2003 and Spring 2004 English Courses
British Survey I: This course is a historical survey
emphasizing literary and cultural developments in English literature
from the Old English through the Neoclassical periods.
Shakespeare I: Comedies and History Plays
Creative Writing: Will focus on practice in writing and critical
analysis of imaginative literary forms, especially poetry and
American Survey I: A course that focuses on American
literature, literary movements, and cultural and historical
developments in the literature of the United States. Readings
will include: Native American creation myths, explorer
narratives, poetry, fiction, and non-fiction from such writers as
Bradstreet, Cotton Mather, Edwards, Franklin, Cooper, Emerson,
Thoreau, Hawthorne, Poe, Melville, Whitman, and Dickinson.
Topics in American Literature: Millennial American Literature: A
course concentrating on a particular period, movement, or author in
Modern British Novels: The course will cover works written
from 1900-1945 and will include such novels as Forster’s Passage to
India, Ford’s The Good Soldier, Joyce’s Portrait of
the Artist as a Young Man, Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited,
and Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway. The books will be examined in
historical context and such issues as visual art, music, popular
literature, the world wars, politics, imperialism, sexuality, and
gender will be considered.
Methods of Teaching English: A study of the basic approaches to the
teaching of poetry, fiction, and drama and their application in the
classroom. Attention is given to the teaching of composition, the
marking of themes, and the preparing and grading of examinations.
Introduction to Literature: Seeks to encourage life-long reading
through appreciation of literary language and form. The course will
emphasize examination and comparison of literary genres, structure,
and form in fiction and poetry, and New Critical analysis. It will
also place a particular topic or sub-genre in the context of
pertinent historical and cultural settings, while examining
categorical assumptions about “popular” and “serious” literary
treatments. Course does not count for the
Dr. Watson will be off campus on sabbatical this semester
Reading, Writing, and Teaching: This course is a three week off
campus course at the University of Reading, England. It is intended
to expose students to fine, international, and multi-cultural
children’s literature. The course will teach critical approaches to
reading, teaching, researching, and writing children’s literature at
the Reading and Language Center.
Advanced Creative Writing: Students will learn to write intensively
in fiction or poetry. Students can sharpen their critical skills by
evaluating one another’s work and by investigating contemporary
writing and publishing.
British Survey II: This course will emphasize major literary
movements and historical developments in English literature from the
Romantic through the Modern periods.
Writing Fellows: This course is an introduction to the tutoring
process, as well as basic pedagogical and developmental strategies
for teaching writing. Course requirements will include readings in
composition/ tutoring theory and practice as well as tutoring in the
Mellinger Teaching and Learning Center.
Special Topics in Literature: British Romantic Poets: This course
will cover canonical writers such as Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge,
Shelley, Byron, and Keats. It will also cover re-discovered women
writers such as Baillie, Hemans, and Smith. The works will be
examined in terms of the writers’ lives and some historical/cultural
topics of the day, including nature, the French Revolution,
industrialization, slavery, and gender.
Grammar: This course will give students practice in fundamental
English grammar and will emphasize basic skills, not theory.
American Survey II: This course will focus on poetry and
fiction written after the Civil War and before American involvement
in the second World War. Included are works from such writers
as Jewett, Wharton, Twain, James, Kate Chopin, Crane, Pound,
Robinson, Frost, Anderson, Stevens, Eliot, Fitzgerald, Hemingway,
and Faulkner. The course will emphasize literary, cultural,
and historical movements.
Introduction to English Studies: This course is designed to
introduce English majors and minors to the broad range of
scholarship and practice within the discipline of English. Emphasis
will be placed on close reading and research skills, as well as
overviews of the history of the discipline, creative writing,
literary criticism and theory, and vocational paths.
Required of all majors.
Advanced Composition: This course is a study of rhetorical
strategies and their application to assignments in journalism,
scientific writing, and essay writing.
Century British Literature
Literary Theory Courses at
question of whether or not to make available to English students
literary theory courses is problematic in a twofold manner. The
first problem that arises is that of pedagogy and conflicting views
on what an undergraduate English degree at Monmouth should entail.
The second is the logistical element that accompanies the
introduction of additional courses such as theory courses into a
Stephen Minot writes in his book, Literary Nonfiction, that
there is a “growing trend toward specialized vocabularies devised by
critical schools. This limits the exchange of ideas and, more
seriously, tends to isolate critical theory from the general public.”
One of the concerns with overemphasizing literary theory is that the
jargon developed by particular schools hampers the communication of
ideas which is fundamental to an interdisciplinary liberal arts
exclusive lingo is indicative of how specialized and possibly narrow
contemporary theory has become. When asked, Dr. Watson stated
that he feels that theory has become too concerned with interpretations of texts which narrowly
focus on race, gender, class, and ethnic issues. These approaches
have been conceivably exchanged for moral, spiritual, and pragmatic
interpretations of texts. Another concern voiced by Dr. Watson is
that, with too great an emphasis on literary theory in an
undergraduate education, the primary texts are no longer primary, but
become secondary to publications by literary theorists. This
contributes to the students' inability to read primary texts. Close
readings of poems and literary analysis are skills that are
compromised when the political and philosophical texts of theorists
become primary. While Dr. Watson utilizes theory in upper level
classes, incorporating formal, contemporary theory courses into the
curriculum would inhibit close reading and analytical skills of
So why are
theory courses an issue here at Monmouth College? In his book, A Reader’s
Guide to Contemporary Literary Theory, Raman Seldon writes “the
signs are that the graft of theory has taken rather well, and may
remain intact for the foreseeable future.” Literary theory courses
have become a staple in graduate schools, and conceivably a student
who is not familiar with theory could be at a disadvantage since all
graduate courses expect a theoretically informed viewpoint.
Literary theory does in fact present new approaches to texts that
are simply not adequately discussed in survey courses or even 300
level English courses. These approaches potentially offer a great deal of
intellectual enrichment for English majors and useful preparatory
work for graduate school.
In order to get
literary theory courses taught here at Monmouth College, more faculty would
possibly need to be hired in order to both alleviate the workload of the
professors and perhaps have specific expertise in the field of
literary theory. Also, it is difficult to generate sufficient
student interest and commitment within the English department to
even warrant the addition of new courses and new faculty. This
disinterest and lack of commitment could be attributed to the
intellectually demanding nature of literary theory.
It seems that
there might be a simple solution to the problems that arise in
pedagogy and logistics that accompanies incorporating literary
theory into our curriculum. Selden observes that “theory seemed a
rather rarefied specialism which concerned a few individuals in
literature departments who were, in effect, philosophers pretending
to be literary critics.” Here at Monmouth College there are
courses which have co-professors, such as women's studies courses.
Offering a course that is taught by a faculty member of the
Philosophy department and a faculty member of the English department
would relieve some of the strain of offering additional courses on
faculty. If the courses were to also offer Philosophy credit,
then the class would have higher enrollment than if it were merely an
English course. These co-professor courses would not be mandatory
for an English major nor would the concentration on primary texts be
compromised; and they would be more beneficial to students who were
interested in going on to graduate school. Admittedly contemporary
literary theory draws from multiple disciplines (i.e. economics,
politics, psychology, etc), that would make offering comprehensive
courses impossible to provide. But that does not detract from the
preparatory work and intellectual growth that could still be gained
from theory schools whose focus is literature and philosophy.
Thus, although literary
theory courses here at Monmouth College are not foreseeable in the
near future, there are clearly many convincing reasons as for why
they should be offered.
Puns to Brighten
Bunny arrested, charged with battery
wedding: a case of wife or death
- I used to
work in a blanket factory, but it folded
electricity comes from electrons, does that mean that morality
comes from morons?
- Marriage is
the mourning after the knot before
- A hangover is
the wrath of grapes
- Banning the
bra was a big flop
- Sea captains
don’t like crew cuts
- A pessimist’s
blood type is always B-negative