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Check out the Fall 2020 English course descriptions

ENG 101 Writing Seminar             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

101 001 (1426) MR 8:30-9:45AM Staff
101 002 (1448) MR 8:30-9:45AM Staff
101 003 (1450) TWF 8:30-9:20AM Staff
101 004 (1452) TWF 9:30-10:20AM Staff
101 005 (1454) TWF 10:30-11:20AM Staff
101 006 (1457) MWF 11:30-12:20PM Staff
101 007 (1458) MWF 1:30-2:20PM Staff
101 008 (1459) TWF 10:30-11:20AM Staff
101 009 (1460) MWF 12:30-1:20PM Staff
101 010 (1461) MR 10:00-11:15AM Staff
101 011 (1462) TWF 9:30-10:20AM Staff
101 012 (1463) TR 1:00-:15PM Staff

ENG 161 001 (1464) & 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
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

175 001 (1466) TR 1:00-2:15PM E. C. Osondu
175 002 (1467) MWF 2:30-3:20PM Staff
175 003 (1468) TWF 9:30-10:20AM    Staff
175 004 (1469) MWF 1:30-2:20PM Staff
175 005 (1470) MWF  11:30-12:20PM William Hogan
175 006 (1471) TWF  10:30-11:20AM Robert Stretter
175 007 (1472) MR  2:30-3:45PM     Staff
175 008 (1473) TR    11:30-12:45PM   Russell Hillier
175 009 (1474) MR  10:00-11:15AM Chun Ye
175 010 (1475) TR   1:00-2:15PM  Russell Hillier
175 011 (1476) MWF 12:30-1:20PM   Staff
175 012 (1477) TR 2:30-3:45PM Mark Pedretti
175 013 (1478) MR 8:30-9:45AM Chun Ye
175 014 (1479) TR 2:30-3:45PM Tuire Valkeakari

ENG 185 Introduction to Creative Writing
185 001 (1480)          MR 2:30-3:45PM          Staff
185 002 (2497)          TWF 9:30-10:20          Alison Espach

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, fiction, and literary nonfiction.

ENG 204 Literary Editing and Publishing
204-001 (1481)          T 2:30-5:00PM          E.C. Osondu

This course provides a hands-on opportunity to gain experience in literary editing and publishing. Students help produce The Alembic through active involvement in the many aspects of its production—from manuscript screening to graphic design to marketing. Meanwhile, we will read and discuss literary texts in several genres to help you develop sophistication in literary criticism. You will also practice writing reviews and conducting interviews to generate publishing credit.

ENG 265 20th Century African American Literature
265 001 (1482)          TR 11:30-12:45PM          Tuire Valkeakari
265 002 (1483)          TR 1:00-2:15PM              Tuire Valkeakari

An introduction to twentieth-century African American fiction, autobiography, drama, and poetry, with attention to cultural and social contexts. Careful close readings of selected texts, as well as discussions of black literary movements’ and individual authors’ understandings of the role of literary art in society. Focus on race, class, and gender; literary representations of black identity, resistance, and freedom; and dialogue between content and literary form. Writers include Nella Larsen, Ralph Ellison, Amiri Baraka, Toni Morrison, John Edgar Wideman, and Anna Deavere Smith. Fulfills Diversity Proficiency and Intensive Writing Level II Proficiency Cross-listed with AMS and BLS

ENG 301 Intermediate Writing
301 001 (1484)          TWF 9:30-10:20AM          Staff
301 002 (1485)          MWF 12:30-1:20PM          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 304 History of English Language
304 001 (1486)          MR 10:00-11:15AM          Margaret Healey-Varley

What’s the difference between “shall” and “will”? Who decided that two negatives make an affirmative? Why do some Shakespearean rhymes not rhyme? Where did “y’all” come from, and why don’t we use “thou” anymore? Why can’t we mix the order of words in a sentence and still make sense?

This course offers a survey of the changes in English phonology, morphology, syntax, spelling and vocabulary, from Old English to contemporary world English. Students will acquire some facility in Old and Middle English, learn to recite Chaucer and Shakespeare in the original pronunciation, understand the history and structure of the English spoken in their own homes, and, finally, be able to identify the history of English manifest in a single sentence. Engaging with the many idiosyncrasies of the language and learning what they mean, students will gain greater confidence in writing and speaking in English.

ENG 307 Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales
307 001 (1487)         TR 1:00-2:15PM          Robert Stretter

  • a lusty widow skilled in the “art of love”
  • a loud-mouthed, drunken, heavily armed miller
  • a penniless student who spent all his money on books
  • a cook whose food you would never want to eat 
  • martyred saints who lounge around in boiling cauldrons
  • knights in shining armor (plus one in really grubby armor)
  • damsels in distress
  • damsels very much NOT in distress
  • an especially memorable kiss
  • sex in a pear tree
  • and talking chickens . . .

Welcome to the world of Chaucer! ENG 307 is an exploration of the life and work of Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1342-1400), the most influential English poet of the Middle Ages. Our focus will be Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, an exhilarating tour through the kaleidoscopic world of late medieval England, which we will read in the original Middle English. Because the course assumes no prior familiarity with Middle English, a portion of class time will be dedicated to mastering Chaucer’s language (which usually can be done in about six weeks). In addition to studying the literary aspects of Chaucer’s art, we will examine medieval attitudes towards religion, morality, politics, gender, family, sex, love (both “courtly” and non-courtly), and marriage.  No previous knowledge of medieval literature or language is required. Fulfills the pre-1800 literature requirement for English majors and minors.

ENG 312 Shakespeare: Tragedies and Romances
312 001 (1488)          T 11:30-12:45PM          Stephen Lynch
We will read several of Shakespeare’s great tragedies, and a few of his late romances (or “tragic-comedies”), along with some odd-ball plays like Titus Andronicus and Pericles. Lots of attention to the historical and cultural contexts, and some attention to stage history. All great stuff. But not recommended for fans of SparkNotes.
Lit Pre-1800 Elective

ENG 317 17th Century Literature
317 001 (1489)         MWF 11:30-12:45PM      Robert Reeder
The 17th-century in England was a period marked by political turbulence and trauma–in fact, at the century’s midpoint the king was tried and beheaded–and religious controversy. It also a period of perhaps unrivaled literary production, including but by no means limited to the major tragedies of Shakespeare and Milton’s grand epic, Paradise Lost. Our study will likely begin with Measure for Measure, the dark comedy that is the first play Shakespeare wrote under the patronage of the century’s new king, and conclude with Paradise Regained, the sequel to Paradise Lost Milton composed during the reign of that king’s grandson.  In between we will consider a series of significant publications: Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum (1611) by Aemilia Lanyer, the first female poet in the period to venture into print; The Works of Ben Jonson (1616), who dared to offer his brilliant stage comedies as literary works on par with the Greek and Roman classics; George Herbert’s The Temple (1633), which contains the most subtly achieved and supremely moving religious poetry in the period and perhaps the English language. Along the way, we will also consider the preacher-poet John Donne’s morbid meditations on death in verse and prose.

ENG 321 The Age of Satire
321 001 (1490)         TR    2:30-3:45PM          John Scanlan
What is satire?  Is it a genre?  A literary or artistic mode?  A “spirit”?  What are the hallmarks and desiderata of satiric expression?  The strength of opinion?  The loose structure?  The satirist’s willingness to point out a problem without proposing a solution?  Satire has always been difficult to define, and we’ll begin our course by trying to distinguish satire from other kinds of expression that make us laugh, or at least grin.

As the scheme of courses in the English Department indicates, The Age of Satire is a “pre-1800” course:  while satiric expression remains important today, we will address in our course one of the great ages of satire, the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century, when many of the greatest, and funniest, writers in the English language chose this form of expression to express their ideas and reactions to the world.  Inevitably, the intellectual, social, and literary contexts that stimulated these writers—and to which their works refer, typically in arresting and now largely obscure detail—are difficult to recapture.  Accordingly, we’ll also devote a good portion of time to attempting to recover, as best we can, the intellectual backgrounds and the rowdy city of London as it evolved between roughly 1675 and 1750.  Our course will be in part a history course, with a particular emphasis on London and its burgeoning world of literature for sale.

Finally, our course will also concentrate on the nature of laughter, a subject of great significance today, and one that can be approached from a range of academic disciplines, including literature, history, psychology, biology, and neuroscience, to name a few.  What’s so funny?  We’ll ask that question often, which is why the one requirement for the course is having a good sense of humor. Lit Pre-1800 Elective

ENG 358 001 (1491) 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 363 20th Century British Novel
363 001 (1492)          TR 1:00-2:15PM          William Hogan
Surveys developments in the art of the novel in Britain during the pre-World War I period, the inter-war years, and the post-1945 period. Authors studied have varied from semester to semester, but have included Conrad, Joyce, Lawrence, Forster, Woolf, Lessing, Ford, Naipaul, Rushdie, Zadie Smith, and others. We will engage with the fact that the ‘English novel’ became a global phenomenon in the twentieth century, as writers around the world, in former British colonies and in parts of the British Commonwealth wrote important fiction in English. Topics for discussion range from modernist experimentation, to tensions between tradition and change, to the meaning of ‘Englishness’ in a decolonizing world.

ENG 373 US Fiction Since 1960
373 001 (1494)          TR 4:00-5:15PM          Cristina Rodriguez
What does it mean to be American? How has being American changed in the late 20th and early 21st century? How does American fiction situate itself in the wake of its own literary tradition, and in the wake of wars, globalization, immigration, and flux? This semester we will look at various kinds of identity—personal, ethnic, national, generic (meaning, having to do with genre)—and analyze both how and why US fiction grapples with the problem of constructing a self and/or an American self. Authors include Leslie Marmon Silko, Edward P. Jones, Karen Tei Yamashita, Junot Díaz, Don Delillo, Toni Morrison, John Barth.

ENG 380 Creative Writing: Fiction
380 001 (1495)          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 Creative Writing: Poetry
381 001 (1496)          M 4:00-6:30PM          Staff
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 382 The Prose Poem
382 001 (2539)          TR 4:00-5:15PM          Alison Espach
This course is designed to be both a literature and a creative writing course.  The course will introduce students to prose poetry, and it will trace the development of its tradition both here and abroad.  During the semester, we will analyze this hybrid form and trace its enigmatic history. Students  will write their own original prose poetry to be discussed in a workshop format.

ENG 400 Literary Criticism
400 001 (1497)          TR 11:30-12:45PM          Bruce Graver
An intensive examination of major works of literary criticism, from Plato to the present.  Students will learn to write theoretically about literature and will be asked to apply specific critical methods to literary works.  Readings may include Plato, Arisotle, Coleridge, Nietzche, Freud, Derrida, Foucault, Nussbaum, and Cixous.  Prerequisite for students writing a Senior Thesis.

ENG 441 SIL: Literary Translation
441 001 (1498)          T 2:30-5:00PM          Chun Ye
This part-seminar-part-workshop course focuses on the theories and craft of literary translation. Each student engages with an international poet throughout the semester and generates translations of the poet’s works, while learning about the cultural perspectives and contexts in which the works were produced. Throughout the course, we will also read critical essays on literary translation, charting its major development from the 17th century to today. In addition to methodological arguments in the fields, students also explore the ethical issues involved in literary translation, as well as the intersection between translation, gender, race, colonialism, and postcolonialism. While becoming familiar with the main arguments in the field, we will inevitably ask the questions: How do I translate? Why do I translate the way I do? Diversity Core Requirement Post-1800 Elective

ENG 441 SIL: Battlefields and Homefronts
441 002 (1499)          M 2:30-5:00PM          Stephanie Boeninger and Dr. Margaret Manchester
It is common to read history as a series of military conflicts in which young men prove their mettle on the field of battle, the technologically or tactically superior force emerges victorious, and history is written by the winners. War stories are exciting; they can be violent, tragic, and personal while also having far-reaching political consequences. But war impacts more than just soldiers and political alliances. For those on the home front, war can impact the food they eat, the toys their children play with, and the way they think about justice, gender, race, and class. 

Using history, literature, art, and film, we will consider three major conflicts that have shaped the Western world, thinking about not just casualties and battles but also their daily effects on the lives of people on the “home front.” We’ll begin with World War One, the first modern war, considering how that massive conflagration shaped both the continent of Europe and the daily lives of Europeans. 

We’ll move from the world war to consider anti-colonial wars, first the Kenyan War for Independence, in which an army of Kenyan tribes rose up to demand their independence from the British empire. Next we will consider the Irish Civil War and finally the Northern Irish Troubles. Along the way we’ll discuss colonialism and its effects, as well as comparing violent and non-violent strategies in the project of decolonization. 

Finally, in any war there are also peacemakers. We will study and learn from those who tried to make peace, including both Catholic and feminist perspectives on just war and on peacemaking.

It should have Intensive Writing II by then Cross-listed History 

ENG 481 Seminar:  Cormac McCarthy
481 001 (1500)          R 4:00–6:30PM          Russell Hillier
Cormac McCarthy, “a Rhode Island Shakespeare,” was born in 1933 in Providence.  He is a major contemporary North American thinker, who has been writing for over five decades, and is the author of ten novels, two plays, and four screenplays.  He is a past recipient of the Guggenheim “Genius” Grant, the National Book Award, and the Pulitzer Prize.  Billy Bob Thornton, the Coen brothers, John Hillcoat, Tommy Lee Jones, James Franco, and Ridley Scott have all adapted McCarthy’s narratives for the silver and small screen: All the Pretty Horses, No Country For Old Men, The Road, The Sunset Limited, Child of God, and The Counselor.  At the invitation of the particle physicist Murray Gell-Mann, since 2001 McCarthy has been a Fellow at the Santa Fe Institute, New Mexico, where he collaborates in multidisciplinary study with distinguished members of the global scientific community. 

McCarthy has stated that the “good writers . . . deal with issues of life and death” and his professed literary influences are Herman Melville, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and William Faulkner.  His is an authentic, unique literary voice in both the content and style of his work, but to read him is to enter into the Western literary and philosophical tradition with which his fiction is in ceaseless conversation.  His principal concerns remain metaphysical, moral, and ecological: the nature and problem of evil, the idea of God or the transcendent, humanity’s place within nature, the question of moral choice and action, the possibility of goodness, the meaning and limits of civilization, the benefits and pitfalls of industrial and technological progress, the good of story, and the definition of what it is to be human. 

The class will explore the full range of McCarthy’s works, from his Appalachian novels, experiments in Southern Gothic, to his reinvention of the Western, to his more recent contributions to the genres of post-apocalyptic, “narco noir,” and the philosophical dialogue.  We will also consider the adaptation and translation of McCarthy’s fiction from page to screen, not least with his 2013 Hollywood screenplay The Counselor.  Along the way we will consider McCarthy’s investment in the consequential works and ideas of past poets, philosophers, and theologians in realizing his astonishing imaginative project — to discover of what kind of clay the human heart is made. 

Although the seminar is classed at the 400 level, McCarthy’s fiction should appeal and be accessible to anyone who is passionate about, or interested in, great literature. American Studies Seminar Lit Post-1800 Elective Fulfills Oral Proficiency Core Requirement

ENG 481 Seminar: Imagining England in Literature & Film
481 002 (1501)          TR 2:30-3:45PM          Elizabeth Bridgham

What does it mean to be English?  How does Englishness differ from Britishness?  How is England today different from (or similar to) England at the height of the British Empire? And what is Brexit all about? 

Concepts of nationality are slippery at best, shifting over time and skewed by concepts like patriotism, tradition, race and ethnicity, and religion.  This course will examine England’s idea of itself through the lens of its nineteenth- through twenty-first-century novels and films.  Our study will be organized around a variety of perspectives on the nation:  England’s relationship to its own history and its repercussions, political and military crises, England’s varied landscape and the changing global environment.  Representative authors may include Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell, E. M. Forster, Monica Ali, Zadie Smith, and Neil Gaiman. Films may include A Passage to India, Blow-Up, Chariots of Fire, 28 Days Later, The Full Monty, and The Queen.  As we read, watch, and discuss these works, we will take a virtual tour of the UK, studying the different regions, cultures, and subcultures that comprise the nation. English post-1800 requirement Oral Proficiency core requirement

ENG 498 001 (1502) Lit Pre-1800 Senior Thesis          Staff
ENG 499 001 (1503) 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