Department of English
Faculty in the Department of English: Agata Szczeszak-Brewer (Chair), Crystal Benedicks, Michael Fischer, Eric Freeze, Timothy Lake, Jill Lamberton, and Warren Rosenberg
The English Department faculty offers a wide range of courses in literature, creative and expository writing, and media studies. The course offerings are divided into introductory, intermediate, and advanced courses that meet the general and specialized needs of English majors and minors, as well as students throughout the college. The courses aim to develop careful readers and accomplished writers who possess skills of comprehension, analysis, interpretation, synthesis, and evaluation.
The study of literature fosters a widening of the mind’s horizons and a deepening of the heart. It enables us to make connections between our present historical moment and the past, thereby giving our vision depth and perspective. It gives us a sense of our common human journey as well as of our extraordinary possibilities. The poem, the play, the story, the essay: they are the best means we have for self-understanding, as individuals and as a species.
All students are invited to consider ENG 105–260 to fulfill distribution requirements in Language Studies and Literature and Fine Arts. These courses are introductory in nature, with the exception of 200 level creative writing courses, which have ENG 110 or consent of the instructor as prerequisites. Courses numbered above ENG 260 usually have a prerequisite of any one English literature course at Wabash. Intermediate courses (titled “Studies in...” and numbered from 300) will be structured according to various approaches to literary studies, the second digit indicating one of several approaches: historical contexts (300); literary genres (310); literary modes (320); themes and topics (330); authors (340); media (350); multicultural and national literatures (360); special topics (370); language studies (390). Not all will be offered each year. Occasionally the content of the course will be altered (partly in response to student requests), but the critical approach will remain the same.
There are two tracks for those majoring in English. Students may choose either Literature or Creative Writing.
Requirements for the Major in Literature: Majors are required to take the following English courses: (1) three of the six core survey courses (ENG 214–220) (These three courses should be completed by the end of the junior year); (2) ENG 297 (preferably in the freshman or sophomore year); (3) four additional full courses (or their equivalent), including at least two full course credits labeled “Studies in...,” and one “Seminar” course. ENG 101 does NOT count toward the major and no more than two Language Studies courses in English may be included in the required nine. The core survey courses should give the major a broad understanding of English and American literary periods; the additional six courses should help him determine those critical approaches most appropriate to his literary interests.
Requirements for the Major in Creative Writing: Majors will take four courses in creative writing (including one course in a second genre). Two of the creative writing courses must be at the advanced level (300 or 400 level). ENG 498/499 (two half-credit courses), ENG 497, and three courses in literature. The three literature courses must be at the 200 level or above; at least one must be a 200 level course and at least one must be at the 300 level. Students in this track are encouraged, but not required, to take either ENG 297 or ENG 397.
The typical sequence for a student in the creative writing track would start with ENG 110, the multi-genre course (in fiction, poetry, and nonfiction). That would be followed by a 200 level intermediate course in a single genre, then a 300 level advanced course in that same genre. As a senior, the student would take ENG 497 and ENG 498/499 (two half-credit courses, in which the student develops a portfolio of work in his chosen genre).
For Senior Comprehensives, literature majors must pass two department examinations: (1) an analysis of an unfamiliar text; and (2) a two-part essay on their development as a literary critic followed by an analysis of two formative texts. Creative Writing majors must pass two departmental examinations: (1) an analysis of an unfamiliar text; and (2) a two-part essay on their development as a literary artist followed by the exploration of a question of literary craft or technique.
Majors with specific graduate school plans should discuss these with department members. Those who wish to continue work in English should be aware of foreign language requirements for graduate degrees, as well as the significant advantage of knowing the literature of another language. Courses in Classics, Religion, and the Arts would also be good preparation for advanced study in Literature, Language, or Creative Writing.
Requirements for the Minor: Five full-credit courses, not including ENG 101. Ordinarily students will choose to concentrate along one of the following lines, but a student may, by presenting a written proposal that receives Departmental approval, construct an alternate minor that better suits his needs. These proposals need to be submitted by the end of the first semester of the student’s junior year.
The minor in literature consists of two core survey courses and three additional courses in literature, one of which should be 300 level or above.
The minor in creative writing will consist of three courses in creative writing and two courses in writing or literature. At least one of the creative writing courses should be at the advanced level.
These courses, numbered 105–160, introduce students to English, American, and World literature in translation. Two half-semester courses, ENG 105 and 106, introduce students to the ways of reading poetry and short fiction. ENG 107 and 108 emphasize history as a subject matter in literature. ENG 109 and 160, as well as ENG 107 and 108, focus on world and multicultural literature.
ENG 214–220, offered yearly, are designated “Core” courses because they are central to our conception of an English major. They introduce the student to basic literary and cultural history, to significant writers, works, and themes, and to useful critical modes. Students will be expected to participate in classroom discussion and write several short papers. These courses also serve as the foundation for more advanced literary study.
ENG 297: Introduction to the Study of Literature. Required of all literature majors, and must be taken during the freshman or sophomore years.
COURSES NUMBERED 300–370 HAVE THE PREREQUISITE OF ANY ONE ENGLISH LITERATURE COURSE AT WABASH. They are designed to complement and develop historical and cultural awareness, and the knowledge of authors, themes, topics, genres, modes, and critical approaches encountered in Introductory and Core courses. Students in Intermediate courses take initiative in class discussion, write several analytical papers, and become familiar with the use of secondary critical sources. Topics for Intermediate courses are generally repeated every two or three years.
Advanced (Seminar) Courses
Two sections of ENG 497 are the two Advanced Courses offered every fall. These are seminars designed primarily for English majors (although occasionally English minors enroll in them). The topics vary depending upon the research and teaching interests of the faculty. They demand a high level of student involvement in research and discussion. Several short papers and a long critical essay are required. Note: the two seminars are only offered in the fall semester.
Secondary Licensure Program: The Department of Education Studies offers a minor in Education Studies, and an additional licensure preparation program for students interested in becoming licensed to teach at the secondary level (middle and high school grades 5-12). With a major in this department and a minor in Education Studies, students may also choose to complete the licensure preparation program by applying in the spring of the junior year. For more information about the licensure program, students are advised to meet with faculty in the Department of Education Studies. Requirements for the minor and licensure preparation program are outlined in the Department of Education Studies section of the Academic Bulletin.