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History of Literature in English

Topics in English Literature

This core survey course introduces students to the history of literature in the English language, from early writings from the Anglo-Saxon period in the British Isles to contemporary works from around the English-speaking world. Organized around works representative of major periods, movements, and places in literary history (e.g., medieval, Victorian, American, post-colonial), and supplemented by historical information and documents, the course traces developments in the definition of English as a literary language, the status and role of the writer in society, the decolonization of canon and culture, and the ways in which literary texts are produced and circulate, as each relates and contributes to the understanding of individual texts.


1 essay or multimedia project (35%); 3 quizzes (20%); 1 term exam (45%).

When the course is delivered online: 2 essays, best 5 of 6 period quizzes, 1 interactive discussion question per term, exam at the end of each of fall and winter term.

Department of English, Queen's University

Watson Hall
49 Bader Lane
Kingston ON K7L 3N6

Telephone (613) 533-2153



Queen's University is situated on traditional Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe territory.