American Literature Program Requirements

These requirements are from an excerpt from the University Academic Catalog, which outline the requirements for a student to earn the distinction of being a Castleton University graduate. The complete catalog is available online.

Students who complete the BA in English will:

  1. understand how literary and linguistic conventions have developed and operate;
  2. understand how accomplished readers read fiction, poetry, and drama;
  3. understand how accomplished writers create form, effect, and influence;
  4. apply that understanding to their own reading and writing.

So that English department faculty can better evaluate each student's progress and accomplishments in these areas, all English majors must submit a portfolio of three essays during the spring semester of their sophomore year and another portfolio of three essays during the spring semester of their senior year. The department will distribute submission instructions at the beginning of each spring semester.

BA in Literature with a Concentration in American Literature

Complete the following courses (27 cr):

Code Course Credits

ENG 1310

Introduction to Literature (L)

(complete this course the first year)

This course asks students to consider and apply the variety of formal strategies by which accomplished readers interpret, appraise, and appreciate fiction, poetry, and drama. English majors should complete this course their first year.

This course counts towards the Aesthetic Understanding Frame of Reference.

Prerequisite: ENG 0040/ENG 1010, or equivalents.

Every semester

3

ENG 2010

Expository and Argumentative Writing

Primarily concerned with writing that explains or elaborates and writing that persuades, this course builds upon the foundation laid by ENG 1061.Further emphasis is given grammar and mechanics, development and style, with particular attention paid the skills of critical thinking and the strategies of persuasion. English majors must complete this course their first or second year.

Prerequisite: ENG 1061.

Spring Fall, even years

3

ENG 2271

English Literature: Anglo-Saxons to 18th Century (L)

This course introduces the major authors, genres, and motifs of English literature from its inception to the end of the neoclassical period. A wide range of materials is presented, from the development of the English language and its Anglo-Saxon base to masterfully crafted rhymed couplets, from the Canterbury pilgrims to Dr. Faustus, from the Red Crosse Knight and Oroonoko to Satan and a cat named Jeoffry, from Grendel to Gulliver.

Prerequisite: ENG 1061. Highly recommended: ENG 1310.

Fall

3

ENG 2272

English Literature: 18th Century to Present (L)

Continuing the introduction begun in ENG 2271, this course spans the Romantic, Victorian, modern, and contemporary periods. Again, its scope is broad: from Songs of Innocence to A Room of One’s Own, from Manfred to Kurtz, Frankenstein’s monster to Godot, from Heathcliff and Aurora Leigh to J. Alfred Prufrock and Stephen Dedalus, from the early Romantic poets’ Neoplatonism to the somber mood and modes following the cataclysmic First World War.

Prerequisite: ENG 1061. Highly recommended: ENG 1310.

Spring

3

ENG 2311

American Literature: Colonial to Civil War (L)

This course examines the formal and philosophical features of American literature through the Civil War, particularly those features that resulted from the exhilarating yet complex, even contradictory, new American character. Reading includes fiction, poetry, and essays that characterize and illustrate colonial, Romantic, and Civil War era literary endeavor.

Prerequisite: ENG 1061. Highly recommended: ENG 1310.

Fall

3

ENG 2312

American Literature: Civil War to Present (L)

This course examines the formal and philosophical features of American literature from the Civil War to the present, particularly those features wrought by the Civil War, by urbanization, by advances in science and psychology, and by the two world wars. Reading includes fiction, poetry, and drama that characterize and illustrate literary regionalism, realism, naturalism, and modernism—and that begin to characterize contemporary American literature by, and against, those traditions.

Prerequisite: ENG 1061. Highly recommended: ENG 1310.

Spring

3

ENG 3260

Western Mythology (L)

This course is an intensive study of predominantly Western myths: as tales, as narrative cosmologies and archetypes, as the contexts for later literature, as re-visioned in contemporary culture. Primary emphasis is on the ancient myths of Greek and Scandinavian-Germanic cultures, with some consideration given to myth's prehistoric base; a representative sampling of myths from around the world, as well as the Bible, is also included.

This course fulfills the Aesthetic Understanding or World Views Frame of Reference.

Prerequisite: Highly recommended: ENG 1310.

Spring

3

ENG 3690

The English Language: Grammar

Designed to investigate the systematic nature of English grammar, this course draws from both structural and transformational linguistics. It analyzes sentence structure—how to identify, expand, and transform the basic sentence patterns; it studies the assorted forms and functions of words, phrases, and clauses; and it examines the relationship between grammar and rhetoric, particularly by way of cohesion, rhythm, emphasis, and punctuation. This course also considers the evolution of English grammar.

Prerequisite: ENG 1061. Highly recommended: ENG 2010.

Fall

3

ENG 4140

Approaches to Literature (L)

This senior seminar studies the variety of critical approaches by which accomplished readers interpret, appraise, and appreciate fiction, poetry, and drama. Not only do students consider the nature and purpose of literary criticism, but they also analyze and apply the principles that define such approaches as formalism, historicism, reader-response criticism, mimeticism, and intertextualism.

Prerequisite: ENG 1310

Fall

3

and complete 1 of these courses (3 cr):

Code Course Credits

ENG 3360

Shakespeare Comedies and Histories (L)

This examination of Shakespeare's early plays attends to his development as playwright and poet, the nature and growth of his comic vision, and the relationship of the plays to his age and ours.

Prerequisite: Highly recommended: ENG 1310.

Fall, odd years

3

ENG 3370

Shakespeare Tragedies And Late Comedies (L)

The major tragedies are viewed with special attention to the characterization, the nature, and the growth of Shakespeare's tragic vision; and to the increasing sophistication of his dramatic poetry. The late comedies are viewed as growing out of and complementing the vision of the tragedies.

Prerequisite: Highly recommended: ENG 1310.

Spring, even years

3

and complete 15 credits selected from:

Code Course Credits

ENG 3520

American Poetry (L)

So that students understand the distinctive attributes and achievements of American poetry, this course studies the abiding and evolving characteristics of poetry in general; the English and European influences on American poetry; but especially the development of American poetry itself by way of form and function, in particular the influences on, and of, modern American poetry. Reading includes poetry that represents such development from the nineteenth century to the present.

This course counts towards the Aesthetic Understanding Frame of Reference.

Prerequisite: Highly recommended: ENG 1310, ENG 2311, and ENG 2312.

Spring, even years

3

ENG 3530

American Novel (L)

So that students understand the distinctive attributes and achievements of the American novel, this course studies the abiding and evolving characteristics of the novel in general; the profound differences between the nineteenth century American and English novel; but especially the development of the American novel itself, with significant investigation of Romantic and modern forms and purposes. Reading includes novels that represent such development from the nineteenth century to the present.

This course counts towards the Aesthetic Understanding Frame of Reference.

Prerequisite: Highly recommended: ENG 1310, ENG 2311, and ENG 2312.

Spring, odd years

3

ENG 3550

American Short Fiction (L)

With the American short story and novella as its subject, this course studies short fiction by way of the literary conventions that define, sustain, and transform it; by way of the distinctions to be drawn between short fiction and the novel; but predominantly by way of the formal and philosophical development of American short fiction itself, with particular attention paid its modern and contemporary significance. Reading includes short fiction that represents such development from the nineteenth century to the present.

This course counts towards the Aesthetic Understanding Frame of Reference.

Prerequisite: Highly recommended: ENG 1310, ENG 2311, and ENG 2312.

Fall, odd years

3

ENG 3560

American Drama (L)

This course studies drama by way of the literary conventions that define, sustain, and transform it; by way of the English and European influences on American drama; but predominantly by way of the formal and philosophical development of American drama itself, with particular attention paid its modern and contemporary significance. Reading includes drama that represents such development from the nineteenth century to the present.

This course counts towards the Aesthetic Understanding Frame of Reference.

Prerequisite: Highly recommended: ENG 1310, ENG 2311, and ENG 2312.

Fall, even years

3

ENG 3570

American Literary Movements (L)

This course examines American literature by the study of one significant literary movement: transcendentalism, for example, or naturalism; imagism or the Harlem Renaissance. Students investigate the causes of that literary movement, the writers and works by which that movement achieved significance, the principles that have come to stand for that movement, and the effects of that movement on the larger unfolding of American literature.

This course counts towards the Aesthetic Understanding Frame of Reference.

Prerequisite: Highly recommended: ENG 1310, ENG 2311, and ENG 2312.

Spring, odd years

3

ENG 3580

African American Literature (L)

Students survey prominent African American literature from the eighteenth century to the present. The relationship between vernacular literature-the blues, gospel, jazz, the sermon-and the formal African American literary tradition is examined. Students also consider the relationship between African American literature and the more general category of American literature.

This course counts towards the Aesthetic Understanding Frame of Reference.

Prerequisite: Highly recommended: ENG 1310, ENG 2311, and ENG 2312.

Fall, even years

3

ENG 3600

American Literary Careers (L)

This course examines American literature by the study of one significant American writer's literary career. Students investigate the relationship between that writer's life and literary production; the critical reception of that literary production over time; and that writer's effect on the larger unfolding of American literature. This course might on occasion examine two significant writers for insights about American literature that reveal themselves only upon studying one literary career by another.

This course counts towards the Aesthetic Understanding Frame of Reference.

Prerequisite: Highly recommended: ENG 1310, ENG 2311, and ENG 2312.

Spring, even years

3

ENG 3610

Women Writers (L)

This course examines American and world literature written by women, including such genres as the novel, biography, autobiography, poetry, and the essay. The course also investigates images of women as well as the intersection of genre, gender, race, socioeconomic class, and historical period.

This course counts towards the Aesthetic Understanding Frame of Reference.

Prerequisite: Highly recommended: ENG 1310.

Fall, odd years

3

(Credits required for the major: 45 cr)

Note that no more than two major courses may be taken pass/no pass

And complete the University's Gen Ed requirements

Click here for General Education Requirements.

Law Degree (CU/VLS 3+2)

This major participates in the 3+2 program with Vermont Law School, in which highly-focused students can earn a Bachelor's degree in just three years at CU and a Juris Doctor (JD) degree in just two years at VLS.

For details, see the Law Degree page.