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 is total), a short research paper designed to introduce techniques of library research and documentation (about 2000 words), and a final in-class examination.
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
This is a composition course in which students will improve their ability to write clear, forceful prose, to formulate and support a compelling thesis, to employ rhetorical strategies effectively, and, when appropriate, to observe the conventions of academic writing. In the course of the term students will explore a variety of forms, from film reviews to academic research papers, and will also work collaboratively in writing workshops to aid in the revision of their prose. Because the best way to learn to write is to practice writing, some form of written work will be required at nearly every class meeting. This section of English 101 will be unusual in that the majority of readings and other content in the course first appeared in a single year, 1929, and the final research assignment will involve examining life in Springfield during that year as well. Four papers and a final examination.
English 101 – Expository Writing
In this course, students will work through the writing process, from planning to revising and editing their essays. Our text for the course will be Seeing & Writing 2, which provides visual images and readings that will invite us to think critically about popular culture, everything from images of beauty in advertising, to ethnic stereotypes in film, or gender roles on TV and music videos, to cultural icons and heroes. Writing in the course will move from more personal essays, to researched arguments. This course will also provide an introduction to using Wittenberg’s research resources in the library and on the internet.
English 101 – Expository Writing
“Art is not meant to be polite, secret, coded, or timid. Art is the sphere in which the impulse to hide and lie is the most dangerous.” Dorothy Allison, “This is Our World” Taking intellectual and emotional risks lies at the heart of writing. Testing your limits, stretching your intellectual and creative abilities, expanding the boundaries of your intellectual and emotional lives – this is the writer’s project. You will only realize your full potential as a thinker and writer by doing more and better work than you ever thought possible, and, above all, by learning to take risks. This course provides you the opportunities and the environment in which to take the risks necessary for writing well. English 101 is a composition course designed to give you intensive practice in the art of expository writing. The course emphasizes the writing process and the development of clear and purposeful, well-focused writing which addresses a well-defined audience. English 101 will call on your analytical and organizational skills, as well as provide opportunities for you to enhance your ability to design and structure writing and to improve your technical expertise. The course will focus on the conventions of academic discourse and selecting, integrating, and documenting sources. This course is also designed to teach you how to read and write effectively in the University. Also, it will help you to discover that reading and writing are not separate activities, but closely related ones. The course is founded on a belief that learning to read, and see, critically is essential to becoming a proficient, accomplished writers. English 101 requires a series of shorter essays, 4 longer, 5-7 page essays, and an 8-10 page researched essay. There will be a midterm and a final.
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
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 will use writing as a means of clarifying some of your ideas and opinions, and it will also prepare you to express those convictions in a way that will make them more persuasive to a critical audience. To develop your proficiency in meeting this public challenge, you will have opportunities to hone your research and writing skills, and you will learn some techniques that persuasive arguers often use. In addition to practicing these techniques in your own writing, you will also read some examples of how influential writers of our day have attempted to win over their readers on such topics as environmental policy, civil rights, and freedom of speech. The writing component of this class involves multiple drafts and critical feedback from classmates, and the course is writing intensive.
English 101 - 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: 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
This is a composition course designed to give students intensive practice in the art of expository writing. The purpose of this course is to aid students’ development into confident, responsible and persuasive writers. Specifically, it should help writers do the following successfully: develop competency in all stages of the writing process; develop critical thinking and reading skills; develop a writing standard consistent with the MLA Style Guide. Students will be responsible to produce both short-writing responses and long-writing projects that encourage academic research and writing. Additionally, students will be required to participate in peer reviewing, as well as visit the writing center during the revision process. The course evaluation will be based on the successful completion of writing assignments, homework, in-class group work, quizzes, and class participation.
English 180 – “Sailing the Wine Dark Sea”
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 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, 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, 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, are – if you’d venture a guess – Greek.
Pre-requisite: English 101. Writing Intensive.
English 180 – Shakespeare in Love and on Film
“Playwrights teach nothing of love, they make it pretty, they make it comical, or they make it lust. They cannot make it true,” says Queen Elizabeth in the middle of Shakespeare in Love, and the rest of the film tests her challenge whether “there is one who can…” bring love to life on the stage. This course will test out the theory that Shakespeare not only explored love in all its shapes and shades in his plays and poems, but that in doing so, he helped shape our contemporary ideas and experiences of love. This collision of Shakespeare with contemporary culture takes place most vividly in the cinema, where productions of his plays have achieved such recent popularity. Starting with Shakespeare in Love, this course will focus on the texts and films of Shakespeare’s love comedies and tragedies: Romeo and Juliet, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Taming of the Shrew, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Much Ado About Nothing, Twelfth Night, Othello. We will also look at the Sonnets. This will be a discussion class. It will require several short papers and one longer project one. Students will be required to attend film screenings outside of class most weeks (Wednesday evenings). Writing Intensive.
English 180A – 19th-Century Literature into Film
Since the beginnings of popular cinema in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, filmmakers have gravitated to telling stories already established in the public’s mind. Early silent films recorded Shakespeare plays without dialogue – it was only a matter of time before more recent classics inspired film versions. Immensely popular 19th-century British novels soon became standard fare for the movie-going public, inspiring the question, “which is better – the book or the movie?” In this class, we’ll explore the reasons that question may be misleading, as we examine the different ways we experience the two media and the different ways in which we judge the aesthetic appeal of books and movies. In so doing, we’ll discover the ways that a comparison of a film version to a novel illuminates key themes and tropes in each. Authors whose work we will read and “watch” may include Jane Austen, Charlotte and Emily Brontë, Charles Dickens, William Thackeray, George Elliot, and Thomas Hardy. Several short papers/projects, a midterm, and a final. Writing intensive.
English 180 – Traditions in British and American Poetry
Percy Shelley once said that his primary ambition was to add a line to that one great poem that all poets have been writing through the ages. This image of the one great poem suggests that our understanding of isolated verses, or even the combined works of particular writers, can be enriched when we see them in relation to a vast network of other works, a network that represents the sheer variety of poetic possibilities. This class is built on the one poem idea. It provides a broad survey of British and American verse in the hopes that an awareness of various traditions can enhance our understanding of individual poems. In this writing intensive class, we will cover a variety of forms (from sonnets to villanelles to free verse) and movements (from the Metaphysical poets to the writers of the Harlem Renaissance and the Beat Generation.) The course will also introduce you to a large number of writers (from William Shakespeare to Seamus Heaney and from Aphra Behn to Adrienne Rich) and will help you become attuned to variations in meter, rhythm, and other poetic devices.
English 180 – Making Romance: He Said, She Said
A love story. The oldest story. Yet the least understood? What are the narratives of love? Its structure? Conventions? Familiar gestures? Consistent cadences? Its deep underlying meanings? Its psychological ramifications? And how do these stories vary according to the one telling the story? In particular, how does gender influence the structure of these narratives and, even more significantly, how do these narratives influence our understanding of gender and the “roles” we play as men and women. This course will provide a historical overview of the romance, beginning with the highly scripted “luf-talking” of Arthurian romance and moving to the fragmentary, uncertain yet just as scripted musings of the postmodern novel. The course will pair male and female authors, continually asking how these “gendered” narratives both differ and concur. In the course of this “paired” survey, we will read such authors as Chretien de Troyes and Marie de France, William Shakespeare and Mary Wroth, William Congreve and Aphra Behn, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Bharati Mukherjee, David Henry Hwang and Jeanette Winterson. Along the way we will explore both the primary poetic vehicle for declaring one’s love – the sonnet – and ubiquitous prosaic one – the fairy tale. This course is discussion based and writing-intensive. There will be three shorter formal papers, one longer research orientated paper, and frequent informal writing. There will be no exams.
English 180 – “Textual Constructions of Gender”
Texts for the course will reflect how authors construct “self” through conscious efforts to conform to or not conform to particular formations of gendered identities. Such formations of course take into account such contexts as cultural and political history, as well as issues of race and class. Texts will include works by Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, Dorothy Allison, and others.
English 180 - War in Literature and Film
There will be wars and rumors of wars....From the Biblical assaults on the walls of Jericho to yesterday’s car bombs in Bagdad, war seems always with us. Apparently, war is an archetypal experience. Combat changes soldiers forever and, as it becomes more total, affects civilians as well. The course readings will range from the American Civil War through World Wars I and II to Vietnam and the Gulf War and perhaps, given published materials, even to the present “war on terrorism”. Readings will be supplemented by occasional films. Writing will include several short papers and one long one. Active class participation is a must.
English 180 - “Words and Worlds: J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis”
Recently hailed as “the writer of the 20th century,” Lord of the Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien was actually less a public figure during his own lifetime than his friend C.S. Lewis, best known today for his Chronicles of Narnia. Both were professors of literature who gathered regularly with other academic friends (the “Inklings”) to discuss the works they studied and taught as well as their own creations. In this class, we’ll study Lewis and Tolkien’s works, paying particular attention to the way in which the worlds they created reflect the 20th century world in which they lived. Be prepared for lots of reading; these authors are neither simple nor brief, but they are fascinating. Students will write one longer essay and three brief papers, take two exams, and be part of two presentation teams in this writing intensive course.
English 180 - Film Noir
Film noir, or “black film,” has been variously labeled as a period in film history, a style of film, and as a separate film genre with its own themes and conventions. No matter how you define it, films labeled as film noir are “deeply unromantic” films that “take a sneaking delight in their displays of passion gone wrong and of murderous calculation confounded”. This course will examine the distinctive “noir” visual style and the characteristic “noir” thematics of lives ruled by an unkind fate. We will also trace the history of film noir from its origins in German expressionism and postwar nihilism, to its golden period in the 1940's and 1950's, and to its persistence through the rest of the 20th century in neo-noir (post classic noir or nouveau noir). We will also look at the debt these films owe to what the French called “serie noir,” the searing crime and detective fiction of the 1930's, 40's, and 50's. We will also examine particularly closely the cultural work of these films and their representations. Our goals will include confronting and exploring film noir’s and neo-noir’s sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, and racism. The course requires weekly screenings of film outside of class on Wednesdays from 3:00-6:00 PM. In addition, we will have frequent quizzes, several short papers, a long paper, a midterm and final examination.
English 180 - Themes and Traditions: Literature and the Natural World
The natural world is affected by the language we use to describe it. Whether we call it “the howling wilderness,” “the fresh, green breast of the new world,” or “mother earth,” literary depictions of the natural world encode powerful cultural assumptions about the land, our relationship to it, and our rights and obligations concerning the creatures who inhabit it. In this course, we will examine the way literature has been used to understand our relationship to the natural world. Our readings will be primarily American essays, fiction, and poetry, from the 18th through the 20th centuries. Writing assignments will involve literary analysis of assigned texts. Students will keep a journal of informal responses to assigned readings. There will be 3-4 major papers, and a final essay exam. Writing intensive.
English 190 - Afro-Caribbean Studies: Migratory Subjects
This course will examine women 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. 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 Literary Studies
English 200 is an ambitious course, one that sets out to raise the foundational questions of our discipline (what we read and why we read it), as well as to introduce students to some of the ways that we locate meaning in texts (how we read). This version of the course will address the two vexing prior questions in the midst of an extended consideration of the third. To this end, the course will begin with a unit devoted to the practice of “close reading” before proceeding to a survey of several influential theoretical approaches to reading and writing about literature. Throughout the course I will encourage students to take interpretive risks with the newly-acquired theoretical and analytical resources by offering their own readings of selected texts. Students will memorize and recite selected poetry, keep a journal of reading responses, write three mid-length papers, and take a midterm final and final exam. Writing intensive.
English 240 - Beginning Creative Writing
This course will introduce students to the essential elements of good writing, focusing on 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 is 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 provides a basic introduction to the practice and principles of journalism, with an emphasis on newspaper production. We will discuss news, features, entertainment stories, opinion and sports writing, as well as interviewing skills, ethics, copy-editing, headline writing, and other related topics. Students will be expected to meet deadlines, do frequent in-class writing exercises, and to thoughtfully and constructively respond to their classmates’ stories. Grades will be based on stories produced, occasional quizzes, and class participation. Students will be encouraged to contribute to The Torch, Wittenberg’s weekly student newspaper. Prerequisite: English 101.
English 242 - Writing and Peer Editing
This intermediate writing course will help students write more fluently and become more effective critics of their own and others’ writing. Designed chiefly for prospective writing advisors in the Writing Center, it also attracts future teachers, those needing editing skills in a later profession, and those who simply wish to strengthen their writing. The course focuses on the personal essay, a genre which encourages individuality and creativity, and emphasizes collaborative learning; the main text is students’ own writing. Through a combination of readings, writing exercises, and projects and peer editing sessions, students will explore a variety of rhetorical strategies, audiences, structures and styles. Class organization features a workshop approach and practical experience. This course is limited to 15 students, and the instructor’s permission is required before enrolling. Prerequisite: English 101.
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 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 Survey I
“Writers don’t simply look at nature, or into their own hearts, and transcribe what they find there,” Robert Scholes argues. “This is so because for them the very act of looking is already shaped by the art and writing of the past. Once we realize that all texts are reworkings of other texts, that all writing is really rewriting, we can see that originality doesn’t mean creating something out of nothing but rather making interesting changes in what’s been done before.” The technical word for what Scholes is describing is “intertextuality”—which comes from the Latin word, intertexto, meaning “to intermingle while weaving.” In this way of thinking, writers do not create their books out of thin air but intermingle their experience and ideas with other texts and authors,”making interesting changes,” as Scholes says, “in what’s been done before.” The more we know about the literary and cultural materials writers work with, then, the better we can judge what they’re doing that’s new. That idea is the premise of this course. English 290 takes in a wide sweep of early American literature. We’ll study Puritanism, rationalism, transcendentalism and the gothic, and look carefully at the works of individual writers like Mary Rowlandson, Walt Whitman, Harriet Jacobs, and Henry David Thoreau. But the goal of this course is not just to expose students to the range and variety of American writing or to cover its historical periods. I’m more interested in teaching students how to think intertextually about literature—understanding how writers play off one another as they re-work and re-write the literature of the past.
English 290 - American Literature, Themes and Traditions
The Myth of the Savage in U.S. Literature and Culture - Askeland 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 groups 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 Signals.
English 306 - Studies in Renaissance Literature and Culture: 1590's London
This course focuses on literature, art, and the material conditions of life in the last full decade of Elizabeth’s reign in England’s great capitol. We will read works by Shakespeare, Marlowe, Spenser, Sidney, Donne, Johnson, and a host of less well known writers, study the role of the theater and other popular art forms in this period, explore life “on the ground” in London, and otherwise drink deeply from one of the richest literary decades of all time. A reading journal, three papers, a midterm and final. Writing intensive.
English 308 - Studies in Romantic Literature and Culture
In addition to providing a survey of late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century writing, this course will consider the political context of this age of revolution with specific attention given to the rise of liberalism in public discourse. We will consider the ways in which particular writers saw literature as participating in the tumultuous events of the day, including the French Revolution, the rise (and fall) of Napoleon, and the developments of an emerging Industrial Revolution. We will also pay particular attention to the way gender politics figured into this period when a number of long-establish social institutions were being rethought. This writing intensive course will consider these and other themes in the writing of William Blake, Mary Wollstonecraft, Anna Laetitia Barbauld, William Wordsworth, and John Keats, among others.
English 311 - American Renaissance
This Course spans a brief period—from the publication of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Nature in 1863 to the end of the Civil War in 1865. That period, the American Renaissance, produced some of the most extraordinary writers In American Literature—Emerson, Thoreau, Dickinson, Stowe, Whitman, Melville, Douglass, Poe, and others—although it didn’t seem that way at the time. Charles Dickens had overtaken Sir Walter Scott as the most popular writer on either side of the Atlantic, and American authors, by and large, were brushed off as trivial and derivative, hardly worth the trouble. “In the four quarters of the globe, who reads an American book?” the British journalist Sydney Smith wrote. Emerson steps into this debate with iron-shod boots, insisting that a genuinely American literature—based on democratic literary models, capturing American idiomatic speech, and nourished by this sense of rebirth or awakening. We’ll witness this birth moments many times in the course—in the natural resurrections of Walden and Leaves of Grass , in the rebirth of Jonah from the belly of the whale in Melville, and in the reawakening of spirit in Frederick Douglass. But there’s a dark side to this story as well, as there always is. The bloated corpses “resurrected” in Poe’s stories, Dickinson’s poems, and literally and horrifically on the battlefields of Antietam and Gettysburg bear witness to another kind of renaissance, the resurrection of the monstrous, a return of the repressed. This internal tension between hope and terror, resurrection and haunting, optimism and despair, gives the literature of the American Renaissance its unmistakable shape and power, Students in this course will write two major papers, one of them a researched essay, and take both a midterm and a final exam. Writing Intensive.
English 315 - Afro-Caribbean Studies: Migratory Subjects
Novels of the African Diaspora will examine several major authors of African descent. The course will review the cultural history of the African diaspora through literature that spans Africa, The Caribbean, England and the United States. We will read 4-5 novels, a few essays, and quite a bit of poetry in this course that introduces students to post-colonial studies in Africana literature. Authors to look forward to reading include, Dionne Brand, Grace Nichols, Audre Lorde, Michelle Cliff, and Edwidge Danticat.
English 321 - Advanced Journalism
This course will focus on honing skills needed for a career in journalism, with a heavy focus on producing publication-quality work. Areas covered will include advanced news reporting and writing techniques, magazine writing, editing, layout, magazine writing, journalistic issues and ethics, and writing for radio and television. We will learn by doing - in addition to regularly assigned stories, the class will produce and publish its own magazine, covering everything from opening ideas to finished product. In addition, each student will be expected to do an outside internship at Wittenberg’s Torch or a comparable journalistic organization. This course is designed for students serious about pursuing a career in journalism or a related field. The course is, obviously writing intensive. Prerequisite: English 241, Beginning Journalism.
English 322 - Advanced Creative Writing: Fiction
This is a WI, advance creative writing course with pre-requisites of English 101 and English 240 (or permission of instructor in special cases). It is strictly fiction writing—all kinds, many subgenres. Realistic dramatic fiction, minimalism, magical realism, revisionist fiction, metafiction, minifiction (“short shorts”), experimental fiction, dramatic monologues, and possibly even narrative poetry and literary journalism (using the devices of fiction to report a true story). For twelve weeks students will read and write in each genre and then specialize in two or three genres. Grade will be based half on a final portfolio of work and half on class participation, peer editing, exercises, and a writer’s notebook. Class format is workshop style. No exams, but possibility of occasional pop quizzes, and there will be an “expectations sheet” of techniques and terminology that must be met in full. Last three to four weeks given to work-shopping and rewriting work for final submission in portfolio. The mechanics of submitting work to literary journals, writing cover letters, and devising strategies will all be discussed and practiced. The focus is primarily shorter fiction, but we will read one novel, China Boy by Gus Lee, who will visit our class when he’s at Witt for a week in late March.
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 and the science essay. 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. Textbook: Contemporary Creative Nonfiction: The Art of Truth. Prerequisite: English 240.
English 401 - Senior Research Seminar
Obviously, the primary focus of this course will be your research. This capstone experience offers you the opportunity to choose for yourself the text(s) that you find most worth exploring and to frame the discussion in such a way that others will recognize its value as well. This is the pleasure of the course; it is also its greatest challenge. Up to this course; your professors have been providing this framing structure for you. “Write about this work,” we say. “Explore this issue. Apply this theoretical framework. Filter your understanding of its themes through this historical perspective.” Now, you make the call, answer the “so what” question. Why is it important to examine/write about this work, and what framing structure will help your readers understand the significance. So, given this new challenge, the course will spend some time modeling this process for you. We will read together Mary Wollstonecraft’s Maria and Mary Shelley’s Matilda. Neither of these works have an obvious answer to the “so what” question. Both occupy a marginal position in the literary canon, and neither is unquestionably a great piece of literature. But this novel by an eighteenth-century feminist philosopher, Mary Wollstonecraft, and this work of her now more famous daughter, Mary Shelley (known for having penned the culturally iconic Frankenstein) raise interesting questions. Our task in the first half of the course will be to identify the various framing structures that bring to light precisely what makes them interesting, and even significant. At the same time as we contextualize these works, you will also be “trying out” framing structures for your chosen text(s), and exploring what context(s) best bring to light its significance. Hence, our coursework will consist of in-class discussion, frequent response papers, regular tutorials with the professor both individually and in small group, and formal in-class presentations. The final product (one I hope you will feel pride of) will be a 20-25 page research paper, finely polished, thoroughly researched, thoughtfully contextualized, and persuasively argued. That paper will also be presented orally to a committee that will include the professor of the course, another English professor, and a professor from outside the department. If all goes as planned, this will be the paper you will keep, the one you never throw away, the one that will remind you years from now just how much you really learned as an undergraduate at Wittenberg University, and how much literature really means to you.
English 402 - Senior Writing Seminar
An intensive, workshop-style course, English 402 is the capstone writing seminar for the English Major with a Writing Concentration. This section will emphasize poetry writing and the writer’s craft more generally. The thesis for the course will include a portfolio of new and revised creative work; and introductory essay describing the genesis, aims, and composition of this work; and a substantial critical paper on an author whose work reflect’s the students’s own concerns as a writer. Students will write extensively over the course of the semester, but they will also read and discuss the writing of their peers as well as contemporary works by established writers. Each student will present his or her thesis in shortened form to a committee of English Department faculty near the end of the term and will give a final public reading.
English 402 - Senior Writing Seminar
English 402 is the capstone writing seminar for the English Major with a Writing Concentration. Students will produce a creative portfolio of at least 20 pages and a critical thesis of at least 10 pages. Creative work will be either fiction or creative non-fiction. The thesis will focus on some aspect of the literary world that relates to your own writing-an influential writer or writers, a school of literary theory, etc. Students will workshop one another’s writing regularly, and will conference with the professor on their own work several times during the semester. At semester’s end, each student will give a public reading from his or her creative work. Each student will also present and defend the critical paper to a faculty panel as the oral part of the senior comprehensive exercises.