The Department of English teaches students to read with active understanding and wide appreciation, to write with clarity and grace, and to explore themselves and the world through the intensive study of literature.
ENGL 103 and 104 are designed for students beginning the serious study of literature at the college level, and as such are especially appropriate for first-year students. Either ENGL 103 or ENGL 104, or junior standing, is a prerequisite for further study in English at Kenyon. Students may register for a maximum of one (1) unit of 100-level courses in English, and students may not go back to take a 100-level course after taking a 200-level course.
More advice for new students is available through the department website.
Students who have taken ENGL 103 or ENGL 104 should advance to one of the courses numbered 210-289. These courses have been designed for and are limited to sophomores and first-year students. Like the department's 100-level courses, these classes are small in size, so that classroom interaction can be discussion-centered and so instructors can devote more time to helping students with their writing. These courses provide an introduction to fundamental terms, techniques and methods for the advanced study of literature. Students may expect to learn some of the following: how to do a close reading of a literary text, how to conduct research in literary study (including an introduction to library and information resources, and basic reference tools), some of the basic principles of different approaches to literary criticism, important terms used in literary analysis (including prosody in poetry courses), and the proper documentation of sources. While the subject matter of these courses sometimes parallels that of courses for upper-level students (e.g., Shakespeare, postcolonial literature), all are intended as introductions to a focused and intensive consideration of particular genres, themes, periods or critical questions.
These are courses grounded in the advanced study of literature in English, as well as in the variety of critical and theoretical approaches to literature. These courses examine literary works from a range of historical periods, written in a wide variety of genres, and contributing to different national traditions. Through the reading of influential critical books and articles or through the instructors' modeling of different critical practices, these courses aim to teach students about the various modes of literary criticism, theory and scholarship that constitute the current state of literary study. Thus, these courses aim to make students critically self-aware. Some of these courses will situate literary texts in their historical and cultural contexts. Others will focus on the formal concerns of genre and style. Many will require that students conduct independent research. When the subject matter of these courses overlaps with that of an ENGL course numbered from 210 to 289, these courses will provide more intensive critical study than the broad introductions of the lower-division courses. By taking courses at both curricular levels, students will thus have the opportunity to specialize in a period or genre. The prerequisites for these courses are ENGL 103 or ENGL 104 and an ENGL course numbered from 210 to 289. For students with junior standing, the course prerequisites are waived, since such students have typically written enough analytical essays to be prepared for advanced work in literary study. While these courses will constitute the bulk of the coursework of most English majors, non-majors are encouraged to enroll since contemporary literary study frequently draws upon knowledge and techniques from other disciplines.
English majors are required to complete a minimum of five-and-one-half (5.5) units, eleven courses total, offered or approved by the department. To graduate as English majors, students must meet the following requirements:
Students wishing to major in English with an emphasis in creative writing are required to complete the following:
Qualified seniors who have taken both introductory and advanced creative writing workshops may, with faculty approval, pursue an individual study in creative writing (ENGL 493); this course is not available to students who have not taken both workshops.
Students who are unable to take the advanced creative writing workshops may petition the English Department to count two introductory workshops in a single genre as fulfillment of the two-workshop requirement for the emphasis, as long as these workshops have been taken with different instructors. ENGL 150 may count as a prerequisite for 300-level creative writing courses. Introductory courses in fiction and creative nonfiction (ENGL 200 and ENGL 202) may serve as prerequisites for advanced courses in both genres (ENGL 300 and ENGL 302). Students pursuing the Creative Writing Emphasis must take at least one of their two primary workshops (200- and 300-level) at Kenyon.
Admission to all 200- and 300-level creative writing workshops is based on the submission of a writing sample and permission of the instructor. ENGL 200 or 202 is a prerequisite for ENGL 300; ENGL 201 is a prerequisite for ENGL 301. ENGL 200 or 202 is a prerequisite for ENGL 302. Creative writing courses are open to non-majors. For specific course offerings, sample requirements and submission deadlines, check with the English Department administrative assistant.
English minors are required to complete a minimum of two-and-one-half (2.5) units, 5 courses, offered or approved by the department. Students must meet the following requirements:
In order to meet the college-wide Senior Exercise requirement, the English Department requires its majors to take an examination based on a set reading list. The examination is based on a short reading list of a major work or set of lyric poems by twelve different writers; it will be completed in two timed sittings, normally on the Saturday of the week after spring break. The morning two-hour examination will consist of short-answer questions and a short essay, as well as identifications of and brief commentary on passages reproduced from works on the reading list. The afternoon two-hour examination will require students to write an extended essay analyzing a lyric poem by one of the poets on the reading list. The reading list will be different for each graduating class, so students should request from the chair of the English Department the reading list for their particular class.
Reading lists, by year, are available on the department website.
Students of demonstrated ability who would like to undertake more independent work are encouraged to enter the Honors Program. In order to be eligible for the Honors program, students must have a 3.5 grade-point average in their English courses and a 3.3 grade-point average overall. The Honors Program consists of the following:
Please see the description for the Honors Program in English, available from the department administrative assistant, for details. Detailed and complete information is also available on the English department website.
The department directs a year-long program of study at the University of Exeter in England for junior majors and non-majors who qualify for admission. A member of our department teaches at the university, conducts seminars for Kenyon students, leads numerous co-curricular excursions, and administers the program. See the director of the Center for Global Engagement or the department chair for more information.
Students wishing to transfer credit for courses taken elsewhere must petition the department before taking the courses in question.