Course Descriptions

English Literature and English Writing Course Descriptions

ENLT 109W - Dialogue - 9:30-10:45 TR & 8:30-9:20 R - Tom Bonnell  -  4 credits

(Fulfills the gen ed requirement, Sophia Humanities/Literature and the Writing Proficiency requirement)

"Where are you now?"  This question begins countless cell-phone conversations for a reason:  speech craves a context.  to process what someone is saying, we need to assess where they are coming from-both literally and figuratively. The same need factors into our understanding of literature.  Wherever dialogue occurs in poems, plays, short stories, and novels, it requires careful scrutiny.  Situating speakers within dialogue (determining what they know, what they don't, what they're hiding, what they're feeling, what they want to say, what they might be unable to say, or why they're talking) is one of the vital aspects of reading, among others, that we will practice on a variety of works.

ENLT 109W - Latina Literature - 9:30-10:45 TR & 2:00-2:50 W - Ann Marie Alfonso-Forero   

4 credits

(Fulfills the gen ed requirement, Sophia Humanities/Literature and the Writing Proficiency requirement)

This course introduces students to reading and writing about literature at the college level.  Throughout the semester we will focus on skills that will help you produce insightful literary analysis, such as active reading, close reading, moving from observation to analysis, constructing interpretive arguments, and using literary texts as evidence.  We will also focus on the elements of basic writing proficiency, such as thesis statements, suport, organization, style and revision.

Our readings will include novels, short stories, nonfiction, film, graphic novels, and poetry by Latina writers and artists.  These texts provide rich and varied representations of immigration, second-generation experiences, and the politics of Latina identity in America.  More specifically, we will examine how these texts engage with issues surrounding ethnicity, culture, racialized discrimination, class, gender, and sexuality.  Writers may include Julia Alvarez, Sandra Cisneros, Ana Menendez, Cherri Moraga, Jessica Abel, Pat Mora, and others.

ENLT 109W - Philosophy and Fiction - 11:00-12:15 MW & 11:00-11:50 F - Joseph Cardinale

4 credits

(Fulfills the gen ed requirement, Sophia Humanities/Literature and the Writing Proficiency requirement)

This course will investigate the intersection between fiction and philosophical inquiry.  Through writing and discussion, we will examine a selection of novels and stories that dramatize a range of philosophical problems, paradoxes, and questions:  What is the self?  What is happiness?  What is reality?  What is a perfect society?  What is the relationship between mind and body?  Are we free to choose, or are our actions determined by forces beyond our control?  The assigned texts will invite us to consider and discuss how different characters and authors confront similar spiritual, ethical, and existential crises of meaning and purpose, knowledge and identity.  We will read in order to understand, examine, and critique the perspectives of these authors, and we will write in order to discover, debate, and refine our own personal answers to the questions they raise.  At the end of the course, students will be better equipped to read critically, think dialectically, and draw connections between a diverse range of books and ideas.  Writing assignments will include four out-of-class essays and two in-class essays.  Authors may include:  Leo Tolstoy, Albert Camus, Flannery O'Connor, Ursula LeGuinn, Franz Kafka, and others, as well as at least one film.

ENLT 109 W    Language and Literature      10:00-10:50 MWF & 4:00-4:50 W

4 credits               STAFF

(Fulfills the Gen Ed requirement, Sophia Humanities/Literature and the Writing Proficiency requirement)

ENLT 202 - Jane Austen Dance - 12:00-12:50 F                  Rosalind Clark

1 credit

This course is an introduction to English Country Dancing, the dancing popular in Jane Austen's day.  These were the dances danced by Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice and Marianne and Willoughby in Sense and Sensibility.  English Country Dancing is a "living tradition" - learn how, and if you live in a large city or big university town, you may be able to join a group that meets regularly!

We will learn about twelve dances from this tradition, starting with very simple ones, and gradually adding more complex ones as you become more expert with the figures.  As in square-dancing, most dances are done with a walking step, but we will do a few Scottish ones that require some step practice.  In most classes, we will learn at least one new dance and review several old ones.  The course will finish with a Grand Ball! 

ENLT 203       Women of Genius - 9:00-9:50 MWF                 Thomas Bonnell

3 credits

(Fulfills American Literature, Sophia:  Humanities/Literature, and Sophia:  Women's Voices)

At the turn of the last century talented women of every description were fighting to have a voice - in politics, in society, in marriage; over their education, their bodies, and their economic destiny.  How that struggle worked its way into the fiction and drama of the era (roughly 1880 to 1920) is the focus of this course.  A recurring motif is the woman of great natural abilities - someone with a "genius" for this or that calling - who attemts, against steep odds, to win a public audience for talents, whether from the lectern, the stage, the pulpit, or print.  Requirements:  two papers, and two exams.


ENLT 268                       From Fiction to Film               6:00-8:30 M     Joseph Cardinale

3 credits

This course examines the problematic art of adapting narrative fiction from the page to the screen.  In the course, we're going to read, watch, and enjoy a selection of classic book-to-film adaptations drawn from a variety of literary genres and geographies, each focusing on a similar network of themes and questions.  Our primary goal is to see the singular beauty, wonder, and mystery in every single book and movie that we discuss.  In the process, we will also practice the delicate and rewarding art of critical analysis and dialectical inquiry, thinking about the texts from a rich diversity of angles and perspectives.  In class and in our writing, we will consider some of the specific questions and conflicts that arise when a novel or story is transferred into cinematic form: What is lost and gained in the process?  What fundamentally changes as a result of the transmutation?  To what degree should a "good" or "successful" adaptation be "faithful" to the original text?  How is the experience of reading a novel different from the experience of watching a movie?  At the same time, we will strive to treat each particular novel and film as a distinct and distinctly beautiful work of art, and we will discuss and debate-in class, in conversation, in our written assignments, and in our hearts and minds-the timeless constellation of philosophical, spiritual, and existential questions that each text dramatizes:  What is happiness?  What is reality?  What is the relationship between self and society?  If art's purpose is to hold the mirror up to nature, then what is our true nature as humans?  How should we live our lives?  I hope we all come away from the course not just with a renewed and deepened awareness and understanding of these sorts of questions, but also with a deepened capacity to appreciate and enjoy great fiction writing and great filmmaking.

Coursework will include two 1250 word analytical essays comparing books and their adaptations, plus four informal (500 word) posts on the course blog, a class journal, and a midterm and final.  The majority of the films will be watched in class.  Films may include:  Where the Wild Things Are, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, The Little Mermaid, A Clockwork Orange, Carrie, Pan's Labyrinth, The Tree of Life, Apocalypse Now, Into the Wild, Adaptation, and others.  Authors may include:  Ken Kesey, Anthony Burgess, Hans Christian Andersen, Stephen King, Joseph Conrad, Susan Orlean, and others.

ENLT 304         History of the English Language  11:00-12:15 TR       Rosalind Clark

3 credits

(Fulfills a Sophia LO1: Histories category and a major elective for ENLT majors)

This course traces the development of English from the time of the Anglo-Saxon invaders of Roman-Celtic Britain, through the Norman Conquest and the Great Vowel Shift, the huge expansion of the language in the Renaissance, the influence of colonized peoples on the language, to the changes caused by the computer in the present day.  We will study the relationship of English to other European languages, and the differences between British and American English.

This course will introduce future teachers to different historical attitudes toward the teaching of English and enable them to see the influence of those attitudes still at work today - for instance, in our disagreements about the teaching of English to immigrant and minority students.  Students will also gain a firmer grasp of grammar, as well as a greater understanding of the peculiarities of English spelling - and the reasons it is peculiar! 

Literature students will learn how famous authors have contributed both to the language itself and to our study of it.  All students should emerge from the course with an increased understanding of the way language works, the way it changes, and how it both influences and is influenced by our changing thought.

ENLT 334 - Postcolonial Women's Writing - 9:30-10:45 TR  - Ann Marie Alfonso-Forero

3 credits

(Fulfills a legacy GenEd requirement & Sophia LO1:  Humanities/Literature, LO2:  Women's Voices and an elective for the ENLT major, minor and the double major)

In this course, we will examine examples of women's literature from Africa, South Asia, and the Caribbean written after the end of British Colonialism.  These texts engage with the complicated histories of colonization and independence from which they emerge, reflecting the cultural, geo-political, religious, social, and econcomic contexts that inform the term "postcolonial."  Because we are focusing on women's writing, we will pay special attention to how these texts contribute to an understanding of feminism that challenges Western perceptions of what that term suggests.  Therefore, throughout our readings we will consider the various ways in which empire and postcolonial nationalism gave rise to a non-Western understanding of freminism and sexuality studies.


ENLT 341                       18th Century British Novel              11:00-12:15 MW  Thomas Bonnell

3 credits

(Fulfills the 18th/19th century British Literature requirement for the ENLT and ENWR majors, the Double major, and the ENLT minor)

This course charts the origins and progress of the predominant literary form of the last 250 years-the novel.  Women have played a key role in this genre from the very start.  Not until the development of the novel did women become as widely influential as writers and their burgeoning numbers as readers were crucial to the market for the new form.  Given their pervasive presence as audience, it is not surprising that so many novels of the eighteenth century are preoccupied with women characters and, consequently, women's concerns. These characters and concerns will be the focal points of the course, as we situate our discussions in the wider contexts of literary history and life in the eighteenth century.

Twice during the semester we will take a breather between novels and pursue some short readings on reserve about various aspects of the eighteenth-century milieu (from economic to romantic) affecting the lives of women.  Texts:  Austen, Persuasion; Behn, Oroonoko, Burney, Evelina; Defoe, Moll Flanders; Lennox, The Female Quixote; Radcliffe, The Italian; Richardson, Clarissa.

Requirements:  Class participation, 2 exams and an essay.


ENLT 357         Modern Poetry: Leading Strings of Love and Poetic Making                 2:00-3:15 TR           3 credits                                                                                                                            Eva Mary Hooker

(Fulfills the 20th/21st century British Literature requirement for the ENLT and ENWR majors, the double major, and ENLT minor)

A study of the connective tissue (translation, allusion, influence, other art forms such as dance painting and opera) and "leading strings of love" (friendship, mentor/student, marriage) on the poetic making of selected modern and contemporary American poets.


ENLT 376         American Literature 1865-1945  3:00-4:15 MW                            STAFF

3 credits

(Fulfills American Literature requirement for ENLT or double major)

ENLT 411                          Chaucer                                           10:00-10:50 MWF     Rosalind Clark

3 credits

(Fulfills a Sophia LO1: Humanities/Literature, GenEd requirement and the pre-1700 British Literature requirement for the ENLT major/minor and the double major in English)

We will read Chaucer's poetry, focusing on the Canterbury Tales, Toilus and Criseyde, and the Dream Visions.  Topics discussed in class will include some background in Middle English Language, Chaucer's sources, courtly love and marriage, chivalry, religious issues, allegory, the roles of women and medieval literary genres used by Chaucer.  We will read Chaucer aloud sometimes and memorize a passage.


Students who have taken Medieval Literature, ENLT 390 may also take Chaucer.  There is some overlap, but the material will be studied in greater depth in Chaucer.

ENLT 414 - Shakespeare and Power of Art - 1:00-1:50 MWF - Chris Cobb - 3 credits

(Fulfills the Shakespeare requirement for the ENLT and ENWR majors and ENLT minors)

This course covers a representative selection of eight or nine of Shakespeare's plays, drawn from all parts of his career as a playwright and all genres in which he wrote.  It explores Shakespeare's interest in the power of art to change life.  Art is often conceived of as mere entertainment, and amusing and temporary escape from reality.  Others argue that if art does not offer escape from reality, then it must instead reflect that reality.  Shakespeare's plays neither explore the possibility that art is to merely escape nor limited to reflection of reality but instead an active agent in the creation and transformation of the nature of individuals and societies.  If this is so, then art may be on the one hand the greatest mode for human achievement, while on the other hand it may be a source of deadly devices that turn human beings away from what is natural to them, making them monstrous and placing their souls in peril of damnation.  We will consider how Shakespeare examines from many angles the question of the powers and dangers of art.  Our three required theater trips for the course to see productions by the Notre Dame Shakespeare festival, the actors from the London Stage and the Chicago Shakespeare theater.  Student work will include regular short assignments, two formal essays, three short exams, and an optional performance project.

ENLT 495         Sr Lit Seminar: Contemporary Voices In Literature       6:00-8:30 M           

Ann-Marie Alfonso-Forero                                                     3 credits

                                      (Fulfills ENLT major requirement)

Contemporary Voices in Literature:  Zadie Smith, Mohsin Hamid, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.  Students will read novels, short stories, and essays by these writers in addition to literary criticism and other secondary sources.  Course requirements will include active participation in seminar discussions, discussion leadership, an annotated bibliography project, and a 15-20 page final paper.

ENLT 497 - Independent Study - 1-3 credits - Each instructor is assigned a section

To do an independent study, you must arrange it with the appropriate professor and submit your proposal to the department Chair.


ENWR 311 - Introduction to Creative Writing - 3:00-4:15 TR - Joseph Cardinale

3 credits

(Fulfills requirement for ENWR major and minor and the double major)

In this coure we're going to study and practice the art of imaginative writing.  The course will focus on three distinct and linked genres:  short stories, plays, and poems.  In addition to reading and discussing the work of a selection of celebrated poets and playwrights and storytellers, we will also read, review, and constructively critique one another's work.  In the process, we'll practice approaching fiction and poetry from a craft-based perspective, focusing on the specific decisions that each writer makes and the effects that these decisions create in the theater of the reader's imagination.  Each student will carefully write and lovingly revise one short play, one short story, and a short seuence of poems, as well as a few informal writing exercises.


ENWR 313 - Journalism - 2:00-3:15 MW - Susan Baxter  -  3 credits

(Elective for ENWR majors and minors)

This course is a study of basic journalism principles.  The student will be called upon to apply these principles by producing clear, objective, balanced new copy, utilizing techniques for gathering information, editing, copy editing and feature writing.  Work for converged newsrooms will be stressed.  Also covered will be public relations, marketing, radio, and television, as well as newspaper layout and publication.  Students will become stronger writers, but will also become more discriminating consumers of Journalism.

ENWR 315                Literary  Nonfiction                     3:30-4:45                   Dionne Bremyer 

3 credits

(Satisfies choice of ENWR 317 or 319 for the ENWR major/minor, and SDM)

This course provides practice and advanced craft work in literary nonfiction.  Within this large and unwieldy genre, we will focus on personal essays, mixed medium essays, and online writing.

You will be expected to produce three longer essays as well as several short essays.  You will do a portfolio of selected and revised work at semester's end.  Throughout the course, we will discuss language and craft in detail as well as issues of structure and strategies for revision.  Students will write in response to exercises that focus on various craft techniques and to assigned readings.  You will also write critiques of each other's work.

All students will workshop their writing in class and will meet with the professor to discuss their writing one-on-one.  Your grade will be based on your participation in class discussions and workshops, on how well you fulfill the requirements of each assignment, and on the overall quality of your work, including both revisions.

Over the course of the semester, we will read many different writers, including Truman Capote, George Packer, David Sedaris, and Sarah Vowell.

ENWR 333                 Magazine Writing                         6:00-8:30 T            Brendan O'Shaughnessy 

3 credits

(Elective for the Writing major, minor and Double major)

Students in the course will learn to write research and edit magazine articles, with specific focus on developing ideas, planning research and interviews, writing a variety of stories, and working with editors.  The class will follow a workshop format with students performing in-class analysis and critiquing of peer-written and professionally written articles and essays.  On occasion there will be guest writers invited for discussion.

ENWR 495                     Senior Writing Seminar               6:00-8:30 T              Dionne Bremyer

3 credits

                                           (Fulfills an ENWR major requirement)

The course will focus on the creation and completion of a manuscript that meets the requirements of the Senior Writing Project.  The primary work of this course will entail the writing and revising of a final project of considerable length in addition to the critiquing of one's own work and the work of peers.  The main thrust of the coure will be writing workshops.  Students should expect to submit work on a weekly basis and to write formal, written critiques of their classmates' work throughout the semester.  There will be a heavy revision component to the course.  As a class, we will explore detailed questions regarding voice, style, and structure to assist in each student's revision process.  The workshop component will be augmented by regular craft instruction by the professor, and we will also read contemporary, published writers to help establish a sophisticated framework for analysis of sudents' own projects.  In addition to class meetings, sudents will be expected to participate in monthly tutorials wih the professor to asess their progress toward the manucript's successful completion.


ENWR 497 - Independent Study - 1-3 credits - Each instructor is assigned a section

To do an independent study, you must arrange it with the appropriate professor and submit your proposal to the department Chair.

ENGL 499 - Internship - 1-3 credits - Each instructor is assigned a section

Practical experience in writing and/or editing at an approved site.  Supervised by faculty member and a representative from the sponsoring agency.  At least junior standing required.  Consent of department Chair required.