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ENGL 250-269 Thematic Studies (CORE—Methods of Inquiry/Aesthetic Appreciation/ Literature)

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

A study of a significant theme or subject in selected works of literature. May be repeated with different topic.

Topics for 2010-2011 

  • ENGL 251 The American Dream
    A study of literature and historical documents that focuses on the recurring myth about America as a land where anyone can succeed and as a place where people can start over. Readings may include Horatio Alger, Dorothy Canfield, James Weldon Jonson, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Sandra Cisneros. The course will also include diaries and letters from people who came to America in search of the American Dream.

  • ENGL 252 The Modern Wasteland: Death and Rebirth in 20th Century English Literature
    A study of major works of modern English literature with an emphasis on the social, psychological and religious implications of the notion that modern life is a spiritual wasteland, a dead land calling out for rebirth. Texts may include works by Conrad, Yeats, T.S. Eliot, Joyce, Lawrence, Woolf, Forster and Auden.

  • ENGL 253 Revolting Peasants and Red-Hot Heretics: Medieval Literature of Power and Dissent
    A study of who had power in Medieval England, and how those on top stayed that way. This course will explore the ways in which medieval literature reflects the nature of power in medieval society, and also how literature itself was used to reinforce or to challenge the authority of the nobility and the Church. Sample areas of literary study: the disruptive power of women mystics, challenges to the Church and the persecution of heretics and non- Christians, accounts of the Peasant’s Revolt of 1381 and the decline of chivalry and nobility. Texts will include works of major figures such as King Alfred, AElfric, Wulfstan, Chaucer, Wycliffe, Langland, Margery Kempe and Christine de Pizan, as well as a host of lesser- known writers.

  • ENGL 258 The Victorian Mind
    A study of major themes in Victorian literature with emphasis on the impact of the industrial and scientific revolutions on society, religion and art. Texts may include novels by Dickens or Eliot, essays by Mill, Carlyle and Arnold, and poems by Tennyson, Browning and Arnold.

  • ENGL 263 Themes in Romantic Poetry
    A close study of poems by the major British Romantic poets and the themes they embody. Discussions will focus primarily on the impact of the French Revolution and on the meaning and significance, for poets of the period, of the concepts of Nature and Imagination. Texts will include poems by Blake, Wordsworth, Shelley and Keats.

  • AFEN 265 African-American Voices Before the 20th Century
    A study of how early African-American literary traditions have been formed not only by slavery, but also by community, geography, orality, politics and literature itself. Works may include slave narratives of Olaudah Equiano, Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs, as well as 19th century fiction by Harriet Wilson, Frances Harper, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Charles Chesnutt.

  • AFEN 266 The Harlem Renaissance and Beyond: 20th-Century African-American Literature
    Beginning with the energetic era of the Harlem renaissance, this course studies African- American writings in the 20th century. Themes discussed include the influence of folk elements and music, the appearance of the trickster and masking techniques as both a means of survival and art forms, the issue of audience address and language choices and the subject of dual consciousness. May include works by DuBois, Johnson, Toomer, Larsen, Hurston, G. Jones, Baldwin, Walker, C. Johnson and Morrison.

  • ENPL 267 Vice and Virtue
    Through analysis and discussion of selected works of great literature, students will examine themes of vice and virtue in four broad areas: (1) selfhood, community, and alienation; (2) human nature; (3) the quest for meaning and human fulfillment; and (4) ethics and evil. This course will consider such topics as the following: the relation between the individual and the community, the nature of evil, ends and means, personal agency, the good life, and moral conflict. May include works by William Golding, Leo Tolstoy, Dorothy L. Sayers, John Updike, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Albert Camus.