Fall 2022

ENGL 202 Intro to Creative Writing; Professor Strickley

In this class, we’ll experiment in three forms—poems, short stories, and ten-minute plays—while searching for the most potent mode of expression for our talents and ideas. The aim is not necessarily to decide (once and for all) what kind of writers we are, but rather to discover the range of literary tools at our disposal as writers. The course will be comprised of three major components: the craftshop (wherein we’ll read published work and discuss the elements of craft); the workshop (wherein we’ll write poems, stories, and plays and respond to the work of our peers); and the portfolio (wherein we’ll use what we’ve learned in the course to draft and revise a highly polished work of literary art). Students who invest fully in all three portions of the course will emerge from the class with an enhanced understanding of the art forms at hand; a fluency in the language of constructive (and artful) criticism; and a body of creative work about which they can (and should!) be proud.

ENGL 250 Exploring Literature; AH; Professor Biberman

This section of Introduction to Literature, will be taught on-line. In this course you will sample various literary genres, including drama, poetry, fiction, and memoir,.  Our goal will be to develop the central skill of literary analysis, or ‘close reading,’ and apply close reading to course texts through a series of writing assignments, both scholarly and creative. We will analyze the content of the pieces we read and their structure, symbolism, and themes.  By the end, you should have a multifaceted lens through which to enjoy literary-based art, as well as have mastered a skill set that will be useful both in subsequent college classes and beyond.   

 Probable Texts:

 Sophocles, Antigone

Shakespeare. Romeo and Juliet

Bernstein, West Side Story / Spielberg Remake of West Side Story

Selected English Lyric Poems

Selected English Short Stories

ENGL 300-02 Intro to Literature; Professor Anderson

In this course, we will develop and practice skills for reading, discussing, and writing about literature in English, with a focus on poetry, drama, and fiction (short stories as well as a short novel).

During the course, we will learn critical terms for analyzing literature, and will develop strategies for writing and revising argumentative papers. We will also discuss the artistic nuances of the literature, and briefly discuss their artistic and cultural contexts. 

My main goal is to offer feedback and support to help you develop your interpretive and writing skills. There will be three longer essays (one each about poetry, fiction, and drama), as well as shorter weekly writing tasks. 

ENGL 300 Intro to Literature; Professor Golding

Eng. 300 introduces students to the basic terms and methods of studying literature, including close reading skills, developing an argument about a literary text, and connecting a work to its historical moment. It’s meant to help prepare you either for further work as English majors or for a lifetime of pleasure in reading, or both. 

 For our content, we’ll focus on modern American literature from the period 1910-1950, a time of questioning and remaking race, gender, and class norms in ways that will give us lots to talk about. This focus on a particular period also gives us a consistent historical context in which to situate our reading. It allows us to compare and contrast writers and place them in conversation with each other more easily.

Dividing the course into three major units, we’ll read a range of (1) poetry, (2) fiction and non-fiction prose and (3) drama from the period, with mini-units on modernist women poets and the Harlem Renaissance. Among others, we’ll read work by H.D., T.S. Eliot, William Carlos Williams, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, Zora Neale Hurston, Sherwood Anderson, William Faulkner, and Tennessee Williams.

Grading / assessment will likely be based on three short papers and participation in online discussion forums via Blackboard.

 Requirements that this course fulfills: Eng. 300 fulfills a core requirement for English majors and a core requirement for English minors concentrating in Literature. It is also approved for the Arts and Sciences upper-level requirement in written communication (WR)

ENGL 300-51 Intro to Literature: Literature of the City; Professor Wilson

Although humans have long lived in cities and created literature, the city as we know it began to emerge around the same time as the novel in early modern Europe. Taking these intertwined phenomena as our starting point, we will read a range of poems, novels, short stories, and drama that reflect on city life. From the Russian cityscape of Gogol’s “Nevsky Prospect” to Lorraine Hansberry’s intergenerational African American drama A Raisin in the Sun, and beyond, students will learn the basics of literary study through the literature of city. Students can expect to complete discussion boards, write two short papers, and conduct a research-based digital project that explores the urban landscape of Louisville.


ENGL 300-52 Intro to Literature: Literature of the City; Professor Wilson

Although humans have long lived in cities and created literature, the city as we know it began to emerge around the same time as the novel in early modern Europe. Taking these intertwined phenomena as our starting point, we will read a range of poems, novels, short stories, and drama that reflect on city life. From the Russian cityscape of Gogol’s “Nevsky Prospect” to Lorraine Hansberry’s intergenerational African American drama A Raisin in the Sun, and beyond, students will learn the basics of literary study through the literature of city. Students can expect to complete discussion boards, write two short papers, and conduct a research-based digital project that explores the urban landscape of Louisville.


ENGL 301 Marvelous Adventures; Professor Stanev

This DE course will investigate a selection of Old English, Medieval, and Renaissance texts that explore the cultural, social, gendered, and aesthetic dimensions of the early modern fascination with heroes and their encounters with the marvelous and its inhabitants – strange new people, demons, monsters, faeries, giants, beasts, and spirits. We will look at literary embodiments of unnatural power, monstrous shape, witchcraft, gender, cultural or racial ambiguity, and psychological horror during encounters with wondrous antagonists or phenomena, in which heroes vanquish but also get vanquished. In addition, this course will offer the opportunity to study a dynamic body of works, which emerge from the domains of epic poetry, folk play, allegory, romance, travel narrative, and secular drama. The marvelous has frequently been the subject of recent media franchises and literary works, and we will look for parallels, while also noting the differences from the literary imagination of medieval and early modern England. As a result, the student learning outcomes of this survey are: 1) to recover the significance of early modern writings in their original setting by focusing on the exploits of heroes who face marvelous foes and strange new lands; 2) to recognize the chronological and stylistic pattern of change in the literary imagination of the British Isles over a millennium; 3) to place some of the most widely acclaimed masters of the pen, such as Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Milton, among the writings and ideas of their contemporaries. These outcomes will be assessed through one brief analytical essay, a final research paper, and through Blackboard discussion board posts.

  • This course satisfies the Common Core requirement for the English major, as well as the A&S requirement for a pre-1800 literature course.


ENGL 303 Science and Technical Writing; WR; Professor Poole

What facts come to matter and to whom? This course considers why "fact" is under debate in our present, digital era and what makes crafting a compelling argument so difficult. Students will also learn the writing strategies and tactics that scientists, doctors, engineers, and technical writers employ to communicate successfully on the job.


ENGL 305 Intro to Creative Writing (Fiction); Professor Strickley

In this class students will have an opportunity to build upon the skills established in intro-level workshops while digging deeply into the genre of the short story—a form often described as one of the most fitting for our digital era. We will read contemporary published work, conduct generative exercises, and also workshop student writing. Students will emerge with at least two full-length short story manuscripts—and plenty of fodder for future projects.


ENGL 306-50 & 54 Business Writing; WR; Professor Smith

Designed for Arts and Sciences students anticipating careers in the professions, such as law, business, medicine, or government, this distance education course concentrates on composing in a variety of rhetorical situations in workplace discourses and emphasizes practicing composing processes and modalities, developing an appropriate style, collaborating with peers and supervisors, and using current communication technologies. Students will read, analyze, and compose workplace texts–letters, blogs, emails, reports, proposals, presentation slides, case studies, memos, videos, and white papers to name a few possibilities–within a rhetorical perspective so that you can develop your writing for specific situations within a professional context.


ENGL 309 Creative Nonfiction; WR; Professor Rogers

English 309, Inquiries in Writing, is a course focused on nonfiction narrative and research writing. In addition to reading Ballenger's Crafting Truth and discussing creative nonfiction genres such as essays, memoirs, and literary journalism, the class will work on research projects focused on the academic interests of each student. The final portfolio for this course will include 18 to 20 pages of revised writing and a number of journal entries.


ENGL 315-50 Antiracist Media and American Literature (Culture, Text & Media); Professor Mattes

This distance-education course focuses on how Black people, Indigenous people, and other people of color (BIPOC) strategically use text technologies and publishing media - including manuscript, print, oratory, book format, archives, and digital networks - to shape their literatures.
We will begin with case studies of nineteenth-century Black and Indigenous authorship. Readings include works by Frederick Douglass and Sarah Winnemuca (Northern Paiute). We will discover how these writers strategically depict their uses of alphabetic literacy and intervene in white infrastructures of print media in order to negotiate, critique, and dismantle racist ideas about selfhood and sovereignty.
Later, we will read graphic novels that extend these BIPOC media strategies. These works center on an eighteenth-century massacre of Conestoga Native Americans (Lee Francis and Weshoyote Alvitre’s Ghost River) and a nineteenth-century Virginia slave rebellion (Kyle Baker’s Nat Turner). We will consider how these writers and illustrators of color have developed antiracist compositional practices involving book format and digital design, as well as BIPOC-controlled digital publishing initiatives.
Finally, we will turn to a mind-bending work of fiction whose aesthetic elements - including characters, plots and themes - are driven by text technologies: The People of Paper, by Salvador Plascencia. In particular, we'll think about how he employs technologies of print such as ink, printing, paper, typography in order to dramatize the multiethnic borderlands of the American southwest, and to meditate on the commodification of BIPOC experiences of violence and pain by contemporary publishing. Taken together, these life narratives, graphic novels, fictional works, and digital initiatives foreground the vital role of text technologies and publishing media in facilitating BIPOC stories - stories in which people of color are rendered not in genocidal terms of pure victimization, but rather in irreducible and ongoing legacies of survivance.

ENGL 333-01 Shakespeare: Between the Anthropocene and Extinction; Professor Biberman

What does it mean to talk about Shakespeare TODAY in what we might call the age of the Anthropocene? Pieter Vermeulen argues that within Anthropocene ideology, thinkers must accept as myth the idea that “the modern subject is the sole agent of history and that the Earth is only a passive resource.” How might the acceptance of this premise affect our understanding and presentation of Shakespeare—and how might the study of Shakespeare in turn allow us to further develop and nuance a theory for what we might call “actually existing Anthropocene thought”? In this course we will explore this issue by taking up three questions: first, what sort of notions of human subjectivity do we find modeled in Shakespeare and how might such notions force a reconsideration of human life as lived now in the Anthropocene age? Second, how does Shakespeare model elements of our planet, the earth—both as dramatic setting and as agent in his plays, and how might such Shakespearean elements force a reconsideration of our understanding of “the nonhuman” today? And finally, what is the function and place of art generally (and Shakespeare specifically) in a time of climate crisis?  In our study we will focus on the following plays: The Tempest, Hamlet, King Lear, Coriolanus, Measure for Measure, and As You Like It.

Special Notes:

Take Home Midterm (with an exercise in question construction), Final Paper--or approved alternate project, and a final presentation, with periodic short writings and brief in-class presentations.

ENGL 368-01 Minority Traditions in Lit. in English-African Lit in English; AHD2; Professor Willey

We will be asking the question of how English as a language changes in the context of Empire and how African authors use different kinds of englishes to express their own particular world view.  As a D2 class, we will be particularly interested in thinking about how language and education operated in the colonial context in order to address Cardinal Core outcome D2.1: "Identify how historical, social, and cultural structures and processes shape understandings of social stratification in non-U.S. societies."                        

Outcomes explicitly for this section of 368.01, Spring 2021:

1) Identify key authors in development of African authors in English

2) Understand the main tensions in using English in African literature as they affect:


                Representations of Africa

                Telling of history

3) Discuss the possible impact of gender on the question of using English as a medium for African literature

4) Be able to define postcolonial


Achebe, Chinua.               Things Fall Apart. 

Aidoo, Ama Ata.               Changes

Emecheta, Buchi.             The Joys of Motherhood

Ngugi wa Thiong'o.           The Trial of Dedan Kimathi

                                      Decolonizing the Mind (on blackboard)

                                      I Will Marry When I Want

P’Bitek, Okot.                The Song of Lawino/Song of Ocol

Sissoko, Fa Digi and John William Johnson. The Epic of Sonjara

Soyinka, Wole.               Death and The King’s Horseman  Norton Critical Edition.


ENGL 371-01 Literature of the U.S. South; Professor Wilson

The U.S. South has long been considered the nation’s “problem region.” Unsurprisingly, the dynamics which shape the region are reflected in its literature: the afterlives of chattel slavery, economic underdevelopment, and the question of who or what constitute “Southernness” all find expression in the work of Southern writers. This course seeks to challenge understandings of the South as inextricably backwards, alien, or other to the nation as a whole.
Students can expect to read canonical Southern authors like William Faulkner and Flannery O’Connor, but we will also consider the vision of contemporary writers of color such as Randall Kenan and Jesmyn Ward. As the semester unfolds, we will come to understand that many of the region’s distinctive aspects resonate across the nation, and, in fact, the world: from questions of racial and economic justice to environmental concerns, we will find the U.S. South a recognizable part of our contemporary world.


ENGL 372-01 The Literature of the Holocaust; Professor Sherman

In studying fictional, poetic and nonfictional narratives of the Holocaust our task will be to witness the event through the texts we read: what does it mean to think of literature as a kind of witnessing? And just what are the limits of language in representing such an unrepresentable event? For the writer, there is a very real crisis of representation. In The Story of a Life, Aharon Appelfeld, the Israeli novelist and Holocaust survivor, describes the feeling of being defeated by his own story: “Every time you talk about those days, you feel that this is incredible. You tell and you don’t believe that this happened to you. This is one of the most humiliating feelings that I’ve experienced.” And Charlotte Delbo testifies that “Auschwitz is there, fixed and unchangeable, but wrapped in the impervious skin of memory that segregates itself from the present ‘me.’” in the argument of this course, is the idea that literature can and does respond vigorously to catastrophe. Our main focus will emphasize the roles of silence, memory, identity, and problems of representation but we will also consider other issues along the way such as the psychology and history of antisemitism as well as the problem of articulating a new ethics for humanity. Drawing from European, American, and Israeli narratives, our readings will introduce some of the significant poets and writers who were witnesses to, survivors, and in some instances victims of, the Holocaust. Later in the semester we will encounter narratives by Ozick, Spiegelman, Semel, and others, a second generation whose work is distinguished by a tension between the desire to write about the Holocaust and guilt at doing so. What does it mean to be the child or even grandchild of a survivor? What will the collective memory of the Holocaust be in the twenty-first century, after the last survivors have given testimony? The way that Jews and others deal with the Holocaust is not always wise. Sometimes we manipulate it, turning Holocaust-related fears into an outlook and a value system. Time and again, we discover that, whether we want it or not, nearly every one of us is a carrier pigeon of the Holocaust. So it is worth coming to terms with it more consciously. As Ecclesiastes (1:18) tells us: “For in much wisdom [is] much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.”

ENGL 373 DE Women and Global Literature; Professor Lutz

This course takes as its focus women novelists and poets who write about women. We will read literature that puts women in the center of a fictional world and explores their need to be seen and heard, to find their place and their rights. Female fellowships and collaborations involved in women’s (and humanitarian) rights will be central, as will intense friendships between women and erotic and sexual connections. Some of our books will be gothic in character, carrying women into haunted, stormy, violent realms where they must make their way. More broadly, the class will explore ideas about gender, sexuality, and race, with a strong interest in women who rebel against societies that marginalize them, especially queer women and women of color.


ENGL 373 Contemporary International Women Writers; Professor Hadley

This course will address literature taken from women writers representing a number of global perspectives. Among them, here are some of the names and regional heritages we will be drawing from: Middle Eastern (Faleeha Hannan, Zeina Abirached, Asmaa Alghoul), Far Eastern (Duanwad Pimwana, Akino Knodoh, Qiu Miaojin), Central/South American (Carmen Boullosa, Claudia Salazar Jimenez,Flavia Rocha), African (Habiballah, Namukasa, Aziz), and European (Theodora Dimova, Maja Haderlap, Igiaba Scego, Griet Op de Beeck). Questions of gender, sexuality and the body will thread among the semester’s readings, along with sustained attention to the ways in which women experience and represent an increasing awareness of their many forms of “difference” at the turn of the 20th century.  


ENGL 401 Politically Engaged Youth in American Culture; WR; Professor Chandler

Images of imperiled children are often central to media reports and political parties’ rhetoric about social problems, including border crises, racial or ethnic conflict, poverty and crime. Whether fueling social reform or supporting efforts to preserve cultural norms, representations of child endangerment and suffering are powerful reminders of human vulnerability and measures of societal need. Just as important, however, are the representations of youth agency and activism that we will study in this course. Literature, film, television and popular music have long been rich in images of children’s and teen’s power. And scholars of childhood have argued that these images are not necessarily fanciful, because it is not uncommon for young people to make decisive, productive choices in their own lives, inspire their associates, and contribute to larger social and historical movements. This course will examine the concept of the politically engaged and knowing youth through a range of theoretical writing, literature and other media. Authors may include nineteenth-century figures such as Harriet Beecher Stowe and Frances Harper, as well as later writers such as Gwendolyn Brooks, Julia Alvarez, Kelly Yang, and Henry Jenkins. We will explore assumptions and beliefs informing these images and narratives of empowered youth and consider what they contribute to U.S. culture. In addition to engaging with assigned readings and related texts, requirements for the course will include class discussion, short writing assignments, and a final research project. This course will occur on the Belknap campus.

  • This course fulfills a WR requirement. 
  • It fulfills an elective requirement in the current literature track of the English major. 
  • The course fulfills a post-1900 historical distribution requirement for those students relying on an older version of the major.


ENGL 404 Miracle Monocle; Editing, Publishing, and Promoting a Literary Journal; Professor Strickley

In its history as a publisher of innovative literary and visual art, Miracle Monocle has produced sixteen digital issues and two print micro-anthologies. This course will offer students a front-row seat to the process of selecting and editing work for publication in the journal. In addition to addressing many of the challenges specific to digital publishing—web design, social media integration, online submission management—students will also earn hands-on experience in maintaining an editorial calendar, corresponding with contributors, and building editorial consensus—skills that are directly translatable to a career in print or digital publishing. Students will also address many of the ethical and technical issues still problematizing the global shift to a digital media environment. The course will culminate in the publication of the seventeenth issue of Miracle Monocle.


ENGL 407 Writing for Social Change; WR; Professor Poole

"What keeps us from writing to make a difference?" This course answers that question and engages writing as both a tool for uncovering social justice issues and a way to advocate for change. Students will examine historical and contemporary art, texts, videos, and songs to consider what kinds of "writing" make a difference in social narratives about identity, equity, and civic responsibility. Throughout the semester, students will develop their own voices as public writers while working on a local community project.


 ENGL 416-01 Modern British Literature: Exiles and Émigrés; Professor Wilson

In his 1970 study of modernism, Exiles and Émigrés, the literary critic Terry Eagleton observed that the great works of British literature in the early 1900s were mostly written by people from outside England. Eagleton attributes this to a flaw in British culture and society, but it could just as easily have arisen from a world rapidly modernizing and globalizing, making it easier than ever for writers to pack their bags and move to cities like London and Paris. Furthermore, the massive expansion of British colonial holdings in the twentieth century forever changed what constitutes “British” literature by incorporating voices from the Caribbean, Africa, and India.
In this course, we will examine British literature across the twentieth century with these cultural dynamics in mind. Starting with canonical modernist writers like W.B. Yeats and Virginia Woolf, we will move forward in time and outward in geographical scope to include writers like Mulk Raj Anand, Una Marson, and George Lamming. Even as British modernism develops and transforms across the twentieth century, themes of cultural belonging, hybridity, and alienation remain central concerns to these writers. Students can expect to complete discussion boards, a short essay, and a longer, research-based project.

ENGL 470 What is “Modernism?”; Professor Golding

What do we mean by “modernism?” What forms did this international literary (and interarts) movement take in the US in the first half of the twentieth century? Artistically, what links William Carlos Williams’s obsession with the “newness” of literary experiment, Edna St. Vincent Millay’s feminist sonnets, Langston Hughes’ emergent Black vernacular, Jean Toomer’s prose sketches of rural Southern and urban Northern life? Socially, what links the push for women’s suffrage, racial unrest and the shared enterprise of Black intellectuals, the increasing emergence of working-class voices, the effects of WWI, and massive scientific and technological change?

We’ll focus on American-authored poetry, fiction, and non-fiction prose from the period 1910-1940 to achieve as rich a definition as possible of this still vastly influential phenomenon, “modernism.” In the course of reading work by a wide range of poets (Pound, H.D., Williams, Eliot, Millay, Moore, Stein, McKay, Hughes, Cullen) and prose writers (Locke, Schuyler, Toomer, Hurston, Anderson, Faulkner), we’ll consider movements within modernism (Imagism, the Harlem Renaissance), developments in the other arts, and the broad range of magazines in which modernist writing first circulated.

Grading / Assessment (subject to change): A 5-6-page midterm paper or in-class essay; annotated bibliography that serves as part of the research for your final paper; 7-8-page final paper involving research and appropriate documentation; participation in online discussion forums via Blackboard.

 Requirements that this course fulfills: The course satisfies both the 400-level elective requirement for English majors and the 300-500 level post-1900 literature elective for English minors concentrating in literature.


ENGL 491-01 Interpretive Theory: New Criticism to the Present; Professor Adams

This course introduces students to some major issues in literary and cultural theory from the late 19th century to the present. The course will fall roughly into two halves, each of which will address a set of problems that theorists have attempted to address. The first half focuses on interpretation and related questions, including the morality of art, aesthetic judgment, intention, affect, language, and the unconscious. The second half focuses on problems related to the practice of representation, including realism, history, ideology, gender, sexuality, race, and empire.

  • Requirements include short written assignments, an in-class midterm, and a take-home final.
  • This course fulfills requirements for English Majors in the Literature track, the Creative Writing track, and the track in Professional and Public Writing.

 ENGL 504-01 Advanced CWII: Experiments in the Lyric; Professor Adams

This course will focus on how poems we have come to call “lyric” express first-person experiences, evoke social and political contexts, and deal with time in ways distinct from narrative. Students will write and discuss their own poems, and will read widely in the history of poetry, from Sappho to the present. Special emphasis will be placed on some contemporary poets who have pushed lyric poetry in new directions (including Michael Palmer, Rae Armantrout, Jorie Graham, and Claudia Rankine). We will also talk about the practical process of submitting poems for publication. Requirements include participation in writing exercises and workshops, a final portfolio, and two short reviews of recent poetry books.

  • This course fulfills a requirement for majors in the Creative Writing track.


 ENGL 506-50/51 Teaching of Writing; WR; CUE; Professor Horner

 This 100% online asynchronous version of English 506 will be devoted to making useful sense of scholarship on the teaching of writing. We will examine the terms, concepts, assumptions, and concerns that seem to be key in some of the literature constituting that scholarship, such as writing processes, writing assignments, reading in the learning and teaching of writing, evaluation of student writing, errors, language difference, and modality in composition. This is not a “how to teach writing” course but a course in which we try to make sense of the subject of teaching writing: what writing might entail, how it is learned, what and how conceptions of these have and might shape writing pedagogies.
For this course, I have selected readings that represent a small network of past and recent scholarship addressing writing pedagogy from the perspective of the teaching of college writing—something about which all of you will by now have had some experience. You should approach the readings as representing ongoing scholarly conversations and debates that, as students advanced in your college careers and therefore with some experience with college writing, you are in a position to begin to engage and to contribute to. Your contributions will include but are not limited to frequent discussion board forum postings, and at least three position papers. Students enrolling in the graduate section of this course will be asked in addition to prepare a 20-25 page paper as their final position paper.

Because this section of English 506 is taught entirely online as asynchronous, all classwork and class communication will take the form of digital written texts. Accordingly, all students should have access to reliable Internet and be able to check the course Blackboard website daily, and all students should expect to contribute some form of writing—even if only a discussion board forum posting—every few days—and to receive frequent responses from me to their written contributions. One benefit of this course is that it will provide students with experience useful for imagining what is entailed in the teaching of writing in an entirely online environment—a growing phenomenon in the US and abroad.

  • Please note that the teaching of creative writing is taught in a different course offered by the UofL English department—English 507. We do not address creative writing in English 506.


ENGL 542 Sword and Sorcery; Professor Stanev

This course will examine a broad range of Tudor and Elizabethan dramatic and non-dramatic works, and trace the evolution of distinct and complex interlocked themes woven around concepts of chivalry, heroism, magic, and gender. We will also discuss texts, in which the heroic interacts with the sacred, the erotic with the occult, the gendered with the ungendered, the alien with the exotic, the sinful with the fallen, the fantastic with the subversive, and the imperialist with the “Other.” We will read works in several genres: from lyric poems and prose and verse satires to dramatic plays, travelogues, pamphlets, verse romance, and early picaresque and science fiction novels. The student learning outcomes will form significant awareness of the restless complexity and inner controversies of a literary period of discovery, schism, conflict, and new possibilities in thought, philosophy, devotion, and expression, channeled through the “swords” and “sorceries” of powerful yet troubled cultural and social imaginaries. The student learning outcomes will be assessed through class discussion, one shorter position paper, and one longer research essay. Finally, this course will fulfill the CUE requirement for undergraduate students and the literature distribution requirement for graduate students.

  • Undergraduate Students: this course satisfies the CUE requirement, as well as a 500-level literature requirement for the English major.
  • Graduate Students: this course satisfies the literature distribution requirement. It is a pre-1700 literature course.


ENGL 545 Romantic Fictional Biographies of Women; Professor Hadley

This course will explore the influence of the British and French socio-cultural context on Romantic period women writers’ fictional biographies. The period was volatile, witnessing the industrial revolution, the French Revolution, and the "Revolution in Manners" invoked by the British proto-feminist Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797). In fact it has been argued that Wollstonecraft initiated gender criticism by forcing the laws of gender into a field of conflict and negotiation, one galvanized in the aftermath of the French Revolution.

 To launch our exploration, we will first address Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s character Sophie (from his Emile, or, On Education [1763]), for whom he advocates a conventionally-gendered education, one that dictates women’s role as subordinate, domesticated creatures. Rousseau will serve as foil to the revolutionary Wollstonecraft - our discussion of her will address her diatribe against Rousseau and his retrograde views on gender in her Rights of Woman, and then in her biography Wrongs of Woman; or Maria. From here, we will explore a number of Romantic period (and period-influenced) fictional biographies, among them Mathilda (Mary Shelley), Evelina (Fanny Burney), Emma (Jane Austen), and Clueless (film dir. Amy Heckerling). Course requirements include two exams, a final research essay, two course presentations, and regular discussion question assignments and reading quizzes. **Students should be aware that they will be assigned reading averaging 110 pages/week**


ENGL 550 Affrilachian Writing; Professor Anderson

In the late eighties and early nineties, a group of University of Kentucky professors and students formed a literary collective, the Affrilachian Poets, devoted to emphasizing and celebrating the social and cultural diversity of Appalachia. Prominent literary figures in this collective include Frank X. Walker, Nikki Finney, and Crystal Wilkinson, and over the years, a group of approximately forty writers has written literature bears witness to historical and contemporary experience, gives voice to the voiceless and marginal, explores the importance of place, and seeks to reconnect to other parts of the African Diaspora. 

Yet this is not a regionally or aesthetically constrictive movement: “Affrilachia is a geographical and cultural space,” according to Bianca Lynne Spriggs and Jeremy Paden, that includes writers from the thirteen states that border the Appalachian Mountains, and accommodates a range of poetic and fictional styles, as well as writers from many different parts of the bordering states, such as Joy Priest and Mitchell Douglas from Louisville. 

This course is devoted to Affrilachian writing and art: I am still thinking through selections and assignments, but it will include Walker, Finney, Wilkinson, Spriggs, Priest, Douglas, Bernard Clay, and others. As a 500-level class, there will be two long, research papers and weekly response writing, among other assignments. 


ENGL 561-01 Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales; Professor Turner

We share the road from London to Canterbury with a group of pilgrims. They talk loudly, telling tales to pass the time. As the miles go by, some friendships emerge; sneers bubble into arguments; communities are made and then broken. Some of the tellers, such as outspoken and worldly Wife of Bath and the sly and amoral Pardoner, are so vivid that they remain in the popular imagination today. The tales include romances of the knights-and-damsels variety, bawdy tales of love gone wrong, and satires of scheming and greedy clergymen.
Taking this course connects you with communities of learners who have brought Chaucer’s pilgrims to life for over 600 years. The pilgrims, drawn from a wide cross-section of medieval social and economic types, allow Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales to serve as a study in the relations between people, their social and economic positions, and the forms of story through which experience can be expressed. As we hear these tales, we will attempt to understand what the Canterbury Tales can teach us about ourselves: the things that remain the same, and what the differences between us and these fourteenth century characters illuminate.
You do not need any knowledge of Chaucer or of Middle English to succeed in this course. English 561 develops the historical and genre awareness taught in courses such as ENGL 301 and 413. As a CUE course, you will further develop skills in reading and writing critically about literature from ENGL 300. This course will be assessed through annotations of scholarly articles, a series of short argumentative essays, and performance (in-class or digital) of Chaucer’s Middle English.
This course satisfies the pre-1700 requirement for MA students. MA students can apply up to nine credits of 500-level coursework toward the MA. Such students will have additional course requirements, such as the opportunity to guest teach a class meeting. Other requirements will be negotiated with students based on their scholarly interests and goals.

  • This course fulfills the pre-1700 literature requirement for  MA students
  • This is a CUE course for undergraduate students
  • This is a 500-level elective for undergraduate students


ENGL 599-01/02 A Reintroduction to Books (Texts and Technologies): WR, CUE; Professor Mattes

In our current moment of digital media shift, this course asks, how do people “know” themselves and their worlds through books? What is distinctive about knowledge that is created through the writing, reading, publishing, and collecting of books? How does book knowledge—that is, bibliographic knowledge—shape our expressive cultures and our world? And what are the social consequences of knowledge created in such a way? This semester we will try to find some provisional answers to these questions.
Students will encounter a range of writings by artists and scholars that can, in part, be read as a series of polemics about the role of bibliographic knowledge, including memoirs, poems, and fiction. In analyzing how these writings are aesthetically, thematically, rhetorically, and physically bound up in books, we will trouble the everyday ordinariness of “the book”—a thing, a practice, and a standard that is so often taken for granted. Readings and assignments, at once theoretical, historical, and technical, point to the heterogeneity and ubiquity of bound-and-inscribed forms and place them in relation to both historical technologies and digital text technologies.
Students will not only foster and demonstrate this media awareness through traditional written assignments. This course also has an obligatory hands-on component—object lessons that I am calling “book studies.” These studies may include participating in a letterpress and/or papermaking demo; surveying rare books and artists’ books in special collections; building multimodal digital books; and/or altering existing book objects and writing via annotations, revisions, and new formats. By demanding rigorous attention to media practices, this course not only asks how other people think with books—it implores us to do so, too.