Department of English

DEPARTMENT OF

English Language and Literature

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English Undergraduate Course Offerings

 

Each year Queen’s English offers a variety of courses and approaches from which you can choose, whether you are building your degree program or looking for an intriguing elective.

Descriptions of the courses to be offered in the 2018-19 academic year are available below. These descriptions provide an idea of the readings and assignments for which students will be responsible.

 

ENGL 235 posterEGNL 257 posterENGL 271 posterENGL 273 posterENGL 278 posterENGL 285 posterENGL 291 poster

SNEAK PREVIEW!
Select 200-Level Courses for 2018-19

 

Each year our Doctoral Teaching Fellows enable us to offer an eclectic suite of 200-level courses, ranging from Shakespeare to the History of Children’s Literature. The energy and creativity they bring to their work shines through in the posters they design to introduce their courses.

ENGL 235 001/3.0 Life Writing – Based on a True Story: Lives and/in Literature

Poster for ENGL 235

Term:  fall

Instructor: Robyn Carruthers

Description: Stories based on actual events fascinate us. So do stories about real people. A book or movie that claims to be based on “real life” invokes immediate solemnity—and often Oscar nominations. Those that can boast of being “true to life” garner the distinction of authenticity, and those that depict truths “stranger than fiction” are likely best sellers. Life writing is conventionally thought of as the branch of literature that tells such stories, whether these texts detail events in their authors’ own lives or in the lives of others. The divide between fact and fiction, however, is never clear-cut, and life writing affords us the opportunity to explore how literary forms and frames both reflect and produce ideas about truth and reality. Life writing is a broad category of literary works that, in a variety of ways, construct lives textually and give them meaning. Traditionally thought to include biography, autobiography, memoir, journals, diaries, and letters, the boundaries of life writing continue to be pushed, blurred, and transgressed. This course will investigate these boundaries and consider other critically emerging forms of literature that challenge the distinction between fiction and non-fiction, including but not limited to: stories that trace the “lives” of objects, ideas, places, institutions, and groups; the writing and reading of spiritual lives as a form of worship; and technological adaptations to the telling of life as story. Texts and theoretical approaches studied in this course will reflect a transnational focus, inviting a consideration of life writing in a global context. Ultimately, this course will ask students to consider what constitutes a life at the intersection of literature and culture.

Texts we will study may include the following:

Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis
Salam Pax’s The Baghdad Blog
J.M. Coetzee’s Summertime
Dave Eggers’s What is the What: The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng
Ajay Navaria’s Unclaimed Terrain
W.G. Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn

Requirements: Forms of assessment may include a short theory paper, a short current affairs reflection, a final essay, and an exam.

 

ENGL 257 001/3.0 Elizabethan Shakespeare – Becoming William Shakespeare

Poster for ENGL 257

Term: fall

Instructor: Tatevik Nersisyan

Description: How did William Shakespeare become one of the most famous authors in Western literature? This course will tackle this question, tracing the beginnings of Shakespeare’s literary career and mapping out his development from an unknown playwright to a major literary brand by the end of the Elizabethan age. The course will provide historical context, explore themes such as ideals of love and desire, gender, history, authorship and adaptation, and read a selection of Shakespeare’s texts alongside his sources and contemporaries. We will also consider the importance of theatres in Elizabethan England, as well as the dynamics of literary circulation in manuscript and print, while even learning how to read representative manuscripts from the period. Course readings may include Venus and Adonis, Romeo and Juliet, the sonnets, Much Ado About Nothing, Henry V, and Hamlet, along with selections from Giovanni Boccaccio, Marsilio Ficino, Thomas Wyatt, Philip Sidney, Christopher Marlowe, and others.

Requirements: Forms of assessment may include participation, an in-class test, essays, and a final exam.

 

ENGL 271 001-8/3.0 Issues and Themes – Special Topics I: Black Literature as (Trans)national Dialogue: Responding to Blackness in the English Text

Poster for ENGL 271

Term: winter

Instructor: Jhordan Layne

Description: In the introduction to Black Geographies and The Politics of Space, Katherine McKittrick and Clyde Woods urge writers to “critically view and imagine black geographies as interdisciplinary sites” that “bring into focus networks and relations of power, resistance, histories, and the everyday, rather than locations that are simply subjugated, perpetually ghettoized, or ungeographic” (7). This course investigates the relationship between black peoples and the national, transnational, and global spaces they navigate as a network of peoples constructing—and being constructed by—literary visions of what blackness means. The course will examine how the detrimental experiences of colonialism, racism, and discrimination can simultaneously create a generative lingua franca between black peoples of different histories, nationalities, and cultures. The course will not focus on individual regions, but rather on the intersections and interactions between African, African-American, African-Canadian, Black British, and Afro-Caribbean literature, popular media, and cultural productions to explore similarities and differences in the way black peoples respond to the concept of blackness.

Authors studied may include: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Dionne Brand, Ta Nehisi Coates, Yaa Gyasi, Mat Johnson, Jamaica Kincaid, Claude McKay, Caryl Philips, and Zadie Smith.

Requirements: Assessments may include several scheduled online discussion forum exercises, in-class participation, two essays, and a final exam.

 

ENGL 273 001-6/3.0 Literature and the Fantastic – Madness and Monsters: Victorian Horror Fiction

Poster for ENGL 273

Term: fall

Instructor: Lindsay Young

Description: When Henry Jekyll drinks a chemical that transforms him into Edward Hyde, he describes “a horror of the spirit that cannot be exceeded at the hour of birth or death.” From cursed portraits to murderous barbers to blood-sucking vampires, the Victorian imagination was rich with spine-tingling terrors and even darker fantasies. From the more sensational monster fiction, which externalized 19th-Century fears and anxieties into horrific others, to the more psychologically-visceral and socially resonant horrors of Rochester’s attic and Heathcliff’s haunted moor, this course offers a survey of 19th-Century horror fiction as a means of examining intersections of fear, fantasy and political reality in Victorian society.

This course will examine several key Victorian themes—gender, imperialism, race, sexuality, scientific and technological advancement, and urbanization—through the lens of fantastical horror fiction. Texts may include Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Jekyll and Hyde, Oscar Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Gray, and selected ‘penny dreadfuls’ such as those featuring Varney the Vampire or Sweeney Todd. Shorter works might draw from Elizabeth Gaskell (The Nurse’s Tale), Edgar Allen Poe (Masque of the Red Death, Fall of the House of Usher) and Arthur Conan Doyle (The Parasite), as well as selections from Georgiana Houghton’s séance diaries.

Requirements: Forms of assessment may include short quizzes OR in-class written responses, one or more essays, and a final examination.

 

ENGL 278 001/3.0 Literature and Place – Hell, Purgatory, and the Underworld: Spaces of the Dead

Poster for ENGL 278

Term: fall

Instructor: Alice Drysdale

Description: “Abandon every hope, ye who enter here”. Thus reads the sign that marks the beginning of Dante’s descent into Hell in The Divine Comedy. The spaces of the afterlife have fascinated authors and readers alike since the earliest days of the written word and representations of those spaces provide a thrilling and penetrating view into that which is most privileged in life. Is the afterlife a space of moral judgement, with torments and rewards allotted according to one’s life? Or is it a monotonous limbo, timeless and unchanging? Do these spaces preclude hope? This course will survey both classical and contemporary representations of afterlife spaces to examine how they are constructed, how they reflect the priorities of living society and social issues germane to life, as well as what effects those spaces have on the development of narrative and character.
 
This course will feature an overview of traditional Western beliefs about death and the afterlife, as well as a survey of classical and contemporary Western representations of afterlife experiences and journeys into the underworld. Classical readings may include excerpts from The Epic of Gilgamesh, book eleven of Homer’s Odyssey, book six Virgil’s Aeneid, early myths of Orpheus & Eurydice and Hades & Persephone, as well as Dante’s The Divine Comedy. Contemporary texts that build upon, and play with, the classical texts may include Sartre’s No Exit, the graphic novel Sandman: Season of Mists, Hiromi Goto’s Half World, Philip Pullman’s The Amber Spyglass, and the musical Hadestown. We will also examine representations of the afterlife in other media, such as film and television.

Requirements: May include essays, in-class responses and quizzes, and a final exam.

 

ENGL 285 001/3.0 Issues and Themes in Canadian Literature II – Re-Visioning Diversity through Canadian Literature

Poster for ENGL 285

Term: winter

Instructor: Catherine Andre

Description: Providing a selective overview of Canadian literature from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, this course will engage with the multiplicity of cultural perspectives active in Canadian literary art. Attention will be paid to the variety of Canadian experiences over time in order to recognize the assets and limitations of the concept of the Canadian “mosaic.” Recognizing the potential for literature to nurture transcultural dialogue and respectful engagement, this course will interrogate the utility and problematics of multiculturalism and the mosaic model, as ideals and in practice, especially through the lens of the contemporary moment’s increasingly xenophobic climate.

The course will be organized into three sections: poetry, short stories, and novels. We will examine some of the key genres within these categories. Each of these sections will include works by authors from various communities. Course readings may include literature by Joy Kogawa, Alice Munro, Thomas King, Timothy Findley, Dionne Brand, Michael Ondaatje, Tomson Highway, Rohinton Mistry, George Elliot Clarke, and Drew Hayden Taylor. Our class discussion will seek to place these voices into conversation around the themes of difference, diversity, and multiculturalism. Are these rubrics effective in fostering Canadian cohesion? Do they facilitate inclusion and cross-cultural communication? Do these authors envision alternative frameworks for diverse dialogue in Canada?

Requirements: Assessments for this course may include one or two essay assignments, participation, close reading responses, and a final examination.

 

ENGL 291 001/3.0 Literature on Stage and Screen: Celebrity and the Construction of Public Identity

Poster for ENGL 291

Term: fall

Instructor: Nevena Martinovic

Description: “The image is one thing and the human being is another.” – Elvis Presley.

The distance between audience and performer is smaller now than ever, but the relationship between the two is still grounded in performance. This course will interrogate how celebrated actors’ public identities are constructed through theatrical and para-theatrical texts, such as plays, memoirs, letters and reviews. We will consider how all of these texts, both on and off stage, are performative and theatrical. Beginning in the long Eighteenth Century, we will examine the origins of the modern culture of celebrity and examine how it differs from the older concept of “fame.” As we move forward in time, we will consider how celebrity is constructed in connection with gender, race and class.

Readings may include:

John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera (1728)
Anonymous Memoirs of Perdita (1784)
Oscar Wilde’s Salome (1894)
Julie Styne, Arthur Laurents, and Stephen Sondheim’s Gypsy (1959)
Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o’s Ngaahika Ndeenda (1977)
Suzan-Lori Park’s Venus (1996)

Requirements: Forms of assessment may include quizzes, one or more essays and a final examination.

 

Principal's Dream Course
ENGL 218 001/3.0 Introduction to Indigenous Literatures in Canada

 

 

  • Would you like to experience Indigenous cultures through the eyes of Indigenous authors?
  • Would you like to understand the potential of literature to mobilize and inspire?
  • Would you like to learn to ask questions that will give meaningful answers?
  • Would you welcome the opportunity to engage directly with famous Indigenous writers?

As a Principal’s Dream Course, ENGL 218 is able to bring in the renowned Indigenous authors and creators of the material we will be studying. Literature gives access to the worlds of the characters and authors of the texts, and gives insight into a multitude of disciplines. We will look at the aesthetics and politics of the works with the goal of confronting expectations about Indigenous cultures and experience. Active engagement with the authors and texts will allow us to consider the role that Indigenous literatures play in shaping both Indigenous and non-Indigenous perceptions of culture and identity.

Prerequisites may be waived with the permission of the instructor. Please contact Heather Macfarlane at heather.macfarlane@queensu.ca if you have any questions.

 

 

2018-19 Course Descriptions

100-Level Courses 2018-19

 

ENGL 100 001/6.0 Introduction to Literary Study

Term: full year

Instructors: John Pierce

Description: This section of English 100 offers an introduction to the key concepts, terminology, basic theoretical assumptions and approaches, and fundamental methodologies used in discussing and analyzing literature. The course will include the study of short stories, poetry, drama and essays written by Canadian, American, British, Aboriginal and Post-colonial authors. Throughout the course, we will explore the use of active reading skills designed to increase comprehension and retention of the material studied and to enhance interpretive, analytical, literacy and language skills. Active reading involves a full participation in the reading process in which you will ask questions about a range of issues, assess your own responses, seek out evidence for your impressions, responses and understandings, and engage in the construction of meaningful interpretations of the works studied. The course also involves the development of oral and written communication skills.

Note: ENGL 100 is a prerequisite for all subsequent ENGL courses. This course is offered in two sections, each involving two lectures and one tutorial per week. Students must enrol in the same section and the same tutorial for the entire year. Enrolment preference is given to first-year students.  Also offered as an online course; first-year on-campus Arts students are excluded from the online section.

 

ENGL 100 002/6.0 Introduction to Literary Study

Term: full year

Instructors: Glenn Willmott

Description: This course introduces students of literary study by weaving back and forth between the great classics of Western literary tradition and celebrated works by authors writing in English today.  We will study a wide variety of genres in poetry and prose, with some attention to drama, from biblical and ancient Greek literature to the present.  Along the way we will explore themes of humanity, youth, and compassion.  This course is dedicated to cultivating essay writing skills with professional grammar and style, and to providing students with a set of literary terms and critical techniques as foundations for further literary study.

Note: ENGL 100 is a prerequisite for all subsequent ENGL courses. This course is offered in two sections, each involving two lectures and one tutorial per week. Students must enrol in the same section and the same tutorial for the entire year. Enrolment preference is given to first-year students.  Also offered as an online course; first-year on-campus Arts students are excluded from the online section.

 

ENGL 160/6.0 Modern Prose Fiction

Term: full year

Instructors: Robert May

Description: This course is designed to promote interest in and appreciation for modern and contemporary prose fiction by introducing students to a selection of the most influential short stories and novels of the twentieth century. The course will provide students with a vocabulary for reading and discussing twentieth-century works of prose, and it will explore some of the most important themes, ideas, and preoccupations in modern and contemporary prose fiction. American, British, Canadian, and world authors will be represented.

Requirements: Evaluation methods will include written assignments, class attendance and participation, periodic quizzes, and a final exam.

Note: This course is intended for the non-major and does not contribute to an ENGL degree. Enrolment is limited to students not registered in an ENGL Plan, and preference is given to upper-year students. This course may not be used as a foundation for an ENGL Plan or a prerequisite for upper-year ENGL courses.

Exclusion: No more than 6.0 units from ENGL 100/6.0, ENGL 110/6.0, ENGL 112/6.0, ENGL 160/6.0.

200-Level Courses 2018-19

 

The prerequisite for ENGL 200–299 is a minimum grade of C in ENGL 100/6.0. Note that courses at the 200 level have limited enrolments. Students registered in an English plan applying to take these courses have priority over those applying to take them as electives.

Registration in a Major or Medial English plan is a prerequisite of the ENGL 290 seminar course (30 students max). The format of all other 200-level courses is lecture and discussion. These non-required 200-level courses are subdivided into broad Surveys (English 201–229) and courses in genre (230–249), authors in context (250–269), issues and themes (270–289), and theory and criticism (291–299). Grading is shared between instructors and teaching assistants.

 

 

ENGL 200 001/6.0 History of Literature in English

Term: full year

Instructor: Elizabeth Hanson

Description: This course traces the historical development of literature in English from its beginning to the present. We will start with the writing down of Anglo Saxon oral poetry at the end of the first millennium and conclude with a consideration of English as a world literary language at the beginning of the third millennium. On the way we will discuss important events and movements in literary culture such as the Renaissance, Romanticism, Modernism, and the development of post-colonial literature in English. We will consider historical issues such as the impact of printing and new methods of publication on literary forms and the ways that participation in literary culture is determined and contested. We will also attend to the history of literary forms, considering the emergence of new genres, borrowings between genres, experiments with narrative, the development of English meters, and the changing registers of literary language.The course will be organized around the study of canonical authors, e.g. Geoffrey Chaucer, Christopher Marlowe, John Milton, William Wordsworth, Jane Austen, T. S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, Wallace Stevens, Derek Walcott and Ayi Kwei Armah.  Students will be taught historical and intellectual contexts for these authors’ works, strategies of close reading and a precise and sophisticated critical vocabulary.

The course is intended as a “survey”, a word that comes from the Latin words super (‘over’) and videre (‘to see’).  It is meant to give you a big picture, an account of how you might understand developments in literature in English in relation to one another rather than a mastery of individual texts or fields.  Over your career as an English student you will revisit many of these texts and/or authors in other courses in greater depth and detail. The reading load will be substantial and you will be asked to read more texts than we will be able to engage with closely in class. Writing assignments will provide opportunities for students to hone analytical prose.

Requirements: Assessment will be based on three analytical essays, in-class quizzes and a final exam.

 

ENGL 200 002/6.0 History of Literature in English

Term: full year

Instructor: Christopher Fanning

Description: An historical survey of literature from the British Isles and beyond. Through the study of representative works, the course aims to familiarize students with the characteristics of literary periods—their forms and concerns—from the Middle Ages to the present. In addition to studying formal conventions and innovations, we will pay particular attention to the construction of explanatory narratives (e.g., national history; the Christian story of temptation, fall and redemption) and systems of order (of the self, society and the cosmos) as well as ideas about the purpose of literature and the role of the writer.  Authors studied will include: Geoffrey Chaucer, William Shakespeare, John Milton, Alexander Pope, Jane Austen, William Wordsworth, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Browning, T. S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, Tom Stoppard.

Requirements: Essays, focused short assignments, quizzes, and a two-hour exam at the end of each term.

 

ENGL 215 001/6.0 Canadian Literature –  Identities in Dialogue

Term: full year

Instructor: Heather Macfarlane

Description: Canada is home to a long and rich variety of literary traditions, making it impossible to speak of one Canadian literature. In order to determine what Canadian Literatures are, and how they influence our perception of Canada, we will examine both the similarities and differences between various communities’ literatures, as well as the contexts in which they were written. No literature exists in isolation, and this course will examine how the texts intersect and enter into dialogue with one another. Starting with examples of traditional Indigenous literatures, we will look at novels, short stories, plays, poetry, songs and films from many communities, regions and historical periods with the goal of demonstrating the impact of literature on our understanding of diverse and shared experiences.

Requirements: TBA

 

ENGL 218 001/3.0 Introduction to Indigenous Literatures in Canada (Principal's Dream Course)

Term: winter

Instructor: Heather Macfarlane

Description: This course was selected as the Principal’s Dream Course for 2017-2019, and as such will benefit from a series of visits from high-profile Indigenous authors and thinkers. The course will demonstrate the capacity of literature to confront expectations about Indigenous cultures and experience. Using an inquiry-based approach, the course will examine Indigenous novels, traditional stories, poetry, short stories and plays from various time periods, written by Métis, Inuit and First Nations authors. Class visits by renowned Indigenous authors and thinkers will open avenues for meaningful engagement, and demonstrate the importance of literature and aesthetics to educate and mobilize. With a goal of developing a broader understanding of the powerful anti-colonial sentiment at the core of Indigenous cultural production, the course will also consider the texts in the light of Indigenous-authored criticism. Participants will examine textual and theoretical approaches to topics such as colonialism and resistance, storytelling and orality, traditional and contemporary stories, land and language, residential schools and “reconciliation,” sexuality and gender, spirituality, community and nationhood. The course will also consider the role that Indigenous literatures play in shaping both Indigenous and non-Indigenous perceptions of identity.

Requirements: TBA

 

ENGL 235 001/3.0 Life Writing – Based on a True Story: Lives and/in Literature

Term:  fall

Instructor: Robyn Carruthers

Description: Stories based on actual events fascinate us. So do stories about real people. A book or movie that claims to be based on “real life” invokes immediate solemnity—and often Oscar nominations. Those that can boast of being “true to life” garner the distinction of authenticity, and those that depict truths “stranger than fiction” are likely best sellers. Life writing is conventionally thought of as the branch of literature that tells such stories, whether these texts detail events in their authors’ own lives or in the lives of others. The divide between fact and fiction, however, is never clear-cut, and life writing affords us the opportunity to explore how literary forms and frames both reflect and produce ideas about truth and reality. Life writing is a broad category of literary works that, in a variety of ways, construct lives textually and give them meaning. Traditionally thought to include biography, autobiography, memoir, journals, diaries, and letters, the boundaries of life writing continue to be pushed, blurred, and transgressed. This course will investigate these boundaries and consider other critically emerging forms of literature that challenge the distinction between fiction and non-fiction, including but not limited to: stories that trace the “lives” of objects, ideas, places, institutions, and groups; the writing and reading of spiritual lives as a form of worship; and technological adaptations to the telling of life as story. Texts and theoretical approaches studied in this course will reflect a transnational focus, inviting a consideration of life writing in a global context. Ultimately, this course will ask students to consider what constitutes a life at the intersection of literature and culture.

Texts we will study may include the following:

Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis
Salam Pax’s The Baghdad Blog
J.M. Coetzee’s Summertime
Dave Eggers’s What is the What: The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng
Ajay Navaria’s Unclaimed Terrain
W.G. Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn

Requirements: Forms of assessment may include a short theory paper, a short current affairs reflection, a final essay, and an exam.

 

ENGL 237 001/3.0 An Introduction to the History and Critical Study of Children’s Literature

Term: winter

Instructor: Heather Evans

Description: This course examines the history of children’s literature from the Middle Ages to the twenty-first century.  Our discussion of recent works for children and young adults will be grounded on a survey of the development of a literature shaped specifically for children and young adults from its beginnings in Britain to the Golden Age of the nursery in the nineteenth century.  Underlying the course is the question of what, if anything, defines or distinguishes children’s literature from other genres or literatures.  As we look anew at stories that shaped our own childhoods and the “childhoods” of Western society and of children’s literature as a genre, we will consider the way children’s literature may cultivate social conformity or function as a form of social critique or protest.  Central to our study will be an examination of the construction of childhood across the centuries; consideration of the intersections and relationships between literature, politics, philosophy, commerce, religion, economics, art, and other cultural sites; and an investigation of the dynamic between literature written for adult audiences and books read by children. 

While the early weeks of the course will survey the first several hundred years of children’s literature, our study in the later weeks of the term will be concerned with the relationships between children’s literature and the very real world marked by conflict, violence, and war, including the impact of war on the publication of children’s literature and the representation of abuse, interpersonal and cultural conflict, violence, and trauma in books for young readers.  As we work through our course we will interrogate hackneyed clichés and popular assumptions such as that the primary function of books read by children (past or present) is to stimulate the imagination of the child; that children’s literature is simplistic, conservative, or moral; and that childhood is a period of innocence unaffected by adult concerns and fears.

Requirements: One or two essays and a two-hour final exam.  Assessment may also include attendance, participation, quizzes, online activities, or other short written assignments.

 

ENGL 257 001/3.0 Elizabethan Shakespeare – Becoming William Shakespeare

Term: fall

Instructor: Tatevik Nersisyan

Description: How did William Shakespeare become one of the most famous authors in Western literature? This course will tackle this question, tracing the beginnings of Shakespeare’s literary career and mapping out his development from an unknown playwright to a major literary brand by the end of the Elizabethan age. The course will provide historical context, explore themes such as ideals of love and desire, gender, history, authorship and adaptation, and read a selection of Shakespeare’s texts alongside his sources and contemporaries. We will also consider the importance of theatres in Elizabethan England, as well as the dynamics of literary circulation in manuscript and print, while even learning how to read representative manuscripts from the period. Course readings may include Venus and Adonis, Romeo and Juliet, the sonnets, Much Ado About Nothing, Henry V, and Hamlet, along with selections from Giovanni Boccaccio, Marsilio Ficino, Thomas Wyatt, Philip Sidney, Christopher Marlowe, and others.

Requirements: Forms of assessment may include participation, an in-class test, essays, and a final exam.  

 

ENGL 271 001-7/3.0 Issues and Themes – Special Topics I: Black Literature as (Trans)national Dialogue: Responding to Blackness in the English Text

Term: winter

Instructor: Jhordan Layne

Description: In the introduction to Black Geographies and The Politics of Space, Katherine McKittrick and Clyde Woods urge writers to “critically view and imagine black geographies as interdisciplinary sites” that “bring into focus networks and relations of power, resistance, histories, and the everyday, rather than locations that are simply subjugated, perpetually ghettoized, or ungeographic” (7). This course investigates the relationship between black peoples and the national, transnational, and global spaces they navigate as a network of peoples constructing—and being constructed by—literary visions of what blackness means. The course will examine how the detrimental experiences of colonialism, racism, and discrimination can simultaneously create a generative lingua franca between black peoples of different histories, nationalities, and cultures. The course will not focus on individual regions, but rather on the intersections and interactions between African, African-American, African-Canadian, Black British, and Afro-Caribbean literature, popular media, and cultural productions to explore similarities and differences in the way black peoples respond to the concept of blackness.

Authors studied may include: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Dionne Brand, Ta Nehisi Coates, Yaa Gyasi, Mat Johnson, Jamaica Kincaid, Claude McKay, Caryl Philips, and Zadie Smith.

Requirements: Assessments may include several scheduled online discussion forum exercises, in-class participation, two essays, and a final exam.

 

ENGL 273 001-6/3.0 Literature and the Fantastic – Madness and Monsters: Victorian Horror Fiction

Term: fall

Instructor: Lindsay Young

Description: When Henry Jekyll drinks a chemical that transforms him into Edward Hyde, he describes “a horror of the spirit that cannot be exceeded at the hour of birth or death.” From cursed portraits to murderous barbers to blood-sucking vampires, the Victorian imagination was rich with spine-tingling terrors and even darker fantasies. From the more sensational monster fiction, which externalized 19th-Century fears and anxieties into horrific others, to the more psychologically-visceral and socially resonant horrors of Rochester’s attic and Heathcliff’s haunted moor, this course offers a survey of 19th-Century horror fiction as a means of examining intersections of fear, fantasy and political reality in Victorian society.

This course will examine several key Victorian themes—gender, imperialism, race, sexuality, scientific and technological advancement, and urbanization—through the lens of fantastical horror fiction. Texts may include Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Jekyll and Hyde, Oscar Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Gray, and selected ‘penny dreadfuls’ such as those featuring Varney the Vampire or Sweeney Todd. Shorter works might draw from Elizabeth Gaskell (The Nurse’s Tale), Edgar Allen Poe (Masque of the Red Death, Fall of the House of Usher) and Arthur Conan Doyle (The Parasite), as well as selections from Georgiana Houghton’s séance diaries.

Requirements: Forms of assessment may include short quizzes OR in-class written responses, one or more essays, and a final examination.

 

ENGL 278 001/3.0 Literature and Place – Hell, Purgatory, and the Underworld: Spaces of the Dead

Term: fall

Instructor: Alice Drysdale

Description: “Abandon every hope, ye who enter here”. Thus reads the sign that marks the beginning of Dante’s descent into Hell in The Divine Comedy. The spaces of the afterlife have fascinated authors and readers alike since the earliest days of the written word and representations of those spaces provide a thrilling and penetrating view into that which is most privileged in life. Is the afterlife a space of moral judgement, with torments and rewards allotted according to one’s life? Or is it a monotonous limbo, timeless and unchanging? Do these spaces preclude hope? This course will survey both classical and contemporary representations of afterlife spaces to examine how they are constructed, how they reflect the priorities of living society and social issues germane to life, as well as what effects those spaces have on the development of narrative and character.
 
This course will feature an overview of traditional Western beliefs about death and the afterlife, as well as a survey of classical and contemporary Western representations of afterlife experiences and journeys into the underworld. Classical readings may include excerpts from The Epic of Gilgamesh, book eleven of Homer’s Odyssey, book six Virgil’s Aeneid, early myths of Orpheus & Eurydice and Hades & Persephone, as well as Dante’s The Divine Comedy. Contemporary texts that build upon, and play with, the classical texts may include Sartre’s No Exit, the graphic novel Sandman: Season of Mists, Hiromi Goto’s Half World, Philip Pullman’s The Amber Spyglass, and the musical Hadestown. We will also examine representations of the afterlife in other media, such as film and television.

Requirements: May include essays, in-class responses and quizzes, and a final exam.

 

ENGL 285 001/3.0 Issues and Themes in Canadian Literature II – Re-Visioning Diversity through Canadian Literature

Term: winter

Instructor: Catherine Andre

Description: Providing a selective overview of Canadian literature from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, this course will engage with the multiplicity of cultural perspectives active in Canadian literary art. Attention will be paid to the variety of Canadian experiences over time in order to recognize the assets and limitations of the concept of the Canadian “mosaic.” Recognizing the potential for literature to nurture transcultural dialogue and respectful engagement, this course will interrogate the utility and problematics of multiculturalism and the mosaic model, as ideals and in practice, especially through the lens of the contemporary moment’s increasingly xenophobic climate.

The course will be organized into three sections: poetry, short stories, and novels. We will examine some of the key genres within these categories. Each of these sections will include works by authors from various communities. Course readings may include literature by Joy Kogawa, Alice Munro, Thomas King, Timothy Findley, Dionne Brand, Michael Ondaatje, Tomson Highway, Rohinton Mistry, George Elliot Clarke, and Drew Hayden Taylor. Our class discussion will seek to place these voices into conversation around the themes of difference, diversity, and multiculturalism. Are these rubrics effective in fostering Canadian cohesion? Do they facilitate inclusion and cross-cultural communication? Do these authors envision alternative frameworks for diverse dialogue in Canada?

Requirements: Assessments for this course may include one or two essay assignments, participation, close reading responses, and a final examination.

 

ENGL 290 001/3.0 Seminar in Literary Interpretation – Charles Dickens’s Bleak House

Term: fall

Instructor: Heather Evans

Description: In 1946 Geoffrey Tillotson described Bleak House as “the finest literary work the nineteenth century produced in England.”  While Tillotson’s claim may be debateable, according to Harry Blamires in 1987, “there is now something close to critical agreement that Bleak House is Dickens’s most complex and memorable single achievement.”  What the critical assessment of the novel is in the twenty-first century is ours to discover as we work our way through what is certainly one of, if not the longest of Dickens’s novels, a work that famously immortalized the infamously impenetrable and seemingly unresolvable legal case of Jarndyce v. Jarndyce, raised the spectre of spontaneous human combustion in the popular imagination of the nineteenth century, inaugurated the genre of the detective novel, and introduced readers to a tremendous cast of colourful characters who are variously mad, macabre, morose, and magnificent.  We will begin our study of Dickens’s work by considering short selections from Sketches by Boz that demonstrate on a small scale the empathy and keen observation of the people and architecture (social and physical) of Victorian England that Dickens brought on a much grander scale to Bleak House.  Our study will then take us step by step through the nineteen monthly parts of the original serial publication of the novel in 1852-53.  Our journey through Dickens’s often dark and deplorably dingy London and his irrepressibly sympathetic exploration of human fallibility will provide opportunity to develop close reading, research, and critical interpretation skills.

Requirements (subject to change):  One essay, a final exam, regular attendance and active class participation, and a seminar presentation; may include short written assignments.

 

ENGL 290 001/3.0 Seminar in Literary Interpretation – Keats’s Last Volume

Term: winter

Instructor: Mark Jones

Description: The last volume of poems published by Keats before he died was Lamia, Isabella, The Eve of St. Agnes, and Other Poems (London, July 1820).  In addition to the romances listed in the title, this volume includes Keats’s Hyperion: a Fragment, and the great odes. It is a stunning volume in qualitative terms and offers a rich array of literary themes and genres, from romance and epic to ode and rondeau. Focusing both on individual works and on the integrity of the collection, this section of 290 introduces students to critical terms and concepts for the study of poetry and to practices of literary questioning and discussion.  For seminar work, students formulate critical questions and lead class discussion.

Requirements: Eighty-percent attendance is required to pass.  Other requirements include regular preparation and participation, occasional reading quizzes, one seminar facilitation, two or three essays (2,500 words total), and a two-hour final exam.

 

ENGL 290 002/3.0 Seminar in Literary Interpretation – "When Victims Become Killers": Uzodinma Iweala's Beasts of No Nation

Term: fall

Instructor: Asha Varadharajan

Description: Uzodinma Iweala published his debut novel, Beasts of No Nation (2005) at the age of 22--a factoid of immediate appeal, I hope, to sophomores, redolent as it is of both talent and aspiration!  Iweala's is an imaginative re-telling of the experiences of a child soldier in civil war-torn Africa.  I was attracted to this novel for our seminar in literary interpretation because (i) it engages with a "real world" problem of immediate and urgent concern and one that is connected in significant ways with Canada's long history of humanitarian intervention and (ii) because it is an artful Bildungsroman--a coming of age tale that dismantles the assumptions that shape this narrative mode, alters it to serve postcolonial ends, and produces a searing examination of masculinity to boot and (iii) situates itself in a West African literary tradition, the Anglophone version of which is renowned for its ability to bend and break and reinvigorate standard English at will.  Iweala is a Nigerian-American novelist and, as such, the authenticity of his reappropriation of his Nigerian literary ancestors is likely to be a source of some controversy.  As the readers of this description might be aware, Beasts of No Nation is a 2015 film starring none other than Idris Elba.  Strangely enough, however, this fact was not a deterrent for me because the film is unlikely to prepare you for the book or deprive you of your taste for it.  We will revel in and explore the implications of this unlikeness. Contextual materials will include the writings of and interviews with Romeo Dallaire, journalism on civil war and child soldiers,  the work of Mahmood Mamdani and Sherene Razack, interviews with and excerpts from comparable life writings by both male and female child soldiers, the film The Redemption of General Butt Naked , investigation of the sources from which Iweala drew his epigraphs--Arthur Rimbaud and Fela Kuti-- and examples of linguistic inventiveness and genre-bending in West African Anglophone writing to situate Iweala's accomplishment. The aim of this seminar is to develop a keen awareness of the making and breaking of generic conventions, the limits of the human and the universal , the features of postcolonial literature, the fraught relation between the aesthetic and the political, and the role of narrative in the fostering of compassion and commitment.  Most of all, we will indulge in the pleasures of reading with attention to the details of voice, focalization, the intimacy between sound and sense, figurative language, West African and Christian mythologies, and the manipulation of time and space. 

Requirements: Assignments will include voluntary and assigned participation, journals or writing with a public dimension or multi-media expression, short exercises in close reading and literary criticism, and a final exam. Attendance requirements will be stringent.

 

ENGL 290 002/3.0 Seminar in Literary Interpretation – Walt Whitman and Fanny Fern

Term: winter

Instructor:  Laura Murray

Description: Writing under the pen-name Fanny Fern, Sara Payson Willis was one of the highest-paid American writers when she collected some of her satirical and sentimental newspaper pieces in Fern Leaves from Fanny’s Portfolio in 1853. The book sold 46,000 copies in four months. In 1855, struggling journalist Walt Whitman printed 800 copies of a collection of rambling, meditative, and grandiose free verse he named Leaves of Grass. While some reviewers found the book a “mass of stupid filth,” Fern loved it. “Leaves of Grass,” she wrote, “thou art unspeakably delicious, after the forced, stiff, Parnassian exotics for which our admiration has been vainly challenged.” Furthermore, she declared, “Walt Whitman, the effeminate world needed thee…. women not ladies… it needed a man who dared speak out his strong, honest thoughts, in the face of pusillanimous, toadeying, republican aristocracy; dictionary-men, hypocrites, cliques and creeds.” In juxtaposing two differently unconventional writers of the same place and time, this course will create conversations between poetry and newspaper copy, masculinity and feminism, lyricism and satire, and the canon and its margins. Students will practice close reading of both poetry and prose, and together we will engage with the thorny question of the relation between an author’s biography and sociohistorical context and the worth or meanings of their work.   

Requirements: regular attendance and active class participation, regular quizzes & close reading exercises, debate, final essay.

 

ENGL 290 003/3.0 Seminar in Literary Interpretation – John Milton’s Paradise Lost

Term: fall

Instructor: Scott-Morgan Straker

Description: Paradise Lost is one of those texts that helps you to understand why the world is the way it is, or at least why our culture looks the way it does. Enormously impactful in its day, Paradise Lost also influenced subsequent writers for generations, and its influence continues to be felt today. However, like many literary monuments, it’s not the sort of thing most of us start reading on a whim: you have to commit to it. That’s what we will do in this course.

Do you ever have conversations with friends in other fields in which they say, “What we do in [Field X] is so much harder/more important/more interesting than what you English students do”? Reading Paradise Lost will let you respond, “You think so, do you? I’m reading a poem in which the author attempts to explain the existence of good and evil, solve the problem of free will vs. predestination, encapsulate the sum of human learning (including the creation of the cosmos and all of world history), redefine the meaning of epic, and outdo the classics of antiquity, all in witty blank verse. And he composed it entirely in his head, because he was blind!” It is a challenging poem to read and think about, but the rewards are great; when you’ve finished it, you will have encountered one of the masterpieces of world literature, and you will know a great deal more than you did when you began it. Plus there’s that business in the Garden of Eden with the fruit and nakedness, so it’s not all theology and long speeches.

In addition to reading the text in its historical context, we will also examine how later readers understood and responded to it, how it influenced later literary movements (especially nineteenth-century Romanticism), and how it lives on in modern culture

Requirements: This course is a seminar, so active and regular participation are mandatory. This participation will take two main forms:

i. Discussion topics will be announced in advanced, and students are expected to come to class prepared to engage with those topics.
ii. Paradise Lost rewards close reading, so we will do a lot of close reading practice. Sometimes there will be time to prepare, and sometimes we’ll do it ex tempore.

Students will also make a group presentation to the class. There will also be an essay, due toward the end of term.

 

ENGL 290 003/3.0 Seminar in Literary Interpretation – Reading Chinese Canadian Fiction

Term:  winter

Instructor:  Petra Fachinger

Descriptions: This seminar introduces students to the analytic interpretation of narrative prose in general and Chinese Canadian fiction in particular.We will spend the first six weeks of the term discussing the themes and narrative strategies of Sky Lee’s Disappearing Moon Café (1990) and Wayson Choy’s The Jade Peony (1995). The remainder of the seminar will be dedicated to a discussion of how Carrianne K. Y. Leung’s The Wondrous Woo (2013) and Melanie Mah’s The Sweetest One (2016) relate to these two foundational texts of Chinese Canadian literature. In doing so, we will mobilize close reading strategies to consider representations of Chinese Canadian identities across gender, sexual orientation, and generation.

 

ENGL 291 001/3.0 Literature on Stage and Screen: Celebrity and the Construction of Public Identity

Term: fall

Instructor: Nevena Martinovic

Description: “The image is one thing and the human being is another.” – Elvis Presley.

The distance between audience and performer is smaller now than ever, but the relationship between the two is still grounded in performance. This course will interrogate how celebrated actors’ public identities are constructed through theatrical and para-theatrical texts, such as plays, memoirs, letters and reviews. We will consider how all of these texts, both on and off stage, are performative and theatrical. Beginning in the long Eighteenth Century, we will examine the origins of the modern culture of celebrity and examine how it differs from the older concept of “fame.” As we move forward in time, we will consider how celebrity is constructed in connection with gender, race and class.

Readings may include:

John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera (1728)
Anonymous Memoirs of Perdita (1784)
Oscar Wilde’s Salome (1894)
Julie Styne, Arthur Laurents, and Stephen Sondheim’s Gypsy (1959)
Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o’s Ngaahika Ndeenda (1977)
Suzan-Lori Park’s Venus (1996)

Requirements: Forms of assessment may include quizzes, one or more essays and a final examination.

 

ENGL 292 001/6.0 Introduction to Literary Criticism and Theory

Term:  full year

Instructor:  Maggie Berg

Description: English 292 is an introduction to literary criticism and theory. It asks what we are doing when we read literature and why we are doing it. We will examine what people have proposed about the nature of the literary text and its role in our lives.

In Fall term we will consider various ways in which people make sense of a text by relating it to its: author, social context, language and style, or reader.

In Winter term we will focus on recent theories that are relevant to how we read literature, including Marxist, structuralist, poststructuralist, feminist, psychoanalytic, post-colonial, disability, and queer. Each term we will employ literary texts as case studies, so that we can see the implications of the various theories for how we read a work of literature.

The theoretical essays and extracts can be quite demanding because they employ abstract ideas. However, you will find that they are very rewarding:  they raise important issues not only about how we read literature, but also about who we are and how we live our lives.

Requirements: 2 short (1 page) essays, 2 longer (4-5 page) essays; 1 creative project; 1 exam. 

 

300-Level Courses 2018-19

 

To take 300-level English courses, one must:

  • be enrolled in an ENGL BAH program (Medial or Major),
  • have successfully completed ENGL 200/6.0 and ENGL 290/3.0, and
  • have obtained a minimum GPA of 2.4 in all previous ENGL units.

Minors with a minimum grade of B+ in at least 18.0 previous ENGL units may take 6.0 units at the 300 level, if space permits. Note that courses at the 300-level have limited enrolments. Students registered in an English Plan applying to take these courses as Core courses have priority over those applying to take them as Option courses.

 

ENGL 310 001/6.0 Medieval Literature of the British Isles

Term: full year

Instructor: Ruth Wehlau

Description: The British Isles are an archipelago at the northwest corner of Europe. Literary tradition within this archipelago has grown out of interactions among the various peoples who have inhabited and invaded the isles, as well as interactions with continental Europe. This course examines the various literary traditions of this region over a period of approximately 800 years, during which time epic and romance flourished, along with a variety of other genres. We will read a wide variety of works, including selections from Irish and Welsh literature, Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and selections from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Literature written in the early Middle Ages will be read in translation; literature of the later Middle Ages written in Middle English or Middle Scots will be read in the original (except Sir Gawain and the Green Knight), and students will be given help in acquiring the skills needed to read and pronounce these dialects.  Approaches to the texts will vary, but attention will be given throughout the course to the individuality of and the interactions between the various nations of the British Isles as they participate in forming early British and Irish identities. Classes will include lecture and discussion.

Requirements: Students will write two essays and an exam, and will be expected to participate in class discussion.

 

ENGL 312 001/6.0 Literatures and Cultures of the Medieval World

Term: full year

Instructor: Margaret Pappano

Description: This course introduces students to major pieces of literature and literary and cultural currents of the high and late Middle Ages, surveying a variety of influential genres such as epic, romance, history, hagiography, lyric, fabliau, dream vision, drama, and tale collection. It also introduces students to important critical paradigms that serve to illuminate medieval texts. While the course incorporates material from across Western Europe, it includes a special focus on England in order to investigate how England’s literary culture developed in relation to wider European trends. Students will be introduced to reading Middle English texts in their original language. The course also includes translated texts from Persian and Arabic in order to explore the dynamic literary exchange between Europe and the Islamicate literary cultures of the Mediterranean. Authors and texts include Marie de France, Chrétien de Troyes, Dante, Boccaccio, Chaucer, Rumi, The Arabian Nights.

Requirements: three take-home essays, quizzes, short writing assignments, final exam.

 

ENGL 321 001/6.0 Renaissance Poetry and Prose

Term: full year

Instructor: Andrew Bretz

Description: The Tudor period saw titanic shifts in the intellectual and political culture of England as Renaissance Humanism’s devolution of authority to “the individual” supplanted “the household” as the primary object of governance. This devolution presupposed the governing/governable individual to be essentially masculine, thereby alienating women from participation in the creation of public culture. Indeed, both intellectual humanism and the Reformation were deployed as ideological justifications for the domestication of women within the patriarchal household, governed by the individual male. Despite this attempt over the course of the sixteenth century to limit the self-expression of women to a handful of chaste and patriarchally governed identities, women across social classes constructed self-representations that subtly or overtly challenged patriarchal hegemony. Through an accident of history and genetics, a succession of women ascended to the English throne, thereby querying what it meant to be a “prince;” finally, women as diverse as Jane Anger and Lady Mary Sidney Herbert interrogated the relationship between the categories of “masculinity” and “authority.” Masculine anxiety over the resistance of women to merely submit to patriarchal household rule can be seen in the popularity of the sonnet form, which, although introduced to England in the court of Henry VIII, really became popular in the latter years of Elizabeth I’s reign. Characteristic elements of the sonnet form, such as the blazon, the male gaze, and the homosocial erotics of patronage all point to the exclusion of the feminine from the poeto-political discourse. Finally, John Milton’s epic Paradise Lost, represents in itself the culmination of the religious and political events of the Reformation and the Renaissance in England up to that point, but it also interprets those events from within the historical moment of the restored monarchy. The ambiguous representation of the guilt and political leanings of characters like Satan and Eve trouble the political allegory of Milton’s text and problematize the reception of the Renaissance as a historical category.

Requirements: Assessment will be based on two midterms, a midterm essay, a final essay, and a final exam.

 

ENGL 340 001/6.0 Romantic Literature

Term: full year

Instructor: Robert Morrison

Description: This course explores the poetry, politics, and cultural transformations of the Romantic period (1789-1834). It concentrates on the works of the major poets, including Felicia Hemans, William Blake, William Wordsworth, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and John Keats.

Requirements: There are two formal essays, twelve unannounced quizzes, and an April exam.

 

ENGL 351 001/6.0

Term: full year

Instructor: Steve Asselin

Description: ENGL 351 is a full-year course that explores the relationship between Victorian literature and culture, examining a variety of literary mediums—most prominently, but not restricted to, novels, poetry, and non-fiction essays—in their contemporary social context. Although often depicted in popular culture as a prim and staid period, the Victoria Era was one of dynamic cultural change as British society remade itself in the wake of the transformations brought about by the rise of industrialism and urbanization, and by confronting scientific discoveries that challenged long-held religious beliefs and raised questions about the very nature of humanity. Access to wealth and power was controlled by social divisions along the lines of class, age, gender, and race—categories that were being redefined and contested in ways that remain visible in Western societies over a century later. This course is subtitled “Insiders/Outsiders” as we will use the literature of the Victorian period, in its historical context, to investigate how certain groups of people were defined either to possess power and authority or to be excluded from it, looking at the formation and resistance to divisions on the basis of class and economics, gender and sexuality, race and (perceived) physical differences, and the status of children. We will read both the canonical works of literature that articulated dominant viewpoints or struggled against them, as well as more marginalized writers whose contestations with Victorian society have only more recently been rediscovered. We will also examine visual and print culture from the period, including a visit to the Rare Books collection, that will provide historical and social context for our readings. Finally, we will consider the lingering impacts of Victorian literature today, from ideology to adaptations.

Requirements: TBA

 

ENGL 360 001/6.0 Modern Literature

Term: full year

Instructor: Heather Evans

Description: “Only connect!” proclaimed E. M. Forster in his 1910 novel Howard’s End, hinting at a possible solution to some of the pressing social and aesthetic problems of the era.  “Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height.  Life in fragments no longer.”  While we may not achieve exaltation, our course will endeavour to connect fragments of literature and other cultural productions from the late nineteenth century to the middle of the twentieth century.

The period spanning the early 1890s to the end of the Second World War was characterized by a fading of the optimism that had buoyed the British people throughout much of the second half of the nineteenth century.  As Britain struggled with resistance in its colonies, lost its beloved longstanding monarch, and grappled with the collective trauma of the First World War, the sense that many of the foundations of British culture were fragmenting or in danger of collapse marked the literature and other cultural products of the period with a sense of desolation.  But the period was also one of literary innovation of theme, form, content, and mode.  Our course will explore the emergence of modern literature from the fin de siècle to the 1940s and investigate the representation of critical concerns such as tradition, imperialism, colonialism, spirituality and faith, consumerism and commodity culture, science and technology, the changing constructions of gender and sexuality, and the relationship between the individual and a seemingly increasingly alienating urban environment.    Although we will concentrate primarily on British writers of the period, we will also consider contributions to modern literature and culture by Americans.  Readings will include poems, short stories, novels, and drama by such writers as George Egerton, Kate Chopin, Victoria Cross, Thomas Hardy, Joseph Conrad, T. S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, W. B. Yeats, D. H. Lawrence, and Ezra Pound. 

Requirements: Two short essays, one long essay, a final exam, regular attendance, and active class participation.  Short quizzes and/or online discussion activities may also be required.

 

ENGL 375 001/6.0 American Literature

Term: full year

Instructor: Yaël Schlick

Description: This survey of 20th and 21st-century American literature will be divided roughly into a semester of poetry and a semester of prose fiction (and one play):

I. In the poetry section of the course we will study some key figures (such as Wallace Stevens, Robert Frost, Marianne Moore, John Ashbery) in some depth, then turn to The Best American Poetry 2018 (scheduled to be published in September 2018) to get a snapshot of the contemporary poetic moment. 

II. The first half of the prose section of the course, which I have titled “Looking In”, will examine works of fiction that explore American society and culture.  Some of the authors in this section will be Zora Neal Hurston, William Faulkner, David Mamet, John Updike, Lydia Davis, and Jeffrey Eugenides.  The second half of the prose section of the course—under the heading “Looking Out”—will include works by American authors that focus on regions outside the U.S., that highlight the immigrant roots of Americans, or works of science fiction that look beyond contemporary realities.  Some of these authors will include Joseph O’Neill, Jhumpa Lahiri, Jonathan Safran Foer, Ursula LeGuin, Edwidge Danticat, and Viet Than Nguyen. 

Requirements: two term essays (25% each), a midterm (20%), a final exam (20%), and two quizzes (5% each).  Discussion—which is expected and is considered integral to the course’s aims—will be evaluated and students will have their final course grade adjusted +/- 5 points depending on their contribution to class discussion.

 

ENGL 389 001/6.0 Context North America: Contemporary North American Indigenous Literatures

Term: full year

Instructor: Petra Fachinger

Description: This course examines contemporary Indigenous literatures written in English in what we refer to today as the United States and Canada. We will study the themes, aesthetics, and politics of novels, YA fiction, poetry, and plays by paying close attention to territorial, national, and cultural diversity. We will include topics such as residential schools and the Sixties and Millennial Scoops, culture and identity, gender and sexuality, language revitalization, resurgence and decolonization, urban Indigeneity, environmental issues, and connections between Indigenous Knowledge and Western science. Class visits by Indigenous scholars and local community members will open doors to meaningful engagement with the course materials.

 

400-Level Courses 2018-19

 

To take 400-level English courses, one must:

  • be enrolled in an ENGL BAH program (Medial or Major),
  • have successfully completed ENGL 200/6.0 and ENGL 290/3.0, and
  • have obtained a minimum GPA of 2.4 in all previous ENGL units.

Minors with a minimum grade of B+ in at least 18.0 previous ENGL units may take 6.0 units at the 300 level, if space permits. Note that courses at the 400-level have limited enrolments. Students registered in an English Plan applying to take these courses as Core courses have priority over those applying to take them as Option courses.

You may take these courses more than once provided that the topics are different, and all versions that you take will count toward your program and toward your GPA. The same is not true of non-repeatable courses: only one version of non-repeatable courses may count toward your program and GPA. If you have any questions about which courses are repeatable, or about how repeatable courses work, contact the Undergraduate Chair.

 

June 19 - 24 - Advanced Course Selection (ACS) for 4th Year ENGL Majors and Medials

 

ENGL 411 001-6/3.0 Topics in Medieval Literature II – Medieval Monsters

Term: fall

Instructor: Scott-Morgan Straker

Description:  When you think of a monster, what’s the first thing that comes into your mind? Does it look more like Godzilla or Lord Voldemort (or Missy, if you prefer)? Does your monster inspire feelings akin to fear and loathing, or pity and sympathy? Or humour? Do you react differently to monsters that look basically human as opposed to some sort of non-human beast or mechanical creature?

These questions hint at the panoply of forms that monsters can take in modern culture, and of the diverse purposes they serve. This course will explore some of these forms and purposes in a selection of medieval texts ranging from the Anglo-Saxon period to the end of the Middle Ages, focusing on the different functions of monsters in different literary genres: epic, romance, ethnographic writing, and penitential writing. We will explore the function of monsters in these texts under two headings: monsters who police the boundary of a community by defining who is excluded, and those that expose the darkness that exists within a community. We will also talk about some ways of theorizing the function of monsters, including folkloric, psychoanalytic, and postcolonial. We will read some texts in Middle English, but either translations or heavily-glossed editions will be available, so if you haven’t encountered Middle English since ENGL 200, you’ll be okay.

There will be dragons. And giants, both green and cannibalistic. And dog-headed men. And women.

Requirements: This course is a seminar, so active and regular participation are mandatory. Students will make group presentations to the class. Written work will consists of a short response to one of the pieces of criticism that we’ll read, as well as a longer research essay or creative assignment.

 

ENGL 421 001-5/3.0 Topics in Renaissance Literature I – Shakespeare and Film

Term: winter

Instructor: Andrew Bretz

Description: In the earliest days of the cinema, Shakespeare’s plays were filmed originally as a means to give relevance and credit to a new and experimental medium, and only eventually did directors and actors use the medium itself to explore the archetypical texts of western culture. Perhaps unusually for a play that is so clearly built around spectacle, cinematic adaptations of Macbeth have rarely seen the same wide acceptance from the public and adulation from critics that can be found either from theatrical performances of the same play, or from cinematic adaptations of other plays from Shakespeare’s canon. This course is going to look specifically at the problems of filming Macbeth. Given that the play investigates masculine failure and given that popular cinema as it developed in the west over the course of the twentieth century is predicated on masculine prowess, is it possible that the medium and the play were working at cross purposes? Has the rise of second and third wave feminism worked to undermine the cinematic alignment with masculine prowess to the point that the masculine failure(s) of Macbeth can be genuinely explored on film? What do adaptations of Macbeth from other cultures tell us about the play itself and about Western cinema/film? Starting by examining the performance history of the play up until the age of the photograph, we will see how the spectacular - a necessary element of all filmic texts - was embedded in the play from the very beginning. Then, moving into films of Shakespeare’s text, we will consider how different aspects of the text are foregrounded or occluded on historical, institutional, cultural, and sometimes even personal considerations. In the second half of the course, we will examine a series of adaptations of Macbeth from around the world, including Northern Ireland, India, and Japan. Finally, the course will end with a prolonged opportunity for students to research and examine a particular research question, drawn from their own readings of the play and the films.

Requirements: Assessment will take the form of a formal research paper, seminar presentations, and participation.

 

ENGL 422 001-3/3.0 Topics in Renaissance Literature I – Shakespeare and/as Canada

Term: fall

Instructor: Andrew Bretz

Description: Canada’s historical relationship with Shakespeare is fraught to say the least. From the early anti-theatricalist screeds that met touring companies in the 1700s who travelled up to Halifax from Boston, to the centrality of Stratford to the myth of the development of professional theatre in the twentieth century, Shakespeare has been both a site of resistance and identification for Canadian artists and scholars for over two hundred years. This course will examine the ways in which Shakespeare has been used by Canadian artists and scholars to theorize what it means to be Canadian by taking certain case studies and exploring those moments. Rather than developing a New Historicist subversion/containment model of power, this course will explore a more rhizomatic model of identification/resistance across multiple identity positions (e.g. French/English, Atlantic/Central Canada/Western Canada, high culture/low culture). Some of the questions this course will explore are: How has Shakespeare been used in the school systems to reinforce a Eurocentric (or specifically English) identity for Canada? How does the international success of Canadian Shakespeare adaptations such as Slings and Arrows, Harlem Duet, Goodnight Desdemona, Good Morning Juliet problematize the idea of Shakespeare and/as Canada? What is the history of Shakespeare among First Nations peoples and how do productions such as the National Arts Centre’s 2012 King Lear work to renegotiate that history? The course will offer students the opportunity to examine a particular moment or theme within the history of Canadian engagement with Shakespeare through a research project that will be defined by the student.

Requirements: Assessment will take the form of seminar presentations, participation, and a final research paper.

 

ENGL 431 001-1/3.0 Topics in Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Literature – Restoration and 18th Century Drama

Term: fall

Instructor: Leslie Ritchie

Description: This course surveys major developments in London’s theatrical offerings during the Restoration and the eighteenth century, 1660-1780. Our readings will include plays, as well as historical and modern criticism. We will consider such topics as acting styles, the spatial geography and economic impact of theatre, theatrical censorship, celebrity, the period’s ‘improvements’ on Shakespeare, and pantomime.

Requirements: an oral seminar (30%), a short oral presentation (10%), and a written paper (40%), as well as participation in discussion (20%).

 

ENGL 431 002-3/3.0 Topics in Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Literature – Literature in the Age of Sensibility and the Sublime

Term: fall

Instructor: Christopher Fanning

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 subsequent decades 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.

Requirements: class participation, a critical paper a seminar presentation, a final exam.

 

ENGL 436 001-1/3.0 Group I: Special Topics I – Medieval and Tudor Drama

Term: winter

Instructor: Ruth Wehlau

Description: Medieval and Tudor drama is a lively and accessible genre, dealing with the serious themes of life and death, and yet often filled with comic horseplay and bawdy language. This course will sample a variety of plays from the medieval and Tudor era, including biblical plays from the mystery cycles, the Croxton Play of the Sacrament, Robin Hood plays, and the morality plays Mankind and Everyman. All plays will be read in Middle English, but students will receive help and instruction in acquiring the skills needed to read and pronounce the language. As these plays were written for performance, some of the class time will be spent reading and workshopping the plays in class; at the end of the term, class members will perform a short play or section of a play.

Requirements: Students will be expected to participate in class discussion, to do a class presentation, and to write an essay and an exam.

 

ENGL 441 002-7/3.0 Topics in Romanticism I – Poetry and Poetics of Byron

Term: winter

Instructor: Mark Jones

Description: This section of ENGL 441 is an introductory seminar emphasizing Lord Byron’s unfinished satirical  masterpiece, Don Juan (all of which is assigned reading in the second half of term).  But the course begins with a survey of Byron’s earlier achievements in forms including lyric, closet drama, and verse romance.  Emphasis is on close and intertextual reading of Byron’s works in connection with critical topics including the Byronic hero, romantic irony, satire, anti-authoritarianism, nationalism, orientalism, self-fashioning, and the public sphere.  For seminar work, students formulate critical questions and lead class discussion.

Requirements: Eighty-percent attendance is required to pass.  Other requirements include regular preparation and participation; one seminar facilitation; one or more essays (2,500 words total); and a two-hour final exam.
 

ENGL 446 001-5/3.0 Topics in Literature and the Americas – Before Harlem: Nineteenth-Century African American Literature

Term: fall

Instructor: Kristin Moriah

Description: In this course, we will analyze African American literature from the long nineteenth century. We will find that the seeds of twentieth-century movements like the Harlem Renaissance, the Black Arts Movement, and Afro-Futurism were first planted here. Our reading list will include work by major figures like Harriet Jacobs and Frederick Douglass as well as less frequently considered writers like John Marrant and Pauline Hopkins. Our investigation will encompass non-canonical texts so that we can develop a richer sense of African American literary culture during the period. We will also engage with a wide range of scholarly criticism.

Requirements: Attendance and Participation, 10%; Fugitive Science Fair, 10%; Midterm Exam, 20%; Blog Posts, 20%; Final Research Essay (10-12 pages), 40%.

 

ENGL 446 001-3/3.0 Topics in Literatures of the Americas I – 19th Century New York in Print

Term: winter

Instructor:  Laura Murray

Description: Surveying thirty years of cultural production from 1833, the birthdate of the first “penny paper” (the New York Sun), to the Civil War draft riots of 1863, this course will take us to streets, mansions, slums, and theatres in a city of extremes. Authors will include Walt Whitman, Herman Melville, Fanny Fern, Edgar Allan Poe, Harriet Jacobs, and Horatio Alger. Texts will also include magazines and newspapers from religious to scurrilous, along with song lyrics, diaries, posters, theatre programs, photographs, and maps. In conversation with recent academic research on the  history of the book and urban history, we will work together to understand what it meant to publish or read amongst the collisions and configurations of “high” and “low” culture in a massively diverse and rapidly growing city during the early decades of mass media. Literature, culture, and New York City are very different now than they were almost two hundred years ago, and students will also have the opportunity to reflect on how this time travel illuminates present-day culture, politics, media, and reading practices.

Requirements: participation, report on a primary source, report on a secondary source, final essay/project, two-hour exam.

 

ENGL 451 001-1/3.0 Topics in Victorian Literature I – At Table with the Victorians: Nineteenth-Century Gastronomy and Food in Victorian Literature

Term: fall

Instructor: Heather Evans

Description: This course will offer an introduction to the history and literature of nineteenth-century gastronomy, the art of fine dining.  Treating the long nineteenth century as a grand literary banquet, we will whet our appetites on gastronomic treatises by writers such as Alexandre Balthazar Laurent Grimod de la Reynière, William Kitchiner, Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, and Thomas Walker, and nibble our way through tasty essays, fiction and poems penned by both epicurean and abstemious writers, such as Charles Dickens, William Makepeace Thackeray, Lewis Carroll, Elizabeth Gaskell, and Sarah Grand.  Along the way, we will snack on Victorian cookbooks and stir up issues such as vegetarianism, famine, the emergence of the restaurant, women cooks, tippling, temperance, and the importance of tea.

Requirements: One seminar presentation, one term paper, active participation, and a final exam.

 

ENGL 451 001-4/3.0 Topics in Victorian Literature I –The Late Victorian Genre Explosion

Term: winter

Instructor: Steve Asselin

Description: ENGL 451 is a half-term, seminar-format course focused on a topic of interest in Victorian studies. This term, we will examine the sudden flourishing of new literary genres that took place in the late Victorian period. Sometimes this meant that genres previously been experimented with, like detective fiction or science fiction, became concretized through the deployment of key tropes and the sheer mass of new authors and stories. Sometimes it meant literary experiments that set the stage for genres soon to be recognizable, like spy fiction and weird fiction. And some genres, like invasion literature, were created and thrived only to dissipate from the market. In this class we will examine this period as an object lesson in the formation and definition of literary genres, looking into critical work on genre fiction generally and these genres specifically. We will examine the reasons behind the generic flourishing of the late Victorian period, in terms of print history (such as the rising periodical market displacing lending libraries), social changes (like rising literacy rates), and cultural influences (such as the proliferation of gender-specific publications). We will also, of course, examine these genres themselves, to see how they developed and defined themselves, how they generated the tropes that would come to define these literary styles, and why some genres persisted and others faded away.

Requirements: TBA

 

ENGL 452 001-4/3.0 Topics in Victorian Literature II – Victorian Studies

Term: fall

Instructor: Steve Asselin

Description: ENGL 452 is a half-term, seminar-format course focused on key issues in the study of Victorian literature and culture and the way in which scholars have approached the period’s literary output. This semester, the focus of the seminar is on the critical framework of ecocriticism, and its applications to the Victorian period. Gaining in strength in academia over the last two decades, ecocriticism is, broadly speaking, the study of nature—and concepts of nature—as manifest in literature. This interdisciplinary approach has advanced our ideas about nature and capacity to advocate for the environment. Much of early ecocriticism focused on the Romantic period, but the subsequent Victorian period had until recently been overlooked—such that a critic could ask, in 2015, “Where is Victorian Ecocriticism?” As though in answer, recent years have seen a surge in ecocritical analysis focused on the Victorian period, when many scientific advances in ecology were taking place and the Anthropocene was getting underway. This class will serve as an introduction to ecocriticism, from its origins in academic activism, to the ontological objections of the dark ecologists, to recent critical revisions like postcolonial ecology and queer ecology. We will examine a variety of Victorian texts that comment on the environment, from sensualist poetry to apocalyptic essays, covering a range of topics from mid-century industrialization to the dark persona of nature in late-Victorian Gothic and imperial fiction.

Requirements: TBA

 

ENGL 461 001-1/3.0 Topics in Modern/Contemporary British Literature I – Literature Between the Wars: Elegies and Memoirs of the First World War and the Spanish Civil War

Term: winter

Instructor: Patricia Rae

Description: This seminar will concentrate on an important strain in the literature and culture in Britain between the First and Second World Wars (1919-1939). Its focus will be on examples of the elegy and the memoir, two important genres in an era marked by a “boom in sorrow” (W.H. Auden.)  
 
In the first half of the course, we’ll think about the discourses of consolation deployed during the First World War and in its aftermath, starting with some poetic elegies. We’ll then turn to some poetic anti-elegies whose aim is to disrupt or prevent consolation. We’ll then turn to two famous war memoirs by Siegfried Sassoon and Vera Brittain, once again asking how these texts process, and model a response to, loss.  In the course of our discussions we’ll study certain key concepts for the study of elegy, mourning, memory (both personal and collective), public monuments, and commemorative ceremonies.
 
In the second half of the term, we’ll begin asking questions about what happened to the consolatory (and anti-consolatory) discourses of World War I as the 1930s progressed and Fascism became a mounting threat in Europe. In this context, we’ll focus mainly on some poems and memoirs from the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), a conflict widely regarded as a dress-rehearsal for the world-wide confrontation with Fascism in World War II. This conflict was a very different one from World War I – for British volunteers who supported the Spanish Government, a cause not recognized by their own government back at home. Looking at a parallel set of texts to those we’ve looked at from World War I, including two more war memoirs by male and female writers (George Orwell and Nan Green), we’ll ask what difference it makes to these texts that the cause was an “unofficial” one. Our study of this war’s writings will culminate in a wider reflection on war and “collective memory”: on the institutions that reinforce the memory of certain wars and not others.

Requirements: One group seminar, one research paper, final exam.

 

ENGL 465 001-1/6.0 Studies in Modern/Contemporary Canadian Literature – Diaspora Dialogues: Toronto and Urban Canada

Term: full year

Instructor: Heather Macfarlane

Description: Diaspora literature refers to works by authors who have left their ancestral homelands, voluntarily or otherwise, to make their homes elsewhere. As the most culturally diverse city in the world, Toronto is home to many diaspora writers who examine, directly or indirectly, the relationships of their respective communities to the urban Canadian community and landscape they encounter. Using Toronto as a platform from which to examine the similarities and differences between the texts and the experiences of the various authors or narrators in question, this course will study questions of displacement and cultural belonging. We will also compare the Toronto texts to diaspora writing in other Canadian cities with the goal of examining the significance of various Canadian geographical, historical and political settings on the diaspora experience. Finally, we will consider what some refer to as Indigenous diaspora literature—works by Indigenous authors who have been displaced from their traditional territories within the Canadian nation state.

Requirements: TBA

 

ENGL 466 001-8/3.0 Topics in Modern/Contemporary Canadian Literature I – Racism, Islamophobia, and Violence against Indigenous People in YA Novels Written in Canada

Term: fall

Instructor: Petra Fachinger

Description: Over the last two decades, young adult fiction has been offering increasingly complex narrative representations of adolescent identity in a Canada that has become more and more ethnically and racially diverse. We will examine a number of YA novels for their literary quality and their ideological stance on racism, Islamophobia, and violence against Indigenous people. How do the texts represent Canadian society, and what does it mean to be Canadian? Do the texts do justice to the complexity of the issues that they address? How do they attempt to assist the (teenage) reader to develop cultural, social, and emotional competence and promote critical reflection and social justice activism? Literary issues to be considered in this seminar include: what distinguishes YA fiction from adult literature? Why and how do certain texts have crossover appeal? What role does the author’s choice of genre (contemporary realism, fantasy, graphic novel, dystopian novel) play in addressing specific issues?

 

ENGL 471 001-2/3.0 Topics in Modern/Contemporary American Literature I – Race, Sound and African American Literature

Term: winter

Instructor: Kristin Moriah

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.

Requirements: Attendance and Participation, 10%; Presentation, 10%; Book/Performance Review, 10%; Sound Map, 10%; Midterm Exam, 20%; One Final Research Essay (10-12 pages), 40%.

 

ENGL 481 001-6/3.0 Topics in Indigenous Literatures I – TransIndigenous Perspectives

Term: winter

Instructor: Armand Garnet Ruffo

Description: The information age has made borders porous. Information cannot be contained. What were once national interests have become transnational. This seminar will examine a selection of contemporary literature by Indigenous authors from Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the USA. In considering the themes and aesthetics of these texts in light of cultural and historical specificity, we will look for linkages between the texts and consider how they have moved beyond national borders and “speak to each other,” facilitating and advancing common interests and goals.

Requirements: These include regular attendance and participation, a seminar, an article review, an essay, and an exam.

 

ENGL 486 001-6/3.0 Group III Special Topics I – From Metafiction to Real Fiction

Term: fall

Instructor: Yaël Schlick

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 classic, contemporary metafiction before moving on to these recent permutations of the blurring between fiction and reality.  The initial section on contemporary metafiction will include works by J. L. Borges, John Barth, Julio Cortàzar, Grace Paley, and Jonathan Safran Foer; the second section on “real fiction” will include works by W. G. Sebald, Lydia Davis, Karl Ove Knausgaard, Teju Cole, and Rachel Cusk.

Requirements: TBA

 

ENGL 486 002-2/3.0 Group III Special Topics I – T.S. Eliot and Virginia Woolf

Term: fall

Instructor: Gabrielle McIntire

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 Friedrich Nietzsche’s arguments about 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. We will read Eliot’s major poetry from “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” to The Waste Land, Ash-Wednesday, and part of Four Quartets, as well as several of Woolf’s most important novels and prose pieces, including To the Lighthouse, Mrs. Dalloway, “A Sketch of the Past,” and The Waves.

Requirements: final paper, seminar presentation, group project/presentation, participation and attendance.

 

ENGL 486 001-3/3.0 Group III Special Topics I – The Graphic Novel: Visualizing History and Bearing Witness to Trauma

Term: winter

Instructor: Heather Evans

Description: “It is rare for a new genre to appear in any art form,” remarks Stephen E. Tabachnick in an essay on pedagogy, yet “[with] the emergence of the graphic or comic book novel, precisely that phenomenon has been happening before the excited gaze of [readers] of both literature and the visual arts.”  This course will provide students with an opportunity to explore and to apply to this relatively new literary form the close reading and critical analytical skills they have become accustomed to applying to more familiar genres.  Framed loosely by a consideration of the history of the genre, we will interrogate the relationships between the graphic novel and other forms of sequential art.  Given that the development of the graphic novel by writers such as Will Eisner, Art Spiegelman, Joe Sacco, Marjane Satrapi, and Alan Moore has coincided with growing representation in literature of troubling social phenomena, our course will especially focus on ways that the genre gives voice to personal trauma such as mental illness, sexual abuse, and loss, and bears witness to such cultural trauma as racism, revolution, war, and genocide. 

Requirements: One seminar presentation, one term paper, active participation and a final exam.

 

ENGL 487 001-6/3.0 Group III: Special Topics II – British and American Literary Modernisms

Term: fall

Instructor: Gabrielle McIntire

Description: During the first half of the twentieth century several important writers were determined to experiment with literary form, styles, and subjects to reinvigorate aesthetic goals in an effort to “make it new”—to borrow Ezra Pound’s famous phrase. This course will explore what it meant to write the “modern” in British and American poetry and fiction from roughly 1880-1945 by considering texts by writers such as Joseph Conrad, Emily Dickinson, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, W.B. Yeats, T.S. Eliot, Langston Hughes, Ezra Pound, H.D., Rainer Maria Rilke, and Countee Cullen. 

Requirements:  final paper, seminar presentation, group project/presentation, participation and attendance.

 

ENGL 487 001-1/3.0 Group III: Special Topics II – Contemporary Muslim Literature

Term: winter

Instructor: Margaret Pappano

Description: This course is designed to introduce students to the growing body of writing by and about Muslims as a diverse but distinctive diasporic group, particularly in North America and Europe.  Our objective is to gain a more complex understanding of Muslim identities by examining how Muslims represent themselves as well as the contexts about and in which they write.  Thus, the course will focus on experiences of colonization, occupation, war, immigration, racialization and racism, and the consequences of 9/11 in shaping Muslim lives.  In particular, this course explores the complex and conflicting attitudes and practices around gender and sexuality that inform Muslim identities as well as how Muslims are perceived by non-Muslims. In addition to literary texts such as novels, plays, poetry, and film, this course investigates some theoretical and historiographical writing on Muslim identities.

Requirements: TBA

 

ENGL 496 001-2/3.0 Topics in Literary Interpretation I – "How to Kick Ass When Life's a Bitch": The Story of Human Rights

Term: fall

Instructor: Asha Varadharajan

Description: Samuel Moyn has recently argued that faith in human rights might be "the last utopia" in an increasingly violent and unjust world. Beginning with  concepts such as human, universal, dignity, and rights that inform the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, this seminar explores narratives, contexts, and practices that nuance, alter, or even challenge the notion of human rights. Our aim is to discover why, despite failures and impasses, people continue to rally under its banner and insist that it signifies both hope and the possibility of justice. Some of the concerns that will preoccupy us are: the relation between suffering and spectacle; "compassion fatigue"; the limits of empathy; cultural difference and universalism; who or what is the subject of The Rights of Man?; humanitarian intervention; definitions of violence and violation; citizenship and the State; human rights as  Bildungsroman; justice and vengeance; law, development, and redistributive politics.  Required readings for the course will include excerpts from leading scholars on human rights and biopolitics such as Michael Ignatieff, Samuel Moyn, Jacques Rancière, Hannah Arendt, Wendy Brown, Joseph Slaughter, Giorgio Agamben, Michel Foucault, Elizabeth Povinelli, and Sandhya Pahuja, excerpts from the annals of Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch, and a mix of film, poetry, fiction, and performance. Some possibilities for the latter might be the films Pink Saris, India's Daughter, Life and Debt, Bamako, Stealing a Nation, and Thirteenth; fiction or memoir or poetry such as Diary of Anne Frank, Guantanamo Diary, Coming to Birth, Requiem for a Woman's Soul, No Easy Walk to Freedom, Mister Pip, A Daughter of Isis, Wish, Of Poetry and Protest.  A selection will be made from this list; changes are likely. 

Requirements:  Assignments are likely to include participation (assigned and voluntary), writing in a public voice, major research project (multimedia work encouraged). Attendance requirements will be stringent. No final exam.

 

ENGL 590 001/3.0 Senior Essay

For details please see ENGL 590/3.0: Senior Essay.

Online Courses Summer 2018

 

ENGL 100 700/6.0 Introduction to Literary Study (CDS)

Term: summer

Instructor: Robert May

Description: This English course introduces you to the four main literary genres: fiction, poetry, drama, and the essay. It is also designed to improve your writing skills, and to develop your knowledge of literary terms and critical techniques as a foundation for further literary study. Why study literary genre? “We need poems and stories and novels and plays, as well as essays,” replies the great American writer Scott Russell Sanders. “Each genre offers us paths through the dark woods of this life, and we need all the paths we can find.”

Requirements: Essay 1, 10%; Essay 2, 10%; Essay 3, 10%; Essay 4, 10%; Close Reading Forums, 20%; 1 Live Online Symposium, 10%; Final Proctored Exam, 30%

 

ENGL 215 700/6.0 (CDS)

Term: summer

Instructor: Robert May

Description: A survey of Canadian literature in English from its beginnings to the contemporary period. Readings will include poetry, short fiction and nonfiction, as well as novels from various eras; authors to be studied may include Moodie, Atwood, Klein, Richler, Callaghan, Ondaatje, Laurence, Munro, Brand, and King.

Requirements: Online Discussions 20%; 4 Essays (10% each) 40%; Micropedia Article 5%; Symposium 5%; Proctored Final Exam 30%. **Evaluation subject to change**

 

ENGL 237 700/6.0 (CDS)

Term: summer

Instructor: Heather Evans

Description: This course takes as its focus the history of children's literature in Britain from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century, with an emphasis on nineteenth-century works for children.

The first half of the course concentrates on texts included in the anthology From Instruction to Delight and on John Bunyan's seventeenth-century allegory The Pilgrim's Progress, and is designed to survey the development of a literature shaped specifically for children from its beginnings to the Golden Age of the nursery in the mid-nineteenth century.

The second half of the course will explore one dominant genre in children's literature of the twentieth century: fantasy. Central to our study will be an examination of the construction of childhood across the centuries, consideration of the intersections and relationships between literature, politics, philosophy, commerce, religion, economics, art, and other cultural sites, and an investigation of the dynamic between literature written for adult audiences and books read by children.

As we work through our course we will interrogate hackneyed clichés and popular assumptions such as that the primary function of books read by children (past or present) is to stimulate the imagination of the child, that children's literature is simplistic, conservative, or moral, and that children are naturally sweet, innocent little angels.

Requirements: 1 short formal comparative, argumentative essay 15%; 3 online Discussion Forum (onQ) exercises 10%; 1 formal comparative, argumentative essay 25%; Final Proctored Exam 50%