English 4300/4390 Senior Seminar (3 sections)
Note: Each section of Eng 4300 has a parallel section of the honors version of the class, Eng 4390. Students in departmental honors should register for 4390 instead of 4300 by contacting the Chair of the English Department.
Note: English 4300/4390 are the English Department's seminars for English majors. They are NOT EIU Senior Seminars. English majors must take BOTH English 4300/4390 and an EIU Senior Seminar outside the English Department.
4300 Section 001 CRN 90828
4390 Section 099 CRN 90831
Senior Seminar: Belief in Fiction & Nonfiction 1000-1050 MWF
Belief is such an integral part of our lives. It shapes who we are and influences what we do as well as how we perceive and respond to others. We will use the term belief in the broadest sense to cover all dimensions of the term—personal, religious, social, and political. Exploring how belief is represented in a variety of texts--short stories, novels, essays, and films—can help us understand the multidimensional nature of belief and its impact on our lives. Course requirements include reading responses, reading quizzes, two papers, an oral presentation, and a final exam. Students will also be responsible for leading class discussion. Some of the texts we will be reading are Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony, Leo Tolstoy’s Confession, and Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha. (Group 4)
4300 Section 002 CRN 90829
4390 Section 098 CRN 90832
Senior Seminar: The Social Grammar of Poetry 1200-1250 MWF
Most non-specialists are unaware that E. E. Cummings was a serious painter as well as a poet. He was, in addition, a serious intellectual who had developed a systematic theory of aesthetics for his work. The aim of this course is to offer linguistic tools that will allow you to do your own research and engage in intellectual debates related to language variation and the style of E. E. Cummings’ poems. We will use Allan and Burridge’s theoretical framework on forbidden words and linguistic taboos to begin examining social constructs and constraints writers must think about in their choice of language. Our focus will be on all kinds of language that writers use to test the boundaries of their readers: offensive language, bad language, sexist language, language related to sex and the body, food, disease, death, killing, and so forth. We will analyze Cummings’ poetry in depth, learn much about the poet and his times, and examine how and why the grammatical constructs he chooses often lead us to confront our own linguistic sensibilities. (Group 4)
4300 Section 003 CRN 90830
4390 Section 097 CRN 90833
Senior Seminar: Metafiction Through the Ages 0900-0950 MWF
“Metafiction” is the term widely used to describe works of fiction which call attention to themselves as works of fiction. This kind of “self-reflexivity” can take many forms: from narrators who refer to themselves as narrators, to characters who address the reader directly, or even attempt to usurp the narrative from its creator. Although the contemporary moment is characterized by a veritable explosion of self-reflexive fiction, metafiction is as old as the novel itself; indeed, Patricia Waugh has argued that, "by studying metafiction, one is, in effect, studying that which gives the novel its identity.” In this course, we will take on the ambitious task of examining metafictional texts through several centuries. Included on our reading list will include many (but unfortunately not all) of the following: Cervantes’ Don Quixote, Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy, John Barth’s Lost in the Funhouse, John Fowles’ The French Lieutenant’s Woman, Martin Amis’s Money, Vladimir Nabokov’s Pale Fire, Italo Calvino’s If, On a Winter’s Night a Traveler, Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse V, Salman Rusdie’s Midnight’s Children, Kathy Acker’s Empire of the Senseless, Paul Auster’s The New York Trilogy, Jeanette Winterson’s Written on the Body, Toni Morrison’s Jazz, Bret Easton Ellis’s Lunar Park, Arthur Phillips’s The Tragedy of Arthur. (Group 4)