University of Vermont

College of Arts and Sciences

First-Year Experience 2014-2015


ENGS 005A ~ Tolkien's Dreams: Tolkien and the Problems of Modernism
CRN: 94091

Instructor: Mary Kete Associate Professor of English More . . .

"Why should a man be scorned, if, finding himself in prison, he tries to get out and go home? Or if, when he cannot do so, he thinks about other topics than jailers and prison-walls? The world outside has not become less real because the prisoner cannot see it." Tolkien, On Fairy Stories.
Tolkien's fantasy takes us beyond the confines of time and space. This seminar, however, is designed to examine the contexts (historical, political, and aesthetic) within which Tolkien imagined his epic. In particular, we will be interrogating Tolkien's engagement in the cultural debates of the first half of the twentieth century that have come to be known as Modernism. Our readings will range from selections of Old English verse through Modernist classics such as Eliot's "The Wasteland" and Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms and the Modernist manifestos of Marinetti and Pound. Students are required to have read The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit at least once before the beginning of the course.

Requirements Satisfied: one Literature course
Meets: W 4:05pm-7:05pm

ENGS 005B ~ The Medieval Short Story
CRN: 94092

Instructor: Jennifer Sisk Assistant Professor of English More . . .

The Middle Ages produced a multitude of texts that today would fall under the rubric of the "short story." While we tend to think of the short story as a contemporary mode of writing and not a mainstay of the literary past, brief narratives were a vital source of entertainment and instruction even centuries ago. In this course you'll explore these riches as you learn about medieval narrative genres and the cultural contexts in which they were produced. Over the course of the semester you'll read a wide range of short stories produced in medieval England: romances featuring knights, ladies, sorcery, and magic; miracle stories showcasing the powers of saints; bawdy tales of sexual and financial trickery; and colorful exempla that drive home moral lessons. This course will introduce you not only to medieval England and its literary traditions but also to the research and compositional methods you'll use in college when you write about literature.

Requirements Satisfied: one Literature course
Meets: MWF 11:45pm-12:35pm

ENGS 005C ~ Nineteenth-Century Monsters
CRN: 94093

Instructor: Sarah Alexander Assistant Professor of English  More . . .

British writers of the nineteenth century created some of the most memorable and enduring monsters-Frankenstein's monster, Mr. Hyde, Dracula. In this course we will study Victorian literary monsters in order to think about the ways that the Victorians conceived of identity and difference, self and other. We will consider Victorian depictions of monsters within the context of the immense social, ideological, and cultural changes that occurred over the course of the century. This course will examine a variety of monsters including mummies, vampires, human-animal hybrids, and grotesques, and we will think about how different forms of monstrosity reflect a culture's anxieties, fears, values, and desires. How do Victorian notions about monstrosity reflect Victorian anxieties and desires in relation to industrialism, scientific and technological developments, colonial expansion, and changing notions about gender roles and sexuality? How do Victorian fears and desires, as reflected in the monsters they created, compare to our own fears and desires?

Requirements Satisfied: one Literature course
Meets: MWF 1:55pm-2:45pm

ENGS 005D ~ Putting It in Your Own Words
CRN: 94094

Instructor: Susanmarie Harrington Professor of English More . . .

Writers are often told, "Put in your own words!" when they are working with sources. But what does it really mean to take someone else's ideas and use your own words to express them? What does it mean to own ideas, and how is our notion of ownership related to our sense of personal writing style? And how do concerns about writing ethics and plagiarism affect you as you write? Through assignments that ask you to try on different voices-some academic, some not-as well as assignments that ask you to engage with different sources in new and surprising ways, we will learn about writing voice and writing ethics, and also learn about college writing culture.

Requirements Satisfied: one Humanities course
Meets: TR 8:30am-9:45am

ENGS 005E ~ Autobiographical Eye: Writing Personal Essays and Short Stories
CRN: 94095

Instructor: Gregory Bottoms Professor of English More . . .

In this seminar/writing workshop, students will read and write autobiographical literary works categorized as both personal essays (nonfiction) and short stories (fiction), investigating the place of memory, observation, experience, and imagination in the creation of prose art across and beyond conventional genre borders.

Requirements Satisfied: one Literature course
Meets: TR 10:00am-11:15am

ENGS 005F ~ Reading the Gospels
CRN: 94096

Instructor: Andrew Barnaby Associate Professor of English More . . .

This course will focus on a comparative study of the four canonical gospels along with the non-biblical Gospel of Thomas. After a brief exploration of the history of the Jewish people and life under Roman rule in first-century Palestine, we will begin our consideration of the written texts with the basic narrative of Jesus' ministry, arrest, and crucifixion as provided in the earliest of the canonical gospels (Mark). We will next take up the major additions to Mark as provided in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke; these additions are primarily in the form of parables and other teachings attributed to Jesus. We will then consider the very different structure of the Gospel of John (often referred to as the "spiritual gospel"), with some attention to how John's Gospel is like and unlike the ("heretical") Gospel of Thomas. And we will conclude with a comparative examination of the final narrative sequence that is common to the four canonical gospels, a sequence that begins with what is traditionally called Palm Sunday, takes up the accounts of the Last Supper, the arrest-trial-crucifixion of Jesus, and ends with accounts of Jesus' post-crucifixion appearances. Along the way we will consider both the very different portraits of Jesus offered in the gospels along with certain modern literary representations of gospel accounts. As a guide to Jesus' life and ministry, the gospels as "interpretations" of that life and ministry, and first-century Jewish and Christian experience, we shall also read Reza Azlan's Zealot and John Dominic Crossan's Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography. And we shall watch two modern films that represent Jesus' life in radically different ways: Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ and Denys Arcand's Jesus of Montreal.

Requirements Satisfied: one Literature course
Meets: TR 11:30am-12:45pm

ENGS 005G ~ Globalization and the English Novel
CRN: 94097

Instructor: Helen Scott Associate Professor of English More . . .

The global spread of the English language, deplored by some as a symptom of cultural imperialism and celebrated by others as a lingua franca, has transformed English literature in myriad ways. This seminar explores the impact of both "globalization from above"'-the spread of capitalist consumer culture as signaled by McDonald's and corporate publishing powerhouses-and "'globalization from below"'-the contributions of English writers from diverse cultures-on the contemporary novel in English. We shall read works by internationally celebrated transnational authors of the twenty-first century, including Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Edwidge Danticat, Junot Díaz, Amitav Ghosh, and Jhumpa Lahiri.

Requirements Satisfied: one Literature course
Meets: TR 11:30am-12:45pm

ENGS 005H ~ Graphic Novels and Fiction
CRN: 94098

Instructor: Daniel Fogel Professor of English More . . .

How do works of fiction function in all of their many dimensions-as entertainments, as representations of actual or imagined worlds, and as vehicles for understanding ourselves and others? The best contemporary graphic novels achieve the sustained narratives and the psychological and thematic complexity of traditional novels. In this seminar, we will read such graphic novels as Art Spiegelman's Maus, Alison Bechdel's Fun Home, and Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis-both for their own sake and for the clear lens they provide for examining narrative theory, whose lessons we will also apply to select masterpieces of modern short fiction.

Requirements Satisfied: one Literature course
Meets: TR 1:00pm-2:15pm

ENGS 005I ~ Detecting the Detectives
CRN: 94099

Instructor: Jinny Huh Assistant Professor of English More . . .

Who is the detective figure and how does he/she detect? How does the detective change along with the historical transformations of the genre (from the classics to the hard-boiled to police procedurals as well as differences in gender/sexuality, race, and disability)? How do these detectives comment upon and critique social and political concerns as well as ethical and moral problems? This course is an introduction to the detective figure since his emergence in 1841 with Edgar Allan Poe's fictional character, C. Auguste Dupin. We will explore some of the most popular figures of the genre including Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, Philip Marlowe, Easy Rawlins, and V. I. Warshawski as well as some international detective narratives. Course materials will include short stories, novels, theoretical readings, feature films, and television shows. Requirements will include in-class presentation, quizzes, short paper, midterm, and final.

Requirements Satisfied: one Literature course
Meets: TR 2:30pm-3:45pm

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