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Skidmore College
Honors Forum



Topics Chosen by Instructor

The English Department

The honors sections of EN105 offer highly motivated students with strong verbal skills the opportunity to refine their ability to analyze sophisticated ideas, to hone their rhetorical strategies, and to develop cogent arguments. Toward these goals, students write and revise essays drawing upon a variety of challenging readings and critique each other’s work with an eye to depth and complexity of thought, logic of supporting evidence, and subtleties of style. The English Department places some students in EN105H and encourages other students to consult with their advisors, the director of the Honors Forum, or the director of the Expository Writing Program to determine if this level of Writing Seminar is appropriate. Each section of EN105H focuses on a topic that is listed in the master schedule and described in the English Department’s prospectus and on its Web page.  (This course fulfills the all-college requirement in expository writing.)



Women and Literature

Prof. Wendy Lee

An introduction to the study of women and literature, with particular attention to the various ways literary works have helped construct and also question differences between femininity and masculinity. Matters considered include defining basic terms (character, plot, genre, author, sex, gender) and exploring the relations among those terms. 


EN 228H

Victorian Illustrated Book

Prof. Catherine Golden

What was the last book you read with illustrations? Was it a graphic novel, a comic book, or a children‘s book? All of these types of books have their roots in the Victorian illustrated book, a genre for adults as well as young readers. Illustrations were part of the adult reading experience of the Victorian age. Images did not simply embellish the Victorian illustrated book as we often conceive of illustration today; rather, pictures added meaning, which, in turn, influenced how an audience "read" fiction and poetry. This Honors, writing-intensive course explores the form of the Victorian illustrated book with attention to illustration, critical analysis, and creative practice. The class will focus on illustrated novels, picture-poems, and critical studies in aesthetics and literature to discern how a poem is like and different from a picture (the "ut pictura poesis" tradition) or comment upon the collaboration of image and word as an art form. Special attention will be given to the poem and painting pairs of D.G. Rossetti; the illustrated fiction of Dickens, Carroll, and Potter; the aesthetic ideas of Horace, Plato, and Lessing; analytic writing; and primary research. Students will learn to read illustrations like their Victorian audiences once did. We will work in the rare book room and put on a library exhibition on an aspect of Victorian literature and culture. In addition to writing frequent papers, students will become author-illustrators to create their own illustrated texts.

EN 229H

Stories of English

Prof. Kate Greenspan



EN229E H

Intro to Medieval Literature

Prof. Kate Greenspan

This course will introduce you to the rich body of medieval lyric poetry,  from the late classical period through the Middle Ages (c. 400-c.1500). We will read songs of love and war, meditations, satires, charms and prayers composed by wandering students, noble troubadors, revolutionary stilnovisti, devout friars and riddling bards. We will learn about the traditions within which they wrote and the innovations they wrought. Further, we will consider issues of translation, performance, and literacy in the context of the sometimes competing, sometimes complementary cultures of secular society and the medieval Church. We will read most of the poems in translation, except for those in Middle English, which we will learn to read in the original. We will also read some modern essays that will teach us more about medieval culture and its poetry. Assignments will include three papers, a journal, group presentations and active participation in class, including reading aloud. Fulfills the early period requirement for students in the new major.



Special Studies in Chaucer

Prof. Kate Greenspan

Chaucer’s dream visions and The Canterbury Tales (ca. 1370-1400). The social, economic, religious, and literary background of the High Middle Ages will clarify the satiric aspects of individual tales. Chaucer’s innovative handling of the conventions of frame and link-between-tales leads to speculation about the structure of the fragment as a competitive sequence and about the formal correlatives to a justice if not judicial at least poetic. 



Peer Tutoring

Profs. Phil Boshoff and Martha Wiseman

The study of rhetoric, grammar, composition theory, and collaborative learning as training to become a peer tutor of writing. Course work includes weekly writing assignments from the English 103 curriculum, presentations on grammar and punctuation, oral reports on scholarly issues pertaining to composition research and pedagogy, and a term project related to rhetorical theory, collaborative learning, or writing instruction. Each EN303H student works throughout the term with two students enrolled in English 103. After successfully completing EN303H, students are invited to join the staff of The Skidmore Writing Center as paid tutors. Students wishing to enroll in EN303H should be strong and confident writers, who are familiar with rules of grammar and punctuation and have good communications skills. Prior to enrolling in the course, students need a professor's recommendation and must submit a writing sample. Open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Instructor's signature required for enrollment.