The English Department Honors Program gives our majors scope, during their senior year, for especially intense and independent work in English literature and language. The program begins in the fall semester with an Honors Seminar, limited to about fifteen students; all honors students are required to enroll in this seminar. In the spring semester, each student completes an honors thesis, a text written on a topic of their own choosing. The thesis is ordinarily an extended scholarly or critical essay, but majors in creative writing can submit extended work in prose or poetry as their thesis. While the fall seminar is intended to prepare and focus students for the in-depth work of writing an honors thesis, the possible topics for theses need in no way be bound to the seminar topic. Theses and creative manuscripts in the past have included "Seventeenth-Century Religious Poetry," "Star Wars," "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight," "Angela Carter," "Ralph Waldo Emerson and Cultural Critique," "Motion: A Collection of Short Stories," and "Twelve Angry Wimmin: A One-Act Play" that was produced. All junior English majors are invited to apply.
Application forms are available in the English Department office, Morey 404. You may also download the application here or complete the application online. Completed applications must be returned to the English Department no later than Friday, March 9. If you have any questions whatsoever about the seminar, please contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies.
The English Honors Seminar in fall 2013 will focus on the literature of the English Revolution. We will be considering writing from the decades immediately preceding and during the military conflicts that culminated with the beheading of Charles I, throughout the interregnum, and into the early years of the restoration of the monarchy under Charles II.
These decades are fascinating to literary scholars for a number of reasons. They witnessed a striking increase in literacy among men and women, an expanding definition of authorship, and an explosion of the number and kind of printed texts. We will be reading verse, plays, prose fiction, biographies and autobiographies, sermons and prophecies, diaries, prison memoirs, and treatises on education, politics, religion, and science. This writing allows us to consider, among other topics, the relationship between aesthetics and politics, between staged and printed plays, between canonical and non-canonical authors, and among literary, political, religious, and scientific writing.
Class sessions and assignments will emphasize the particular qualities of this lively collection of writing, and will help students refine the skills in research and analysis that will be so crucial when writing the honors essay in the spring semester.
Our readings will include work by Bunyan, Brackley and Jane Cavendish, Margaret Cavendish, Dryden, Evans and Chevers, Evelyn, Fox, Harrington, Hobbes, Hooke, Killegrew, Lilburne, Marvell, Milton, Nayler, Pepys, Philips, Traherne, Trapnell, Vaughan, and Winstanley.