the dust jacket of Thomas Cahill’s Sailing the Wine Dark Sea here, and that book will be our guiding text. Following it, we will read Homer’s two great epics, tragedies and comedies by the four great playwrights, a satyr play, a Greek novel, and smatterings of lyric poetry (Sappho), oration (Pericles), history (Thucydides), philosophy (the pre-Socratics as well as Plato and Aristotle), and plastic art. The Greeks also gave us militarism, sexism, slavery, total war, disenfranchisement, segregation (racial and sexual).
If how to rule, then how to fight; if how to think, then how to feel; how to see, how to play, how to party—we got it here first and we will essay it all. The course is Writing Intensive, with a series of very short papers, a reading log, some creative work, and two exams, written and take-home. It is not a course in Greek mythology per se, but the literature and drama abound in myth, and the first great thinkers about myth, analysts of myth in effect (mythographers), are—if you’d venture a guess—Greek.
English 180 – Literature and the Green World
“Through metaphor to reconcile/The people and the stones.”—WC Williams
This introduction to literature will look at the ways fiction, poetry, drama, and nonfiction explore our human relation to the natural world. We will begin with myths which narrate origins or transformations, blurring boundaries between the human and the “green world” of nature. We will read the Greek romance Daphnis and Chloe and Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, both taking us into an innocent or magical “green world” that provides an escape from restrictive laws and corruptions of the city. From these early works, we will move on to Milton’s Eden, Romantic and contemporary poetry, a novel by Thomas Hardy, essays by Thoreau and Annie Dillard, and Stoppard’s contemporary play Arcadia. Writing assignments will include several critical and creative pieces, and a final essay exam. Writing Intensive. Prereq: Engl 101
English 190A/C – Afro-Caribbean Studies: Migratory Subjects
This course will examine major writers from contemporary Caribbean literature. The course will introduce students to the literary works and cultural history of English-speaking Caribbean authors who have migrated from their respective Islands to the U.S., Canada and Europe. In Caribbean Literature: This semester, Migratory Subjects, will examine short stories, poetry, political essays and novels written by women authors from Trinidad, Barbados, Jamaica, Guyana, and Haiti. We will look at their work as an entry point into the migratory experience that aids in the formation of nationhood for Caribbean writers of the African Diaspora. Possible authors include, Dionne Brand, Grace Nichols, Audre Lorde, Michelle Cliff, and Edwidge Danticat.
English 200 - Introduction to the Discipline of English
So you want to be an English major? If you are like me, that decision is probably based on a love of reading, a more ambivalent, yet equally intense fascination with writing, and a vague conviction that literature may provide a key to life. But what makes this love of reading, writing and literature a discipline? This question is perhaps one of the most hotly debated in the discipline, and the course will examine some of the key positions in the debate as well as ask you to reflect formally on your own definition of what constitutes literature.
Why do we read? Certainly, we will
not be able to answer this question fully in this course, but we will begin
exploring it, in particular through examining various theoretical approaches
such as feminism, postmodernism, and cultural studies.
Yet as much as this course will seek to discipline your love of reading, it will also help to foster it. Hence, writings will be both personal and academic, exploratory and critical. (There will be frequent response papers as well as several longer, critical essays.) Readings will range across all genres, and will introduce you to some of the more complex and compelling texts of our discipline.
English 200 - Introduction to Literary Studies
This introduction to literary studies has two goals: to sharpen your current reading skills and to expand the range of reading skills at your disposal. To accomplish the first goal, we will start from the assumption that reading critically involves knowing the kinds of questions to ask of a text. With that assumption in mind, we will read works in a variety of genres (poems, fiction, drama), and we will identify the kinds of questions that lead us to the most meaningful and satisfying results. We will also take into account how considerations of genre as well as the features of each specific work help guide us in forming these questions.
The second goal of the course, expanding
your interpretive skills, will be addressed by covering a range of critical
approaches that can be used to elucidate (and complicate) literary texts. These
approaches can be broadly categorized in three groups: contextual criticism
(including biographical, historical, new historical, Marxist, and cultural studies
approaches), language criticism (including dialogic, structuralism, and reconstructive
approaches), and gender criticism (including feminist and queer approaches).
There will also be frequent writing assignments that will give you an opportunity
to practice these critical perspectives as well as to sharpen your writing skills.
English 240 - Beginning Creative Writing
This course will introduce students to the essential elements of good writing, focusing of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama. Throughout the semester, students will read representative texts and study the fundamental elements of all the genres.
This course is centered around the “workshop,”—essentially informal peer critique of student work as well as close reading and class discussion of selected texts. We’ll read and analyze, discuss and critique, but most of all we’ll be a community of people who write. Students will produce pieces in all four genres. There are no exams, but there will be an occasional quiz. The grade is based on a writing portfolio of one’s best, revised work, which will be handed in at the end of the semester. The rest of the grade will be based on a journal/writer’s notebook and class participation.
English 240 - Beginning Creative Writing
Emily Dickinson once sent a note with four of her poems to a famously benighted editor, asking if the poems “breathed.” This course if designed for beginning writers who are interested in exploring their own creative processes and discovering what gives breath, or life, to a piece of writing. Students will have the opportunity to write in four literary genres–poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and drama–and to take part in informal peer critiques in a writer’s workshop. Course work includes frequent writing exercises, readings, and discussions’ a journal that will serve as both creative process log and a place for informal, exploratory writing, and a portfolio of the students’ best writing compiled throughout the semester.
English 241 - Beginning Journalism
This course will provide a basic introduction to the practice and principles of journalism, with an emphasis on newspaper production. We will discuss news, features, opinion and sports writing; interviewing skills, journalistic ethics, copy-editing, layout, and other related topics. Students will write regularly, and will be expected to contribute to The Torch, Wittenberg’s weekly student newspaper. Prerequisite: English 101.
English 243 - Professional Writing
This is a course in business and technical writing. You will be required to do a lot of writing, learn to be better critics of other people’s writing, improve presentation and communication skills, and learn to plan, research, and write with efficiency and effectiveness. The goals of the course are as follows:
–Improve your processes for project planning and development
–Improve your technical communicating skills
–Improve your command of style and grammar
–Improve your presentation skills
–Improve your teamwork and collaborative skills
–Improve your research skills
–Improve your computer skills for communicating and designing text and graphics
Prerequisites: ENGL 101, two or three writing intensive courses would be useful.
English 245 - Writing for Teachers
This class begins with the assumption that our ability to teach is connected to our own desire to learn. In terms of writing, that means we’re very likely better suited to help others strengthen their skills when we’re actively asking ourselves difficult questions about how we can push our own writing to the next level. Since this is a class designed for prospective teachers and since good teaching often demands a familiarity with a range of assignments, we’ll devote our time to a variety of writing tasks including argumentative writing, analytical essays, and personal narratives. And so that we learn to employ these different options in a deliberate and productive way, we’ll do some reading in pedagogy and in composition theory as we seek to understand the particular struggles that confront young writers at various stages in secondary education. In sum, this class aims to develop your own writing skills while also giving you some ways to approach writing instruction—from designing a course on down to conducting individual class sessions—in an informed way. English 245 is a writing intensive course, and most of the grade will be based on your compositions; there will also be several exams and the occasional quiz to reinforce our reading in composition theory.
English 280 - Survey of British Literature I
In the course, we will read, discuss, and write about representative texts from the Middle Ages to the beginnings of the British novel in the eighteenth century. We will also seek to locate these texts within the historical and ideological conditions which helped to determine their meaning for their contemporary readers. The course will focus on several themes, such as the construction of the self and the relationship of literature to the state. These themes will help us organize and familiarize a diverse body of literature that can often feel quite foreign to the modern reader. Early British attitudes toward the writer, the reader, and the text can also vary from our own and we will remain attentive to how these attitudes change over the centuries. In the process, you will acquire a basic knowledge of literary terms, styles, forms, critical concepts and significant dates. Finally, we will step back from these concerns to reflect on how English is made and why it is that we read these particular works as representative.
English 290 - American Literature, Themes and Traditions
The Myth of the Savage in U.S. Literature and Culture
Words like “American,” “freedom,” “civilization,” “savagery” have the power to lead us into war or urge us towards peacemaking. It all depends on how these words are used. I am interested in the way certain words become deeply ingrained cultural symbols, or “tropes,” which teach us to value certain stories, and--often at the same time–cause us simply not to see other, potentially more helpful (and sometimes just really weird!) ways of understanding the world. For example, in the 1960s, a well-respected Harvard literary critic and historian could state confidently that the “main” American Story was, for him, “the massive narrative of the movement of European culture into the vacant wilderness of America.”
Most scholars have come to realize in the 40 years since then that it’s not just a desire to be “PC” that makes that scholar’s claim problematic. Obviously, it’s flatly inaccurate: describing the land as “vacant” erases the millions of people who were, in fact, already living in the Americas before the arrival of Europeans. But it also blinds us to the richness (and violence) of the cultural mixing and borrowing that has occurred across many cultural lines during the years that have passed since 1492, when you-know-who sailed the ocean blue. (Think of the way the blues, rock, and jazz blend African and European instruments and rhythms.
Or the way foods we eat everyday come from Native crops–corn, potatoes, etc.–and then blend with Asian and European delicacies. To cross and paraphrase Sojourner Truth and John Mellancamp: “Ain’t that American?”). This course will focus of the symbol of “the savage” as one such powerful trope in U.S. literature and political discourse. We’ll analyze the European ideas of both “noble” savages as well as the more fierce incarnations of this trope.
We’ll look at how it was used to deprecate certain groupd within Europe in addition to justifying slavery and the genocide of Native American groups. Finally, we’ll listen to lots of voices “talking back” to this trope–rejecting it, reworking it, and even turning it against their oppressors. We’ll consider the ethics of all these storytelling choices, as well as have good fun reading some of the finest literature ever written, from the beginnings of these cultural contacts to our modern times.
This course is both reading and writing
intensive:two major papers (one research), a midterm, a final, and lots of short
writings. We will likely read: Thomas Jefferson’s The Declaration of Independence
and Notes on the State of Virginia, David Walker’s Appeal, Harriet Beecher
Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Mark Twain’s Pudd’nhead Wilson,
Harriet Jacob’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, W.E.B. Du Bois’s
Souls of Black Folks, Mary Rowlandson’s Sovereignty & Goodness of
God, Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself, Henry David Thoreau’s Walden,
Herman Melville’s Benito Cereno, Zitkala Sa’s essays, Nathaniel
Hawthorne’s short stories, Toni Morrison’s Beloved, the film Smoke
English 290 - The American Survey
Unsure of what to make of their God-haunted Puritan ancestors—19th and 20th-century American writers tend to divide into two camps: Ralph Waldo Emerson’s transcendentalism and Edgar Allan Poe’s gothic. Emerson has nothing but contempt for Puritan notions of sin and damnation (although he’s interested in their mysticism), and he speaks for a literature of hope, youth, independence, and “self-reliance.”
On the other side, of course, is Poe—the cocaine-addled voice of terror, madness, addiction, and bad teeth. “No one in a Poe story,” Harold Bloom once said, “was ever young.” This course will examine the tensions between these two classic American traditions. We’ll read deeply in the transcendental literature of Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Walt Whitman and examine transcendentalism’s critique of the materialism and soul-dead conformity of American culture.
But we’ll also study how gothic
writers like Poe, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Flannery O’Connor, and Toni
Morrison challenge Emerson’s self-reliance and recover powerful, but culturally
stigmatized, experiences of race, sexuality, disability, and class difference.
Students in this course will write several short analytic essays as well as
an original gothic story. They will also participate in a nature hike in the
Glen Helen Nature Preserve and a slavery re-enactment at an outdoor museum in
English 309 - Studies in Victorian Literature: Saints and Sinners
The popular image of the Victorian period is rather too close to that of the Queen herself: drab, prudish, and repressed. When we actually read Victorian literature, however, we find a cornucopia of life. Full of fantasy, rebellion, confidence, realism, generosity, neurosis, and luxury, Victorian literature is nothing if not grand.
The Victorians are often themselves
full of contradictions, too: great moralists who are themselves moral outcasts,
sensualists who are deeply reflective on matters of spirituality, thinkers of
all types who experience spiritual crises and overcome them–saints and
sinners. This paradoxical blend of the moral/spiritual concerns with sensual/worldly
concerns and styles will inform our readings of such writers as Tennyson, Dickens,
the Brontes, Eliot, the Brownings, the Pre-Raphaelites, and Wilde. Through a
mixture of lecture and discussion, we will become familiar with the historical,
social, and aesthetic qualities of the works. Graded work may include an oral
presentation, three short papers, a longer paper, and a final examination.
English 313 - African American Women Writers
“It was not natural,” says the poet June Jordan about the career of, the indomitability of, the first African American woman writer in any genre, Phillis Wheatley. Stolen from her home in African, enslaved, and then treated like a pet, Wheatley somehow found her voice in this alien land, even seemingly conceiving of herself as an “angel of God,” speaking poetic Truths to powerful people, without flinching. “It was not natural,” says June Jordan, “And she was the first.”
Wheatley and many of the black women writers who followed her managed to “make a home” for themselves in an alien culture, in an alien tongue. And, miraculously, they did so under the threat of a dominating philosophical world view that justified their abject enslavement and perpetual servitude. Like a knife at the throat of their very integrity, this world view continually imagined them, most brutally, as “animals,” or as sexually available “Jezebels” or Mammy figures, designed to cater to the needs of white folks—who needed to see black women as bereft of any independent imagination. “But Still I Rise,” Maya Angelou would sing, across the centuries, speaking with and for her sisters.
This course takes the word and voices of these women as its serious, inspiring focus. We will work to take an Afrocentric approach to understanding their literary tradition, exploring, along the way, the wisdom of communal art forms like folktales, music (spirituals, blues, hip-hop), and dance, as well as both male and female black thinkers—all of which will help set up a theoretical context for our better understanding. Major authors will likely include: Wheatley, Harriet Jacobs, Harriet Wilson, Sojourner Truth, Frances Watkins Harper, Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson, Anna Julia Cooper, Anne Spencer, Zora Neale Hurston, Nella Larson, Ann Petry, Gwendolyn Brooks, Lorraine Hansberry, Paule Marshall, Lauryn Hill, Sonia Sanchez, Lucille Clifton, Nikki Giovanni, Toi Derricotte, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Gloria Naylor, Audre Lorde, Jamaica Kincaid, Rita Dove.
Requirements: regular response papers
and quizzes, two short papers (3-5 pages), one researched paper (8-10 pages),
and a final exam. The course welcomes students from a variety of disciplines,
particularly Africana Studies, and will seek to value multiple student perspectives.
Please come see Dr. Askeland to discuss pre-requisites if you have any concerns.
English 322 - Advanced Creative Nonfiction
Essayist Vivian Gornick once said, “Good writing has two characteristics. It’s alive on the page and the reader is persuaded that the writer is on a voyage of discovery.” This course is designed to launch students on that voyage by studying and writing creative nonfiction, also known as literary nonfiction. It’s a branch of writing which can employ some of the same literary techniques that novelists use (dialogue, scene setting, tension, characterization, etc.) To describe actual persons, places, and events.
Students will study and analyze the
many shapes of literary nonfiction, from the personal essay to literary journalism,
memoir, travel writing, the lyric essay, and flash nonfiction (prose under 500
words). This is a writing intensive course centered around the workshop approach,
where stories are discussed and critiqued in class by peers. In addition to
reading excerpts from some of the best literary nonfiction writers, students
will have multiple opportunities to write and revise their own literary nonfiction.
They will also produce one critical paper—an argumentative or exploratory
paper—on some writer or some critical issue in the nonfiction genre. Grades
will be based on the critical paper, as well as a portfolio of revised work.
Prerequisite: English 240.
English 331 – Shakespeare
This course will explore the ways Shakespeare creates complex male and female characters in his
histories, comedies, tragedies, and romances. We will begin with the histories (1 Henry IV and Henry V), move on to the festive comedies of the 1590s (Much Ado About Nothing and As You Like It or Twelfth Night), then the great tragedies, Hamlet, King Lear, and Macbeth, and we will end with the “problem comedy” Measure for Measure and the late romance The Winter’s Tale.
(I may make some adjustments in the reading after I learn what plays the class members have read or would like to read.) The course should serve as an introduction to Shakespeare for juniors and seniors, but it can also serve students who have taken a Shakespeare course and are ready for more advanced work. Students who have taken English 180 Shakespeare on Film are welcome. There will be a final exam, several short papers, and a longer research project. Writing Intensive. Prereq: Engl l0l and junior status, Engl 200 for Majors
English 322 - Advanced Creative Writing: Fiction
There is really only one way to become a superior fiction writer: Write, then read, then go write some more. In this class, we will do plenty of both. Students will continue developing the skills and techniques introduced in Beginning Creative Writing through readings, discussion, workshopping, journal-keeping and lots of writing. Each student will produce three short stories and will do a major revision of one of those pieces. Our goal will be for each student to write at least one story suitable for submission to a literary journal.
English 322 - Screenwriting
This is an advanced creative writing course: it is WI and its prerequisite is English 240, or in rare cases, by permission of Instructor. THDN 240 (Playwriting) is recommended, but not required (comes up again this Spring). All students will develop their own scripts, and have a completed screenplay of some length (not necessarily the standard 110 minute feature, but close enough to it) by the end of the course. In addition, to learn dramatic form, students will write several shorter dramatic works—a 3- page play, a 10-minute play, and something commercial—an ad or public service announcement, to gain experience in those commercial genres and formats.
Part of the course will be the study of differences between narrative or dramatic works, and their filmed versions—e.g., Angels in America, Smoke Signals, The Shape of Things: how is a book or a play adapted to the screen. All students are expected to buy at least one screenplay ($15) or one TV script ($10)—see Scriptcity.com—of their own choosing, to study for form and to share with the class. In addition, there are several small how-to books, including Syd Field's Screenwriting and Gary Garrison’s Perfect 10 (on writing the 10-minute play).There may be pop quizzes, there are no exams. Grade will be based more than half on a portfolio of work, with consideration of class participation, on about a 60-40 ratio.
English 380 – Westward Ho!
Westward Ho! will explore the constant westering---both in a geographical sense, across the Appalachians, to the Mississippi, to the Great Plains and the Rockies and ultimately, California---and in the search for the elusive American Dream. Viewed through novels, poetry, painting, photography, and music. Fur traders, plains farmers, cowboys and Indians, conservationists and exploiters of the environment will people the course. Most search for their American dream; others’ dreams are denied by the influx of the newcomers.
We may examine the work of George Catlin and Willa Cather, Owen Wister and Mark Twain, Frank Norris and Ansel Adams, John Steinbeck, Joan Didion, Louise Gidrich and James Welch. If you have time this summer, reading James Fenimore Cooper’s The Deerslayer would lay a foundation for the course, though this is not required. There will be several short papers and one longer one. Class participation is essential, though you’ll probably need to come in costume only once.