ENG395 201903 Undergraduate

Spring 2020
ENG 395
Applies To: 
ENG 395 20th Century Literature

Forest Pyle

Forest Pyle profile picture
  • Title: Professor
  • Phone: 541-346-3928
  • Office: 270 PLC
  • Office Hours: On leave spring term; available by email & for scheduling Zoom appts.
Department Section Description: 

Contemporary Culture: “What the End is For”

I take the subtitle of this course in late twentieth and early twenty-first literature and film from the title of a poem by Jorie Graham in order to highlight how the works that we will read and see explore the forms and the uses of the “end.” We will consider “what the end is for” in these works in terms of form as well as theme, from apocalyptic representations of the end of the world to formal aspects of the “end” of a poem, novel, story, or film. Our objective in this course is to consider how the idea and the experience of the “end” might help us frame and engage a wide range of challenging and influential literary and cinematic works from the mid 20th to the early 21st centuries. Our charge in this course is to read and view these often difficult and disorienting texts closely and carefully -- to experience them as fully as possible -- so that we may understand the ends that these writers and directors will go to in order to make us see and feel “what the end is for.”


Students should be advised that much of what we will read or see in this course contains graphic language, sexual themes, illegal activity, and scenes of often brutal and even obscene violence.

McCarthy, Blood Meridian; Johnson, Jesus’ Son; Ballard, Crash; Bowles, The Sheltering Sky; Films Cuaron, Children of Men; Lynch, Blue Velvet, Corbijn, Control.


A & L

Arts & Letters (A&L) courses create meaningful opportunities for students to engage actively in the modes of inquiry that define a discipline. Courses are broad in scope and demonstrably liberal in nature (that is, courses that promote open inquiry from a variety of perspectives). Though some courses may focus on specialized subjects or approaches, there will be a substantial course content locating that subject in the broader context of the major issues of the discipline. Qualifying courses will not focus on teaching basic skills but will require the application or engagement of those skills through analysis and interpretation.

C-Literature 1789-Present

Literature, 1789 to the present courses focus on literary work produced over more than two centuries -- from the period of British romanticism and the early republic of the United States up to now -- in order to foster familiarity with key works in British and American literary history.  Literary history illustrates how literary works reflect, address, and resist the social and political environments in which they are produced as well as other works that have preceded them.

English Minor

English Minor courses offer students centuries of cultural experience and representation in poetry, prose, drama, film, TV, new media, and folk artifacts.  The English minor can focus and extend the values of a liberal arts education, while also providing extensive training in writing, speaking, and critical thinking.