Literature Courses


From the UMSL Bulletin

These include undergraduate and graduate offerings in the study of literature. Talk to your advisor about which courses are offered this semester!

1120 Literary Types (3) [C,V,H]
The student is introduced to the various literary types, including poetry, drama, fiction, and the essay.

1130 Topics in Literature (3) [C,H]
Introduces the student to selected literary topics and/or genres. Each semester the department will announce topics and course content. Topics such as alienation, justice, and the absurd, and genres such as science fiction and contemporary drama are typical possibilities.

1150 Images of the Elderly in Film (3)
Same as Geron 1115. Analysis of the portrayal of older adults in various films. Class discussions focus on the style and thematic content of the film, as well as intergenerational relationships.

1160 Images of Age in Literature (3)
Same as Geron 1116. Reading and discussion of literature that portrays aging and old age in various settings. Emphasis is on contemporary novels, but poetry and drama such as King Lear are read as well. Discussion and short essays enable consideration of how literature helps in the study of aging and also how the process of aging can be a creative force within literature.

1170 American Literary Masterpieces (3)
An introduction to major themes and works in American literature from the nineteenth century to the present. Selected works from Hawthorne, Poe, Melville, Whitman, Twain, James, Frost, Hemingway, Faulkner, O'Connor, Plath, and Bellow.

1175 Arts and Ideas (3)
Same as Art 1175, Hist 1175, M H &L 1175, Phil 1175, Th & Dan 1175. An interdisciplinary course tied to the semester's offerings at the Blanche Touhill Performing Arts Center as well as other events on campus featuring the visual arts, literature, music, and film. Each semester the course will provide background on the arts in general and will critically examine particular performances and offerings. Special themes for each semester will be selected once the Touhill schedule is in place. Students will be expected to attend 6-8 performances or exhibitions. Can be repeated once for credit.

1200 Myth (3) [C,V,H]
The nature of myth, with some consideration of the various theories used to account for its origins. An examination of central mythic motifs, images, and characters. While some attention will be given to comparing the mythologies of different cultures, the emphasis will be on reading Classical Greek and Roman mythology.

1700 African-American Literature (3) [C,H]
A survey of prose, poetry, and drama by black Americans from the period of enslavement through the Harlem Renaissance to the present.

1710 Native American Literature (3) [C,CD,H]
Surveys the literature of American Indians from its oral tradition of myth, legend, song, and oratory through its modern forms. The course satisfies the ethnic literature requirement for Missouri state certification in Secondary Education.

2200 Classical Literature in Translation (3) [C,V,H]
The civilization of ancient Greece and Rome as reflected by their major creative writers in some of their principal works: the epics of Homer and Vergil; the plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes, Plautus, Terence, and Seneca; the lyrics of Sappho and Catullus; the satire of Petronius; and Ovid's rendering of the classical myths.

2230 Jewish Literature (3) [C,H]
Examines the traditional Jewish literature of the Bible and later legends found in the Talmud and Midrash and also considers later phases of Jewish literature, both sacred and secular. These include medieval folklore and Hasidic tales.

2240 Literature of the New Testament (3) [C,H]
A comprehensive understanding of the New Testament, its literary background, and significance for Western civilization.

2250 Literature of the Old Testament (3) [C,H]
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or consent of instructor. A comprehensive understanding of the Old Testament, its literary background, and significance for Western civilization.

2280 The Contemporary World in Literature (3) [V,H, CD]
Selected world literature since the second World War from the Middle East, Europe, Latin America, Africa, India, and Asia with emphasis on non-European literatures. This course excludes literature form the United States and England.

2310 English Literature I (3) [C,H]
The eighteenth century. Reading and analysis of representative development of English literature from the Middle Ages through the works of selected major writers.

2320 English Literature II (3) [C,H]
The development of English literature during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Reading and analysis of representative works of selected major writers.

2330 Introduction to Poetry (3) [C,H]
A close study of poems, with special emphasis on the varieties of poetic forms, and the means of interpretation and evaluation. The works studied will be primarily English and American, and from at least three different centuries.

2340 Introduction to Drama (3) [V,H]
A close study of major dramatic works in various modes, to introduce the student to the forms and techniques of dramatic literature. The works studied will be primarily English and American, and from at least three different centuries.

2350 Introduction to Fiction (3) [C,H]
A close study of major prose fiction, with particular attention to the varieties of fictional forms and techniques. The works studied will be primarily English and American, and from at least three different centuries.

2710 American Literature I (3) [C,H]
Representative selections from American authors from the middle of the seventeenth century to the middle of the nineteenth century.

2720 American Literature II (3) [C,H]
Representative selections from American authors from the middle of the nineteenth century to the present. Fulfills the requirement for Missouri Teacher Certification of a unit in literature of American ethnic groups'' and a unit in American literature for adolescents.''

3500 Special Studies (1-3)
Prerequisites: A course in the area of proposed work and consent of instructor. Individual work, with conferences adjusted to needs of the student. May not be used to meet specific English department distribution and language requirements. May be repeated for a maximum total of three hours credit.

3800 Topics in Women and Literature (3)
An examination of the role of women in literature, either as figures in literary works or as writers. Specific topics to vary from semester to semester. Since the topics of Engl 3800 may change each semester, the course may be repeated for credit if the topics are substantially different.

4000 History of Literary Criticism (3)
Historical survey of the principles of literary criticism from Plato to the present.

4030 Contemporary Critical Theory (3)
This course is to acquaint students with a range of critical methodologies that have gained currency since the 1960s. The kinds of criticism considered include formalist (New Critical, Russian, and Aristotelian), structuralist, post-structuralist, Marxist, reader-response, psycho-sexual, and feminist.

4050 Forms and Modes of Poetry (3)
Prerequisite: Englsh 3090 prerequisite or corequisite. An advanced critical study of formal poetry, from classical and Renaissance models to modern innovations and masterpieces. The course will cover scansion, figurative language, stanza form and convention, modes of occasional poetry, and studies of formal poets (e.g. Yeats, McKay, Bogan, Auden).

4060 Adolescent Literature (3)
The course will expose students to the large variety of quality adolescent literature available for reading and study in middle and high school classes. It will also examine the relevance of a variety of issues to the reading and teaching of adolescent literature, among them: reader response, theory and practice; multiculturalism; literacy; the relation of adolescent literature to "classic literature"; the role of adolescent literature in interdisciplinary studies; adolescent literature as an incentive to extracurricular reading.

4070 The Two Cultures: Literature and Science (3)
Prerequisite: Englsh 2320; Englsh 3090, may be taken concurrently. Surveys the history of the debate about the relations between literature and science, beginning with the exchange between Arnold and Huxley in the Victorian period, continuing through the debate between Leavis and Snow at mid-century, and concluding with current controversies and with current efforts at interdisciplinary synthesis.

4080 Narrative, Cognition, and Emotion (3)
Prerequisite: Englsh 2320; Englsh 3090, prerequisite or co-requisite. Examines narrative theory in the light of recent research into cognitive organization and the structure of the emotions. Traditional and contemporary theories of narrative--of realism, symbolism, point of view, tone, and genre--are developed through recent findings in empirical science. A variety of stories and novels are used as test cases for theoretical propositions.

4250 Old English Literature (3)
Prerequisite: Englsh 3100; or, for majors, Englsh 3090 prerequisite or corequisite and Englsh 2310 prerequisite or permission of instructor. An introduction to the literary culture of Anglo-Saxon England through study of the Old English language and close reading of a diverse group of Old English texts from the eighth to eleventh centuries.

4260 Chaucer (3)
Concentrates on the poetry of Geoffrey Chaucer, including the Canterbury Tales, early poetic works, and the Troilus and Criseyde. All readings are in the original Middle English.

4270 Medieval English Literature (3)
A survey of old and middle English literature from Beowulf to Malory's Morte d'Arthur, exclusive of Chaucer. All works are read in modern English translations.

4320 Elizabethan Poetry and Prose (3)
Spenser, Sidney, Wyatt, and other poets of the later sixteenth century. The origin and development of prose fiction.

4340 Early Seventeenth-Century Poetry and Prose (3)
Donne, Jonson, Marvell, Bacon, and other poets and essayists of the Metaphysical, Cavalier, and Baroque schools, exclusive of Milton.

4350 Milton (3)
All the minor poems and the three longer poems with some attention to the major prose; Milton and his relation to the politics, theology, and literature of the seventeenth century.

4360 Tudor and Stuart Drama (3)
A survey of the dramatic writings of the period from the interludes of John Heywood to the closing of the theaters in 1642, with particular attention to the plays of Marlowe, Jonson, Webster, and Ford. Though Shakespeare will not be studied in this course, connections between his works and those of his contemporaries will be discussed.

4370 Shakespeare: Tragedies and Romances (3)
The development of Shakespeare's concept of tragedy and tragicomedy from Titus Andronicus to The Tempest. The plays will be related to the social and literary milieu of the period.

4380 Shakespeare: Comedies and Histories (3)
Shakespeare's early work for the theater with some attention to the sonnets and longer poems. An historical background for a study of all the plays, including discussions of Elizabethan society, the world of the stage, and Shakespeare's biography.

4410 Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Drama (3)
The principal tragedies and comedies from Dryden to Sheridan, including the plays of Congreve, Farquhar, Rowe, Gay, Fielding, and Goldsmith, among others.

4420 Age of Dryden and Pope (3)
The beginnings of English neoclassic literature in the Restoration and its development through the first half of the eighteenth century, focusing on Dryden, Swift, and Pope.

4440 Age of Johnson (3)
The breakdown of the neoclassic spirit and the introduction of the "new" poetry and novel. Consideration of Fielding, Johnson, Thompson, Young, Goldsmith, Sheridan, and others.

4450 The Eighteenth-Century English Novel (3)
The origins and early development of the English novel, from Defoe to Jane Austen.

4510 Early Romantic Poetry and Prose (3)
The English romantic movement with special emphasis on the early writers--Blake, Wordsworth, and Coleridge. Additional readings in selected prose writers and minor poets.

4520 Later Romantic Poetry and Prose (3)
The English romantic movement with special emphasis on the later writers--Byron, Shelley, and Keats. Additional readings in selected prose writers and minor poets.

4540 The Nineteenth-Century English Novel (3)
Novels of the Romantic and Victorian Periods, from Austen to George Eliot.

4560 Prose and Poetry of the Victorian Period (3)
Critical readings of selections from Tennyson, Browning, Arnold, and others, in addition to selections from the major prose writing.

4580 Literature of the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries (3)
Literature of the period between 1870 and the First World War, including works by writers such as Hardy, Conrad, James, Wilde, Stevenson, Shaw, Jefferies, and Wells.

4610 Selected Major American Writers I (3)
American literature of the nineteenth century: Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, Melville, Whitman, and others.

4620 Selected Major American Writers II (3)
American literature of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries: James, Twain, Stephen Crane, Dreiser, and others.

4630 African American Literature Prior to 1900 (3)
Prerequisites: (Majors) Englsh 3090, (Non-majors) Englsh 3100 or consent of instructor. An examination of the roots of the African American literary tradition with emphasis on 19th century texts, primarily rhetoric and oratory by African Americans, though more contemporary work and other "forms" may be included. Study will focus on captivity/slave narratives, autobiography, sermons, poetry, prose, antebellum and post-bellum essays, speeches, spirituals and other relevant materials.

4640 American Fiction to World War I (3)
Development of the novel and short story in America.

4650 Modern American Fiction (3)
The novel and short story in America since World War I. There may be some attention to British and continental influences.

4660 African American Literature Since 1900 (3)
Prerequisites: (Majors) Englsh 3090 (Non-majors) Englsh 3100 or consent of instructor. This course examines the literary work of African Americans, focusing on fiction, poetry, short stories and essays written after 1900 expressing the major cultural, literary and thematic concerns of African Americans writing in the twentieth century, though some pertinent 19th century works may be included. Students will become familiar with "movements" in African American literature, such as protest literature, the Black Arts Movement, and the emergence of African American women's writing among others.

4740 Poetry Since World War II (3)
Reading and analysis of contemporary poetry.

4750 Modern British Fiction (3)
Critical reading and analysis of British fiction of the twentieth century. There may be some attention to American and continental influences.

4760 Modern Drama (3)
British, American, and European drama of the last one hundred years: the well-made play, the problem play, verse drama, new definitions of tragedy, the angry theater, theater of the absurd.

4770 Modern Poetry (3)
Critical reading and analysis of poetry of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries: Yeats, Eliot, Frost, Williams, and others.

4910 Studies in African/African American Literature, Criticism, and Diaspora (3)
Prerequisites: (Majors) Englsh 3090, (Non-majors) Englsh 3100 or consent of Instructor. This course focuses on the study of select topics of African and African American Literature and Criticism and Black Diaspora texts. Topics from semester to semester may vary and include such concentration areas as the Literature of Civil Rights, African American Memoir, Trans-Atlantic Black Literature, Captivity and Freedom Narratives, Diaspora Studies, The African American Folk Aesthetic, Poetry of the Black Aesthetes, Theories of Race and Class, and Black Feminist Writing, among others.

4920 Major Works of European Fiction (3)
Prerequisites: Two college courses in literature. The development of the European novel in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Representative works of writers such as Balzac, Flaubert, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Kafka, and Proust, read in translation.

4930 Studies in Gender and Literature (3)
Same as WGST 4930. The course examines the role of gender in literature, including the transformation of literary genres by women writers, writings by women during a particular historical period, and gender relations in literature, Specific topics vary from semester to semester. The course may be repeated for credit with departmental approval.

4931 English Women Writers, 1300-1750 (3)
Same as WGST 4931. Works will be read ranging in scope from closet drama and romance to lyrics to personal, political, and religious writings by women, such as Margery Kempe, Mary Sidney, and Amelia Lanyer, who wrote during a period when reading and writing were not the female norm.

4932 Female Gothic (3)
Same as WGST 4932. This course examines the historical development of the female gothic, a genre which employs narrative strategies for expressing fears and desires associated with female experience. From the late 18th century to the present, we will trace the persistence of the gothic vision in fiction and film.

4933 Female Novel of Development (3)
Same as WGST 4933. The course covers the development of the female Bildungsroman from the late 18th century to the present. We will consider how contemporary and current theories of female development help us read these novels within their particular cultural contexts.

4934 Austen and the Brontes (3)
Same as WGST 4934. This course covers the novels of the major 19th century British writers Jane Austen and the three Bronte sisters, Anne, Emily, and Charlotte. The course will be devoted to Austen's romantic comedies and the historical/cultural contexts that inform the novels, as well as the darker romanticism of the Brontes, along with the biographical, cultural, philosophical, and religious contexts of their work.

4935 Women Heroes and Romantic Tales (3)
Same as WGST 4935. Women as epic and romantic heroes in British and transatlantic writing 1790s-1850s: reformers and rulers in novels by Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley; a runaway slave and an epic poet in works by Mary Price and Elizabeth Barrett Browning; erotic and political adventures in Robinson, Dacre, Hemans; American icons "Pocahontas" and "Evangeline" in Sigourney and Longfellow.

4936 Tales of the Islamic East (3)
Same as WGST 4936. Adventure, gender, and power in British and post-colonial writing: Lady Montague on Turkey, Gibbon on Islam, Byron and Hemans on harems and heroes, Disraeli on the Jewish Caliph of Baghdad, T.E. Lawrence on Arabia, and el Saadawi and Rushdie on (post) modern gender and the Islamic East.

4937 Irish and Irish-American Women Writers (3)
Same as WGST 4937. This course traces the parallel arcs of feminism reflected in similarly-themed Irish and Irish-American women's novels from 1950 to the present. Authors range from Edna O'Brien and Mary McCarthy, the first contemporary feminist novelist in Ireland and America, through Emma Donoghue and Eileen Myles, whose lesbian protagonists bring feminist perspectives into the 21st century.

4938 American Women Poets of the 20th/21st Centuries (3)
Same as WGST 4938. Introduction to American women poets since 1900: anarchists, Imagists, Harlem formalists, white lyricists, modernists (Ridge, H.D., Dunbar-Nelson, Millay, Stein); mid-century giants (Rukeyser, Brooks) and Confessionals (Sexton, Plath); feminists and multiculturalists (Rich, Lorde, Giovanni, Hogan), poets of witness and the play of language and the mind (Klepfisz, Olds, Mullen, Perillo).

4940 Special Topics in Jewish Literature (3)
Intensive readings, critical discussion, and writing on topics relating to Jewish literature. Topics to be announced. This course may be repeated for credit if the topics are substantially different.

4950 Special Topics in Literature (3)
Special topics in literature that are not covered in other 4000-level English courses. Since the topics of Englsh 4950 may change each semester, the courses may be repeated for credit if the topics are substantially different.

4960 Ethnic Literatures (3)
Prerequisites: Englsh 3100 or for English Major, Englsh 2320, Englsh 2720, and Englsh 3090, or permission of instructor. This course will examine the literary work of Ethnic Writing with a special focus on the function of identity in literature. Students will read work arranged either as a collection of various ethnic writers or as subject-specific groups, such as Women Writers of Color, Irish/Irish American Writers, West Indian Writers in the US, South African Writers, etc. Students will come to understand the socio-historic relevance of literary movements as well as significant events such as the Great Northern Migration, Eugenics, World Wars I and II, etc. in order to understand how representative American and World Literature has become more culturally diverse and inclusive in the 20th century.

5000 Introduction to Graduate Study in English (3)
A course designed to prepare students for the professional study of English. The course will both familiarize students with basic bibliographic tools and scholarly methods and introduce them to issues that are of current critical interest to those engaged in the advanced study of literature. These issues include gender, textuality, reader-response, multiculturalism, feminism, psychoanalysis, cultural studies, literary history and the relationship of literature to philosophy, history and science. Must be taken within the first twelve hours of graduate study.

5030 Literary Criticism (3)
An examination of selected theories of literature.

5040 Feminist Critical Theory (3)
Same as WGST 5040. Prerequisite: Graduate standing and consent of instructor. A consideration of feminist critical theory as a means of reassessing literary texts and our cultural heritage. After exploring the roots of feminist criticism, the seminar will examine Anglo-American and continental debates on theories of language, writing and representation. In providing an interdisciplinary context the course will consider studies in psychology, anthropology, history, and philosophy/theology which have influenced and enriched feminist approaches to literature.

5150 Magical Realism Workshop (3)
Prerequisites: Open to student in the MFA Program and other graduate students with consent of instructor. Half of this course will be a study of the classic texts of magical realism and the other half will be a fiction workshop in which the members of the class will write in this imaginative and symbolic genre. Non-MFA students will write a critical study of magical realism.

5180 Form and Theory of Poetry (3)
Prerequisites: Open to students in the MFA Program and other graduate students with consent of instructor. This course explores various aspects of traditional and contemporary poetry. The student will gain an understanding of formal poetry-rhyme and meter-as well as of traditional types of poetry, for example, the lyric and the narrative. Throughout the course, an emphasis will be maintained on free verse and a greater understanding of its practice. Students will read selectively in the poetry, theory, and critical approaches of various periods, for example, the romantic and the modern, and within various movements, such as the symbolist or confessional.

5250 Studies in Middle English Literature (3)
Special topics in English literature before 1500.

5300 Renaissance Literature (3)
Special topics in English literature from 1500 to 1660.

5400 Eighteenth-Century Literature (3)
Studies in Augustan poetry and prose, including drama and fiction, with emphasis on background and major figures.

5500 Nineteenth-Century Literature (3)
Special topics in English romanticism, in Victorian life and thought, and in the development of the novel and of poetry between 1797 and 1914.

5600 American Literature Before 1900 (3)
Selected American writers or topics from the Colonial period to 1900.

5650 Critical Studies in African American Texts (3)
This course will examine the critical and literary work of African Americans and Afro-Caribbeans. It will focus on fiction, poetry, short stories and essays expressing the major cultural, literary and thematic concerns of African American writing in the latter part of the twentieth century. Students will become familiar with "movements" in African American literature such as protest literature, the Black Arts Movement, and/or the emergence of African American Women's writing, among others. Students will utilize current scholarship, theory, and criticism as a means to investigate and study primary texts in the course.

5700 Twentieth-Century American Literature (3)
Selected American writers or topics from 1900 to the present.

5750 Twentieth-Century British Literature (3)
Selected British and Commonwealth writers of the twentieth century.

5910 Studies in Poetry (3)
Study of a few selected British and American poets.

5920 Studies in Fiction (3)
Study of a few selected British and American novelists and short story writers.

5930 Studies in Drama (3)
Study of a few selected British and American dramatists.

5940: Seminar in Gender and Literature (3)
Gender studies in literature of different periods, types, and genres; satisfies area requirement appropriate to its period, national literature, and genre. Same as WGS 5940.

5950 Seminar in Special Topics (1-3)
Special topics which are not covered in other graduate-level English courses.

5970 Independent Reading (1-3)
Directed study in areas of English for which courses are not available.

6000 Thesis (6)
Prerequisite: 3.5 graduate G.P.A. Thesis research and writing on a selected topic in English studies.