Courses

ShareThis
Translate

Descriptions of course offerings are included below. For advice on course selection be sure to speak with a faculty adviser.

Course Offerings

Unless otherwise noted, these courses are taught every year and in the semesters indicated.

INTRODUCTORY AND ADVANCED WRITING COURSES

200. Introduction to Poetry Writing: Form, Theory, Workshop.

Fall, Spring. Credits: 4

A study of poetic form and theory, leading to a workshop in which students present their own poems for discussion. Students will learn to write basic narratives, as well as received forms such as villanelles, and to find forms suitable for their own work.

Prerequisites: English 151 or the permission of the instructor.

201. Introduction to Fiction Writing: Form, Theory, Workshop.

Fall, Spring. Credits: 4.

A study of narrative form and theory, leading to a workshop in which students present their own fiction for discussion.

Prerequisites: English 151 or the permission of the instructor.

203. Introduction to Dramatic Writing.

Fall. Credits: 4.

A study of the problems, vocabulary, and tools of writing for the stage. Workshop and presentation of scenes and short plays. Cross-listed with Theater 250.

Prerequisites: English 151 or the permission of the instructor.

204. Introduction to Screenwriting.

Fall, Spring. Credits: 4.

An introduction to the basic three-act film structure. Students will read and view various screenplays and films, and develop their own film treatment into a full-length script.

Prerequisites: Must have taken a creative writing or film studies class.

300. Intermediate Poetry Workshop: Form

Fall, Spring. Credits: 4

This intermediate workshop will help writing students to develop a greater sense of the use of received as well as individually-developed forms in poetry. In the pursuit of their own styles, participants will experiment with the idea of form. Through reading essays by other poets on free verse, syllabics, the villanelle, the sonnet, blank verse, blues poetry, as well as through readings of poetry by Gwendolyn Brooks, Muriel Rukeyser, Anne Sexton, Robert Creeley, Marianne Moore, Li Young Lee, Robert Hass, Anthony Hecht, Amy Clampitt, Robert Hayden, Yusef Komunyakaa, Henri Cole, Elizabeth Bishop, Rita Dove and others, students will broaden their own experience with poetry.

Prerequisites: English 200 and permission of instructor.

301. Intermediate Fiction Workshop

Fall, Spring. Credits: 4.

Continued practice in the craft of fiction writing with an emphasis on elements of narrative form, including point of view, character development, plot, style, tone, and so on. Includes historical and formal study of narrative form.

Prerequisites: English 201 and the permission of the instructor.

400. Advanced Poetry Workshop: Theory

Fall, Spring. Credits: 4.

The capstone course for writing majors concentrating on poetry. Students will work to develop their own poetry and formulate a clear aesthetic while also studying and discussing theories of poetry from the poetic tradition. The course will culminate in a substantial portfolio of poetry.

Prerequisites: English 300 and the permission of the instructor.

401. Advanced Fiction Workshop

Fall, Spring. Credits: 4.

The capstone course for writing majors concentrating on fiction. Students will work to develop their own fiction while examining short fiction from all periods of the preceding century, thereby placing their own art within its historical context. The course will culminate in a substantial portfolio of fiction that may be a story sequence, a novella, or some other assemblage.

Prerequisites: English 301.

INTRODUCTORY LITERATURE COURSES

190. Introductory Topics in Literature.

Fall, Spring. Credits: 4.

Degree Requirements: F2i, F4.

An introduction to the process of reading critically and writing perceptively about literary works, through the exploration of specific topics or questions. Topics for individual sections will vary, and topics for each upcoming semester can be found through BannerWeb or the English Department Homepage. Counts toward the English major. May not be repeated for credit. First-year and sophomore students only.

215. Focus on Literature.

Fall. Credits: 4.

Degree Requirements: F4.

A component of the First-Year Learning Community program. Open only to program participants.

219. Comparative Studies in Medieval Literature.

Fall, Spring. Credits: 4.

Degree Requirements: F2i, F4.

Comparative exploration of diverse cultural and literary traditions in the Western European Middle Ages. Medieval British and continental works read in Modern English translation. Specific texts and subject matter may vary. (Course offered in alternate years.)

220. Topics in Women and Literature.

Fall, Spring. Credits: 4.

Degree Requirements: F2i, F4.

A study of works written by or about women, this course is an opportunity to explore the distinct issues that women, their representations, and their writing raise. Possible topics: Women’s Autobiography, Contemporary Black Women Authors, and others. May be repeated once with different topic.

Prerequisites: English 151 or the permission of the instructor.

221. The Novel of Manners.

Fall, Spring. Credits: 4.

Degree Requirements: F2i, F4.

A study of the development of the novel of manners as a genre over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in both England and the United States. This course introduces students to the conventions of the novel of manners and explores the major novelists’ reception and revision of prior works in this influential genre. Authors include: Jane Austen, Henry James, and Edith Wharton.

Prerequisites: English 151 or the permission of the instructor.

224. Survey of African American Literature.

Spring. Credits: 4.

Degree Requirements: F2i, F4.

This course will survey the African American literary tradition from the 1600s to the present, with a particular focus on how the musings of African Americans capture, engage and critique the American narrative. Authors may include: Phillis Wheatley, W.E.B. Du Bois, Charles Chesnutt, Claude McKay, Zora Neale Hurston, Gwendolyn Brooks, Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison, et cetera.

Prerequisites: English 151 or the permission of the instructor.

225. Southern Literature.

Fall, Spring. Credits: 4.

Degree Requirements: F2i, F4.

A study of literature written about the American South, primarily but not exclusively Southern literature of the 19th and 20th centuries. Authors likely to be studied include William Faulkner, Robert Penn Warren, Margaret Walker, Flannery O’Connor, Thomas Wolfe, Eudora Welty, and Ernest J. Gaines.

Prerequisites: English 151 or the permission of the instructor.

230. Shakespeare’s Major Plays.

Fall, Spring. Credits: 4.

Degree Requirements: F2i, F4.

A survey of Shakespeare’s poems and plays, including sonnets, some ten representative comedies, histories, and tragedies from his earlier, middle, and later periods, and a generically mixed romance. While the focus will be on literary analysis, the class will also explore the greater context of Shakespeare, from the historical meanings of words in his texts to the performance of his works today. This course is designed to provide students with extensive practice in close textual analysis in preparation for enjoying Shakespeare throughout their lives.

Prerequisites: English 151 or the permission of the instructor.

235. World Drama.

Fall. Credits: 4.

Degree Requirements: F2i, F4.

An introduction to the critical reading of dramatic texts, and to the various implications of the genre itself. The stage will be explored not only as the site for the enactment of literary themes but also as a cultural arena where the representation of cultural values and discourses becomes contested, subverted, reaffirmed, or celebrated. The issues will also be addressed in examining the translation of theater to film.

Prerequisites: English 151 or the permission of the instructor.

260. Survey of British Literature I.

Fall, Spring. Credits: 4.

Degree Requirements: F2i, F4.

Representative works of medieval, Renaissance, and 18th-century literature. Specific content will vary with the instructor.

Prerequisites: English 151 or the permission of the instructor.

261. Survey of British Literature II.

Fall, Spring. Credits: 4.

Degree Requirements: F2i, F4.

Representative works of the 19th and 20th centuries. Specific content will vary with the instructor.

Prerequisites: English 151 or the permission of the instructor.

262. Survey of American Literature.

Spring. Credits: 4.

Degree Requirements: F2i, F4.

Representative works primarily from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Specific content will vary with the instructor.

Prerequisites: English 151 or the permission of the instructor.

264: Studies in African American Literature.

This course will study representative works within the African American literary tradition. Focusing on a particular topic or theme, this course will vary by year and might include the following subjects: African American Literary Movements, Black Science Fiction, Black Women Writers, Black Poetry or any other specialty topic.

Prerequisites: English 151 or the permission of the instructor.

265. Special Topics.

Fall, Spring. Credits: 4.

Degree Requirements: F2i, F4.

Recent topics have included the Modern Novella as well as other courses. Content may vary from year to year with the instructor. Course may be repeated as long as topics are different.

Prerequisites: English 151 or the permission of the instructor.

275. Studies in Anglophone Literature.

Fall or Spring. Credits: 4.

Degree Requirements: F2i, F4.

An introductory course to English-language literatures from around the world. Theme will vary by year. Sample subjects: Nationalism and its Discontents, Trauma and Testimony, Literatures of Migrancy, “Others” and Outsiders in World Literature, Magic Realism, Booker Prizes/Booker Politics, and Cosmopolitanism. Students will examine Western and non-Western texts from a multiplicity of critical and transnational perspectives.

Prerequisites: English 151 or the permission of the instructor.

285: Text and Context.

Fall, Spring. Credits 4

Degree Requirements: F2i.

This course assists prospective majors and minors in acquiring the necessary tools for middle- and upper-division classes in English. Each seminar will focus on the necessary skills for reading literary texts, the development of critical argument, and the ability to situate the text in relation to significant contexts. Such contexts might include a text’s historical and cultural circumstances, or its situation within the wider history or discipline of literary studies. Not open to seniors.

Prerequisites: English 151 or the permission of the instructor.

ADVANCED LITERATURE COURSES

319. Old English Language, Literature, and Culture.

Fall, Spring. Credits: 4.

Introduction to the language, literature, and culture of England before AD 100. Reading competence in Old English will be a primary goal, with course materials including a combination of original-language texts and works in modern English translation. (Course offered in alternate years.)

Prerequisites: Any 200-level literature course or the permission of the instructor.

320. Medieval Literature of the 12th-15th Centuries.

Fall. Credits: 4.

A study of representative Middle English texts in the original language or continental medieval literature in translation. Possible topics include The Arthurian World; Medieval Visionary Literature; Dante in Translation; the Pearl Poet; Women and Medieval Literature; Medieval Folklore, and others. (Course offered in alternate years.)Prerequisites: Any 200-level literature course or the permission of the instructor.

322. Renaissance Poetry and Prose.

Fall, Spring. Credits: 4.

A study of 16th and 17th century poetry and prose. Possible authors: Wyatt, Surrey, Sidney, Marlowe, Spenser, Shakespeare, Jonson, Raleigh, Donne, Marvell, Herbert, Herrick, More, Bacon, Browne. (Course offered in alternate years.)

Prerequisites: Any 200-level literature course or the permission of the instructor.

323. Renaissance Drama.

Fall, Spring. Credits: 4.

A study of non-Shakespearean drama of the 16th and 17th centuries. Possible dramatists: Marlowe, Jonson, Webster, Ford, Tourneur, Marston, Beaumont, Fletcher, Massinger. (Course offered in alternate years.)

Prerequisites: Any 200-level literature course or the permission of the instructor.

325. Chaucer.

Spring. Credits: 4.

A study of representative works by Geoffrey Chaucer in Middle English. Supplemental readings may also include selections from Chaucer’s influences and contemporaries. (Course offered in alternate years.)

Prerequisites: Any 200-level literature course or the permission of the instructor.

332. Advanced Shakespeare Studies.

Spring. Credits: 4.

Focused exploration of a critical problem in Shakespeare studies. The topic of the class will vary from semester to semester, but it will regularly include the study of eight to ten works by Shakespeare as well as critical and historical texts. Sample subjects: The Sonnets; Shakespeare and Literary Form; Eco-critical Shakespeare; Filmed Shakespearean Adaptations; Shakespeare and Race.

Prerequisites: Any 200-level literature course (English 285: Text and Context, preferred) or the permission of the instructor.

335. Milton.

Fall, Spring. Credits: 4.

A study of the major poetry and select prose by the learned 17th-century writer John Milton. Milton composed an extraordinary range of genres. While we will be surveying the full range of these genres across his career, we will devote much of our attention to Paradise Lost, the major epic of the English language, based on the story of Genesis yet encompassing profound and still relevant reflections on liberty, rebellion, history, providence, and social hierarchies. (Course offered in alternate years.)

Prerequisites: Any 200-level literature course (English 285: Text and Context, preferred) or the permission of the instructor.

336. Literature and Landscape, 1500-1800.

Fall. Credits: 4.

This course investigates two closely related subjects: English literature’s response to changing ideas of nature and the landscape; and the response of designers of English landscapes and gardens to literature. Material studied will range from Shakespeare to Wordsworth, including both the acknowledged literary greats and lesser-known writers of the 17th and 18th centuries.

Prerequisites: Any 200-level literature course or the permission of the instructor.

340. Restoration Drama.

Fall. Credits: 4.

A study of the drama produced in England after the restoration of Charles II to the throne in 1660. Topics include the emergence of the actress on the professional stage, the exceptionally intimate Restoration playhouses, the influence of the libertine court on the drama produced in the period, and such representative genres as satiric comedy and the heroic play as well as the rise of sentimental comedy in the 1690s and early 1700s. Authors include Dryden, Rochester, Wycherley, Etherege, Behn, Otway, Cibber, Vanbrugh, Congreve and Farquhar.

Prerequisites: Any 200-level literature course or the permission of the instructor.

343. Studies in Eighteenth-Century Literature.

Spring. Credits: 4.

A course in British poetry, non-fiction prose and drama. In a given year, the course might offer either a complete survey of the period or a thematic focus. Areas of focus would include shifts in poetic sensibility, the growth of a national consciousness, the role of religion in literature, and the propagation of print culture. Authors include Montague, Pope, Johnson, Boswell, Burney, Addison, Steele, and Cowper.

Prerequisites: Any 200-level literature course or the permission of the instructor.

345. Eighteenth-Century British Fiction.

Spring. Credits: 4.

The eighteenth century saw the emergence of the novel in its modern form. As a result eighteenth-century novels are all, in different ways, experimental, testing and developing the strategies of narration that characterize realist fiction. The course will study a range of novels, as well as debates among critics who have tried to account for the rise of the novel during this period in history. Readings may include work by Defoe, Richardson, Fielding, Smollett, Burney, Radcliffe, and Austen.

Prerequisites: Any 200-level literature course or the permission of the instructor.

350. Romantic Poetry and Prose.

Fall. Credits: 4.

A course in British poetry, drama, fiction and non-fiction prose between 1780s and 1830s. Particular prominence will be given to historical and cultural changes in the period--movements of revolution and reaction--and the emergence or redefinition of aesthetic concepts. Writers include Barbauld, Godwin, Wollstonecraft, Smith, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, Keats, and De Quincey.

Prerequisites: Any 200-level literature course or the permission of the instructor.

351. Victorian Poetry and Prose.

Spring. Credits: 4.

The period 1837-1901 (the reign of Victoria) witnessed the industrial transformation of Britain as well as the often bitterly contested expansion of Britain’s global empire. Poets and essayists addressed this changing social landscape, and an expanding reading public often turned to their work for guidance in a changing world. This course will study major poems and essays of the period. Possible authors include Tennyson, Carlyle, Mill, Arnold, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Browning, Christina Rossetti, Ruskin, Eliot, Pater, Wilde.

Prerequisites: Any 200-level literature course or the permission of the instructor.

355. Nineteenth-Century British Fiction.

Fall, Spring. Credits: 4.

A study of major works, with particular attention to changes in reading habits and publishing practices that altered the shape of the novel during this period. Readings may include work by Austen, Scott, Dickens, Brontë, Gaskell, Thackeray, Collins, Eliot, Hardy, and Gissing.

Prerequisites: Any 200-level literature course or the permission of the instructor.

359. Early American Literature.

Fall or Spring. Credits: 4.

An advanced study of American literature from its beginnings to 1800. Through a diverse range of texts, the course will explore how European colonization, Puritanism, and the Enlightenment shaped the development of American cultural thought and literary production. Course discussions may address the heterogeneous and shifting cultures of early America, the response to British rule and cultural hegemony, and the consolidation of national identity. Readings could include narratives of discovery and exploration, Puritan writings, Native American voices, early American poetry, slave and captivity narratives, works of the Enlightenment, and the early American novel.

Prerequisites: Any 200-level literature course or the permission of the instructor.

360. American Romanticism.

Fall or Spring. Credits: 4.

An advanced study of US poetry, fiction and non-fiction produced between 1820 and 1875. The course will trace the influence on the American imagination of British Romanticism and American Transcendentalism and also chart the rise of a distinctly American literary tradition. Course discussion will also address the political, historical, and cultural forces that shaped the writing of the period, as well as consider the lingering effects of Puritanism and Enlightenment philosophy. Authors may include Emerson, Thoreau, Melville, Hawthorne, Douglass, Whitman, Dickinson, and Stowe.

Prerequisites: Any 200-level literature course or the permission of the instructor.

361. American Realism and Naturalism.

Fall or Spring. Credits: 4.

An advanced study of literature - primarily novels and short stories - produced in post-Civil War America. Prompted by post-war disillusionment and the rapid and dramatic changes in American culture, this period saw the concurrent and overlapping emergence of realism and naturalism as well as an increased interest in a regionalist aesthetic. Authors may include Twain, Howells, Chesnutt, James, Jewett, Chopin, Crane, Norris, and Dreiser.

Prerequisites: Any 200-level literature course.

362. American Modernism

Fall or Spring. Credits: 4.

An advanced study of important US poetry, drama, fiction, and non-fiction produced between 1900 and 1945. The course will examine these works within the cultural dominant of modernism, which sought to articulate the urgent sense of dislocation and contemporaneity that characterized early twentieth-century experience. The course will ground its exploration of modernist stylistic and aesthetic innovations within the context of the prevailing philosophical, political, historical, and cultural realities of the period. Authors could include Frost, Dos Passos, Eliot, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Stevens, Cather, Hughes, Faulkner, and Welty.

Prerequisites: Any 200-level literature course.

363. Topics in Twentieth-Century British Literature.

Fall or Spring. Credits: 4.

An in-depth examination of a specific topic pertaining to British literature and/or culture of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Topics may focus on specific periods, movements, genres or authors. Sample topics: Modernist Poetry, Multicultural British Literature, Postmodern British Literature, British Cultural Studies, Joseph Conrad, Virginia Woolf. May be repeated with different topic.

Prerequisites: Any 200-level literature course or the permission of the instructor.

364. Advanced African American Literature.

Fall, Spring. Credits: 4.

The advanced course in African American literature will offer the student a focused study of a particular theme or topic within the African American literary tradition. In addition to literary works, this course will engage historical and critical pieces. Varying by year, subjects might include: African American Literary Theory, African American Satire, Black Existentialist Literature, the Harlem Renaissance, the Black Arts Movement, African American Modernism/Postmodernism, or any other focused examination of a topic or genre within African American literature.

Prerequisites: Any 200-level literature course or the permission of the instructor.

365. Twentieth-Century British Fiction.

Fall or Spring. Credits: 4.

A study of major works, with particular attention to literary modernism—its rise, reception, and wake—within the context of its cultural and socio-historical frameworks. Readings may include work by Conrad, Ford, Forster, Greene, Joyce, Lawrence, Rhys, Waugh, Woolf, and other authors from more recent decades.

Prerequisites: Any 200-level literature course or the permission of the instructor.

370. American Postmodernism and Beyond.

Fall or Spring. Credits: 4.

This course will examine fiction, poetry, and drama published between the years following World War II to the present day. The works will be read against the backdrop of the decline of modernism and European colonialism and the subsequent rise of postmodernism and its many attendant sub-movements. Authors could include Lowell, Ellison, Mailer, Bellow, Sexton, Pynchon, Barth, O’Connor, Updike, Oates, Roth, Morrison, and Wallace.

Prerequisites: Any 200-level literature course. Majors only.

375. Topics in Postcolonial Literature.

Spring. Credits: 4.

This course investigates crucial contemporary issues in postcolonial literature and theory. Topics will vary by year, though each will explore various voices, relations, and movements that comprise the literature of the postcolonial Other. Sections might center on specific geopolitical regions (i.e. literatures of the Caribbean, Africa or South Asia), groups of writers (ie, postcolonial women and literature), genre (i.e. postcolonial poetry) or thematic concerns. Other sections might provide an overall introduction to postcolonial texts and theory. May be repeated with different topic.

Prerequisites: Any 200-level literature course or the permission of the instructor.

380. Topics in Literary Study.

Fall, Spring. Credits: 4.

Exploration of special topics at a level designed for English majors. Content will vary from year to year. May be repeated with different topic.

Prerequisites: Any 200-level literature course or the permission of the instructor.

385. Junior Seminar: Critical Theory and Methodology.

Spring. Credits: 4.

An examination of major developments in literary criticism and critical theory, designed to prepare students for advanced research. To be taken during the spring semester of the junior year. (Those studying abroad may take the course in the senior year.)

Prerequisites: English 285 or the permission of the instructor. Majors only.

485: Senior Research Seminar.

Fall, Spring. Credits: 4.

A focused exploration of special topics or critical problems in literary study culminating in the preparation of an independent research essay and a major oral presentation of the research. Topics chosen by the instructor will vary from section to section and may focus on major authors, distinct literary genres or movements, historical contexts, and/or significant themes. Topics will be published annually; rising seniors will select preferred topics. For further information, see the English Department Chair. Enrollment by permission only.

Introductory and advanced film courses

202. Introduction to Cinema.

Fall. Credits: 4

This course introduces students to the critical tools involved in the analysis of moving-image media such as film, video, and television. Students will compose essays that demonstrate a historically informed grasp of cinema’s formal techniques and how these produce meaning for spectators.

Prerequisites: Eng. 151 or equivalent. All students must attend a weekly screening.

241. History and Criticism of American Cinema.

Fall. Credits: 4.

This course introduces students to the history of American cinema as art and industry. Although Hollywood film provides the focus, the course may also examine independent cinema. Students will compose essays that demonstrate their grasp of film history and analysis.

Prerequisites: English 151 or equivalent.

242. World Film.

Spring. Credits: 4.

A chronological survey of world film, focusing on the theoretical implications of developing technologies and changing social mores, and introducing the major critical approaches to a filmic text.

Prerequisites: English 151 or the permission of the instructor.

245. Special Topics in Film.

Fall. Credits: 4.

An introductory film course open to all students. Special topics may include alternative cinema (non-fiction and experimental cinema); issues of race, gender, and class; genre studies (comedy, film noir, melodrama); and histories of various technologies and media (the advent of sound film, television, video). May be repeated with different topic.

Prerequisites: English 151 or the permission of the instructor.

381. Advanced Topics in Film.

Spring. Credits: 4.

The focused exploration of a topic or genre that ties a body of films together in order to pursue issues of film criticism and theory in depth. Such topics as the following may be considered: gender and film, race and film, film adaptation, American genre films, the film auteur, screenplay writing. Includes the study of critical texts. May be repeated with different topic.

Prerequisites: Any 200-level film class or the permission of the instructor.

382. Film Theory.

Spring. Credits: 4.

Degree Requirements: Humanities.

The study of appropriate films in connection with a selection of theoretical texts that elaborate the problem of meaning in film. Films and readings will be roughly chronological. Requirements include mandatory attendance at film screenings, to occur outside of scheduled class hours.

Prerequisites: Any 200-level film class or the permission of the instructor.

SPECIAL COURSES

315. The English Language.

Spring. Credits: 4.

A survey of the historical development of English from the Anglo-Saxon period to the present, including a consideration of the concept of language, the Indo-European system, lexicography, and issues of American English. (Course offered in alternate years.)

399. Tutorial for Honors Candidates.

Spring. Credits: 1.

Junior English majors wishing to read for honors are required to enroll in a preparatory tutorial in the spring semester. Although required for honors, enrollment in this course does not guarantee acceptance into the Honors Program.

460. Internship.

Fall, Spring. Credits: 4.

Degree Requirements: F11.

A supervised learning experience in the greater Memphis community in which students apply analytical and writing skills learned in the classroom to situations in business, journalism, not-for-profit organizations, and other professional arenas. The program of professional work will be devised by the student, the internship supervisor, and the faculty advisor for internships. All internships must be approved by the chairperson of the department. Additional course work will consist of journal entries, reading assignments, and a final reflective paper. (Pass/Fail credit only. English 460 does not satisfy an upper-level English course requirement for the major.)

465. Tutorial in One-to-One Writing Instruction.

Fall. Credits: 1.

Theoretical and applied study of one-to-one writing instruction.

495-496. Honors Tutorial.

Fall, Spring. Credits: 4-8, 4-8.

Satisfies the Senior Paper requirement. For seniors only.

Prerequisites: English 399.