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English

  • Sarah Kennedy, department head
    Ralph Alan Cohen, Matthew Davies, Kristen Egan, Catharine O’Connell, Paul Menzer, Lydia Petersson, Molsie Petty, Richard Plant, Katherine Turner

  • Requirements for the Major in English

    33 semester hours
    ENG 208 British Literature to 1780
    ENG 209 British Literature 1780 to the present
    ENG/THEA 216 Introduction to Shakespeare
    ENG 220 American Literature: Colonial to Romantic
    ENG 400 Major Seminar

    and six additional courses in English, level ENG 111 and above, to include at least three courses at the 300 level

    Note: the department strongly recommends English Majors to study a foreign language through intermediate level.

    All Seniors must complete the Major Field Test in English before graduation

    Requirements for the Minor in English

    21 semester hours
    ENG 208 British Literature to 1780
    ENG 209 British Literature 1780 to the present
    ENG/THEA 216 Introduction to Shakespeare
    ENG 220 American Literature: Colonial to Romantic

    and three additional courses in English, level ENG 111 and above, to include at least one course at the 300 level

    Minor in Creative Writing
    Please see Creative Writing

    Virginia Program at Oxford University

    The History and English departments co-sponsor the Virginia Program at Oxford University. Working with British tutors in courses devoted to Tudor-Stuart England, students can earn 3 s.h. of history credit and 3 s.h. of English credit that count toward the history and English majors and minors. Interested English majors are urged to apply to this program. For more information, see Dr. Mary Hill Cole.

  • Civic Engagement Opportunities

    • Civic Engagement contracts appropriate to individual courses
    • Teaching assistantships
    • Positions as tutors in the Writing Center or Learning Skills Center
    • Internships in web editing and publishing with Outrageous Fortune
    • Editorial positions on Campus Comments, Libations, or other publications
    • Volunteer work in primary or secondary schools
    • Participation in academic conferences and/or reading series
    • Internships in journalism, public relations, and editing
  • 100 Basic Composition (3 s.h.)
    Required of freshmen who, on evidence of high school record and SAT scores, show need for practice in critical reading and writing. Objective is competence in reading analytically and writing essays that meet standards of organization, logical development, sentence structure, grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Emphasis on extensive composition and revision. Students must pass ENG 100 with a grade of “C-“ or better to enroll in ENG 102.

    102 Intermediate Composition (3 s.h.)
    Required for graduation. Designed to improve writing, critical thinking and ability to read carefully. Classes devoted to discussing student essays and texts by professional writers, emphasizing discussion and the writing process. Students write six-eight essays or equivalent and revise at least two.

    103 English as a Second Language I: Basic Composition (3 s.h.)
    Prepares ESL students for academic writing, with emphasis on analytical reading and on writing short essays that meet standards of organization, logical development, sentence structure, grammar, spelling and punctuation. Emphasis on extensive composition and revision. Students taking 103 in fall should expect to take ENG 102 in spring.

    111 Introduction to Literature (3 s.h.) (H, W)
    Provides an introduction to close reading of poetry, fiction, and drama. Through class discussion and regular writing assignments students will gain an understanding and appreciation of literary genre. The course will also involve discussion and writing about how the elements of each genre — including setting, plot, imagery, sound, and rhythm — contribute to the meaning and effect of a literary work. *Prerequisite: ENG 102

    204 Children’s/Young Adult Literature (3 s.h.) (H, W)
    An overview of the literary and historical development of literature for children and young adults through selected authors and genres, both classic and contemporary.  Students analyze literary elements, discuss cultural and educational issues within the genre, and consider the development of the concept of childhood and literacy in a variety of contexts. *Prerequisite: ENG 102.

    208 British Literature before 1780 (3 s.h.) (H, W)
    Works of major British writers from the Anglo-Saxons to 1780.  Students will learn about genre, contexts, and critical approaches to literary texts; they will also consider how the English language has evolved over time. Classroom discussion will develop oral presentation skills, and the four term papers (which students are encouraged to revise) will develop writing skills. *Prerequisite: ENG 102.

    209 British Literature after 1780 (3 s.h.) (H, W)
    Continuation of ENG 208. Study works of major British writers from 1780 to the late 20th century. *Prerequisite: ENG 102.

    216 Introduction to Shakespeare (3 s.h.) (H, R)
    Discussion/performance course focusing on examples of comedy, history, and tragedy, each considered from the dramatic, poetic, and theatrical perspectives, with some attention given to historical background and characteristics and development of Shakespeare’s art. Cross listed as ENG/THEA 216. *Prerequisite: ENG 102.

    220 American Literature: Colonial to Romantic (3 s.h.) (H, W)
    Study of representative selections, including writers such as Bradstreet, Poe, Hawthorne, Emerson, Melville, Stowe, and Douglass. Students will develop close reading skills through writing and discussion, and they will learn to analyze and compare literary works. Literary texts are also discussed in relation to their cultural and historical contexts, and students will develop an understanding of differing genres. *Prerequisite: ENG 102.

    221 American Literature: Realism to Present (3 s.h.) (H, W)
    A continuation of ENG 220. Representative selections from late 19th and 20th centuries are studied, including works by Twain, James, Chopin, Cather, Faulkner, Eliot, and Hughes. Students will develop close reading skills through writing and discussion, and they will learn to analyze and compare literary works. Literary texts are also discussed in relation to their cultural and historical contexts, and students will develop an understanding of differing genres. *Prerequisite: ENG 102.

    235 Women’s Writing (3 s.h.) (G, W)
    Students will read works by women from across the English-speaking world, from the seventeenth century to the present day, in a variety of genres. Analysis will be grounded in feminist and gender theory, and will consider the historical contexts of texts as well as their significance for later readers. *Prerequisite: ENG 102.

    246 The Crafting of Fiction (3 s.h.)
    Introduction to basic elements of fiction writing, including characterization, plot, and point of view. In-class exercises, frequent writing assignments, and readings in contemporary fiction. Also introduces the writing workshop method of analysis and critique. *Prerequisite: ENG 102.

    247 The Crafting of Poetry (3 s.h.)
    Introduction to basic elements of poetry writing, including persona, rhyme, rhythm, and meter. Through in-class exercises, frequent writing assignments, and readings in contemporary poetry, students develop strategies and skills for creating and developing formal and free-verse poetry. Also introduces the writing workshop method of analysis and critique. *Prerequisite: ENG 102.

    251 American Women’s Autobiography (3 s.h.)  (G)
    An introduction to the genre of autobiography (“life-writing”) and some of the particular challenges, both cultural and literary, faced by American women writers in shaping their individual life stories.  Full-length autobiographies read and discussed will include a slave narrative and works by first-generation American women. Cross listed as AMST 251. *Prerequisite:  ENG 102.

    270 Teaching Writing: An Introduction to Theory and Practice (3 s.h.) (W)
    Introduction to the major developments in the history of writing instruction in the U.S. as well as composition studies and writing pedagogy. Students will practice collaborative writing and research, and, through observation and practice in MBC’s Writing Center, gain first-hand experience assisting student writers across the curriculum. Students who complete this course and meet additional requirements may apply to work in the College’s Writing Center. *Prerequisite: ENG 102.

    315 Early English Drama (3 s.h.)
    A discussion and performance course studying five to six plays written before 1640, including a sample of medieval drama. The plays are studied in chronological order so that the student will gain some understanding of the development of the drama, as well as the evolution of the language, in the period. Cross listed as THEA 315. *Prerequisite:  ENG 111 or any 200-level English Literature course or permission of the instructor.

    320 Renaissance Literature (3 s.h.) (R)
    A study of non-dramatic English poetry and prose from Thomas Wyatt through John Milton. This discussion course will cover the major authors of the mid-sixteenth through the mid-seventeenth centuries and will provide an overview of several minor writers of the period. Students will study the comparative grammars of early and contemporary English and will be introduced to the literary theories pertinent to study of the period, primarily New Historicism and Cultural Studies, and will write research papers on topics of their choice. *Prerequisite: ENG 111 or any 200-level English Literature course or permission of the instructor.

    325 Themes in British Poetry, 1660-1900 (3 s.h.)
    This course covers about 250 years of British poetry, introducing students to an exciting range of poets and enabling them to discern patterns of tradition and innovation across this historical period. Three key themes will be pursued — “Men and Women”; “City, Country, Globe”; and “The Role of the Poet” — allowing for a focused exploration of how poetry engages with questions of topical urgency and enduring relevance. *Prerequisite:  ENG 111 or any 200-level English Literature course or permission of the instructor.

    328 The Rise of the Novel (3 s.h.) (R)
    Detailed study of five or six major novels from the 18th and 19th centuries, both as literary masterpieces and as components of a broader cultural matrix. *Prerequisite: ENG 111 or any 200-level English Literature course or permission of the instructor.

    330 Nature in America (3 s.h.) (T)
    This course will explore interdisciplinary representations of nature and analyze how these representations participate in the cultural production of American national identity. From its earliest conception, America has paradoxically desired and disavowed nature, a paradox with deep historical roots and contemporary consequences. This course will explore how the dominant culture and marginalized groups contend with this paradox, by analyzing how the theme of America as “nature’s nation” changes over time. *Prerequisite:  ENG 111 or any 200-level English Literature course or permission of the instructor.

    346 The Writing of Fiction (3 s.h.)
    Emphasizes the process and craft of fiction writing. Classes are designed as workshops and divided between periods of writing and periods of reading and discussing each other’s work. *Prerequisite: ENG 246 or permission of instructor.

    347 The Writing of Poetry (3 s.h.)
    Emphasizes the process and craft of poetry writing. Classes are designed as workshops and divided between periods of writing and periods of reading and discussing each other’s work. *Prerequisite: ENG 247 or permission of instructor.

    350  Modern Literature (3 s.h.)
    A survey of 20th-century poetry and fiction, with particular emphasis on Modernist works from between the two World Wars. Although roughly chronological, the course will also group works according to common themes. Through reading, discussing, analyzing, and writing about selected works, students will gain a greater understanding of various Modernist responses to some of the paradigm shifts that characterized the 20th-century. *Prerequisite:  ENG 111 or any 200-level English Literature course, or permission of the instructor.

    364 African-American Literature (3 s.h.) (D)
    This course will focus on 19th and 20th century African-American fiction, poetry, essays, and drama. Through writing and discussions, students will develop skills in analyzing and comparing literary works and will consider contexts for African-American writing.  *Prerequisite:  ENG 111 or any 200-level English Literature course or permission of the instructor.

    375 Special Topics in Language and Literature (3 s.h.)
    Intensive study of a literary or English language subject, such as the work of one or two major authors, a recurring literary or rhetorical theme, a genre, or a critical problem. Topics and instructors will vary. If there is no duplication of topic, may be repeated for elective credit.

    400 Major Seminar (3 s.h.) (M, O)
    Students will learn about and evaluate the various theoretical approaches that may be used to analyze literary texts. They will also develop their research expertise within their chosen area of interest, in order to produce a research proposal and annotated bibliography. Once this proposal is approved, they will write either a research paper (4,000-6,000 words excluding notes and bibliography) or a themed critical portfolio of three shorter papers (1,500-2,000 words each excluding notes and bibliography), culminating in a formal presentation and defense. *Prerequisites: senior standing and at least a 2.0 GPA in English major courses.

    Note: Directed inquiries, teaching assistantships, and internships in English can be arranged on an individual basis.