English Department
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Courses

All midshipmen are required to complete or validate two semesters of English during the fourth-class year: HE111 and HE112. Validation of HE111 is awarded for: exceptional performance on the Validation/Placement Exam that all 4th class midshipmen take soon after their arrival at the Naval Academy; or an Advanced Placement score of 5 on the Composition and/or Literature exam; or a score of 7 on the International Baccalaureate Higher Level (HL) English Exam (A1 Exam).

Students who have taken the AP or IB English exams and have earned a 5 on the AP or a 7 on the IB, must have their scores sent to the Naval Academy. Official documentation is required for validation credit. Transfer credit is not accepted for core English courses.

See the official USNA English Course Catalog in the USNA Academics website.

Core Courses - All Semesters

HE101

Practical Writing (3-0-3) [Fall] 

The study and practice of grammatically correct and rhetorically effective expository prose, supplemented by the analysis of essays by professional writers. 

HE111

Rhetoric and Introduction to Literature I (3-0-3) [Fall]

The first of a two course sequence stressing the writing of rhetorically effective and grammatically correct expository prose. Readings include essays, short stories, and plays. 

HE111W

Rhetoric and Introduction to Literature I (3-0-3) [Fall, Spring]

A course similar to HE111 but for students who need more concentrated instruction in writing. Section size limited to 16 students.

HE111S

Rhetoric and Introduction to Literature I (3-0-3) [Fall]

An honors level of HE111 for students with well-developed writing skills.

HE112

Rhetoric and Introduction to Literature II (3-0-3) [Spring]

The second of a two course sequence stressing the writing of rhetorically effective and grammatically correct expository prose. Readings include novels and poetry. Prereq: HE111.

HE112W

Rhetoric and Introduction to Literature II (3-0-3) [Fall, Spring]

A course similar to HE112 but for students who need more concentrated instruction in writing. Section size limited to 16 students. Prereq: HE111W.

HE112S

Rhetoric and Introduction to Literature II (3-0-3) [Spring]

An honors level of HE112 for students with well-developed writing skills. Prereq: HE111S.

HE112V

Rhetoric and Introduction to Literature II (3-0-3) [Fall]

A one-semester course in writing and literature, focused on novels and poetry. Prereq: validation of HE111.

Electives - Fall Semester

HE217

Early Western Literature (3-0-3)

A balanced survey of the Western literary tradition and its backgrounds, from ancient Greece through the Middle Ages. Readings may include classical Greek and Roman epic, drama, and philosophy; selections from the Bible; and medieval poetry, drama, and philosophy.

HE242

Methods of Literary Analysis (3-0-3)

The gateway course into the major. Introduces students to the critical vocabulary used by literary critics in textual readings and the skills necessary to conduct in-depth research projects. Readings will focus on a small selection of primary sources coupled with a representative sampling of advanced critical methodologies.

HE301

Patterns in Drama (3-0-3)

A study of drama, emphasizing reading, viewing, and analyzing dramatic literature and performance. 

HE302

Forms of Poetry (3-0-3)

A study in the analysis of poetic form and expression.

HE306

Types of Fiction (3-0-3)

A study in the novel and short story with particular emphasis on the conventions, techniques, and innovations in the form. 

HE314 

The Renaissance Mind (3-0-3)

Literature and thought of the period bracketed by the two great English epics, Spenser's Faerie Queene and Milton's Paradise Lost. The course includes a continental perspective, with readings from authors such as Machiavelli, Rabelais, Cervantes, Montaigne, and Castiglione.

HE315

Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Literature (3-0-3)

The literature of the period 1660-1780. Readings may include the plays, novels, satires, and poetry of such writers as Behn, Dryden, Swift, Defoe, Fielding, Pope, Steele, Sheridan, and Johnson.

HE319

Victorian Literature (3-0-3)

British literature from the 1830s to the end of the nineteenth century. Readings may include works from authors such as Dickens, the Brontes, George Eliot, Hardy, Tennyson, the Brownings, Arnold, Carlyle, and Darwin.

HE320

Contemporary British Literature (3-0-3)

British Literature from 1945 to the present day. Reading may include the novels of Orwell, Greene, Murdoch, Naipaul, Barnes, Ishigura, and Zadie Smith; the plays of Beckett, Pinter, Orton, Stoppard, Churchill, and Friel; and the poetry of Larkin, Heaney, Hughes, Gunn, and Motion.

HE326

Early American Literature, 1607-1860 (3-0-3)

A survey of American literature including Native American tradition from European settlement to the Civil War, emphasizing the relationship between the emerging culture and literature. Readings may include works from such authors as Bradford, Bradstreet, Franklin, Wheatley, Cooper, Emerson, Thoreau, Poe, Hawthorne, Melville, and Douglass.

HE329

Modern American Literature, 1914-1945 (3-0-3)

A survey of American literature between the wars. Readings may include works by such authors as Stein, Eliot, Faulkner, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Hughes, Hurston, Larsen, O'Neill, Steinbeck, West, and Wright.

HE333

Shakespeare (3-0-3)

A study of a representative sample of Shakespeare's tragedies, comedies, and histories. Readings may also include works by Shakespeare's contemporaries. 

HE340

African-American Literature (3-0-3)

A survey of representative African-American literature from such major figures as Wheatley, Toomer, Hughes, Hurston, Wright, Ellison, Baldwin, Baraka, Brooks, Hayden, Wilson, and Morrison.

HE343

Creative Writing (3-0-3)

An introduction to the writing of prose, poetry, and drama.

HE344

Professional Communication (3-0-3)

A study of advanced methods of presenting information in a wide variety of forms. Assignments may include preparing articles, reports, and military documents. Students may be asked to design and present a persuasive or analytical speech. 

Electives - Spring Semester

HE217

Early Western Literature (3-0-3)

A balanced survey of the Western literary tradition and its backgrounds, from ancient Greece through the Middle Ages. Readings may include classical Greek and Roman epic, drama, and philosophy; selections from the Bible; and medieval poetry, drama, and philosophy.

HE222

The Bible and Literature (3-0-3)

The Bible and its influence on European and American literature. Emphasis will be placed on modern biblical literary-critical methodology and on the symbolic richness of derivative literature from Dante to Nikos Kazantzakis.

HE242

Methods of Literary Analysis (3-0-3)

The gateway course into the major. Introduces students to the critical vocabulary used by literary critics in textual readings and the skills necessary to conduct in-depth research projects. Readings will focus on a small selection of primary sources coupled with a representative sampling of advanced critical methodologies.

HE250

Literature of the Sea (3-0-3)

Study of sea literature from the epic to the novel, with an emphasis on literary qualities, human relationships with the sea, and problems of command.

HE260

Literature of War (3-0-3)

A multi-genre survey of war and its consequences as represented in classic and contemporary literature with an emphasis on such issues as individual responsibility, leadership, societal values, and military culture.

HE301

Patterns in Drama (3-0-3)

A study of drama, emphasizing reading, viewing, and analyzing dramatic literature and performance.

HE302

Forms of Poetry (3-0-3)

A study in the analysis of poetic form and expression.

HE306

Types of Fiction (3-0-3)

A study of the novel and short story with particular emphasis on the conventions, techniques, and innovations in the form. 

HE307

Topics in Film and Literature (3-0-3)

A study of American, European, and world film in conjunction with relevant literary works. 

HE313

Chaucer and His Age (3-0-3)

The literary and philosophical traditions of Chaucer, the Gawain poet, and other contemporaries, including early and late medieval writers from England and the continent.

HE317

The Romantic Period (3-0-3)

Literature and culture of the Romantic period in Britain from the 1780s to the 1830s. Readings may include works by such writers as Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Austen, the Shelleys, Byron, and Keats.

HE318

Modern British Literature (3-0-3)

The literature of Great Britain and Ireland since 1900. Readings may include the novels of Conrad, Joyce, Lawrence, Woolf, and Lessing; the plays of Shaw, Synge, O'Casey, and Pinter; the poetry of Hardy, Yeats, Eliot, Auden, and Dylan Thomas.

HE328

American Literature from the Civil War to World War I, 1860-1914 (3-0-3)

A survey of American literature from the Reconstruction through the Gilded Age, emphasizing the rise of realism and naturalism. Readings may include works from such authors as Whitman, Dickinson, Twain, Howells, Crane, Dreiser, Chesnutt, Chopin, James, and Wharton.

HE330

Contemporary American Literature, 1945-Present (3-0-3)

A survey of American literature and culture since World War II. Readings may include works by such authors as Ellison, Ginsberg, Lowell, Bishop, Baraka, Heller, Pynchon, Bellow, Plath, Sexton, Rich, Roth, Updike, DeLillo, Mamet, McCarthy, and Morrison.

HE333

Shakespeare (3-0-3)

A study of a representative sample of Shakespeare's tragedies, comedies, and histories. Readings may also include works by Shakespeare's contemporaries. 

HE343

Creative Writing (3-0-3)

An introduction to the writing of prose, poetry, and drama.

HE344

Professional Communication (3-0-3)

A study of advanced methods of presenting information in a wide variety of forms. Assignments may include preparing articles, reports, and military documents. Students may be asked to design and present a persuasive or analytical speech.

HE355

Topics in Multi-Ethnic Literature (3-0-3)

This course considers literature that raises questions of race and ethnicity, postcolonial responses to hegemonic culture, canon formation, and shifting definitions of nation and subjectivity. Readings may include the works of Achebe, Cisneros, Coetzee, Desai, Diaz, Erdrich, Gordimer, Hagedorn, Hong Kingston, Llosa, Mahfouz, Mishima, Marquez, Naipaul, Neruda, Ngugi, Puig, Rushdie, Soyinka, Tan, and Walcott.

HE442

Literary Theory (3-0-3)

A survey of key problems, figures, and texts in the history of literary and cultural thought. Required of all honors majors. 

Special Topics - Fall Semester

Special Topics - Fall 2016

HE360

Contemporary African Literature - CDR Handley

This course introduces Midshipmen to writers from different regions of Africa. We examine the cultural, historical, and aesthetic representation of Africa in literature through novels, short stories, and film. We explore topics such as the transatlantic slave trade, colonial encounter, the negotiation of African identities, and gender issues. 

Recent Capstones

Fall 2015

Revenge Tragedy (Ward)
How We Read Dickens Now (Allen-Emerson)

Fall 2014

The Literature of Death and Dying (Parker)
Byron and the Byronic Hero (Comet)

Fall 2013

Plays by Samuel Beckett (Drew)
Milton (Ward)

Special Topics - Spring Semester

Special Topics - Spring 2017

HE360

The Graphic Novel - Professor Shaffer

Derided since their inception as simplistic tales for children, sequential narratives (comics and the graphic novel) are now a driving force in American culture. Marvel and DC Comics own the box office; creator-owned work continues to spawn television spinoffs. This course will begin in 1985, the year that Moore and Gibbon's Watchmen, Miller and Jansen's The Dark Knight Returns, and Art Spiegelman's Maus revolutionized the form. It will then move forward, considering work by major authors in the graphics genre both mainstream (superhero) and experimental. Authors will likely include Gaiman, Satrapi, Bechdel, Brubaker, Kirkman, Vaughn, and Lemire.

Capstones - Spring 2017

HE463

Milton - Assistant Professor Ward

This class is designed to take students through John Milton's major works. In addition, critical readings will help students get a sense for currents of thought and debate within the field of Milton scholarship as well as for Milton's impact on critical reading practices more generally. While reading Paradise Lost will, of necessity, occupy the bulk of our time, we will also examine Milton's early poetry and prose tracts in order to understand Milton as more than simply the author of his great epic. 

HE467

Introduction to Lesbian, Gay, and Bi Studies in Literature - Assistant Professor Moore

This course introduces students to major theoretical frameworks and debates in the field of lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender studies and aims to cultivate a sexuality studies methodology for literary and other cultural analyses.

Recent Capstones

Spring 2016

August Wilson's "Century Cycle" and the Blues Tradition (Handley)
Literature of the Vikings (Fitzgerald)

Spring 2015

The Art and Literature of Augustan Rome (Mace)
Hemingway in the 21st Century (Nolan)

Spring 2014

Victorian Vision: Literature and Art in Nineteenth-Century Britain (Allen-Emerson)
Race and American Gothic Literature (Clark)

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