Course Detail

Course list for Introduction to Literature

English 110 satisfies the Literary Studies, Creative Writing, and Rhetoric distribution requirement.
Check schedule to determine which course is being offered.

FALL 2016

ENG 110 A Shakespeare & Sports

Contemporary sports and Elizabethan theater have much in common. Both present spectacles, before a rowdy audience, in an arena. Both involve rehersal and scripted performance. Both require guides, whether a director or a coach. Both create rivalry, whether between teams or acting companies. Most important, both center on stories that thrive on the essential, exhilarating, and painful human experience. Like Shakespeare's plays, sports history yields instances of extraordinary heroism and of heart-breaking mistakes. Real athletes find reflection in many of Shakespeare's best known characters. Take, for instance, Dale Earrnhardt, Jr., whose larger-than-life father haunts him as King Hamlet's ghost haunts his son. Andre Agassi's second chance at tennis recalls The Tempest's Prospero, who is exiled from and returns to dominate another court. This class explores how such moments and people in sports find reflection in Shakespeare's works.

ENG 110 B  Literature & Medicine

Science and medicine have indelibly 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, addiction, 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 perceptions of health, disease, suffering and death.

ENG 110 C Introduction to Environmental Literature (=ENV 210)


(Cross-listed as Environmental 210.)  An introduction to global environmental literature.  We'll focus primarily on short fiction, novels, and non-fiction prose.  The course will introduce students to environmental justice issues as well as contemporary trends in global literature.  Literary and environmental topics include toxicity, waste, food, inequality, the idea of "wilderness," and activism.  No prior experience studying literature is required.

Satisfies depth or breadth course requirement in Humanities Track of the Environmental Studies major or interdisciplinary minor.

Future section topics:

ENG110 - Graphic Medicine:  Drawing Disability


Why is the graphic novel literary? And why has it become an immensely popular site for the representation of illness, disability, and medicine?  In this Introduction to Literature class, we'll start with the premise that the unique intersection of word, color, image, text, and juxtaposition offered by the graphic novel offers authors singular opportunities for storytelling. We will further ask: what do comics, zines, and graphic novels have to teach us about our varied kinds of embodiment, particularly about disabled bodies? We will consider how these visual texts teach us about how bodies engage with the social and medical contexts surrounding them. Encompassing everything from bipolar disorder to cancer, depression to HIV/AIDS, epilepsy to deafness, and end-of-life issues to amputation, possible course works may include Epileptic, Cancer Vixen, Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, and Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michaelangelo, and Me. 

Counts as an innovation course for the major.

Counts for the Health and Human Values Interdisciplinary Minor

ENG110 - Introduction to Comedy


This course offers an overview of the comic tradition in English, from the Middle Ages to the present, from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales to Arrested Development.  Although humor will be a recurring feature of some texts and of most class meetings, this course traces how comedies respond to inescapable challenges of human life:  social and political structures as apparent obstacles to the desires of individuals; the body and its failings, to the point of death; art, particularly comedy, as a reassuring (or maybe deceptive) refuge of happy endings that can seem elusive in life.  Different eras respond differently to those challenges, so the course offers a broad survey of literary and cultural history.  Over the semester, students and professor alike will look for comedy in surprising places, including in the form of the course itself, certain to end happily, before it has even begun.

ENG 110 - Introduction to Environmental Literature: Food Literature (= ENV 210)

(Cross-listed as Environmental 210).

This course is for Foodies, Ag Activists, Farm Fans, and anyone who is interested in literature about food from a variety of perspectives.  We'll read fiction, poetry, and nonfiction about the pleasures of eating, the cultural and aesthetic significance of food, rural and urban agriculture, and food justice.  Field trips will include farm visits, and students will participate in hands-on, community-based assignments connected to the college's Food and Sustainability project. 

Satisfies depth or breadth course requirement in Humanities Track of the Environmental Studies major or interdisciplinary minor.

ENG 110 - Introduction to Shakespeare

This course is designed for students who have encountered at least a little Shakespeare-in a book or on a stage or on a screen-and who have enjoyed those encounters. It surveys a selection of Shakespeare's plays, including comedies (Much Ado about Nothing), histories (Henry V), tragedies (Othello), and hybrids of several genres (The Tempest). We will approach the plays primarily through close-reading and spirited conversation, but also through in-class performances, film adaptations, and occasional critical texts. At the end of the semester, students enrolled in the course will choose our final play, as a step out of the classroom and toward a lifetime relationship with the writer who most shaped our words and still shapes our world.

ENG 110 - Literature of Celebrity
StaffAn 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.
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.

ENG 110 - Media & 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.