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Creative Writing Minor

Department of Literature and Language


Fall 2017

ENGL 3020-001

Prerequisites: ENGL 1020 or equivalent. This course will focus on the study of fiction as a genre. Special attention will be given to form and technique in the short story and novel. We will read and discuss fiction from a range of cultures and traditions, including a novel by J.M. Coetzee and stories by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Kate Chopin, Anton Chekhov, James Baldwin, Eudora Welty, Flannery O’Connor, Ursula K. Le Guin, Gabriel García Márquez, Andre Dubus, Amy Hempel, and many others. Required texts: The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction, 8th Edition (Full), edited by Richard Bausch and R.V. Cassill [ISBN13: 978-0-393-93775-6]; Waiting for the Barbarians, by J.M. Coetzee [ISBN13: 978-0143116929].

ENGL 3141-200
Creative Writing I: Poetry

Prerequisite(s): ENGL 1020 or equivalent; and one 2000-level literature course. Creative Writing I will focus on poetry this fall. This class is designed to help you learn the techniques, habits, and discipline of writing literary poems. We will study in the whole craft of writing poetry, generally based on the model used successfully in the other arts, and will learn by observing, imitating, and practicing the approaches used by accomplished poets. It is not simply a “writing workshop,” though we will spend a good deal of time considering and discussing poems that you write and submit to the class. We will read great poems from the past and present, and do our best to write some great poems of our own.
Required Texts: A Book of Luminous Things, edited by Czeslaw Milosz, ISBN: 0156005743;
The Poetry Home Repair Manual, by Ted Kooser, ISBN: 0803259786.

ENGL 3040-200 [Elective for CW Minor]
Literary Nonfiction

"Literary Nonfiction" is an oddly apologetic term. (Literary . . . as opposed to that other kind of nonfiction.) At the very least, the term sounds earthbound and prosaic, betraying a persistent suspicion that you can't really stick to the facts and create high art. Well, can you? Yes, you can. In this course, we'll read acknowledged literary masterpieces, including T. Capote's In Cold Blood, and D.F. Wallace's great essays from the 1990s. We'll also read some works that perhaps don't rank as first-rate literature, but that sure provide compelling reads. Along the way, we'll explore the sometimes arbitrary boundaries between fiction and non. The course addresses nonfiction subgenres including the essay, literary journalism, "New Journalism," memoir, sports writing, travel writing, true crime writing, and others. Most of the texts are 20th-century American works, written in English, but we'll take forays into the 19th century, and we'll read a few short translations. For more info, see

ENGL 4010-001 [Elective for CW Minor]
The British Novel

The British novel was born in the 18th century, but the novel as we know it—the modern novel of human psychology and interior emotional space—emerged from the 19th. More specifically, it has its genesis in the works of Jane Austen, whose innovative narrative techniques within novels of social and emotional crisis changed the genre permanently. This course will focus on what might be called The Novel 2.0 or The Novel after Austen. Set in the 19th and 20th centuries amidst class divisions, industrial revolutions, colonial exploitations, human rights struggles, and devastating wars, these novels register the impact of history at the level of the individual. They also talk to each other in surprising ways, and we will follow the inter-textual threads as we discover them. For more information, contact Dr. Daniel Westover,
Required Texts: Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility (Oxford, ISBN: 978-0199535576)
George Eliot, Silas Marner (Oxford, ISBN: 978-0199536771)
Thomas Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd (Oxford, ISBN: 978-0199537013)
Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway (Oxford, ISBN: 978-0199536009)
Graham Greene, The End of the Affair (Penguin, ISBN: 978-0142437988)
Graham Swift, Waterland (Vintage, ISBN: 978-0679739791)
Zadie Smith, White Teeth (Random House, ISBN: 978-0375703867)

ENGL 4012-001 [Elective for CW Minor]
American Novel: Obsession and Historical Paranoia in the Epic Mood

“America was never innocent. We popped our cherry on the boat over and looked back with no regrets. You can’t ascribe our fall from grace to any single event or set of circumstances. You can’t lose what you lacked at conception.” —James Ellroy, American Tabloid

In this course we will be lifting the veil and taking a good, hard look into the heartless voids and conspiratorial immensities of American culture via classic and contemporary epic American novels. We will set sail into monomaniacal madness as academic Ishmaels, unravel a narrative of cultural curse with our roommates as the cold creeps in, slip between beats in syncopated invisibility, race into the incestuous depths of Triple Crown glory, dissertate the legacy of Cold War hysteria, map the cultural wars of the living dead, and as Orphic travelers finally find ourselves deep in the paranoiac power struggles of the Underworld USA. To echo William Carlos Williams’ introduction to Allen Ginsburg’s Howl and other Poems: keep vigilant, folks, we are going through hell. And here’s our travel guide:

Obsession: Herman Melville Moby-Dick; William Faulkner Absalom, Absalom!; Ralph Ellison Invisible Man; C. E. Morgan The Sport of Kings

Historical Paranoia: E. L. Doctorow The Book of Daniel; Leslie Marmon Silko Almanac of the Dead; James Ellroy American Tabloid

ENGL 4907-001
Creative Writing II: Fiction

Prerequisites: ENGL 3142 or permission of the instructor. In this advanced workshop course, students will read contemporary short fiction from a range of cultures and traditions, and have an opportunity to write and submit new work of their own. Special emphasis will be given to advanced issues of form and technique in the short story. We will observe—and attempt to emulate—the process used by writers of successful literary fiction. After we’ve examined some of the finest published stories around, we’ll shift our attention to exploring outstanding student fiction submitted for workshop. Although we will dedicate a significant portion of the semester to student writing, you should come prepared to read and write critically (as well as creatively) on a weekly basis. Required Texts: The Anchor Book of New American Short Stories, by Ben Marcus (editor) [ISBN-13: 978-1400034826]; Burning Bright: Stories, by Ron Rash [ISBN-13: 978-0061804120].

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