English Courses – Asbury University
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Advising Guide

This guide provides a quick overview of the normal two-year rotation of courses in the English Department. This schedule is subject to change, based on enrollment and staffing. For specific times and days, please consult the official online schedule published by the Registrar.

Course Offerings for Spring 2022

▾ ENG 232 - British Literary Traditions II: Visions and Epiphanies

Dr. Strait       MWF 11:00-11:50

This semester we are going to explore literature (art) as the locus for epiphany. Our study will begin with the expressive epiphanies of the Romantics and conclude with “epiphanies” of modernism in Woolf and Joyce. In Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, we read, “By an epiphany [Stephen] meant a sudden spiritual manifestation, whether in the vulgarity of speech or of gesture or in a memorable phase of the mind itself. He believed that it was for the man of letters to record these epiphanies with extreme care, seeing that they themselves are the most delicate and evanescent of moments.” Our discussion will explore epiphanic moments in relation to revolution and society (Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge); to change and permanence (Keats); to the pressure of the actual (Tennyson and Browning); to culture and human aspiration (Arnold, Huxley); to the saturation of experience (Hopkins); and to inwardness, awareness, order and disorder (Woolf, Joyce).

▾ ENG 241 - Beginning Fiction: But is There a There There

Prof. Erny     MWF 2:00-2:50

In this class, we will lean hard into the tools the storyteller has to create authentic "theres' there" in people, places, and time. We will read masters of the craft and examine how they have crafted their stories to engender a potent response in their audiences, and we will write, imitate, and experiment in order to create our own people and worlds, complete works of fiction. We will focus on harnessing imagery, figurative language, description, and syntax in order to create works of short fiction. We will experiment and experience in order to stimulate new work. Through the study of short fiction by Toni Cade Bambara, Haruki Murakami, Octavia Butler, and Tommy Orange (among others), we will apprentice under masters who have created very real places and people to explore the human condition and themes stretching across space and time. This is a craft and workshop course where we will also practice being in writing community, learning how to participate in the exchange of ideas and compelling conversation with which to cultivate compelling work.

▾ ENG 262 - American Literature II: Challenges to American Identity

Dr. Penner    TR 8:00-9:15

Wherever you might fix the start of American identity, the Civil War marks an important moment of rebirth for the fledgling nation. In our study of American literature from that revival to the present, we begin with three authors who challenge easy definitions of “the American writer.” Henry James and T. S. Eliot reverse the path of early-American colonists, leaving their American birthplace to become British subjects; James Baldwin goes farther, leaving Harlem for Europe’s capitals, where he finds something that better resembles “the land of the free” than his native country.

Even for those who stay, America must mean more than New York and Boston. Mark Twain, William Faulkner, and Wendell Berry draw on the American landscape to ground their understanding of American literary identity.

American literature is not, however, simply a matter of determining where the writer writes, but also when. In our final turn, we will consider the ways in which grief has marked the American narrative. African-American literature by authors such as W. E. B. Du Bois and Toni Morrison offers us the opportunity to link the losses of the past (slavery, the Civil War, and much more) with the unfolding of the future. 

▾ ENG 331 - Introduction to English Linguistics

Dr. Brown     MWF 3:00-3:50

Have you ever wondered: 

  • Why do we pronounce bat with a T-sound, but we say batter with a D? 
  • Why does the verb come before the subject in sentences like “Only rarely are students allowed to take more than 18 hours”? 
  • Why does English have one word for meat when it is in the field and another when it is on the plate as in cattle/beef and pig/pork
  • Why might a young child say “I goed to the store?” – a sentence he or she has never heard? 
  • Why might some adults learning English say “Is important to study everyday” – a sentence without a subject? What rule are they following? 

If you have ever asked questions like these, you have been asking questions that involve English phonology, English syntax, historical linguistics, first language acquisition, and second language acquisition. 

English 331: Introduction to English Linguistics is an introduction to the sounds (phonetics and phonology) and structure (morphology and syntax) of English as well as to first and second language acquisition, sociolinguistics, and the history of the English language.  Students will also refine their knowledge and use of English grammar.   This course is designed to be helpful to English teachers in middle and high school, to ESL teachers, and to anyone going on to graduate study in English.  It is open to anyone who would like to learn more about English – not just English or education majors.  

▾ ENG 335 - Sound Systems of English

Staff              Online

Pre-requisite:  English 331

This class builds on what you learned in English 331 about how sounds work in various languages. We will begin by reviewing the basics of English phonetics and phonology. You will examine your own past experiences with the sounds of English, and teaching them to students, using them in writing or in analyzing literature. A teacher of English as a second or a foreign language should be able to describe the state of the glottis, manner of articulation, and place of articulation of English sounds to a non-native speaker of English. Then, we will examine the phonetics and phonology of languages from the Indo-European family, then from non-Indo-European families and explore what particular challenges speakers of these languages would encounter.

Finally, the students will gain professional knowledge through examining the practices of their school systems or other community agencies, tutoring non-native speakers of English and planning their instruction, including designing exercises and choosing instructional procedures based on an analysis of their learning styles, strengths and weaknesses in me language, and developmental stages.

▾ ENG 336 - Grammatical Systems of Language

Staff              Online

Pre-requisite:  English 331

How do languages make words?  What constitutes a word? In Mandarin Chinese, the past tense is a separate word. In Inuit, what would be a sentence in English could be a word. And sentences? The possibilities of syntax and how they determine what a sentence can do in a particular language could delight a poet for a lifetime. We will build on what we began to learn in English 331 about morphology and syntax, and apply these issues to teaching English as a second language, Bible translation, literature and writing.

Finally, the students will gain professional knowledge through examining the practices of their school systems or other community agencies, tutoring non-native speakers of English and planning their instruction, including designing exercises and choosing instructional procedures based on an analysis of their learning styles, strengths and weaknesses in me language, and developmental stages.

▾ ENG 348 - Contemporary Literature: Taking Stock of Ourselves

Dr. Gobin     MWF 9:00-9:50

“if the imagination is to transcend and transform experience it has to question, to challenge, to conceive of alternatives, perhaps to the very life you are living at that moment.” 

                             --Adrienne Rich, When We Dead Awaken

The last fifty years have been a period marked by the kind of questioning and “revisioning” the poet Adrienne Rich refers to above. We have seen global boundaries and alliances shift, our social structures have undergone radical change, and we have questioned what “truth” is and how to tell it. The writers in this course have chronicled these revisions in their poetry, fiction, and drama. Therefore, in addition to Rich, we will read poets such as W.S. Merwin, Mark Strand, and Denise Levertov. We will sample fiction from writers such as Raymond Carver, Bobbie Ann Mason, Flannery O’Connor, and Edwidge Danticat. And, finally, we will look at a few of the more influential playwrights of the last thirty years, such as John Guare and August Wilson. Schedule permitting, we will also attend a performance of a piece of contemporary drama (this depends on what is scheduled for the central Kentucky area).

▾ ENG 370 - Medieval Literature: "Herkneth the tale": Stories and Storytellers in Medieval Texts

Dr. Strait       MWF 1:00-1:50

Chesterton once said about The Canterbury Tales that “The storytellers do not merely exist to tell the stories; the stories exist to tell us something about the storytellers.” Chesterton’s penetrating comment reflects the complex relationship between stories and storytellers. Fictive tellers turn to storytelling for a host of different reasons, to say the least. Through stories, tellers of tales seek to understand the world, to impose order on reality, to create or re-make worlds, to forget the self, to lie, deceive, and stretch the truth (Pardoner’s Tale), to make laugh (Miller’s Tale), to persuade, to negotiate and exchange, to confer value, to expand the imagination and to enchant, and spark wonder (Squire’s Tale, Franklin’s Tale), to question, to protest (Miller’s Tale), to claim social identity, to celebrate or castigate love, desire, and beauty (Knight’s Tale), to offer philosophical reflection (Knight’s Tale, Nun’s Priest’s Tale), to attend to the demands of audience and expectation (Sir Gawain in the Green Knight). 

This semester we will explore the relationship between stories and storytellers, which includes a range of critical concerns: impersonation, pretense, the body, goods and material objects, social standing, money, sex, language and meaning, expectation, audience, literature and literary value, to name just a few. As part of this tale telling context, we will explore the presence of the Church (“cultures” of piety”), ecclesiastical structures, religious ceremonies, the place of the body, Biblical stories (and their parodies), and liturgical orders, and ritual and drama (Mystery plays). Readings will include selected medieval devotional texts, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, several tales from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, and two medieval dramas.

▾ ENG 372 - Intermediate Poetry: Genius Loci, Playing With The Muse

In Intermediate Poetry, we will explore poetic obsessions and how these obsessions can be cultivated, curated, experimented with, harnassed, and nudged into a body of work. We will read several complete works of poetry, conduct poetic experiments, create our own prompts and stimulus, play with language, content, line, and style while growing, developing, and revising our own bodies of poetic works into a completed chapbook by the end of the semester. We will explore the role that being in community and being beings in the world in place and time impact the making of poems. We will draw inspiration from the muses that exist all around us. This is a creative laboratory as well as a craft workshop where experimentation, critical reading, vulnerability and risk-taking will occur.

NOTE: Prerequisite for this class is ENG242: Beginning Poetry Writing, however juniors and seniors who are not CW majors may access this class by submitting a small folio of works (8-10 pages of poems with written rationale) for my consideration and review in order to be admitted to the class.

▾ ENG 393 - Women in Literature

Dr. Penner     TR 9:25-10:40

Have you any notion how many books are written about women in the course of one year? Have you any notion how many are written by men? Are you aware that you are, perhaps, the most discussed animal in the universe?

― Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

We will go back a century to stand with Virginia Woolf just a few years after women win the right to vote. From that vantage point we’ll consider the century of books written by, about, and for women leading up to that suffrage victory. 

What is a woman capable of? Nineteenth-century literature embraces the challenges and freedoms of answering that question. If she is denied formal education, she may retort with Woolf: “I thought how unpleasant it is to be locked out; and I thought how it is worse perhaps to be locked in.” If she sets herself against the conventions of her era, “Tell all the truth but tell it slant,” Emily Dickinson warns, lest “every man be blind.”  Woolf, George Eliot, Jane Austen, Emily Dickinson, and others will crowd our syllabus with responses that are formally inventive and manifest a wicked sense of humor.

In thinking back through the women in literature who “mothered her mind,” Woolf offers inspiration for today’s writers and implicitly rejects the tendency to see literary women solely as tragic figures.  Our authors decline to add to the roster of tragically beautifulbut definitely deadheroines in novels such as Anna Karenina, Madame Bovary, and The Awakening.

This course fulfills the 18th/19th-century course requirement for the English major. But it is open to all interested readers. Woolf identified herself as a “common reader” all her life, one who reads for joy rather than for work. We claim the same.

▾ ENG 410 - Shakespeare: Edges of Possibility

Dr. Strait       TR 12:45-2:00

 “The true difference [between history and literature (poetry)], as Aristotle states in his Poetics, is “that one relates what has happened, the other what may happen.” He concludes, “Poetry, therefore, is more philosophical and a higher thing than history: for poetry tends to express the universal, history the particular.  Aristotle is saying, then, that literature deals with possibility: what could happen in a certain sort of world in which particular characters say, do, or think something within specific social, moral, intellectual, political, or religious contexts or situations. Shakespeare, says A.D. Nuttall, is “fascinated by what could (just) be the case” as different possibilities emerge in the dramatic worlds of Shakespeare’s plays.

This semester we will explore what A.D. Nuttall describes as the “edges of possibility” in Shakespeare’s plays. Here is a series of inquiries that follows Nuttall’s basic idea:  how insult and injury, through misunderstanding, bias, and stereotype, can spawn passionate hatred (The Merchant of Venice); ignorance and immaturity, if intensified by scant empirical evidence, can create the ingredients for horrendous tragedy (Much Ado); human identity, if given the space in which to develop and mature, can lead to profound moments of transformation (As You Like It); power, if left unchecked by self-awareness, humility, and charity, can be “effective,” even if inhumane and cruel; the human self, too inward turning, might discover reservoirs of subjectivity, passions, and artistry at the expense of public and moral responsibility (Richard II); how it might be that laughter and merriment might be a friend or enemy to moral seriousness (The Merchant of Venice and 1 Henry V); how total darkness might shed light and logic; how light might blind sight and understanding; how and to what extent there might be a light in which one can see light (Timon of Athens and King Lear); how “seeing” is like judgment (Cymbeline);  language, words, when separated from reality, or used for what we “ought” to say, can lead to false illusions, deception, and heartache, even untold suffering (King Lear); silences, in certain situations, can speak; modes of discovery might unfold through dreaming, illusion, hiddenness; madness and blindness might lead to clarity and sight (King Lear); nothing might be something; it might even be everything (Much Ado, Richard II, King Lear, Cymbeline). 

▾ ENG 423 - C. S. Lewis and the Oxford Circle

Dr. Brown     TR 3:30-4:45

Spend half a semester immersed in the fiction of C. S. Lewis. Spend the other half on a heroic quest in Tolkien’s Middle-earth. Learn more about two of the greatest Christian writers of all time and discover how they completely changed the face of fantasy literature and made it into a suitable topic for serious study. We will read ten books in all, some quite short and others on the long side. Be prepared to be challenged, inspired, and enchanted.

TEXT BOOKS

By Lewis: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (1950), Prince Caspian (1951), The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1952), The Silver Chair (1953) 

By Tolkien: The Hobbit (1937), The Fellowship of the Ring (1954), The Two Towers (1954), The Return of the King (1955)​

▾ ENG 475 - Senior Seminar

Dr. Brown     TR 2:10-3:25

Senior Seminar is a capstone course required of all English majors before they graduate. In it we will explore how literary topics interface with the world of ideas with a view towards a deeper personal integration of faith, learning, and vocation. The course is designed to serve as both a culmination of your formal studies and a bridge to your experiences following Asbury. Through a series of classroom presentations and discussions, students will reflect on, analyze, and integrate the progress they have made in the areas of faith, learning, and their own personal sense of calling.

Class Lists

▾ Fall Even-Numbered Years

  • ENG 200 Introduction to Teaching English as a Second Language (Dupree)
  • ENG 230 Introduction to Literature (Brown)
  • ENG 231 British Literary Traditions I (Gobin)
  • ENG 240 Grammar and Composition for Elementary Teachers (Hamilton)
  • ENG 241 Introduction to Creative Writing-Fiction (Erny)
  • ENG 250 Writing for Teachers (Brown)
  • ENG 261 American Literature I (Penner)
  • ENG 322 Victorian Literature (Penner)
  • ENG 331 Descriptive Linguistics and Advanced Grammar (Brown)
  • ENG 340 Modern Poetry (Gobin)
  • ENG 361 Adolescent Literature (Brown)
  • ENG 371 Intermediate Creative Writing-Fiction (Erny)
  • ENG 375 Renaissance Literature (Strait)
  • ENG 431 Literary Criticism (Strait)
  • ENG 450 Advanced Studies in Creative Writing (Erny)

▾ Spring Odd-Numbered Years

  • ENG 232 British Literary Traditions II (Strait)
  • ENG 241 Introduction to Creative Writing-Fiction (Erny)
  • ENG 242 Introduction to Creative Writing-Poetry (Erny)
  • ENG 262 American Literature II (Penner)
  • ENG 300 Rhetoric for Writers
  • ENG 311 The English Novel (Gobin)
  • ENG 335 Sound Systems of Language (Bruehler)
  • ENG 336 Grammatical Structure of Language (Bruehler)
  • ENG 353 Creative Writing for Young People (Brown)
  • ENG 360 Children's Literature (Erny)
  • ENG 362 American Multi-Ethnic Literature (Penner)
  • ENG 378 Milton and the Seventeenth Century (Strait)
  • ENG 410 Shakespeare (Strait)
  • ENG 475 Senior Seminar (Brown)

▾ Fall Odd-Numbered Years

  • ENG 200 Introduction to Teaching English as a Second Language (Dupree)
  • ENG 230 Introduction to Literature (Brown)
  • ENG 231 British Literary Traditions I (Gobin)
  • ENG 240 Grammar and Composition for Elementary Teachers (Hamilton)
  • ENG 241 Introduction to Creative Writing-Fiction (Erny)
  • ENG 261 American Literature I (Penner)
  • ENG 315 Film as Literature (Gobin)
  • ENG 331 Descriptive Linguistics and Advanced Grammar (Brown)
  • ENG 345 Modern Novel (Penner)
  • ENG 371 Intermediate Creative Writing-Fiction (Erny)
  • ENG 361 Adolescent Literature (Brown)
  • ENG 382 Reason and Revolution: Studies in the Longer Eighteenth Century (Gobin)
  • ENG 431 Literary Criticism (Strait)
  • ENG 450 Advanced Studies in Creative Writing (Erny)

▾ Spring Even-Numbered Years

  • ENG 232 British Literary Traditions II (Strait)
  • ENG 242 Introduction to Creative Writing-Poetry (Erny)
  • ENG 262 American Literature II (Penner)
  • ENG 300 Writing for the Professions
  • ENG 335 Sound Systems of Language (Bruehler)
  • ENG 336 Grammatical Structure of Language (Bruehler)
  • ENG 342 The American Novel (Penner)
  • ENG 348 Contemporary Literature (Gobin)
  • ENG 372 Intermediate Creative Writing--Poetry (Erny)
  • ENG 360 Children's Literature (Erny)
  • ENG 370 Medieval Literature (Strait)
  • ENG 410 Shakespeare (Strait)
  • ENG 423 C.S. Lewis and the Oxford Circle (Brown)
  • ENG 475 Senior Seminar (Brown)