Department of English


The English Honors Program

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 426. You may also download the application here or complete the application online. Completed applications must be returned to the English Department no later than Monday, February 29th, 2016. If you have any questions whatsoever about the seminar, please contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Fall 2016 ENG 396 Honors Seminar: Quixotic Readers

Instructor: Katherine Mannheimer
CRN: 25343
M 1400-1640

The literary tradition is full of erring readers, from Cervantes' deluded Don Quixote, to Goethe's melancholic Young Werther, to the obsessed narrator of James' Aspern Papers. What does it mean to read the "wrong" way? Has this implied something different at different points in history? Does errant reading involve an overestimation — or underestimation — of fiction's relationship to the real world? An excessively worshipful — or excessively dismissive — stance toward a text's author? Our syllabus will encompass novels, poetry, drama, and short stories; authors will include Cervantes, Pope, Swift, Lennox, Austen, Goethe, Sheridan, James, Nabokov, and Roth, among others. Select works of theory and criticism will also figure into our discussions.