Literature Survey Courses

General Survey Courses: Descriptions, Objectives and Student Learning Outcomes

English 250

English 251

English 260

English 261

English 270

English 271

Literature Survey Course Descriptions

Prerequisite: Completion of English 111 and 112 or their equivalents.
The surveys do not have to be taken in sequence.

200.001 Introduction to English Studies TR 9:30-10:45 CRN: 21725
Jeff Longacre

“You know, for majors . . .”

What does it mean to major in English? Is English just one discipline or an umbrella over a variety of sub-disciplines? Is it the study of literature, the study of language, the practice the craft of writing? Is it all of these things? When you graduate, what do you plan on doing with a degree in English? These will be some of our guiding questions as we explore the “ins,” “outs,” and “what-have-yous” of our major. This course will address the significance and even the vital importance of your decision to major in English in the twenty-first century. In addition to preparing you for upper-division course work in the discipline through introduction to some major critical approaches to language and literature, we will also explore how to use the major to your advantage and what it can do for you in the post-graduation wider world of “real life.” We will also spend some time discussing graduate school options as well as the—perhaps surprising—variety of other career paths of the modern English major.


250.001 British Literary Tradition I TR 8:00-9:15 CRN: 21717
Chris Hill
This will be a fast-paced, reading-intensive introduction to the beginnings of English literature. Starting with Beowulf, we will read multiple works involving knightly heroism, love and desire, and how people determine what makes for true goodness. We will focus on social and material contexts of the works we read, but we will also spend a good amount of time discovering how writers respond to each other and to the demands of the forms they choose to write in: epic, romance, lyric, drama, religious prose, and so on. Major writers we are sure to cover include Shakespeare and Chaucer, Milton and Pope, Jonson and Johnson, Sidney and Donne.


250.002 British Literary Tradition I TR 11:00-12:15 CRN: 21737
David Williams
This course begins with Beowulf and continues as a survey of some of the most prominent works of English literature written from the medieval period through the eighteenth-century. Shakespeare, Chaucer, Spenser, Milton, Jonson, Donne, and Pope are some of the writers we will be discussing. We will cover the nature of several genres written during the periods under discussion—epic, romance, lyric, drama, and so on—and how those genres respond to and determine the moral, ethical, and philosophical subjects confronted by their writers.


251.001 British Literary Tradition II MWF 10:00-10:50 CRN: 21659
Daniel Pigg
This course surveys British literature from the late 18th-century to the present. In 1798, William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge published a collection of poems called Lyrical Ballads. That work helped to describe and sculpt the artistic minds of the age. Beginning with the Romantics, and considering the Victorians and Modernists in turn, we will explore a broad range of literary works and their cultural implications. Significant attention will be paid to the ways in which each literary work reflects the cultural realties of its day, and the psychology of its creator. We will examine works by Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelly, Keats, Tennyson, the Brownings, the poets of World War I, Woolf, Eliot, Yeats, Lessing, and a number of writers of the late 20th century. The Industrial Revolution, the role of men and women in society, science, war, nationalism, and the changing notion of British identity will concern us in this course.


260.001 American Literary Tradition I MWF 8:00-8:50 CRN: 21635
Charles Bradshaw
While we will look at some of the seminal texts and authors that make up the American Literary Tradition, our task will be to read, discuss, and describe the complexity and richness of American literature before the Civil War and examine its relationship to other cultures and countries. We will move triumphantly—and certainly naively—from European discovery and exploration to the colonization of the “New World.” Then, according to God’s sovereign pleasure, we’ll suffer with the Puritans and reason our way into the 18th century and Revolutionary War. We will end our class by rising above the petty, mundanities of convention with the help of the transcendentalists and Romantics. We’ll hear from voices outside of these grand narratives in the form of Native American creation and trickster stories, slave narratives, suffrage speeches, short stories, and poetry.


261.001 American Literary Tradition II MWF 11:00-11:50 CRN: 21676
Melvin Hill
This course is a chronological survey of American literature that begins with the literature of realism and naturalism written after 1865 and concludes with a sample of the contemporary memoir. The intention is to provide a broad overview of what constitutes American literature from the Civil War to the present. We will read and study works of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction prose, including autobiography, by a range of writers of diverse backgrounds and interests. Our object will be to study some of the many voices that constitute what we call American literature, addressing questions such as: How do the gender, race, and class of writers and readers affect the creation and reception of a literary text? What constitutes a literary canon? What does American mean?

261H.001 Honors: American Literary Tradition II TR 1:00-2:15 CRN: 21744
John Glass
Students in this section will study a selection of works by major American authors from the mid-19th through the mid-20th centuries. The study and discussion of assigned works will be guided by two goals: understanding the work in itself, and understanding the work in its cultural and historical contexts. Special emphasis will be given to close reading skills and to discussions of the overarching social and historical movements surrounding the assigned works. Designation as an Honors section raises expectations that all students will involve themselves in the class and actively participate in daily class discussions. Prerequisite: Admission to the Honors Program or English 112 with a grade of A.

271.001 World Literature II TR 1:00-2:15 CRN: 21746
Jeff Longacre
Literature from across the globe! This class has it all! Soup to nuts; war and peace! English 271 serves as an introduction to and survey of the wide, wide world of modern literature (excluding American and British authors) from the “Age of Enlightenment” through the rapidly shifting landscape of the twentieth century. We will explore a broad range of canonical classic literature by some of the world’s greatest authors, representing literatures of France, Germany, Russia, Scandinavia, Japan, Argentina, and Africa. Readings will span genres (poetry, prose, drama) and will include names like Molière, Voltaire, Goethe, Flaubert, Tolstoy, Ibsen, Chekhov, Baudelaire, Pirandello, Mann, Kafka, Akhmatova, Borges, Akutagawa, Walcott, and Achebe. Come explore what made the world modern!


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