English

Karen Haire, Associate Professor

Dinah J. Ryan, Professor

Heidi J. Snow, Professor

Ellen F. Sprague, Associate Professor

Jeff C. Steele, Associate Professor

Sara J. Wienecke, Assistant Professor

The English department offers diverse courses, programs, and activities to encourage students to cultivate scholarly, creative, and analytical voices while developing a sense of professionalism in all their work. Students in the major become active participants in a community involved in intellectual and artistic practice. The English department builds this community through a wide range of challenging and engaging classes and regular on- and off-campus special events such as student readings, visits from authors, trips to St. Louis for book talks and readings, and abroad programs. Students may earn a major or minor in English with concentrations in Literary Studies or Creative Writing.

The English major requirements are designed to introduce students to a range of literature, research methods, theories, and writing practices. In planning their major, students may choose from a range of courses from modules including regional/chronological, voices of difference, and genre. At least four of the required courses taken for either concentration of the English major must be at the 300 or 400 level. Students in the Literary Studies concentration must take a creative writing course as one course in the genre requirement in the major; students in the Creative Writing concentration may not count creative writing courses for the genre requirement in the major. To complete a major or minor offered by the English department, a student must earn a GPA of 2.0 or higher for all the courses (required and elective) taken for that program.

For a major, transfer students who have not yet attended Principia College must take at least five classroom courses (15 semester hours) from Principia English Department faculty. Four of these courses must be numbered at the 300 or 400 level.

It is recommended that English majors who are considering a career in secondary education take a Shakespeare course and a U.S. literature course as part of their major requirements.

If you have questions about the English major, you can email the Department Chair.

Departmental Learning Outcomes

Objective: In keeping with Principia’s mission to serve the Cause of Christian Science, the English Department is committed to uplifting and healing humanity through the inventive practice of empathetic, critical, transformative reading and writing with independence of thought.

Reading: As a content area English involves reading unfiltered texts—texts produced within a culture as opposed to textbooks summarizing a given area of study. 

Writing:  Implicit in reading experimental and imaginative texts is an invitation to write with precision and vigor. 
As a result English majors will be able to:

  1. Apply literary knowledge through close readings of texts.
  2. Comprehend scholarly debates about texts.
  3. Identify the effect of culture on style in historical and/or contemporary settings.
  4. Integrate appropriate research materials.
  5. Practice the formal elements of prose and poetry.

College Wide Student Learning Outcomes of Principia College: Defining a Liberal Arts Education

The curricular and co-curricular programs at Principia College are designed for students to be lifelong learners, thinkers, and problem-solvers, to draw out spiritual and moral qualities indispensable to growth in Christian Science, and to cultivate an understanding of service to the Cause of Christian Science in meeting the global needs of the 21st century. To accomplish this, the College has established the following outcomes for its graduates.

Guided by Principle, Principia College students will demonstrate:

  1. Depth and breadth of knowledge
  2. Critical and creative thinking
  3. Effective communication
  4. Intellectual inquiry and engagement
  5. Active commitment to community and global citizenship

ENGL 150 Introduction to the Major 1.0 SH [  ]

Required of all majors. This course invites students to explore the theoretical, philosophical, or creative groundings of the English major. Students read a central text focused on these questions and respond metacognitively. From this examination, students create a proposal of study designed to help them engage productively and cohesively in their areas of interest in and out of the major.
Field of Study Restrictions: English Majors only.

ENGL 178 Renaissance Themes 3.0 SH [GEH]

This course explores the major themes of Renaissance thought. It includes readings from both Italian and English Renaissance writers.
Class Level Restriction: Freshman and Sophomore only.

ENGL 202 Understanding Poetry 3.0 SH [GEH]

Gives students an overview of poetic form and introduces students to a variety of reading strategies when approaching poetry. May focus this study on the work of three to five major poets.

ENGL 204 Understanding Short Fiction 3.0 SH [GEH]

Selections from several major short fiction writers from a range of historical periods and cultural backgrounds, designed to equip students with a variety of critical reading strategies.

ENGL 220 Environmental Literature 3.0 SH [GEH]

This course focuses on the ways in which the environment has been portrayed in English language literature and the relationship between that portrayal and treatment of the environment. The course may focus either chronologically or regionally. Students are also introduced to theories of environmental aesthetics and their ethics.

ENGL 232 The Gothic Novel 3.0 SH [GEH]

The study of a specific kind of literature which began to flourish in the middle decade of the eighteenth century and which remains with us today in horror films and novels. The course traces the development of this literature, mainly in the form of the novel, from its beginnings in sentimentality and basic conventions, through romanticism and the addition of psychological elements, to modern existential and sociological themes.

ENGL 234 The Language of Film 3.0 SH [GEH]

The course serves to acquaint students with basic film theory and terminology as tools for the analysis of film as a type of text.

ENGL 238 Orality and Literacy 3.0 SH [GEH]

Orality and Literacy explores the way in which "literature" is created, transmitted, and retained. For most of human history, people have been largely illiterate, yet that has not prevented the creation of stories, tales, myths, and legends. Student will gain a greater awareness of how the different paradigms of oral performance/composition and written texts influence literary art.
Class Level Restriction: Sophomore and Junior and Senior only.

ENGL 239 Intro to Creative Nonfiction 3.0 SH [GEA]

An introduction to the art and craft of creative nonfiction. Students study the elements of creative nonfiction and apply that study to their own creative writing. Students read published essayists and write multiple creative nonfiction essays themselves, including essays of place, portraits, and memoir.

ENGL 240 Poetry Writing I 3.0 SH [GEA]

An introduction to the art and craft of poetry writing. Students study formal poetics and apply that study to their own creative writing. A substantial portion of the course is devoted to writers' workshop in which students read and critique each other's poetry. Students also read and write about the work of important contemporary poets in order to discover and understand the ways in which these writers apply formal poetics in their work.

ENGL 241 Fiction Writing I 3.0 SH [GEA]

An introduction to the art and craft of fiction writing. Students study the elements of short fiction and apply that study to their own creative writing. A substantial portion of the course is devoted to writers' workshop in which students read and critique each other's short stories. Students also read and write about the work of important contemporary fiction writers in order to discover and understand the ways in which these writers use such elements as pacing, structure, voice, dialogue, character, and scene in their work.

ENGL 242 Theory as Creative Practice 3.0 SH [GEH]

This class explores the links between critical theory and creative practice in contemporary literature and visual culture. Regarding critical theory as a creative practice, students investigate the ways in which writers and artists pose creative problems, solve them by developing working methods based on ideas, and cultivate distinct voices through inventive and informed reformulation of extant practices and theoretical models.

ENGL 243 Theory as Practice on Location 3.0 SH [GEH]

This class explores the links between critical theory, creative practice, and cultural context. The location in which the course is taught determines its focus and usually includes interaction with working artists and writers. The title will be extended to describe the current location. May be taken more than once provided the locations differ. Offered only on Principia abroads and field programs.

ENGL 253 Gender Studies in Literature 3.0 SH [GEH]

Analyzes texts (which may include fiction, films, poetry, and essays) by authors from a range of cultural backgrounds that focus on and question the dominant gender roles of their time and place. These texts may span historical eras or focus on one particular period. Students examine the literature primarily through the lens of feminist and gender theories and historical context.

ENGL 256 U.S. Literature to 1860 3.0 SH [GEH]

A survey of European-American writers, including Puritans, Transcendentalists, and reactionary writers, as well as early slave narratives and traditional Native American texts in translation.

ENGL 257 U.S. Literature 1860-1940 3.0 SH [GEH]

An exploration of the rise of naturalism, realism, and modernism in U.S. literature from the end of the Civil War to the beginning of World War II.

ENGL 258 U.S. Literature Since 1940 3.0 SH [GEH]

Explores texts by a diverse range of authors vis-a-vis geography, ethnicity, religion, gender, and sexuality, focusing on the experimental nature of their writing, the questions they raise about U.S. identity and history, and the social and political concerns they address, including the Civil Rights and feminist movements, the Vietnam War, and the emergence of gay culture and identity.

ENGL 260 Scottish Literature 3.0 SH [GEH]

Introduces students to Scottish literature. The course emphasizes literature written in the 18th and 19th centuries, though literature before and after that period may also be addressed. Emphasis is placed on issues of Scotland's complex relationship with England and the English language.

ENGL 262 Postcolonial Literature 3.0 SH [GEH]

Explores literature and theory by writers from previously colonized countries. These texts may span a variety of geographic areas, such as the West Indies, South Asia, Africa, and Ireland, or may focus in depth on writers from one particular continent. Texts by white Europeans writing from the perspective of the colonizing power may be included as a basis for comparison.

ENGL 263 Literature of Conflict 3.0 SH [GEH]

A study of the literature of conflict, with emphasis on war literature and its related literature of dislocation, social disruption, and dissent.

ENGL 264 Southern Literature 3.0 SH [GEH]

A study of the literature of the southern United States with emphasis on both contemporary writers and such writers as James Dickey, Ralph Ellison, William Faulkner, Zora Neale Hurston, Harper Lee, Carson McCullers, Flannery O'Connor, Walker Percy, Eudora Welty, and Richard Wright.

ENGL 265 Native American Literature 3.0 SH [GEH]

This course centers on texts from the Native American Renaissance in the 1960s to the present, by writers such as N. Scott Momaday, Leslie Marmon Silko, Sherman Alexie, and Louise Erdrich. The class may also include some traditional Native American texts in translation, as well as examples of representations of Native Americans by European-American writers and filmmakers.

ENGL 266 African American Literature 3.0 SH [GEH]

This course examines African American texts (which may include fiction, poetry, essays, slave narratives, memoirs, speeches, or sermons). Various literary periods from colonial to contemporary times may be covered.

ENGL 277 Shakespeare in England 6.0 SH [GEH]

Taught as part of an abroad program, this course introduces students to the life and writings of William Shakespeare. Besides studying plays in a classroom setting, students attend productions at the Globe Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. Students also undertake intensive research at the British Library and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust regarding a single character from a Shakespearean play.

ENGL 279 Shakespeare I 3.0 SH [GEH]

This course offers an overview of Shakespeare's writings including both his poetry and his plays. The course is designed to help students gain confidence in reading Shakespeare's work and to understand it in the context of both his culture and our own.

ENGL 282 17th & 18th Cent British Lit 3.0 SH [GEH]

This course offers a survey of British literature from 1600 to the end of the long 18th century.

ENGL 283 Romantic Literature 3.0 SH [GEH]

Examines the important themes of the British Romantic period and their cultural contexts through the study of the works of poets and prose writers of the period.

ENGL 284 Victorian Literature 3.0 SH [GEH]

Explores texts of the period, focusing on questions of nationalism, colonialism, religion, gender roles, and sexual orientation, and emerging psychological and evolutionary theories, by considering how authors such as Brontë, Eliot, Dickens, and Wilde reflected the dominant ideologies of their day and called them into question.

ENGL 285 Modern British Literature 3.0 SH [GEH]

Fiction, poetry, and drama of the early 20th century, with emphasis on writers such as Yeats, Eliot, Conrad, Woolf, and Beckett.

ENGL 286 History of British Drama 3.0 SH [GEH]

This course examines British drama from the medieval period to the 21st century both as literature and as performance. This course is usually taught on an abroad program to England.

ENGL 290 Poetry Writing II 3.0 SH [  ]

An intermediate-level poetry-writing seminar for students familiar with the formal elements and techniques of poetry writing. Emphasis is placed on beginning to cultivate distinct voices as writers, more advanced study of poetics, and research about poets and their creative processes. Students produce a number of original poems within the writer's workshop structure of the course.
Prerequisite: ENGL 240.
Class Level Restriction: Junior and Senior only.

ENGL 291 Fiction Writing II 3.0 SH [  ]

An intermediate-level fiction-writing seminar for students familiar with the formal elements and techniques of fiction writing. Emphasis is placed on beginning to cultivate distinct voices as writers, more advanced study of narrative elements and structures, and research about fiction writers and their creative processes. Students produce a number of original short stories within the writer's workshop structure of the course.
Prerequisite: ENGL 241.
Class Level Restriction: Junior and Senior only.

ENGL 315 Shakespeare II 3.0 SH [  ]

Examines Shakespeare's plays through either specific themes or critical approaches. Some familiarity with Shakespeare's works will be helpful as the course is not a survey course but instead delves deeply into a select number of plays.
Class Level Restriction: Junior and Senior only.

ENGL 320 History of the British Novel 3.0 SH [  ]

Novels selected from early and late periods trace development of this form.
Class Level Restriction: Junior and Senior only.

ENGL 325 Film as Literature 3.0 SH [  ]

The study of film as a text. Students read and apply film theory and literary criticism to the in-depth analysis of films as alternative narratives.
Prerequisite: ENGL 234 and one additional English literature or world literature course.
Class Level Restriction: Junior and Senior only.

ENGL 330 Single Author 3.0 SH [  ]

Examines the work of a single author. Analyzes the style of the author and introduces major biographical or critical approaches to the author. The title will be extended to describe the current topic. May be taken three times provided the authors studied differ.
Class Level Restriction: Junior and Senior only.

ENGL 335 Contemporary Issues 3.0 SH [  ]

An advanced seminar examining contemporary literature in the context of current critical debate. The title will be extended to describe the current topic. May be taken more than once provided the topics differ.
Class Level Restriction: Junior and Senior only.

ENGL 345 Creative Writing on Location 3.0 SH [GEA]

Creative writing on location for students enrolled in an abroad, field program, or a course focused on site-specific writing. Coursework provides opportunities for in-depth individual research and creative work based upon the cultural and programmatic content of the abroad or field program, or course site. The title will be extended to describe the current location. May be taken more than once provided the locations differ.

ENGL 351 Adv Creative Writing Seminar 3.0 SH [  ]

An advanced creative writing seminar for poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers. The course is organized as a community of serious writers who are beginning to develop portfolios of coherent work, exploring and articulating their influences, and expanding their practical understanding of what it means to maintain a creative literary practice.
Prerequisite: one complete sequence in the creative writing series (ENGL 240 and ENGL 290) or (ENGL 241 and ENGL 291).
Class Level Restriction: Junior and Senior only.

ENGL 353 Literary Editing 3.0 SH [  ]

A workshop in which students learn the fundamental skills and methods of arts/literary editing and are introduced to the issues involved in editing a literary publication (either print or electronic).
Class Level Restriction: Junior and Senior only.

ENGL 354 Literary Editing Practicum 2.0 SH [  ]

Production staff for the annual online literary journal "Mistake House." Provides experiential training in various production positions, including copy editing, project management, editorial assistance, web site coordination, circulation and promotion, etc. May be repeated up to three times.
Prerequisite: ENGL 353.

ENGL 358 Seminar 3.0 SH [  ]

Centering upon a literary theme or form at the advanced level, this topics course is designed primarily for majors to engage in intense study or original research under the guidance of the professor. It is conducted with an emphasis on student-defined learning and incorporates sophisticated expectations for scholarship and scholarly writing. The title will be extended to describe the current topic. May be taken more than once provided the topics differ.
Class Level Restriction: Junior and Senior only.

ENGL 388 Literature and Critical Theory 3.0 SH [  ]

The application of various critical theories to literary texts.
Class Level Restriction: Junior and Senior only
Field of Study Restrictions: English, Foreign Languages, Theatre Majors only.

ENGL 399 Capstone Proposal 2.0-3.0 SH [  ]

Prepares students for their capstones. Students research possible topics and write a formal proposal for their capstones. Usually taken the semester preceding the capstone but can be taken concurrently. May be offered for variable credit from two to three semester hours.
Prerequisite: ENGL 388 (may also be taken concurrently).
Class Level Restriction: Junior and Senior only
Field of Study Restrictions: English Majors only.

ENGL 400 Capstone in Literature 3.0 SH [  ]

Individual reading, research, and writing on a single literary issue or author culminating in an in-depth thesis essay. Required for the major.
Class Level Restriction: Junior and Senior only.

ENGL 401 Capstone in Creative Writing 3.0 SH [  ]

This course is the culmination of the creative writing concentration in the English major. Students create a substantial and coherent body of original fiction or poetry, accompanied by an artist's statement. Students also read deeply the work of writers who have influenced them and conduct serious research about their work and working process. A public presentation - a reading or some other form of publication - at the completion of the capstone is encouraged.
Prerequisite: one complete sequence in the creative writing series (ENGL 240 and ENGL 290 or ENGL 241 and ENGL 291) and ENGL 351.
Class Level Restriction: Senior only
Field of Study Restrictions: English Majors only.