Graduate programs in the Department of English are offered regularly throughout the academic year. Upcoming courses are highlighted below; for more detailed information please contact the Graduate Studies Coordinator.
English 7003: Theory for Our Times
Dr. Fiona Polack (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This course examines relationships between evolving contemporary cultural contexts and our work as literary scholars. Drawing on a range of recently published theoretical work (whose historical antecedents we will also trace), our seminar will investigate systemic phenomena including globalization, identity politics, and environmental crisis, as well as the evolution of new textualities and methods of literary circulation. What, we will ask, are the most apposite theories for our times, and how might they be deployed in our reading and research?
English 7035: Arthurian Romance
Dr. William Schipper (email@example.com)
Stories about King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table first started becoming popular in the twelfth century. They embody elements of pseudo-history, nationalism, fantasy, romance, love, seduction, betrayal, chivalry, magic, loyalty, and possible and impossible quests. The popularity of these tales continues into the 21st century, and not just in literature (think of Star Wars, for example, or television series such as Merlin).
This course will examine some key texts from a variety of points of view. These texts will include the Alliterative Morte Arthur, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Chaucer's "Wife of Bath's Tale," and Sir Thomas Malory's Morte Darthur, a cycle of stories chronicling the reign of Arthur.
English 7055: The Banality of Magic: Fantasy, Myth, and Humanism
Dr. Christopher Lockett (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This course will consider contemporary fantasy's turn away from what J.R.R. Tolkien termed "mythopoeia"—the thematic foundation in myth and magic—and toward a more distinctly humanist, secular world-view. What is the significance of a genre traditionally rooted in Christian thought and theology shifting to a preoccupation with "realistic" historical considerations and dynamic? What role do nostalgia and utopia, so central to such authors as Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, play in these contemporary authors' figurations?
Primary texts may include Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass; George R.R. Martin's A Game of Thrones; Terry Pratchett's Witches Abroad or Night Watch; Richard K. Morgan's The Steel Remains; J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban; Bernard Cornwell's The Winter King; William Goldman's The Princess Bride; Neil Gaiman's American Gods; Lev Grossman's The Magicians.
Secondary readings may include essays by J.R.R. Tolkien, G.K. Chesterton, Fredric Jameson, Rosemary Jackson, Tsvetan Todorov, Edward Said, Eric Auerbach, as well as representative early or proto-fantasy texts by William Morris, George McDonald, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Richard Howard, Mervin Peake, and T.H. White. Students are strongly encouraged to have read The Fellowship of the Ring and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe before class begins.
English 7085: Graphic Storytelling
Dr. Nancy Pedri (email@example.com)
Graphic Storytelling considers established and emerging storytelling techniques of both multimodal and purely visual graphic narratives. We will pay particular attention to the unique grammar of the medium to ask how graphic narrative responds to the conventions of narrative and genre. To better understand how this form of storytelling structures perception and knowledge, an examination of a variety of graphic narratives—each with a unique storytelling style—will be informed by recent work in literary theory, visual cultural studies, and the growing field of comics studies.
Winter 2014 (subject to change)
English 7024: "Consider the Hummingbird": A Creative Writing Workshop on the Essay
Dr. Rob Finley (firstname.lastname@example.org)
English 7024 is a workshop designed for writers interested in exploring – and in extending – the possibilities of literary non-fiction in short or long form projects. Most of the course work is devoted to practical work on writing, but this will be supplemented with close readings and rhetorical analyses of number of texts, and with ongoing discussion on the history, nature and possibilities of the genre. A substantial final project, presentations of critical readings, and participation in peer critiques and group work will form the basis for evaluation in the course. While previous experience in creative writing workshops and a writing portfolio are desirable, they are not prerequisites for the course; interested students should stop in to discuss the course with the instructor ahead of time.
English 7048: Studies in Eighteenth-Century British Literature: Pope, Publishing, Popular Culture, and Pornography
Dr. Don Nichol (email@example.com)
This Course — What & Why? Alexander Pope (1688-1744) may well have been the first poet to sell one million books. The first edition of the 1714 Rape of the Lock is said to have sold 3,000 copies over four days (some poets never sell that many in a life-time). Capitalizing on the subscription method, his translations of Homer (1715-25) did enormously well, making him the first major author who didn’t have to depend on patrons for his livelihood. Within ten years of his death, more than 100,000 copies of his works rolled off the press. We will start this course by examining his publishing career (well-timed in view of the first-ever copyright act of 1710). What made Pope so popular? For one thing, his talent for writing rhyming couplets rivalled Shakespeare’s. For another, financial independence meant he could speak his mind more freely than most. But fame came with a price: attacks on Pope became a multi-national sport. His most prized masterpiece, An Essay on Man, was subjected to obscene parody which hit the House of Lords and led to riots over ‘Wilkes and liberty’ decades after Pope’s death. Today, we see fragments of his lines pop up in cartoons (The Simpsons garbled ‘Hope springs eternal’), coffee-cups slogans (‘A little learning…’), and songs (‘Fools Rush In’). Students will gain a greater appreciation of Pope’s place in the pantheon of literature and popular culture during the tercentenary of one of his most delightfully deceptive poems.
Texts: Pope: The Major Works, edited by Pat Rogers (Oxford: OUP, 2006), will be the mainstay of this course. We will also rely on Philip Gaskell's New Introduction to Bibliography (Oxford: OUP, 1972; rpt. New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll, 1995) to guide us through the finer points of printing and publishing. We will build on the research of such scholars as Barbara Benedict, David Foxon, and James McLaverty, and make use of research engines like ECCO (Eighteenth-Century Collections Online), available through QEII Library, and ESTC (English Short-Title Catalogue), based in the British Library and available online.
About the Professor: Don Nichol is graduate of Carleton (BA 1976, MA 1978) and Edinburgh (PhD 1984). He published Pope's Literary Legacy with the Oxford Bibliographical Society in 1992. His three-volume facsimile edition of The New Foundling Hospital for Wit (originally published in 6 vols between 1768 and 1773) came out under the Pickering & Chatto imprint in 2006. He has organized two annual conferences in St. John's of the Canadian Society for 18th-Century Studies (1992 & 2010) and has edited Lumen, the Society's proceedings (1994 & 2012). He has written more than 100 articles and reviews, most recently for the Times Literary Supplement (26 July 2013). He is currently editing a collection of essays in honour of the 300th anniversary of The Rape of the Lock for University of Toronto Press. This will be his 30th year of teaching at Memorial.
English 7054: Contemporary British Fiction: Postmodernism and Beyond
Dr. Bradley Clissold (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This advanced seminar introduces and actively investigates how postmodern tendencies and characteristics have been nuanced across a representative sampling of contemporary British fiction over the last thirty years. These novels incorporate a range of experimental formal techniques and a wide variety of different subject matters that speak to contemporary British, if not global, concerns. This course also provides opportunities for and encourages strong student participation through weekly written and oral responses (topics wide open to student preferences and/or theoretical approaches). Proposed novels: How Late It Was, How Late (James Kelman); History of the World in 10 ½ Chapters (Julian Barnes); Last Orders (Graham Swift); Being Dead (Jim Crace); NW (Zadie Smith); Lighthousekeeping (Jeanette Winterson); Cloud Atlas (David Mitchell); Umbrella (Will Self); Fury (Salman Rushdie); The Yips (Nicola Barker); The Swimming-Pool Library (Alan Holllinghurst); Amsterdam (Ian McEwan); and House of Meetings (Martin Amis).
English 7073: Contemporary Newfoundland Fiction
Dr. Larry Mathews (email@example.com)
“Perhaps only an artist can measure up to such a place or come to terms with the impossibility of doing so.” –Wayne Johnston, The Colony of Unrequited Dreams
Over the past twenty years or so, fiction published by Newfoundland-based writers has played an increasingly prominent role in Canadian literary discourse. Has this occurred because of the merit of the work, or is it the result of some bizarre and unintentional form of affirmative action? This course will examine a group of novels selected partly because of their relative prominence and partly because, taken together, they represent a broad range of approaches in terms of both technique and subject matter. We will consider whether, individually or collectively, they do “measure up” to the place that is Newfoundland (and, in one case, Labrador).
The course will be centred on student participation. Everyone will be expected to be prepared to do a brief presentation in each class, and general discussion will ensue. (In the case of several novels, the author him/herself will be present to participate in the conversation.) Evaluation will also be based on a shorter paper due halfway through the course, and a longer one at the end.
Novels to be studied (not necessarily in this order): Paul Bowdring, The Strangers’ Gallery; Michael Crummey, Galore; Jessica Grant, Come, Thou Tortoise; Kenneth J. Harvey, The Town That Forgot How to Breathe; Wayne Johnston, The Colony of Unrequited Dreams; Patrick Kavanagh, Gaff Topsails; Lisa Moore, February; Edward Riche, Rare Birds; Kathleen Winter, Annabel; Michael Winter, This All Happened.
Spring 2014 (subject to change)
English 7072: The Contemporary Canadian Long Poem
Prof. Mary Dalton (firstname.lastname@example.org)
English 7052: Victorian Literature
Dr. Annette Staveley (email@example.com)