English Department

at the University of Michigan-Flint

ENG 319/522-01:  Spenser and Milton:  Radicals Making a Tradition (Kietzman)

TR 12:30-1:45 pm

Edmund Spenser and John Milton are the two greatest writers of epic in English during the Renaissance.  Both men were also politicians who tried to influence public affairs through their writings.  Spenser was born only a few years before the beginning of Elizabeth I’s reign and died a few years before it ended.  Although he has been historicized as a monarchist poet, Spenser’s underlying commitment was to a more radical tradition of Protestant prophetic poetry.  John Milton matured as a poet during the middle decades of the seventeenth century – an unprecedented period of political speculation and experimentation – and eventually allied himself to the revolutionary political parties that executed Charles I.  The view of Spenser that Milton inherited was not of a court panegyrist but as an exile from court who retained his political and religious principles. Milton admired Spenser as a great “teacher” of intellectual freedom and personal ethics.

In this course, by reading the major works of Spenser and Milton, we study how the English literary tradition was created by poets in the process of reading and rewriting their predecessors.  As we explore the interconnections between these two poets, we will be describing the English literary tradition for ourselves, debating whether it is conservative or radical, and struggling with fundamental questions about what English literature is and what it is good for.

ENG 400/522-02:  Shakespeare’s Theory of Drama (Kietzman)

T 5:30-8:00 pm

Why did Shakespeare write drama?  Did he have specific reasons for his choice of this art form?  Did he have clearly defined aesthetic aims in what he wanted drama to do and why?  These are the basic and very big questions we’ll be exploring in the seminar – questions which, surprisingly, literary critics have avoided until very recently.

Ultimately each of us must answer these questions for himself or herself through the lens of our particular interests and understandings.  Although we all begin the seminar with the same research question, my hope is that our approaches to answering the question and even our conclusions will reflect our own deep and individual responses to the literary and theatrical aspects of Shakespeare’s work.


ENG 433/533: American Poetry (Furman)

W 5:30-8:15 pm

How do we, after all, define American poetry? That is the animating question of this course. Examining issues of style, technique, geography, historical context, cultural pretext, biography, and subject matter, students will discover what (in)forms the American tradition in poetry.

E-mail Jan Furman for details on course content and requirements.

ENG 436/536: American Film II (Svoboda)

R 5:30-8:15 pm

Course Purposes: We primarily will be viewing films in the main stream of American film making in order to discover what they tell us about American concerns during the period roughly 1955 to the present. (We also will examine film as a genre or art form.)

Class Format and Expectations: Each class period will begin by viewing a film, followed by class discussion.  It is important that you come prepared to each session and that you be able to work on your own to a considerable degree.  You should be able to use the library, to read with good comprehension, to write clearly and concisely, and to participate in class discussion.  This courses follows American Film I chronologically but can stand alone—American Film I is not a prerequisite.

Text:  Gianetti & Eyman.  Flashback: A Brief History of Film, 6th Edition.

Writing Assignments: You’ll write five graded comment papers on pairs of films and use some of these in building the course paper, an extended analysis on a subject of your choice.

Grading:  Generally will be based upon your ability to discern patterns and to make connections among the works we will view, as expressed in essays and class discussion. Regular attendance and participation in class and on an Internet-based discussion board is expected.

Tentative Schedule of Films:

Rear Window (1955) (Alfred Hitchcock)

Some Like It Hot (1959) (Billy Wilder)

Dr. Strangelove  (1964) (Stanley Kubrick)

The Graduate (1967) “R” (Mike Nichols)

In the Heat of the Night (1967) not rated (Norman Jewison)

Chinatown (1974) “R” (Roman Polanski)

Annie Hall (1977) “PG” (Woody Allen)

Heartland (1980) “PG” (Richard Pearce)

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) “PG” (Steven Spielberg)

Field of Dreams (1989) “PG” (Phil Alden Robinson)

Do the Right Thing (1989) “R” (Spike Lee)

Thelma & Louise (1991) “R” (Ridley Scott)

Smoke Signals (1998) PG-13 (Chris Eyre)

ENG 560: Topics in Writing and Rhetoric – Collaborative Writing Workshop (Shcirmer)

T 5:30-8:15 pm


ENG 393/562: Creative Writing Workshop (Worth-Nelson)

TR 4:00-5:15 pm

What is the effect of rhythm on meaning?  How do form and function work together in writing to affect a reader?  How is poetry like dance, in the words of Robert Pinsky, re-creating the breath of the poet in every poem?  How does your own life generate image and emotion, recreating your own breath, your own experience, in others?  What do ancient forms have to teach us about the human imperative to express loss, love, doubt and joy?  All these questions and more are at the heart of ENG 562, Advanced Creative Writing:  Poetry.  In seminar/workshop mode, you and 14 other classmates will explore your own material and apply it to forms like haiku, the sonnet, the pantoum, the villanelle and the sestina in addition to probing possibilities of free verse.  As a graduate member of a cross-listed class, you also will participate in a series of “teach-ins” based on the works of Dean Young, Ellen Bryant Voight, Mark Doty, Donald Revell and others.


ENG 567: Topics in Composition and Rhetorical Theory (Roach)

W 5:30-8:15 pm

English 567 is intended to give you a broad overview of theory in the field of Composition and Rhetoric.  We will examine historical views that have helped shape the field as well as current theory and explore how the theories we discuss influence the teaching of composition.  The reading, combined with classroom activities, will help us better understand writing, writing process, the teaching of writing, and writing as a discipline from a theoretical and practical standpoint.

ENG 570: Modern Literary Theory (Bernstein)

R 5:30-8:45

In this course we will read and apply literary criticism and theory dating from the mid-twentieth century.  We will look at approaches ranging from the “New Criticism” through structuralism, post-structuralism, feminism, Marxism, historicism, postcolonialism, and more.  Responsibilities will include weekly discussion, discussion leadership, papers, and interpretive exercises. 

Required texts
Robert Dale Parker, Critical Theory: A Reader for Literary and Cultural Studies.  Oxford, 2012.
—.  How to Interpret Literature: Critical Theory for Literary and Cultural Studies.  2nd ed.  Oxford, 2011