Department of English

DEPARTMENT OF

English Language and Literature

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Graduate Courses 

 

Fall and Winter Terms 2018-2019

ENGL 803 and 903 Research Forum I and II
Instructor: Various Speakers
Offered: Fall and Winter Terms
Description: A required presentation and discussion course in which first-year MA 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.

 

Fall Term 2018

ENGL 800 and 900 Introduction to Professional and Pedagogical Skills I and II
Instructor: Graduate Co-ordinator
Offered: Fall Term 2018
Description: 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 counselling of undergraduate students, writing research papers, time management, academic and non-academic 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 825 Topics in Medieval Literature: Medieval and Tudor Morality Plays: Allegories of the Self - R. Wehlau

Instructor: Ruth Wehlau
Offered: Fall Term 2018
Course Group: 1
Description: Morality Plays of the late medieval and Tudor periods are among the most ribald and entertaining material of their day. Major influences on early modern drama, including Marlowe’s Faustus and Shakespeare’s Tempest, the plays focus on the construction of the self, the monarch, and the body politic. In doing so, they demonstrate the movement from religious to political allegory in the context of the Reformation and the beginning of the early modern state.

The class will read a selection of morality plays from 15th and 16th century England and Scotland, including Mankind, Everyman, The Castle of Perseverance, John Skelton’s Magnificence. and selections from A Satire of the Three Estates, as well as an additional four plays chosen by the class. All plays will be read in the original Middle English (or Middle Scots), but students will receive help and instruction in acquiring the skills needed to read and pronounce the language. As the plays were written for performance, the class will also contain a performance component, largely in order to experiment with staging. When possible we will view videos of performances in modern day stagings.

ENGL 843 Topics in Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Literature: The First Information Age: ‘Intelligence’ in the Eighteenth Century - L. Ritchie
Instructor: Leslie Ritchie
Offered: Fall Term 2018
Course Group: 2
Description: Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary (1755) defines intelligence as the “commerce of information; notice; mutual communication” and the “account of things distant or secret.” This course will query Johnson’s equation of information and intelligence by taking a good look at eighteenth-century Britain’s cultural explosion of newspapers, magazines, periodical essays, encyclopedias, dictionaries, and prints. It will consider public experimentation; theatrical, musical, and book reviewing; the growth of the museum; the influence of circulating libraries; and other modes of producing and disseminating information in the period. Readings will include selections from the Spectator, the Idler, the Gentleman’s Magazine, the Universal Magazine of Knowledge and Pleasure, the annals of the Royal Society, and papers plucked from other assorted corners of the virtual coffeehouse. Participants will be expected to contribute to class discussion (20%) concerning the weekly readings; to complete a research presentation on a particular media environment or production process (30%); and to design and complete a major research project or paper on a topic of their own devising, in consultation with the instructor (50%).
ENGL 854 Topics in Romantic Literature: Consuming the Opium-Eater: Thomas De Quincey - R. Morrison
Instructor: Robert Morrison
Offered: Fall Term 2018
Course Group: 2
Description: Some addicts commit suicide. Others overdose. Still others manage to avoid both these fates and stay alive. They are “the ones who may well go on to write abuse confessionals,” Stuart Walton declares in Out of It (2002), “and each is a distant descendant of De Quincey.” This course examines Thomas De Quincey’s seminal narratives of drug addiction, including Confessions of an English Opium-Eater and its sequel, Suspiria de Profundis. It then examines the impact of these texts on some of De Quincey’s major “descendants,” including Wilkie Collins, Arthur Conan Doyle, Malcolm Lowry, Peter Ackroyd, Ann Marlowe, and Carlyn Zwarenstein.
ENGL 866 Topics in Contemporary Literature: Incarcerating Indigenous Peoples: Cultural and Political Perspectives - A. G. Ruffo
Instructor: Armand Garnet Ruffo
Offered: Fall Term 2018
Course Group: 3
Description: This seminar will examine the concepts and reality of incarceration for Indigenous people in Canada and the role of writing. According to a 2016 investigative report by Maclean’s magazine, the asymmetrical jailing of the Indigenous population in Canada now exceeds the jailing of African-Americans in the USA. In fact, there are now more Indigenous people incarcerated across the country than there were Blacks jailed at the height of the apartheid in South Africa. While statistics may surprise the majority of Canadians, incarceration for Indigenous peoples comes as no surprise and extends back to European contact. How is incarceration then connected to the history and colonization of Indigenous peoples, and what insight can literature give us into this experience? We will consider a variety of literary strategies that Indigenous authors have adopted to tell their stories of incarceration with the end goal of confronting and destroying colonialism; this focus will connect to related themes of diaspora, racism, violence, gender, self-determination, residential schools, etc. The texts for the seminar include a variety of literary genres, such as memoir, fiction and poetry, as well as critical work that serves to open the literature to analysis.

Requirements: These include regular attendance and participation, an oral presentation, and a longer essay.

ENGL 867 Topics in Contemporary Literature: Forging “Democratic Readers”: Ideology and Identity in the Works of Philip Pullman - S. King
Instructor: Shelley King
Offered: Fall Term 2018
Course Group: 3
Description: With the publication in October 2017 of The Book of Dust Philip Pullman returned once more to the fantastic world of His Dark Materials. Visionary Romantic poet William Blake refers to writing as 'the wond'rous art': perhaps in deference to Blake’s vital influence on his own work, contemporary British author Philip Pullman describes reading, its counterpart, as "a subtle art." Pullman's fascination with reading is evident in all aspects of his work: from the intertextual nod to his own wide-ranging literary experience given by the complex epigraphs scattered throughout his oeuvre, to representations of the interpretive act such as that figured in Lyra's ability to read the alethiometer in The Golden Compass, to the concept of a "democracy of reading" used by Pullman to articulate his sense of reading as an ideological act, the works of this award-winning author present reading from multiple perspectives to an audience ranging from neophytes to seasoned academics. Beginning from the premise that Pullman treats reading not as a simple means of accessing ideological content, but rather as a sophisticated ideological act, this course explores the function of narrative, genre and intertextuality in the works of Philip Pullman through examining their role in his award-winning trilogy, His Dark Materials (1995, 1997, 2000) and its associated short fiction Lyra’s Oxford (2003) and Once Upon a Time in the North (2008), as well as in his works for younger readers: Spring-Heeled Jack (1989), Count Karlstein (1991,1998), The Firework-Maker’s Daughter  (1995), Clockwork (1996, 1998), I Was a Rat! (1999, 2000), The Scarecrow and His Servant (2004), the recent Tales from the Brothers Grimm (2012), and of course, The Book of Dust.
ENGL 884 Topics in American Literature: Race, Sound and African American Literature - K. Moriah
Instructor: Kristin Moriah
Offered: Fall Term 2018
Course Group: 3
Description: This course focuses on the relationship between Sound Studies and African American literature. We will investigate various recourses to sound in African American literature and criticism. We will read the work of literary figures like Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. Du Bois, Zora Neale Hurston and Ann Petry alongside critics like Amiri Baraka, Daphne Brooks, Fred Moten, and Alexander Weheliye. Traversing the sonic color line, we will develop new understandings of black aesthetics, literature, and politics. Attendance and Participation 10%; one Presentation 10%; two Short Papers (3-5 pages) 20%; one Final Research Paper (20-25 pages) 60%.
ENGL 892 Literary Internship
Instructor: Various
Offered: Fall Term 2018
Description: This course is a pass/fail credit course which offers MA students placements in research, literacy, language, and arts-related community organizations, with the aim of providing those students with job experience that is directly related to literary studies. Sample placements may include such organizations as Kingston WritersFest, or the Strathy Language Unit at Queen’s University. To achieve a pass in ENGL 892, the student shall submit to the Graduate Chair a time sheet (signed by his/her placement supervisor) stating that 50 hours of work have been completed satisfactorily, and hand in a brief written summary report (1200 words) on the experience to the Graduate Chair.

 

Winter Term 2019

ENGL 815 Topics in Literary Study: From Metafiction to Real Fiction - Y. Schlick
Instructor: Yaël Schlick
Offered: Winter Term 2019
Course Group: 3
Description: In a recent interview, novelist Rachel Cusk said she found fiction “fake and embarrassing” and referred to the creation of plot and character (“making up John and Jane and having them do things together”) as “utterly ridiculous.” Karl Ove Knausgaard went even further, perhaps, when he stated that “just the thought of a fabricated character in a fabricated plot” made him “feel nauseous.”  This course on metafiction and on what I have called “real fiction” will explore the trend in recent writing to dispense with the ‘pretenses’ of plot and characters to create ‘novels’ that problematize further or even erase the difference between fiction and non-fiction.  We will begin with a consideration of contemporary metafiction before moving on to these recent permutations of the blurring between fiction and reality.  The initial section on contemporary metafiction will likely include works by J. L. Borges, John Barth, Julio Cortàzar, Grace Paley, Javier Cercas, Enrique Vila-Matas, and Jonathan Safran Foer; the second section on “real fiction” will include works by W. G. Sebald, Lydia Davis, Karl Ove Knausgaard, Geoff Dyer, Teju Cole, John Haskell, and Rachel Cusk.
ENGL 817 Publishing Practicum - M. Wallace
Instructor: Molly Wallace
Offered: Winter Term 2019
Description: 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. If there is time, we will build in a conference proposal/presentation stage. 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 publication. Note: Doctoral students are strongly urged to enroll in this course, and while the course is open to all students, doctoral students will have enrolment priority.
ENGL 831 Topics in Early Modern Literature and Culture: Classical and Popular Traditions - E. Hanson

Instructor: Elizabeth Hanson
Offered: Winter Term 2019
Course Group: 1
Description: When Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare began their careers as playwrights in the late 1580s and early 1590s the commercial theatre was a new cultural form and the type of play it would traffic in, the secular, five-act drama in English, with its highly developed plots and subplots and psychologically compelling character effects was only beginning to be imagined.  Shakespeare and the other playwrights who developed this form did so by borrowing and blending features from both the popular, vernacular religious drama of the late Middle Ages and the classical Latin drama that they encountered at grammar school but which very few people in their audience would have been able to read.  These traditions carried very different ideas about representation, theatrical space and cognition.  Put another way, they carried different assumptions about the ontological and epistemological implications of acting and theatrical mimesis generally. The course is founded on the proposition that the power and conceptual open-endedness of Renaissance drama stems from the conversation, clashes and slippages between these traditions we can detect in the plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries.

In this course we will read examples from these dramatic traditions that Elizabethan dramatists inherited.  Then we will read some of the greatest and possibly most familiar plays these dramatists went on to write, looking at the ways in which they borrowed from, transformed and derived meaning from these earlier traditions.  Because the vernacular religious drama, the Latin drama of the schoolroom and the commercial theatre were all known to audiences and playwrights through performance, we will approach all the plays in the course as performance texts, analyzing the way they use space and embodiment as well as language and train ourselves to think diachronically about the artisanal practices of playwrights and the competencies of their audiences.  Our goal will be to recognize where elements of Renaissance drama came from and how their meaning persists or alters in new representational contexts, and thereby cultivate an awareness of the diverse forms virtual experience can take.

 

ENGL 842 Topics in Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Literature: Literature in the Age of Sensibility and the Sublime - C. Fanning
Instructor: Christopher Fanning
Offered: Winter Term 2019
Course Group: 2
Description: The great neoclassical satirists Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift died in 1744 and 1745, respectively. The passing of these writers, who had defined the forms and standards of literary expression for decades, marked a watershed in English poetry: “For who durst now to poetry pretend?” asked one anonymous writer in 1744. This course will examine the attempts of later eighteenth-century authors to fill this perceived void on their own terms. Rather than continue to emulate the traditional ideals of Augustan Rome, authors of the 1740s and following sought to cultivate native British traditions, to define themselves against Pope in particular, and to define an aesthetic in tune with human emotion and the natural world, redefining and revaluing concepts of fancy and imagination, reorganizing the canon of English authors, elevating genres such as the lyric (the ode) and the novel. We will read poetry, literary theory and criticism, and novels by some of the following: Alexander Pope, Anne Finch, Joseph Addison, James Thomson, William Collins, Joseph and Thomas Warton, Edmund Burke, Thomas Gray, Frances Greville, Laurence Sterne, Henry Mackenzie, James Macpherson, Oliver Goldsmith, Ann Yearsley, Ann Radcliffe.
ENGL 852 Topics in Romanticism: The Emergence of the Romantic Sublime - J. Pierce
Instructor: John Pierce
Offered: Winter Term 2019
Course Group: 2
Description: Emerging from theoretical discussions of the 18th century, the sublime takes its most fully developed form in the poetry and fiction of the Romantic Period. The works of Blake, Wordsworth, Shelley, and Keats will be read through Longinus's conceptualization of the sublime as an aesthetic experience that depicts the "genius" or "inward greatness of soul" in the author, the vastness of the natural world, and the power of writing to transport the reader outside the rational self. In addition, Gothic works by Radcliffe and Monk coupled with the parody Gothic of Austen's Northanger Abbey will round out the course as examples of the transformations of sublime aesthetics into fictional forms. These literary works will be supplemented through background readings on the theory of the sublime as developed in John Dennis, Joseph Addison, and Edmund Burke.
ENGL 856 Topics in Victorian Literature: Imagined Histories in Literature, Science, and Culture - T. Choi

Instructor: Tina Choi
Offered: Winter Term 2019
Course Group: 2
Description: George Eliot, in the opening line of Middlemarch, likened the study of history to the examination of a “mysterious mixture… under the varying experiments of Time.” How did history (whose purpose, Edward Gibbon had asserted a century earlier, was mere “accuracy”) come to be seen, not as a collection of facts, but as an experimental practice? In this course, we explore the use of the past as a field for speculation, nostalgic representation, narrative and temporal experiment, and counterfactual discourse. By considering the role of history in a range of works and contexts from the 1810s to the 1880s, we ask why recreations of the past, in the form of historical fictions, military and political histories, monumental surveys, geohistories, and visual displays, were so popular during this period. How did these works conceive of the historical event, especially with relation to questions of chance, design, and free will? How might we interpret historically based literary works within the context of the period’s enthusiasm for reenactments, the installation of life-size dinosaur models in public parks, or exhibits of Indian workers performing manual labour?

Our readings will include selected major works by Scott, Dickens, Eliot, and others, as well as a range of relevant critical, historical, and theoretical materials. While our primary focus will be on the historical novel, we will also examine the period’s historical and historicizing impulse as expressed in its popular histories, exhibitions and museums, and scientific and archaeological writings.

ENGL 862 Topic in Modernism: Literature and Culture of the Spanish Civil War - P. Rae
Instructor: Patricia Rae
Offered: Winter Term 2019
Course Group: 3
Description:  A study of poems, memoirs, journalism, fiction and other forms of cultural production inspired by the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939). Widely regarded as the opening act of the Second World War (though its veterans were derided as “premature anti-fascists”) the war against Franco’s Fascist-backed coup in Spain inspired volunteers from 53 nations to migrate to that country in support of the cause. As Auden famously put it, they heard the call of Spain “on remote peninsulas, / on sleepy plains, in the aberrant fishermen’s islands…”; they “heard and migrated like gulls or the seeds of a flower…. They floated over the oceans; / They walked the passes: they came to present their lives” (EA 211–12). They did so, however, in what rapidly became a lost cause. This course will examine the literature and culture, primarily but not exclusively in English, inspired by this war. Authors considered will include George Orwell, Nan Green, John Cornford, Margot Heinemann, Tom Wintringham, Jack Lindsay, Ernest Hemingway, Martha Gelhorn, Edwin Rolfe, Langston Hughes, Norman Bethune, Dorothy Livesay and Ted Allen, and we will look at anthologies of elegiac poetry (many no longer in print) from Britain, Canada and the United States. We’ll also pay attention to the small newspapers and literary magazines publishing elegiac tributes to the veterans, most notably the soldiers’ own publication, Volunteer for Liberty. We’ll give some consideration, too, to the visual art inspired by the war (the paintings of Picasso, Miro, and Dali, the documentary photography of Robert Capa), and especially to the much belated memorials produced in memory of the volunteers across Britain, the United States and Canada. Theoretical and historical questions we’ll address include why so much about this war and its volunteer effort has been forgotten by governments and mainstream media; why it has been such an object of nostalgia on the political left; why the critical language devised for the literature of the Great War is so inadequate to account for it; the place of women both in the work of the war and in its iconography; the role of the war in changing the face of journalism and in inspiring a resurgence of certain modernist literary practices rejected by the political left in the 1930s.
ENGL 864 Topics in Modernism: The Naked Truth:  Modernism, Sexuality, and Sex - G. Willmott
Instructor: Glenn Willmott
Offered: Winter Term 2019
Course Group: 3
Description: This course looks at the provocative imagination and meaning of sex and sexuality in modernism, from avant-garde to popular literature, and dallying with film.  We will study early twentieth-century sexual theories as well as obscenity laws and censorship in contexts of ideas of gender and race, and of critiques of consumer and image culture.  A provisional list of authors includes Gertrude Stein, James Joyce, Bruce Nugent, D. H. Lawrence, Djuna Barnes, C. L. Moore, Raymond Chandler, and Nathanael West.  Other figures of interest, fictional and nonfictional, will include Betty Boop, King Kong, Marlene Dietrich and Josephine Baker.  Evaluation is based on weekly critical reviews, a seminar presentation with discussion, and a research essay.

 

Spring Term 2019

ENGL 826 Topics in Medieval Literature: Medieval Travel Literature and Ethnography - M. Pappano
Instructor: Margaret Pappano
Offered: Spring Term 2019
Course Group: 1
Description: This course explores the representations produced by medieval travelers—pilgrims, crusaders, missionaries, merchants, and emissaries, among others—in the high and later Middle Ages, largely focused on medieval Europeans but with some reference to other traditions. As medieval people traveled to distant lands, they encountered peoples and customs different from their own.  We will analyze how medieval people wrote about ethnic differences and, in doing so, consider the discourses available to the medieval person to frame their experience of difference.  While medieval travel writing was bound up with the system of auctoritas and thus heavily indebted to preceding traditions, travelers could and did produce alternative ways of seeing the world.  We will explore the tensions between the universalizing discourses of Christendom and the individual experience of the traveler, charting the evolving patterns of ethnographic and geographic thought in relation to changes wrought by centuries of contact and exchange of information between Europe and its “others.” We will also investigate some notable Jewish and Muslim travelers and their visions of globalism.
ENGL 861 Topics in Modernism: T. S. Eliot and Virginia Woolf - G. McIntire

Instructor: Gabrielle McIntire
Offered: Spring Term 2019
Course Group: 3
Description:T. S. Eliot and Virginia Woolf were almost exact contemporaries (born in 1888 and 1882, respectively), readers and critics of each other’s work, and close friends for over twenty years. Although they are rarely considered together as a pair, and despite some radical differences in political outlooks, Eliot and Woolf exemplify some of the most fascinating contestations at the heart of literary modernisms: aesthetic and formal innovation, cultural critique, gender troubling, and explorations of the sacred and the secular after Nietzsche’s “the death of God.” Together we will consider some of the striking correspondences and affinities that exist in Eliot and Woolf’s poetic and thematic preoccupations as we read Eliot’s major poetry from “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” to The Waste Land, Ash-Wednesday, and Four Quartets, and engage with several of Woolf’s most important novels and prose pieces, including To the Lighthouse, Mrs. Dalloway, “A Sketch of the Past,” and The Waves. Theorists considered will likely include Henri Bergson, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Sigmund Freud.

Course requirements: Essay; seminar presentation; attendance and engaged in-class participation, including a short recitation of some poetry or prose from Eliot or Woolf.