Fall 2014

Description for ENGL Fall 2014 Classes

Fall 2014

Fall course registration begins April 7, 2014. If you are a junior or senior and need to complete your major requirements, you are strongly advised to register at the first opportunity, or you may find yourself unable to meet graduation requirements.  Please note: ENGW1111/ENGL1111/ENG U111 (or the equivalent) is a prerequisite for all ENGL courses except ENGL 1400.  For the most up-to-date information about course scheduling, go to myNEU and search the spring course offerings by clicking the “Schedule of Classes (Fall 2014)” link.  Please see the English Department Faculty Advisor, Professor Beth Britt, in 409 Holmes (x 5170) e.britt@neu.edu, if you have any questions.

All registration is now done through the Banner Self Service registration system, accessible through the myNEU Web Portal. For detailed instructions on how to use this system, go to http://www.northeastern.edu/registrar/ref-udc-reg-ugd-details.html.


Introduction to English Studies
(required for major)

ENGL1400: Introduction to Literary Studies
CRN: 13423
Sequence 3 (10:30-11:35 MWR)

A foundational course required of all English majors. Introduces students to the various disciplines that make up English studies, such as literature, cultural studies, linguistics, film, rhetoric, and composition. Explores strategies for reading, interpreting, and theorizing about texts; for conducting research; for developing skills in thinking analytically and writing clearly about complex ideas; and for entering into written dialogue with scholarship in the field.  Texts will include: Mays Norton Introduction to Literature (shorter 11th edition), Barry Beginning Theory, Swift Gulliver’s Travels, and Andy and Lana Wachowski The Matrix.

ENGL1400: Introduction to Literary Studies
CRN: 13424
Sequence B (2:50-4:30 MW)

A foundational course required of all English majors. Introduces students to the range of materials, methods, and theories currently understood to animate and inform literary study. Explores strategies for reading, interpreting, and theorizing about texts; for conducting research; for developing skills in thinking analytically and writing clearly about complex ideas; and for entering into written dialogue with scholarship in the field.


Literary Backgrounds

(required for major)

Note: ENGL2100 Backgrounds to English and American Literature has been replaced by ENGL 1700 Global Literatures to 1500.

ENGL1700: Global Literatures to 1500
CRN: 16733
Sequence A (11:45-1:25 MR)

Fulfills the Arts/Humanities Level 1 requirement in the NU Core

Readings in Greek, Roman, and biblical literature and beyond: Homer, Virgil, Old and New testament, and Dante’s Inferno. The works all writers read. Emphasis upon background to Western culture and imagination: myth, literary genres and conventions, philosophy, and religion.


Literary Periods

(five courses: three pre-nineteenth-century; one nineteenth-century; 0ne twentieth-century)

Pre-Nineteenth Century

ENGL1600: Introduction to Shakespeare
CRN: 15388
Sequence F (1:35-3:15PM TF)

Fulfills the Arts/Humanities Level 1 requirement in the NU Core.

An introduction to Shakespeare’s major plays in every genre, this course emphasizes questions of language and modes of reading as entryways into key themes and topics (e.g., gender, identity, kin/g/ship, desire) within the Bard’s corpus. An initial in-depth study of a single play will provide a foundational knowledge of rhetorical strategies, considerations of performance, thematic development, and historical context that will then shimmer throughout discussions of the other plays. Assignments reinforce reading strategies and offer opportunities to practice elements of Shakespearean rhetoric in your own writing.


ENGL3150: Topics in Early Literature: Sex, Gender and the Renaissance Body

CRN: 16740
Sequence: A (11:45-1:25 MWR)

This class focuses on the variety of ways early modern culture understood and portrayed gender and sexuality.  We will examine the Renaissance body as it is represented (mapped, anatomized, regulated, and allegorized) in literature, medicine, philosophy, politics, and the visual arts of the 16th and 17th century.  Among our areas of investigation will be courtly love, same-sex desire, reproduction, and cross-dressing, as well as the history of intimacy, the emotions, and subjectivity.  Readings will include Rabelais, Gargantua and Pantagruel, Shakespeare’s Sonnets, Christopher Marlowe, Hero and Leander and Edward II, Elizabeth Cary’s Tragedy of Miriam, and Margaret Cavendish, The Convent of Pleasure.  Assignments: an archival project and presentation, short writing assignments, and a final research project.


ENGL3160: Topics in 17th/18th C British Lit: Race & Slavery in the 18th C British Novel
CRN:  16741
Sequence 2 (9:15-10:20AM MWR)

The development of the novel in 18th Britain occurred at the same time it was expanding its overseas empire and starting to reconsider its participation in the African Atlantic Slave Trade. Writers used the novel not only to record these aspects of 18th society but also to weigh in on debates and questions about them. Building on the philosophical work of the Enlightenment period, they asked questions about the nature of humanity, the purpose of travel and encounter, the role of race and culture, and the significance of relationships amongst human beings. Initially dismissed as a genre of escapist entertainment, by the end of the century the novel would be transformed into a powerful vehicle for facilitating social protest.  This course will explore a range of novels written between 1688 and 1832—considered the Long Eighteenth-century—in order to analyze the impact of debates about race and slavery on the development of the novel as a genre in Great Britain.  Texts will include: Aphra Behn Oroonoko (1688); Daniel Defoe Robinson Crusoe (1719); Samuel Johnson Rasselas (1759); Maria Edgeworth Belinda (1800); Charlotte Dacre Zofloya (1806); Anonymous The Woman of Colour (1808); Sir Walter Scott Ivanhoe (1819)


Nineteenth Century

ENGL2260: Romantic Poetry

CRN: 16734
Sequence: 4 (1:35-2:40 MWR)

This course surveys six important male English Romantic poets: William Blake; William Wordsworth; Samuel Taylor Coleridge; George Gordon, Lord Byron; Percy Bysshe Shelley; and John Keats. The course also incorporates writing by prominent female poets of the period, such as Anna Laetitia Barbauld, Joanna Baillie, Felicia Hemans, and Elizabeth Laetitia Landon. All of these poets flourished during the English Romantic Period (1789-1832), an era of significant positive social and intellectual change, although this change was not without its turbulence, confusion and, on too many occasions, its violence. The period was one in which English culture moved beyond traditional modes of knowledge, social organization, and belief, and into an intellectual, sociopolitical, and religious milieu in which the only certainty was uncertainty and the only constant was change. We will study the impact of the era on the individual, and the artistic response of the individual to the era. Students functioning in small work groups will take responsibility for framing some of the major questions to address and respond to in our reading. Grades in this course will be determined on the basis of some brief papers and a term paper.

ENGL3190: Topics in 19th Century American Literature: 19th Century American Women Writers
CRN:  16742
Sequence D (9:50-11:30AM TF)

What was the difference between being a writer and being a woman writer in nineteenth century America?  For many writers in this era (both male and female), identifying themselves by gender was central to their sense of the art, politics, and business of creating literature–although what mattered about gender, and what gender meant, varied a great deal. We will look at this issue as we study fiction, poetry, and essays that explore questions about art’s relationship to politics, the gendered quality of artistic expression, the pertinence of gender to racial politics before and after Emancipation, and the conditions of women’s labor.  Authors will include: Harriet Jacobs, Harriet Wilson, Margaret Fuller, Emily Dickinson, Lydia Sigourney, Sarah Orne Jewett, Pauline Hopkins, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, and Kate Chopin.

Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries

ENGL2440: Modern Bestsellers

CRN: 16737
Sequence D (9:50-11:30 TF)

“Bestseller” is an artificial category determined solely by numbers of books sold. However, we will explore some reasons behind the success of recent quality fictional best-selling–i.e., what special fantasies, obsessions, themes, plot lines, characters, action etc. appeal to popular tastes.  The selections will represent a cross-section of mainstream and genres titles—e.g., thriller, mystery, “literary,” etc.–by men and women, some of whom who have become brand names.

Guest bestselling author(s) will visit class. We will also watch and discuss movies made from the works studied in the course.

Student writing: announced quizzes; midterm & final take-home essay exams (7-10 pages each).  Optional critical paper (7-10) pages analyzing a bestselling novel not read in the course.

ENGL2390: Modern Drama
CRN: 16736

Sequence E (11:45-12:50 TRF)


Transhistorical/Transnational Courses

(two required) 

ENGL1501: British Literature 1800 to Present
CRN: 17062
Sequence 5 (4:35-5:40 MWR)

Fulfills the Arts/Humanities Level 1 requirement in the NU Core

This class surveys major British authors, texts, and literary movements since 1789—a period of great social and technological change. We will examine poetry, fiction, and drama from the Romantic, Victorian, and Modern periods both on their own terms and as participants in ongoing debates about the rights of man and the uses of literature. Topics of discussion will include literary lineages and rebellions; shifting conceptions of the figure of the artist; the changing narratives of literary history; the goals of realist and fantastic storytelling; the role of gender and sexuality in how stories are constructed and received; and the vexed relationship between literature and moral education. Authors will include William Blake, William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Mary Wollstonecraft, John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Elizabeth Gaskell, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Browning, Charles Dickens, Christina Rossetti, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Oscar Wilde, William Butler Yeats, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Derek Walcott, Salman Rushdie, and Tom Stoppard. Course requirements: daily reading questions, a poem memorization, and three papers.

ENGL1502: American Literature to 1865
CRN: 16732
Sequence F (1:35-3:15 TF)

Fulfills the Arts/Humanities Level 1 requirement in the NU Core

This survey course of American literature from the colonial period up to the Civil War will focus on poetry, autobiography, and fiction. In considering literary history through the lens of genre—focusing on each in turn—we’ll be able to weigh different ways of constructing what counts as literature, and how literature speaks in different contexts—colony, revolution, and nation on the brink of war. We will read: poetry by Anne Bradstreet, Edward Taylor, Phyllis Wheatley, Philip Freneau, Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman: autobiographies by Mary Rowlandson, Benjamin Franklin, Henry David Thoreau, Harriet Jacobs, and Frederick Douglass; and fiction by Susannah Rowson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allan Poe, and Herman Melville. Assignments will include midterm, final exam.

ENGL2510: Horror Fiction
CRN: 16738
Sequence F (1:35-3:15 TF)

This course explores English and American horror fiction from Edgar Allan Poe and Bram Stoker (Dracula) to contemporary masters such as Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Clive Barker. Using short stories, novels, and movies, we will examine the evolution of horror fiction and the various themes, techniques, and uses of macabre. Student writing: announced quizzes, midterm & final take-home essay exams (7-10 pages); optional original horror story or critical analysis of some horror work not read in the course (7-10 pages). Occasional bestselling horror author visits.

ENGL3398: Topics in Genre: Comic Novel

CRN: 15408
Sequence: 2 (9:15-10:20 MWR)

This course will explore the history of the comic novel and will range across historical time periods and national traditions, taking us from Miguel de Cervantes and Jane Austen to Virginia Woolf and Paul Murray.  We will consider how the comic has been a fundamental element of the novelistic imagination since the genre’s inception and how comedy has shaped novelistic engagements with history, politics, gender and sexuality, and colonialism and empire.  We will also read critical readings on comedy and humor and the history of the novel.  Given that the course is an investigation of the comic novel we will laugh out loud, read a lot, and think seriously.  Students will have the chance to read works in translation that had an important influence on English-language novels and will get to explore hilarious and thought-provoking works of fiction.  Students will be required to complete a considerable amount of reading, small response writings assignments, and a longer research essay.


Theory and Methods

(one course in Literary Criticism, Linguistics or Rhetoric)

ENGL1160: Introduction to Rhetoric
CRN: 13975
Sequence 4 (1:35-2:40 MWR)

Fulfills the Arts/Humanities Level 1 requirement in the NU Core

How do we persuade others to change their minds or take action? How do we come to beliefs about ourselves, each other, and the world around us? What is the relationship between language and truth, between knowledge and belief? How do verbal as well as nonverbal symbols—such as images, architecture, clothing, and music—influence what we do, believe, and think we know? This course explores these questions by examining the work of three important thinkers—Aristotle (fourth century B.C.E.), Kenneth Burke (20th century), and Judith Butler (20th-21st century)—who articulate the range and diversity of rhetorical theory. We will read theoretical texts by each of these authors with an eye toward applying them to examples of rhetoric drawn from modern-day culture. Assignments include reading quizzes, a mid-term exam, two short papers, and a take-home final.

ENGL3340: Technologies of Text
CRN: 16745

Sequence 4 (1:35-2:40 MWR)

When you hear the word “technology,” you may think of your computer or iPhone. You probably don’t think of the alphabet, the book, or the printing press: but each of these inventions was a technological innovation that changed dramatically how we communicate and perhaps even how we think. Texts are at the heart of most disciplines in the humanities—literature, composition, philosophy, history, religious studies—but this course argues that technology and humanistic study are deeply intertwined. Literature in English, for instance, has developed in tandem—and often in direct response to—the development of new technologies—e.g. moveable type, the steam press, radio, film, television, the internet. Every old media was once new media. Our primary objective in this course will be to develop ideas about how the long history of “new media” might help us better understand modern innovations, including computers and the internet, which continue to shape our understanding of texts and the human beings that write, read, and interpret them. Many of the debates that seem unique to the twenty-first century—over privacy, intellectual property, and textual authority—are but new iterations of familiar battles in the tumultuous history of technology and literature. This course will also be experiential, about making texts as well as reading them. In “humanities lab” sessions students will work with text technologies new and old. These labs may include paper making, setting type and printing on a letterpress, learning to encode in HTML and CSS, and computational analysis of corpora. Note: no previous technical ability is required or expected for this course.


LING1150: Introduction to Language and Linguistics





Days & Time





8:00 AM – 9:40 AM TF (Honors)





9:50 AM – 11:30AM TF





1:35 PM – 3:15 PM TF





9:15 AM – 10:20 AM MWR





10:30AM – 11:35 AM MWR





1:35 PM – 3:15 PM TF





10:30AM – 11:35 AM MWR





1:35 PM – 2:40 PM MWR



Fulfills the Arts/Humanities Level 1 requirement in the NU Core


Capstone Seminar

(one course required)

ENGL4710: capstone Seminar: Literature and Cosmopolitanism
CRN: 16743
Sequence 3 (10:30-11:35 MWR)

This course will introduce students to queer culture and critique from the 1890s to the present.  We will read across a range of literary, historical, scientific and critical texts and will also engage other media notably film and visual arts.  We will examine the emergence of sexuality as an institutional discourse and as a mode of counter discourse.  Students will read works from diverse national traditions, both major and minor figures, as we attempt to both queer the canon and to recuperate lost queer histories.  Authors might include:  Wilde, Woolf, Proust, O’Brien, and Baldwin, along with critics such as Freud, Foucault, Butler, and Berlant.  We will also have the chance to meet contemporary writers and artists.  Requirements include a series of short writing assignments and a longer research paper at the end.


ENGL2700: Creative Writing
CRN: 16739
Sequence G (3:25-5:05 TF)

Creative writing class gives the developing writer an opportunity to practice writing both poetry and prose–particularly the short story.  Features in-class discussion of student work in a workshop atmosphere. Several writing strategies will be explored, and opportunities will be given to revise submissions.


ENGL2710: Style and Editing
CRN: 17008

Sequence 3 (10:30-11:35 MWR)

Style is often thought of as the clothes with which we dress our thoughts. Such an understanding tends to sepa­rate what we say from how we say it. Since antiquity, philosophers and others have urged speakers and writers to speak as plainly as possible to allow the truth of their thoughts to emerge unadulterated by lan­guage. Others have argued that language and thought cannot be so neatly separated, that what we say cannot be disentangled from how we say it. Drawing on the rhetorical tradition, this course explores the relationship between style and substance through close attention to choices made at the level of the document, paragraph, sentence, and word. We will use classifications of figurative language from classical and Renaissance theorists to describe the stylistic techniques of published authors, and we will use their practices of imitation to make these techniques our own. The course will also cover substantive editing as well as copyediting and proofreading, giving you practice in achieving the clear style so highly valued today. Assignments include a commonplace blog, two tests, a presentation, and several small editing projects. This class satisfies the Writing Intensive in the Major requirement under the NU Core and is capped at 19 students.



ENGL3380: Topics in Writing: Writing About Animals and the Environment
CRN: 16747
Sequence: B (2:50-4:30 MW)

Homer writes of “the wine-dark sea,” and Henry David Thoreau of “blue-eyed Walden.” George R. R. Martin describes a crow as “spiraling down,” and Mary Oliver pays attention to “the clear pebbles of the rain” that move “over the prairies and the deep trees.” Robert Frost asserts a metaphor: “Nature’s first green is gold.” The natural world is full of things to write about: trees, urban hawks, the polar vortex, panthers, morning fog, coelacanths, hurricanes, retreating glaciers, fractal patterns in leaves, your dog, the last elephants, a sunset over the ocean, experiencing the shiver that accompanies looking an animal in the eye . . .

Write about animals? About nature? You probably never thought about yourself as a “nature writer.” But whatever writing it is that you do or aspire to do—whether it’s poetry, short fiction, memoir, or creative non-fiction (“the art of fact”)—you can make that writing come alive by artfully setting your scene or building your world through writing about nature. Because what makes good writing is good reading, we’ll look at several examples of nature writing and discuss what makes those pieces of writing work. Then we’ll do it ourselves. Requirements: weekly readings and short writing assignments across a variety of genres plus one substantial project, to be gathered into a portfolio of well-edited, polished, and finished pieces at the end of the term. Please plan on two field trips, destinations tbd.