Course Offerings

Winter 2023

See complete information about these courses in the course offerings database. For more information about a specific course, including course type, schedule and location, click on its title.

Creative Writing: Fiction

ENGL 203 - Fuentes, Freddy O.

A course in the practice of writing short fiction, involving workshops, literary study, and critical writing.

Creative Writing: Fiction

ENGL 203 - Staples, Beth A.

A course in the practice of writing short fiction, involving workshops, literary study, and critical writing.

Creative Writing: Fiction

ENGL 203 - Oliver, Bill

A course in the practice of writing short fiction, involving workshops, literary study, and critical writing.

Creative Writing: Fiction

ENGL 203 - Harrington, Jane F.

A course in the practice of writing short fiction, involving workshops, literary study, and critical writing.

Creative Writing: Poetry

ENGL 204 - Gray, Khadeejah A. (K. Avvirin)

A course in the practice of writing poetry, involving workshops, literary study, and critical writing.

Creative Writing: Nonfiction

ENGL 206 - Brodie, Laura F.

A course in the practice of writing nonfiction, involving workshops, literary study, and critical writing.

Introduction to Film

ENGL 233 - Al-Ahmad, Jumana S.

Same as FILM 233. An introductory study of film taught in English and with a topical focus on texts from a variety of global film-making traditions. At its origins, film displayed boundary-crossing international ambitions, and this course attends to that important fact, but the course's individual variations emphasize one national film tradition (e.g., American, French, Indian, British, Italian, Chinese, etc.) and, within it, may focus on major representative texts or upon a subgenre or thematic approach. In all cases, the course introduces students to fundamental issues in the history, theory, and basic terminology of film.

Children's Literature

ENGL 234 - Harrington, Jane F.

A study of works written in English for children. The course treats major writers, thematic and generic groupings of texts, and children's literature in historical context. Readings may include poetry, drama, fiction, nonfiction, and illustrated books, including picture books that dispense with text.

Medieval and Early Modern British Literature

ENGL 250 - Kao, Wan-Chuan

This course is a survey of English literature from the Early Middle Ages to the Early Modern period. We read works in various genres--verse, drama, and prose--and understand their specific cultural and historical contexts. We also examine select modern film adaptations of canonical works as part of the evolving history of critical reception.

Shakespeare

ENGL 252 - Pickett, Holly C.

Same as MRST 252. A study of the major genres of Shakespeare's plays, employing analysis shaped by formal, historical, and performance-based questions. Emphasis is given to tracing how Shakespeare's work engages early modern cultural concerns, such as the nature of political rule, gender, religion, and sexuality. A variety of skills are developed in order to assist students with interpretation, which may include verse analysis, study of early modern dramatic forms, performance workshops, two medium-length papers, reviews of live play productions, and a final, student-directed performance of a selected play.

Introduction to African American Literature

ENGL 266 - Millan, Diego A.

Same as AFCA 266. This course offers an introduction to African American literature from the 1700s to the present. We will ground our inquiry across these centuries by attending to the role writing has played in the fight for freedom, in different ways of thinking about Blackness, in redefining citizenship, in evolving stylistic conventions, in responding to the political needs of the moment, in (re)writing gender expectations, and in an ever-changing landscape of American literary history. Potential writers include: Phyllis Wheatley Peters, David Walker, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, James McCune Smith, W.E.B. Du Bois, Nella Larsen, Zora Neale Hurston, Angelina Weld Grimke, Charles Chesnutt, Chester Himes, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, Amiri Baraka, Audre Lorde, Octavia Butler, and Toni Morrison. 

Having it All: Life, Literature and Career

ENGL 290 - Gertz, Genelle C.

Are you considering an English (or Arts and Humanities) major but unsure of how it will help you find a job? Are you intrigued by how contemporary authors write about becoming adults, finding happiness, or growing up in a certain time, place or body? Are you hoping to pursue what you love as opposed (or in addition) to what will lead to a high salary? Through memoirs, personal essays and coming of age novels, along with studies of the value of the liberal arts, this class explores ways in which college students can have it all. We look at literature to understand how authors make sense of personal experience and fulfillment, and we apply the findings of happiness studies to career design and exploration. Self-reflective exercises and brainstorming build students’ sense of what they enjoy spending time on, and this guides their investigation of potential career paths. Along with introducing students to alumni working in a variety of industries, this class teaches practical skills for job searches: resume design, online profiles, networking, interviewing, searching and applying for positions, or pursuing post-graduate opportunities.

Topics in American Literature: Memoir as Activism

ENGL 293J - Womer, Brenna

Audre Lorde wrote that "reading and writing are not leisurely amusements or passive retreats from reality; they are integral to building and maintaining a free and equal society." In this class, we'll read and analyze a selection of contemporary memoirs by writers like Kiese Laymon and Chanel Miller, whose personal writing aims not only to engage readers but also to instigate systemic change.

Topics in American Literature: Pulitzer Prize-Winning Fiction

ENGL 293K - Brodie, Laura F.

This class offers an immersion in contemporary American fiction by focusing on Pulitzer winners and finalists. We begin by studying the history of the prize and the selection process. Then we read past winners from various genres, including short story collections, novellas, novels-in-stories, and short lyric novels. Students individually survey past finalists by journaling about, and discussing, the first ten pages of twenty novels of their choice. For the final paper, the class plays the role of the Pulitzer committee and chooses a winner for 2012—the last year in which no prize for fiction was awarded. Some of the authors studied include Jhumpa Lahiri, Colson Whitehead, David Foster Wallace, Jennifer Egan, and Paul Harding. 

Topics in World Literature in English: Caribbean Women Responding to Racism

ENGL 294C - Chowdhury, Lubabah

In her essay “The Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Racism,” black feminist scholar and poet Audre Lorde writes: “Anger is loaded with information and energy.” Lorde’s anger at racist, sexist injustices is not just an emotional response but is also an intellectual and physical one: intellectual in that it grants her information, and physical in that it imbues her with energy. In this class, we will read both Afro-Caribbean and Indo-Caribbean women’s writing from Trinidad, Guyana, Jamaica and the Caribbean diaspora in Britain, with particular attention to representations of emotions such as anger, grief and love/desire, and of physical feelings such as hunger and freedom. We will interrogate the uses of feeling in these texts, discuss what intellectual and sensorial information these feelings provide and reflect on to what extent these feelings can propel anti-racist and feminist consciousness and action. Primary readings will be accompanied by excerpts from theoretical texts, such as Sara Ahmed’s The Cultural Politics of Emotion, Sianne Ngai’s Ugly Feelings and Lauren Berlant’s Love/Desire.

Advanced Creative Writing: Fiction

ENGL 308 - Gavaler, Christopher P. (Chris)

A workshop in writing fiction, requiring regular writing and outside reading.

Gender, Love, and Marriage in the Middle Ages

ENGL 312 - Kao, Wan-Chuan

A study of the complex nexus of gender, love, and marriage in medieval legal, theological, political, and cultural discourses. Reading an eclectic range of texts--such as romance, hagiography, fabliau, (auto)biography, conduct literature, and drama--we consider questions of desire, masculinity, femininity, and agency, as well as the production and maintenance of gender roles and of emotional bonds within medieval conjugality. Authors include Chaucer, Chretien de Troyes, Heldris of Cornwall, Andreas Capellanus, Margery Kempe, and Christine de Pisan. Readings in Middle English or in translation.

17th-Century Poetry

ENGL 326 - Berlin, Michael

Readings of lyric and epic poetry spanning the long 16th century, and tracing the development of republican and cavalier literary modes. Genres include the metaphysical poetry of Donne, Herbert, Katherine Philips, and Henry Vaughan; erotic verse by Mary Wroth, Herrick, Thomas Carew, Marvell, Aphra Behn, and the Earl of Rochester; elegy by Jonson and Bradstreet; and epic by Milton.

Early African American Print Culture

ENGL 346 - Millan, Diego A.

Same as AFCA 346.

Contemporary North American Fiction

ENGL 370 - Gavaler, Christopher P. (Chris)

A study of 21st-century novels and short stories by North American authors. The course examines the recent movement of literary fiction into traditional pulp genres. Authors may include: Chabon, Atwood, Allende, Alexie, Butler, McCarthy, Diaz, Whitehead, Link, Fowler, and Grossman.

Postcolonial Literature and Theory

ENGL 376 - Chowdhury, Lubabah

This course is an introduction to some of the key concepts and debates in postcolonial theory, with an emphasis on anti-colonial literature and thought. The course poses three main questions that have shaped the field as we know it: 1. When and where is the "postcolonial"? 2. What relationship is there, if any, between the postcolonial and the anti-colonial? And 3. Does the "post-" in "postcolonial" indicate any sort of futurity, and if so, what do these futures look like? These broad concepts about temporality, revolution and futurity are grounded in the study of key theoretical texts, including the works of Frantz Fanon and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, and in novels and poems, including those by Jamaica Kincaid and Suzanne Cesaire. 

Topics in Literature in English from 1700-1900: Romantic and Victorian Poetry

ENGL 393B - Adams, Edward A.

The British Romantics are widely regarded as among the most original, revolutionary, and imaginative poets in English and even World Literature, while the Victorians who followed in their wake in the later nineteenth century represent a fascinating development and boast the most distinguished Poet Laureate.  This course will not attempt to survey all the great poets from these two linked periods but will focus upon four representative figures selected from Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, and Keats through Tennyson, Browning, Rossetti, and Hardy.  In addition, the course will frame these nineteenth-century figures with Thomas Gray, the leading lyric poet from the eighteenth century, and Elizabeth Bishop, one of the most brilliant twentieth-century poets.  Finally, the course will contextualize this poetry with careful attention to the development of theoretical approaches for studying literature from the Neoclassical formalism of the eighteenth century, through the biographical and historicist emphases of the nineteenth-century, and thence to the New Criticism of the twentieth.  

Directed Individual Study

ENGL 403 - Gavaler, Christopher P. (Chris)

A course designed for special students who wish to continue a line of study begun in an earlier advanced course. Their applications approved by the department and accepted by their proposed directors, the students may embark upon directed independent study which must culminate in acceptable papers.

Directed Individual Study: Children's Literature

ENGL 403B - Harrington, Jane F.

A course designed for special students who wish to continue a line of study begun in an earlier advanced course. Their applications approved by the department and accepted by their proposed directors, the students may embark upon directed independent study which must culminate in acceptable papers.

Senior Research and Writing

ENGL 413 - Adams, Edward A.

A collaborative group research and writing project for senior majors, conducted in supervising faculty members' areas of expertise, with directed independent study culminating in a substantial final project. Possible topics include ecocriticism, literature and psychology, material conditions of authorship, and documentary poetics.

Senior Research and Writing

ENGL 413 - Wheeler, Lesley M.

A collaborative group research and writing project for senior majors, conducted in supervising faculty members' areas of expertise, with directed independent study culminating in a substantial final project. Possible topics include ecocriticism, literature and psychology, material conditions of authorship, and documentary poetics.

Master Class in Creative Writing: Nonfiction

ENGL 431B - Wheeler, Lesley M.

Internship in Literary Editing with Shenandoah

ENGL 453 - Womer, Brenna

An apprenticeship in editing with the editor of Shenandoah, Washington and Lee's literary magazine. Students are instructed in and assist in these facets of the editor's work: evaluation of manuscripts of fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, comics, and translations; substantive editing of manuscripts, copyediting; communicating with writers; social media; website maintenance; the design of promotional material.

Honors Thesis

ENGL 493 - Adams, Edward A.

Honors Thesis

ENGL 493 - Pickett, Holly C.

Honors Thesis

ENGL 493 - Millan, Diego A.


Fall 2022

See complete information about these courses in the course offerings database. For more information about a specific course, including course type, schedule and location, click on its title.

Topics in Creative Writing: Fiction

ENGL 203 - Gavaler, Christopher P. (Chris)

A course in the practice of writing short fiction, involving workshops, literary study, and critical writing.

Topics in Creative Writing: Fiction

ENGL 203 - Harrington, Jane F.

A course in the practice of writing short fiction, involving workshops, literary study, and critical writing.

Topics in Creative Writing: Fiction

ENGL 203 - Fuentes, Freddy O.

A course in the practice of writing short fiction, involving workshops, literary study, and critical writing.

Topics in Creative Writing: Nonfiction

ENGL 206 - Womer, Brenna

A course in the practice of writing nonfiction, involving workshops, literary study, and critical writing.

Environmental Poetry Workshop

ENGL 214 - Green, Leah N. (Leah Naomi)

A single-genre poetry course in the practice of writing environmental poetry, involving poetry workshops, the literary study of environmental poetry (historical and contemporary), and critical writing.

Introduction to Film

ENGL 233 - Adams, Edward A.

Same as FILM 233. An introductory study of film taught in English and with a topical focus on texts from a variety of global film-making traditions. At its origins, film displayed boundary-crossing international ambitions, and this course attends to that important fact, but the course's individual variations emphasize one national film tradition (e.g., American, French, Indian, British, Italian, Chinese, etc.) and, within it, may focus on major representative texts or upon a subgenre or thematic approach. In all cases, the course introduces students to fundamental issues in the history, theory, and basic terminology of film.

Children's Literature

ENGL 234 - Harrington, Jane F.

A study of works written in English for children. The course treats major writers, thematic and generic groupings of texts, and children's literature in historical context. Readings may include poetry, drama, fiction, nonfiction, and illustrated books, including picture books that dispense with text.

Arthurian Legend

ENGL 240 - Kao, Wan-Chuan

Why does King Arthur continue to fascinate and haunt our cultural imagination? This course surveys the origins and histories of Arthurian literature, beginning with Celtic myths, Welsh tales, and Latin chronicles. We then examine medieval French and English traditions that include Chrétien de Troyes' Perceval , the lais of Marie de France, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight , the Alliterative Morte Arthure , and Malory's Le Morte Darthur . In addition to historical and literary contexts, we explore theoretical issues surrounding the texts, especially the relationship between history and fantasy, courtly love and adultery, erotic love and madness, romance and chivalry, gender and agency, and Europe and its Others. Finally, we investigate Arthurian medievalisms in Victorian England and in American (post)modernity through Tennyson, Twain, Barthelme, and Ishiguro. Along the way, we view various film adaptations of Arthurian legends. All texts are read in modern English translation.

Literature of the American South

ENGL 253 - Smout, Kary

A study of selected fiction, poetry, drama, and nonfiction by Southern writers in their historical and literary contexts. We practice multiple approaches to critical reading, and students develop their analytical writing skills in a series of short papers.

Topics in American Literature: Nineteenth Century American Gothic Literature

ENGL 293A - Millan, Diego A.

Ghosts? Monsters? Institutions in varying states of decay? What comes to mind when you think of the word “gothic”? What makes a literary work “gothic,” and what differentiates European and American gothics? Why was an appeal to gothic themes an important element during the nineteenth century in the United States? And how did this literature interface with other leading intellectual and artistic movements of the century? Starting from these questions, this course centers recurring themes in nineteenth-century American gothic literature—the fraught divide between rationality/the irrational; puritan anxieties and guilt; fear linked to the unknown, which was often manifested in unexplored territories and frontiers; and serious looks at the unsettling depths of the human experience that challenged ideas about civilized society and freedom. Many of these themes were either direct or indirect responses to what was happening at the time: frontier clashes with, and genocide of, Indigenous peoples; slavery; and industrialization. A focus of the course will be where the gothic intersects with questions of race, gender, and class.  

Topics in American Literature: African American Literature and Visual Culture

ENGL 293B - Hill, Lena M.

This course examines African American literature ranging from eighteenth century poetry to a late twentieth century novel. As we read texts published across this 200-year period, we will study the ways writers engage visual art to portray black identity. By examining literature by Wheatley, Douglass, Jacobs, Washington, DuBois, Grimké, Larsen, Hurston, and Ellison alongside the evolving photographic, high art, and popular visual forms of their respective historical periods, we will assess how visual culture and visuality impacted the formation of the African American literary tradition. 

Advanced Creative Writing: Memoir

ENGL 309 - Womer, Brenna

Flannery O'Connor once said that any writer who could survive childhood had enough material to write about for a lifetime. Memoir is a mosaic form, utilizing bits and pieces from autobiography, fiction, essay and poetry in ways that allow the author to muse (speculate, imagine, remember, and question) on their own life experiences. Modern literary memoir requires tremendous work from the author, as she moves both backward and forward in time, re-creates believable dialogue, switches back and forth between scene and summary, and controls the pace and tension of the story with lyricism or brute imagery. In short, the memoirist keeps her reader engaged by being an adept and agile storyteller. This is not straight autobiography. Memoir is more about what can be gleaned from a section of one's life than about chronicling an entire life. Like a mosaic, memoir is about the individual pieces as much as the eventual whole. Work focuses on reading established memoirists, free writing, and workshopping in and out of class.

Shakespearean Genres

ENGL 320 - Pickett, Holly C.

In a given term, this course focuses on one or two of the major genres explored by Shakespeare (e.g., histories, tragedies, comedies, tragicomedies/romances, lyric and narrative poetry), in light of Renaissance literary conventions and recent theoretical approaches. Students consider the ways in which Shakespeare's generic experiments are variably inflected by gender, by political considerations, by habitat, and by history.

18th-Century Novels

ENGL 335 - Walle, Taylor F.

A study of prose fiction up to about 1800, focusing on the 18th-century literary and social developments that have been called the rise of the novel. Authors likely include Behn, Haywood, Defoe, Richardson, Fielding, Sterne, Burney, and/or Austen.

20th-Century British and Irish Poetry

ENGL 353 - Wheeler, Lesley M.

Selected readings in British poetry from the turn of the century to the present, including the English tradition, international modernism, Irish, and other Commonwealth poetry. We will examine how many poets handle inherited forms, negotiate the world wars, and express identity amid changing definitions of gender and nation.

Topics in Literature in English before 1700: Mystics, Witches, Saints

ENGL 392A - Gertz, Genelle C.

Pre-modern people cared deeply about the supernatural. They held special regard for visionary women, copying their prophecies and promoting them as saints. At the same time, they worried (or strategically argued) women mystics were susceptible to demons, and developed elaborate ways of testing whether God or the Devil inspired women’s speech. Similarly, pre-modern people were concerned about the Devil’s advocacy through witches, and about women’s ability to cause harm to others through magic. Trials of witches occurred under the rule of Elizabeth and James, and spiked during the Civil Wars. Taking these beliefs and events into account, this course studies literature and history from medieval and early modern England, giving attention to the gendered roles of mystic, witch and saint. Looking at English women’s saints’ lives, the visions of Catherine of Siena and Bridget of Sweden (both translated in English), Margery Kempe, Elizabeth Barton, Anna Trapnel, and early modern plays about witches, we ask what the fundamental differences are in the portrayal of women and the supernatural as they manifest in the roles of mystic, witch or saint. We also consider how these roles are viewed in contemporary fiction. How do novelists, such as Madeline Miller in Circe, and Lauren Groff in Matrix, portray the pre-modern witch/mystic, and what older tropes of witch or visionary still operate in fantasy series, such as Andrzej Sapkowski’s The Witcher?  

Topics in Literature in English from 1700-1900: Native American and African American U.S. Literature

ENGL 393A - Gray, Khadeejah A. (K. Avvirin)

In this class, we will investigate the ways that race, gender and Indigeneity are articulated in 19th-century novels, short stories and life narratives. We will consider these genres as discursive avenues by which Native American, African American and European American authors asserted and/or negotiated Black and Native rights to emancipation, citizenship and tribal sovereignty. African American writers, in particular, grappled with the conventions of romance and realism in their efforts to achieve abolition and citizenship rights. In reading the texts in this class, we will be attuned to the conventions of these respective genres as well as to the kinds of content expected of African American and Native authors. In analyzing the manner in which gender, race and Indigeneity were expressed in 19th-century novels, we must grapple with the reality that, during this era and prior, Euro-American masculinity hinged simultaneously on performances of Indigeneity and its disavowal. During the Revolutionary War era, for example, settler men affirmed their Americanness in conscious contradistinction to Europeans by performing revolutionary acts in “redface.” As literary responses to “redface,” texts by Native authors populate this course listing alongside novels written by White authors about Native peoples. In our reading of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, we will explore the character of Injun Joe, adversary to the young protagonist’s adventures, as illustrative of settler imaginings of Native peoples as antagonists to European settlement in North America. We will also read novels by White abolitionist authors about African Americans, such as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Dred and the Great Dismal Swamp. In Dred, the swamp takes stage as much as urban geographies do. In 19th century life, cities played a prominent role in shaping African American letters. Boston and Philadelphia were publication centers for African American texts, both before and after the Civil War. Lucy Delaney’s From the Darkness Cometh the Light or Struggles for Freedom (1891), which we will read in our final week, was published in “The Gateway to the West”: St. Louis, a city at whose gateway the related projects of enslavement and manifest destiny met. 

Senior Research and Writing

ENGL 413 - Millan, Diego A.

A collaborative group research and writing project for senior majors, conducted in supervising faculty members' areas of expertise, with directed independent study culminating in a substantial final project. Possible topics include ecocriticism, literature and psychology, material conditions of authorship, and documentary poetics.

Senior Research and Writing

ENGL 413 - Pickett, Holly C.

A collaborative group research and writing project for senior majors, conducted in supervising faculty members' areas of expertise, with directed independent study culminating in a substantial final project. Possible topics include ecocriticism, literature and psychology, material conditions of authorship, and documentary poetics.

Internship in Literary Editing: Shenandoah

ENGL 453A - Staples, Beth A.

An apprenticeship in editing with the editor ofShenandoah, Washington and Lee's literarymagazine. Students are instructed in and assist inthese facets of the editor's work: evaluation ofmanuscripts of fiction, creative nonfiction,poetry, comics, and translations; substantiveediting of manuscripts, copyediting; communicatingwith writers; social media; website maintenance;the design of promotional material. May be appliedonce to the English major or Creative Writingminor and repeated for a maximum of six additionalelective credits, as long as the specific projectsundertaken are different.

Honors Thesis

ENGL 493 - Adams, Edward A.

Honors Thesis

ENGL 493 - Wheeler, Lesley M.

Honors Thesis

ENGL 493 - Pickett, Holly C.

Honors Thesis

ENGL 493 - Walle, Taylor F.


Spring 2022

See complete information about these courses in the course offerings database. For more information about a specific course, including course type, schedule and location, click on its title.

TOPIC CREAT WRIT:PLAYWRITING

ENGL 202 - Gavaler, Christopher P. (Chris)

ECO-WRITING

ENGL 207 - Green, Leah N. (Leah Naomi)

TOPIC: WRITING FOR CHILDREN

ENGL 210 - Harrington, Jane F.

BLACK WRITERS &ALLURE OF PARIS

ENGL 286 - Hill, Lena M. / Hill, Michael D.

TOPIC: MARY SHELLEY'S MONSTER

ENGL 292 - Walle, Taylor F.

TOPIC: BUSINESS IN AM. LIT

ENGL 293 - Smout, Kary

TOPIC: WORLD OF TOMORROW

ENGL 294 - Kharputly, Nadeen

LIT STUDY: WRITING AND ART

ENGL 295 - Brodie, Laura F.

HOTEL ORIENT

ENGL 382 - Kao, Wan-Chuan

TOPIC: WOMEN'S MEMOIR

ENGL 395 - Womer, Brenna