Department of English, College of LAS, University of Illinois

English Course Descriptions: Summer 2009

Session II (June 15 – August 6)

English 101 X—INTRODUCTION TO POETRY.  MTuWTh 12:30-1:45

English 101 provides students with a foundation in the methods of detailed reading and analysis essential to an understanding of poetry and, more broadly, to the study of literature.  It provides students with an understanding of and experience in the ways we write about poetry.  The course also addresses the basics of prosody, poetic devices (such as diction, metaphor, image, tone), and major verse forms (such as the sonnet, elegy, ode, ballad, dramatic monologue, free verse).  The selection of poems from a range of literary periods and movements reflects both the continuity and variation in the history of British and American poetry and provides a sampling of works from the sixteenth to the later twentieth centuries.

English 103 X—Intro to Fiction.  MTuWTh 12:30-1:45

This class is designed to introduce you to the study of literature and literary history at the university level. It will provide you with a basis for understanding the historical role and place of fictional narratives; give you an understanding of the idea of genre; establish ways to think about how political contexts, reading practices, and cultural norms contribute to the meaning of fictional works; and help you develop a rich, portable vocabulary to interpret and analyze narrative strategies.

English 109 B & D—INTRODUCTION TO FICTION (ADVANCED COMPOSITION). B: MTuWTh 9:30-10:45; D: MTuWTh 11-12:15

English 109 is designed to introduce students to the critical analysis of prose fiction. By reading a wide range of short and long fiction across several historical periods, we will examine how such narrative strategies as plot, character, point of view and language construct meaning.  Individual instructors will bring a variety of texts and interpretive methods to their courses, but special emphasis will be placed on concepts and skills central to good literary critical writing.  This course fulfills the campus Advanced Composition requirement.

English 251 D—THE AMERICAN NOVEL SINCE 1914.  MTuWTh 11-12:15 Group III or V

Critical study of selected American novels from 1914 to the present.

English 455 2U/2G—MAJOR AUTHORS, Deck.  MTuWTh 11-12:15  Group IV

        TOPIC: Alice Walker and Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison and Alice Walker spear headed the second American Renaissance of Black women writers that began in 1970.  Their fiction and essays focus on reclaiming African American history and culture for the black community itself.  Toni Morrison’s work is set primarily in the upper Midwest and Alice Walker’s novels are set primarily in the rural south.  Yet they each draw on the ideology and aesthetics of African American blues to construct their respective narratives of black life in the United States.  In this class we will spend the first week discussing the origins, lyrics and music of the blues that was produced and performed between 1900 and 1929.  The remaining weeks will be spent examining traces of the blues in the Morrison and Walker imaginary as evident in the following texts:  Morrison, The Bluest Eye, Sula and Song of Solomon; Walker, The Third Life of Grange Copeland, Meridian and The Color Purple.  Additional readings will include essays and interviews by each author as well as cultural studies of American blues music.  Assignments will include weekly reading responses, two medium-length essays, and a final exam.

English 461 2U/2G—TOPICS IN LITERATURE, Ivy  MTuWTh 9-11:50 Group II or V

        TOPIC: Crime and Detection in British Fiction

        NOTE: This section is a first-half session II class.  It will meet June 15-July 10.

This course will explore developments in modern British fiction by looking at how representations of crime and detection have lent themselves to a variety of narrative forms, and to considerations of such topics as identity, power, opportunity, privilege, conflict, order and disorder, topics which have implications for thinking more broadly about the national culture.  We will examine a variety of works—from the most formulaic to the avant-garde—and consider how each one handles genre conventions and explores, in a more or less self-conscious way, crucial distinctions between what is known and what is unknown, what is surprising and what is familiar, what is allowed and what is not.  We will also read some supplementary theoretical and/or critical works, and view clips from television and film.  Active participation in class discussion is a must, and you should expect to write regular short reading responses and several longer essays.  Authors may include Arthur Conan Doyle, Dorothy L. Sayers, W. Somerset Maugham, Agatha Christie, J.B. Priestly, Samuel Beckett, Graham Greene, Ruth Rendell, P. D. James, and Mark Haddon.


CW 104 is the beginning course in the writing of short fiction.  There may be some minimal “structuring” and specific assignments, especially in the beginning, to ease the student into the discipline of writing fictional prose.  Somewhat less production is expected than in the more advanced courses.  Students will be required to submit their own stories for criticism from the class.  An anthology of short fiction may be required.

Rhetoric 105 X—PRINCIPLES OF COMPOSITION, MTuWTh 12:30-1:45

Rhetoric 105 is a basic study of the methods of exposition, particularly of academic argumentative writing based on sources.  Emphasis will be on stance, thesis, organization, drafting, revising, and editing.  All sections require 30 typed pages of finished writing, usually divided into seven essays and a research paper.  There is no final exam.  This course fulfills the campus Comp. I requirement.

B&TW 250—PRINCIPLES OF BUSINESS COMMUNICATION, Multiple sections - see course schedule.

This course teaches students to apply the principles of successful professional communication to business writing tasks.  Students will also practice editing and supervising the writing of others.  Assignments replicate typical business cases, scenarios, situations and cultures; they also deal with multiple audiences.  They range in complexity, length, formatting demands, and the manipulating of genre.  This course features an extended section on writing longer reports based on information collected, interpreted and compiled from several sources.  This course fulfills the campus Advanced Composition requirement.