Capstone Courses


ENGL 551: Fiction Writing II

Instructor: Brian Daldorph
46473 | M 4:10 - 7:00 PM | REGN 152 - EDWARDS

Instructor: Adam Desnoyers
40822 | TuTh 2:30 - 3:45 PM | WES 4068 - LAWRENCE

This course will help experienced student fiction writers develop their skills further. Through examples found in published stories and in-class instruction, we will focus on what makes stories work and present new ways to think about the different elements of story, including character, conflict, and dialogue. Students will also find themselves among a community of like-minded peers just as serious about fiction writing as they are.

Students can expect to produce two to three original works of short fiction; additionally, they will be reading and critiquing the work of their peers.

Instructor: Kij Johnson
47012 | W 4:00 - 6:30 PM | WES 4076 - LAWRENCE

Pages of open books

ENGL 552: Poetry Writing II

Instructor: Joseph Harrington
49111 | TuTh 1:00 - 2:15 PM | WES 4021 - LAWRENCE

This workshop is based on the idea that to be a good writer, you have to write a lot and read a lot. So, we’ll all be doing both. We will read a lot of the work of student poets in the class (i.e., you), as well as poems by published poets who aren’t in the class. You’ll be required to compose a poem most weeks and to submit it to other members of the class. We’ll take different approaches over the course of the semester, to see what a poem is doing and to suggest ways to take it in new and exciting directions. My philosophy: all poetry, regardless of subject-matter, is about words, and words are sounds or marks on a page + blank space. We get to make imaginative compositions out of those sounds, marks, and space, and doing so can be a lot of fun. The goals? To improve your skill and confidence writing, talking about writing, giving and accepting useful critique, and expanding your versatility as a wordsmith generally.

Close up of fountain pen drawing ink curves on paper

ENGL 555: Nonfiction Writing II

Instructor: Doug Crawford-Parker
46482 | MW 3:00 - 4:15 PM | WES 4023 - LAWRENCE

English 555 is a creative writing workshop focused on continuing students’ development as essayists to expand their ability in the genre’s myriad possibilities of both form and content. The course focuses on student work through the peer review workshop, but we also read outside to understand better some of the potential, possibilities, and pitfalls of the essay form. Students write three essays and contribute regular critiques of one another’s work. One essay is then revisited at semester’s end as part of a larger revision project. Students are required to take part in a group reading of their own work and do several shorter presentations. The workshop format of the course demands a high level of student participation, both in degree and quality. Students can expect to be challenged intellectually and creatively in producing new and original writing and engaging with their fellow students to think about the process of writing as essayists.

Gridded notebook open on wooden surface with black pencil and greenery on either side

ENGL 565: The Gothic Tradition

Instructor: Geraldo Sousa
55753 | TuTh 11:00 - 12:15 PM | WES 4035 - LAWRENCE

This course explores and defines the Gothic tradition in British and American literature from its beginnings in the late eighteenth century to more recent twentieth-century texts in literature and film. The Gothic presents intensely psychological states of fear: portals open to phantasmagorical parallel realms of darkness and shadows. It disturbs and de-stabilizes the natural, empirical, logical boundaries of reality and pursues supernatural possibility, a night world of nightmares and shadows, realms of mystery and magic. This course will focus on the Gothic’s recurring topics, themes and concerns, such as the Uncanny, Doubles, live burial, life after/in death, haunted houses, vampires, and monsters, as well as their cultural implications, asking why these concerns come together to form the conventions of Gothic literature and why these conventions have proven to be so compelling. For additional information, contact Dr. Sousa: sousa@ku.edu

Ceiling of Gothic cathedral with light shining through windows

ENGL 569: The Modern Tradition

Instructor: Katie Conrad
55765 | By Appointment | ONLINE - LAWRENCE
57056 | By Appointment | ONLINE - EDWARDS

Often defined as a movement in art and literature in the US and Europe that flourished between the two world wars and embraced radical formal experimentation, modernism can encompass a broader timeline and geography as well as a more complex collection of ideas and forms of expression. In this course, we will explore some of the standard definitions, texts, and aesthetics associated with modernism as well as some of the writers and artists in dialogue with, and sometimes resistant to, modernist approaches. While the course itself argues for a more global definition of modernism, the primary focus will be transatlantic due to the constraints of the semester.

This is an online asynchronous capstone course and will require short papers, an annotated bibliography and research paper in addition to regular reading and online participation. There will be opportunities for one or two campus-based activities with alternatives provided for those for whom campus activity is not possible or preferred. Office hours will be available both virtually and in person.

Klingen (Sound) by Johannes Molzahn

ENGL 598: Literature of the South

Instructor: Doreen Fowler
55766 | TuTh 11:00 - 12:15 PM | WES 4020 - LAWRENCE

In our reading and discussions, we will be thinking critically about issues of race, gender, class, ethnicity, and American and Southern identity within the social and historical contexts of the pre- and post-Civil War South. Our discussion will also be informed by reading current literary scholarship on Southern literature. The course will be discussion-based, and it will heavily emphasize writing. .Course requirements will include: two papers (each approximately 6-7 typewritten pages); response papers; reading quizzes; a midterm and a take-home final exam. Class participation also is a requirement. The texts for the course follow: Frederick Douglass, 'Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass;' Mark Twain, 'Pudd'nhead Wilson;' Nella Larsen, 'Passing;' William Faulkner, 'Selected Short Stories of William Faulkner;' William Faulkner, 'As I Lay Dying;' Richard Wright, 'Eight Men;' Flannery O’Connor, 'A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories;' Ralph Ellison, excerpt from 'Invisible Man;' Toni Morrison, 'Beloved'

Artistic depiction of Mark Twain reading from piece of paper with white flowers behind him