2018 Summer

100-level Courses

Approaches to Literature
Term 1
MW, 12:00 PM - 3:00 PM

What do we talk about when we talk about love? We’ll ask this question in various ways throughout this course by taking a look at how a variety of texts approach the questions of loving, and writing about love—different kinds of love—in different ways. If love is constituted, in part, by the language used to describe it, how does the language of love stories shape how we perceive and experience it? How do our love stories shape our expectations of love? Is love merely personal, intense, private or is it also politically useful? What does literature have to say about this?

The philosopher Simone Weil said that love is “intense, pure, disinterested, gratuitous, generous attention.” Love can feel profound, even transformational. The little prince falls in love with a rose and travels from asteroid to asteroid to earth, in part, to mend his broken heart. The protagonists in the stories in Islands of Decolonial Love relate to human and non-human species intimately, even lovingly, despite the effects of colonization. Patti Smith in her memoir, Just Kids, writes about how the great love she shared with Robert Mapplethorpe in New York City in the early 1970s transformed from romantic first love into a life-long friendship that was the foundation of the worlds they built in art.

This course introduces you to the skills and practices of literary criticism by inviting you, and equipping you, to interrogate details of language and form, and to pull together and analyze research sources in order to support sound and interesting arguments, i.e. to “read” these primary texts in new and deeper ways.

You will be asked to write and re-write short essays in this course. You will be invited to ask rich and provocative questions about literary texts, find and analyze research sources and write good, clear arguments. Lively engagement is a basic requirement.

Course requirements:

Close reading #1: 20%
Close reading #2: 20%
Research essay (1500 words): 30%
Exam: 30%


  • Betasamosake Simpson, Islands of Decolonial Love
  • Smith, Just Kids
  • Exupery, The Little Prince
  • Course pack

Approaches to Literature
Term 1
MW, 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Students in this course will read a romantic tragedy (Romeo and Juliet), a romantic comedy (Pride and Prejudice) and a story of death in the wilderness (Into the Wild, Jon Krakauer). 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 course requires all students to make a single group presentation, valued at 20 %.

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.

Any student who wishes to take this course needs to attend the very first class.


  • Shakespeare, William.  Romeo and Juliet.
  • Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice.
  • Krakauer, Jon.  Into the Wild.
  • Frost, Robert. A Boy’s Will and North of Boston.
  • Plus, a custom course package.


  • Attendance and participation, 5%
  • Group presentation, 20 %
  • In class assignment, 20 %
  • In-class close reading exercise, 10 %
  • At-home essay (1,000 words), 25 %
  • Final exam, 20 %

Term 1
TTh, 12:00 PM - 3:00 PM

The course description for this course will be posted here shortly.

Approachs to Literature
Term 1
TTh, 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Rey: "You are a monster."
Kylo Ren: "Yes, I am."
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

"Deformed, unfinished, sent before my time into this breathing world" – Richard III 1.i

What is a monster? We know monsters from myths and legends, folktales, horror fiction and film. We know their variety: the grotesque, the beautiful, the terrifying, the pitiable, the sports of nature and the forces of evil. Dragons, werewolves, vampires, zombies, Frankenstein’s Creature, Mr. Hyde, the Joker, most of the characters in Penny Dreadful: they’re everywhere, from under the bed to the battlefield, and right into a great deal of literature. Which leaves us here: in this section of 110 we’ll focus on how literary texts use representations of monstrosity to say a variety of things. We’ll look at excerpts from William Shakespeare’s Richard III (a play that both meditates on villainy and ambition, and demonizes its subject for Tudor audiences), then at Ian McKellen’s film adaptation, which shifts the setting to an alternate-reality 1930s England where fascism takes hold. We’ll examine Sheridan LeFanu’s Carmilla, a novel about a female vampire that influenced the writing of Dracula, and Charles Perrault’s 17th century tale “Bluebeard”; while its status as a children’s story is now problematic, its influence on literary and popular culture is enormous. These core texts will be supplemented by a selection of poetry and short fiction, and possibly another short novel. Evaluation will be based on two in-class essays, a term paper, participation in discussion (in class and online), and an essay-based final examination. Check my blog http://blogs.ubc.ca/drgmbaxter/ for updates, including a fuller description of the course, its texts, and its requirements.

Approaches to Literature
Term 1
WF, 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM

This course is designed to introduce students to the three major forms of literature: drama, poetry, and the novel. This edition of 110 will focus on the Renaissance and Romanticism. We’ll practice a variety of approaches, examining literary works from historical, biographical, and psychoanalytical perspectives. The primary objective will be 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.

Required Texts:

  • Middleton and Rowley, The Changeling (New Mermaids)
  • Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing (Oxford UP)
  • English Romantic Poetry: An Anthology, ed. Stanley Appelbaum (Dover)
  • Austen, Sense and Sensibility (Penguin)

Approaches to Literature
Term 1
TTh, 3:00 - 6:00 PM

There is currently no description available for this section of ENGL 110.

Approaches to Literature
Term 2
MW, 12:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Our Literature class has three Units, all in dialogue with each other: a Unit on gender, a Unit on race and class, and a Unit on place (and rootedness, postnationalism, dislocation, naming, and bounding).

Our Literature class has writers from the world: Vancouver, Australia, Jamaica, Britain, Canada, Nigeria, Virginia, Brooklyn, the USA, Antigua, and Kenya.

Our Literature class will ask that you read, a lot, and you will be rewarded for doing so.

Our Literature class will ask that you write, and your writing will be rewarding.

Term 2
TTh, 12:00 PM - 3:00 PM

The course description for this course will be posted here shortly.

Approaches to Literature
Term 2
TTh, 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

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 home essay (1000 words), worth 30%
  • Final exam, worth 30%


Kelly J. Mays, The Norton Introduction to Literature, Portable Twelfth Edition (W.W. Norton, 2017)

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, “Because I could not stop for Death—”; Ezra Pound, “The River-Merchant’s Wife: A Letter”; Theodore Roethke, “My Papa’s Waltz”; Adrienne Rich, “Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers”; Seamus Heaney, “Digging”; Margaret Atwood, “Death of a Young Son by Drowning”; Li-Young Lee, “Persimmons”; Adrienne Su, “Escape from the Old Country”; 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”; Alice Munro, “Boys and Girls”; Jamaica Kincaid, “Girl”; Amy Tan, “A Pair of Tickets”; Jhumpa Lahiri, “Interpreter of Maladies”

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


Through the study and application of the principles of university-level discourse and with emphasis on the specific genre of academic writing, this course will introduce students to critical reading and university-level writing. In lectures and discussions, instructors will focus on the rhetorical principles and strategies central to university-level discourse. Students will examine methods for discovering and arranging ideas, and they will consider ways in which style is determined by rhetorical situation and scholarly audiences. English 112 is not a remedial course. Students with serious deficiencies in their writing should seek early and expert tutorial help.

Note: This course is required of students who intend to enter the Faculties of Commerce and the Schools of Nursing and Physical Education. It is also recommended by a number of other faculties
and schools. Students should check the current UBC Calendar for further information about the first-year English requirements for particular faculties and schools.

Course Prerequisite: In order to remain registered in this class, all students must fulfill the First-Year English Course Entry Requirement (LPI). For further details on the First-Year English Course Entry Requirement, please visit:https://english.ubc.ca/first-year-english/frequently-asked-questions-faq/#1.

Course Requirements: regular attendance and participation in class activities; completion of a minimum of four essays (two to be written in class); and a final examination.
Final Examination: All students in English 112 will write a 3-hour final examination at the end of the course. The examination will test critical reading and writing skills by asking students to write two clear, coherent, well-developed essays: one analysing a passage of university-level prose in a way that demonstrates the specific critical skills learned in class, and one writing a scholarly essay in response to specific critical readings studied in class.

Distribution of Marks: course work (essays and exercises), 70 marks; final examination, 30 marks.

Texts: Reading lists for individual sections of the course will be available in the Language and Literature section of the UBC Bookstore.

200-level Courses

Literature in English to the 18th Century
Term 1
TTh, 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

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 Macbeth; 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 (The Medieval Period, The Renaissance and the Early Seventeenth Century, The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century), Third Edition
  • William Shakespeare, Macbeth (Signet Classic)

Literature in English to the 18th Century -
Term 2
MW, 3:00 - 6:00 PM

This survey course will trace the historical impact of religious and socio-economic changes on a handful of major figures – Chaucer, Shakespeare, Donne, Milton, Swift, Pope, and Austen. We’ll look at, among other topics, the social preconditions for the emergence of satire; the changing nature of literary audiences; and the evolution of characterization.

Required Texts:

  • The Norton Anthology of English Literature (Package 1, Vols. A, B, C), 9th edition, ed. Greenblatt et al. (Norton)
  • Austen, Sense and Sensibility (Penguin)

World Literature
Term 1
WF, 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM

Our World Literatures class has three Units, all in dialogue with each other: a Unit on gender, a Unit on race and class, and a Unit on place (and rootedness, postnationalism, dislocation, naming, and bounding).

Our World Literatures class has writers from the world: Vancouver, Australia, Jamaica, Britain, Canada, Nigeria, Virginia, Brooklyn, the USA, Antigua, and Kenya.

Our World Literatures class will ask that you read, a lot, and you will be rewarded for doing so.

Our World Literatures class will ask that you write, and your writing will be rewarding.

Term 2
MW, 12:00 PM - 3:00 PM

We commonly think of poetry as hard, and it can be, but it can also be fun! One of the fabulous things about poetry is how feels in our bodies: we take it up with our breath when we read it out loud; we see, feel and hear images and sounds; we move to its rhythms. This course will help you to learn to read poetry more skillfully and experience its pleasures. We’ll look at contemporary as well as historical poems and pay attention to various techniques, tropes and traditions that help us to understand them. We will spend some time in our course reading walking poems and then we’ll go outside and walk together—taking in what’s going on around us, listening, taking notes. With that material, we may write some poems—this is optional—as well as responses to poems. Students will recite a poem and give a short talk about it. Students will also write short essays. If you’re interested in writing poetry and reading it, and learning more about how to write critically about it, this is the course for you!

Participation and creative work, 10%
Recitation and short talk, 20%
Short Close Reading, 20%
Research-based close reading, 25%
Exam, 25%

Course pack of poems as well as essays
How to Read (and Write About) Poetry by Susan Holbrook

300-level Courses

Technical Writing
Term A
Distance Education
The course description for this course will be posted here shortly.

Term A
Distance Education

The course description for this course will be posted here shortly.

Shakespeare and the Renaissance
Term 1
TTh, 12:00 PM - 3:00 PM

This third-year literature course focuses on a selection of William Shakespeare’s sonnets, and five of his plays, in historical context. In addition to analyzing texts through the practice of close reading, we will focus on the ways in which Shakespeare’s work engages with the social and political relations of early modern (Renaissance) England. Paying particular attention to forms of ownership (of land, of property, of persons), we will consider intimate relationships as structured not only by personal inclinations, but by social and political conditions as well.
Students will complete a sonnet close-reading exercise; a creative project (dramatic reading or movie review); an in-class essay (with the option to revise); a research essay (complete with proposal and peer draft workshop); and an exam.

19th-Century Studies
Term A
Distance Education

This course focuses on 5 Victorian novels known for being sensational, not only in their plots, but in their challenges to the norms of their society. In these novels, we encounter women who refuse to be silent and obedient, and men who refuse to be respectable and self-controlled. Instead, by challenging class constraints, gender constraints and even the constraints of the physical world, characters such as Bertha Mason, Tess Durbeyville, Dr. Jekyll and Dorian Gray draw attention to the constructed nature of their world, and put themselves in danger of losing family, status and even selfhood. We will explore how rebels come to be seen as either mad or dangerous monsters that must be destroyed.

Assigned novels: Jane Eyre, Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Hard Times, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and The Picture of Dorian Gray

Studies in Prose Fiction
Term 2
TTh, 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

This course will look at the complexities, wonder, and intense angst of teen romance through an examination of several prominent YA novels. Whether in dystopian worlds at peril due to global warming, or in social settings that create alienation, YA characters manage to forge connection and intimacy, however fraught. The course will begin with Eleanor and Park and consider the depiction of “misfit” identities and the intricacies of the high school social landscape. It will then look at Turtles All the Way Down and mental health representations before moving onto two dystopian texts (The Marrow Thieves, More Happy Than Not) that consider how teens locate agency in societies that are actively trying to control and eradicate parts of them, often in horrifying ways. We will also look at concerns of race, sexuality, (post)-colonialism, technology, and ecology, as we delve into the roles that romance and desire play in YA narratives. Secondary criticism will supplement our primary readings.

Children's Literature
Term A
Distance Education

The story of the child’s world, vision and experience has only recently become the object of serious scholarly attention; this is an exciting period for studying this topic, as new knowledge is being made all the time. In this senior course on Children's Literature, we will be examining a variety of genres, from fairy tales and fantasy, to domestic realism, sexuality, adventure and war. Most of our texts are written about or from the point of view of a child or youth who challenges expectations and thus places the norms of a society under scrutiny. Readings of scholarly essays on genres and texts will support the understanding of the concepts and genres, and weekly discussion forums will provide opportunities to build our knowledge together as a community. This course is a prerequisite for programs in Education and Library/Archival Studies.

Canadian Studies
Term 2
TTh, 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM

This section of English 470 will focus on representations of immigration in a range of contemporary Canadian novels. In discussions and written assignments, students will be asked to engage with varying ways that Canadian writers represent the dislocation and cultural disorientation which so often accompanies immigration, both for immigrants themselves and their children. The tentative course list includes Sky Lee’s Disappearing Moon Café, Lawrence Hill’s Any Known Blood, Kim Thúy’s Ru, Gurjnder Basran’s Someone You Love is Gone and Sharon Bala’sbThe Boat People. As well as focusing on the core texts, we will engage with theoretical perspectives on cultural hybridity, border-crossing and post-colonialism. Students will be encouraged to develop independent critical responses to both texts and theories. Assessment will include a critical response, an in-class essay, a term paper and a final examination. 

American Studies
Term 1
MW, 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

This section of English 472 will focus on the contemporary graphic memoir as a literary genre. We will consider this popular autobiographical genre as a space for articulating identity and difference and new subject-positions within American discourse in relation to issues of immigration and transnationality, ethnicity and race, gender and sexuality, and psychological or neurological difference.  We will examine coming-of-age stories and narratives about family dynamics within the genre, as they often focus on these subjects.  The class will apply principles from genre, media, and cultural studies—examining formal and technical elements of the genre, the materiality of graphic novel as medium, and its cultural work.  We will proceed at a brisk pace, studying one novel per class, in order to effectively survey the genre.  Course requirements include a final exam, a scholarly research paper, and two literature reviews.   Students may also respond creatively by writing a graphic memoir as an alternative to the last assignment.

Note: Students are advised to buy books second-hand in advance or to purchase book aps to reduce textbook costs. 

500-level Courses/Graduate Seminars

Studies in American Literature Since 1890
Term 1
Tuesdays and Fridays, 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

The Burns and Novick PBS documentary, The Vietnam War (2017), in ten episodes across eighteen hours of viewing time, is the seminar’s immediate occasion for a critical reassessment of how the Vietnam War--or the American War as the Vietnamese call it--remains a crucial subject of historical research, critical dialogue, popular entertainment, and political contestation in the age of American’s forever wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Pakistan, and beyond.

Outside of our formal class meetings twice a week for three hours, screenings of the Burns and Novick documentary, and of such renowned films on the war as Hearts and Minds (1974), The Deer Hunter (1978), Apocalypse Now (1979), Platoon (1986), and Full Metal Jacket (1987), will be arranged.  The main work of the seminar, week to week, will be to explore the ways in which close study of some of the essential written representations of the war must complicate, undermine, or deepen the effect of this dominant visual record.

There will be two reading lists. The primary list will be common to all participants in the seminar, the basis of weekly discussions and presentations.  Participants will also help to compile a secondary reading list--a dynamic and open-ended one--in support of a series of independent research projects, both small and large, to be shared with the group.

Final selections for the primary list will be drawn, soon, from the following:

  • Nathaniel Hawthorne, “Main-street” (1852)
  • Sigmund Freud: “Remembering, Repeating, and Working Through” (1914), "Mourning and Melancholia" (1917), Beyond the Pleasure Principle (1920)
  • Jacques Lacan: “Aggressivity in Psychoanalysis” (1948)
  • Graham Greene, The Quiet American (1955)
  • William Lederer and Eugene Burdick, The Ugly American (1958)
  • Franz Fanon, “Colonial War and Mental Disorders” [from The Wretched of the Earth] (1961)
  • Joan Didion, “Letter from Paradise, 21° 19' N., 157° 52' W” (1966)
  • Neil Sheehan, ed.  The Pentagon Papers (1971)
  • Ronald Glasser, M.D.  365 Days (1971)
  • Frances Fitzgerald, Fire in the Lake: The Vietnamese and the Americans in Vietnam         (1972)
  • Don DeLillo, End Zone (1972)
  • John A. Parrish, M.D., 12, 20 &5: A Doctor's Year in Vietnam (1972)
  • Michael Herr, Dispatches (1977)
  • Philip Caputo, A Rumor of War (1977)
  • Mark Baker, Nam:  The Vietnam War in the Words of the Men and Women Who Fought There (1982)
  • Stephen Wright, Meditations in Green (1983)
  • Wallace Terry, ed.  Bloods: Black Veterans of the Vietnam War (1985)
  • Keith Walker, ed., A Piece of My Heart: The Stories of Twenty-Six American Women        Who Served in Vietnam (1985)
  • Neil Sheehan, A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam (1988)
  • Le Li Hayslip, When Heaven and Earth Changed Places (1989)
  • Truong Nhu Tang,  A Vietcong Memoir (1990)
  • Tim O'Brien, The Things They Carried (1990)
  • Bâo Ninh, The Sorrow of War (1990)
  • Marilyn Young, The Vietnam Wars, 1945-1990 (1991)
  • Lt. Gen. Harold G. Moore (Ret.) and Joseph L. Galloway, We Were Soldiers Once . . . And Young:  Ia Drang—The Battle That Changed the War in Vietnam (1992)
  • Eric M. Bergerud, Red Thunder, Tropic Lightning:  The World of a Combat Division in Vietnam (1993)
  • Jonathan Shay, M.D., Achilles in Vietnam:  Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character (1994)
  • Tobias Wolff, In Pharaoh’s Army:  Memories of the Lost War (1994)
  • Jerry Lembcke, The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory, and the Legacy of Vietnam (1998)
  • Daniel Ellsberg, Secrets:  A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers (2002)
  • Ronald J. Glasser, M.D., Wounded:  Vietnam to Iraq (2006)
  • Henry Hamilton, M.D., Phan Rang Chronicles:  A British Surgeon in Vietnam,      September, 1966-May, 1968 (2007)
  • Karl Marlantes, Matterhorn (2010)
  • Nick Turse, Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam (2013)
  • Nick Turse, “The Ken Burns Vietnam War Documentary Glosses Over Devastating Civilian Toll” (2017)
  • Jerry Lembcke, “Burns and Novick, Masters of False Balancing” (2017)

Middle English Studies
Term 2
Mondays and Wednesdays, 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

This course has two distinct movements. In the first, we shall examine various texts from medieval England to survey the ways that otherness operates as part of the process of identity group formation in late-medieval culture and literature. We will be reading texts as various as Gerald of Wales (on the Irish), Chaucer (on the Jews), and the anonymous romances (on the Saracens), Mandeville (on all of the above), amongst others. As part of this section we’ll be examining the role that otherness plays on proto-national identity, colonialism, religious identity, and upon medieval ideas of “race” and other categories. In the second movement, we will move on to think about how these ideas have a post-medieval legacy, examining how “the medieval” was used in the 19th century in the British Empire as an ethnographic tool, and then later to consider how medievalism can reveal the dangers of an imagined medieval past in our own moment today. This will bring us into conversation with public debates as various as the co-option of medieval images by the alt-right at Charlottesville, the rise of neo-facist groups who model themselves on an imagined “white middle ages” (Soldiers of Odin (and other Odinist groups), La Meute (in Quebec), and so on), the impact of such ideas within popular medievalism such as Game of Thrones, and the whiteness of medieval studies as a discipline (and the rise of the Medievalists of Color group, etc). We will be reading a combination of medieval texts alongside a wide range of secondary readings.