English 450: Mythology

In this single semester course, students will investigate the patterns and archetypes of world mythology by reading a variety of ancient myths, in addition to plays, short stories, poems, and novels that utilize the themes and characters inspired by myth.  Students will consider different theories concerning the origin of myths and the function that this genre serves in the development of the individual and society. Units of study will include creation myths from around the world, Mesopotamian myths, classical myths, the Hero’s Journey pattern, Norse mythology and modern works inspired by mythology.  In addition to enjoying the irresistible charm of fantasy, students will also analyze the “truths” or the myths by discussing the relevance of mythological themes in the modern world.  Students will purchase core texts; however, we will study numerous excerpts from on-line sources, particularly the Perseus Project.  Another component of this class will be working on writing skills, including the expository essay and creative writing.

English 473: Burning Illusions: Exploration in American Culture

Designed as a critical thinking and writing course for seniors, this course investigates the evolution of the United States through social, cultural, economic, and ideological lenses.  Examination of the growth of American society and myths through a diverse set of readings enables students to grasp the connections and struggles between the powerful and the disenfranchised throughout American history.  The readings illuminate and deconstruct American cultural myths through a broad range of topics (family, education, power, race — and mediums such as fiction, nonfiction, music (jazz, folk, rock, hip-hop) and film.  By fostering intellectual independence essential to not only critical thinking, but to becoming “men and women with and for others,” this course benefits and welcomes students of all backgrounds.  Featured authors include Toni Morrison, Maxine Hong Kingston, Cornel West, Tomas Rivera, and Malcolm X.  Students will engage in expository, creative, and autobiographical writing.

English 492: Poetry and Dramatic Literature

This course offers a journey through major innovative dramatic works while asking students to create their own dramatic and poetic works related to ones studied in class.  Using Aristotle’s Poetics as the basis for form and structure, selected works will be chosen from Shakespeare’s tragedies (Othello, Julius Caesar) and comedies (Much Ado About Nothing, As You Like It) along with contemporary pieces that move all the way up to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton.  Other playwrights and works studied in this course might include: Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey into Night, Tennessee Williams’ Streetcar Named Desire, Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot.

This class will be offered pending adequate enrollment.

English 482: Literature and Composition: Non Fiction

This single semester course aims at developing the essentials of good expository and persuasive writing — the ability to generate, develop, and organize ideas.  The course will address and work through specific writing problems that stand in the way of effective written expression.  Students will be given ample opportunity to improve and refine techniques of composition that will aid them in producing effective college-level papers.  This course is open to all seniors intent upon actively strengthening their writing skills and is required for all seniors who did not pass the Junior Writing Exam.

English 460: Fiction into Film

Photographer Laszlo Moholy-Nagy writes: “The illiterate of the [21st] century will be as ignorant of the camera as of the pen.” This single-semester course aims to create conscious and knowledgeable readers and viewers of film and adds a proper balance to the study of fiction and film through the act of writing.  Fiction into Film seeks to help the student see that literature and film go hand in hand by the nature of their common narrative elements despite the differences in their delivery. As you have learned to apply reading strategies and analytical skills to the printed text in your traditional English classes, in English 460 you will also learn to “read” a film, to “read in the dark.”  In the course of the semester, we will study works of cultural, historical, and aesthetic significance, among them, CasablancaCitizen KaneMr. Smith Goes to Washington, The Graduate, On the Waterfront, and Rear Window. The writing component of the course will be largely expository and in the form of critical papers discussing aspects of literary analysis and film technique as found in the particular works.