Fall 2022

Representing Illness

Listed in: English, as ENGL-125


Dennis James Sweeney (Section 01)


With a focus on the skills of close reading and analytical writing, we will look at the ways in which writers imagine illness, how they try to make meaning out of illness, and how they use illness to explore other aspects of experience. This is not a course on the history of illness or the social construction of disease. We will discuss not only what writers say about illness but also how they say it: with what language and in what form they speak the experience of bodily and mental suffering. Readings may include drama by Sophocles, Molière and Margaret Edson; poetry by Donne and Mark Doty; fiction by José Saramago and Mark Haddon; and essays by Susan Sontag, Raphael Campo and Temple Grandin.

Limited to 18 students. 10 seats will be reserved for first-year students. Fall semester. Lecturer Sweeney.

How to handle overenrollment: Preference given to first-year students. This is a first course in English.

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: emphasis on written work

ENGL 125 - LEC

Section 01
Tu 1:00 PM - 2:20 PM CHAP 203
Th 1:00 PM - 2:20 PM CHAP 203

ISBN Title Publisher Author(s) Comment Book Store Price
Tender Points Nightboat Books, 2019 Amy Berkowitz Amherst Books TBD
Your Healing Is Killing Me Plays Inverse, 2017 Virginia Grise Amherst Books TBD
Cancer Journals Penguin, 2020 Audre Lorde Amherst Books TBD
Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness Vintage, 1992 William Styron Amherst Books TBD

These books are available locally at Amherst Books.


Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Fall 2014, Spring 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Fall 2023, Spring 2025