English & American Literature

  • MET EN 104: English Composition
    Required for all undergraduate degrees. Reinforces basic skills in communication necessary for college work. Instruction and practice in fundamentals of critical writing, reading, and thinking. Lectures combined with seminars on vital current social, political, psychological, and philosophical issues. Students choose their seminars. Frequent papers; individual conferences.

    MET EN 104 Section Descriptions for Fall 2013:

    Section A1-- Adair: The American Family. As humankind's primary social unit, the family works to influence individual and collective identities more than any other group. Families challenge, support, educate, and restrict us by helping to shape our political views and cultural values. They suggest patterns of behavior we seek to emulate or to avoid and reflect structural shifts in the larger community. In this course, we will enter the ongoing debate of theorists, social philosophers, artists, politicians, and others about the nature of changes in the family unit. Our discussion will treat several controversial questions: What or who constitutes a "family"? Is the American family merely evolving, or is it in a state of crisis? Is a "return to family values" possible, or even preferable? By examining various incarnations of the American family, including those of colonial settlements, the "nuclear family," alternative households, and cultural communities, we will investigate the development of what one philosopher called society's "moral cell." Readings will include historical, political, literary, and sociology texts, as well as some advertisements and film.

    Section A2 -- Barents: Boston Zeal, Insanity, and Lawlessness. Boston has captivated the imagination of locals and outsiders alike for centuries, but not only as The Hub or The Athens of America but also as Suck City and the town with "dirty water." In this seminar, we will look at Boston as subject and setting of a number of very different short works in order to understand the social, political, historical, and artistic forces that have shaped this American city and to figure out whether its often negative portrayal is deserved. We will debate, discuss, and question how such influences shape a culture or define a city, examining nonfiction from Benjamin Franklin, Dennis Lehane, Nick Flynn, and Susanna Kaysen; fiction by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Sylvia Plath, and Henry James; and poetry by Robert Lowell and Ann Sexton. We'll also view film excerpts from 'Good Will Hunting', 'The Departed', 'Gone Baby Gone', and 'The Friends of Eddie Coyle'.
  • MET EN 125: Readings in Modern Literature
    Representative fiction, poetry, and drama from modern Continental, British, and American writers. Primarily for students not concentrating in English.
  • MET EN 127: Readings in American Literature
    Selected American writers from the Colonial period to the present. Prose and poetry representative of the American tradition. Primarily for students not concentrating in English.
  • MET EN 141: Literary Types: Fiction
    Representative English and American novels from the eighteenth century to the present. Required papers. Primarily for students not concentrating in English.
  • MET EN 142: Literary Types: Poetry
    Critical reading of representative English and American poems. Primarily for students not concentrating in English.
  • MET EN 143: Literary Types: Drama
    Critical reading of representative plays from the ancient Greeks to the present. Primarily for students not concentrating in English.
  • MET EN 175: Literature and the Art of Film
    Survey and analysis of cinema as an expressive medium from the silent period to the present. Films are screened weekly and discussed in conjunction with works of literature.
  • MET EN 201: Intermediate Composition
    Undergraduate Prerequisites: MET EN 104; or equivalent, or exemption.
    Does not give concentration credit. Practice in writing narration, exposition, argument and persuasion, the critical essay, and the research paper. Related readings. Class discussion of papers. Individual conferences. Students enroll in specific seminars. Limited enrollment.

    MET EN201 -- Section Descriptions for Fall 2013

    Section D1 -- Jackson -- The Lost Generation This class explores the writers of the Lost Generation, American expatriates in Europe in the 1920's and 1930's. These include some of the most important and most popular of all American writers. The readings include Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land, Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises, and F. Scott Fitzgerald's Tender Is the Night.
    Our research will examine these works in the contexts of World War I, growing social and political revolutions, changes in the roles of men and women, the psychologies of both Freud and "shell-shock," contrasts between Europe and America, the economics of a stock market boom and the Great Depression, and the challenges of Modernism in art.

    Section D2 -- Bennett -- Multiethnic American Literature This course examines the psychological, political, sociological, and religious concerns of "ethnic" individuals in the United States in the twenty- and twenty-first centuries and what it means to be an "American." We will carefully define "ethnicity" in various literary texts including novels, a "graphic" book of cartoons, short stories, and poems. We will explore works by Native Americans, African Americans, Latin Americans, Jewish Americans, and Asian Americans. We will read Art Spiegelman's Maus (Volume 1), Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God, John Okada's No-No Boy, Junot Díaz's Drown, Sherman Alexie's The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, and Arab American poetry. The humor in a number of these texts counters the pain described by many of the "ethnic Americans" we will meet this semester.

    Section D3 - Grabianowski -- Technology, Ideology and Society Is it possible to create a sustainable and livable world where equality and human rights are respected? What, if any, roles do science and technology have to play in creating such a world? In this section of English 201, we will first consider how 19th- and 20th-century writers like Nathaniel Hawthorne, Walt Whitman and Aldo Leopold have addressed the practical and ethical issues that arise out of the intersection of technology, nature and society. We will then explore through topics like sustainable business models, ecological economics, big data, agribusiness and genetics how contemporary scientists, technology industry leaders, and writers like Jacob Bronowski, Bill Joy, Michael Pollan and Herman Daly continue to grapple with the rapid transformation of our technological existence.

    Section D4 -- Deese -- World War Two: The Moral Challenge of Total War. The Second World War has been called "the good war" because the Axis powers that were defeated in 1945 had committed such horrific atrocities on such an unprecedented scale. The label of "the good war" prompts the question, however, of when and how any war can be construed as good. This writing-intensive course will use oral history, literature, film, and historical scholarship to develop students' composition skills, as we explore the most haunting dilemmas faced by American politicians, soldiers, and citizens during the Second World War (1939-1945). Among the issues we will explore and debate: appeasement, government secrecy, the nature of our wartime alliance with the Soviet Union, civilian bombardment, the use of nuclear weapons, and the creation of the United Nations.
  • MET EN 202: Introduction to Creative Writing
    Designed mainly for those with little or no experience in creative writing. An introduction to writing in various genres: poetry, fiction, and plays. Students' works discussed in class. Limited enrollment.
  • MET EN 220: Proseminar: Literacy Study
    Fundamentals of literary analysis and interpretation. Intensive study of selected literary texts. Frequent papers. Limited class size. 4 cr
  • MET EN 305: Advanced Writing of Fiction
    Competitive admission, limited enrollment. Note: Obtain syllabus at Creative Writing Program Office (236 Bay State Rd.) before end of fall semester. Intensive study of American writers and of writing by participants. Students write and present at least one story or chapter and read writings of others.
  • MET EN 322: Survey of British Literature I
    Prereq: MET HU 221. British literature from its beginnings to the Restoration.
  • MET EN 323: Survey of British Literature II
    Undergraduate Prerequisites: MET EN 322
    British literature from the Restoration to the end of the nineteenth century.
  • MET EN 355: Modern Drama
    A century's transformations of drama and stage. Reading and discussion of plays from early realism and expressionism to the theatre of the absurd and present trends: Ibsen, Strindberg, Chekhov, Shaw, Synge, Pirandello, Brecht, Sartre, Ionesco, Beckett, Genet, Pinter, and others.
  • MET EN 356: Modern Drama II
    Modern to contemporary drama since about 1950. Beckett, Genet, Osborne, Wesker, Pinter, Arden, Stoppard, Durrenmatt, Grass, Weiss, Handke, Albee, Miller, Williams, Shepard, and others. Related readings in predecessors, such as Kleist and Artaud, and in less well known contemporaries.
  • MET EN 363: Shakespeare I
    Six plays chosen from the following: Richard II, Romeo and Juliet, Henry IV (Part 1), Troilus and Cressida, As You Like It, Hamlet, Othello, Antony and Cleopatra, and The Winter's Tale.
  • MET EN 364: Shakespeare II
    Six plays chosen from the following: Richard III, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Much Ado About Nothing, Measure for Measure, Twelfth Night, Julius Caesar, King Lear, Macbeth, Coriolanus, and The Tempest.
  • MET EN 373: Detective Fiction
    Origins and development of the detective and crime genres in England and America, including works of Collins, Poe, Dickens, Doyle, Christie, Sayers, and Chandler, among others.
  • MET EN 529: The Romantic Age: English Literature in the Age of Revolution
    Blake, Wordsworth, and Coleridge. Emphasis on readings, but the course deals with romanticism both as an historical movement and as a cultural category significantly connected to modernism.
  • MET EN 535: Twentieth-Century British and Irish Poetry
    Close reading of balladic, lyric, and longer poems by Hardy, Yeats, Lawrence, Auden, Rosenberg, Mew, Loy, MacDiarmid, Gurney, Douglas, Larkin, Hill, Harrison, Prynne, others. Poets' essays and opposed schools and approaches. Reference to other arts, and times of political tragedy.