2021 Winter Session

 

Reading and Writing about Literature
Term 1
MWF,  9:00AM - 10:00 AM

In this course we’ll read a wide selection of poetry in order to develop and refine the skill of analyzing literature. We’ll be concerned with both form and content. Students will learn to discuss the varied techniques of writing. Our attention will be on close reading, the basis of all literary analysis.

Reading and Writing about Literature
Term 1
MWF,  10:00AM - 11:00 AM

This course offers a writing-intensive introduction to the disciplines of literary studies through the exploration of texts in their critical and theoretical contexts. The course fulfils the first-year component of the Faculty of Arts Writing and Research Requirement and is open only to students in the Faculty of Arts. The course is recommended for students intending to become English majors. Essays are required.

Primary texts will include the following:

  • Ernest Hemingway, In Our Time
  • Kate Chopin, The Awakening
  • Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave
  • Wallace Stevens, The Palm at the End of the Mind
  • Samuel Becket, Endgame
  • Joan Didion, Slouching Towards Bethlehem

Assignments will include informal oral presentations, short essays, and a final exam.

Reading and Writing about Literature
Term 1
MWF,  11:00AM - 12:00 PM (PST)
Online Delivery

“What is a ghost? A tragedy condemned to repeat itself time and again? An instant of pain, perhaps. Something dead which still seems to be alive. An emotion suspended in time. Like a blurred photograph. Like an insect trapped in amber.” – The Devil’s Backbone (dir. Guillermo Del Toro)

Where is the fascination, even when the deepest mysteries of the universe are being scientifically unlocked, in stories of haunted houses? What accounts for the lure, and even the enjoyment, of tales of terror and horror, even in the 21st century? This course examines the Gothic influence in texts where collisions of past and present, and implications of the uncanny, allow fascinating investigations of social codes and their transgression.

Core texts include Daphne Du Maurier, Rebecca; Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House; Sarah Waters, The Little Stranger; Helen Oyeyemi, White is for Witching; and Crimson Peak (dir. Guillermo Del Toro), as well as Gardner and Diaz, Reading and Writing About Literature (5th edition). Through readings in current criticism and theory, we will develop strategies for textual analysis in literary and cultural studies. We will also consider the difficulty, if not impossibility, of reaching a “fixed” or consensus reading of any text.

The course will be fully online and will combine synchronous (live video lectures with discussion) and asynchronous (Canvas-based discussion, notes, online resources) material. Evaluation will be based on two short essays, a term paper requiring secondary academic research, a final examination, and participation in discussion.

Keep checking my blog (https://blogs.ubc.ca/drgmbaxter/) for updates concerning texts and requirements.

Reading and Writing about Literature
Term 1
MWF,  12:00PM - 1:00 PM

Focused around literary texts in their critical and theoretical contexts, ENGL 100 is a course in academic writing that fulfils the first-year component of the Faculty of Arts Writing Requirement.

In this section of English 100 we will study a selection of poetry from the Renaissance up to the present (see the provisional list below).  Since one purpose of the course is to introduce students to literature’s various critical approaches, we will also examine scholarly articles (available online) on some of the assigned poetry.  In both their proposal for the research essay and the essay itself, students will be expected not only to offer their own interpretations of a poem not discussed in class, but also to cite, demonstrate their familiarity with, and above all respond to a minimum number of secondary sources.  Ideally, then, this course will teach students the skills they need to write research essays in upper-level English courses.

Course requirements: two in-class essays (each worth 15%), proposal for research essay (15%), research essay (25%), final exam (30%)

Texts: The Broadview Introduction to Literature: Poetry, 2nd edition (Broadview Press); Reading and Writing about Literature: A Portable Guide, 5th edition (Bedford/St. Martin’s)

A provisional list of poems: Shakespeare, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”; John Donne, “The Flea”; William Blake, “The Chimney Sweeper”; Christina Rossetti, “Goblin Market”; W.B. Yeats, “The Second Coming”; Ezra Pound, “The River-Merchant’s Wife: A Letter”; T.S. Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”; W.H. Auden, “Musée des Beaux Arts”; Adrienne Rich, “Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers”; Margaret Atwood, “Death of a Young Son by Drowning”; Jackie Kay, “In My Country”

 

Reading and Writing about Literature
Term 1
MWF,  1:00PM - 2:00 PM

Focused on literary texts in their critical and theoretical contexts, ENGL 100 is a course in academic writing that fulfills the first-year component of the Faculty of Arts Writing Requirement.

This course is an introduction to the reading, enjoying, and study of both primary literary texts—including Regeneration(1992), by Pat Barker and Three Day Road (2006), by Joseph Boyden—and selected secondary scholarly essays written about them.  By examining several theoretical approaches to the course readings, and by applying the skills of close reading, informed discussion, formal writing, and intelligent analysis to selected poetry, fiction, and non-fiction (diaries, letters, autobiography), students will enhance their critical thinking and writing abilities and broaden their knowledge of literary elements, techniques, and types.

This section’s theme is “‘Lest We Forget’:  Literary Representations of World War I.”  The first all-encompassing world conflict, World War I (1914-1918) was a murderous cataclysm which misshaped the twentieth century and haunts the twenty-first.  We will examine some of the ways in which the “Great War” has been depicted in literature, music, posters, painting, and photography.  We will investigate the problems of representing historical “fact” as part of a “fictional” work, the relation between history and story, and how the works under study contribute to the construction of the public memory and memorialization of a war whose surviving veterans and eyewitnesses have all passed away.

Reading and Writing about Literature
Term 1
MWF,  2:00PM - 3:00 PM

The course description for this section of ENGL is not yet available. Please check again shortly.

 

Reading and Writing about Literature
Term 1
TR,  9:30AM - 11:00 AM

 

The course description for this section of ENGL is not yet available. Please check again shortly.

 

Reading and Writing about Literature
Term 1
TR,  11:00AM - 12:30 PM

In this course we will read and listen to a variety of twentieth and twenty-first century texts that consider ongoing crises – climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic, racism and xenophobia, truth and reconciliation, and family/inherited trauma – and question where, how, and if these texts are able to locate hope. We will ask some big questions about the ethics of hope and hopefulness, the roles of art in crisis, and why it’s more urgent than ever to engage with literature in all of its forms.

Texts will include a selection of short stories from the Broadview Anthology of Short Fiction (UBC Bookstore), the animated film based on the graphic novel/album The Secret Path by Gord Downie & Jeff Lemire (available free online), excerpts from Tanya Tagaq’s audiobook recording of her novel Split Tooth (available online for purchase), the albums Winter Wheat by John K. Samson and The Sunset Tree by John Darnielle (Spotify, Youtube, etc.), the novel Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (UBC Bookstore), and a selection of poetry (available online).

Evaluation will be based on two short essays (in-class), one longer take-home essay and essay proposal, and participation in both classroom and online discussions.

Reading and Writing about Literature
Term 1
TR,  12:30PM - 2:00 PM

We will read mostly short texts (poems & stories) written and/or told by authors with a variety of cultural backgrounds. Although the focus will be on multicultural literature that was created in North America, we will, occasionally, read texts from other continents, in particular, from Africa, Asia, and Europe for comparison. The text selection for North America will include Indigenous literature as well as texts written by settlers and newcomers from various countries.

The goal of the course is two-fold. On the one hand, you will learn the basics of reading and writing about literature in an academic context and have the opportunity to refine your skills of analyzing literature and of exploring texts in their critical and theoretical contexts. On the other hand, you will be invited to discover the rich variety and diversity of cultural traditions and belief systems that find their expressions in literary works, to learn to appreciate the importance of voices that have either been actively suppressed or not been encouraged to speak, to start seeing life from some of these many perspectives and philosophical systems, and, eventually, to be able to understand the world in new ways that honour all the voices and experiences and their unique values, expressions, and traditions.

Books:

  • Smaro Kamboureli (Ed.). Making a Difference: Canadian Multicultural Literature. Oxford University Press. 2006.
  • and ONE of the following:
    • Sophie McCall & Deanna Reder & David Gaertner & Gabreielle L’Hiorondelle Hill (eds).  Read, Listen, Tell: Indigenous Stories from Turtle Island. Wilfried Laurier University Press. 2017.
    • Daniel David Moses & Terry Goldie & Armand Garnet Ruffo. An Anthology of Canadian Native Literature in English. Oxford University Press. 4th Edition. 2013.
    • Armand Garnet Ruffo & Katherena Vermette. An Anthology of Indigenous Literatures in English: Voices from Canada. Oxford University Press. 5th Edition. 2020.

Reading and Writing about Literature
Term 1
TR,  2:00PM - 3:30 PM

 

The course description for this section of ENGL is not yet available. Please check again shortly.

 

Reading and Writing about Literature
Term 2
MWF,  10:00AM - 11:00 AM

English 100 offers a writing-intensive introduction to the discipline of literary studies through the exploration of texts in their critical contexts: it focuses on foundational skills in literary analysis and scholarly research. This section highlights fiction and poetry inspired by the First World War (1914-1918). We will read writers from different countries (Britain, America, Canada, and Ireland) and distinct generations (participants and descendants). In particular, we will examine selected poems (1918) by Wilfred Owen; and three novels, namely The Sun Also Rises (1926) by Ernest Hemingway; The Wars (1977) by Timothy Findley; and A Long Long Way (2005) by Sebastian Barry. The issues of trauma, mourning, memory, and history shaping modern and contemporary controversies on war and society will organize our studies of celebrated texts. Critical readings and audio-visual materials will guide our conversations. Students will develop analytic and synthetic skills in reading and writing about literature through the investigation of formal features, relevant contexts, and academic discourses. In addition to several writing assignments, requirements for this course include participation and a final examination.

Reading and Writing about Literature
Term 2
MWF,  11:00AM - 12:00 PM

This course will introduce various ways of analyzing literary works of several kinds and offer practice in writing essays that articulate such analysis. By focusing on a particular place and period, America in the “long1950s” (up to about 1963), for the term, we will develop familiarity with the historical and cultural contexts that inform the works we are reading. The goal of this approach is to enable us to learn more effectively about formal and theoretical approaches to literature, which can be employed in subsequent courses with other historical frames. Recurrent themes in the works we consider will include race relations and Civil Rights; the status of women; same-sex desire; tension between divergent ideas of America, as a single nation or a collection of distinct regions; the Cold War; relations between literature and music and the visual arts. Details of the syllabus remain to be determined, but we will consider such poets as Adrienne Rich, Sylvia Plath, Gwendolyn Brooks, Robert Lowell, Randall Jarrell, and Allen Ginsberg; playwrights such as Lorraine Hansberry and Tennessee Williams; and fiction writers such as James Baldwin and Flannery O’Connor. Despite the stereotypes about “Fifties America,” this was a period of great cultural diversity, innovation, and accomplishment.

Assignments will include essays and a final exam, along with a brief presentation and shorter exercises in observation and brainstorming.

Reading and Writing about Literature
Term 2
MWF,  12:00PM - 1:00 PM

The course description for this section of ENGL is not yet available. Please check again shortly.

 

Reading and Writing about Literature
Term 2
MWF,  1:00PM - 2:00 PM

 

The course description for this section of ENGL is not yet available. Please check again shortly.

 

Reading and Writing about Literature
Term 2
MWF,  2:00PM - 3:00 PM

What, exactly, is a fairy tale? Why do some remain popular even two or three hundred years after they were first published? And why do modern writers so often return to the form, sometimes to rewrite old tales and sometimes to compose brand-new ones? In this course, we will address these questions by reading and discussing a variety of classic tales by the Brothers Grimm, Charles Perrault, and Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont as well as modern versions of those tales by Emma Donoghue and Francesca Lia Block, among others. In lectures and discussions we’ll consider how fairy tales have been adapted to meet the needs of distinct historical periods, and how different critical approaches to the same text can yield entirely different—even competing—interpretations.

 

Reading and Writing about Literature
Term 2
TR,  9:30AM - 11:00 AM

Focused around literary texts in their critical and theoretical contexts, ENGL 100 is a course in academic writing that fulfils the first-year component of the Faculty of Arts Writing Requirement.

In this section of English 100 we will study a selection of poetry from the Renaissance up to the present (see the provisional list below).  Since one purpose of the course is to introduce students to literature’s various critical approaches, we will also examine scholarly articles (available online) on some of the assigned poetry.  In both their proposal for the research essay and the essay itself, students will be expected not only to offer their own interpretations of a poem not discussed in class, but also to cite, demonstrate their familiarity with, and above all respond to a minimum number of secondary sources.  Ideally, then, this course will teach students the skills they need to write research essays in upper-level English courses.

Course requirements: two in-class essays (each worth 15%), proposal for research essay (15%), research essay (25%), final exam (30%)

Texts: The Broadview Introduction to Literature: Poetry, 2nd edition (Broadview Press); Reading and Writing about Literature: A Portable Guide, 5th edition (Bedford/St. Martin’s)

A provisional list of poems: Shakespeare, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”; John Donne, “The Flea”; William Blake, “The Chimney Sweeper”; Christina Rossetti, “Goblin Market”; W.B. Yeats, “The Second Coming”;  Ezra Pound, “The River-Merchant’s Wife: A Letter”; T.S. Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”; W.H. Auden, “Musée des Beaux Arts”; Adrienne Rich, “Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers”; Margaret Atwood, “Death of a Young Son by Drowning”; Jackie Kay, “In My Country”

 

Reading and Writing about Literature
Term 2
TR,  11:00AM - 12:30 PM

 

The course description for this section of ENGL 100 is not yet available. Please check again shortly.

 

Reading and Writing about Literature
Term 2
TR,  2:00PM - 3:30 PM

 

The course description for this section of ENGL is not yet available. Please check again shortly.

 

Approaches to Literature
Term 1
MW,  9:00AM - 10:00 AM

 

The course description for this section of ENGL is not yet available. Please check again shortly.

 

Approaches to Literature
Term 1
MW,  10:00AM - 11:00 AM

“Together, apart” is a phrase we’ve heard often during the COVID-19 pandemic. To practice physical distancing is to be apart from other people even as we share, together, a unique experience. We have had to think a lot lately about the very idea of “connection”: how can we share our experiences and share in the experiences of others while we keep to ourselves? As we emerge from the pandemic, which stories will we come together to tell and which will we leave behind?

In this class, we will look to literature for some answers to these questions. You will be introduced to texts (a graphic narrative, a novel, a play, and a selection of poetry) that connect readers to different kinds of lives and experiences. Many of our texts convey marginalized identities and our authors invite us to think head-on about the challenges and rewards of literature as a remote mode of communication. They invite us to ask: How does literature transport us to worlds different than our own? What are the possibilities—and the limits—when it comes to “getting inside the head” of someone else? Who gets to speak and who may be silenced? Can literature bring us “together, apart?”

Likely texts include The Reluctant Fundamentalist (a novel), by Mohsin Hamid The Best We Can Do (a comic book) by Thi Bui, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time (a play) by Mark Haddon and Simon Stephens, and a selection of poetry by Amber Dawn and others.

Approaches to Literature
Term 1
MW,  11:00AM - 12:00 PM

In our heavily-mediated, pandemic-stricken world, senses of self and of place have become increasingly fraught and uncertain. In this course, we will investigate how various kinds of literary texts—poetry, the novel, multi-media collage, comics, the lyric essay—confront questions of human belonging. How do we write ourselves into and out of place? How do we identify and document ourselves creatively through writing? What are the demands of placing ourselves in particular discourses and locations? We will deal with ideas of the human subject and the depiction of others; with the creation of various forms of community; with the complex relationships between art and lived realities; and with the interconnections of the performative and the graphic with spoken or written language. Questions of representation and self-fashioning will form a crucial part of our investigations of how literacy, agency and community constitute themselves. Some of the readings on this course contain material that students may find challenging and unsettling. Core texts for this section include Ms. Marvel: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona, Chamber Music: Selected Poems by Jan Zwicky, Lives of Girls and Women by Alice Munro, Findings by Kathleen Jamie, and Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine.

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

This section of ENGL 110 will focus on issues of identity and place. How does place (geographical, social, psychological, textual) shape who we are as human beings? And how does literature both define and mediate the relationship between identity and place? In our readings, we will address questions of class, gender, nationality, and race, as they intersect with our main categories. We’ll explore these questions in poetry (by Thomas Wyatt, Christina Rossetti, William Blake, Linton Kwesi Johnson, David Dabydeen, Jackie Kay, and others), drama (Ayub Khan-Din’s East Is East and Tomson Highway’s The Rez Sisters), and fiction (Zadie Smith’s novel NW and Daniel Clowes’s graphic novel Ghost World).

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

 

Approaches to Literature
Term 1
MW,  1:00PM - 2:00 PM

This course examines narratives and representations of borders in their various forms—geographical, political, bodily, and ideological—in North American literature. We will focus on the relationships between race, gender and sexuality, and narratives of migration and other modes of border-crossing within ongoing histories of imperialism and settler colonialism. The course will introduce students to ways of thinking about literary form and genre by engaging with novels, poetry, short stories, a play, scholarly writing, and multimedia productions. Students will develop the critical thinking skills essential to university-level reading, writing, and analysis.

 

Approaches to Literature
Term 1
TR,  9:30AM - 11:00 AM (PST)
Online Delivery

 

"No dress rehearsal / This is our life"
--Gord Downie and the Tragically Hip, "Ahead by A Century."

 

Narrative, or the act of storytelling, is one of our most basic daily activities, as H. Porter Abbott, a narrative expert, reminds us. We encounter narratives in conversations, text messages, novels, plays, poems, rock songs, films, political speeches, and health reports.  Narrative is everywhere because it is a foundational dimension of language and human thought.

This course is an introduction to the study of narrative elements, especially as found in examples of Canadian fiction, life narrative, poetry, alt rock songs, and film.   Some of the fundamental questions that we will take up include the following:  What exactly is narrative? Why are narratives important for organizing human experience?  How and why do writers manipulate narrative time? How does a storyteller assert persuasive power?  How do social groups use narrative to advance their belief systems?

These questions and others will be explored in lectures, lively small group discussions, and weekly readings in H. Porter Abbott's core textbook.  A special effort is made in this course to create a sense of community belonging and to respectfully include everyone's voices in different platforms.  This course will use a combination of asynchronous (recorded/text/online) materials and synchronous (real-time) classes in our designated timeslot.

Course requirements include participation in online discussions, a narrative analysis, a short answer test, pop quizzes, and a final project or exam.

Want to get ahead in the readings this summer?  Read Madeleine Thien's brilliant and poignant stories set in Vancouver, Simple Recipes. Or sample Michael Ondaatje's dramatic representation of immigrant workers in Toronto in In the Skin of a Lion. 

 

Required texts:

Core E-Textbook (available online at the UBC Library): H. Porter Abbott, The Cambridge Introduction to Narrative, 2nd Ed.

Short stories: Madeleine Thien, Simple Recipes (M &S)

Novel: Michael Ondaatje, In the Skin of a Lion (Vintage)

Life narrative: David Chariandy, I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You (M&S)

Poetry/Songs: Selected poems and songs by the Tragically Hip, and others such as Kuldip Gill, Margaret Atwood, Leonard Cohen, and Rita Wong.

Film: Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner (Isuma/NFB 2001), directed by Zacharias Kunuk and screenplay by Paul Apak Angilirk: The film is available as a streaming video at the UBC Library website.

Approaches to Literature
Term 2
MW,  9:00AM - 10:00 AM

Along with substantial work on poetry, this section of English 110 will focus on one play and two novels about shipwrecks and the people who survive them. Beyond the excitement of disaster, we will consider the significance of the ways in which these stories of the loss of what the characters understand to be “civilization” leads them to think about some of the big questions with which human beings have long struggled: What makes us human and not animal? What is human nature? What about race, gender and other kinds of difference? Who has power and why? What about God, and is that the same thing as religion? Do we just reflect reality with the stories we tell ourselves, or are we actually creating reality?

Discussing poetry, drama, and fiction, this course will introduce students to the analytical skills and critical thinking essential to university-level literary reading, thinking and writing. In lectures and discussions, students will pursue hands-on practice of methods of literary analysis.

Reading ahead? Choose HG Wells’ creepy mad scientist novel, The Island of Dr. Moreau or the boy and his tiger tale of Yann Martel’s The Life of Pi, or Shakespeare’s classic shipwreck play, The Tempest (check out the “Drama Online” database on the Library website for film versions you can watch for free).

Approaches to Literature
Term 2
MW,  11:00AM - 12:00 PM

Although the modern term “gothic” was not coined until the late eighteenth century, tales of horror and aberrant human (or non-human) behaviour form a consistent tradition from ancient times to the present. This section of English 110 will trace the history of these tales of horror in drama, poetry and prose fiction (both short stories and the novel) in the European and American literary traditions. We will find that from classical Greece to the present, theatre-goers and readers have been horrified by a fairly consistent set of themes and tropes (figurative images). These themes and tropes relate to a wide range of concerns from deviant sexual behavior, confusions of gender, dysfunctional family relationships, the fear of foreigners, human relations with the natural world, and fears of political or social upheaval.

Texts: Euripides, Medea; Shakespeare, Macbeth; Stoker, Dracula; Baldick, Oxford Book of Gothic Tales; a selection of gothic poetry

Approaches to Literature
Term 2
MW,  12:00PM - 1:00 PM

This section of ENGL 110 will examine the post-war and post-pandemic literature of the 1920s and 30s. This was the time of the ‘Lost Generation’ in American Literature, and the effects on Britain and its literature were equally profound. We will begin with the trans-Atlantic legacy of the First World War and the pandemic of the Spanish Flu, tracing through poetry and prose the hopes, disillusionment, and horror of those years, before moving on to consider the lingering cultural malaise. Add to this the great depression of the late 20s and early 30s, and we have a time of deep reflection, social crisis, and existential angst. We will be reading poetry by a range of writers including T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, W. B. Yeats and others. We will also be reading novels by Hemingway, Waugh, Orwell, and Huxley that embody the spirit of the age.

Approaches to Literature
Term 2
MW,  1:00PM - 2:00 PM

The course provides students with an understanding of media and how media are related to literary genres. There are modules on the electronic book, on informatics, on surveillance, on the relationship between photography and poetics, on network culture, and on media history. Through analyses of these works, students will develop their critical abilities and writing skills.

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

In this section of English 110, we will read literary texts depicting the fantastic, strange science, and ghosts. The course will teach you to think and write critically about literature at the university level. It will also introduce you to contemporary literary theories. We will examine a range of approaches to the interpretation of literature, including psychoanalytical, Marxist, feminist, and postcolonial, and use the theories to analyze the literature we study. Texts read will include Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

 

Approaches to Literature
Term 2
TR,  11:00AM - 12:30 PM

Why do we tell stories? The very phrase “telling stories” is synonymous, to quote the Houyhnhnms in Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, with saying “the thing which is not.” Yet most story-tellers are trying to articulate “the thing which is,” however they might define that in socio-political and/or aesthetic terms. In this course we will explore story-telling – our own and others’. What assumptions underlie our readings of stories and the numerous critical and theoretical approaches to literary interpretation? What does the popularization and commodification of literary works, such as the re-visioning of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in every medium, tell us about the works themselves, the societies that produced them, our own society, and ourselves? What difference does it make if the “source texts” for a story are actual historical events? Some of the texts that we will be studying self-consciously question concepts of “story,” “history,” and “truth”; all raise questions about the nature of story-telling, interpretation, identity, and society.

Our authors and texts: Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Broadview); A. S. Byatt, “The Story of the Eldest Princess”; Michael Ondaatje, Anil’s Ghost (Vintage); a selection of poems (all available online) by Susan Alexander, Sarah Howe, Roy Miki, Kei Miller, John O’Donohue, Arundhathi Subramaniam, Richard Wagamese, and Rita Wong.

Approaches to Literature
Term 2
TR,  2:00PM - 3:30 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, Hannibal Lecter, Marisa Coulter, many of the characters in The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones: they’re everywhere, from under the bed to the house next door 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 across the genres use representations of monstrosity in ways that inspire both terror and horror, as well as (let’s be honest) fascination and even enjoyment.

We’ll look at William Shakespeare’s Richard III (a play that meditates on villainy and ambition in demonizing its subject for Tudor audiences, yet still fascinates contemporary ones). In doing so, we’ll consider various film and stage adaptations, including Ian McKellen’s 1995 film, which shifts the setting to an alternate-reality 1930s England where fascism takes hold, and more recent adaptations using race and gender-diverse casting, and casting as Richard actors who are themselves physically disabled or disfigured. Other core texts include Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, Angela Carter’s short story “The Lady of the House of Love”, possibly another short story or novella, and selected poetry (with a focus on the sonnet form).

Evaluation will be based on two short timed essays, a home paper, and a final exam, plus participation in discussion.

Keep checking my blog (https://blogs.ubc.ca/drgmbaxter/) for updates concerning texts and requirements.

Approaches to Literature
Term 2
TR,  12:30PM - 2:00 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.

Course requirements: two in-class essays, 20% each; home essay (1200 words), 30%; final exam, 30%

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

PROVISIONAL READING LIST

Poems:  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 of 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”

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

Approaches to Non-fictional Prose
Term 1
MW,  2:00PM - 3:00 PM

This course explores literature of exploration both in the natural wilderness and in the wildernesses of culture and politics, considering topics including mountain climbing, surfing, manual labour and craftsmanship, environmentalism, psychology, sexism and racism.  This class has a relatively large amount of reading.  Coursework will be writing intensive and intended to encourage students to find and explore adventure in their own lives.  Texts include:  Wild, Cheryl Strayed; Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates; Men Explain Things to Me, Rebecca Solnit; Barbarian Days, William Finnegan; The Gardener and the Carpenter, Alison Gopnik; Letter to my Nephew, James Baldwin; The Eel, Patrik Svensson.

 

Approaches to Non-fictional Prose
Term 2
MW,  10:00AM - 11:00 AM

How does everyday language get stuff done? This course provides some answers to this question by delving into the realm of rhetoric. Rhetoric, or the motivation of belief and action, encompasses not only overt techniques of persuasion, but also the quotidian aspects of language and symbol usage that facilitate (or hinder) our daily lives and organize society. This course introduces the principles of rhetorical theory and criticism by applying them to contemporary public controversies, such as the politics of climate change, police brutality, the public function of science, and Canadian nationalism.

Approaches to Non-fictional Prose
Term 1
TR,  2:00PM - 3:30 PM

Good writers read, and good readers write. Or, as Stephen King puts it: "If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot”. Critical reading and writing are skills which can be developed through practice. In this course, we will demystify the process of critical, analytical reading by studying the rhetorical and stylistic principles used in a variety of non-fiction texts. You will then learn to apply these tools in your own writing. Given our goal of understanding the relationship between author and text, our course readings will focus on the relationship between language, identity, and authorship. We will consider what happens when we learn a new language, or lose one; how language background and identity are reflected in writing style and the choices authors make; and how authors take their audiences’ own identities into account. We will read reflections on the writing process itself, and in turn you will consider your own relationship with language in all its forms.

Readings may include:

  • Kuusisto, Stephen. Eavesdropping: A Memoir of Blindness and Listening. United Kingdom, W. W. Norton, 2006.
  • Lansky, Aaron. Outwitting History: The Amazing Adventures of a Man Who Rescued a Million Yiddish books. Algonquin Books, 2004.
  • Lesser, Wendy, editor. The Genius of Language: Fifteen Writers Reflect on Their Mother Tongue. United Kingdom, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2009.
  • Lahiri, Jhumpa. In Other Words. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2016.
  • Nelson, Jennifer L. "Textual bodies, bodily texts." Signing the Body Poetic: Essays on American Sign Language Literature, edited by H-Dirksen L. Bauman, Jennifer L. Nelson and Heidi M. Rose, University of California Press, 2006, pp. 18-129.
  • Tan, Amy. “Mother Tongue.” The Threepenny Review, no. 43, 1990, pp. 7–8.
  • Woolf, Virgina. “On Not Knowing Greek.” The Common Reader. 1925.

Challenging Language Myths
Term 2
MWF,  2:00PM - 3:00 PM

 

What can we believe of what we hear and read about language?
Is language change bad?
Do some people have “good grammar”?
Does language shape thought and/or culture?
Are young people destroying the language?
Is texting destroying the language?
Is learning a language easier for kids?
Does your ability to learn a language reflect your intelligence?
Is all thought linguistic?
Where in your brain is language located?
Do bilinguals have an advantage or are they disadvantaged?

 

In this course, we critically examine a broad range of commonly held beliefs about language and the relation of language to the brain and cognition, learning, society, change and evolution. Students come to understand language myths, the purpose for their existence, and their validity (or not). We use science and common sense as tools in our process of “myth-busting”. The course textbook is Abby Kaplan, Women talk more than men … and other myths about language explained. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016), which is available for purchase from the Bookstore or online through the UBC Library.

This course is an excellent introduction for students contemplating the English Language Major as well as an appropriate elective for students already in the English Language or Language & Literature Major or Language Minor.

Course evaluation is based on two examinations, a written project (pairs or groups), participation and attendance, and low-stakes short weekly writing. For the project, students select a language myth discussed in popular media (online, newspaper, etc.). Based on scholarly readings concerning the myth as well as material covered in class, they “bust” or confirm the myth.

This course is cross-listed as Linguistics 140 and is co-taught by instructors from the English and Linguistics Departments.

Note: This course does not fulfill the university writing requirements or the literature requirement in the Faculty of Arts.