Department of English Freshman Courses—Fall 2018
Introduction to Creative Writing
MW 12:45 to 2:00 Thielen
This course acquaints students with opportunities for creative expression across genres. The course primarily focuses on poetry and short fiction – though playwriting, screenwriting, and genres of creative nonfiction will also be explored. We will attend to those elements that make for vivid, effective writing, including relevant detail, lyrical language, and memorable images; inventive metaphor and simile; and authentic voice, setting, and characterization. Taking this course will help us to further develop an understanding and practice of creativity in the medium of language and to distinguish among the creative opportunities and constraints of different literary genres.
Introduction to Journalism
MWF 9:30 to 10:20 Sheeler
Students will learn the basics of reporting and writing news stories, but also the traditions behind the craft and the evolving role of journalism in society. Instruction will include interviewing skills, fact-checking, word choice and story structure—all framed by guidance on making ethically sound decisions. Students will also periodically interact via Skype with journalists from newsrooms throughout the country including the New York Times and the Washington Post. No prerequisites.
Introduction to Fiction Writing
M 4:25 to 6:55 Umrigar
This is an introductory class which teaches students the craft of writing strong short stories. You will learn the elements of writing that go into making a good story, such as character and plot development, voice, sense of place etc. To this end, you will be reading and writing a great deal in this class. Apart from reading several short stories every week, you will also be required to do in-class and out-of-class writing exercises. In addition, you will write two longer stories, which will be workshopped by the entire class. Each week, you will be responsible for reading and critiquing stories written by your classmates.
Introduction to Poetry Writing
TTh 4:00 to 5:15 Lucas
A beginning workshop, focusing on such elements of poetry as verse-form, syntax, figures, sound, tone. May include discussion of literary examples as well as student work.
TTh 4:00 to 5:15 Luttrull
What is poetry? And why is it valuable? This course is designed to give students a foundational knowledge of poetry, through the exploration of these questions.
The first half of the course will focus on poetic elements of line, sound, voice, figurative language, and imagery. Having become familiar with these mechanics, we will then turn our attention to forms and genres. We will read and discuss some of the greatest English-language poems of the past and present, asking how they work, what they mean, and why they are valuable. Assignments will comprise of two recitations of memorized poems, two short papers (3-4 pages), and one longer final paper (6-8 pages).
Introduction to Film
TTh 1:00 to 2:15 (class)
T 7:00—9:30 (film viewing) Spadoni
An introduction to the art of film. Each week we’ll take an element of film form (editing, cinematography, sound, and so on) and examine how filmmakers work with this element to produce effects. Most weeks we’ll also screen a whole film and discuss it in light of the week’s focus. Films screened will include masterworks of the silent era, foreign films, Hollywood studio-era classics, and more recent cinema. Students write two essays (5-6 and 8-10 pages) and take a scheduled quiz, midterm, and final exam. Grad students write a longer second essay and, in connection with it, submit a proposal and annotated bibliography.
ENGL 368/468 and WLIT 368/468
Topics in Film
TTh 10:00—11:15 (class)
Th 7:00—9:30 (film viewing) Spadoni
Alfred Hitchcock stands alone in cinema history in some striking respects. In an age when most directors were anonymous studio employees who could be hired and fired at will, Hitchcock was a powerful Hollywood player and a celebrity whose face moviegoers knew. He turned out financially successful films with astonishing regularity for decades. These films continue to fascinate and challenge us, not least for their remarkable thematic consistency. We will look at fifteen or so of his greatest films, analyzing how the director’s preoccupations, including his sexual obsessions, permeate the films in provocative and sometimes troubling ways. We will examine some of his celebrated “set pieces” and ask what makes them so memorable and effective. We will regard his films in light of the director’s own, sometimes misleading, commentaries on them, and consider that central term in the critical and popular discussion of Hitchcock’s work: suspense. Films to be screened include his early sound film Blackmail, his first Hollywood film Rebecca, and masterworks from later in his career including Rear Window, Vertigo, and Psycho. Students write two essays (5-6 and 8-10 pages), take part in a group presentation, and take occasional brief quizzes (lowest is dropped). Grad students (registered for ENGL 468) satisfy the same requirements as the undergrads but their final essay will be an extended research project, in connection with which they’ll submit a proposal and annotated bibliography.