Main Logo for Providence College
English Classroom, Harkins Hall,
Site Home> English Courses

English Courses

Check out the Spring 2020 English course descriptions

ENG 101 Writing Seminar             Staff

101 001 (1987) MR        8:30-9:45AM             Staff
101 002 (1988) TWF     10:30-11:20AM         Staff
101 003 (1989) MWF    1:30-2:20PM             James Beaver
101 004 (1990) MWF    12:30-1:20PM           Staff
101 005 (1991) TWF      8:30-9:20AM            Staff
101 006 (1992) MR        8:30-9:45AM            Staff
101 007 (1993) (TWF    8:30-9:20AM            Staff
101 008 (1994) TWF     9:30-10:20AM          Staff
101 009 (1995) TR         2:30-3:45PM             Staff
101 010 (1996) MWF    12:30-1:20PM           Staff
101 011 (1997) MWF     11:30-12:20PM          Staff
101 012 (2515) TWF      10:30-11:20AM         Staff
101 013 (2516) MWF     1:30-2:20PM             Staff
101 014 (2517) TR         4:00-5:15PM             Staff

Focuses on the creation of complex, analytic, well-supported arguments that matter in academic contexts. Students receive regular feedback on their writing, both from their peers and the instructor, and learn flexible strategies for revision. Assignments promote an awareness of stylistic conventions, rhetorical possibilities, and genuine inquiry.
Fulfills Intensive Writing Level I Proficiency

For additional details on the Writing Seminar courses, please visit

ENG 161 001 (1998) & 002 (1999) Introduction to Journalism
R 4:00-6:30PM or W 4:00-6:30PM                                                               Staff

Introduces students to basic journalistic experiences including interviewing, researching, news, feature, and sports writing. It defines both standards of journalistic writing and the legal standards that govern journalism and combines lively writing experience with critical awareness. 
Prerequisite:  Intensive Writing Level I Proficiency

ENG 175 Introduction to Literature

175 001 (2000) MWF  2:30-3:20PM         Stephanie Boeninger
175 002 (2001) MR     2:30-3:45PM          Chun Ye
175 003 (2002) MWF  11:30-12:20PM     Stephanie Boeninger
175 004 (2003) TR      1:00-2:15PM          Tuire Valkeakari
175 005 (2004) TR      11:30-12:45PM       Tuire Valkeakari
175 006 (2005) MR     10:00-11:15AM      Chun Ye
175 007 (2006) TR      11:30-12:45PM       E.C. Osondu
175 008 (2007) MWF   1:30-2:20PM        Margaret Reid
175 009 (2008) MWF 12:30-1:20PM        Margaret Reid
175 010 (2009) TWF   9:30-10:20AM       James Beaver
175 011 (2010) TR      1:00-2:15PM            Chard deNiord
175 012 (2011) TR      4:00-5:15PM            Staff

An investigation of the three main literary genres—poetry, fiction, and drama—with an emphasis on writing.  Students completing this course should be able to read with engagement and discernment, discuss literature critically, and write analytically and with an awareness of scholarly conventions. Required for English Majors.  All others welcome. 
Fulfills Intensive Writing Level I Proficiency

For additional details on the Writing Seminar courses, please visit

ENG 231 001 (2012) Survey of British Literature I
TR 11:30-12:45PM                                                                                J. T. Scanlan

An intensive survey of English Literature from the Anglo-Saxon beginnings through the 18th century.  The course traces the rise of the English language as a vehicle for literary art and emphasizes historical development of literary genres.
Lit Pre-1800 Elective
Fulfills Intensive Writing Level II Proficiency

ENG 232 001 (2013) Survey of British Literature II
TR 1:00-2                                                                           Bruce Graver

This course offers a survey of British verse, drama, and fiction from the nineteenth century to the present day. It serves as an introduction to the post-1800 component of the English major. There are no prerequisites: you don’t need to have taken Survey I to take Survey II.
Lit Post-1800 Elective
Fulfills Intensive Writing Level II Proficiency

ENG 241 001 (2014) Introduction to Latinx Literature (Cross-listed with LALS 241)
TR 2:30-3:45PM                                                                       Cristina Rodriguez

An introduction to the key writers of U.S. Latinx Literature, through close reading of poetry, fiction, essays, and drama. The emphasis will be on breadth, with coverage of Central American, Caribbean, and Chicana/o authors from the 19th-21st century, to offer a comprehensive understanding of the U.S. Latinx experience. Writers include Gloria Anzaldúa, Junot Díaz, Tomás Rivera, Emma Pérez, and Héctor Tobar.
Prerequisite: Writing I Core Foundation/Proficiency
Proficiencies: Writing II

ENG 285 (2015) Introduction to Creative Writing
MR 2:30-3:45PM                                                                                   E.C. Osondu

Introduction to Creative Writing in fiction and poetry for Creative Writing majors and other interested students. Classes discuss reading and writing assignments in seminar and workshop settings. Students keep reading journals, write substantive critiques of each other’s work, and assemble a portfolio of their work including both poetry and fiction.

ENG 301 Intermediate Writing

301 001 (2016) MR       10:00-11:15AM          Mark Pedretti
301 002 (2017) MWF    11:30-12:20PM         Iain Bernhoft
301 003 (2018) TWF     9:30-10:20AM          Staff
301 004 (2019) TR        4:00-5:15PM             John Scanlan
301 005 (2020) M          7:00-9:30PM            Chard deNiord
301 006 (2021) MWF    1:30-2:20PM             Matthew Beach
301 007 (2022) TWF     8:30-9:20AM             Staff
301 008 (2518) MWF     12:30-1:20PM          Matthew Beach
301 009 (2519) TWF     10:30-11:20AM         Staff
301 010 (2520) MWF    1:30-2:20PM             Staff

Emphasizes argumentative writing.  Students will write and discuss essays in order to master the art of persuasion. Considerable attention will also be given to matters of style and organization. 
Prerequisite:  Intensive Writing Level I Proficiency
Fulfills Intensive Writing Level II Proficiency

For additional details on the Writing Seminar courses, please visit

ENG 305 (2023) Medieval Literature
TR 2:30-3:45PM                                                             Margaret Healey-Varley

The medieval English mystics wrote some of the most intensely emotional, deeply intellectual and controversial literature of their time. The transcendent experiences these men and women felt and thought their way towards and through presented a number of challenges that brought the personal, doctrinal and political worlds together: Who is capable of having a direct experience of God? Should education matter? Should gender matter? Who should answer these questions? In this course, we will explore such problems as the pressures put on church and political authorities by religious devotion and pastoral care, the inadequacy of language to express transcendent experience, and the relationship of the individual and the political to the divine. We will also work with medieval manuscripts and learn to read in Middle English. Texts will include the writings of the great Middle English Mystics such as Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe, as well as visions of purgatory, heaven and hell, and other visionary and devotional works. Some texts will be in Middle English but no previous knowledge is required.
Lit Pre-1800 Elective

ENG 311 001 (2025) Shakespeare: History and Comedies
TWF 10:30-11:20AM                                                                       Robert Reeder

In this course, we will sample the comedy and history plays with which Shakespeare occupied himself in the 1590s, roughly the first half of his career in the recently-established world of the professional London stage. For comedies we will likely explore A Midsummer Night’s Dream, at once lyrical and ridiculous, and at least two of the following comedies featuring a female protagonist in male disguise: The Merchant of VeniceAs You Like ItTwelfth Night. Our study of the history plays will center on what scholars call “the second tetralogy,” a series of four plays which take us from a family’s original sin through the complex coming-of-age of a young prince to a stunning military achievement that Shakespeare nevertheless shrouds in ambiguity. Throughout, while attending to social context and issues of performance (especially as we watch excerpts from film versions), we will concentrate on Shakespeare’s infinitely suggestive art.
Lit Pre-1800 Elective

ENG 312 001 (2026) Shakespeare: Tragedies and Romances
T 4:00-6:30PM                                                                              Raphael Shargel

Is Shakespeare the greatest playwright – the greatest poet, the greatest writer – of all time? What inspires readers to call him so, to be awed by his work and to return to it again and again? In this course, we will study key plays upon which Shakespeare’s reputation rests, including his four major tragedies Hamlet, OthelloKing Lear, and Macbeth. We will discuss and debate their characters and plots, their language and resonance, the meaning they held for audiences in Shakespeare’s time and what power they may still have today. Alongside them, we will look at some of Shakespeare’s less well-known works, stunningly dark tragedies like Coriolanus and Timon of Athens as well as the fascinating and strange romances that closed his career. CymbelineThe Winter’s Tale, and The Tempest are striking mixtures of light and dark, “art …in its piedness.” Reading them alongside the more famous plays will provide us with fuller insight into the endlessly fascinating Shakespearean mystery and a finer appreciation of his art and his power. 
Lit Pre-1800 Elective

ENG 313 001 (2027) Renaissance Drama
TR 11:30-12:45PM                                                                            Stephen Lynch

A mix of comedies and tragedies from 1580-1650, including Marlowe, Kyd, Jonson, Middleton, Webster, Beaumont and Fletcher. The plays will be studied within the social and political context of early modern England.
Lit Pre-1800 Elective

ENG 314 001 (2767) Spenser
M 4:00-6:30PM                                                                           Russell M. Hillier

This class will explore the beautiful, troubling, edifying, and often bizarre universe of Edmund Spenser’s outlandish, sprawling Elizabethan epic, The Faerie Queene. Spenser stands as a bridgehead between Chaucer and Milton, and the “Prince of Poets” was an inspiration to the British Romantics and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, and, later, to Lewis’s Narnia and Tolkien’s Middle Earth.

Spenser’s Faeryland is indebted to Arthurian romance, but its world also bustles with grotesque figures such as an iron man, a knight with laser eyes, a nymph impregnated by sunbeams, a warrior with a coat of human beards, a shape-shifting guerilla fighter, a demonic Barbie doll, and a thousand-tongued, biting hound of hell. There are also myriad surreal places: a castle built of human flesh, gardens of irresistible temptations and preternatural fecundity, and a desolate valley that deadens hopes and dreams. At the same time, the poem touches on delicate issues of historical, political, philosophical, and theological significance. Spenser deals with controversial matters in his time — the cult of Queen Elizabeth I, the Babington Plot, the trial and execution of Mary, Queen of Scots, the defeat of the Spanish Armada, and the Raleigh scandal. The landscape and atmosphere of The Faerie Queene also evoke the south of Ireland, and Spenser’s poem engages, often unsettlingly, with Elizabeth’s colonization of Ireland and his problematic situation as a New English planter in Munster.

Our goal will be to read the poem in its entirety, taking the occasional detour into Spenser’s “minor” verse: the unique sonnet sequence Amoretti, his conflicted poetic and prosaic reflections on Ireland in Colin Clouts Come Home Againe and A Veue of the Present State of Irelande, and the glorious and complex wedding song Epithalamium.
Lit Pre-1800 Elective
Fulfills Oral Proficiency Core Requirement

ENG 322 001 (2028) Age of Johnson
M 2:30-5:00PM                                                                               J. T. Scanlan

According to the course catalogue, this “pre-1800” course addresses the British literature of the second half of the eighteenth century. But obviously no single course can do justice to this enormously large corpus of literature and learning. One must make choices. So this term, I’ve founded our course on a two basic assumptions.

First, I assume that our course will focus on the Age of Johnson, rather than the Age of Johnson. In his own time, Samuel Johnson was widely thought to be at the center of London’s literary scene, and in concentrating on a number of Johnson’s works, the course pays respect to the spirit of this distant time. Nevertheless, our course will emphasize the exciting variety and arresting, comic adventurousness of the writers of the second half of the century. The Earl of Chesterfield’s startling letters to his nine-year-old (illegitimate) son on the proper comportment of a young gentleman and the necessity of keeping up one’s German; William Shenstone’s intriguing reflections on gardening (“Hedges, appearing as such, are universally bad”); William Blake’s pugnacious scratchings in the margins of Sir Joshua Reynolds’s Discourses on Art (“The Great Bacon—he is called: I call him the Little Bacon—says that Every thing must be done by experiment”): such stuff only hints at the strength and individuality of each writer’s delight in his or her own views and perceptions. The late eighteenth century has justifiably also been noted for the high quality of its non-fictional intellectual prose; accordingly, we’ll spend a fair amount of time on essays, histories, biographies, editorial works, and journals.

Second, the British literature of the second half of the eighteenth century exhibits a fascination with the entire subject of laughter and comedy. As Johnson once said to his younger friend Boswell, “You may laugh in as many ways as you talk.” So we’ll spend a good deal of time considering the nature and function of laughter—an important topic in the scholarship on the eighteenth century now. Overall, I’m hoping our course will reflect not only the seriousness with which our writers confronted various topics, but also their high-spirited, robust zest for conversation, ideas, and life itself.
Lit Pre-1800 Elective

ENG 353 001 (2029) Victorian Age
MR 10:00-11:15AM                                                             Elizabeth Bridgham

Did the Victorians really cover up their piano legs for the sake of modesty? Were Victorian novelists really paid by the word? How do we reconcile a culture renowned for its “stuffiness” with the outrageous “Decadent” writers and artists, or with the horrific crimes of Jack the Ripper, who claimed that he “gave birth to the 20th century?” In this class, we’ll take a myth-busting approach to stereotypes about 19th century Britain, which fail to acknowledge the intensely modern self-concept that led the Victorians to pursue progress in every area of life.  Reform shook the foundations of the British class system; radical agitation changed popular notions of women’s roles, religion, and science; Britain expanded its power as a global empire; and aesthetic experimentation produced new genres of literary and popular culture, many of which were scandalous, shocking, and sensational.  This course examines the relationship between the literature of the period and the rapidly changing society in which it was produced.  Students will read texts by well-known literary authors (which may include Dickens, Eliot, Tennyson, the Brownings, Arnold, Carlyle, Darwin, Wilde, etc.), and by popular authors whose literary merit has more recently been recognized.  We will also study writers who developed the genres of science fiction, detective fiction, and children’s literature (including H.G. Wells, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Lewis Carroll).
Lit Post-1800 Elective
Women’s Studies Humanities Elective

ENG 359 001 (2030) Communications Internship
By Arrangement

Juniors and seniors may obtain internships at local businesses and agencies to develop and apply skills in writing and analysis in the workplace. In addition to the 10-15 hours per week of supervised experience, students must compose and fulfill a contractual learning agreement.                      Pass/Fail credit only

ENG 364 001 (2031) Modern American Fiction
MWF 11:30-12:20PM                                                                       Margaret Reid

Modern American Fiction, will be a discussion based class focused on American fiction from World War 1 through approximately 1950.  We will study some of the major stylists of the era, such as Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Faulkner, and Cather, and we will also attend to the emergence of new voices in American literature, including the Harlem Renaissance, Proletariat and Immigrant fiction.  Our major focus will be on novels, though some short stories will be included.  Students will write papers, help lead discussions, and contribute to SAKAI forum postings.
Lit Post-1800 Elective
American Studies Elective

ENG 372 001 (2032) Contemporary Drama
MWF 12:30-1:20PM                                                           Stephanie Boeninger

As the most public of literary forms, theatre has long been an important medium through which communities define themselves. Plays often articulate the values of a given community, demonstrating what makes its members different from (and they might think superior to) other ethnic, racial, national, or linguistic groups. This course will examine the way in which theatre has functioned as a tool of national self-definition, particularly in postcolonial nations breaking away from the British Empire. We will focus primarily on the Anglophone dramatic literature of four regions: England, Ireland, the Caribbean, and Sub-Saharan Africa. In our reading, writing, and class discussion, we will address some of the most significant questions that have shaped postcolonial theatrical movements, including:
*Is theatre a democratic form? Does it promote equality and the free exchange of ideas or is it simply a medium through which the powerful elite shape the ideas and attitudes of the less powerful?
* Can postcolonial playwrights ever truly escape from the ethnic and national stereotypes popularized by British theatres (the stage Irishman or the stage African, for example)?
* Does the adoption of Western theatrical structures and conventions by non-Western playwrights indicate a new, more insidious form of colonialism, or does it represent an invigorating creative pluralism?
* Can and should theatre be a revolutionary form? What is its relationship to violent resistance and direct political action? 
*Do plays by women and other minorities participate in the project of national self-definition or do they attempt to create other, more inclusive ideas of community?
Lit Post-1800 Elective
Fulfills the Diversity Proficiency core requirement

ENG 376 001 (2033) Toni Morrison
T 4:00-6:30PM                                                                          Tuire Valkeakari
Cross-listed with AMS 376 (1954), BLS 376 (1009), and WMS 376 (2050)

In this reading-intensive seminar, we examine a selection of novels by the 1993 Nobel laureate Toni Morrison. We analyze her dialogue with African American and American history, with an emphasis on individual and communal trauma, memory, and healing. We will read seven of her eleven novels – The Bluest Eye, Sula, Song of Solomon, Beloved, Jazz, Paradise, and A Mercy. We will study Morrison as a literary author who, while writing about history and society, creates memorable portraits of individuals who are caught in swirls of social currents beyond their immediate control and find themselves responding, willingly or unwillingly, to such vicissitudes. Morrison’s multivoiced and multilayered lyrical prose offers endless opportunities for discussions of literary style. Selected, accessible Morrison scholarship will be read as well, with a focus on race, class, and gender and on Morrison’s strategies as a creative writer.

Each weekly session will be run as a discussion, initiated by a student presentation and by discussion questions posted on the course web site. The coursework will include two short essays and a final research paper.
Lit Post-1800 Elective
Fulfills the Diversity Proficiency core requirement

ENG 380 002 (2034) Creative Writing: Fiction
R 4:00-6:30PM                                                                                 E.C. Osondu

This course helps students learn to write short stories. Exercises are designed to strengthen students’ skill in rendering the elements of fiction. All work is discussed in a workshop situation. An anthology of short stories is read along with students’ work. A folio of exercises, short stories, and revisions provides the basis for the course grade. 
Fine Arts Core Requirement
Lit Post-1800 Elective

ENG 381 001 (2035) Creative Writing: Poetry
R 2:30-5:00PM                                                                                              Chun Ye

This course helps students learn to write poetry. Exercises are designed to sharpen students’ skill in rendering the elements of poetry. All work is discussed in a workshop situation. An anthology of poetry is read along with student work. A folio of exercises, poems, and revisions provides the basis for the course grade. 
Lit Post-1800 Elective
Fine Arts Core Requirement

ENG 385 001 (2036) Advanced Writing: Digital Rhetoric
TR 2:30-3:45PM                                                                                 Mark Pedretti

Most of us are aware that “writing” no longer exclusively means words on paper. We increasingly compose in, or in conjunction with, images, sounds, film, maps, hypertext, even our bodies. This course will explore several different media for developing what is known as “multimodal composition.” Students will pursue a single research project across multiple compositional modes, including memes, infographics, websites, interactive maps, and PechaKucha presentations. Our goal will be to understand the rhetorical affordances of each mode: What does one mode accomplish that another cannot? What kind of audience is appropriate for each one? How do each of these modes of presentation generate meaning? We will not only be learning to design in these different modes, but reflecting on the design decisions we make along the way.
Prerequisite: English Proficiency or Intensive Writing I Proficiency

ENG 441 002 (2038) The Neighborhood in Latinx Literature
R 8:30-11:15AM                                                                        Cristina Rodriguez Cross-listed as AMS 4790 (2485)

This upper-level, interdisciplinary study of space in narrative gives students a grounding in theories of human geography, transnationalism, and space in order to explore how Latinx authors of various backgrounds—Puerto Rican, Dominican, Cuban, Central American, and Mexican—use local settings to shape and style their narratives. As we travel through narrative to U.S. barrios, we will analyze how place effects the construction of identity and how environment informs aesthetic choices. Students will analyze how space and location function in the text and in our country, with particular attention paid to the inherent structural oppressions—ethnic, racial, gender, and spatial—at work in segregated Latinx neighborhoods throughout the U.S. While reading about neighborhoods we will also consider our own, analyzing Providence as a space and considering its effects upon its residents—including us.
Proficiency: Diversity
Lit Post-1800 Elective

ENG 481 001 (2039) Seminar:  Jane Austen
T 7:00–9:30PM                                                                                    Bruce Graver Cross-listed with WMS 479 (2063)  

The novels of Jane Austen are a source of continual delight to the reader, as well as considerable profit to British and American filmmakers.  We will read her works chronologically, beginning with selections from the juvenilia, and ending with the posthumously-published Persuasion
The purpose of this course is to allow students to gain a thorough understanding of the achievement of one of the greatest British novelists.  We will examine the novels from a formalist point of view, but also look at how Austen’s works reflect various social, historical, and ethical issues.  Students will also gain a sense of the major critical positions regarding Austen’s works, such as the standard studies by Butler, Poovey and Johnson, as well as contemporary studies by Lynch, Heydt-Stevenson, Byrne, Looser, and others.  We will also look at film adaptations of several of the novels, compare them with each other, and compare them with the novels themselves.
Class format will involve short background lectures, regular seminar reports, and vigorous discussion. Students will be responsible for weekly 2-page response papers, a 6-8 page short paper, due near midterm, and a long seminar research paper (15-20 pages) due at the end of the semester.  There will be three oral assignments: a report on a work of secondary literature, a group discussion-leading assignment, and a final presentation on your seminar research project.   Reading list (in order of appearance):  Austen’s Juvenilia, Northanger Abbey, Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Emma and Mansfield Park Persuasion.
Fulfills the Oral Communication Proficiency
Lit Post-1800 Elective

ENG 488 001 (2040) Seminar:  Poetry Capstone
R 2:30-5:00PM                                                                                 Chard deNiord

This class is designed to help you build upon the poetic skills you developed in ENG 381: Creative Writing in Poetry and become more confident poets as well as more informed readers and critics of poetry. The topic of this class is “The Poetic Sequence.” Whether a string of linked poems or a collection of interconnected shorter poems, a sequence allows you to look at a subject matter interesting to you from different angles and create an extended poetic meditation on it. Most of the poetry collections we will be reading feature some kind of sequence—thematic, formal, or both—on subjects ranging from coming of age to man’s relation with nature to social injustice, war, and race. These books also incorporate a variety of poetic forms, some traditional, some experimental and genre defying. This semester, each of you will conceive a subject for your own poetic sequence and find a suitable form or forms for it. By the end of the semester, you will have created a nine-poem sequence.

ENG 489 001 (2041) Seminar: Fiction Capstone
M 4:00-6:30PM                                                                                 Alison Espach

An advanced writing workshop, building on skills acquired in earlier English and Creative Writing courses. In addition to reading a selection of short fiction, students are expected to write and workshop their own short stories. At the end of the course, students submit a bound volume of their short stories prefaced with brief scholarly introduction.
Prerequisite: ENG 380

ENG 498 001 (2042) (Lit Pre-1800) and ENG 499 001 (2043) (Lit Post-1800) Senior Thesis                                                                                                                  Staff

Designed for seniors wishing to undertake a significant research project. Students work with a faculty advisor who will guide them from the planning stages of the thesis to its completion. A written proposal must be approved by a faculty advisor and department chair before registering. The thesis will be evaluated by the advisor and a second reader.
Prerequisite: ENG 400