2016 Summer

100-level Courses

Term: 1
3 credits

This course is designed to introduce students to the three major forms of literature: poetry, drama, and the novel. This edition of 110 will focus on the Renaissance and especially Romanticism. We’ll practice a variety of approaches, examining literary works from historical, biographical, and psychoanalytical perspectives. The primary objective is to teach students how to appreciate literature – what it can and cannot do and what distinguishes it from other forms of communication – and write about it in an analytical and scholarly manner.

Course Requirements:

  • Class participation and attendance 10%
  • In-class essay 1 15%
  • In-class essay 2 15%
  • Major essay (1000–1200 words) 30%
  • Final exam 30%

Required Texts:

  • Middleton (?), The Revenger’s Tragedy (New Mermaids)
  • English Romantic Poetry: An Anthology, ed. Stanley Appelbaum (Dover)
  • Austen, Pride and Prejudice (Penguin)

Approaches to Literature
Term: 1
3 credits

Students in this course will read a romantic tragedy (Romeo and Juliet) and two stories of survival: Into Thin Air (Jon Krakauer’s non-fiction account of 1996 Mount Everest disaster that killed nine climbers), and Life of Pi (a life boat narrative involving a South Asian boy and a tiger). There will also be a selection of poetry. The readings are relatively brief and commensurate with what the human brain can absorb during six short weeks of warm and sunny weather. Owing to the brevity of the Summer Semester term, the course will focus on fewer texts, but will attempt to cover them in greater depth.

The purpose of the course is to introduce students to some of the skills of literary study, including the techniques of close reading. There will be two marked in-class close-reading poetry assignments, one near the beginning of the course and one near the end.


  • Shakespeare, William. Romeo and Juliet.
  • Krakauer, Jon. Into Thin Air.
  • Martel, Yann. Life of Pi.
  • Custom course package containing poetry.


  • Group presentation - 20%
  • First In-class close reading exercise - 10%
  • At-home essay (1200 words) - 30%
  • Second in-class close reading exercise - 10%
  • Attendance and participation - 10%
  • Final exam - 20%

Term: 2
3 credits
Office: Buchanan Tower 528

Phone number: 604-822-6328
E-mail: lfox@mail.ubc.ca

This section of English 110 will introduce students to basic elements of university-level literary study by examining a wide range of works in three genres: poetry, prose fiction, and drama. These works are of various literary eras and by authors from diverse cultural backgrounds; a few were not originally written in English. Students will be taught methods of literary analysis that should enable them to read each work with care, appreciation, and (one hopes) enjoyment.


  • Two in-class essays, each worth 20%
  • One research essay (1000 words), worth 30%
  • Final exam, worth 30%


Kelly J. Mays, The Norton Introduction to Literature, Portable Eleventh Edition (W.W. Norton, 2014)

Tentative reading list:

Poems: William Shakespeare, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”; William Blake, “The Tyger”; Christina Rossetti, “In an Artist’s Studio”; Emily Dickinson, “She dealt her pretty words like Blades—”; Theodore Roethke, “My Papa’s Waltz”; Adrienne Rich, “Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers”; Margaret Atwood, “Death of a Young Son by Drowning”; Li-Young Lee, “Persimmons”; Amit Majmudar, “Dothead”

Short stories: Kate Chopin, “The Story of an Hour”; Anton Chekhov, “The Lady with the Dog”; Gabriel Garcia Márquez, “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings”; Toni Morrison, “Recitatif”; Jamaica Kincaid, “Girl”; Amy Tan, “A Pair of Tickets”; Jhumpa Lahiri, “Interpreter of Maladies”

Plays: William Shakespeare, Hamlet; Henrik Ibsen, A Doll House

Approaches to Literature
Term: 2
3 credits

With changes in technology (social media, texting), increased urbanised living, globalization, and the rise in consumer culture, identities have become … complicated, to say the least. This class will tackle questions of identity in the present by looking at four different prose, poetic, and dramatic works, and their representations of marginality. We’ll begin with an explosive take on contemporary London society that features a gang of Indobrits that are intent on waging war on their perception of difference (“Can’t be callin someone a Paki less u also call’d a Paki, innit”). We’ll then move onto cross-cultural contact, generational differences, and performing stereotypes. The missing women of Vancouver’s downtown Eastside will be discussed next, especially in relation to the city’s growing affluence, class divides, and global connections. Finally, we’ll enter the realm of young adult dystopia as we consider the Internet, social media, and incessant tweeting.

Students are encouraged to have at least the first text read by the beginning of term.


  • Gautam Malkani, Londonstani
  • Marty Chan, Mom, Dad I’m Living with a White Girl
  • Sachiko Murakami, The Invisibility Exhibit
  • M.T. Anderson, Feed

200-level Courses

Term 1
3 credits
Office: Buchanan Tower 528
Phone: 604-822-6328
E-mail: lfox@mail.ubc.ca

This course focuses on selected English writers of poetry, drama, and prose from the late 14th to the early 18th centuries. The following literature will be studied: The General Prologue in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales; Shakespeare’s King Lear; poems by John Donne; selections from John Milton’s Paradise Lost; Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko; Part 4 of Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. Class discussion of each work will sometimes focus on its treatment of social, political, and economic issues of the period in which it was written: for instance, the alleged corruption of the late-medieval Church and the questioning of conventional gender roles in the early modern period.

Course requirements:

  • Quiz #1 - 20%
  • Quiz #2 - 20%
  • Home essay; 1500 words - 30%
  • Final examination - 30%


  • Joseph Black et al., eds., The Broadview Anthology of British Literature, Concise Edition, Volume A, Second Edition (The Medieval Period, The Renaissance and the Early Seventeenth Century, The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century)
  • William Shakespeare, King Lear (Broadview)

The texts will be available at the UBC Bookstore in a specially priced, shrink-wrapped package.

Term: 1
3 credits

This section of English 223 will survey American literature from the late nineteenth century to the present, focusing on major works by American writers who are considered master stylists. The course will emphasize the formal characteristics of literary language and literary genre, and the stylistic and formal innovations introduced by the works studied. However, it will also include discussion of the social and historical determinants of literary form and of the social and historical contexts of each work. Students will survey five literary genres—the short story, novella, novel, poetry and drama—from within a framework that allows for both appreciation and criticism of particular works.

Course Requirements:

  • Participation (10%)
  • Take Home Paper #1 - Research Paper (30%)
  • Take Home Paper #2 - Research Paper (30%)
  • Final Exam (30%)

Required Texts:

  • The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain
  • Beloved, Toni Morrison
  • The Norton Anthology of American Literature (shorter 8th edition). Ed. Baym

Recommended Text:

  • Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory, J.A. Cuddon

300- and 400-level Courses

Shakespeare and the Renaissance
Term: 1
3 credits

In this course, we will examine the politics of family, identity, and ownership (of land, of property, of persons) in Shakespeare's plays, and in a number of sonnets, focusing on these texts in historical context. In early modern England, the complex interconnections between family, identity, and ownership reflected specific legal and cultural conceptions of gender, as well as other forms of social difference. Our course will pay particular attention to the ways in which, in Shakespeare's work, intimate relationships are understood to be structured by personal inclination -- and by prevailing social and political relations.

We will read The Tempest, Hamlet, The Winter's Tale, The Merchant of Venice, and The Taming of the Shrew.

Please note: this course has a fairly heavy reading load -- given the condensed summer schedule, students should be prepared to devote a significant amount of time to reading each week.

Prerequisites: 6 credits of first-year English, of Arts One, or CAP Program AND  third-year standing at UBC.
Please note that students who are relatively new to Shakespeare are very welcome to take the course.

Course assessment:

  • Sonnet close-reading: 10%
  • Dramatic reading OR Shakespeare movie review: 10%
  • In-class essay: 15%
  • Revision of the above: 5%
  • Research essay: 25%
  • Proposal for the above: 5%
  • Revision of the above: 5%
  • Final exam: 25%

Studies in Romanticism
Term: 2
3 credits
Buchanan Tower 305 • 822–5888


This edition of 359 will feature two contemporaries who seem to reside in wholly different worlds: Wordsworth and Austen. While the young Wordsworth is the prototypical romantic poet, celebrating the imagination and embracing a republican politics centred on the individual and a passionate, even naïve confidence in human possibilities, Austen dwells in a world removed, valuing the quieter conservative verities of property, propriety, and class. Important to both, however, is nature’s capacity to subserve ideology and support values that are aesthetic, ethical, and political. In Wordsworth, nature serves as a faithful teacher who nurtures the young poet into loving all mankind; in Austen, social relationships and obligations seem to emerge organically out of a nature domesticated as “property.” This course will argue that Wordsworth’s attitude to nature – specifically, his preference for the beautiful over the sublime – was always conservative in spirit, and his fear of the sublime motivated a late, entirely predictable conservatism that was quite close to Austen’s.

Course Requirements:

  • Critical review 15%
  • Participation and attendance 10%
  • Mid-term 20%
  • Major essay 30%
  • Final exam 25%

Required Texts:

  • Wordsworth, The Poetical Works (Oxford)
  • Austen, Pride and Prejudice (Penguin)
  • Austen, Mansfield Park (Penguin)

Studies in Prose Fiction
Term: 2
3 credits
MW 12:00-3:00
Office hours: MW 11-12

Through a diverse collection of fictional works published during the last twenty-five years, this course will explore representations of transgressive sexuality and challenges to cisgender assumptions. With reference to Judith Butler’s theories, we will consider the performative nature of gender and gender construction, as well as fluid representations of gender and sexual orientation.

The texts, sometimes challenging and deliberately provocative, sometimes affirmative, will take us to Sri Lanka, Trinidad, Scotland, England, South Africa, Nigeria, the U.S. and northern Canada. Students will be encouraged to engage with the texts on a number of levels and to apply a range of theoretical approaches, including – but not limited to – queer and transgender analyses.

Reading List:

  • Highway, Tompson. Kiss of the Fur Queen. 1998.
  • Kay, Jackie. Trumpet. 1998.
  • Hollinghurst, Alan. The Line of Beauty. 2004.
  • Eugenides, Jeffrey. Middlesex. 2002.
  • Mootoo, Shani. Cereus Blooms at Night. 1996.
  • Selvadurai, Shyam. Funny Boy. 1994.
  • Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi. “The Shivering” and “Jumping Monkey Hill.” 2009.
  • Custom Course Package including critical/theoretical readings

Course Requirements:

  • Critical Response – 15%
  • In-class essay – 20%
  • Term paper – 30%
  • Participation – 5%
  • Final examination – 30%

Children's Literature
Term: 1

3 credits

What children appear in books written for children and young adults? Who is missing? (Or, if present, might be readily dismissed?) Why are some childhoods considered fit for representation, and for reading by young people, and other childhoods less so? What social and cultural forces determine whether marginalized childhoods appear in fiction and how they will be shaped for the reader’s consumption when they do?

Considering a combination of canonical and contemporary texts, this course will centre childhoods often pushed into the margins of both literature and society, focusing chiefly on children with disabilities, transgender children, and children living in poverty. (In addition to these central concerns, our readings will also provide opportunities to talk about social class, foster care, race and ethnicity, drug use, BDSM eroticism and, no doubt, many other topics.) While the children we read about have the potential to disrupt the ableist, cissexist and middle-class norms which inform much children’s literature, the recuperative and assimilative impulses of at least some of our texts seem to insist on reabsorbing those children into the norms they resist and disrupt; we, as readers, may be tempted to do the same. But who is served by such “fixes”? What cultural work is being accomplished when the texts we read, and perhaps the way we read them, erases the children and youth within them? Furthermore, what might such erasures signal to the young readers who encounter these books?

In addition to the primary texts listed below, our readings will take in published critical and theoretical readings from diverse disciplinary perspectives including, but not limited to, literary criticism, children’s studies, queer and trans theory, transgender studies and disability studies.

Course texts will include most (perhaps all) of the following:

  • J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens (1906) and Peter and Wendy (1911)
  • Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden (1911)
  • Sharon Draper, Out of My Mind (2010)
  • Alex Gino, George (2015)
  • Nancy Hartry, Watching Jimmy (2009)
  • Gene Kemp, The Turbulent Term of Tyke Tiler (1977)
  • Sassafras Lowrey, Lost Boi (2015)
  • Nesbit, The House of Arden (1909) and Harding’s Luck (1910)
  • Kit Pearson, Awake and Dreaming (1996)

Course description not available

Term: 1
3 credits

"Is it possible to imagine being named by a place? And – were we to contemplate such a thing – how would we come to merit that honour?"
– Don McKay, The Muskwa Assemblage

Canadian identity “is less perplexed by the question ‘Who am I?’ than by some such riddle as ‘Where is here?’”
–      Northrop Frye

“The city as we imagine it, the soft city of illusion, myth, aspiration, and nightmare, is as real, maybe more real, than the hard city one can locate on maps, in statistics, in monographs on urban sociology and demography and architecture.”
–      Jonathan Raban

Our short fiction course will focus on Vancouver short stories.  Ah! Vancouver: Grouse Grind, homelessness, Little India, Davie, Expo 86, healthy people, Canucks, Lions, Granville, SoMa, Wreck Beach, UBC, 600sq/ft is $500000, litotes, East Van, multicultural, Olympics, ghettos, Oak, Pacific Spirit Park (Endowment Lands), Kingsway, Hollywood North, Commercial, Hastings and Main, iNSITE, Blood Alley, Robson, Stanley Park, haunted house, marijuana, HST – a selection of the references and stories of place, of here.  How do we belong in place? How do we make sense of here?  How does elsewhere function here? How does place influence us? How do stories constitute us?


Our summer class meets 12 times. 10 of those classes will contain a short story, a critical reading, and an item of (local) media.

Our stories (subject to change):

“The Boom” – from Wayde Compton’s The Outer Harbour
“City of my Dreams” – by Zsuzsi Gartner, from The Vancouver Stories
“A Map of the City” – by Madeleine Thien, from The Vancouver Stories
“The Siwash Rock” – by E. Pauline Johnson
“Associated Press” – from Nancy Lee’s Dead Girls
“Dead Girls” – from Nancy Lee’s Dead Girls
“Sealskin” – by Tyler Keevil
“God Damn, How Real Is This?” – by Doretta Lau
“The Beggar’s Garden” – from Michael Christie’s The Beggar’s Garden
“Emergency Contact” – from Michael Christie’s The Beggar’s Garden


  • Participation - 10%
  • 2 one page responses - 20%
  • Group presentation - 15%
  • Term paper - 35%
  • Final exam - 20%

500-level/ Graduate Seminars

Studies in Canadian Literature
Term 1

CATEGORY B - Literature in English from 1700 to 1900

(Students in the literature MA program should consult the Course Work section when planning their courses.)

Nature has always been at the core of Canadian writing. Over the past two hundred years, however, creative responses to the environment have changed dramatically. In the past few decades, with the “ecological renaissance” and the “social turn,” nature poets are less apt to either passively address the land or render it sentimentally and more apt to imagine an altered state of environmental change, even degradation. Contemporary writers often look at the effects of human interaction, resource extraction, and economic exploitation on Canadian land and waters. One strand of nature writing employs a poetics of warning as writers speculate on the effects of the tar sands on global warming, the relationships between Indigenous land claims and strip mining, the impacts of oil transportation on British Columbian riverbeds, or the consequences of the genetic modification of crop plants on prairie ecosystems. In parallel to the creative work, much critical work has turned to discussions of human/ non-human interaction, bioregional studies, postcolonial ecocriticism, and the development of the Energy Humanities. In this course we will read global critical work about nature and the environment alongside works of both fiction and poetry by Canadian writers. We will begin with a firm grounding in nineteenth-century creative responses to the land then trace the literary history of environmental writing in Canada by Indigenous and non-Indigenous poets and fiction writers. We will end by exploring how collaborative poetic projects (for example, The Enpipe Line: 70,000 km of poetry written in resistance to the Northern Gateway pipeline proposal) have functioned as a kind of political activism for environmental causes as we look at how poets have addressed government decisions about water rights and oil and gas development (the Navigable Waters Protection Act, for instance) through communally created and published poetry.

American Literature Since 1890
Term 2
CATEGORY C - Literature in English from 1900 to the present
CATEGORY D - Transhistorical/ Cultural Studies

(Students in the literature MA program should consult the Course Work section when planning their courses.)

As Fanon observed of the Algerian War in 1961, "the recruits dispatched from the métropole are not always sent of their own free will and in some cases even are sickened by this war" (The Wretched of the Earth). This was also true of the counter-insurgency wars in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. In this seminar we will read the soldiers’ testimonies in stories, novels, memoirs, reports, and transcribed oral histories. We’ll also engage narrative accounts produced by doctors, nurses, reporters, prisoners, civilians, and “detainees.” This material will enable us to deepen our understanding of the genealogy of an unfolding catastrophe, the long patterns of compulsive repetition that extend from the war in Vietnam through the wars in the Persian Gulf, Iraq, Afghanistan and, now, Syria and beyond: the violent collision of Western "innocence" with uncanny and opaque cultures and geographies; the spectacle of national ideologies dumbfounded by slow-motion military and political defeat.

Outline of proposed readings