Introductory Courses

Fall 2022

A complete listing of all English course offerings is available on Yale Course Search.

All students are invited to a Zoom information session on Monday, August 15, 1:30-2:30 PM, where the introductory course directors will join the DUS and Associate DUS to answer your questions about English introductory courses.

ENGL 114, Writing Seminars.

Instruction in writing well-reasoned analyses and academic arguments, with emphasis on the importance of reading, research, and revision. Using examples of nonfiction prose from a variety of academic disciplines, individual sections focus on topics such as the city, childhood, globalization, inequality, food culture, sports, and war.

ENGL 114 Section Information and Video Introduction (fall sections coming soon)

Continuing students who are interested in taking ENGL 114 or ENGL 115 may enroll through YCS during registration period. Preference selection for ENGL 114 and ENGL 115 will be offered in August for first-year students only.


ENGL 115, Literature Seminars.

Exploration of major themes in selected works of literature. Individual sections focus on topics such as war, justice, childhood, sex and gender, the supernatural, and the natural world. Emphasis on the development of writing skills and the analysis of fiction, poetry, drama, and nonfiction prose.

ENGL 115 Section Information and Video Introduction (fall sections coming soon)

Continuing students who are interested in taking ENGL 114 or ENGL 115 may enroll through YCS during registration period. Preference selection for ENGL 114 and ENGL 115 will be offered in August for first-year students only.


ENGL 120, Reading and Writing the Modern Essay.

Close reading of great nonfiction prepares students to develop mastery of the craft of powerful writing in the humanities and in all fields of human endeavor, within the university and beyond. Study of some of the finest essayists in the English language, including James Baldwin, Joan Didion, Leslie Jamison, Jhumpa Lahiri, George Orwell, David Foster Wallace, and Virginia Woolf. Assignments challenge students to craft persuasive arguments from personal experience, to portray people and places, and to interpret fundamental aspects of modern culture.


ENGL 121, Styles of Academic and Professional Prose.

A seminar and workshop in the conventions of good writing in a specific field. Each section focuses on one academic or professional kind of writing and explores its distinctive features through a variety of written and oral assignments, in which students both analyze and practice writing in the field. Section topics, which change yearly, are listed at the beginning of each term on the English departmental website. This course may be repeated for credit in a section that treats a different genre or style of writing; may not be repeated for credit toward the major.

Prerequisite: ENGL 114, 115, 120, or another writing-intensive course at Yale.

ENGL 121 is offered only in the spring term.


ENGL 123, Introduction to Creative Writing.

Introduction to the writing of fiction, poetry, and drama. Development of the basic skills used to create imaginative literature. Fundamentals of craft and composition; the distinct but related techniques used in the three genres. Story, scene, and character in fiction; sound, line, image, and voice in poetry; monologue, dialogue, and action in drama.

ENGL 123 is offered only in the fall term.


ENGL 125, Readings in English Poetry I.

Introduction to the English literary tradition through close reading of select poems from the seventh through the seventeenth centuries. Emphasis on developing skills of literary interpretation and critical writing; diverse linguistic and social histories; and the many varieties of identity and authority in early literary cultures. Readings may include BeowulfThe Canterbury Tales, Middle English lyrics, The Faerie QueeneParadise Lost, and poems by Isabella Whitney, Philip Sidney, William Shakespeare, Amelia Lanyer, John Donne, and George Herbert, among others.


ENGL 126, Readings in English Poetry II.

Introduction to the English literary tradition through close reading of select poems from the eighteenth century through the present. Emphasis on developing skills of literary interpretation and critical writing; diverse genres and social histories; and modernity’s multiple canons and traditions. Authors may include Alexander Pope, William Wordsworth, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Browning, W. B. Yeats, T. S. Eliot, Langston Hughes, Gertrude Stein, Gwendolyn Brooks, Elizabeth Bishop, and Derek Walcott, among others.


ENGL 127, Readings in American Literature.

Introduction to the American literary tradition in a variety of poetic and narrative forms and in diverse historical contexts. Emphasis on developing skills of literary interpretation and critical writing; diverse linguistic and social histories; and the place of race, class, gender, and sexuality in American literary culture. Authors may include Phillis Wheatley, Henry David Thoreau, Herman Melville, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Frederick Douglass, Gertrude Stein, Langston Hughes, Ralph Ellison, Flannery O’Connor, Alan Ginsberg, Chang-Rae Lee, and Toni Morrison, among others.


ENGL 128, Readings in Comparative World English Literatures.

An introduction to the literary traditions of the Anglophone world in a variety of poetic and narrative forms and historical contexts. Emphasis on developing skills of literary interpretation and critical writing; diverse linguistic, cultural and racial histories; and on the politics of empire and liberation struggles. Authors may include Daniel Defoe, Mary Prince, J. M. Synge, James Joyce, C. L. R. James, Claude McKay, Jean Rhys, Yvonne Vera, Chinua Achebe, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, J. M. Coetzee, Brian Friel, Amitav Ghosh, Salman Rushdie, Alice Munro, Derek Walcott, and Patrick White, among others.


ENGL 129, Tragedy in the European Literary Tradition.

The genre of tragedy from its origins in ancient Greece and Rome through the European Renaissance to the present day. Themes of justice, religion, free will, family, gender, race, and dramaturgy. Works include Homer’s Iliad and plays by Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Seneca, Shakespeare, Racine, Ibsen, Chekhov, Brecht, Beckett, and Soyinka. Focus on textual analysis and on developing the craft of persuasive argument through writing.


ENGL 130, Epic in the European Literary Tradition.

The epic tradition traced from its foundations in ancient Greece and Rome to the modern novel. The creation of cultural values and identities; exile and homecoming; the heroic in times of war and of peace; the role of the individual within society; memory and history; politics of gender, race, and religion. Works include Homer’s Odyssey, Vergil’s Aeneid, Dante’s Inferno, Cervantes’s Don Quixote, and Joyce’s Ulysses. Focus on textual analysis and on developing the craft of persuasive argument through writing.


Questions? Contact Erica Sayers or Jane Bordiere.