(.5 unit credit each)
Each section of these first-year seminars approaches the study of literature through the exploration of a single theme in texts drawn from a variety of literary genres (tragedy, comedy, lyric poetry, epic, novel, short story, film, autobiography, etc.) and historical periods. Classes are small, offering intensive discussion and close attention to each student's writing. While ENGL 103/104 is not a "composition" course, students in each section are asked to work intensively on composition as part of a rigorous introduction to reading, thinking, speaking, and writing about literary texts. During the semester, instructors will assign frequent essays and may also require oral presentations, quizzes, examinations, and research projects. Students may take any two sections of ENGL 103 or ENGL 104 to complete their unit of introductory courses and/or to fulfill their humanities distribution requirement. This course is not open to juniors and seniors without permission of the department chair. Offered annually in multiple sections.
Reading lists for the various sections of KAP English are organized around intensive study of most of the following genres, with selections drawn widely from the cultural and chronological expanse of Anglophone literatures. Individual instructors, in consultation with their colleagues, will devise their own reading lists which will typically include selections from among the following representative texts and writers.
Lyric poetry - selections from "The Norton Anthology of Poetry"
Epic - "The Odyssey" or "Beowulf"
Short story - selections from various anthologies and/or a collection such as "Dubliners"
Novel - "Jane Eyre," "Mama Day," "Heart of Darkness," "Tracks," "Things Fall Apart," "Beloved," "Invisible Man," "1984"
Drama - Shakespeare ("Hamlet," "King Lear," "The Tempest," "As you Like It"), Ibsen, Sophocles, Becket, Stoppard
Autobiography and/or non-fiction - "The Woman Warrior," "Black Boy," "Walden," "Politics and the English Language"
Film - "Apocalypse Now," "Ran"
Many instructors also like to introduce their students to truly contemporary literature by organizing occasional discussions around the most recent edition of the Kenyon Review.
Evaluation is based primarily upon student achievement in the composition of 8-12 essays, most addressing the texts studies, and additional in-class writing and informal assignments. Student essays typically range from 3-5 typed pages. Essays should be evaluated for the relative freshness and sophistication of their insights into the texts in question; their success in developing a focused and well-substantiated argument; their ability to analyze textual evidence, utilizing (as appropriate) close-reading skills; their stylistic control and clarity; their grammatical and mechanical accuracy. As they prepare some of their essays, students will be asked to complete research using reference texts and scholarly sources. Characteristically, sections of the course will conclude with a final essay examination that is comprehensive in scope.
A major component of KAP English classes is the informed and specific discussion of the assigned literature. Discussion should engage as many students as possible each day, and should encourage independent thought, clear articulation of ideas, and close analysis of specific textual detail.
Each fall, school instructors will send their Kenyon colleagues a syllabus for each KAP section, and these will be circulated among the group. Once a year, Kenyon faculty will visit each school colleague, to teach a class or to participate in an on-going discussion. Kenyon faculty will also organize occasional colloquia to bring together students from several KAP English classes for discussion of some common text. Additionally, KAP instructors will meet once each year to discuss assessment,student performance, and other pedagogical and programmatic concerns. Every other summer, KAP instructors will meet for a five-day development seminar which will focus on a collectively-designed syllabus addressing teaching methods and curricular and theoretical questions and encouraging active discussion of new or revisited works of literature.