2020 Summer Session

Below is a provisional schedule for the 2020 Summer Session.

Approaches to Literature
Term 1
MW, 1:00 - 4:00 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, Dorian Gray, the Joker, many of the characters in The Walking Dead or 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 1995 film adaptation, which shifts the setting to an alternate-reality 1930s England where fascism takes hold. Other core texts include Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle, as well as selected short fiction and poetry (including Christina Rossetti’s “Goblin Market”).

Evaluation will be based on two short essays and a term paper, participation in discussion (both in class and on the course’s Canvas site), and an essay-based final examination.

Please check my blog at http://blogs.ubc.ca/drgmbaxter/ for updates concerning the course, its texts, and its requirements.

Approaches to Literature
Term 1

MW, 6:00 - 9:00 PM

All but one of the principal texts in the course are romantic comedies. Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare) starts as comedy but abruptly transforms into tragedy at the mid-point, Pride and Prejudice (Austen) presents romantic comedy in the form of a novel of manners, while The Importance of Being Earnest (Wilde) gently satirizes romantic comedy as a genre. In contrast, in Into the Wild (Krakauer) a young man appears to choose Wilderness as a substitute for relationship, with tragic consequence. There will also be a selection of poetry.  Except for Pride and Prejudice, the readings are relatively brief and commensurate with what the human brain can absorb during six short weeks of warm and sunny weather.

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.
  • Wilde, Oscar. The Importance of Being Earnest.
  • 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%

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

Through the study of selected examples of poetry, fiction, and drama, this course will introduce students to the fundamentals of university-level literary study, and furnish them with the skills to think and write critically about literature.  Students will be taught the basic concepts of genre and form in literature and methods of literary analysis in order to prepare them for future courses (in English and other disciplines) which require close reading, critical thinking, open discussion, and analytical writing.  The emphasis in this section will be on Canadian authors and their works.

Course Requirements: Each student is expected to participate fully in all class activities (reading, writing, discussion, groups, etc.).  Each student will write three essays (in-class and home), keep a Response Journal, and sit the Final Examination.

Attendance: Because English 110 is conducted as a participatory, hands-on course, regular and punctual attendance is mandatory.  To succeed in this course, students must attend every class, on time, and well prepared, participate co-operatively in group work, and consistently contribute to the initiating and sustaining of small-group and class discussions.  Please register for this course only if you are able to make this commitment.

Required Texts:

  • Custom Course Pack of selections from Literature: Reading, Reacting, Writing, 2nd Canadian ed., edited by Kirszner, et al. (Nelson)
  • King, Thomas.  Green Grass, Running Water (HarperPerennial)
  • Various handouts

Optional Text (If You Do Not Own a Good Handbook of English which Contains Updated [2016] MLA Formatting Style):

  • Aaron, Jane E., and Elaine Bander. The Little, Brown Essential Handbook, 6th Canadian ed. (Pearson)This three-unit course has been compressed into a brief six-week format. The readings are extensive.  It is, therefore, recommended that you pre-read the novel.

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

The renowned writer of weird fiction H.P. Lovecraft famously claimed that “the true weird tale has something more than secret murder, bloody bones, or a sheeted form clanking chains according to rule” – rather “a certain atmosphere of breathless and unexplainable dread of outer, unknown forces must be present.” This section of English 110 will consider drama, poetry, and prose fiction that meets these criteria: stories of monsters, demons, unfathomable horrors, metaphysical mystery, and cosmic awe. We will examine the ways that “weird” literature evokes emotions of wonder, fear, and disgust while engaging with political, social, and philosophical questions, interrogating boundaries, norms, and categories. Beginning with the Anglo-Saxon epic poem Beowulf, a blood-soaked tale of monster-hunting in a world governed by a cruel, inhuman fate or “wyrd,” we will trace the literary history of the weird, following it through the fallen, omen-haunted tragedy of Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Christina Rossetti’s sensuously malevolent “Goblin Market.” The course concludes with a consideration of twentieth-century weird fiction, including the short stories of Lovecraft and Angela Carter, and with China Miéville’s “New Weird” novel The City & The City.

Approaches to Literature
Term 1
MW, 9:30 - 12:30 PM

The course description for this section of ENGL 110 is not available at this time. Please contact the instructor.

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

This course is designed to introduce students to the three major forms of literature: drama, poetry, and the novel. 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:

Please read Edward III for the first class

  • Shakespeare, Edward III (Arden)
  • Ford, ’Tis Pity She’s a Whore (New Mermaids)
  • Blake, The Book of Urizen
  • Austen, Emma (Penguin)
  • Stevens, The Palm at the End of the Mind (Vintage)

Approaches to Literature
Term 2
MW, 6:00 - 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.  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: 20% each
One home essay (1000 words): 30%
Final exam: 30%

Lisa Chalykoff, Neta Gordon, Paul Lumsden, eds. The Broadview Introduction to Literature:Concise Edition, 2nd ed. (Broadview, 2019)

Provisional reading list
Emily Dickinson, “Tell all the Truth but tell it slant”; W.B. Yeats, “The Second Coming”; Ezra Pound, “The River-Merchant’s Wife: A Letter”; Theodore Roethke, “My Papa’s Waltz”; Elizabeth Bishop, “One Art”; Adrienne Rich, “Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers”; Margaret Atwood, “Death of a Young Son by Drowning”; Seamus Heaney, “Digging”; George Eliot Clarke, “Casualties”; Jackie Kay, “In My Country”; Karen Solie, “Nice”

Short stories:
Kate Chopin, “The Story of an Hour”; Chinua Achebe, “Dead Men’s Path”; Alice Munro, “Friend on My Youth”; Alistair MacLeod, “As Birds Bring Forth the Sun”; Margaret Atwood, “Happy Endings”; Thomas King, “A Short History of Indians in Canada”; Kazuo Ishiguro, “A Family Supper”

William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night;
Henrik Ibsen, A Doll’s House

Approaches to Literature
Term 2
TTh, 12:00 - 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.

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

Who do you see when you look in the mirror? This course will explore questions of disguise, selfhood and gender performance in fictional texts, with a focus on the following core texts: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Twelfth Night and The Importance of Being Earnest. In addition, we will read poetry and short stories that comment on the same themes. Our in-class work will include one essay, formal group work and a variety of class exercises; home assignments will include a proposal and term paper. There will be a formal exam at the end of term.

ENGL 110 counts as 3 credits toward most faculties’ English/Writing requirements, and as 3 credits of the Faculty of Arts Literature requirement.