English Grad Programs

English at Queen's has stood the test of time, offering graduate programs since 1929. Well known as an institution that combines academic rigour with a lively student experience, Queen’s sits in Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe territory in a city officially named one of the smartest around the globe. From the traditions of Medieval and Renaissance literature to the modern and uncanny world of horror and graphic novels, our grad programs give students the ability to think, discuss, write and get published.

The Master of Arts in English is a one-year course-based degree with a thesis option. The MA features the opportunity for experiential learning through the “Literary Internship” and prepares students for careers in a variety of sectors, as well as for doctoral studies at Queen’s and other institutions, and for advanced studies in law, education, and library science.

The Master of Philosophy in English is a distinctive two-year degree with guaranteed entry to the Department’s doctoral program. It features coursework, field exams, and a publishing practicum. The MPhil is intended for students who, at the time of applying, have demonstrated the ability to envision a research project worthy of future doctoral-level study. Due to the additional professionalization and the advanced standing enabled by its field exams and expanded coursework, the MPhil accelerates doctoral studies at Queen’s for those who successfully complete its requirements.

The Doctorate of Philosophy in English is a four-year degree featuring coursework, field exams, special topic presentations and the completion of a dissertation. The degree includes multiple opportunities for advanced professionalization, including funding for conference travel and publishing mentorship.  

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MA or MPhil - which program is right for you?

At Queen's you have two program paths to obtain a Master's degree in English. The Master of Arts program offers a broad spectrum of study allowing students to gain methodological and critical expertise in a range of historical, geographical, and theoretical areas. The MA is a one-year program focused on a combination of course work and research that includes the option of a literary internship. A thesis option is also available.

For students interested in the possibility of pursuing a PhD upon completing a Master's degree, the MPhil or Master of Philosophy is recommended. The MPhil is a two-year program that combines course work, field exams and a publishing practicum to provide graduates with both disciplinary breadth and field-specific knowledge. Graduates choosing to go on to the PhD program at Queen's will also accelerate their doctoral studies by three full terms.

The MA is ideal for students who have completed their undergraduate studies and are eager to keep learning. The limited one-year commitment of the MA allows students to survey a variety of research fields under the guidance of top scholars in literary studies.

The MPhil is ideal for students who, at the time of applying to graduate programs, are already contemplating doctoral studies and who have distinguished themselves at the undergraduate level. The MPhil offers advanced professionalization opportunities including the Publishing Practicum. This specialized course dedicated not only teaches students the mechanics of publication within scholarly and other professional venues but also takes student papers through revision stages from draft essay to article submission such that, by the end of their second year of graduate studies, MPhil students should have an article submitted to a scholarly or professional journal.

Still unsure which is right for you?
Whatever you choose, you are not locked in forever. Students in the MA program are able to apply to transition into the MPhil during their first year of studies. Students in the MPhil can choose during their first two terms to transition into the MA, complete one Spring course, and complete an MA degree within one year. The suite of graduate offerings in English at Queen’s is distinguished by such flexibility and diversity.

Upcoming Program Events

Information Webinar:
Master's Program in English at Queen's U
January 9, 2018 from 5:30 - 6:00 pm EST
Register now

Career Paths and Student Stories

The world of publishing is ever changing, especially during the current digital revolution. From ebooks to online news channels, the digital publishing world is exploding into a growing area of interest to our grads, especially for those completing the MPhil program with the publishing practicum.

Storytelling is more than a trend, it has stood the test of time even though it seems to have gathered momentum in the last decade. Graduates from both programs will find diverse paths for storytelling in advertising, journalism, or even law.

Graduates of our Master's programs have career opportunities including graduate school and academia but also exciting careers in writing, editing, publishing, teaching, law, civil service, business, NGO work and information technologies.

Student Success and Career Achievements:


Michael Ondaatje

World renowned author of the Booker Prize winning novel The English Patient and graduate of the Department of English [learn more]

Elizabeth Carson
Leveraged her english degree into a high-powered sprint up the corporate ladder at Microsoft Canada’s Toronto offices, where she’s Vice-President of Enterprise Services. [learn more]

Courses

ENGL 800 / 900: Introduction to Professional and Pedagogical Skills
Core: MPhil / MA
Field: all
Instructor: Graduate Coordinator
This course is designed to train beginning graduate students in the skills they will need as Teaching Assistants and to help them make the transition to advanced literary study. Areas to be covered include essay-marking, academic counseling of undergraduate students, writing research papers, time management, academic and nonacademic careers, and applying for grants. The course consists of a series of seminars and workshops involving faculty members and it is graded as Pass/Fail based on attendance and the completion of required assignments.

ENGL 803 / 903: Research Forum
Core: MPhil / MA
Field: all
Instructor: Brooke Cameron
A required presentation and discussion course in which first-year MPhil and PhD students, along with the Department as a whole, will be presented with a number of model research problems and methodologies by members of the English Department faculty and visiting scholars. The aim of the course is to provide and discuss a range of contemporary research models in literary and cultural studies drawn from different fields and supported by different methodologies. There will be twelve scheduled meetings of the forum throughout Fall and Winter terms. The course is graded on Pass/Fail based on attendance and the completion of required assignments.

ENGL 817: “Publishing Practicum”
Core: MPhil only
Field: all
Instructor: Sam McKegney
This seminar takes students through revision and submission stages from draft essay to article publication. The first section of the course will be devoted to discussion of the differences between coursework papers and published articles, and to a presentation and peer revision cycle of each student’s work. The second section of the course will discuss how to decide where to send article submissions, how to present them, and what to expect of the process. Students must have a complete draft essay to bring to the start of the course and be ready to welcome reading and response from peers. Success in the course requires regular attendance, constructive participation, revision responsive to instructor and peer review, and submission to an appropriate scholarly venue for

ENGL 824: Popular Literature of Late Medieval and Tudor England
Elective: MPhil / MA
Field: medieval
Instructor: Ruth Wehlau
This course will investigate the notion of popular culture (usually seen in opposition to either courtly aristocratic culture, or to the culture of the clerical elite), as it was manifested in a variety of literary forms from the 14th through the 16th centuries in England. During the course, we will examine works of popular literature, including lyrics, ballads, plays, and popular romances, especially those dealing with popular chivalric heroes such as Gawain, and outlaw heroes such as Robin Hood. Discussions will include the role of orality and performance in popular culture of the period, and of carnivalesque inversions of authority as found in festivals such as the Lords of Misrule. All works will be read in the original Middle English, and instruction on the reading and pronunciation of Middle English will be provided. As one goal of the course involves the role of oral performance in popular culture, students will be expected to prepare (but not memorize) a text (a lyric, romance or part of a play) for performance.

ENGL 826: Gender and Sexuality in the Middle Ages
Elective: MPhil / MA
Field: medieval
Instructor: Margaret Pappano
This course will explore premodern constructions of gender and sexuality, seeking to locate both continuities and discontinuities with modern conceptions and practices. While labels such as “gay,” “genderqueer,” “transgendered” did not exist in the Middle Ages, medieval people imagined and engaged in types of gender shifting that help us to understand the necessity for labile terminology to describe identities linked with gendered and sexual practices. Largely focusing on Medieval Europe with some consideration of the Middle Eastern context, this course considers how some aspects of medieval culture, such as interpretations of religious scriptures, marriage practices, celibacy, imitatio Christi, knighthood, class hierarchy and court culture, shaped notions of gender and sexuality. Though examining theological, medical, and legal writings, moral guidebooks, chronicles, artwork, and literary works, this course will engage texts from the early to late Middle Ages in dialogue with contemporary theoretical writing to attempt to articulate specificities of the medieval sex/gender system. Requirements include regular attendance and participation, oral presentation, research paper.

ENGL 832: Shakespeare and Early Modern Print Culture
Elective: MPhil / MA
Field: renaissance
Instructor: Marta Straznicky
This course will approach Shakespeare’s plays and poems as texts circulating in the overlapping realms of oral, manuscript, and print publication. We will investigate the mechanisms and agencies through which Shakespeare’s works were constituted as text, how they were transformed across the realms of manuscript production, vocal recitation, print publication, and, frequently, back into manuscript or theatrical re-presentation. The course will focus on those works of Shakespeare, some apocryphal, that have a particularly interesting or complicated textual history: Venus and Adonis, Romeo and Juliet, Henry V, Hamlet, A Yorkshire Tragedy, King Lear, the Sonnets, Pericles, and the manuscript fragment of Sir Thomas More in Shakespeare’s handwriting. Topics of study will include the uses of manuscript in the theatre (actors’ parts, rehearsal scripts, promptbooks, companies’ literary archives); the printing and publishing trades (licensing and censorship, copyright, papermaking, manufacture of books, social coding of formats, patronage, bookselling); and early modern reading practices (‘analogical’ reading, commonplacing, annotation, oral reading, coteries, bookbinding and patterns of book ownership). Students will work closely with facsimiles and become familiar with some major research resources in early modern studies (the Short-Title Catalogue, the Stationers’ Register, the database Early English Books Online, the Database of Early English Playbooks, and Greg’s Bibliography of English Printed Drama to the Restoration). Although focused on Shakespeare and early modern textual culture, the course will also be designed to provide an introduction to the methodologies of cultural bibliography and book history that should be of use to all students.

ENGL 833: Humanism and Renaissance Drama
Elective: MPhil / MA
Field: renaissance
Instructor: Elizabeth Hanson
Humanism was an intellectual movement that began in fourteenth century Italy and was focused on the recovery of classical literature and the cultivation of the eloquence and modes of authority that had characterized classical writers. It manifested in England by the mid-sixteenth century as an educational program instantiated in an everwidening network of town grammar schools. All of the major playwrights of the Elizabethan commercial theatre (e.g., Shakespeare, Marlowe, Jonson) attended, or are assumed to have attended grammar schools, where they Last Revised: February 21, 2017 Page 11 of 37 learned Latin by studying and performing Latin drama, imitating the poetry of Ovid and developing the rhetorical craft of Cicero. It is fair to say that the spread of humanist culture via the grammar school was a necessary (but not sufficient) condition for the flourishing of the drama in late sixteenth and early seventeenth century England. But we can also see in that drama an ambivalent relation to the assumptions about the power of learning and language that drove the humanist project. In this course we will interrogate the relationship between humanism and the commercial stage. We will begin by reading humanist writers such as Erasmus and Thomas More, looking at their assumptions about knowledge and eloquence and the way these were promoted in grammar schools. We will also look at the role that the drama played in humanist culture and education, reading interludes and academic plays. Then we will turn our attention to the commercial stage, considering such well-known plays as Dr. Faustus, Hamlet, The Alchemist, and The Tempest, asking what they tell us about the intellectual, political and economic legacy of humanism in England.

ENGL 852: Secret Witnesses: Abolition, Revolution, and Transatlantic Memory
Elective: MPHIL / MA
Field: romantics
Instructor: Chris Bongie
In this course, we will be examining representations of slavery and its abolition in a number of texts published on both sides of the Atlantic between the late 1780s and 1833 (the year the British Parliament passed the Abolition of Slavery Act). The course will proceed chronologically, starting with such founding texts of the abolitionist movement as Thomas Clarkson’s 1786 Essay on slavery and Olaudah Equiano’s 1789 Interesting Narrative, and proceeding at least as far as Mary Prince’s 1831 History. The goal of this course is two- fold. First, to gain an indepth exposure to the complexities of abolitionist discourse, as expressed in the literary practice of a variety of Romantic-era writers and as analyzed in recent theoretical interventions concerned with understanding the genealogical origins of our own present-day “humanitarian moment.” The second main goal will be to examine some of the key (historical and fictional) representations of the Haitian Revolution (1791– 1804) from the first three decades of the nineteenth century (such as Leonora Sansay’s Secret History and Victor Hugo’s Bug-Jargal) in order to gauge the extent to which that world-historical revolution challenged the ideological assumptions of abolitionist discourse and the literary conventions upon which that discourse relied (e.g., those associated with the sentimental and Gothic novels).

ENGL 853: The Discourse of Illumination in William Blake
Elective: MPhil / MA
Field: romantics
Instructor: John Pierce
A study of the development of Blake’s poetry, with special emphasis on his use of biblical sources and experimentation with a variety of narrative forms. The evolution of his pictorial and poetic style will offer a focus for our examination of Blake, covering briefly the early works such as The Songs of Innocence and of Experience and The Marriage of Heaven and Hell and concentrating more heavily on the latter works, including such works as the Lambeth poems, Vala or The Four Zoas, and Milton. This course will also consider the significance of conscious verbal and narrative obscurity as part of Blake’s attempt to present an apocalyptic vision of the world that challenges conventional modes of thinking, perception, and interpretation.

ENGL 857: The Brontë Myth
Elective: MPhil / MA
Field: victorian
Instructor: Maggie Berg
This course takes its title from Lucasta Miller’s examination of the cultural reception of the Brontë novels from their publication to the present day. The emphasis will be on how the Brontë sisters and their works were and are constructed in biography, memoirs and literary criticism. We will explore what Patsy Stoneman calls “the ways in which people transform texts” as well as “the ways in which texts transform people.” We will begin with Charlotte Brontë’s deliberate fashioning of a Brontë myth in order to protect her sisters’ reputations (among other less laudable motives). We will consider the enormous influence of Elizabeth Gaskell’s biography The Life of Charlotte Brontë. We will examine reviews of the novels when they appeared and more recent influential critical accounts such as Terry Eagleton’s Myth’s of Power: A Marxist Study of the Brontë’s. The point of the course is to examine the ideological work of “the [Brontë] author” in and through the Brontë texts. We are likely to read The Professor, Jane Eyre, Shirley and Villette by Charlotte Brontë; Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë; and Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. We will also read secondary work such as Elizabeth Gaskell’s The Life of Charlotte Brontë; Terry Eagleton’s Myths of Power; Lucasta Miller’s The Brontë Myth; Patsy Stoneman’s Brontë Transformations; Michel Foucault’s “What is an Author?”; and a selection of essays and reviews.

ENGL 861: T. S. Eliot and Virginia Woolf
Elective: MPhil / MA
Field: modernism
Instructor: Gabrielle McIntire
T.S. Eliot and Virginia Woolf were almost exact contemporaries (born in 1882 and 1888, respectively), readers and critics of each others’ work, and close friends for over twenty years. Although they are rarely considered together as a pair, Eliot and Woolf exemplify some of the most fascinating contestations of modernism: aesthetics and cultural critique; gender troubling; sacred and secular expositions; and the formal poetic and narratological experiments of the early twentieth-century avant-garde. Together we will explore some of the striking correspondences and affinities that exist in Eliot and Woolf’s poetic, aesthetic, and thematic preoccupations by reading Eliot’s major poetry from “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” to “Gerontion,” The Waste Land, “Ash Wednesday,” and Four Quartets in juxtaposition with Woolf’s To the Lighthouse, Mrs. Dalloway, Orlando, The Waves, and “A Sketch of the Past.”

ENGL 862: Modernist Elegy
Elective: MPhil / MA
Field: modernism
Instructor: Patricia Rae
This seminar will explore the discourse of elegy in British and American modernist literature (1914–1939). Our starting point will be the tension between elegy and “anti- elegy” in writing on loss inspired by the First World War: that is, between the kind of writing encouraging what Freud considered “success” in mourning, and the kind that disrupts closure, fostering melancholia. We’ll then go on to consider the ways in which modernist formal experimentation (for example, devices such as depersonalization, allusion, fragmentation, and ellipsis) reflect and develop this tension. While our starting point in war literature will lead us to consider the ways nationalism shapes mourning practices (and vice versa), modernism was a transnational movement, and elegy, as a genre, lends itself to cross-pollination across national divides. We will therefore be alert to the ways in which various cultural traditions inflect the injunctions to mourn (or resist mourning) in the works we study. As we move through term, we will also trace an increasing self-consciousness in the use of consolatory discourse during the 1930s, as the threat posed by Fascism intensifies and the prospect of another World War looms. We’ll see writers asking pragmatic questions about which consolations have a chance of surviving the repetition of World War, and adjusting their standards for truthfulness in elegy accordingly. The seminar will encourage the close reading of poetry and both fictional and non-fictional prose. It will also incite discussion about the politics of mourning practices and about how the concepts of elegy emerging from World War I may have produced problematic distortions in the literary history of modernism as we know it. Authors considered will include Rupert Brooke, Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen, Vera Brittain, T. S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, George Orwell, W. H. Auden, Stephen Spender, Wallace Stevens, Langston Hughes, James Weldon Johnson, and Edwin Rolph, but students will be free pursue work in their term papers on other modernist authors of special interest to them.

ENGL 867: Modernism and Primitivism
Elective: MPhil / MA
Field: modernism
Instructor: Glenn Willmott
Beginning with a discussion of primitivism as a transhistorical mode, we will focus on the particular and diverse expressions of primitivism in the Modernist period from the late nineteenth to the mid twentieth centuries, when widespread spiritual malaise and volatile political-economic conflicts in Canada, the British Isles, and America were accompanied by the emergence of African, African-American, and Native American cultural production in a cosmopolitan public sphere. We will look, for example, at the rise of antimodernism, the fascination with degenerative history, the complex assimilation of Black and Indigenous cultures, the renewal of paganism, the notion of the savage within, and erotic liberations – all in the contexts of utopian or dystopian visions of the primitive in Stoker’s Dracula, Yeats’s plays, Conrad’s Lord Jim, Stein’s Melanctha, Eliot’s and Pound’s poetry, H. D.’s poetry and memoir, Lawrence’s Women in Love, Watson’s Oedipus stories, and Golden Age comic strips (this list partial and subject to revision). Students will be encouraged to pursue projects that range across literary and other media. Evaluation will be based on weekly reading assignments, an oral seminar assignment, and a research essay.

ENGL 868: The Aboriginal Voice
Elective: MPhil / MA
Field: indigenous
Instructor: Armand Garnet Ruffo
In his landmark essay, “Aboriginal Text in Context,” Cree scholar, and former publisher of Theytus Books, Greg Young-Ing remarked that “The creation and/or expression of culture by Aboriginal peoples, through any traditional medium or any contemporary medium or any combination thereof, constitutes an expression of what can be referred to as the ‘Aboriginal Voice’.” Given that Young-Ing’s essay appeared some 15 years ago, and that contemporary Aboriginal cultural expression in Canada has continued at an ever- increasing level of creativity and production, this course will consider a selection of literary work by self-identified Aboriginal authors through which we might examine what constitutes the “Aboriginal Voice.” How do writers from a diversity of Aboriginal cultures and communities contribute to this “voice,” if indeed it exists? We will begin by considering spirituality as a fundamental component of Aboriginal identity and a jumping off point to questions associated with Aboriginal aesthetics, along with the numerous themes arising from colonialism, in our assessment of the “Aboriginal Voice” in Canada. To provide context for this body of literature, our study will draw upon recent critical conversations by Aboriginal writers discussing what Cree scholar and artist Neal McLeod has termed “Indigenous Poetics in Canada” (2014), as well as the dominant criticism that has framed the reception of the writing around socio-political issues. Considering a wide range of texts (subject to change), we will study poetry, plays, films, and novels by Aboriginal artists such as Jeannette Armstrong, Tomson Highway, Marvin Francis, Robert Arthur Alexie, and Tara Beagan.

ENGL 871: Postwar Poetry of the Toronto-Kingston Corridor
Elective: MPhil / MA
Field: canadian
Instructor: Tracy Ware
This course will study the poetry of postwar Ontario, with a special interest in the Toronto- Kingston region. Because we will begin with Al Purdy and then turn to poets influenced by him (Atwood, Wallace, Ondaatje, and McKay), this course will raise questions about regionalism and nationalism, though other approaches are both possible and desirable. In contemporary Canadian criticism, Toronto is often constructed as the center against which regions react, and Ontario becomes the region that does not always recognize itself as such. If we recognize the virtues and the problems in all collective identities, regionalism should be as contentious as nationalism. And if Purdy’s own nationalist stance is unavailable to contemporary criticism, as Sam Solecki argues in The Last Canadian Poet, his insistence that even the largest concerns are rooted in local settings helps explain his continuing influence. We will also read such works as “The Cinnamon Peeler” and thirsty, which are from Canadian nationalism. The course will deal with some of the most widely discussed Canadian authors, whose work reveals that poetry continues to matter despite being overshadowed by fiction.

ENGL 872: The Environment in Contemporary Canadian and Aboriginal Literature
Elective: MPhil / MA
Field: Canadian
Instructor: Petra Fachinger
This seminar will be concerned with contemporary Canadian and Aboriginal texts that take environmental issues as their topic. According to the editors of Greening the Maple: Canadian Ecocriticism in Context, “literary respondents to Canadian environments have attempted to discover or invent vocabularies and literary forms appropriate to the scale and the particularities of the country” (xxv). The seminar will focus on the role that the natural environment plays in select works of the Canadian and Aboriginal imagination and intends to acknowledge the historical, cultural, and social specificities that affect artistic and cultural production in this country. We will consider a variety of modes and genres, including the novel, Indigenous ways of storytelling, journalistic writing, creative nonfiction, “ecopoetry,” and “ecodrama,” to explore questions of ecological poetics and aesthetics. As Lawrence Buell argues, “environmental interpretation requires us to rethink our assumptions about the nature of representation, reference, metaphor, characterization, personae, and canonicity” (The Environmental Imagination 2). Texts concerned with environmental degradation also challenge us to consider the relationship between aesthetics, responsibility, and environmental activism. Our discussion will be informed by various ecocritical approaches including ecofeminism, environmental justice, “eco-ability,” bioregionalism, and urban ecocriticism. Authors may include Di Brandt, Marie Clements, Ann Eriksson, Karsten Heuer, Helen Humphreys, Thomas King, Don McKay, Thomas Wharton, and Alissa York.

ENGL 873: Carrying the Burden of Peace”: Indigenous Masculinities and Literature
Elective: MPhil / MA
Field: indigenous
Instructor: Sam McKegney
In the language of the Kanien’kehaka or Mohawk, a common translation for the English word “warrior” is rotiskenhrakete, which means literally “carrying the burden of peace.” Kanien’kehaka theorist Taiaiake Alfred explains: “The word is made up of roti, connoting ‘he’; sken in relation to skennen, or ‘peace’; and hrakete, which is a suffix that combines the connotations of a burden and carrying.” Rotiskenhrakete is not simply an identity but a social role; it doesn’t so much individualize as identify particular responsibilities to the group; it suggests what one does as much who one is. Ironically, the image of the Mohawk warrior has been mobilized in popular Canadian culture to represent Indigenous hypermasculinity delinked from community concerns and absorbed into a non-Indigenous representational tradition in which depictions of Indigenous men vacillate among a finite number of stereotypes. In a contemporary moment saturated by dehumanizing simulations of indigeneity, and at a time in which the traditional roles and responsibilities of many Indigenous men have been obfuscated by colonial dispossession, economic disenfranchisement, and systemic racism, this course examines the potential for Indigenous literary art to invigorate and imagine non-dominative and empowered Indigenous masculinities. We will employ masculinity theory and Indigenous literary theory to study poems, plays, novels, life-writings, films, and oral tales by Indigenous artists, with an eye to how these sources imagine, represent, and/or intervene in contemporary gender relations and how they pursue forms of decolonization.

ENGL 881: Permacultural Studies, or How to Make Critique Sustainable
Elective: MPhil / MA
Field: contemporary north america
Instructor: Molly Wallace
In an age of peak oil, food crisis, and a changing and unpredictable climate, cultural critics quite rightly have drawn on the strategies of critique amply available in the broader cultural studies toolkit. To the oil economy, to the legacies of nuclear, coal, and gas industries, to industrial agriculture, cultural critics have quite rightly said “no,” providing richly layered historical diagnoses variously indicting the Enlightenment, capitalism, imperialism, or anthropocentrism more generally. As useful and necessary as this form of critique has been, however, it remains vulnerable to the paucity of imagination that characterizes the world more generally. To what, a beleaguered (eco)critic might ask, can we say “yes”? Now more than ever, it seems to be easier, as Fredric Jameson opined some years ago, “to imagine the deterioration of the earth and of nature than the breakdown of late capitalism,” a phenomenon partly due to our residual postmodern fear of utopian metanarratives. This course is an experiment in reviving the ecotopian imagination. Drawing on the principles of permaculture (earth care, people care, fair share), we will investigate alternatives among us, from practices of ecological and community supported agriculture to decentralized forms of power generation (wind, solar, tidal, geothermal) to intentional communities and slow economies. We will begin in the 1960s and work our way to the present, and while we will read some ecotopian fiction, the wager of this course is that the permacultural imagination might be found more readily in other genre: essay, poetry, drama, music, visual art, landscape architecture, and film.

ENGL 882: Contemporary American Poetry—From Bishop to Ashbery
Elective: MPhil / MA
Field: american
Instructor: Yaël Schlick
This course has two main aims. One is to familiarize students with contemporary American poetry; the other, no less important, is to impart close reading skills through the detailed analysis of literary texts—something we will do throughout the semester. We’ll read poetry from midcentury to the 1980s, and explore the voices, languages, schools, polemics, and histories that make up the varied and sometimes contested terrain of contemporary American poetry. While special attention will be given to the poetry of Elizabeth Bishop and John Ashbery, we’ll also read other poets so as to familiarize ourselves with a diversity of poetic styles, approaches, and themes. These other poets will include Allen Ginsberg, Frank O’Hara, John Berryman, Robert Lowell, Sylvia Plath, May Swenson, James Merrill, and Mark Strand.

Faculty and Supervisor Biographies

Brooke Cameron
Research Interests: gender and economics in Victorian Literature, nineteenth-century transatlantic fiction, Victorian slum fiction and reform culture, Vampires and food studies. Learn more about Brooke

Margaret Pappano

Research Interests: Medieval literature in England and France, particularly drama, religious texts, women’s writing, travel literature. Learn morea bout Margaret

Marta Straznicky
Research Interests: Early Modern theatre and print culture; book history; women’s drama; household theatre; history and theory of landscape architecture. Learn more about Marta

Elizabeth Hanson
Research Interests: English Renaissance drama; Humanism and early modern education; University studies and the political economy of the modern university. Learn more about Elizabeth

Chris Bongie
Research Interests: postcolonial literature and theory, cultural studies, late Victorian literature, nineteenth-century French studies, francophone studies, Caribbean literature, Haitian Revolution. Learn morea bout Chris

John Pierce
Research Interests: Romantic poetry (especially Blake and Shelley); late 18th- and early 19th-century fiction (especially the work of Amelia Opie). Learn more about John

Maggie Berg
Research Interests: Victorian literature, the Brontës, literary theory, gender and sexuality, pedagogy, academia. Learn more about Maggie

Gabrielle McIntire
Research Interests: American and British literary modernisms; theoretical work on history, memory, the sacred, ecology, psychology, and psychoanalysis. Learn more about Gabrielle

Patricia Rae
Research Interests: Literary modernism in Britain and the United States, especially the genres of elegy and memoir; culture and politics in the 1930s; the Spanish Civil War; World War I; the theory and practice of mourning, elegy, commemoration; literature and the visual arts; Imagism and Vorticism; pragmatism. Learn more about Patricia

Glenn Willmott
Research Interests: international modernisms; comics and other mass culture genres; human-animal representation; early Canadian literatures; left cultural studies; anthropological and economic approaches to literature. Learn more about Glenn

Armand Garnet Ruffo
Research Interests: Creative Writing; Indigenous Literature and Cultural Studies; Canadian Literature. Learn more about Armand

Tracy Ware
Research Interests: Canadian literature; English Romanticism, especially Wordsworth, Byron, and Shelley; Nineteenth-century American literature, especially Poe. Learn more about Tracy

Petra Fachinger
Research Interests: Diaspora and transnationalism (with focus on Asian and Muslim diasporas), Indigenous literatures, Canadian literature, ecocriticism, urban studies, gender and critical race, Jewish literature. Learn more about Petra

Sam McKegney
Research Interests: Indigenous literatures; contemporary Canadian literature (as well as its precursors); masculinity theory; Indigenous governance and its pursuit through art; carceral composition; multiculturalism as an ideal and in practice; hockey culture; literary activism. Learn more about Sam

Molly Wallace
Research Interests: Contemporary Literature; Ecocriticism and Eco-Cultural Studies; Permaculture, Biodynamics, and Agroecology; Technophilia and Technophobia; Risk Theory; Animals and Animality. Learn more about Molly

Yaël Schlick
Research Interests: Travel writing; autobiography; American poetry. Learn more about Yaël

Temporal field designations:

Literatures in English Prior to 1660: Studies of literary and cultural production prior to 1660, including literature and criticism from the Medieval and Renaissance periods. (Gwynn Dujardin, Elizabeth Hanson, Margaret Pappano, Francois Rouget, Scott-Morgan Straker, Marta Straznicky, Jane Tolmie, Ruth Wehlau)

Literatures in English 1600 to 1900: Studies of literary and cultural production between 1780 and 1920, including literature and criticism from the Restoration & 18th Century, Romantic, and Victorian periods. (Maggie Berg, Chris Bongie, S. Brooke Cameron, Christopher Fanning, Shelley King, Robert Morrison, Laura Murray, John Pierce, Leslie Ritchie, Tracy Ware)

Literatures in English After 1900: Studies of literary and cultural production after 1900, including literature and criticism from the Modernist and Contemporary Periods. (Petra Fachinger, S. Brooke Cameron, Sam McKegney, Gabrielle McIntire, Patricia Rae, Armand Garnet Ruffo, Yaël Schlick, Molly Wallace, Tracy Ware, Glenn Willmott, Asha Varadharajan)

Our city - Kingston Ontario

We're proud to say that not only are we an official "Intelligent Community" but that the BBC named Kingston as one of the greatest university towns in the world. Kingston is a home-away-from-home not only for students from Queen’s, but also for those attending the Royal Military College and St. Lawrence College - nearly 30,000 in all! We are a student town. We are in the middle of everything - Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa and even New York - all less than a day trip away. Instagram also ranked us the happiest city on the planet. So why not learn alongside the smartest, happiest people around?

Learn more about Kingston

Application Process

To be considered for admission to the MA or MPhil programs you should have an undergraduate honours degree (or equilvalent) in English Language and Literature. The minimum acceptable average for admissions to these programs is:

  • Honours BA with minimum average of B+ (77-79%, 3.3/4.3 GPA); and
  • Cumulative minimum average of A- (80%, 3.7/4.3 GPA) in 10 full-year English Literature courses (or equivalent).

Applicants considered for entry into the MPhil are expected to have conceptualized in their “Statements of Interest” a research project of sufficient significance to demonstrate the potential for future success at the doctoral level. Students within the MPhil program must demonstrate a reading knowledge of one language other than English, either by passing a departmental examination or by successfully completing an approved university-level, full-year language course.

Because the English Department’s graduate programs require students to work in sophisticated ways with the English language in all aspects of their studies, our language requirements for students for whom English is not a first language are more rigorous than the minimum standard set by the School of Graduate Studies. Prospective students for whom English is not a first language require a total TOEFL score of at least 627 (paper-based) or 109 (Internet-based) as well as a TOEFL Test of Written English section score of 6.0 (paper-based) or 30 (Internet-based) to be permitted to apply to the MPhil in English Language and Literature at Queen’s (same requirement for those applying to the MA or PhD programs).

Important Dates & Deadlines
Offer of Admissions to begin: February 1, 2018
Deadline to Apply (for both programs): April 1, 2018
Final Decisions will be Communicated: April 1, 2018

How-to Apply