Special Course Descriptions

ENG 394 10: Modernism II

A study of selected masterpieces of the later (post-1922) phase of modernist writing. Writers include: Samuel Beckett, Thomas Bernhard, William Carlos Williams, Wallace Stevens, Fernando Pessoa, Virginia Woolf, and Jorge Borges.

ENG 394 11 Forms of Poetry
Prof. Dubrow

This course explores the rich literary tradition of received forms in English and American verse. By studying a wide range of formal poems-by authors as diverse as William Shakespeare, Edna St. Vincent Millay, e.e. cummings, Elizabeth Bishop, and John Ashberry-students will discover the adaptability of fixed forms like the sonnet, villanelle, and sestina. In addition, students will deepen their understanding of prosody, learning the ways in which poets use metrical and stress patterns to create music and meaning in their work. Class assignments will include both scholarly writing and creative "experiments" in poetic forms.

ENG 394 12 American Environmental Writing
Prof. Meehan

The course combines intensive reading in the rich history of American environmental literature, from Thoreau in the nineteenth century to recent examples of literary ecology and eco-criticism, with extensive experience writing about and within our environment. The course also pursues interdisciplinary connections with the sciences and environmental studies as we explore the role of writing and imagination in an understanding of the natural world.

ENG 394 13 Poetry in Performance
Prof. Price

This course examines aspects of recitation and the oral traditions of poetry, emphasizing America's long history of memorizing and reciting favorite poems. The influences of Native American, African, European and other traditions on the performance of poetry will be considered, as well as the growing popularity of the "spoken word" genre. Students will consider the dialect poetry of Paul Laurence Dunbar, the blues and jazz poetry of Langston Hughes and Ted Joans, the improvisational recitation of the Beats, the influence of Amiri Baraka and the Black Arts Movement, and the Nuyoricans and contemporary "Slam Poetry." Class assignments will involve students reading, examining and reciting their work and the work of other assigned poets.

ENG 494 10 Sr CW Seminar
Prof. Mooney

In these seminars, each student will work toward a completed manuscript of poetry or fiction (at least thirty pages for poetry and fifty for fiction). Reading lists will be tailored to the specific needs of each student, and a series of short response papers will be assigned along with weekly work on the manuscripts.

Prerequisite: Creative Writing Minor, Senior Status

ENG 494 11 SpTp: Culture of the Old/Cultures of the Young
Prof. De Prospo

Whereas what once seemed controversial topics--race, ethnicity, gender, sexual preference, borderlands --have become mainstream in college and university American Studies and English courses, one, arguably major category of cultural difference remains relatively understudied--at least in the humanities. The study of generation, like that of all of the topics listed above, is potentially subversive, and it may be neglected because of the fact that most college and university professors (admittedly with increasingly numerous exceptions) are members of the single, for some time now and for some time to come, dominant generation. The Baby Boom runs the same risks as do white people in the U.S., white Anglo-Saxon-Protestant people in the U.S., men everywhere, and heterosexuals everywhere when it acknowledges that the products of (sub)cultures other than its own are as worthy of becoming college and university curricula as its own traditional canon. The course will try to distinguish in a variety of ways the belated, frequently plaintive, cultures of the young from that of the Baby Boom. The course will define generation more culturally than demographically--as is the case in humanist area studies of race, ethnicity, etc.--, and will include, in addition to written texts, those other-than-written ones that would seem predominantly to convey the values of the offspring of Baby Boom parents and, increasingly, grandparents. Issues of race, gender, and sexual preference will be addressed in the context of their generational implications: ask, for examples, whether the relative tolerance of gender diversity and diverse sexual preferences among cultures of the young may be one way of rebelling against a more heterosexist parent culture, or whether African Americans can properly be identified culturally as members of either the Baby Boom or Generation X, due to overriding considerations of racial difference. Texts will be divided between those that have become Baby-Boom standards--Catch-22, Portnoy's Complaint, Getting Straight, The Graduate, Exile on Main Street , Hotel California, Who's Next--, and those that have become identified with Generation(s) X (Y, Z, etc.)--Generation X, Twelve, Clerks, Exile in Guyville , Veruca Salt, The Slim Shady LP , damone, and no doubt many many others much more recent and (to me) more obscure that may by now have become more representative, the knowledge of which is doubtless greater among Washington College students and seventh-graders like my son than among Washington College professors.