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English

The English Department at Sweet Briar College promotes the study of literature, creative and critical writing, and film. Our immediate objectives are to teach students to read with understanding and to write with clarity and precision. By stressing imaginative thinking and interpretive rigor we encourage them to become intellectually independent.

All students read a wide variety of literature written in English including works from different historical periods, literary genres, and English-speaking cultures. They also study a wide variety of critical viewpoints and interpretive strategies. In this way they gain a larger historical perspective as well as the critical skills and cultural awareness needed in a global community. To supplement Sweet Briar’s program, we urge qualified students to spend at least a part of their junior year in the exchange programs at the University of London or the University of St. Andrews in Scotland or to participate in summer study in the Virginia Program at Oxford University.

Students in film courses explore the use of images and words by studying the terminology of film production, the aesthetic elements of cinema, and film theories. They also examine cinema’s historical development as an artistic and social force. Courses offered within the interdisciplinary film studies program focus on specific genres, major directors, national cinemas, and literary adaptation.   

Courses in Shakespeare and modern drama contribute to the major in Theatre Arts. The department encourages other interdepartmental and interdisciplinary studies and supports the Honors Program as well as the Gender Studies Program.   

The study of English gives our students a background in analytical thinking and an ability to communicate effectively, skills much in demand in a variety of careers today. In recent years they have gone on to M.F.A. programs in creative writing, to graduate study in English, law, journalism, and business, and into careers such as teaching, publishing, advertising, journalism, business, finance, public relations, communications, and library and information science. We believe that the insights derived from reading and writing are as valuable to students in the natural and social sciences as they are to those in the humanities.   

The Department offers majors and minors in English and in English and Creative Writing. In addition, it anchors Sweet Briar’s minor in Journalism, New Media, and Communications.

The minor in Journalism, New Media, and Communications is an interdisciplinary program designed for those interested in various careers in media as well as those interested in becoming more confident and versatile writers and communicators.

The minor is built around the understanding that the ways in which we write, share, and communicate news and information have changed rapidly over the past decade and will continue to change at an ever-greater pace in the next. For these reasons, the minor aims to train students to write with precision, depth, and style for a variety of different audiences and contexts, to use electronic resources to aid research, to share news and build community, and to make editorial decisions informed by high professional standards.

The core of the minor is comprised of courses in journalism and creative writing. The journalism courses teach students the fundamentals of news-gathering, reporting, editing, and writing for print and Web publications (including personal Web sites and blogs) and also engage students in thinking critically about how news and information are shaped by and for a wireless world in which audiences expect up-to-the-minute news. Workshop-based creative writing courses will teach students to write with purpose, style, and originality while emphasizing revision and the ability to constructively respond to the creative work of others.

The minor also provides students the opportunity to tailor their course of study to their future ambitions, with electives in digital design and photography as well as in writing and public speaking for the business environment. Outside the classroom, students will gain hands-on experience by completing a three-credit internship and working for one of the college’s student or administrative publications.

 

The English Major
The English Minor
Course Descriptions

 

The English Major
(34 semester hours)

Required:

Senior Exercise:
ENGL 451    (1)    Senior Exercise Preparation
ENGL 452    (3)    Senior Seminar
The senior exercise involves successfully completing four credits in the senior year. In the fall course (ENGL 451), each student will begin preliminary work on her senior thesis which she will complete in the spring as part of her senior seminar. Students may fulfill the senior exercise requirement by completing an honors thesis in English.

Choose 10 three-credit courses in literature in the English department. At least six of these courses must be taken at the 300-level and the remaining four taken at the 200- or 300-level. (See lists of courses below for additional requirements for these ten literature courses.)

Choose at least 3 of the following as part of the 10 literature courses required:
Pre-1900 Literature
ENGL 235    (3)    Shakespeare
ENGL 236    (3)    The English Sonnet
ENGL 239    (3)    Old English Language and Literature
ENGL 315    (3)    Swords and Shield-Maidens: Gender Politics in Medieval Heroic Epic
ENGL 317    (3)    History of the English Language
ENGL 319    (3)    Chaucer
ENGL 320    (3)    Medieval Dreamworks
ENGL 322    (3)    Romance and Renewal: Shakespeare and Elizabethan Drama
ENGL 324    (3)    Revenge and Ravishment: Shakespeare and Jacobean Drama
ENGL 329    (3)    American Romanticism
ENGL 331    (3)    The 19th-Century American Novel
ENGL 339    (3)    Women in 19th-Century Literature
ENGL 340    (3)    The Sacred and the Profane in the English Renaissance
ENGL 344    (3)    Women in the Renaissance
ENGL 367    (3)    Visionary Rebels: Romantic Artists
ENGL 386    (3)    Fatal Attractions: Death and Sex in the 19th-Century Novel

Choose at least 2 of the following as part of the 10 literature courses required:
Post-1900 Literature
ENGL 256    (3)    New Writing from Ireland and Scotland
ENGL 258    (3)    Native American Literature
ENGL 282    (3)    Modern American Authors
ENGL 330    (3)    African-American Literature
ENGL 332    (3)    Modern and Contemporary Women Writers
ENGL 382    (3)    Contemporary International Fiction
ENGL 393    (3)    Modern Poetry
ENGL 394    (3)    Contemporary Poetry
ENGL 397    (3)    Becoming Modern

Students may count up to three courses toward the major selected from the following options:
-     one or two 200- or 300-level creative writing courses
-     one or two 200- or 300-level theatre courses with a V.2 designation
-     one 300-level literature course from outside the department in a foreign language
-     one 100-level literature course in the English department if the course is taken in the student’s first or second year.

Notes:
Any course used to satisfy the student’s FYW general education requirement cannot also be used toward the above major requirements.

Working closely with her advisor, each student should seek to construct a plan for the major that includes the following approaches to literary study:
1.    Historical — These courses will highlight the construction of literary traditions in different periods.
2.    Critical and/or theoretical — These courses will foreground the study and use of a variety of models of literary interpretation.
3.    Transnational — These courses will involve a significant focus on the study of literary texts and traditions from other countries in relation to those of England and the United States.
4.    Formal — These courses will foreground the study of different genres and their conventions.
5.    Social — These courses will foreground the study of literature’s relationship to identity categories such as those based on class, race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality.

More details about the five approaches to literary study listed above can be found on the English department website and can be requested from the chair of the English department. Majors are encouraged to take multiple courses in each category. Some courses may be featured under more than one category.

A student may choose courses for her major that allow her to study an area of interest in greater depth; this may be particularly helpful as students prepare for the senior exercise. (For example, a major may focus on a particular historical period, a particular genre, the literature of a particular social group, or even a more narrowly defined area of interest.) A student may instead choose to craft a major that emphasizes breadth, pursuing courses in a wider range of topics. We encourage students to take courses in creative writing as well as courses in other departments that complement their course of study and their areas of interest in English.

Majors who want to study abroad often spend their junior year at the University of London or the University of St. Andrews, and/or a summer at Oxford University through the Virginia Program at Oxford. A student considering study abroad should consult with her advisor for recommended preparatory courses.

A student considering graduate school in English should confer with the chair of the department to be sure that she has planned an appropriate curriculum. Since most graduate schools require two modern languages and some require a classical language as well, the student should have a reading knowledge of at least one foreign language by the time of her graduation from Sweet Briar.

A minimum of six elective courses (18 semester hours) in English must be taken at Sweet Briar College. In addition, all four credits of the senior exercise must be completed at Sweet Briar, for a total of 22 semester hours. With the exception of ENGL 451, no course used to fulfill major requirements may be taken on a P/CR/NC grading option.

The English Minor
(21-22 semester hours)

Required:

Choose 7 three-credit literature courses in the English department, including the following:

Choose at least 2 of these course:
Pre-1900 Literature
ENGL 235    (3)    Shakespeare
ENGL 236    (3)    The English Sonnet
ENGL 239    (3)    Old English Language and Literature
ENGL 315    (3)    Swords and Shield-Maidens: Gender Politics in Medieval Heroic Epic
ENGL 317    (3)    History of the English Language
ENGL 319    (3)    Chaucer
ENGL 322    (3)    Romance and Renewal: Shakespeare and Elizabethan Drama
ENGL 324    (3)    Revenge and Ravishment: Shakespeare and Jacobean Drama
ENGL 329    (3)    American Romanticism
ENGL 331    (3)    The 19th-Century American Novel
ENGL 339    (3)    Women in 19th-Century Literature
ENGL 340    (3)    The Sacred and the Profane in the English Renaissance
ENGL 344    (3)    Women in the Renaissance
ENGL 367    (3)    Visionary Rebels: Romantic Artists
ENGL 386    (3)    Fatal Attractions: Death and Sex in the 19th-Century Novel

Choose at least 1 of these courses:
Post-1900 Literature
ENGL 256    (3)    New Writing from Ireland and Scotland
ENGL 258    (3)    Native American Literature
ENGL 282    (3)    Modern American Authors
ENGL 330    (3)    African-American Literature
ENGL 332    (3)    Modern and Contemporary Women Writers
ENGL 382    (3)    Contemporary International Fiction
ENGL 393    (3)    Modern Poetry
ENGL 394    (3)    Contemporary Poetry
ENGL 397    (3)    Becoming Modern

At least four of the seven courses required for the minor must be at the 300-level or above. The remaining three courses must ordinarily be at the 200-level or above. The following exceptions apply:
-    A student may substitute a 100-level course for a 200-level course if the course is taken in the student’s first or second year.
-    A student may elect to take the four-credit senior exercise in English (both ENGL 451 and ENGL 452) in place of one 300-level literature course.

Notes:

Working closely with her advisor, each student should seek to construct a plan for the major that includes the following approaches to literary study:
1. Historical — These courses will highlight the construction of literary traditions in different periods.
2. Critical and/or theoretical — These courses will foreground the study and use of a variety of models of literary interpretation.
3. Transnational — These courses will involve a significant focus on the study of literary texts and traditions from other countries in relation to those of England and the United States.
4. Formal — These courses will foreground the study of different genres and their conventions.
5. Social — These courses will foreground the study of literature’s relationship to identity categories such as those based on class, race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality.

More details about the five approaches to literary study listed above can be found on the English department website and can be requested from the chair of the English department. Some courses may be featured under more than on category.

Students are encouraged to take courses in creative writing as well as courses in other departments that complement their course of study and their areas of interest in English.

Minors who want to study abroad often spend their junior year at the University of London or the University of St. Andrews, and/or a summer at Oxford University through the Virginia Program at Oxford. A student considering study abroad should consult with her advisor for recommended preparatory courses.

With the exception of ENGL 451, no course used to fulfill minor requirements may be taken on a P/CR/NC grading option.

The Journalism, New Media, and Communications Minor
(21 semester hours)

Required:
ENGL 211    (3)    News Writing and Investigative Reporting
ENGL 311    (3)    Feature Writing: Profiles, Columns and Op-eds
ENGL 377    (3)    Internship (See note below)

Note: Students must complete a writing intensive three-credit internship with a media organization or business. Subject to minor advisor’s approval.

Choose 4 of the following courses (one of which must be a III.W course):
ARTS 119    (3)    Photography I
ARTS 242    (3)    Digital Art and Imaging
ENGL 205    (3)    Business Writing
ENGL 271    (3)    Nonfiction Workshop: The Art of the Personal Essay
ENGL 371    (3)    Nonfiction Workshop: Writing about Film and Music
ENGL 389    (3)    Nonfiction Workshop: Bearing Witness - Writing about Human Rights and Social Justice Issues
THTR 102    (3)    Public Speaking
THTR 202    (3)    Business and Professional Speaking
THTR 258    (3)    Debate and Argumentation

 

Teacher Licensure
(49 semester hours)

A student wishing endorsement in secondary school education in English must complete at least 46 hours of work in language and literature. These should include all courses required for the English major or for the English and Creative Writing major, among which must be ENGL 317; either ENGL 322 or ENGL 324; and several courses in American, world, or ethnic literature. The student must take at least four additional courses (12 hours) including ENGL 104, THTR 102, and an independent study (ENGL 461) in the teaching of composition. Students seeking an additional endorsement in theatre arts should fulfill these requirements, which should include courses on British, American, and continental drama, and complete THTR 189 and THTR 392.

 

First-Year Writing Requirement Information
During their first semester at Sweet Briar College, unless exempted from the first-year writing requirement by means of transfer credit or Advanced Placement credit, all students will be placed in ENGL 100, Composition, ENGL 104, Thought and Expression, or, if they qualify after departmental review, a 100-level writing-intensive literature course in the English department.

Students with dual enrollment credit in English will receive college credit for their dual enrollment course(s). They will be placed in either ENGL 100, ENGL 104, or a 100-level writing-intensive literature course in the department, which they will be required to complete in their first semester.  The placement will be determined by department review of student test scores, transcripts, and other pertinent information. Up to the end of the first week of class, a student may opt to take a separate placement test administered by the department. If placed in one of the department's 100-level writing-intensive literature courses, either initally or as a result of the placement test, the student will be exempted from ENGL 104. Otherwise, all students with dual enrollment credit in English will be required to pass ENGL 104 at Sweet Briar.

Students who have satisfied the first-year writing requirement via transfer credit will be encouraged but not required to take a writing-intensive course in the fall.

Students cannot drop or withdraw from ENGL 100, ENGL 104, or the 100-level writing-intensive literature course they are taking in the department to fulfill the first-year writing requirement without the written consent of the instructor, the chair of the department, and the Dean.

A student who receives a grade of F in either ENGL 100 or ENGL 104 must repeat that course in consecutive semesters (for ENGL 100, consecutive fall semesters) until she passes it. When a student passes ENGL 100, she must enroll in ENGL 104 the following semester.

Students taking a 100-level writing-intensive literature course to fulfill the first-year writing requirement may not also use that course to fulfill the general education V.2 requirement or count it toward the requirements for the majors or minors in the department.

First-year students should take ENGL 104 (unless they have been exempted) and a 100-level literature course before enrolling in a literature course at the 200-level or above. Exceptions require the permission of the instructor and the chair of the department.


Course Descriptions

ENGL 100

| Composition

ENGL 104

| Thought and Expression

ENGL 106

| Introduction to Creative Writing

ENGL 108

| Women and Literature

ENGL 109

| The Origins of Fairy Tales

ENGL 110

| Writing Across Worlds

ENGL 116

| American Fiction

ENGL 124

| Myth, Legend, and their Retelling

ENGL 126

| Forbidden Love

ENGL 132

| What’s Love Got to Do with It?: Romantic Comedy through the Ages

ENGL 136

| Something Wicked: Monsters and Monstrosity, Medieval to Modern

ENGL 138

| The Art of Poetry

ENGL 140

| Passion and Romance: Jane Austen and the Bronte Sisters

ENGL 142

| Mystics and Visionaries

ENGL 149

| Introduction to Film Studies

ENGL 150

| Introduction to Film History

ENGL 205

| Business Writing

ENGL 209

| Poetry Workshop: Poetry and Environment

ENGL 211

| News Writing and Investigative Reporting

ENGL 216

| Poetry Workshop: Form, Function, and Meaning

ENGL 217

| Special Topics in Literature I

ENGL 218

| Special Topics in Literature II

ENGL 226

| Tutoring Writing: Theory and Practice

ENGL 235

| Shakespeare

ENGL 236

| The English Sonnet

ENGL 239

| Old English Language and Literature

ENGL 243

| Star Struck: Stardom and Hollywood Cinema

ENGL 251

| The Medieval Literary Imagination

ENGL 253

| Banned Books

ENGL 254

| Fiction Workshop: First- Person Narrative

ENGL 256

| New Writing from Ireland and Scotland

ENGL 258

| Native American Literature

ENGL 261

| Directed Study

ENGL 263

| Fiction Workshop: The Love Story

ENGL 266

| Fiction Workshop: A Sense of Place

ENGL 271

| Nonfiction Workshop: The Art of the Personal Essay

ENGL 275

| Nonfiction Workshop: Memoir Writing

ENGL 282

| Modern American Authors

ENGL 302

| Special Topic

ENGL 306

| The Arthurian Tradition

ENGL 309

| Poetry Workshop: Art, the Poem, and Collaboration

ENGL 311

| Feature Writing: Profiles, Columns, and Op-eds

ENGL 315

| Swords and Shieldmaidens: Gender Politics in Medieval Heroic Epic

ENGL 317

| History of the English Language

ENGL 318

| Poetry Workshop: Poetry of Transgression - Envy, Ecstasy, Gluttony, Lust

ENGL 319

| Chaucer

ENGL 320

| Medieval Dreamworks

ENGL 322

| Romance and Renewal: Shakespeare and Elizabethan Drama

ENGL 324

| Revenge and Ravishment: Shakespeare and Jacobean Drama

ENGL 329

| American Romanticism

ENGL 330

| African-American Literature

ENGL 331

| The 19th-Century American Novel

ENGL 332

| Modern and Contemporary Women Writers

ENGL 334

| Fiction Workshop: Research and the Fiction Writer

ENGL 340

| The Sacred and the Profane in the English Renaissance

ENGL 343

| Gothic Worlds

ENGL 344

| Women in the Rensaissance

ENGL 346

| Literature Unbound: Novels of the New Century

ENGL 348

| Fiction Workshop: The Long Story

ENGL 361

| Special Study

ENGL 365

| Fiction Workshop: Linked Narratives

ENGL 367

| Visionary Rebels: Romantic Artists

ENGL 371

| Nonfiction Workshop: Writing about Film and Music

ENGL 377

| Internship

ENGL 383

| Fiction Workshop: The Fantastic in Fiction

ENGL 386

| Fatal Attractions: Death and Sex in the 19th-Century Novel

ENGL 389

| Nonfiction Workshop: Bearing Witness - Writing about Human Rights and Social Justice Issues

ENGL 393

| Modern Poetry

ENGL 394

| Contemporary Poetry

ENGL 397

| Becoming Modern

ENGL 451

| Senior Exercise Preparation

ENGL 452

| Senior Seminar

ENGL 453

| Senior Portfolio Seminar

ENGL 461

| Independent Study