Literature

SOME COURSE DESCRIPTIONS BELOW HAVE BEEN EXPANDED TO PROVIDE MORE INFORMATION. FOR OFFICIAL COURSE DESCRIPTIONS REFER TO THE SAINT MARY’S COLLEGE BULLETIN.

ENLT 151 Introduction to Literature: Latina Literature (3)
Our readings will include novels, poetry, short stories, creative nonfiction, and graphic narrative by Latina writers and artists. These texts provide rich and varied representations of immigration, second-generation experiences, and the politics of Latina identity in America. More specifically, we will examine how these texts engage with issues surrounding ethnicity, culture, racialized discrimination, class, gender, and sexuality. Literary studies is a broad field, engaging with almost everything human beings know how to do with language. The works of art that we recognize as literary gain their distinctive power by doing things with language in especially engaging, complex ways. This class introduces students formally to the skills of reading and writing that enable us to interpret and appreciate the meaning and function of literary texts and create literary texts ourselves. By focusing on these skills, this class lays the foundation for students to successfully pursue a major or minor in English. We will practice these skills by reading a wide range of literature in this class, examining the genres of poetry, drama, and prose fiction through works drawn from a variety of historical periods and produced by writers with a diverse array of identities. Written work in the class will engage with the conventions of writing about literature and the effective interpretation of evidence to achieve convincing insights into texts. Works of literary criticism by practicing scholars will provide models for this interpretation, and we will consider carefully how writers read and how scholars learn to ask and answer questions about literature as they read. This course also satisfies an LO2 Women’s Voices and LO3 Intercultural Competence.

ENLT 151W Animals, Monsters, Ghosts (4)
This course introduces students to reading and writing about literature at the college level. Throughout the semester, we’ll practice skills necessary for literary analysis, including close reading, using textual evidence, and developing strong interpretive arguments. We’ll read short stories, novels, poetry, and drama with a focus the powerful animals, strange monsters, and terrifying ghosts that populate American literature. We’ll ask: Why are powerful nonhuman beings so common in American literature? How do authors use nonhuman elements to shape their narratives? How might these representations be significant? This course also satisfies an LO2 Women's Voices, provides students the opportunity to earn the W and is linked with a first-year faculty advisor.

ENLT 151W Introduction to Literature: Death and Dying (4)
This course will examine depictions of death and dying in literature, exploring the ways in which writers have portrayed the experience of facing death, the physical realities of death, the process of grief and mourning, and ideas about the afterlife. Reading from a wide range of texts by authors like Leo Tolstoy, Mariama Bâ, Nella Larsen, and Virginia Woolf, students will practice close reading and apply different critical lenses to the primary texts that they read. Writing assignments will ask students to practice building effective arguments, offering textual evidence, reading literature through different lenses, and communicating their ideas clearly and logically. This course also satisfies an LO2 Women's Voices and provides students the opportunity to earn the W.

ENLT 151W Introduction to Literature: Magic and Realism (4)
The stories we are told as children often contribute to how we see the world as adults. Fairy tales and myths influence the worlds created by authors throughout literary history. Beginning with Angela Carter’s Book of Fairy Tales and Ovid’s Metamorphoses, this class will explore common literature tropes and female figures, such as the damsel in distress and the evil stepmother. Then we’ll move forward in time, seeing how these tropes and figures were reinvented in texts that include George Bernard Shaw’s play Pygmalion and its film adaptation, the short stories of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and a novel by Jane Austen. The aim is to discover what’s new and what’s lasting in global literature. Students will learn to read, analyze, and compose texts in order to become more engaged and critical of literature. This course also satisfies an LO2 Women's Voices and provides students the opportunity to earn the W.

ENLT 151W Introduction to Literature: World Building in Literature  (4)
This course explores the techniques and purposes of world building in literature. Any written text uses words to guide its reader in the creation of an imaginary place different from the present physical reality surrounding that reader. In literary texts, the constructions that result from the process of reading are sensuously vivid, emotionally compelling, and intellectually engaging, so that the reader may feel that she has entered another world. One useful way to improve 5 one’s understanding and enjoyment of literature, then, is to consider how literary texts guide their readers in a process of mental construction that results in something that can be experienced as an imagined world. The class’s readings will give particular attention to the genres of science fiction and fantasy, which foreground the project of world building. The reader of a work of science fiction, for example, expects to go to another planet, to the future, to an alternate history of the world, or some other imagined reality that differs from her own. Other types, other genres of literature approach world building differently. Poetry, drama, realist fiction, and even non-fiction each undertake world building in distinctive ways. This course will include works of literature drawn from each of these genres and from a variety of cultures, so that we can consider how cultural frameworks inform literary world building. We’ll read contemporary science fiction and fantasy by Ursula Le Guin and Jo Walton, Homer’s Odyssey in the new translation by Emily Wilson, a Shakespeare play, Aldo Leopold’s non-fiction classic A Sand County Almanac, and poetry by John Donne, Joy Harjo, and current Poet Laureate Tracy Smith. As a W course, the main assignments for this course will be essays. Four out-of-class essays and two in-class essays will be assigned, preparing students for the end-of-semester portfolio review. This course also satisfies an LO2 Women's Voices and provides students the opportunity to earn the W.

ENLT 216 Literature of Social Justice (3)
What role do literary works play in advocating for a more just society?  Can literature provide a platform for social exploration?  An opportunity to engage the emotions of the public?  A space for disruption and critique?  What are the limitations of literary representations of social justice issues?  This course uses these guiding questions to examine works of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction.  We’ll read texts that engage with issues including racism and antiracism, incarceration, environmental justice, health equity, and feminist activism.  As we read works published from the nineteenth-century to the present, we’ll also consider the role of reading in shaping our own value systems.  This course also satisfies an LO2 Women’s Voices and LO3 Social Responsibility. 

ENLT 290 Good Books (3)
The study of contemporary fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry, with particular attention paid to literary judgment, forms of literary praise and our own habits of readerly  judgment and taste. As we read, we will ask ourselves three primary questions: What is a good book? Who decides? What forms does literary praise take – from very  practiced readers such as Seamus Heaney to our very own selves. Each student will choose to read at least one book from her literary bucket list. Each student will keep a commonplace book. Three papers.

HUST 103 Lives and Times (3)
What’s your place in the world? How will you tell your story? This lively discussion-based class will introduce you to the power of storytelling in our own lives and in the lives of those from the past. You will be introduced to a range of fascinating individuals, both real and imagined, as their stories appear in memoir, film, fiction, and art. We will ask: Why does place have such a powerful effect on who we are in the world? Why is a house often more than just a house? Why is the question “where are you from” often impossible to answer? How do ethnicity, race, and gender make me who I am? How do we learn from the stories of the past, and, more importantly, how do we tell stories of the future? Students will have an opportunity to write in analytic, digital, and creative formats. This course also satisfies an LO2 Women’s Voices and LO3 Social Responsibility. Section 71281 also fulfills LO2 Critical Thinking Seminar.