Course Descriptions

Link: Current Undergraduate Courses                                                       Link: Current Undergraduate Catalog

Interested in English 318R with Brandon Sanderson? Learn more here. 

 Link: English 318R Application Download


 

 

Winter 2019

 

English 230: Studies in Literature: Young Adult Literature (Karen Brown)

This course will introduce students to literary themes, forms, and authors through young adult literature. Students will become familiar with the genre of young adult literature, critically examine a variety of award-winning contemporary novels, and demonstrate their understandings through discussion and writing.

English 235-1: Studies in American Literature: American Renaissance (Dennis Perry)

This course will focus on classic texts of the American Renaissance period, including attention on major issues of the time such as slavery/abolition, Native American removal, Western migration, the Mormon problem, etc. (1835-65).

English 235-2: Studies in American Literature: Dramatic Literature (Brooke Downs)

Students will read a survey of plays from the American Revolution to the present. We will particularly investigate the development of American theatre history as well as the relationship of plays as texts versus plays as performance. Authors include Eugene O’Neill, Lillian Hellman, Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, Lorraine Hansberry, and August Wilson.

English 236-1: Studies in English Literature: C.S. Lewis (Bruce Young)

 

English 236-2: Studies in English Literature: Sensation Literature: Culture and History (Anne Fleming)

Few things seem more universal in literature than the criminal and the macabre. We’ll look at how different eras, authors, and genres deal with crime and sensation. We’ll use critical theory and different reading strategies to look at how history and culture and readers relate to different works and how works and authors react to the history. You’ll write analytical arguments about the literature and criticism we read–the best way to really get into literature. I’ve chosen works that I think you will enjoy talking about and assignments that will help you understand and get into the literature.

English 318-1: Writing Fiction: The Short Form (Spencer Hyde)

 

English 318-2: Writing Fiction: Science Fiction (Brandon Sanderson)

Admittance to class by application only. Go to english.byu.edu for application. Register for ENGL 321 section 002 (open enrollment) for the lecture only portion of Sanderson’s course.

English 318-3: Writing Fiction: Beginning Novel (Cheri Earl)

If you’re a novelist who’s never actually written a novel or you’ve started one and need some guidance, this is your course. You will study the theory and practice of writing literary novels that are not only beautiful in form but that also explore complex social and cultural issues.

Each class period is dedicated to one or two elements of writing the adult, character-driven novel: inventing plot arcs and story-opening strategies; managing pacing; creating moral conflicts; building tension; developing compelling characters; crafting description and dialog; shaping scenes and incorporating backstory; and from the first chapter to the end of the novel, exploring what it means to be human. You’ll also begin to identify and define your own distinct narrative voice and the characteristics of the fiction genre in which you choose to write. Finally, you’ll be introduced to the complex business of publishing your work in the digital age. The core of the class is the writing workshop sessions where all students in the class share their work with each other and the instructor and receive constructive input.

This course is writing and reading intensive, and though all students, freshmen through seniors, would benefit from creative writing instruction, the class is best suited to those who have a serious interest in learning the craft of writing a literary novel and in submitting their work for publication.

English 337: Advanced Studies in Genre: The Meditation, Sacred and Secular: A Formulary Genre for the Literary Arts (Nancy Christiansen)

From the sacred Davidic Psalms and secular philosophical meditations of Marcus Aurelius, through confessions, morality plays, devotional poetry, emblem books, literary essays, nature poetry, philosophical or scientific musings, and sundry narratives, the genre of the meditation has wielded significant formulary influence on literature. In this course, we will study the meditative tradition in Western culture, with roots in classical philosophy, art of sacred meditation manuals, and Christian conduct books. Then we will sample the various manifestations of the meditation in British and American literature from medieval to present times in order to formulate a description of the genre’s features, trace its developments through time, and evaluate the quality of insights that come when interpreting literary texts in the context of this tradition. We will also ask whether meditational literature (and literature itself), stemming from the contemplative life, is truly opposite to its supposed countering binary, the active life. We will be brought face to face with the question: What is the value of liberal arts’ pursuits?

English 384: American Authors: Cormac McCarthy (Phil Snyder)

This major author course will engage McCarthy’s writerly life and brilliant work through a collaborative study of representative texts from the McCarthy canon:  The Orchard Keeper (1965), Child of God (1974), Blood Meridian (1985), All the Pretty Horses (1992), No Country for Old Men (2005), The Road (2006), and The Sunset Limited (2006). Our study will be supplemented by selected secondary criticism (The Cambridge Companion to Cormac McCarthy) and by the Cormac McCarthy Corpus Project (CMCP), developed and hosted by BYU’s Office of Digital Humanities, which will help us do quantitative analysis of McCarthy’s work. Requirements will include attendance and participation, quizzes, a 1200-word CMCP analysis, a 1200-word proposal abstract with a 20-item annotated bibliography, and a 12-page conference paper. As Sgt. Pepper once said, “A splendid time in guaranteed for all.”

English 394-1: Applied English: Building Living Histories (Mike Taylor)

This course offers students the opportunity to apply their Liberal Arts competencies in a range of professional environments, including library and curatorial work, oral history, transcription, and web design. Students will collaborate with BYU’s Native American Alumni Association, the Special Collections Library, and the Office of Digital Humanities in order to build a physical and online space for gathering, documenting, exhibiting, and sharing the intricate histories of BYU’s former, current, and future Native American students.

English 394-2: Applied English: Professional Writing Internships (Jon Balzotti)

 

English 397-1: World Literatures in English: African Literature (Aaron Eastley)

Africa has produced four Literature Nobel Prize winners and a host of extremely high quality literary works. Yet beyond Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, much of the best work remains relatively unknown. This course will consider African literature within both chronological and geographical frameworks, with a focus on authors hailing from West Africa and South Africa. We will begin by briefly analyzing European impressions of Africa from the colonial era, then transition into the writings of West African writers such as Achebe, Chiek Hamidou Kane, Ama Ata Aidoo, and Ben Okri. Our second unit will feature South African writers such as Alan Paton, Sindiwe Magona, and Zoe Wicomb.

English 397-2: World Literatures in English: Voices and Legacy of the Shoah [Holocaust]. (Taught in English by Ilona Klein, French/Ital)

 

English 494-1: Story, Place and Identity in America (taught in conjunction with 495 course below) (Greg Clark)

English 495-1: Story, Place and Identity in America (Greg Clark)

Africa has produced four Literature Nobel Prize winners and a host of extremely high quality literary works. Yet beyond Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, much of the best work remains relatively unknown. This course will consider African literature within both chronological and geographical frameworks, with a focus on authors hailing from West Africa and South Africa. We will begin by briefly analyzing European impressions of Africa from the colonial era, then transition into the writings of West African writers such as Achebe, Chiek Hamidou Kane, Ama Ata Aidoo, and Ben Okri. Our second unit will feature South African writers such as Alan Paton, Sindiwe Magona, and Zoe Wicomb.

English 494-2: Movies Make Arguments: Rhetorical Genres and Film (taught in conjunction with 495 course below) (Brian Jackson)

English 495-2:  Movies Make Arguments: Rhetorical Genres and Film (Brian Jackson)

How do movies make arguments? In this class we’ll use rhetorical theory (genre, narrative, ideology, and publics) to investigate how movies work as rhetorical texts. As rhetorical critics, we’ll go to a movie together. We’ll look at how movies design narrative and express ideological commitments. We’ll analyze how controversy influences public judgment. For your final project, you’ll pick a movie as your text and build a theoretical framework to investigate it in an article-length academic paper.

English 495-3: Memory, Nostalgia, and Trauma in Contemporary American Literature (Trent Hickman)

In recent years and in the wake of postmodernist inquiry, critical attention has turned anew not only to the study of how we represent the past but of memory itself–how it is formed, how it is transformed, and how it is deformed by nostalgia and trauma.  Even as scholars refocus this discussion in newer terms to speak of the past, they still frequently find themselves concerned in many cases with the representations of the past and memory in its various forms, be they individual, familial, collective, national, environmental, or biological.   Our course will familiarize you with some of the seminal theoretical texts on this return to studies of memory in its various forms, introduce you into some of the debates surrounding them, and finally ask you to identify how contemporary American literature incorporates representational strategies which speak to these concerns.

English 495-4: Literature of Imprisonment at Topaz, Utah (Brian Roberts)

Shortly after the December 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, the US government imprisoned some 120,000 people of Japanese descent living in the United States. About two-thirds of these prisoners were US citizens and were detained without due process. They were removed from their homes and held in ten internment camps located in the states of California, Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, Arkansas, and Utah. Here in Provo, we are located just an hour and a half drive from the prison that was placed in Utah. Called “Topaz Relocation Center,” Utah’s internment camp was built a few miles from the small town of Delta. This senior seminar will be dedicated to reading and analyzing the literature—poetry, short stories, and novels—written by prisoners while they lived at Topaz, as well as the literature written about Topaz after the camp was closed in 1945. In bringing focus to the literature of Topaz, we will make at least one visit to the Topaz Museum (in Delta) and the original Topaz prison site. We will further contextualize the prisoners’ literary output by viewing visual art produced by the camp’s many artists as well as two films made about the camp.

English 495-5: Victorian Literature and Periodical Culture (Jamie Horrocks)

Few readers of Victorian literature realize that nearly all of their favorite novels first appeared serially, in periodicals. Victorian periodicals—more than 1,000 of which began in nineteenth-century Britain—were an enormously popular source of textual consumption, and they offer modern readers a glimpse into a wide variety of textual topics, genres, and practices. We’ll consider some of these in this course, which will take as its focus the readings and reading practices associated with Victorian periodicals. We will draw upon the methods and theoretical practices of cultural studies and literary studies, as well as media studies, literary history, material culture, and archival research. Students will spend time in the HBLL archives, doing original research with our Victorian periodical collection, and they will be asked to read several texts in serial form (as well as poetry, short fiction, and nonfiction).

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