Varies (See below)
English 110 satisfies the Literary Studies, Creative Writing, and Rhetoric distribution requirement.
ENG 110 Literature and Medicine
Science and medicine have indeliby influenced how we understand and respond to the physical and mental state of being human. We will consider how an appreciation of literary texts and the questions they broach give us a different insight into the human condition and affect our awareness of health, additiction, illness, disease, suffering, recovery, and death. In doing so, we will also pay close attention to the cultural coding of these issues, as we examine how gender, class, race, sexual orientation, or other cultural biases color our preceptions of health, disease, suffering and death.
Texts range from William Shakespeare to Kurt Vonnegut, Frances Burney to Barbara Ehrenreich, W. H. Auden to Atul Gawande, Emily Dickinson to Lucille Clifton.
ENG 110 Media and Community
From Walt Whitman's broad embrace of American readers in the 1860s to the digital social networks of today, this course examines how various media form communities of readers and writers. We will investigate how lyric poetry creates one kind of intimacy between author and reader, how blogs establish another, and how the NBC television comedy Community builds its own cult following. Davidson College meets Greendale Community College in a course that teaches you how to read, analyze, and respond critically and creatively to various forms of media.
ENG 110 Reading Violence
"Violence is one of the most fun things to watch."—Quentin Tarentino
"Violence isn't always evil. What's evil is the infatuation with violence."—Jim Morrison
"I write about violence as naturally as Jane Austen wrote about manners. Violence shapes and obsesses our society, and if we do not stop being violent we have no future."—Edward Bond, British playwright
English 110: Introduction to Literature is a course for Davidson College students who wish to fulfill the core literature requirement. Its focus is to help students improve their skills in college-level reading with an end toward enjoyment, appreciation, and most of all, thoughtful and intelligent critical discourse, both spoken and written. All viewpoints and opinions are welcome, with one exception: "Aren't we reading too much into that?" Deep, engaged reading is exactly the point of the profession of the literary critic, who makes the world around her or him a better place by responding to ideas–their own, and those of others.
The theme along which our course will be organized is "Reading Violence." This may seem strange: reading seems such a peaceful act, one we imagine as passive, quiet, and restive–a world away, it would seem, from violence. Why and how, then, would an author choose to introduce violence into a text? Is violence always physical and overt? What additional meanings can it have and experiences can it convey to us? Can we–or should we–"enjoy" some kinds of violence? What are we meant to do once we engage with violence? We'll use an exploration of the many ways violence can appear as our theme for reading mostly contemporary novels, drama, and the graphic novel.
Below, I've listed examples of some of the texts we're going to read in the course, and some of the questions about different kinds of violence they raise. I hope you'll join me for some exciting and profound conversations, liberally dosed with irreverence and thoughtful commentary in equal parts.
Dorothy Allison, Bastard Out of Carolina - In this, the story of a young girl growing up poor, queer, and Southern, we contemplate many things: violence against women, homophobia, and classism, but also human resilience.
Ian McEwan, Saturday - McEwan's novel, among the first post-9/11 novels, examines 24 hours in the life of a London neurosurgeon, Henry Perowne, whose day is at first terribly mundane and then violently disrupted.
Katherine Boo, Behind the Beautiful Forevers - Boo's work of creative nonfiction details the daily life in a slum immediately adjacent to the Mumbai airport. It asks us whether justice and generosity are only for the privileged.
Alexi Kaye Campbell, The Pride - Campbell's play explores the violence internalized homophobia has done and can do. Like another work we'll read, "Brokeback Mountain," the work explores the history of gay men, and the extent to which they had to hide their true identities in the years before gay pride.
Truman Capote, In Cold Blood - Capote's famous novel documents the horrific murder of a Kansas family of four in the 1960s.
Toni Morrison, Home - The legacy of race violence in our country is long, bloody, and tragic. What does it mean to call a place "home" that has at once fostered you yet made you a second-class citizen?
GB Tran, Vietnamerica - Tran takes us with him as he slowly learns about the history of his family's flight from war-torn Vietnam.
ENG 110 The Front Porch: 2x4
This course invites non-majors interested in a literature course to enter the house of southern fiction. During this semester, we will study two works (a novel and a collection of short fiction) by four authors from the American South.
Authors and works include the following:
Flannery O'Connor: Wise Blood and A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories
Ernest Gaines: A Lesson Before Dying and Bloodline
Lee Smith: Fair and Tender Ladies and Mrs. Darcy and the Blue-eyed Stranger
Tony Earley: Jim the Boy and Here we are in Paradise
If you like good stories filled with uncommon characters and want to experience four powerful voices from the American south, please join the class.
ENG 110 Literature of Celebrity
An introduction to literary thought, including attention to the tasks of close reading and of building sustained arguments in written form about texts. Focuses on writing about the idea of fame, both in the contemporary world and throughout the past. Includes attention to a variety of literary forms, including novels, short stories, poetry, drama, film, and creative nonfiction. Major credit. (Not offered 2013-14.)
ENG 110 Mystery and Its Fictions
Mystery and Its Fictions is an introductory course intended for students who wish to fulfill the Davidson College literary studies requirement—but, more importantly, is a course intended for students who wish to take a course that will give them a college-level foundation for the fascinations of life-long reading.
This course will explore the mystery of how texts mean and matter, investigate mystery fiction as a literary genre, and consider detective fiction as a stylized mode of theological quest for the answers to the age-old riddles of death, sin, and loss. Readings will range from some primary texts of mystery cult religions of the Graeco-Roman world to the detective fictions of Edgar Allan Poe, Wilkie Collins, Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christi, and Dashiel Hammett to the postmodern mysteries of Paul Auster's New York Trilogy. (Not offered 2013/2014.)
Grading: 25% papers, 25% tests and quizzes, 25% final exam, 25% consistency and thoughtfulness of class participation and discussion.
ENG 110 Literature & Social Change
An exploration of the ethics of art-making amid current social issues, in conversation with the authors studied—all of whom will either visit class or video-conference with the class. Among the writers and works under consideration: Robert Olen Butler, The Hot Country; Richard Garcia, Rancho Notorious; Rebecca Hazelton, Fair Copy; Cathy Park Hong, Engine Empire; Matthew Kirkpatrick, Light Without Heat; Katherine Min, Secondhand World; Victoria Redel, The Border of Truth; Brian Turner, Here, Bullet. Major credit. (Not offered 2013/2014).