2019 Winter Session

Connected to the startup of more than 30 new courses, many existing English courses have been renumbered starting in 2019W. Here, each course description includes both the new number and the old one, BUT in the SSC only new course numbers will be visible, so plan ahead.

See:
Changes to Course Numbers Starting 2019W
Course Descriptions Archive
Registration Tips & Tricks

 

Pre-Major and Second-Year Electives

Principles of Literary Studies [NEW COURSE!]
Term 1
MWF, 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

ENGL 200 is a collaboratively-taught exploration of key scholarly, theoretical, and critical approaches informing the study of literatures in English at UBC. Students in the course will work closely with one faculty instructor in a small-class setting; students should register in the smaller class (indicated by specific section number). These small classes will join together for one lecture on each week’s designated texts and topic. ENGL 200 is a graduation requirement for students declaring an English Literature Major or Minor, though the class is open to all students interested in exploring the fields of literary study.

In this course, we look at a range of different kinds of texts, emphasizing different times and different places. We’ll discuss how time, kind and place affect both texts and their readers. Check back here later in the summer for a list of the specific texts we will read.

Principles of Literary Studies [NEW COURSE!]
Term 2
MWF, 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

ENGL 200 is a collaboratively-taught exploration of key scholarly, theoretical, and critical approaches informing the study of literatures in English at UBC. Students in the course will work closely with one faculty instructor in a small-class setting; these small classes will join together for one lecture on each week’s designated texts and topic. ENGL 200 is a graduation requirement for students declaring an English Literature Major or Minor, though the class is open to all students interested in exploring the fields of literary study.

This section of English 200 will take a broad approach to literature and cultural studies. The professors’ areas of specialization include eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literatures, contemporary world literature and postcolonialism, and theory and cultural studies. Employing a variety of critical tools and strategies, we will look at texts from a range of periods and genres, including poetry, fiction, graphic novels, drama, and short stories.  Our focus will be “literary worlds”: the various way that literature helps us imagine and unsettle ideas of the Earth or globe as permanent, unchangeable, or infinitely exploitable. The topics we’ll consider will include literary and cultural history, utopias and other alternate realities, historical and current environmental disaster, and migration and humanitarian crises.

Principles of Literary Studies [NEW COURSE!]
Term 2
MWF, 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

ENGL 200 is a collaboratively-taught exploration of key scholarly, theoretical, and critical approaches informing the study of literatures in English at UBC. Students in the course will work closely with one faculty instructor in a small-class setting; students should register in the smaller class (indicated by specific section number). These small classes will join together for one lecture on each week’s designated texts and topic. ENGL 200 is a graduation requirement for students declaring an English Literature Major or Minor, though the class is open to all students interested in exploring the fields of literary study.

We inhabit an image-saturated world: we look at pictures all the time — often as we read. This section of English 200 will consider texts that ask readers to imagine pictures or to think in pictorial terms and we will consider visual material that begs to be read. We will also compare private reading to the experience of public viewing, and we will explore how writers and artists have conceptualized the differences between word and image. This class is team-taught by a specialist in Canadian literature and critical race, gender, and sexuality studies; a specialist in eighteenth-century and children’s literature; and a specialist in medieval/Renaissance literature and book history. All three of us have an interest in what is called “material culture” and think of literature in relation to the physical environments, entities, and bodies that produce and are produced by it. Given this common ground, our course will bring literature together with images on a number of historical, aesthetic, and theoretical planes in a way that is fascinating in its own right and that will prepare students for success in upper-level literature courses across UBC.

An Introduction to English Honours
Term 1 and 2
MWF, 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Term 1: English literature has deep cultural roots, and we’ll spend Term 1 exploring how English-speaking peoples and their forebears used their voices to share their stories and make their worlds.  From the Angles and Saxons through the Norman Middle Ages, to Elizabethan England and the traumas of the Reformation and the Revolution, we’ll study how literary works made, and reflect on, the social networks of earlier eras.  We’ll have a rare-books field-trip and a colonialism film festival during Term 1.

Term 2: English literature’s social networks are most clearly manifest in specific genres as they change and adapt to (and influence) the cultures in which they emerge.  This term we’ll study poetry, fiction, and film in three main arcs, all asking how literature and the social sphere intertwine and influence each other.  We’ll start with poetry, seen three ways; we’ll move to fiction, early, modern, and contemporary, that tackles racialization and colonialism, and we’ll end with the work of indigenous filmmakers talking back.

Each term we’ll learn together through student-led seminars on special topics and writing and library workshops.

Literature in English to the 18th Century
Term 1
MWF, 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

This course is a survey of English Literature from medieval times through the Renaissance and the Enlightenment to the beginning of the Romantic period and the rise of the English novel.  In part, it will be a study of successive changes in English society and culture, and accompanying changes in literary form and focus. We will consider, among other things, patterns of continuity, influence, innovation and revolt. The course is intended to provide students with a range of scholarly and critical tools for the study of literary and other texts, and a substantial knowledge of a wide range of literature.  Students will learn to employ strategies of close reading, library research, and textual analysis supported by reasoned argument, and we will explore some aspects of critical theory in relation to specific texts. Students will engage in lively discussion in class, and be encouraged to evolve their own ideas, and to defend them effectively. Our focus will include the political and cultural history relevant to particular works, including matters of religious, philosophical, aesthetic and social importance. We will also investigate ideas concerning class, nationality, and gender identity current in these centuries. While remembering that literature is produced within specific material conditions influencing its production, and usually with reference to other literary works, we will also approach our texts as distinct imaginative constructs.

TextsThe Norton Anthology of English Literature, Major Authors, Vol. 1, 9th Edition; Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra; Jane Austen, Persuasion. 

Readings: Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales (“General Prologue” and “The Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale”); Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus; William Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra; assorted poems by John Donne, Margaret Cavendish, “The Hunting of the Hare”;  selections from: John Milton, Paradise Lost; excerpt from Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan; Alexander Pope, “Essay on Man”; William Blake, selections from The Songs of Innocence and Experience and The Marriage of Heaven and Hell,  Jane Austen, Persuasion.

Course Requirements:  one in-class essay (30%), one term paper involving research and a formal bibliography (40%), and a final exam (30%). Additional supplementary marks for class participation may be awarded at the discretion of the instructor.

Literature in English to the 18th Century
Term 2
MWF, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

We will consider several works which offer different portrayals of the hero and his place in society, from the early Middle Ages through the late Renaissance. These will include Beowulf, Shakespeare’s Othello, and Milton’s Paradise Lost, together with some or all of the following: Chaucer, The Miller’s Tale and The Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale; Marie de France, Lanval; the anonymous Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. We will focus on developing skills in reading these texts, by paying close attention to individual words and to their premodern poetics, which can be unfamiliar and challenging. One of our goals is to develop a vocabulary for describing and analyzing these texts that you can then employ in subsequent courses in English and the humanities. The idea of the “hero” which provides a general focus for our discussion was by no means a static one; the heroic ideal was subject to interrogation from the days of Beowulf on. We will also pay attention to other (often related) themes such as gender roles, class, time and history, and the relationship between secular and religious ideals. That these works are “traditional” also means their poetics and themes have influenced a great deal of later literature, and so the not-so-simple goal of getting to know them well will remain central to our enterprise throughout the term. Requirements include quizzes roughly every other week, a final exam, and class attendance, preparation, and participation.

Literature in Britain: the 18th Century to the Present
Term 1
TTh, 11:00 AM - 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 the nature and significance of the stories that we tell – and have told for the past 200 years – as writers, readers, and critics. What ideological assumptions with respect to aesthetics, ethics, gender, class, race, sexuality, religion, politics, education, etc., underlie our readings of literature and the numerous critical and theoretical approaches to literary interpretation? What difference does it make if the “source texts” for a story are actual historical events? 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?

Our authors: George Gordon, Lord Byron; Charlotte Brontë; Lewis Carroll; Gerard Manley Hopkins; T. S. Eliot; Iris Murdoch; Kazuo Ishiguro; Tom Stoppard; Seamus Heaney; John O’Donohue; Arundhathi Subramaniam; Sarah Howe; Kamila Shamsie; a selection of student-choice twenty-first-century poets.

Our books (the shorter works are available online): Brontë, Jane Eyre (Oxford World’s Classics); Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Broadview); Murdoch, Under the Net (Penguin paperback or Vintage Kindle); Stoppard, Arcadia (Faber and Faber paperback or Kindle); Heaney, The Burial at Thebes: Sophocles’ Antigone (Farrar, Straus and Giroux paperback or Faber and Faber Kindle); Kamila Shamsie, Home Fire (Riverhead paperback or Kindle). We will discuss both Under the Net and Home Fire; however, you will be required to read only one of the two.

Literature in Britain: 18th Century to the Present
Term 2
MWF, 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

This course is a survey of English Literature from the Romantic movement through the Victorian period, to literary Modernism, and on through the 20th century, including recent works written from postcolonial, feminist, and Indigenous perspectives. In part, it will be a study of successive changes in English-speaking society and culture, and accompanying changes in literary form and focus. We will consider, among other things, patterns of influence, innovation and subversion.  The course is intended to provide students with a range of scholarly and critical tools for the study of literary and other texts, and a substantial knowledge of a wide range of literature.  Students will learn to employ strategies of close reading, library research, and textual analysis supported by reasoned argument. We will explore some aspects of critical theory in relation to specific texts. Students will engage in lively discussion in class, and be encouraged to evolve their own ideas, and to defend them effectively.  Our focus will include the political and cultural history relevant to particular works, including matters of religious, philosophical, aesthetic and political importance.  We will also investigate ideas concerning class, nationality, and gender identity current in these centuries.  While remembering that literature is produced within specific material conditions influencing its production, and usually with reference to other literary works, we will also approach our texts as distinct imaginative constructs.

Texts:

Byron, Manfred; Samuel Taylor Coleridge, “Christabel”; Wordsworth, selected poems, Preface to The Lyrical Ballads; Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights; W. B. Yeats, “Dialogue of Self and Soul”, “Sailing to Byzantium”, “Crazy Jane talks to the Bishop” and other selected poems; James Joyce, “The Dead”; T.S. Eliot, “The Waste Land”; Virginia Woolf, The Waves; Samuel Beckett, Endgame; Michelle Cliff, Free Enterprise; Salman Rushdie, “The Prophet’s Hair”; one of the following: Chrystos, Not Vanishing; or Tomson Highway, Kiss of the Fur Queen; or Tanya Talaga, Seven Fallen Feathers.

Course Requirements: one in-class essay (30%), one term paper involving research (40%), and a final exam (30%). Additional supplementary marks for class participation may be awarded at the discretion of the instructor.

Literature in Britain: the 18th Century to the Present
Term 2
MWF, 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

This course focuses on selected writers of British poetry, drama, and prose from the late eighteenth century to the present.  It covers four periods of British literary history: “romantic,” Victorian, modern, and post-modern.  We will study each work with a view to identifying and exploring social, political, and economic issues of each period: for instance, slavery, the Woman Question, the Condition-of-England Question, colonial­ism, and post-colonialism.  We will also study works by writers from former British colonies, Chinua Achebe and Margaret Atwood being two notable examples.  A provisional reading list includes short poems by Blake, Wordsworth, Hemans, Tennyson, Kipling, Eliot, and Larkin; Christina Rossetti’s “Goblin Market”; short fiction by Conrad and Mansfield; prose nonfiction by Wollstonecraft and Orwell; and a play by Shaw or Beckett.  All readings are included in the course text: The Broadview Anthology of British Literature, Concise Edition, Volume B, 3rd ed. (The Age of Romanticism, The Victorian Era, The Twentieth Century and Beyond).

Course requirements: two in-class essays, each worth 20%; research essay, 30%; final exam, 30%

Literature in Canada
Term 1
MWF, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

This course examines contemporary black writing in Canada by black writers currently living in Vancouver. While Canadian regionalism is a key dynamic of Canadian political-economic, geographic and cultural life, this course is not solely about attending to the regional diversity of Vancouver or to the changing character of Canadian regionalism. This course on Vancouver’s Black Canadas is designed to introduce students to writers living in the city and how, as observers and producers of knowledge, these writers are shaping how we think about ourselves, Canada, and the world around us. In other words, it is a course about how ideas about identity and memory and culture are formed and reformed, dismantled, critiqued, stabilized, destabilized, remembered, forgotten in language, particularly in narrative and poetry. What are the texts teaching us and how? How does literature do certain kinds of social, political, and cultural work? And what (if anything) is Canadian about all of this? Exploring these questions through the perceptive guide of selected writers living in Vancouver, this course aims to study how these texts re-imagine, contest and complicate Canadian literature in the context of histories of displacement, belonging, trauma, memory, (im)migration, cultural nationalism.

Literature in Canada
Term 2
MWF, 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

The most defining characteristic of Canadian society, and Canadian writing, in the 21st century may well be its diversity, and the novels and stories studied in this course will reflect a range of concerns, approaches and styles. Texts will include a collection of short stories set in Vancouver’s downtown east side, a work about a group of dogs granted human consciousness and language, a poetic novel exploring the experiences of a Vietnamese refugee family settling in Canada, and an account of a First Nations residential school survivor. Students will be encouraged to develop independent critical responses to the works studied, considering these texts in the context of contemporary Canadian society, personal experiences and broader critical perspectives. Assessment will include two in-class essays, a term paper and a final examination.

Literature in Canada
Term 2
TTh, 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM

The mythology of Canadian multiculturalism suggests that we’re a nation of diverse communities who co-exist peacefully in an atmosphere of acceptance and celebration. What do these novels and poems have to say about this myth and about who struggles, individually and collectively, to feel a sense of belonging and why? What fosters a sense of belonging in the lives of these characters? What perpetuates a sense of alterity and alienation? We’ll think about these questions as we read these texts closely in the context of contemporary Canadian society, your own personal experiences and broader critical perspectives. At every step of the way, you’ll be invited to ask rich and provocative questions about the texts and develop independent critical responses via close reading and research. Lively engagement is a basic requirement. You will be asked to write two close readings, a research paper and a final exam in this course. Texts are likely to include A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki, David Chariandy’s Brother, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson’s Islands of Decolonial Love as well as selected poems.

Literature in Canada
Term 1
TTh, 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

This section will focus on a variety of fictional works that have a core Bildungsroman (coming-of-age) element.

The overall selection will feature examples from contemporary (rather than historical) Canadian literature, but will rely on one canonical work of fiction—Alice Munro's Lives of Girls and Women—as a kind of literary guidepost. (Read it? An option that's recommended.)

While final course texts will be posted in early summer, fiction currently under consideration includes Téa Mutonji's Shut Up You're Pretty, Mona Awad's 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl, Tomson Highway's Kiss of the Fur Queen, Carrianne Leung's That Time I Loved You, and George Elliott Clarke's George and Ru.

Per television and video games, a mature content warning: the books contain sexuality, violence, and sexual violence. 

Literature in the United States
Term 1
TTh, 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

We may know a poem when we see it, but as Emily Dickinson and her peers would tell us, we can also know a poem by the way it moves us, individually and collectively. In this course, we will turn to nineteenth-century American women poets, whose diverse poetics were not only a popular part of the everyday lives of Americans, they also shaped American culture in distinct and lasting ways. From Lydia Sigourney’s sentimental lyrics, to Emily Dickinson’s addressed hymns, to Frances E. W. Harper’s reformist verse, poems by nineteenth-century women sought to build the nation, celebrate or violate tradition, discover nature, protest slavery, mourn death, cultivate empathy, revise gender roles, and redefine poetics. We will focus specifically on the rhetoric of women’s verse in the context of nineteenth-century American culture, reading from the perspective of the nineteenth-century public, as much as digital archives make that possible. In addition to a final exam, students will write two short papers on assigned topics and will complete an archival research project that will critically engage with a poem in its original print culture context.

Literature in the United States
Term 2
TTh, 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM

 

The course description for this section of ENGL 223 is not yet available. Please contact the instructor directly for more information.

World Literature in English
Term 1
MWF, 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

World literature as a field assumes that books travel beyond their designated home to introduce new readers to all the people with whom we share the world. As a set of practices, it creates an opportunity to critique how its categories were assigned in the first place. Who is the ideal reader of a literature from “everywhere?” Who benefits from the markets, circulations, and exchanges of world literature? We will read novels, stories, and poems, case histories and debates, listening to theoretical voices along with participants and dissidents. Writers include Mahfouz, Borges, Saadawi, Rhys, Okubo, Saro-Wiwa, Fanon, Said, Spivak, more.

World Literature in English
Term 2
MWF, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

 

The course description for this section of ENGL 224 is not yet available. Please contact the instructor directly for more information.

Poetry
Term 1
MWF, 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

We commonly think of poetry as hard, and it can be, but it can also be fun! 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’ll read poems, write poems and learn to write critically about the work we’ll encounter. Students will recite a poem, give a short talk about it, write a short essay and term paper. 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! We’ll read a variety of poems from the Broadview Introduction to Literature: Poetry that span from the Romantic to the contemporary period and work from Susan Holbrook’s How to Read (and Write About) Poetry as we learn to write critically.

Topics in the Study of Language and/or Rhetoric
Term 1
TTh, 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM

The course description for this section of ENGL 229 is not yet available. Please contact the instructor directly for more information.

Topics in the Study of Language and/or Rhetoric
Term 2
TTh, 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM

Note: This is a “Studies in Language” course.

Who has not heard statements such as “the purpose is language communication”. In this course, we will go far beyond this statement, which captures only one of many functions of human language. Some go so far to say that communication is not even the most important function of language. So what might that be, then? In this course, we take a wide sweep at how language is embedded in society and how societies influence language. In four broad categories, we will look at the social functions of language, beyond mere communication (for that, animal communication would have sufficed). First, we will look at the use of language in varying communities, multilingual or not; second, at the variability that is inherent in human language, from Detroit, to Glasgow and back to the little island of Martha’s Vineyard off the Massachusetts coast, which has become famous in linguistic circles. Third, we’ll look at the interactional element of language, e.g. politeness and discourse analysis, before we, fourth, analyze aspects of social justice and language planning that are important to know.

This course is based on group and class discussions and comes with three tests and some writing on your personal language experience (Language Journal) in an attempt to breathe life into textbook knowledge. I can almost guarantee you that you’ve never looked at language this way, yet, as I said in the outset, we’re dealing with some of the most important functions of human language in this course.

Textbook: Wardhaugh, Ronald and Janet M. Fuller. 2015. An Introduction to Sociolinguistics. 7th edition. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

Introduction to Indigenous Literatures
Term 1
TTh, 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM

ENGL 231 explores the ways that Indigenous peoples have sought to overcome the legacy of colonialism and achieve self-determination through literary and other forms of cultural production and critique. This course will examine contemporary articulations of Indigenous identity, politics and cultural traditions in the field of literature, through the genres of the novel, poetry, plays/drama, film, and other modes of resurgent cultural expression. We will be examining both critiques of mainstream representations of Indigenous peoples in scholarly articles and readings, as well as Indigenous perspectives on popular culture, urban Indigeneity, history, politics, and contemporary struggles for decolonization.

Introduction to Indigenous Literatures
Term 2
TTh, 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM

This course takes themes of transformation as its focus,  We'll discuss examples of writing by contemporary Indigenous writers who engage transformation in the context of the impacts of settler colonialism on Indigenous peoples and lands.  Using such contemporary forms as manga, graphic novel and erasure poetry as well as memoir and novel, these writers re/imagine heroism and superheroes at the intersection of new technologies and ancient ones, transforming narratives of darkness and sometimes creating light.  Among the writers to be considered are: Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas (Red - A Haida Manga), Cherrie Dimaline (The Marrow Thieves), Richard Van Camp (Three Feathers Nisto Mekwana), Richard Wagamese (Indian Horse), Tracey Lindberg  (Birdie), and Terese Marie Mailhot (Heart Berries).

Approaches to Media Studies (restricted to BMS Program)
Term 1
MWF, 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

The course investigates major approaches to the study of media. Students are required to write a midterm quiz (30%), collaborate on a panel presentation (40%), and write an exam (30%).

Approaches to Media Studies
Term 2
MWF, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

In this course, students will be introduced to key theorists in media studies who have examined how society has understood and interpreted media in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Media is not only digital; it includes, among other networks of communication, the print word, the telegraph, television, radio and cinema. In this course, we will explore what kinds of messages media expresses, and how those messages are influenced not only by technological limitations but also by cultural values that help shape media. Students will undertake a project in media archaeology that explores a media artifact and applies the theories of writers like Roland Barthes, Walter Benjamin, Friedrich Kittler, Stuart Hall, etc.

Children's and Young Adult Literature
Term 1
MWF, 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

This course will examine writing for younger readers from the 18th to the early 21st century. In our readings and discussions of British, American, and Canadian children’s and young adult literature, we will examine how changing understandings of childhood and adolescence are reflected in the literary genres that adults developed to socialize and regulate the conduct of the young. Texts will likely include fairy tales by Charles Perrault, Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, and the Brothers Grimm, as well as modern adaptations by Francesca Lia Block and Emma Donoghue; didactic poems by Isaac Watts and John Bunyan, and nonsense verse by Lewis Carroll, Shel Silverstein, and Dennis Lee; C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; Philip Pullman, The Golden Compass; and Neil Gaiman, Coraline.

Science Fiction and Fantasy [NEW COURSE!]
Term 1
MWF, 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

“Have you ever retired a human by mistake?” - Rachael to Deckard, Blade Runner

The near-future and alternate-reality landscapes of literary and popular culture are often terrifying places, and have been since Gothic and dystopian impulses intersected in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Shelley’s landmark tale evokes dread in the implications of Victor’s generation of a humanoid Creature; this dread echoes in the creatures haunting recent speculative fiction: clones, androids, artificial intelligences, cyborgs. Such texts conjure questions of gaze (why are these creatures so often attractive young women presented as the object of male desire?), rights, research ethics, and fear, in the realization that these creatures are, ultimately, not human but posthuman, yet often more sympathetic than their makers. You will write two short essays, a term paper requiring secondary research, and a final examination, and will contribute to in-class and online discussion.

Core texts tentatively include the short fiction anthology Hive of Dreams: Contemporary Science Fiction from the Pacific Northwest (ed. Grace Dillon), Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, William Gibson’s Neuromancer, and Blade Runner (dir. Ridley Scott, Final Cut edition); 1-2 core texts will be added. A list of supplementary recommended texts will be supplied (from The Island of Dr. Moreau and Brave New World to Ex Machina and Blade Runner 2049, and beyond).

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

Environment and Literature [NEW COURSE!]
Term 1
MWF, 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

What might utopia, floral still life painting, and a knight’s quest across an allegorical landscape all have in common? This course proposes that, in different ways, each genre tries to imagine environments that are “unreal”: they do not seem to adhere in a strict way to our prevailing norms of spatial and temporal representation. What can they tell us about environmental aesthetics in Renaissance England? And why might other artist-readers in the period have tried to map some of these unreal textual environments?

Course texts will include Thomas More’s Utopia, William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene (selections), John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress, and an array of art (including Hieronymus Bosch, Giuseppe Arcimboldo, and Rachel Ruysch). We will supplement these primary works with shorter readings in art and environmental theory that attend to techniques of realism, Renaissance practices of observation and description, and the histories of cartography, empire, and gender. In addition to active and engaged participation, students are expected to submit two short papers and take a midterm exam; there is no final exam.

Comics and Graphic Novels [NEW COURSE!]
Term 1
TTh, 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM

In this course, we will survey key texts in emerging canons of graphic media--hybrids and mixtures of comics, illustrated texts, cartoons, graphic novels, graffiti, visual media and other genres--with an eye to establishing workable critical reading practices. What do graphic texts tell us about the limits of literature, and about the relationships between art and popular culture? How has the emergence of mass-produced graphic forms and genres impacted on the ways in which we read, and on how we value and evaluate writing? What has become of our sense of what constitutes a book or even a page? How do graphic media encourage us to reflect on the visual, spatial and material forms of representation, in language and in other sign systems and mediums? How is graphic media's increasing popularity, its burgeoning readership, tied to certain conceptions of identity, subjectivity, sociality and literacy?

Literature and Film [NEW COURSE!]
Term 2
TTh, 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

“Which was better, the book or the film?” This question has too often become the cornerstone of modern debates about adaptation. Our objective in this course will be to reframe the ways in which we might consider and discuss the many and varied relationships between various genres of literature and film. The scope of our discussion will range from detailed examinations of particular passages and scenes to the re-definition of concepts and re-shaping of terminology in an effort to explore how literature and film can speak to each other as different but equal partners. We’ll consider how stories adapt to the aesthetic and commercial demands of multiple genres – novels, comic books, plays, and films. And we’ll explore the ways in which these different media use diverse forms of technological representation to engage with a number of cultural and social issues. We’ll finish the course by considering more recent attempts within the field of adaptation to move beyond the unidirectional movement of literature to film.

Literary texts/films on the course may include Daniel Clowes’ comic book, Ghost World, and its film adaptation directed by Terry Zwigoff ; Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? / Blade Runner (dir. Ridley Scott); Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange / A Clockwork Orange (dir. Stanley Kubrick); Boileau-Narcejac, The Living and the Dead / Vertigo (dir. Alfred Hitchcock); Susan Orlean, The Orchid Thief / Adaptation (dir. Spike Jonze); Richard Van Camp, The Lesser Blessed / The Lesser Blessed (dir. Anita Doron); and others.

Television Studies [NEW COURSE!]
Term 2
MWF, 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

This course takes up television (specifically, North American television) as an object of investigation and a subject for criticism. Our method will be to approach television by watching it, by reading critical and historical writing about it, and by taking the perspectives of print fiction, graphic novels, and film. Many treatments of television are characterized by sexual fantasy, political anxiety, varieties of excitement and contempt, and ironic reflexivity. We will try to understand why television is so provocative, why it has been so difficult to understand, and how we may develop tools and techniques to approach it critically. Along the way we will consider television as a set of technologies, a set of institutions, a set of programming practices, and a set of experiences of watching, listening, and feeling.

The course format will combine lectures, class discussion, and group work.

Note, this course is currently under construction. Please check back for an updated description.

Mystery and Detective Fiction [NEW COURSE!]
Term 2
MWF, 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

This course introduces students to representative texts in the British tradition of detective fiction that flourished in the genre’s formative era from the mid-Victorian period to the “golden age” of crime fiction in the 1920s and 30s. Often disparaged for its conventions and narrative contrivances (the eccentric detective, the isolated setting, the stereotyped characters, the baffling clues), “cozy” British detective fiction remains a popular genre with audiences – witness the extended run of Agatha Christie’s play The Mousetrap, which has been in continuous performance on the London stage since 1952. This course seeks to explore that enduring appeal by reading our texts with an eye not only to their historical and political frameworks, but also to their engagement with such concepts as knowledge, identity, truth, and rationality. Far from being merely a conservative force for reinforcing existing social norms, detective fiction, as we shall see, also raises some tantalizingly subversive possibilities. Authors studied include: Wilkie Collins, Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, and others. Course requirements include 3 short papers, active and involved participation, and a final exam.

Language & Rhetoric

ENGL/LING 140 “Challenging Language Myths”  is an elective course that might also be of interest (see the description under First-Year English Courses “Language Elective”); it is open to, and typically enrolls many senior students.

Studies in Rhetoric
Term 1
TTh, 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM

Rhetoric, Health, and Gender explores how health is rhetorically constructed and deployed. In this course, we pay special attention to how language and persuasion shape our understandings of health and how rhetorical constructions of health and gender intersect. Readings will examine the gendered body in relation to biomedical technologies; lived experiences with illness (physical and mental); the role of medical diagnoses in meaning making; and problematizations of cancer, depression, environment, disability, addiction, reproduction, and risk.

By the end of this course, students will have developed not only a critical-rhetorical lens to assess health/medical information, but also an understanding of the ways that language may affect the production and circulation of biomedical knowledge(s) and its intersections with gender, race, sexuality, and disability. This course does not assume any background in science or medicine.

Rhetoric of Science, Technology, and Medicine
Term 2
MWF , 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Controversy! examines the role of language, argument, and persuasion and how it affects the production, translation, and circulation of scientific and medical knowledge. Our course will address the idea of controversy in science, technology, and medicine.

We will pay specific attention to what rhetorical theorist Leah Ceccarelli calls “manufactured scientific controversies,” or controversies that emerge publicly despite consensus within the scientific community. We will investigate how language and argument are used in relation to anti-vaccine publics, global warming deniers, and others. Other readings will explore controversies in medicine: contested diagnoses, unethical clinical trials, and fabricated results. We will also investigate controversies around technologies such as CRISPR, a genome editing technology, and ask how language plays a role in the production of such controversies.

No background in science or medicine is assumed. One of the topics of this course includes thinking about how experts communicate to the wider public, and how non-experts interact with science, technology, and medicine and their vocabularies. Although the primary role of this course is to provide students with the framework to understand the rhetorical dimensions or science, technology, and medicine, students will also gain skills to assess more critically scientific and medical literature and their popular translations.

History and Theory of Rhetoric: Classical Rhetoric
Term 1
TTh, 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

When Aristotle published his Rhetoric in the 4th Century BCE, he described “the available means of persuasion” in ways that remain useful for anyone who wishes to influence other people and to understand how other people influence them: in politics, law, advertising, science, and interpersonal relationships.

This course moves back and forth between ancient and contemporary readings in rhetorical theory, and between rhetorical theory and rhetorical practice. It seeks to answer questions like these: How, in daily life, are minds made up and changed?  What do people say to get other people to trust them?  What do audiences need already to believe in order to be persuaded by something new?  Can an emotional appeal also be a good argument?  But it asks, as well, if and why it makes sense to study the careful plotting of arguments when political will is now made real in tweets—and when, as many commentators have noted, public discourse has abandoned civility.

Rhetorical theory offers a procedure for discovering the means of persuasion in public and in private life, in institutional and social settings, across a range of platforms and genres. There is no better way to understand rhetorical theory and method than to study their history. Students will read key texts by Gorgias, Isocrates, Plato, Aristotle, and Cicero—and apply their terms of art to contemporary speeches, advertisements, and other rhetorical performances.

Discourse and Society
Term 1
MWF, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

The activity of conversation is central to our lives and to the construction of our social identities.  Yet in formal linguistic studies, casual conversation is often overlooked in favour of written texts or instances of spoken text involving a single speaker.  This course introduces discourse analysis techniques for the analysis of language events involving interaction between two or more speakers.  Drawing on a range of linguistic and semiotic approaches, we will study dialogue as a semantic activity. We will explore techniques for analyzing language at a variety of linguistic levels, from micro-patterns in the grammar of conversation, to turn-taking, to text type and genre.

The general goals of the course will be: 1) Developing skills in using analytic techniques to describe and interpret dialogue in context; 2) Developing skills in seeing pattern frequency and functional variety in spoken texts; 3) Finding how natural language can be viewed as a resource for social interaction and activity; and 4) Designing and producing a research project involving the collection and analysis of conversational or other natural language data.  There will be a number of in-class and take-home assignments including short learning activities worth 1% each, a midterm assignment, presentations, a short test/quiz, and a final project worth 40%. Students will be encouraged to collect and analyze their own data. The textbook for the course will be Eggins and Slade’s Analysing Casual Conversation (Cassell 2005).

History of the English Language: Early History
Term 1
MWF, 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

When Chaucer made the observation "that in forme of speche is chaunge" he stated the self-evident, perhaps without knowing the principles of historical linguistics.  He emphasized the fact that words change, but he had nothing to say on grammar, pronunciation, and syntax.

English has been written down for more that 1200 years, and the earliest written sources show the language in a form radically different from today's.  Over the course of two semesters, English 318 and 319 trace the development of the language from Old English (about A.D. 500 to 1100) into Middle English (1100 to 1500) and Modern English (1500 to present).  In this course, English 318, Emphasis will be placed on the evolution of pronunciation from Old English up to the present, on the changes in the meaning and form of words, and on changes in sentence structure.  Attention will also be given to social and historical factors which bring about language change.  In an excursus at the beginning of the course, the relationship of English to other Indo-European languages will be explored briefly.

History of the English Language: Later History
Term 2
MWF, 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

This course provides students with an understanding of how the English language has changed from the Norman Conquest (1100) to today.

The course begins with a description of the historical events leading to the growth of Middle English (1100–1500). The linguistic features of Middle English are studied, focusing on the rise of analytic features. We then trace phonological, grammatical, and lexical changes into Early Modern English (1500–1700), with an emphasis on the Great Vowel Shift. Grammatical and lexical changes in the Late Modern English period (1700-1920) are explored and the rise of prescriptivism in the eighteenth century is studied in depth. Finally, the course considers lexical and grammatical changes in Present-Day English and the effects of media and computer-mediated language upon the development of English. The concept of ‘global English’ is also explored.

Course evaluation is in terms of four online quizzes, two (or three) in-class tests, and one short written project.

Required textbook:

Laurel J. Brinton and Leslie K. Arnovick, The English Language: A Linguistic History. 3rd edition. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 2017.

Pre-requisites: ENGL 318 is not required but is recommended. Knowledge of the International Phonetic Alphabet is required (such as would be acquired in ENGL 318 or ENGL 330 or the equivalent).

English Grammar and Usage
Term 1
TTh, 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM

“Now, how was that again with the Subject and the Verb and what’s a transitive Verb, anyway?” In this course, we will be dealing with traditional descriptive approaches to English morphology and syntax. In order to do so, we will address questions such as the ones raised in the first sentence of this paragraph, with the nice side effect that if you’re not yet super confident with English grammatical terms and concepts, we’ll make sure to have that fixed by the end of the course. On one level, ENGL 321 is a “light” version of ENGL 331, without the focus on exercises but rather on a term paper project, which you’ll carry out in pairs. In that project, you’ll use major corpus linguistic resources, all of which found online today, to study a construction from English morphology or syntax yourself with your partner and write a short report on it (in this element, there’s a cross-over to ENGL 324): what can we say about the legs of the table vs. the table’s leg? Is it to protest something or to protest against something? What about different than? Is that correct or should it be different from? Central in this course is an awareness-building on what most people out there in the English-speaking world would perceive as “correct” (in the examples above: the legs of the table, protest against, different from) and why they think so. Knowledge of traditional prescriptive grammar is powerful, even if only to attack it or, in your own CVs, use it strategically. By the way, if you don’t fully agree with the answers given for these three examples, you ought to sign up, because you’d be offering an important perspective in this course and, I think, you’d enjoy our explorations into the world of prescriptive grammar and their descriptive critics.

Textbook: Aarts, Bas. 2011. Oxford Modern English Grammar. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

English Grammar and Usage
Term 2
MWF, 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

The course description for this section of ENGL 321 is not yet available. Please contact the instructor directly for more information.

English Grammar and Usage
Term 1
Distance Learning (Online)

The English 321 course is designed to introduce students to the sentence structure of English and to the way in which grammar functions in various communication situations differing in register, dialect or mode. The course is built upon a sequence of (a) explanation in the lessons and textbooks, accompanied by (b) demonstration in the lessons, followed by (c) application in activities and exercises, (d) journal postings and online discussion applying the principles to new material and data gathered from corpora.

Objectives:

The course expects students to

identify types of grammatical units at various levels of grammar (ranging from words to phrases to clauses and beyond) by considering their internal structure as well as their relations with larger structures;

describe the internal structure of a unit, its syntactic role, its meaning and its discourse function, by analyzing numerous examples.

The description of grammatical units at every level is four-pronged, addressing

  • the internal structure of a unit,
  • its syntactic role,
  • its meaning, and
  • its discourse function.

By the end of this course, students should have acquired

◊ linguistic tools necessary for studying and understanding English grammar, as explained systematically in the lessons and reading;
◊ analytical skills specific to English grammar including tree diagrams and labeled bracketing; and
◊ empirical experience, having become familiar with numerous examples of English grammar in actual usage.

Prescribed reading:

  • Börjars, Kersti & Kate Burridge. Introducing English Grammar, 3rd edition. Hodder Education, 2019.
  • Leech, Geoffrey, Margaret Deuchar and Robert Hoogenraad. English Grammar for Today: A New Introduction. 2nd ed. Palgrave Macmillan, 2006.

Grading structure:

The course consists of twelve lessons, four postings in a language journal, ten self-testing exercises and three tests. All assessment and assignments are online, including the final exam.

  • Exercises (participation), 10%
  • Language journal postings (collaborative) 1-4 (5% each), 20%
  • Tests 1 & 2 (20% each), 40%
  • Final exam, 30%

Stylistics
Term 2
Distance Learning (Online)

The stylistics course is an introduction to the linguistic analysis of poems, prose and plays. We make a close study of a variety of literary texts in each of the three main genres, looking at some sub-genres of each, and apply our knowledge of language in general and of specific techniques developed in linguistics to interpret the literary message. Students participate in two collaborative workshops, one analyzing and interpreting the language of a poem and one the language of a play. In their term paper, students offer a stylistic analysis of a short story of their own choice. There is a final exam contributing 30% of the final grade.

Distribution of grades:

  • Exercises, 15%
  • Workshops (15% each), 30%
  • Term paper, 25%
  • Final exam, 30%

Prescribed reading:

Short, Mick. Exploring the Language of Poems, Plays and Prose. Routledge, 1996.

Simpson, Paul. Stylistics: A Resource Book for Students, 2nd ed. Routledge, 2014.

More details are available on the course website on canvas.ubc.ca

Varieties of English
Term 2
TTh, 11:00 PM - 12:30 PM

In this course we explore variation in English in the widest sense of the word from three vantage points. We will first look at regional variation (regional “dialects”), starting with linguistic atlas projects and their approaches to the study of variation. After dealing with Canadian English, both as a geographical (regional) and as a standard dialect, we will consider, second, linguistic and social co-variation in its most prevailing aspects: linguistic variation and age of the speaker, gender (sex), social class, social networks (as a pre-Facebook concept). The third part of the course explores concepts of World English (now often used in the plural: “World Englishes”) and English as a Lingua Franca and how the use of English varieties world-wide is influencing the English language as a whole: now that more speakers use English as a second language than as a first language, what are the consequences, if any?

While we always keep the global ramifications of English in mind, the course is also profoundly local. A research component is offered in a term paper (in pairs) with a guided study in social dialectology on BC English. This study uses complex written questionnaire data from hundreds of respondents throughout BC, which we’ll analyze in Excel (free for all UBC students – so get your MS Office suite!). No prior knowledge is necessary, exciting findings are guaranteed.

This course is recommended for anyone interested in the English language, including aspiring teachers of English. No linguistic knowledge is required, but a willingness to acquire basic linguistic terminology and an openness to learn Excel, is needed.

 Textbook:

Dollinger, Stefan. 2015. The Written Questionnaire in Social Dialectology: History, Theory, Practice. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

Reader with additional materials is provided for free on Canvas.

English Corpus Linguistics [NEW COURSE!]
Term 1
MWF, 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Do you say:

I didn’t think it was so funny or I didn’t think it was that funny or I didn’t think it was very funny or I didn’t think it was really funny?

He is more friendly than I remembered or He is friendlier than I remembered?

That was a funner party than I thought it would be?

I must finish my paper tonight or I have to finish my paper tonight?

If I was a bit taller or If I were a bit taller?

Everyone should take their seats or Everyone should take his or her seat?

I have already opened the can or I already opened the can?

The bike wheel sunk into the mud or The bike wheel sank into the mud?

You can’t lay around all day or You can’t lie around all day?

While some of these represent structures that have been treated by prescriptive grammars as “usage mistakes”, others have escaped their notice. All likely represent “changes in progress” in contemporary English. In this course we will study grammatical changes ongoing in English as it is spoken and written in the twenty-first century. Apart from very obvious changes, such as the use of be like or be all by younger speakers as a “quotative” (And he was like, “I’m out of here”), there are many less obvious changes, as shown above.

In order to study such changes, you will be introduced to the methodology of corpus linguistics, including the framing of appropriate research questions, search methods for collecting data using electronic data, and the analysis and presentation of empirical data. You will become familiar with using a number of different online corpora, newspaper collections, quotation databases, and text collections. A set of graded exercises will be used to acquire these necessary skills.

For your final project, you will choose a structure, and using corpus linguistic methods to collect data, seek to understand how it is changing in present-day English.

Required textbook:

Hans Lindquist and Magnus Levin, Corpus Linguistics and the Description of English, 2nd edition. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2018.

Cognitive Approaches to Meaning [NEW COURSE!]
Term 2
MWF, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Language use in literary texts builds on standard forms and concepts, while pushing their meaning potential to the limits by extending or re-designing what is available. Such mechanisms of creativity are the subject matter of this course. To understand the processes involved and learn how textual meaning is built and received, we study cognitive approaches to language and apply the concepts to literary discourse and other creative discourse genres. We study poetry, narrative fiction, and drama, also by putting these genres in the context of contemporary discourse and visual culture. The concepts investigated show students how to connect the study of language and literature to an understanding of how the human mind processes and creates meaning. This approach, combining the study of language, literature, and conceptualization, is known as Cognitive Poetics.

Metaphor, Language and Thought
Term 2
MWF, 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

We perceive our colloquial use of language as literal and descriptive. Recent research has shown, however, that all language use is pervasively figurative – it often relies on our understanding of one situation in terms of another. For example, if you talk about your claims being ‘attacked,’ ‘defended,’ or ‘defeated,’ you are relying on a conceptual pattern describing argumentative discourse in terms of combat. Colloquial language relies heavily on such patterns. In the first part of the course, we discuss various types of figuration (metaphor, metonymy, simile, and blending). In the second part, we apply concepts learned to a range of discourse types and to artifacts of popular culture, advertising, media, and various forms of internet discourse. Students are required to grasp the theoretical concepts and use them in their own analyses of data samples. All assignments rely primarily on analytical skills.

The Structure of Modern English: Sounds and Words
Term 1
MWF, 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

This course explores and examines contemporary English linguistic structure at the level of sounds and words.  It begins with a study of speech sounds.  We study the articulation of sounds in English, methods for phonetic transcription and the possible sound combinations in English (phonology). We then study words, and the processes of word formation and word classification in English (morphology).  Finally, we consider word meaning and look at a variety of approaches to appreciating the nuances of meaning in English words (lexical semantics).  Our focus will be on developing skills for analysing these three components of language, with an eye toward understanding how they belong to one communication system.  There will be 3 tests of equal weight (30%) and a class participation mark of 10%. A variety of in-class, homework and test questions will be given, including definitions, fill in the blanks, problem solving, short answer questions and matching.  The textbook for the course will be Brinton and Brinton’s The Linguistic Structure of Modern English (Benjamins, 2010).

The Structure of Modern English: Sounds and Words
Term 2
MWF, 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

The course description for this section of ENGL 330 is not yet available. Please contact the instructor directly for more information.

The Structure of Modern English: Sentences and Their Uses
Term 1
MWF, 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

In this course, we study the principles by which contemporary English operates (beyond the level of the word). The course is taken up primarily with a detailed analysis of English sentence structure (syntax) from a generative perspective. We consider the structure of both phrases and clauses in English. We also look at the interaction of syntax and semantics in terms of propositions and semantic roles. We end with an examination of the functions and contexts of language use (pragmatics), including information structuring, speech act theory, and politeness.

The written work required in this course includes: three non-comprehensive unit tests (in-class, the third is given during the final examination period) and six on-line quizzes. Students will expected to complete ungraded, self-testing homework exercises.

Required textbook:

L.J. Brinton and D.M. Brinton, The Linguistic Structure of Modern English (Benjamins 2010).

Prerequisites: ENGL 330 is not a prerequisite for ENGL 331 but is recommended.

The Structure of Modern English: Sentences and Their Uses
Term 2
TTh, 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

This course focuses on the structure of modern English beyond the level of the word. We study how words and phrases are combined in English sentence structure (syntax) from a generative perspective. Our focus will be on both simple and complex sentences. We will also study meaning in sentences (sentence semantics) and how language functions in context (pragmatics).

Course evaluation: There will be 3 tests of equal weight (31%) and a class participation mark of 7%. The tests are not cumulative. A variety of in-class, homework and test questions will be given, including problem solving, short answer, and multiple choice questions, but the emphasis will be on representing English sentence structure diagrammatically.

Required Text: L. Brinton. (2010) The Structure of Modern English. (2nd ed.). Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. Chapters 7-11.

Upper-level Literature

Approaches to Media History (BMS)
Term 1
TTh, 9:30 AM - 11:00 AM

In this course, we will mix hands-on approaches to media and media history with a set of readings about media theory, historicity and time. We will focus in particular on audio: histories of listening, of sound, and of technologies of recording, reception and dissemination in a variety of audio media. The course is divided into three units, each of which focuses on a different aspect of the history of audio: (1) media archeology and materialist analysis of technological artifacts and machines; (2) hands-on, historically-informed engagement with media platforms linked to podcasting; (3) the media-based analysis of the epochal concept of the Anthropocene. Members of the class will learn how variously and rigorously to engage with media history by sounding its depths and crevices, its articulations and its often disjointed layers and flows. They will create webpages and podcasts of their own, in addition to learning to write with critical rigour about media history.

History of the Book [FORMERLY ENGL 419]
Term 1
MWF, 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

As a medium, the importance of the book exceeds its objecthood; although we live in a post-Gutenberg society, the book remains powerfully influential socially, politically, and culturally, and we will examine aspects of this mediatic influence across and beyond the 500 year span of the book’s production. In addition to providing an overview of the book as medium, from scroll to e-reader, the course will provide foundational knowledge in media theory. The course requirements include a quiz (30%), an exam (30%), and panel presentations (40%) in which students will work collaboratively on topics related to the book in the age of the internet. All readings are at canvas.ubc.ca, except where indicated.

Introduction to Old English [FORMERLY ENGL 340]
Term 1
MWF, 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

“You must remember we knew nothing of [Old English]; each word was a kind of talisman we unearthed…And with those words we became almost drunk.” –Jorge Luis Borges, “Blindness”

Old English provides an uncanny sensation: so different from present-day English that it must be studied as a foreign language, it is an ancestor whose patterns reveal themselves quickly to the learner. Old English literature is strange, intimate, and violent: an exile paddles in the ice with his bare hands, listening to birdsong; a feud erupts at a wedding; a tree, torn from the wilderness to become an unwilling instrument of torture, clings to Christ in what Borges calls a lovers’ embrace. This literature is usually read in translation, but in this class you will begin to read it in the original. You will learn the fundamentals of Old English grammar, syntax, and vocabulary; specialized poetic vocabulary and the basic rules of poetic composition; and unusual features that have been lost in the journey from Old to present-day English—like a set of pronouns that describes only pairs and couples.

Anglo-Saxon and Early Medieval Literature
Term 2
MWF, 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

NIGHT came. He went
To check out those Danes
boozing at home in their
big house & pay them a call.

He found
them snoozing like fat, well
fed babies safe from boogies.
(Thomas Meyer, Beowulf)

How far can you go in translating a thousand-year-old poem?How do you balance relevance and authenticity? What does it mean to translate Beowulfinto other platforms—to screen, graphic novel, performance, fan fiction, or new media? How do ethical translators reckon with the racist, sexist and imperialist history of Beowulf interpretation? By asking these questions and by reading contemporary theory, we will get at some of the most pressing issues in literary translation. Primary texts includeBeowulftranslations by Thomas Meyer, Seamus Heaney, and Meghan Purvis.

** Previous study of Old English helpful but not required.

Middle English Literature
Term 1
MWF, 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

The stories of the Bible were well known in the Middle Ages even at a time when Scripture – in the Latin Vulgate or Late Middle English – was not widely read by lay people.  So how did average men and women learn about the Bible in medieval England?   The church made religious education a priority.  While services were conducted in Latin, sermons were delivered in English.  At the same time, stained glass windows and plaster wall frescos taught the Bible visually.  Then there was drama.  Often staged in celebration of the Feast of Corpus Christi, cycles of “Mystery” pageants re-enacted sacred history from Creation to the Last Judgment using vernacular, spoken English.

In this course we will read the Bible stories familiar to people in medieval Britain.  We will read, for example, about Adam and Eve, Noah and his ark, the (almost) sacrifice of Isaac, Moses and Pharaoh, Herod’s slaughter of the innocents, the Passion of Jesus, the Resurrection, the acts of the apostles, and visions of Doomsday.  Then we will look at corresponding Mystery plays – in all their humor and pathos – originally staged by crafts-worker guilds in the city of York.  We will read pageants and we will watch modern performances (on DVD) of the historic texts.  Finally, as a capstone to the course, students will produce and perform one of the York mystery plays.

Texts:

An anthology of medieval drama to be assigned.

van Liere, Frans.  2014.  An Introduction to the Medieval Bible. New York: Cambridge University Press.  ISBN 978-0-521-68460-6.

Middle English Literature
Term 2
MWF, 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Medieval literary texts often depict journeys through fantastic realms. Uncanny otherworlds are everywhere in medieval literature—Grendel’s mere in Beowulf, the vale of the Green Knight’s chapel in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the places of the afterlife toured by Dante in the Divine Comedy. Sometimes a dreamer is granted privileged insight and understanding when a guide grants access to a location normally inaccessible to humans; sometimes a traveller surpasses the limits of the known world and returns with stories of fantastic places and peoples far away; sometimes a mishap or an enchantment removes an adventuring hero into a mysterious landscape filled with marvels. In this course we will explore these imagined medieval geographies—non-places and utopia that situate medieval hopes and dreams, anxieties and fears. We will use a wide range of texts, primarily from post-Conquest medieval England and in the original Middle English, to approach the medieval conception of questions including: where do dreams come from? how do we know what is true? what is real? and where are we, and just what is the world, anyway? We will also look at post-medieval medieval places, as our own modern fictive answers to such questions are inescapably shaped by the persistence of these medieval literary motifs.

Chaucer
Term 1
MWF, 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

With the help of a reader-friendly edition and a series of structured but gentle lessons, you will acquire facility in reading Chaucer’s Middle English. More importantly, you will learn how Chaucer makes use of his language’s power in assembling a series of narratives ostensibly told by the diverse company of pilgrims he met on the way to Canterbury. The pilgrims’ tales create a conversation about many themes, including class, love, sex and gender, work, language, the nature of narrative itself, and the pleasures and travails of studenthood, and our class meetings will reflect the collection’s spirit with regular sessions of open discussion. We will consider the linguistic and literary innovations that led readers to consider Chaucer the “father of English poetry” together with the sense of humour – by turns satirical, bawdy, and self-deprecating – that makes reading his poetry a constant joy.

Renaissance Literature
Term 2
MWF, 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

This course will focus on changing ideas of humans and animals in the Renaissance as expressed in the literature and drama of the time.  We will explore the shifting paradigms governing the status and role of animals, beginning in classical antiquity and moving forward through medieval Europe to England in the Renaissance.  We will note how the definition of the human is closely tied to the definition of the animal, and how at one extreme species exist hierarchically, and in tension with each other, while elsewhere the borders between humans and animals are being crossed, and even erased.  To this end we will examine both theatrical texts and non-dramatic documents, from biblical accounts, classical natural history, medieval bestiaries and animal trials, to accounts of bear-baiting, menagerie keeping, hunting, falconry, riding, and attitudes towards meat, observing the changes in cultural, scientific and literary representations of animals.  We will examine how some literary works use animals and animal imagery, especially in order to interrogate, exalt, degrade, or otherwise mediate the contentious category of the human.  We will also reflect on how representations of animals, humans as animals, or human-animal hybrids might influence the possibility of inter-species and same-species empathy.

Texts:

  • Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queen, selections from Books 1, 2 & 3;
  • William Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, King Lear; Margaret Cavendish, “The Hunting of the Hare”; Ben Jonson, Bartholomew Fair; John Webster, The Duchess of Malfi; John Milton, selections from Paradise Lost

Secondary Texts:

  • selections from Aristotle,De Anima, De Animalibus Historia;
  • selections from Bestiary, trans. & ed. Richard Barber, selections from The Book of Beasts, Being a Translation from a Latin Bestiary of the Twelfth Century, ed. & trans. T. H. White; Sir Philip Sidney, selections from The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia; selections from Michel de Montaigne, Apology for Raimond Sebond;”, selections from Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan

Course Requirements:

One in-class mid-term essay (25%), one term paper (40%), one creative presentation or theatre review, together with class participation (5%), and a final exam (30%).

Shakespeare
Term 1
MWF , 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

In this course we shall explore the careers of two of Renaissance England’s most celebrated literary contemporaries, Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593) and William Shakespeare (1564-1616). Typically, we’ll examine some of their major works in pairs – for example, Marlowe’s Edward II with Shakespeare’s Richard II and Marlowe’s Hero and Leander with Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis – to investigate how each engages comparable subject matter (the suspect English monarch and erotic pursuit and consummation in these examples) and similar literary form (the history play and the narrative poem). Our efforts, in the first instance, will be directed toward elaborating two critical commonplaces about Shakespeare and Marlowe: first, that because the innovative and popular Kit Marlowe predeceased Will Shakespeare by some 23 years, he exerted a profound influence over Shakespeare’s dramaturgy and poetry; second, that “Marlowe” – his life and his literature – functions in contemporary scholarship as shorthand for sodomy, a crime encompassing but not limited to homosexuality, whereas “Shakespeare” serves to establish and secure a heterosexual imaginary. We’ll of course work to unsettle these commonplaces not simply by highlighting counterexamples – there is homosexuality in Shakespeare – but, more importantly, by thinking about the usefulness of the interpretive scaffolding that has made them both possible and plausible: biography.

Our required course texts are available at the UBC Bookstore:

Christopher Marlowe, The Complete Plays (Penguin)

William Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part 1, The Merchant of Venice, Richard II, Richard III, and The Tempest (Arden)

There will be three short papers (60%) and a final exam (30%). The remainder of your course mark (10%) will be determined by attendance and class participation.

Shakespeare
Term 2
MWF, 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

Shakespeare was professionally immersed in the three major media of his time: orality, script, and print. This course studies Shakespeare’s dramatization of the interrelationships of these media in a number of major works. Students write a quiz, collaborate on a panel presentation, and write an exam.

Shakespeare
Term 1
MWF, 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

This course will look at six of Shakespeare’s comedies, from the early battle of the sexes, The Taming of the Shrew, to the late “problem” comedy, All’s Well that Ends Well. Shakespeare’s comedies are about strong, independent, and witty female characters and the difficulties they face when trying to assert themselves in a patriarchal society. How independent can a woman be before she meets resistance and compromises her femininity? How best to negotiate her way through the self-created and social barriers to happiness? What resources does she have at her disposal? We’ll also address the conservative foundations of the Shakespearean romantic comedy and especially its treatment of marriage as the imaginary solution to real social problems.

Please read The Taming of the Shrew for the first class.

Required Texts (all from Oxford UP)

Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew
Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice
Shakespeare, Much Ado about Nothing
Shakespeare, As You Like It
Shakespeare, Twelfth Night
Shakespeare, All’s Well that Ends Well

Shakespeare
Term 2
TTh, 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM

The opening line of King Lear—when Kent tells Gloucester and Edmund, “I thought the king had more affected the Duke of Albany than Cornwall”—sets the terms for this course and for all psychology, sociology and political science. How do we know what others think and feel? Why do we believe them? Why should they believe us? How do shared thought and feeling influence the actions of people in the world? Shakespeare’s play stages those questions as they arise in a critical form from Cordelia’s refusal, a few lines further on in the same scene, to “heave / [her] heart into [her] mouth” and say out loud how much she loves the king, her father—a silence with heavy consequences for the kingdom.

The complex of socio-cultural phenomena that we call the European Renaissance was an affair of new media (such as printed books and—in England—a “secular” public drama), new or newly fashionable written genres or platforms of expression (such as sonnets and essays), and new theories of how media and discourses work on culture and society (including theories of poetry or literature).

This course walks through some of the social media innovations launched and adopted in England in the last decade of the sixteenth century and the first decade of the seventeenth. While participants will be encouraged to draw on other material from the period, accessible online and/or from UBC Library, class-work will focus closely, steadily and slowly on handheld printed copies of the primary texts listed below. Students should expect to learn short texts by heart and to recite them aloud, to compose sonnets and essays that broadly respect the rules of the Renaissance genres, and to engage intently with the play of King Lear along lines suggested by a recent pioneering work in cognitive criticism by Terence Cave (listed separately below).

Course Requirements:

  • Written work before the exam: 50%
  • Attendance, in-class contributions and presentations: 25%
  • Final exam: 25%

Texts:
NB: Other editions of the primary texts are also in print but only those listed below are acceptable for class. Copies will be stocked by the UBC Bookstore.

(Sir) Philip Sidney. An Apology for Poetry. Ed. Geoffrey Shepherd and R. W. Maslen. ISBN 0719053765

The Complete Essays of Montaigne. Trans. Donald M. Frame. Stanford University Press. ISBN 0804704861 [Also available as an audiobook, read by Christopher Lane.]

Shakespeare’s Sonnets. Ed. John Kerrigan. Penguin. ISBN: 0141909706

Shakespeare. King Lear. Ed. R. A. Foakes. Arden Shakespeare (3rd series). ISBN 0174434618

Terence Cave. Thinking with Literature: Towards a Cognitive Criticism. Oxford UP. ISBN 0198824640. Available online via UBC Library. See below for publisher’s description:

To speak of ‘thinking with literature’ is to make the assumption that literature (in the broadest sense) is neither a side-show nor a side-issue in human cultures: it belongs to the spectrum of imaginative modes that includes both philosophical and scientific thought. Whether one regards it as a practice or as an archive, literature is highly pervasive, robust, enduring, and pregnant with values. Thinking with Literature argues that what it affords above all is a way of thinking, whether for writer, reader, or critic. Literature constitutes one of the prime instruments of cultural improvisation; it is the embodiment of a powerful, inventive, and ever-changing cognitive agency. As such, it invites a cognitive mode of criticism, one which asserts the priority of the individual literary work as a unique product of human cognition. In this book, discussions of topics, arguments, and hypotheses from the cognitive sciences, philosophy, and the theory of communication are woven into the fabric of a critical analysis which insists on the value of close reading: a poem by Yeats, a scene from Shakespeare, novels by Mme de Lafayette, Conrad, Frantzen, stories from Winnie-the-Pooh, and many others appear here on their own terms, with their own cognitive energies. Written in an accessible style, Thinking with Literature speaks both to mainstream readers of literature and to specialists in cognitive studies.

Shakespeare
Term 1
Distance Learning (Online)

This course surveys the drama that Shakespeare composed for the early modern English stage. We will study five plays, some of which are easily recognizable as comic or tragic. Others, which are generically hybrid, are more difficult to label. Despite this course's emphasis on genre, we will not study these plays in discrete units (designed, for instance, around the idea of "comedy"). Instead, we will engage the plays in chronological order (in part to dispel a developmental narrative that casts Shakespeare's comedies as juvenile and sophomoric, and his tragedies as mature and sophisticated). Our syllabus affords a sense of the breadth, the eclecticism, and the richness of Shakespeare's dramatic canon: we will read one comedy (Twelfth Night), two tragedies (Macbeth and Titus Andronicus), one history play (Henry V), and one "hybrid" romance (The Winter's Tale).

Seventeenth-Century Literature
Term 1
MWF, 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

This course will examine competing ideas of the human from the sacred to the contractual in the literature and philosophy of the English Renaissance.  We will explore the persistence of classical, medieval, and Renaissance humanist ideas as they appear in these literary texts, vying with later notions influenced by the emergence of empirical science, new voices in political theory, and new philosophy dealing with the human and its place in the changing world. As part of our journey, we will briefly engage the ideas of some continental thinkers, notably Pico della Mirandola, Niccolò Machiavelli, and Michel de Montaigne.  In this period, “human nature” was vigorously contested, and conventional representations of the human, usually wrought within intricately systematized ideological constructs, were beginning to be challenged in a number of ways.  “Man” as a sacred animal, as a social animal, a political animal, and even a bare animal is a focus of obsessive scrutiny at this time, as is “woman”.

Immortal and mortal, predestined or free, fixed or movable, authoritative or abject, God-given or augmented with attributes borrowed and stolen from other beings, humans are still the center of inquiry in a world that is slowly becoming less anthropocentric in other ways.  We will examine these conflicting representations, noting how expansive, optimistic ideas of the human implicit in Neo-Platonic and Neo-Aristotelian moral philosophy can be traced from writers like Pico, Spenser, and Castiglione to apologists for Natural Law, such as Richard Hooker and John Milton, and juxtaposed with more pessimistic or pragmatic ideas of the human presented in Calvinist and other religious doctrines, in the poetry of Donne and Marvell, and in the social and political ideas of Machiavelli, Montaigne, Bacon, and Hobbes. We will extend our search to consider Renaissance medical, magical, and alchemical theories, including both the “new science” and the old, and ask how they are pertinent to our study of Doctor Faustus, The Tempest, and Volpone.   The inter-relation between religious, political and epistemological crisis and human self-imagining will be investigated in works like King Lear, The White Devil, and Donne’s “First Anniversary”.   Finally, in a number of our texts from Montaigne’s Essays to The Tempest to Marvell’s “The Garden”, we will look at the relationship between humans and their environment, the non-human “wild” or world of Nature, as a salient factor in the Renaissance evaluation of the human.

While our principal focus will be on English prose, poetry and drama, and our secondary focus will be on works from the continental Renaissance, we will explore both in relation to a range of current critical perspectives.

Assigned Readings include:  The Wakefield Second Shepherd’s Play; Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, excerpts from Books 1, 2 & 3; William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure and The Tempest; John Webster, The White Devil; Ben Jonson, Volpone;  Francis Bacon, “Of Truth”, selections from The Advancement of Learning and Novum Organum; Andrew Marvell, selected poems; John Milton, small selections from Paradise Lost and Areopagitica; Thomas Hobbes, brief selection from Leviathan

Secondary Readings (online): John Calvin, The Institution of the Christian Religion, Bk. 3, Ch. 21; Michel de Montaigne, “Apology for Raimond Sebonde”; brief excerpts from Pico della Mirandola, “On the Dignity of Man”; excerpts from Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince and The Discourses; some references to King Lear (not required reading).

Textbooks:  The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Volume B, 9th edition: “Sixteenth and Early Seventeenth Century Literature.”

[Note: Students who already possess The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Volume 1, 9th edition, will not need to buy Volume B (above).  Volume 1 contains all the material you will need.]

 

John Webster, The White Devil

William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure, The Tempest

 

Continental works will be available for reading at various on-line sites.

 

Course Requirements: One in-class mid-term essay (25%), one term paper (40%), one informal debate or in-class performance (5%), and a final exam (30%).  Additional marks for class participation will be awarded on a discretionary basis.

 

Milton [FORMERLY ENGL 354]
Term 2
TTh, 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM

The course description for this section of ENGL 350 is not yet available. Please contact the instructor directly for more information.

Restoration and 18th-Century Literature [FORMERLY ENGL 357]
Term 2
MWF, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Although many women wrote before the eighteenth century, this age marked the first time that women openly and sometimes profitably wrote for the burgeoning literary marketplace. Beginning with Aphra Behn, widely acknowledged as the “first professional woman writer,” and continuing through a tradition of woman poets, playwrights and novelists, women established themselves as active participants in a world previously reserved for men. Not only did they usually write under their own names (a practice not discouraged until the nineteenth century) but they appealed to a widening world of women readers. This development was not without controversy, and women writers found themselves under increasing pressure to produce the “right” kind of material. Moreover, they belonged to a world in which perceptions of women’s role in British society were transforming, a process in which they themselves participated. On the one hand, the eighteenth century marked the emergence of the first feminist movement, with authors from Mary Astell to Mary Wollstonecraft demanding, above all, greater participation by women in higher education and the professions. On the other hand, conservative men and also women resisted this trend, stressing that the proper place for women was in the home, or what we now call “the domestic sphere.”

In this class, then, we will explore the first great movement of women into public life, along with literary reactions to this revolution by women and men. The texts will span all the major literary genres – plays, poetry and novels – from Aphra Behn to the late eighteenth century. Evaluation will be based on in-class essays, a major research essay, a final exam and class participation.

Eighteenth-Century Literature [FORMERLY ENGL 358]
Term 1
TTh, 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM

During the eighteenth century, Britain transformed from a relatively minor European country to a great economic power with a worldwide empire. British ships ranged the world, sending back reports of new peoples, and setting off a new discussion concerning the nature of “civilization” in contrast with the so-called “primitive” or “barbaric” peoples that British travelers encountered. The use of African slaves in British colonies became a major source of wealth, though this practice also sparked what is arguably the world’s first great humanitarian campaign, the movement to abolish the slave trade. These events had a major impact on eighteenth-century literature, flooding the literary marketplace with travel books and with fictional and non-fictional accounts of far-away places and non-European peoples. This section of English 358 will focus on the many ways that literature of the eighteenth century reflected an expanding world-view, the rise of empire, and a transformed understanding of humanity as comprised of multifarious races, nations and cultures. We will consider the first widely-read literature in English by non-white people as well as the struggles and adjustments precipitated by the rise of Britain as global colonial power. We will proceed chronologically through a selection of texts by Aphra Behn, Mary Rowlandson, Mungo Park, Jonathan Swift, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Olauda Equianao and others. Evaluation will be based on a mid-term text, a final essay, an exam, and class participation.

Romantic Period Literature [FORMERLY ENGL 359]
Term 1
MWF, 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

According to William Blake, “I must create a system, or be enslaved by another man’s.” As the Enlightenment faith in natural, universally accessible rules and the rational exchange of ideas began to crumble, romanticism scrambled to fill the void, desperate to create new myths and heroes to explain such events as the French Revolution and the divisive cynosure Napoleon. This course will look at some of the consequences of this desperation: Blake’s rewriting of the Bible and re-imagining of Milton, Wordsworth’s mythologizing of nature, Byron’s heroes – tragic and then comic – and Shelley’s resurrection of the Promethean ideal.

Required Text: 
Duncan Wu, editor. Romanticism: An Anthology. 4th edition.

Romantic Period Literature [FORMERLY ENGL 359]
Term 2
MWF, 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

The course description for this section of ENGL 355 is not yet available. Please contact the instructor directly for more information.

Early Canadian Literature [NEW COURSE!]
Term 1
MWF, 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

This course in early Canadian writing offers an introduction to some significant works in Canadian literary culture in English from its emergence in pre-Confederation colonial literature to its development until the end of the World War I. We will ask, how has Canada’s particular colonial history shaped what has been recognised as Canadian literature and culture? How have settlement patterns, geographical features, or political structures affected cultural production in Canada? With these questions in mind, the themes we will address in this course include: exploration, colonization and settlement; Indigenous and First Nations sovereignty; English-French relations; issues of race, class, gender and sexuality; literature and the telling of history; Canadian literary regionalism. We will address these themes and many other questions about the relationship between literature and national identification in an historically and culturally contextualised survey of selected English-Canadian poets, essayists, and writers of fiction.

US Literature to 1890 [FORMERLY ENGL 369]
Term 2
MWF, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Old, Weird America

This course, on pre-imperial United States literature, gravitates around 'weird' nineteenth-century writing that is fascinated by deformed or disfigured bodies, unlikely or extraordinary events, and what is contaminated or impossible. We will think about these texts by drawing on a number of aesthetic categories (such as the grotesque) as well as our own affective experiences, as readers, of disgust, embarrassment, contempt, and so on. We will pursue several main topics, including from among the following: blackface minstrelsy, the most popular form of entertainment in nineteenth-century United States; the confidence man or woman, a figure for social mobility and liminality; cannibalism and consumption; others. Our literary explorations will attend to historical questions and how these continue to be present in contemporary artefacts and entertainments. Readings may include work by Charles Brockden Brown, Edgar Allan Poe, Louisa May Alcott, Charles Chesnutt, Henry David Thoreau, Paul Beatty, others.

This course will run as a mix of lecture, class discussion, and group work.

Note, this course is currently under construction. Please check back for updates. 

Victorian Literature
Term 1
TTh, 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

In this course, we will track the Victorian novel through the lens of sensation fiction, a genre that aims to thrill the nerves and shock the senses with its portrayals of criminality, identity loss, and family secrets. Along with the novels that defined the genre in the 1860s and 1870s, we will read selections from their gothic and melodramatic precursors, the criminal biographies (“Newgate novels”) that influenced the genre, as well as later work, such as detective fiction, that sensation novels inspired in turn. Readings will include Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre (1847), Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White (1859-60), Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s Lady Audley’s Secret (1862), Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886), Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1892), and short works by Robert Browning, Charles Dickens, and John Ruskin. How do authors’ stylistic experiments, including the incorporation of newspapers, documentary evidence, and multiple conflicting narrators, help us think about the novel as a literary form? We will consider how this wildly popular genre’s blend of realism and romance both contributed and responded to anxieties about social and technological acceleration, the limits of record-keeping and surveillance, and the proliferation of print media—questions that echo today’s concerns about privacy, individual rights, and the dangers of over-stimulation and excessive entertainment.

Victorian Literature
Term 2
TTh, 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

“What is the use of a book,” thought Alice,
“without pictures or conversations?”

As Jack Zipes has observed, the number of literary fairy tales published in Britain during the second half of the nineteenth century is astounding. Almost all of these fairy tales were illustrated. The illustrations often attracted as much attention – sometimes more attention – than the tales themselves and represent the earliest published responses to the literary works. In this course we will explore the relationship between text and image in a selection of Victorian fairy tales, both original tales and rewritings of traditional tales. How do the illustrations define the literary texts? To what extent do they reinscribe, subvert, or revise the assumptions, both aesthetic and ideological (e.g., with respect to gender, class, race, sexuality, religion, ethics, politics, etc.), implicit in the tales and in our – and the Victorians’ – readings of them?

Approximately half of our classes will take place in UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections where we will work with early editions of some of the tales and discuss them in relation to Victorian print culture. We will ask such questions as: To what extent does the dominance of George Cruikshank’s designs for the Fairy Library obscure his intention to promote the temperance movement? How does reading Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in the first edition, for which the placement of the illustrations was carefully planned by both John Tenniel and Lewis Carroll, influence the interpretation of the text? How do the binding, cover design, and decorations and illustrations by Charles Ricketts and Charles Shannon define Oscar Wilde’s A House of Pomegranates as a work of the Aesthetic movement and/or a collection of fairy tales?

Our readings will include: John Ruskin and Richard Doyle, The King of the Golden River; George Cruikshank, Fairy Library (“Hop-o’my-Thumb and the Seven-League Boots,” “Jack and the Bean Stalk,” “Cinderella and the Glass Slipper,” “Puss in Boots”); Charles Dickens, “Frauds on the Fairies”; Charles Dickens, Sol Eytinge, Jr., and John Gilbert, “Holiday Romance,” Part II (“The Magic Fish-bone”); Lewis Carroll and John Tenniel, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland; Christina Rossetti and D. G. Rossetti, “Goblin Market”; Christina Rossetti and Arthur Hughes, Speaking Likenesses; George MacDonald and Arthur Hughes, “The Light Princess” (Dealings with the Fairies) and The Princess and the Goblin; Oscar Wilde, Charles Ricketts, and Charles Shannon, A House of Pomegranates; Kenneth Grahame and Maxfield Parrish, “The Reluctant Dragon” (Dream Days); E. Nesbit and H. R. Millar, “The Prince, Two Mice, and Some Kitchen-Maids,” “Melisande: Or, Long and Short Division,” and “Fortunatus Rex & Co.” (Nine Unlikely Tales for Children).

Digitized copies of the first editions of most of our tales are available on the Internet Archive. I have ordered print copies of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Broadview), The Princess and the Goblin (Broadview), and Victorian Fairy Tales, edited by Michael Newton (Oxford World’s Classics). Most of the tales in Victorian Fairy Tales are not illustrated – or only selectively illustrated – but the collection has helpful notes and appendices.

Nineteenth-Century Literature
Term 1
MWF, 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

“Ghosts are real, this much I know” - Edith Cushing, Crimson Peak

“There are such beings as vampires; some of us have evidence that they exist” - Abraham Van Helsing, Dracula

Whether we take Edith or Van Helsing at their word, the 19th-century Gothic revival certainly emphasized possibilities for terror and horror in tales of the supernatural. However, these interventions of un-dead beings often take place in the recognizable present; they speak to its anxieties. Perhaps they speak to ours as well, given our recent fascination with Neo-Victorian representations of the 19th century, such as Penny DreadfulFrom HellCrimson Peak, etc. As we journey into the dark days of autumn, we will address issues of gender and sexuality; class, race, and culture; realism and the supernatural; urban and rural settings, all in a century known for developments in science and technology, social upheaval, and a veneer of respectability, yet with monsters lurking in closets and under beds.

The core text list will tentatively include John Polidori’s The Vampyre, Sheridan LeFanu’s Carmilla, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw, Margaret Oliphant’s The Library Window, and short fiction from The Oxford Book of Victorian Ghost Stories (we may even look at a few excerpts from the genuine penny dreadful serial, Varney the Vampire). We will consider the evolution of academic critical responses (as well as popular reaction) to such texts, and the way in which such texts have shaped the way we think about and visualize the 19th century. Evaluation will be based on two short essays, a term paper, and a final examination, as well as contribution to in-class and Canvas-based discussion.

Check my blog (http://blogs.ubc.ca/drgmbaxter/) for updates concerning the course, its texts, and its requirements.

Nineteenth-Century Literature
Term 2
MWF, 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

As the 19th century grew into an age of doubt, brought on in part by shifting power positions in the lives of women and the working classes, and by new ideas about the fundamental nature of human beings, we see a fascination with forces that are beyond human control. The supernatural elements in the literature below all reflect uncertainty about what is true and real and what is an illusion; most have life-changing encounters with the uncomfortable concept that there is a hidden dark and bestial element to many human beings. This course primarily focuses on British culture, but also includes important voices from early 19th-century American literature, and covers a variety of genres.

Readings will include:

Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol (1843); Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre (1847); George MacDonald: The Princess and the Goblin (1872); R.L. Stevenson: Jekyll and Hyde (1886); Oscar Wilde: The Picture of Dorian Grey (1893); short works (“Goblin Market”; “Young Goodman Brown”; “William Wilson”).

Nineteenth-Century Literature
Term 1
Distance Learning (Online)

This course offers the student the opportunity to encounter and engage with the works of some of the most successful writers of the Victorian period, and to be exposed to some of that period’s central concerns: gender, class, religion and art. These subjects were at the centre of heated tension, so that much of the discourse about them – by politicians, clerics, scientists, novelists and essayists, among others – takes the form of oppositions and power struggles. These basic concerns can be then connected to larger issues of empire, industrialism, individualism, private and public domains, domesticity, religious doubt, decadence, and aestheticism, as seen in a variety of genres. ENGL 364A does not aim to provide a survey of Victorian novels; rather, it focuses on a few select novels to allow for a more in-depth exploration of key ideas and central concerns of the period, as expressed in the form of the novel. The aim of this course is to increase students’ knowledge about Victorian novels and novelists within the context of Victorian culture, and from various critical perspectives. For the purposes of this course, the Victorian period stretches from approximately 1837 (the year of Queen Victoria’s accession) to the last decade of the nineteenth-century, rather than to the beginning of the twentieth-century (1901), when Queen Victoria died.

Modernist Literature [NEW COURSE!]
Term 2
MWF, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Some descriptions of modernism are bloodless abstractions about formal experimentation, academic disruption, and reaction against a too-rigid bourgeois morality. This course concentrates on the wildly passionate commitment of moderns to changing the world, to finding new sensations and affects, to overcoming historical evils and biases, to appreciating with sincere admiration other arts, other cultures and languages, and other places.

Topics include Decadence, the New Woman, Expressionism, Manifesto Modernism, New Objectivity, Impressionism, Surreal and Psychoanalytic, Gesamtkunstwerk and Encyclopedism, Minimalism, Montage, Technological Moderns, Graphic Modernisms. Writers include Stein, Mansfield, Woolf, Joyce, Eliot, Breton, Beckett, Barnes, Hughes, McKay, Riviere, Doan, Benstock, Ellmann, others.

Twentieth-Century Literature [FORMERLY ENGL 464]
Term 1
MWF, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

FULL COURSE DESCRIPTION DOWNLOAD

At 10:00 AM on Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) in Israel, sirens sound throughout the entire country. People stop whatever they are doing to observe a minute of silence. Even on the busiest and most congested highways, traffic stops. Drivers park, exit their vehicles, and mark the moment with silent contemplation and remembrance.

The antisemitism which precipitated and fueled the Nazi German attempt to annihilate the world’s Jews during the Shoah (Holocaust) is the planet’s oldest hatred. It is a virus which, barely seventy-four years after the end of World War II, is resurgent.

The enormity of the Shoah—the catastrophic destruction of 6,000,000 Jewish men, women, and children in Eastern, Central, and Western Europe; the annihilation of an entire Jewish world; the incineration of continental European civilization—is overwhelming.

Writing can be an outcry in response to the Shoah, a way “not to comprehend or transcend it, but rather to say no to it, or resist it,” states philosopher Emil Fackenheim. The rich body of literature produced after 1945 personalizes the experience of the Shoah and attempts to make such experience vital and meaningful. This course will examine some of the finest examples of the various literary forms such representation has assumed—novel, short story, poetry, autobiography, survivor testimonial—and the problems incumbent in writing such a catastrophic and “fundamentally unintelligible” event. We will look at works by both authors who experienced it directly and those who did not, including Primo Levi’s The Drowned and the Saved, André Schwarz-Bart’s The Last of the Just, Art Spiegelman’s Maus: A Survivor's Tale I and II, and Anne Michaels’s Fugitive Pieces.

Twentieth-Century Literature [FORMERLY ENGL 464]
Term 2
MWF, 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

 

The course description for this section of ENGL 366 is not yet available. Please contact the instructor directly for more information.

US Literature from 1890 [FORMERLY ENGL 472]
Term 2
MWF, 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

The course description for this section of ENGL 368 is not yet available. Please contact the instructor directly for more information.

Literatures and Cultures of Africa and/or the Middle East [NEW COURSE!]
Term 2
MWF, 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

 “The woman writer in Africa is a witness, forgiving the evidence of the eyes,

pronouncing her experience with insight, artistry, and a fertile dexterity.”  (Yvonne Vera)

Writing by African women may be a relatively recent development, but as Ama Ata Aidoo reminds us, “African women struggling both on behalf of themselves and on behalf of the wider community is very much a part of . . . [African] heritage. . . . So when we say that we are refusing to be overlooked we are only acting as daughters and grand-daughters of women who always refused to keep quiet.” The readings we will explore in this course, drawn from a range of countries, are entertaining, disturbing and disruptive, challenging the status quo, and engaging with both the socio-political impact of colonization and challenges facing post-colonial African societies. Texts will include Buchi Emecheta’s The Joys of Motherhood, Mariama Ba’s So Long a Letter, Ama Ata Aidoo’s Changes, Tsitsi Dangarembga’s Nervous Conditions, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus, and Akwaeke Emezi’s Freshwater.

Asian Canadian and/or Asian Transnational Studies [FORMERLY ENGL 480]
Term 1
MWF, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

This course studies Asian diasporic cultural productions that circulate--both materially and discursively--beyond national borders even as they are situated in and interrogate nation-states. Students will analyze literature, film and digital media by considering ongoing histories of Empire that produce, and are produced by, concepts of race, gender and sexuality. The course will introduce students to scholarly discussions in Asian North American, transpacific, Asian diaspora, postcolonial and critical race studies in order to develop critical analyses of the ways in which migration and diasporic subjectivities emerge under the promises and violence of globalization. Some of the course's themes include: intergenerational memory and embodiment, queer diaspora, migrant labour, imagined futures, and technological mediation.

Canadian Literature [FORMERLY ENGL 470]
Term 1
MWF, 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

How do we translate our inner lives into public discourse and make ourselves into public beings?  What are the narrative and rhetorical choices that engender this mediation of private and public realms?  How do we conjure the rough and fleeting but viscerally felt phenomenology of everyday experience through writing?   What are the social and political effects of sharing personal experiences on the public stage?

We will consider how these questions animate different Canadian autobiographies, memoirs, biotexts, and fictional autobiographies with a focus on the lives of artists, writers, and poets (the artist novel or the Künstlerroman).  The course will begin with a brief survey of different traditions of life writing and essayists, and we will touch on Indigenous oral traditions, colonial exploration journals, settler memoirs, and letter writing in Canadian contexts, but our primary focus will be modern examples of life writing that range from transnational memoir (Michael Ondaatje), small-town literary coming-of-age narratives (Alice Munro), to creative experiments with letter writing (Roy Kiyooka),  hybrid genres,  and critical race studies (Maria Campbell, Fred Wah, David Chariandy).

Texts may include some of the following:

Michael Ondaatje, Running in the Family (Vintage); Alice Munro, Lives of Girls and Women (Penguin); Maria Campbell, Half-Breed  (McClelland and Stewart); Jane Rule, Taking My Life (Talonbooks); Roy Kiyooka, TransCanada Letters (NeWest); Fred Wah, Diamond Grill (NeWest); David Chariandy, I've Been Meaning to Tell You (McClelland and Stewart); Dionne Brand, Theory (Vintage)

Secondary reading:

Reading Autobiography: A Guide for Interpreting Life Narratives, Second Edition, by Sidonie Smith and Julia Watson (U of Minnesota P, 2010).

Course requirements:  One mid-term essay, a group presentation, reading quizzes, a final research project, and a final exam.

Canadian Literature [FORMERLY ENGL 470]
Term 2
MWF, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

The course description for this section of ENGL 372 is not yet available. Please contact the instructor directly for more information.

Canadian Literature [FORMERLY ENGL 470]
Term 2
Distance Learning (Online)

The course description for this section of ENGL 372 is not yet available. Please contact the instructor directly for more information.

Indigenous Literature [FORMERLY ENGL 476]
Term 2
TTh, 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM

This course engages with Indigenous poetics as political discourse and as contemporary expression of the medicine ways of oral history through environmental protests as much as poems.  We'll focus on memory, place, and medicine in relation to a selection of texts including fiction, memoir, and poetry. Beginning with Simpson and McAdam on decolonization and the resurgence and revitalization of Indigenous knowledge systems, we'll discuss some of the strategies used by writers like Harjo, Robinson, Fontaine, Ortiz, Whitehead and Hogan working with competing systems of historical memory and narrative in the articulation of both trauma and resurgence.

N.B.: ENGL 373 builds on the introductory work done in English 231 (as well as other introductory Indigenous Studies courses in FNIS, FNEL, History, etc.).  While ENGL 373 is open to anyone who meets the requirements for taking a 400-level English course, such an introductory course is recommended first.  Careful reading of the Indigenous Foundations website  is also an excellent preparation for ENGL 373.

Texts (provisional):

Darrel McLeod, ,Mamaskatch,

Katherena Vermette, The Break

Joy Harjo, Crazy Brave

Linda Hogan, Solar Storms

Simon Ortiz, From Sand Creek

Eden Robinson, Monkey Beach

Naomi Fontaine, Kuessipan

Joshua Whitehead, Full-Metal Indigiqueer

Selections from Layli Long Soldier, Billy-Rae Belcourt, Jordan Abel & others tba

Indigenous Literature [FORMERLY ENGL 476]
Term 1
TTh, 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM

In Why Indigenous Literatures Matter, Cherokee author and literary critic, Daniel Heath Justice argues that “we can’t possibly live otherwise until we first imagine otherwise (156, original emphasis). The power and art of speculative fiction (SF), a genre encompassing creative works that articulate a reality other than our own, is located in the ways in which it expands and tests our ability to imagine—and perhaps live—otherwise. In its attention to alternate realities, SF is often framed as a “world-building” genre. However, for SF authors such as Nalo Hopkinson and Cherie Dimaline, SF can also be about world-reclaiming. In the novel The Marrow Thieves, Dimaline articulates the reclamation achieved via speculative fiction as “an echo turned inside out” (230): a colonial narrative reflected and undone to imagine a decolonial future. Indeed, for Indigenous SF authors such as Dimaline, the genre offers powerful glimpses outside of oppressive sociopolitical structures (settler colonialism, capitalism, heteropatriarchy, etc.) and towards alternative ways of relating to the land and one another.

In this course, we will read and watch a diversity of short- and long-form SF from within the contexts of critical Indigenous studies and engage that work through discussions and assignments. Our objective will be to unpack, analyze, and interrogate the aesthetics and politics of “imagining otherwise” in Indigenous SF. In completing this course, you will be conversant in the general discourses of SF and the specific interventions that Indigenous authors and filmmakers have made into the genre via themes such as decolonization, sovereignty, and self-determination. You will demonstrate your understanding of the material through discussion, weekly response papers, presentations, and a final research paper. Major texts include, The Marrow Thieves (Cherie Dimaline); Brown Girl in the Ring (Nalo Hopkinson);  Mapping the Interior (Stephen Graham Jones); Love Beyond Body, Space and Time (Hope Nicholson, editor); and Moon of the Crusted Snow (Waubgeshig Rice).

Post-Colonial Literature [FORMERLY ENGL 478]
Term 2
MWF, 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

What is the relationship between borders and violence? How do various kinds of material and psychological borders encode practices of colonialism? In this course, we will consider key texts in the field of postcolonial studies that invite us to think about the topic of borders and violence as it relates to issues pertaining to colonization, war, gender and sexuality, globalization, militarism, mental health, environmental change, settler colonialism, and more. Through our engagement with these texts, we will also reflect on the theme of transgressing bordersthrough modes of resistance, decolonialization, and freedom. We will read works of academic scholarship and cultural production (namely, novels, short stories, porety, films, and the graphic novel) that will enable us to explore debates in the field of postcolonial studies. Students will be invited to make connections between the course readings and a wide range of issues and contexts. Authors we will study may include: Chinua Achebe, Thi Bui, Omar El-Akkad, Kosal Khiev, Mia Alvar, and Thomas King.

Global South Connections [NEW COURSE!]
Term 1
TTh, 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM

The Cold War is understood as a state of geopolitical tension between the United States and the Soviet Union. In Asia and other parts of the world, however, the Cold War played out differently as the stage of multiple violent conflicts with devastating consequences that continue to be felt today. In this course, we will examine how literature and culture reimagines the Cold War in Asia and its afterlife, with a focus on writing related to the geographical contexts of North and South Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, and the U.S. South. The course will focus on asking how contemporary authors respond to the legacies of war, militarism, and migration through experiments in literary form. We will attend to how literature offers an alternative to the dominant “Cold War frame,” and we will pay particular attention to how authors map connections between the Cold War in Asia and the Black American South. Students will have the opportunity to work on a creative group project as one of the course assignments. Authors we will study may include Krys Lee, Han Kang, Toni Morrison, Monique Truong, and Madeleine Thien.

World Literature and Social Movements [NEW COURSE!]
Term 2
TTh, 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM

Feminist scholars have long established the importance of re-imagining the public sphere as an inclusive space necessary for the exercise of democracy and the ideals of cosmopolitanism. This inheritance of the language of emancipation and access is foundational for transnational gender studies, which has made great contributions to the field of human rights and to social movements in recent years by prompting feminist scholars and activists to reframe key concepts in the broader context of the effects of globalization: migration, remittance economies, refugees both economic and political. For this reason, terms like “public” and “rights” have been critically questioned and rethought in the context of a global world where speculative finance and “development” have tethered the local to the far flung.

In this course we will encounter feminist positions advocating for cosmopolitanism and the public sphere through the work of contemporary thinkers, writers and activists, who are challenged in the archive and in the field (of study/practice) by structures of gendered and racial inequality and legacies of colonial violence. We will examine transnational literature and art practices that reflect on this conceptual, linguistic and visual inheritance and invite new ethical and emotional responses. Our readings traverse several disciplines (Art History, Anthropology, Literature, Philosophy, Science and Media Studies) in multiple global contexts (Africa, India, Middle East, UK and USA) and historical periods.

Key questions we will explore include: Can there be a transnational feminist conception of human rights? How does the transnational feminist incorporate or recall histories of violence? What is the relationship between science and such histories? What new subjectivities are enabled through transnational feminist critique? What new forms of responsibility are ours?

Assignments: Weekly reading assignments and weekly reading responses (canvas.ubc.ca), in-class group presentation, a mid-term in-class writing assignment that takes place over 2 days in early March and a longer research project due during the exam period for which you will write a short proposal and offer peer review/feedback in class.

Contemporary Literature [FORMERLY ENGL 474]
Term 1
MWF, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

The course description for this section of ENGL 378 is not yet available. Please contact the instructor directly for more information.

Contemporary Literature [FORMERLY ENGL 474]
Term 2
TTh, 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM

There has been a tendency among some critics to see post-1945 British literature as lacking in power and scope compared to the great age of modernism that preceded it. This course will set out to strongly refute such a perspective by examining a number of texts that reveal this period as one of the most complex and fascinating in British literary history. The texts in this course represent both a continued interplay of modernist (and postmodernist) experiment and an impulse towards social realism and political commitment. They’re informed by a range of concerns centring on moral responsibility, individual freedom, personal, social and national constructions of identity, and the status and definition of the literary text itself. With these contexts in mind, we’ll read works by four novelists (Hanif Kureishi, Ian McEwan, Kazuo Ishiguro, Zadie Smith), two playwrights (Harold Pinter, Sarah Kane), and one short story writer (Angela Carter), as well as a cross-section of short poems (by Linton Kwesi Johnson, Tom Leonard, Philip Larkin, David Dabydeen, and Jackie Kay). In their work, these writers are engaged in an ongoing analysis of contemporary culture and social process, and throughout, we’ll be alert to the following issues, among others: the struggle between radicalism and conservatism; the relationship between aesthetics and politics; and the role of gender and sexual identities in the construction of the self.

Theory: Meaning and Interpretation [FORMERLY ENGL 409]
Term 1
TTh, 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM

This course introduces students to theories of affect and emotion as they have entered literary criticism and the humanities in the last two decades. We will explore the reasons for the explosion of work in this area, and bring our attention to the work of a handful of significant twentieth-century thinkers on emotion: Sigmund Freud, Melanie Klein, and Silvan Tomkins. We will begin with the work of affect theorist Silvan Tomkins, a U.S. psychologist who offered an interesting criticism and revision of the psychoanalytic theory of the drives, and who offers a useful theory and vocabulary of affect. We will go on to read selections from Freud's The Interpretation of Dreams (1900), a crucial text for the practice of literary criticism in the twentieth century, and examine the assumptions of a set of psychoanalytic reading techniques. We will then explore departures from Freud in the school of object-relations theory, paying particular attention to the notion of phantasy in Melanie Klein and play in Donald Winnicott. Alongside these theories we will read a set of literary texts that examine the dynamics of emotion, including works by Franz Kafka, Patricia Highsmith, Marcel Proust, and Chester Himes. Our guiding question throughout this course will be: what difference might it make for literary study to have explicit theories of affect or emotion to work with?

This course will run as a mix of lecture and discussion.

Theory: Anti-/De-/Post-Colonization [NEW COURSE!]
Term 2
MWF, 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

In this course we will consider the intersections between critical theory and Indigenous Studies. To do so, we will read and discuss a selection of diverse literary and cultural texts that engage with both critical theory and Indigenous thought and practice in nuanced and creative ways, from short stories and poetry, to films and art installations. This will include examinations of historical and contemporary texts, tensions, and dialogues, which is intended to foster an understanding of the broader social, political, and historical contexts from which these critical and theoretical productions emerge. We will investigate not only engagements between Indigenous and Western thought, but also between Indigenous and other non-western thinkers, including from the traditions of Black Studies and other anti-colonial traditions of critical analysis.

Children's Literature [FORMERLY ENGL 468]
Term 1
TTh, 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

Queer sexuality, trans experience, First Nations’ history, the war in Afghanistan, the Rwandan genocide, the Holocaust – these are some of the political, historical and social issues explored in the texts written for children and young adults selected for this course. In discussions and written assignments, students will be asked to consider social/historical factors influencing the production and reception of children’s literature, as well as its ideological role in promoting social change. Texts studied will include The Hunger Games, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, Deogratias: A Tale of Rwanda, The Breadwinner, If I Was Your Girl, A Coyote Columbus Story, The Bone Marrow Thieves, and When Everything Feels Like the Movies, and cover a range of genres: fantasy, picture books, social realism, and graphic novels. As well as focusing on the core texts, we will engage with theoretical perspectives on the genre and its increasingly fluid contemporary incarnations. 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.

Children's Literature [FORMERLY ENGL 468]
Term 2
MWF, 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

A remarkable feature of Western children’s literature the frequency with which individual works cite other texts also written for child readers. This is so true of Kit Pearson’s Awake and Dreaming (1996) that the novel probably could not exist without citing other stories. We’ll start by reading Pearson’s novel and some of her intertexts, western children’s “classics.” However, we will also ask what and who gets excluded from representation in Pearson’s citational/intertextual style and move into discussing novels which lie in the “gaps” in Pearson’s text, and which could also be understood to speak back to her work and the western children’s canon. Specifically, we’ll take note of Indigeneity, transgender identity, Japanese-Canadian experience, and disability, matters notably absent from Pearson’s text and its intertexts. Ultimately, our exploration of such presences and absences will also constitute an examination of the political work children’s literature performs, and of the role it plays in both preserving and subverting existing relations of power.

Children's Literature [FORMERLY ENGL 468]
Term 2
MWF, 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

What happens when young adult literature, which has traditionally guided adolescent readers through the task of identity formation, confronts technologies that trouble long-standing assumptions about what it means to be a self—or even a human? We will explore this question by examining recent novels, many of them dystopias, in which non-human beings can lay claim to selfhood and human subjects are surgically, mechanically, and computationally altered in ways that call into question the very idea of human nature. Our texts will include Peter Dickinson’s Eva, Bernard Beckett’s Genesis, Neal Shusterman’s Unwind, Robin Wasserman’s Frozen, and M.T. Anderson’s Feed.

Children's Literature [FORMERLY ENGL 468]
Term 1
Distance Learning (Online)

This course provides an introduction to the scholarly study of literature written for children. The precursors of and influences on what we now consider children’s literature are numerous and date back centuries, ranging from scholastic dialogues, to hymnals and primers, to transcriptions from oral traditions of folklore, myth, legend and romance. From John Newbery’s 18th-century publishing revolution through to the Harry Potter phenomenon and beyond, children’s literature has been the focus of both fascination and controversy, and in recent decades it has increasingly earned academic attention. In this course, we will begin by studying some well-known fairy tales before we move to a selection of texts produced over the last 150 years. We will approach them as cultural and literary productions, exploring their (sometimes) evolving generic features and audience assumptions, in terms of age, gender, content, and perceived boundaries. Students will be introduced to relevant theoretical material and encouraged to develop independent critical responses to the texts. Texts will include Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Anne of Green Gables, The Hobbit, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and The Golden Compass. Formal course requirements include two essays, a proposal, weekly discussion posts and a final examination.

Ecocriticism [NEW COURSE!]
Term 2
TTh, 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

In a widely-read essay, Dipesh Charkrabarty observes that “anthropogenic explanations of climate change spell the collapse of the age-old humanist distinction between natural history and human history” (Critical Inquiry 2009, 201). What, exactly, does Charkrabarty mean here by “natural history”? In pursuing this question, we’ll explore the history of this genre in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, including Philemon Holland’s translation of Pliny and works by Francis Bacon, Margaret Cavendish, Thomas Browne, and Gilbert White, to get a sense of natural history’s goals, its adjacent fields of inquiry (antiquarianism, collections of wonder, experimental science, and encyclopedism), and its practitioners. We’ll then be in a position to assess this genre’s persistence in popular, artistic, and scientific writings about the Anthropocene, which is the new (and highly contested) name for our current geological epoch. Some of this writing even dates the emergence of the Anthropocene to the early seventeenth century. More broadly, we’ll want to ascertain how this body of writing incorporates and updates for the Anthropocene natural history’s abiding goals. Our primary readings here will include Elizabeth Kolbert’s The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History (2014) and Gregg Mitman, Marco Armiero, and Robert S. Emmett’s Future Remains: A Cabinet of Curiosities for the Anthropocene (2018).

In addition to active and engaged participation, students are expected to submit three short papers; there is no final exam.

Candian Environmental Writing [FORMERLY ENGL 458]
Term 1
TTh, 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM

The course description for this section of ENGL 394 is not yet available. Please contact the instructor directly for more information.

Studies in Drama [FORMERLY ENGL 405]
Term 1
MWF, 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

Although the phrase “comedy of manners” originates as a generic descriptor for Restoration and early Eighteenth-century comedic drama, it has also found wide applicability in other genres and historical periods. In this course, we will explore this generic and historical expansiveness by reading dramatic and fictional comedies of manners from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth centuries. Without ignoring their humour, we will pay close attention to the relations these texts forge among gender, social decorum, and the genre of “comedy.” This course, moreover, attends literally to the term “manners,” since decorum and its manifold violations structures many of the texts we will encounter. We will also read nineteenth- and early twentieth-century plays that exploit the technical and stylistic vocabulary of “drawing-room dramas” (the stereotyped stage setting for comedies of manners) to achieve different aesthetic and political aims. Students will also have the opportunity to perform in brief group acting skits near in the final days of the term.

Course Texts:

  • Richard Brinsley Sheridan, The School for Scandal (1777)
  • Dion Boucicault, London Assurance (1841)
  • Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere’s Fan (1892); An Ideal Husband (1895); The Importance of Being Earnest (1895)
  • Arthur Wing Pinero, The Second Mrs. Tanqueray (1893)
  • George Bernard Shaw, Pygmalion (1914)
  • Ronald Firbank, The Princess Zoubaroff (1920)
  • Noel Coward, Hay Fever (1925); Private Lives (1930)
  • Somerset Maugham, The Constant Wife (1926)

Most of our books are available for purchase at UBC Bookstore. Others will be available in a custom course pack also at the Bookstore.

 Course Requirements and Policies

  • Informed Participation (including in-class group acting skits): 15%
  • Midterm: 20%
  • Term Paper: 35%
  • Final Exam: 30%

NOTE: we will be spending an average of two class sessions per play. It is strongly recommended that students not miss a single class.

Studies in Prose Fiction [FORMERLY ENGL 406]
Term 1
TTh, 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM

This course will introduce students to 19th and 20th century prose fiction from English-speaking countries as well as some works in translation.

Text: The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction, 8th ed.

Readings will include: Selections may include from the United States, Toni Cade Bambara, Ray Bradbury, Willa Cather, John Cheever, William Faulkner, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Ernest Hemingway, Shirley Jackson, Ring Lardner, Herman Melville, Flannery O’Connor, Edgar Allan Poe, Jean Shepherd, Alice Walker, Edith Wharton; from the United Kingdom, Joseph Conrad; from New Zealand: Katherine Mansfield; in translation: Anton Chekhov, Leo TolstoyFranz Kafka, Guy de Maupassant.

Requirements: 1 in-class essay = 20; 1 term paper = 30; 1 final exam = 35; participation, preparation, attendance = 15

Upper-level Writing

Technical Writing
Term 2
TTh, 9:30 AM - 11:00 AM

Now with added grammar! While 301 is not a course in remedial grammar, this section will provide both online Canvas-based writing resources and a two-week series of classroom-time workshops, designed to help identify writing and proofreading problems, and to provide strategies to address them.

Technical Writing examines the rhetorical genre of professional and technical communication, especially online, through analysis and application of its principles and practices. You will produce a formal report, investigating resources and/or concerns in a real-life community, as a major project involving a series of linked assignments. This project will involve the study (and possibly practical application) of research ethics where human subjects are involved (e.g. in conducting surveys or interviews). Think of this course as an extended report-writing Boot Camp: intensive, useful preparation for the last phase of your undergraduate degree, as you start applying to professional and graduate programs, and for the years beyond of work and community involvement.

Note: this is a blended course, with both classroom and online components and requirements.

Technical Writing is closed to first- and second-year students in Arts, and cannot be used for credit towards the English Major or Minor.

Check my blog (http://blogs.ubc.ca/drgmbaxter/) for updates concerning the course, its textbook, and its requirements.

Technical Writing
Term 1
Distance Learning (Online)

The course description for this section of ENGL 301 is not yet available. Please contact the instructor directly for more information.

Technical Writing
Term 2
Distance Learning (Online)

The course description for this section of ENGL 301 is not yet available. Please contact the instructor directly for more information.

Majors & Honours Seminars

Seminar for English Honours
Term 2
MW, 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

This course introduces students entering the English Honours Program to the major currents of literary theory commonly used in English studies today. We will review a range of primary theoretical writings from psychoanalysis, feminism, queer theory, eco-criticism, postcolonialism, and race theory. We will also examine the way that these theories have been adapted to English literary studies by reading a selection of criticism on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Evaluation will be based on contributions to ongoing discussions, short reflective essays, a presentation and report, and a substantial research paper.

Language Majors Seminar
Term 1
W, 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

In pursuit of their political goals, political movements organize themselves to a large degree around language and through text. They introduce and repeat terms with which they position themselves and others in the political landscape. They develop visions of a future via critical concepts and signal phrases. They organize into political associations and networked groups through shared rhetoric. They interact with authorities through established and subversive use of language.

We will explore rhetorical approaches to a range of historical and contemporary political movements. We will consider concepts from rhetorical genre theory, public sphere theory, and classical rhetoric in our analyses. You will co-develop a lesson to help us work with 2 articles/chapters from our required readings. In your research project you are asked to adopt concepts and forms of analysis from our readings and apply them to a set of documents that you collect from a political movement of your choice.

Our readings will be research articles and book chapters with relevant rhetorical analyses; possibly:

Casey Ryan Kelly & Jason Edward Black, eds., Decolonizing Native American Rhetoric.
John M. Ackerman & David J. Coogan, eds., The Public Work of Rhetoric: Citizen-Scholars and Civic Engagement.
Patricia Roberts-Miller, Demgoguery and Democracy
Nancy Fraser, “Rethinking the Public Sphere.”
Florian Toepfl & Eunike Piwoni, “Public Spheres in Interaction.”
Adam Klein, “From Twitter to Charlottesville.”

Language Majors Seminar
Term 2
Th, 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM

Discourse analysis is an important area within language study that typically includes exploration of a variety of linguistic features as a means of elucidating meaning making in interactions or texts.  Aspects of language use examined can include semantics, grammar, lexical choices, conversation skills, narrative structure and situational features.  Analyses typically involve systematic descriptions of speech samples, with a focus on understanding how language is used in context.  Analyses of discourse may also highlight how language use functions to construct and maintain social understanding of the world.  The goal of this course is to develop skills in performing a discourse analysis and evaluating discourse analyses of other researchers.  These two skills are seen to be interconnected.  The focus of the course will be on evaluating recent research papers in discourse analysis, with an emphasis on linguistic discourse analysis.  Topics addressed in the readings include transcription, information structure, conversation analysis, cohesion, hesitation phenomena, forms of talk, narrative analysis and indirectness. A key part of learning discourse analysis is doing it.  Students will therefore need to collect and transcribe some data at the beginning of the term, and to analyze it using several approaches we study.  Students will also present 2-3 articles (depending on class size) from the required readings.  Evaluation will be based on data collection and transcription (10%), text analysis (15%), literature presentations (25% average), final presentation and paper (40%) and class participation (10%).  The reading for the course will be a package of articles including papers by Clark, Fairclough, Goffman, Labov, Schegloff, Schiffrin, Sherzer, and others.

Literature Majors Seminar
Term 1
M, 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Plays like the “Second Shepherds’ Play”(shepherds greet a new baby who is really a sheep) and “Noah and the Ark” (a slapstick battle between Noah and his wife)  are almost sacrilegiously funny.   In fact, they were written by clergy and make serious points about God’s relationship with his people.  Humor was often a vehicle for explaining the nature of free will and salvation, for the medieval church faced a real dilemma.  How could they teach the people about the Bible and Christianity when church services – and the Bible – were in Latin, a language that most people did not understand?  Even when, in the late middle ages, the Bible was translated into Middle English, it is uncertain how many average people were able to read Scripture.  As a result, English drama plays a central role in religious education for the laity.  Often staged in celebration of the Feast of Corpus Christi, cycles of pageants re-enact sacred history from Creation to the Last Judgment. Allegorical rather than historical, morality plays are overtly didactic. Fallen into sin, mankind must practice good deeds, seek repentance, and ask God’s mercy.

After reading a wide selection of dramas from the Corpus Christi Cycle (“Mystery Plays”) and the Morality plays in the first half of the course, each student will select an individual play for further analysis.  In the second half of the course, each student will present individual research to the seminar.

Together in this course we ask, what gets lost, added, or emphasized in the translation from biblical narrative (e.g. the visit of the Magi or the flood) or moral lesson (e.g. “Repent,”“you can’t take it with you”) into popular entertainment?

Prerequisite: While knowledge of Middle English (ME) would be ideal, a willingness to immerse oneself in this late medieval language (practically Early Modern English) is all that is necessary.  Texts are given modern spellings (and glossed), while explanatory notes are provided in the edition ordered for class.

Course Requirements:

Students will lead a seminar meeting on their research and submit a 10 page paper on that research due during the exam period (worth 40% of total mark).  In addition to their required participation in class, students will be responsible for leading an in-class presentation (and discussion) of reading assignments for at least three class meetings (worth 60% of course grade).

Students should plan to consult with the instructor the week prior to their seminar presentations. For presentations, a detailed outline submitted in the form of hard-copy handouts for the instructor and all class members should be brought to class at the time of presentation. Handout should include quotations of relevant biblical sources from ME Bible and/or Douai-Rheims.

Readings:

Anthology of Medieval Drama

Fitzgerald, Christina M. and John T. Sebastian (eds.).  2013 [rept. 2015].  The Broadview Anthology of Medieval Drama.  Peterborough, Ont.: Broadview Press.  ISBN-10: 1554810566
ISBN-13: 978-1554810567.  Required.

Secondary Scholarship

Duffy, Eamon.  2005.  The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England, 1400-1580. 2nd ed.  New Haven: Yale University Press. Required.

Literature Majors Seminar
Term 1
Th, 2:30 PM - 4:30 PM

This course will think through crucial questions about Indigenous communities and their relations (or lack thereof) to state structures in what is currently a Canadian and U.S. context, and how these Western political formations come into conflict/contention with Indigenous articulations of belonging, self-determination, gender, cultural expression and production, among many other things. We will examine some of the diverse ways in which creative and critical Indigenous theory texts and other modes of cultural production can facilitate meaning and knowledge about contemporary Indigenous community articulations. This will foster an understanding of how Indigenous studies conceptualizes and addresses the diversity of Indigenous political, historical, and cultural identity formations, and how these interact with the settler state. We will address Indigenous notions of gender and sexuality, kinship, social organization, and resurgence and the way these notions interface with states currently situated on Turtle Island.

Literature Majors Seminar
Term 1
W, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

In his review of We Need New Names, Nigerian writer Helon Habila reproaches Zimbabwean writer NoViolet Bulawayo for “performing Africa” and succumbing to “poverty porn” in her novel.  Habila implies that the book was written to appeal to a non-African reading public with a limited set of expectations for work by an author from Zimbabwe. The review places the novelist in the position of having to wrestle with what Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie calls the “danger of a single story.” Habila’s ungenerous reading of Bulawayo’s work misses both the novel’s cutting political critique and its situatedness in a state of crisis. In short, he reads it out of context. Habila’s review also raises important questions about how stories travel and what happens when they land. What books get read around the world? Are novels depoliticized when they travel? In this class, we will explore contemporary world literature (with fiction from Canada, Pakistan, Nigeria, America, and Zimbabwe) by looking at novels that have garnered readers internationally. We will consider how literature is produced, received, and circulated globally.  Examining a series of novels from the past decade or so, we will also consider issues of class, gender, migration, decolonization, cosmopolitanism, language, terrorism, sexual violence, and the environment—in short, many of the key issues in literature today.

Literature Majors Seminar
Term 1
Th, 9:30 AM - 11:30 AM

This course will offer detailed studies of selected short-fiction classics in English.

Text:The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction, 8th ed. Selections may include: from the United States, Willa Cather, John Cheever, William Faulkner, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Ernest Hemingway, Shirley Jackson, Herman Melville, Flannery O’Connor, Edgar Allan Poe, Alice Walker, Edith Wharton; from the United Kingdom, Joseph Conrad; from New Zealand: Katherine Mansfield; in translation: Anton Chekhov, Leo TolstoyFranz Kafka, Guy de Maupassant.

Requirements: 1 in-class presentation: 20; 1 in-class essay: 201 term paper: 40; participation: 20.

Literature Majors Seminar
Term 2
M, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

This course will examine how literary and cultural texts respond to critical moments of transition and political upheaval in China, Hong Kong, and the transpacific from the 20th century to the present. Some of these moments include the Cultural Revolution, Tiananmen Square, the 1997 Handover of Hong Kong, transpacific migration to and from China and Hong Kong, and the Hong Kong Umbrella Movement. How have authors experimented with literary and creative forms to engage histories of state violence and the social movements that have emerged in response? What are the stakes of remembering events that have been repressed by the state? How do texts take up state violence while simultaneously engaging longstanding modes of representational violence reflected in figures such as the lotus blossom, the effeminate Asian, the communist red scare, the model minority, the crazy rich Asian, and more? In this course, we will take up these questions through attention to works by authors in Asia and the Asian diaspora. Authors to be studied may include: Ma Jian, Madeleine Thien, David Henry Hwang, Lan Samantha Chang, Shirley Lim, Xu Xi, and Dung Kai-Cheung. The works by these authors will be supplemented by a range of theoretical texts as well documentary and narrative films. Students are encouraged to read Madeleine Thien’s 500-page novel Do Not Say We Have Nothing in advance of the course.

Literature Majors Seminar
Term 2
W, 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM

Libertinism is more than the elite masculinist synonym for sexual misbehaviour for which it is often mistaken. It is also a philosophical and ideological stance, informed by eighteenth-century ideas of power, economy, religion, and identity. The influence of aristocratic libertinism on the art of the Restoration is vast and acknowledged; its place in the history and literature of the remainder of the eighteenth century is a topic of debate. In this seminar we will first work to come to terms with the mercurial qualities of libertinism over the eighteenth century, and then to consider its symbiotic relationship with the culture that both informed and was informed by it. Engaging the historical and philosophical contexts of libertinism, including the works of Thomas Hobbes and Bernard Mandeville, we will then consider a series of literary texts, including work by John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester, Aphra Behn, George Etherege, and Samuel Richardson. In addition to these canonical figures, we will consider some relatively less-represented female writers such as Mary Davys, Eliza Haywood, and Elizabeth Cooper in an effort to begin to come to terms with the implications of the discourse for women, including the question of the possibility of a female libertine.

Most readings on this course are fairly short, but there is one long novel (long even in its abridged form). Please consider reading Richardson’s Clarissa over the summer or in December (Richetti’s abridgement, by Broadview Press).

NB: students considering this course should be aware that libertine literature at times depicts sexual violence; we will address that material in an informed and scholarly way, but some content may be disturbing for some students.

Literature Majors Seminar [Cross-listed with ENGL 492K-005]
Term 2
T, 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

From aftermaths of the French Revolution to the New Woman, this class takes up the multi-faceted meanings of revolution in the nineteenth century through poetry, fiction, and essays written by women whose rights, working conditions, and domestic roles were at the forefront of legal and social debate. Often revolutionary in style as well as content, these literary works will allow us to consider women’s roles in the political, industrial, domestic, and personal revolutions that shaped Britain—and beyond—in the nineteenth century. Primary works will include Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792), Jane Austen’s Persuasion (1818), Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Aurora Leigh (1856), Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South (1855), and Emma Donoghue’s The Sealed Letter (2008); poems by “working class” women poets Ellen Johnston, Jessie Russell, and Mary Smith; and short essays on abolition, suffrage, and marriage rights by Mary Ann Shadd Cary, Sarah Mapp Douglass, Susan B. Anthony & Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Mona Caird, and J. S. Mill. Together, these texts raise questions that still reverberate today in debates over human rights, working conditions, reproductive justice, and gender expression.

Literature Majors Seminar
Term 2
F, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

This course analyzes African diasporic art forms in North America, Europe, Latin America through the conceptual lens of “black noise.” We will use the prism of black noise to highlight the dynamic relationship between African diaspora studies and sound studies. While critics have tended to frame black cultural production as noisy, derivative, simple, subversive, we will examine the themes of excess, anger, belonging, and desire. We will interrogate the transnational and transcultural mobility of specific aesthetics as well as ways racial, gender, and sexual identity categories function more broadly within them. Our aim is to use African-diasporic art forms such as music, film, literature and performance art to interrogate this conventional conception of racialized noise.

Senior Honours Seminar Theory
Term 2
F, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

This section of English 491 will study the “social actions” (Miller) of contemporary life narratives that challenge hegemonic norms in the stories they tell or the way they choose to tell them. Thinking through rhetorical genre theory, auto/biography studies, and trauma and memory theories, we’ll analyze how these counter-narratives use personal testimony to challenge whose stories are heard (and believed), and whose lives matter. We will analyze these texts as representing experience in order to resist dominant norms and, in the process, articulate new kinds of cultural memory, critical practices, institutional knowledges, even potentially legal frameworks. How do these writers deploy the political potential of life narratives, by bearing witness to their own lives and experiences? How do these texts, in the stories they tell and how they choose to tell them, make space for representation of historically marginalized communities and subjects?

The final reading list will be determined with input from the class, but we’ll study a series of life narratives in different forms, including lives being represented on stage, page, and screen. Potential readings include comics such as Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home: A Tragic Comic or Thi Bui’s The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir, biographical theatre (Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton: An American Musical), memoirs, e.g., Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, Vivek Shraya, Men Are Afraid of Me, Lindsay Wong, The Woo-Woo, essays (e.g., by Alicia Elliot, Roxane Gay), tweets, podcasts, and comedy specials (Gadsby’s Nanette, Minhaj’s Homecoming King). Assessment will include a research paper, collaborative roundtables, and contributions to discussion.

Senior Honours Seminar Theory
Term 1
T, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

In an interview with Jamaias DaCosta, Leanne Simpson attributed the title of her collection Islands of Decolonial Love to Dominican-American author Junot Diaz, whose writing, Simpson summarized, explores the struggle to “find love and intimacy” amidst the “damage of colonialism, rape culture, and gendered violence.” “I started to see Anishinaabe women— whether it’s their love of land, culture, Elders, or partners—as little islands of hope, little islands of love,” followed Simpson. “Maybe we don’t always get it right, but we get glimpses of love.”

The focus of this seminar will be twofold. A major consideration will be figurations of decolonial love in Indigenous writing, an archive that may include the work of Leanne Simpson, Billy-Ray Belcourt, Richard Van Camp, Joshua Whitehead, Tanaya Winder, Tenille Campbell, Gwen Benaway, Joanne Arnott, Louise Erdrich, and Tanya Tagaq. Within this body of writing, decolonial love may describe intimate bonds between people; it may involve, for instance, the embracing of two- spirit or indigiqueer identity, or the claiming of kinship connections that defy the privatization of intimacy and forms of social reproduction characterizing modern life. In the archive assembled for this seminar, decolonial love not only describes love between people but also love of place, lands, and other-than-human worlds. These expansions to Diaz’s original iteration of decolonial love will serve as a centerpiece of the course.

A second consideration for this seminar will be the affective world of criticism and the self-reflexive engagement of the scholar-critic within the relations and re-imaginings figured under the sign of decolonial love. Diaz originated the term “decolonial love” to describe, in part, the difficult process of confronting one’s privilege and ability to oppress others. How can we create a space within Indigenous/settler-colonial studies to enact a similar process and, more importantly, move beyond the impasse generated by such reckonings? What kind of reparative relationships is academic dialogue capable of building? Drawing on the critical contributions of Margaret Kovach, Eve Tuck, Kim Tall-Bear, Sara Ahmed, Christina Sharpe, Lauren Berlant, Kathleen Stewart, Donna Haraway and Deirdre Lynch (among others), this seminar will foreground the affective dimensions of artistic and academic labour while also considering what is at stake in moving from shame to love for the author and critic alike.

Senior Honours Seminar Lit
Term 2
M, 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Aristotle says, “Without friends no one would choose to live, though they had all other goods.” Friendship claims to exist upon a principle of perfect equality, in an economy of even exchange. It promises a private intimacy free from masquerade and convention; only a friend knows and loves your “true portrait,” proposes Montaigne. But what would a cultural history of friendship show? Is modern friendship something new? Could you have a friend briefly, or must a friendship be built with labour over time? Can friendship be erotic or romantic? This course thinks about “two going together,” remarkable and distinctive friendships in fiction and in life. Wilde, Beckett, Woolf, Larsen, Ishiguro, Singer, Hughes, O’Connor, Plato, Aristotle, Seneca, Cicero, Johnson, Emerson, Joyce, Yeats, Stein, O’Faolain, and more.

Senior Honours Seminar Literature
Term 1
F, 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM

This seminar course will seek to discover how the characteristic forms, attitudes and energies of popular festival culture in Renaissance England persist and transmute as they are passed down to the urban culture and commercial theatres of Tudor and Stuart London.  The mimus, the mystery play, the Feast of Fools, boundary-walking, mumming, wild men, harvest funerals, the hunting of the Wren, Robin Hood and other folk plays, Interludes, Saints’ days, the Lord of Misrule, bonfires, Maypoles, the Totentanz, jigs, ballads, mock-marriages, Skimmington riding, Morris dances and village processions all form a part of popular festivity in England.  Religious and secular festivals are generally localized, seasonal, and communal; they are rooted in ritual and tradition and thus possess a folk-centred authority supported by custom and centuries-old loyalties.  Whether sacred or subversive, they are the property and often the voice of the common people.  Elizabethan and Jacobean drama teems with diverse variations of these folk rituals and festival practices, among them variations of the Battle between Carnival and Lent.  Over and beyond their religious significance, Lenten elements in drama and festival culture are frequently associated with aristocratic values and with repressive authority imposed from above, hostile to popular dreams of liberty and social equality.  In the Stuart drama in particular, the monarchy, the aristocracy, and even the established church come under attack by means of reconfigured festive tropes.  Theatrical representations of the festive world articulate plebian dissent and interrogate aristocratic prerogatives.  They invoke carnal and comic energies to vie with the ascetic, the abstract, and the solemn.  Festival themes and forms protest the disappearance of traditional life and the encroachment of the Age of Iron.  However, despite a certain nostalgia occasionally attaching to them, these forms include within themselves modes of resistance and interrogation that are crucial to our attempts to grasp the larger picture of Renaissance cultural and political history.

Primary Texts: Mankynde; The Wakefield Second Shepherd’s Play; Robin Hood and the Friar; William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, King Lear, The Winter’s Tale; Ben Jonson, Bartholomew Fair; Thomas Middleton, Women Beware Women

Brief selections (online) from:

Erasmus, from The Praise of Folly; Processio Assinorum (sound recording); John Skelton, from “The Tunning of Elinor Rumming”; François Rabelais, excerpts from Pantagruel and Gargantua; paintings by Breughel the Elder and others; various verses, accounts and representations of carnival and festival life.

Secondary Texts: Students will choose to read a selection of secondary texts from an assigned list, together with their own individually scouted research sources.

Assignments:  one seminar paper (30%), one response paper to another student’s seminar (10%), a creative presentation in response to one of our texts or themes (5%), one fully researched term paper (40%), and one critical, evaluative report on a scholarly text or a primary text from the “brief selections” list, such as works by Erasmus, Skelton or Rabelais (15%).  These reports will be circulated online.

Senior Honours Seminar Literature
Term 1
F, 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Virginia Woolf (1882-1941), one of the most celebrated writers of the twentieth century, lived in a period punctuated by devastating international conflicts, including the First World War (1914-1918), the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), and the Second World War (1939-1945). As a member of the Bloomsbury group, she associated with influential artists and intellectuals such as J. M. Keynes and Leonard Woolf, who intervened in public debates on the Treaty of Versailles (1919) and the League of Nations (1920-1946), respectively. For her part, Woolf reflected on the causes and effects of hostilities in occasional writings, polemical essays, experimental novels, and late fictions. Since the publication of the signal collection Virginia Woolf and War (1991), scholars have paid increasing attention to this pivotal concern in her oeuvre. Commentators revisit Woolf’s writings on total war and the rise of fascism in light of the asymmetrical conflicts and resurgent fundamentalisms characterizing recent global strife. To what extent do Woolf’s innovative texts illuminate transhistorical problems at stake in studies of war ranging from the First World War to the Iraq War? Conversely, how do her investigations of conflict expose ethicopolitical dilemmas–inequities, injuries, displacements, and divisions–particular to her era?

The seminar has five sections. We will begin with significant commentaries on the First World War and its aftermath by Woolf’s contemporaries from Britain and Germany before we turn to her occasional essays on the cultural, political, and social repercussions of serial military clashes (ca. 1915-1940). In the second section, we will grapple with key statements on belligerence and pacifism in Woolf criticism prior to our deliberations on Three Guineas (1938). The third section features prominent research on Woolf’s experimental fictions before we approach Jacob’s Room (1922) and Mrs. Dalloway (1925). Similarly, we will address noted critical essays on Woolf’s late novels in the fourth part of the seminar before we interpret The Years (1937) and Between the Acts (1941). In the concluding section, we will gauge the impact of theoretical writing on post-9/11 conflicts in twenty-first century Woolf studies. Assignments may include a reading journal; a seminar presentation; a project proposal; and a final essay. In summary, this seminar orients English Honours students to multidisciplinary research on organized violence; promotes familiarity with a range of texts in Woolf’s oeuvre; fosters critical fluency in current Woolf scholarship; and invites speculation on modern and contemporary modes of theorizing war.

Senior Honours Seminar Literature
Term 2
W, 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

NB: We will meet in the seminar room at Rare Books and Special Collections in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre

“The public is largely interested in the look of a book. So are we all. It is the only artistic thing about the public.”  –  Oscar Wilde

This seminar for Honours students explores the fascinating late-nineteenth century conjunction of literary Decadence with the fine press and revival of printing movements in Britain. Famously denounced by Alfred Tennyson as “Art with poisonous honey stol’n from France,” Decadence represented a more defiant development of its predecessor, the Aesthetic movement. It posed a more strenuous challenge to high-Victorian moral certainties and a harder turn away from the social toward a self-enclosed realm of the imagination. In calling for the autonomy of art, Decadence delighted in the perverse, the arcane, and the artificial; instead of looking purposefully forward, it was often self-consciously and theatrically nostalgic for the past. In the 1890s, writers associated with Decadence – such as Oscar Wilde – were often deeply invested in the related fine press movement that advocated a return to manual, limited-edition book production and an appreciation for the material book as a work of art in itself.

In this course, we will read and work with Decadent texts in their original publication formats at UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections, meaning that students will consult first editions of every text covered in this course, all of which are available at RBSC. We will also survey archival resources from the period – such as letters, notebooks, unpublished literary manuscripts, and artworks – held at RBSC to get a fuller sense of Decadent literature’s rich (and often strangely beautiful) material culture. Evaluation will be based on seminar presentations, informed and active participation, an annotated bibliography, and a final research paper. Students will be expected to spend a significant amount of time conducting research at RBSC outside of scheduled classes.

Course authors include Algernon Charles Swinburne, Walter Pater, Oscar Wilde, Vernon Lee [Violet Paget], Michael Field [Katherine Bradley and Edith Cooper], Ada Leverson, Max Beerbohm, Aubrey Beardsley, William Morris, and more.

Literature Majors Seminar [Cross-listed with ENGL 490-007]
Term 2
T, 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

From aftermaths of the French Revolution to the New Woman, this class takes up the multi-faceted meanings of revolution in the nineteenth century through poetry, fiction, and essays written by women whose rights, working conditions, and domestic roles were at the forefront of legal and social debate. Often revolutionary in style as well as content, these literary works will allow us to consider women’s roles in the political, industrial, domestic, and personal revolutions that shaped Britain—and beyond—in the nineteenth century. Primary works will include Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792), Jane Austen’s Persuasion (1818), Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Aurora Leigh (1856), Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South (1855), and Emma Donoghue’s The Sealed Letter (2008); poems by “working class” women poets Ellen Johnston, Jessie Russell, and Mary Smith; and short essays on abolition, suffrage, and marriage rights by Mary Ann Shadd Cary, Sarah Mapp Douglass, Susan B. Anthony & Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Mona Caird, and J. S. Mill. Together, these texts raise questions that still reverberate today in debates over human rights, working conditions, reproductive justice, and gender expression.

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