Introduction to Literary Study - Online english courses | Arts and Science ONLINE

Introduction to Literary Study

ENGL 100/6.0

An introduction to literary study, with an emphasis on the formal analysis of a diverse range of poetry and prose. Specific content and approach vary from section to section, but all sections share the goals of developing sensitivity to genre, cultivating writing skills, and providing students with a set of literary terms and critical techniques as a foundation for further literary study.

Please note: This course is typically offered every term

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, you should be able to do the following:

  • Identify and explain the hallmarks of the four main literary genres;
  • Identify, analyze, and employ the language of literary analysis when discussing texts (this language includes terms such as metaphor, irony, pathos, parody, rhetoric, and ideology);
  • Demonstrate a basic understanding of key critical theories (such as psychoanalysis, Marxism, feminism, and queer theory);
  • Evaluate the importance of gender, class, race, and geographical location such as categories for literary analysis;
  • Demonstrate a sound knowledge of grammar, punctuation, diction, and syntax;
  • Compose original arguments that evaluate, analyze, and synthesize primary and secondary texts, and that do so within a structural framework that includes a thesis statement, strong topic sentences, textual evidence, and a compelling conclusion.


ENGL 100 is designed to introduce students to the main genres of literary study. In The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms, Chris Baldick defines genre as “a type, species, or class of composition,” and “a recognizable and established category of written work employing such common conventions as will prevent readers or audiences from mistaking it for another kind.” Genre means different things in different contexts, and one genre often contains within it various subgenres. For example, within the genre of the novel, there are numerous subgenres: the spy novel, the historical novel, the romantic novel, the campus novel, the gothic novel, the detective novel, and others. There are even sub-subgenres. For example, within the subgenre of the detective novel, there are numerous sub-subgenres: the “hard-boiled” detective novel, the “whodunit,” the English village mystery, the “cold-case file,” and others. Genre is a fundamental way of thinking about literary texts, and it will provide an organizing principle for ENGL 100. The many genres, subgenres, and sub-subgenres of literature provide readers with a dynamic sense of the richness and variety of literature in English.


Fall-Winter 2020-2021
Course Dates: 
Sept. 8, 2020 - April 9, 2021
Exam Dates: 


80% - Written Assignments via Essays (1000 words x 4)
20% - Class Participation via Discussion Forums

**Evaluation Subject to Change**


Dr Robert G. May (

Instructor message

Dr Robert G. May is an Associate Professor in the Department of English at Queen’s University. A specialist in Canadian literature in English, he has extensive teaching and publishing experience in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Canadian poetry and fiction. He has taught survey courses in Canadian literature, as well as upper-year undergraduate seminars in the Montreal Group, Canadian Literary Criticism, and Gay Poetry in Canada. He has published peer-reviewed articles on Canadian literary figures such as Duncan Campbell Scott, F.R. Scott, Leo Kennedy, and Gary Geddes. He is the editor of Gary Geddes: Essays on His Works (Toronto: Guernica, 2010) and Duncan Campbell Scott’s In the Village of Viger: A Critical Edition (Ottawa: Tecumseh, 2010). He is currently co-editing Auto-Anthology: The Complete Poems and Translations of F.R. Scott.

Time Commitment

To complete the readings, assignments, and course activities, students can expect to spend on average, about 10-12 hours per week (240 hours total) on the course.

Summer 21: May - July
Course Dates: 
May 10 - July 30 , 2021
Exam Dates: 
August 3 - 7


50% - Essays, 1000 words (x4)
10% - Close Reading Forums (x4)
10% - Live Online Chat
30% - Proctored Final Exam

**Evaluation Subject to Change**

Live Sessions

This course has required live sessions (e.g. webinars, synchronous activities). Please consult the Timeline in the first week of class.

Final Examination

Students must write their exam on the day and time scheduled by the University. The start time may vary slightly depending on the off-campus exam centre. Do not schedule vacations, appointments, etc., during the exam period.


Professor Robert May (

Instructor message

My research interests include modern Canadian poetry in English, especially F. R. Scott and the Montréal poets; contemporary Canadian poetry in English, especially John Barton and Gary Geddes; human rights and social justice writing; and LGBTQ theory and literatures.

Time Commitment

To complete the readings, assignments, and course activities, students can expect to spend on average, about 9 - 10 hours per week (120 hours per term) on the course.

Course Resources


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Computer Requirements

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System Requirements:

Computer Specifications

  • Windows 8.1 or newer
  • OSX 10.13 (High Sierra) or newer
  • Dual Core 2 GHz processor
  • 4 GB RAM
  • Soundcard
  • USB Headset
  • Webcam

Supported Browsers

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  • Firefox (latest version)
  • Safari is not recommended as it causes several known issues in onQ
  • Edge is not recommended as it causes several known issues in onQ

Internet Connection

  • Wired high speed access: Cable or better
  • Wifi is not recommended


  • Latest version

Media Player

  • Flash (latest version)

Adobe Reader

  • Latest Version


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