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 describe the hallmarks or “Elements” of four main literary genres (short fiction, drama, literary non-fiction, and poetry);
  • Identify, analyse, and employ the language of literary analysis and close reading when discussing texts (e.g., metaphor, irony, pathos, parody, rhetoric, ideology, etc.);
  • Demonstrate a sound knowledge of grammar, punctuation, diction, and syntax;
  • Compose original arguments that evaluate, analyse, and synthesize primary texts, and that do so within a structural framework that includes a thesis statement, strong topic sentences, textual evidence, a compelling conclusion, and other characteristics of analytical literary essays.


J.A. Cuddon, editor of the renowned Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory, defines genre as “a kind, type, or class of literature,” recognizable through its distinctive attributes and features. One way readers can come to a deeper understanding about a work of literature is by seeing it as part of a larger genre, and by assessing how it adheres to—or departs from—those defining characteristics. All genres have discrete elements, which enable readers to subject a work to a close reading and analysis, and to unpack its various layers of meaning. Many genres have sub-genres or even sub-sub-genres, which allow readers to explore a work with increasing levels of sensitivity, and to communicate those ideas to others in a coherent way. This course will introduce students to four main literary genres: short fiction, drama, literary non-fiction, and poetry. It will impart a vocabulary and taxonomy for analysing literature, and it will construct a framework that emphasizes effective writing, critical thinking, and close reading. By doing so, this course will provide students with a sense of the richness and variety of literature, and it will equip them with the reading and writing skills they need for further English studies.


Fall-Winter 2022-23
Course Dates: 
Sept. 6, 2022 - April 10, 2023
Exam Dates: 
April 14 -28, 2023


45% - Essays (x4)
20% - Discussion Forums (x4)
15% - Quizzes (x15)
20% - 2-hr Proctored Final Examination

**Evaluation Subject to Change**

Live Sessions

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


  1. You may choose to write your exam(s) online using Examity proctoring services where you will be charged the additional $100 exam fee; or
  2. You may choose to write your exam(s) in-person on Queen's campus in Kingston where you will NOT be charged the additional $100 exam fee.


Once the exam schedule has been finalized the exam date will be posted on your SOLUS account. The exam dates for each Term are listed on the Faculty of Arts and Science webpage under "Important Dates." Student exam schedules for the Fall Term are posted via SOLUS immediately prior to the Thanksgiving holiday; for the Winter Term they are posted on the Friday before Reading Week, and for the Summer Term they are individually noted on the Arts and Science Online syllabi. Students should delay finalizing any travel plans until after the examination schedule has been posted. Exams will not be moved or deferred to accommodate employment, travel/holiday plans or flight reservations.


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 9 - 10 hours per week (120 hours per term) on the course.

Course Resources


SOLUS is Queen’s Student On-Line University System. You’ll have access to a SOLUS account once you become a Queen’s student. You’ll use SOLUS to register for courses, add and drop courses, update your contact information, view financial and academic information, and pay your tuition.

About OnQ

onQ is Queen's online learning platform. You'll log into onQ to access your course. All materials related to your course—notes, readings, videos, recordings, discussion forums, assignments, quizzes, groupwork, tutorials, and help—will be on the onQ site.

About Credit Units

Queen’s courses are weighted in credit units. A typical one-term course is worth 3.0 units, and a typical two-term course is worth 6.0 units. You combine these units to create your degree. A general (three-year) BA or BSc requires a total of 90 credit units.

Computer Requirements

To take an online course, you’ll need a high speed internet connection as well as a microphone and speakers to be able to watch videos, hear sounds, and participate in interactive online activities. A webcam is recommended but not necessary.

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

  • Chrome (preferred - latest version)
  • 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


The deadlines for new applications to Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are in our Upcoming Application Dates section.

Grading Scheme

The information below is intended for undergraduate students in the Faculty of Arts and Science. Academic Regulations in other Faculties may differ.

Letter Grade Grade Point

GPA Calculators
Have your SOLUS grade report handy and then follow the link to the Arts and Science GPA calculators.

How does this affect my academics?
See the GPA and Academic Standing page.

Follow the link above for an explanation of how the GPA system affects such things as the Dean’s Honour List, requirements to graduate, and academic progression.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Grading Scheme
Please follow this link to the FAQ's

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees vary depending when you start, your year, faculty, and program. Fees for Summer Term 2018 first-year Distance Career Arts & Science Domestic students are as follows: for a 3.0-unit course, $685.90; for a 6.0-unit course, $1371.80 See also Tuition and Fees.

Campus Bookstore

All textbooks, if required, can be purchased at Queen’s Campus Bookstore.

Non-Queen’s Students

All Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are open to students at other universities. Before applying as a visiting student, request a Letter of Permission from your home university that states that you have permission to take the course and apply it to your degree. See also Apply.

Academic Integrity

Please see Queen’s policy statement on academic integrity for information on how to complete an online course honestly.