Winter 2016 Course Descriptions

ENGL 260      Major British Authors     Knox

In this course, we will examine two major British authors—Emily Brontë and Virginia Woolf—and place their works in broader theoretical and literary contexts, paying particular attention to how Brontë's Wuthering Heights and Woolf's To the Lighthouse narrate and complicate distinctions between self and world, between human and nonhuman, and between good and evil. Instead of a high quantity of reading, the course will emphasize close reading, rereading, and attention, and students will be responsible for short journal responses and one short analysis essay. Students will also have the ability to revise and improve their essays for a higher grade, and all readings for the class will be available for free online.


ENGL 265     Weird America     Schneider

Homicidal homesteaders, sinning puritan preachers, confused colonists, venomous women, mad scientists, idiot sea captains, cunning slaves, deranged paralegals, creepy children, a ventriloquist, a governess, and maybe a ghost: is American literature “The Great Art of Telling the Truth” as Herman Melville would have it, or really just a bizarre lie “of cold artistic calculation,” like Henry James’ project to “catch those not easily caught”? This reading-intensive online course will introduce you to 4 major American authors (Charles Brockden Brown, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, and Henry James) and their exemplary works, as we investigate American literature’s complicated relationship to truth and lies, and see if history actually is stranger than fiction.

This fully-online course will use freely-available ebooks as texts; there will be no textbooks to buy. ENGL 265 counts as a Tier II Humanities credit, and may also apply to your major/minor in English or Creative Writing. Ask your advisor about how this course may work in your plan of study.



ENGL 267      Dramatic Literature       Thomas

Sorcerers, rakes, disguised dandies, tortured writers, syphilitic sons, madwomen, antiheroes, and underdogs. These are some of the more influential characters that inhabit the western tradition of dramatic literature and performance. In this course we will read a handful of dramatic works in the western canon, paying close attention to the outsiders and weirdos that populate these plays. As we focus on ‘strange’ characters, we will come to an understanding about not only the role that outsiders play in the western tradition but also the ways in which they speak to the larger concerns of western drama and performance. We will unearth and investigate the significance of gendered performances, anxieties about the biology of sex, madness, defective fathers (and mothers), queer desire, colonialism, evolution and devolution, industrialism, the ebb and flow of capital, scientific progress, and the breakdown of the family. We will read 6-7 plays from the following list: The Tempest (1610), Ghosts (1881), The Importance of Being Earnest (1895), The Seagull (1896), Desire Under the Elms (1924), A Streetcar Named Desire (1947), Old Times (1971), Angels in America: Part I: Millenium Approaches (1993), Topdog/Underdog (2002). We will also view portions of staged performances, including older and more recent productions. In addition, we will listen to podcasts recorded by the exceptionally talented folks at The Rogue Theatre in Tucson. We will not only consider these plays as traditional literary texts, but also as living documents to be (and that have been) performed over and over again in various cultural and historical contexts. Students will write short, two-page response papers to 3 of the 6-7 plays we read. These response papers will be exploratory and experimental, but they should also show evidence of the writer’s ability to meticulously read and engage with the material at hand. Finally, there will be a longer “final” paper. In this paper students will be expected to think about the relationship between text and performance as they write.



ENGL 300       Literature & Film: The Art of the Crime      Hendricks

Tier 2 Arts Course

Commune with your inner Detective!  In this online course, we will investigate the relationship between three literary works and their film counterparts, exploring the connections and disconnections that accompany the translation from the written word to the screen.  We will read two classic works of crime fiction ¾ the noir novella Double Indemnity (1943) and the neo-noir novel L.A. Confidential (1990) ¾ and the non-fiction narrative The Orchid Thief (1998) (an investigative “crime” story of sorts).  All have been made into important films that consider a number of culturally significant issues, including those of identity, the femme fatale, and the act of story-telling itself.  In this class, students become the real sleuths, gumshoes, and private investigators, as we work together to inspect the interface between literature and film.  The course requirements include two short writing assignments and assigned postings to the D2L Discussion Board. 

Books:  Double Indemnity (James M. Cain), L.A. Confidential (James Ellroy), The Orchid Thief (Susan Orlean)

Films:  Double Indemnity (Billy Wilder), L.A. Confidential (Curtis Hanson), Adaptation (Spike Jonze)



ENGL 380      Literary Analysis      Nathanson

This is a course in “close reading.” The reading assignments will be short, to allow us to pay close attention to individual texts and individual passages. We’ll read many poems and some short stories, with an eye toward mastering the close reading techniques crucial to the sort of literary analysis we practice in upper-division literature courses (and beyond). For this online course, daily participation in discussion boards will be a major course requirement. Students will also write approximately eight short exercises (roughly 1 page each) and two papers (roughly 3-4 pages each). There are no exams.

There’s no booklist for this course. All course materials will be available online.

Questions? Please email the instructor at

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences