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 7043: "Pale Fire?": Renaissance England Reflects The Classical Past
Dr. Robert Ormsby (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This course will examine the ways in which early modern English writers participated in the project of the "Renaissance" by using Ancient Greek and Roman culture as a way of reflecting upon and producing their own contemporary culture. More specifically, we will consider how English writers re-worked Classical literature and history in order to address the issues of nationalism, political organization, family, gender, and territorial expansion through conquest. Our primary focus will be on drama written between the 1590s and the 1620s, and, consequently, we will take up such questions as the place that the new commercial theatre occupied in Elizabethan and Jacobean England, the conditions under which the plays were staged, and the very different dramatic forms of the plays that we will study. Although we will spend much time examining early modern drama, we will also consider narrative poems like Shakespeare's "The Rape of Lucrece," the place of translations (for instance George Chapman's translation of Homer) in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-century England, and Classical historical and literary sources by such authors as Plutarch, Livy, and Ovid. While the nature of the course work has not been finalized, it will include consistent and informed participation in class discussion, a seminar presentation, an annotated bibliography, and a major research paper. Works likely to be studied include: Titus Andronicus; Dido, Queen of Carthage; Troilus and Cressida; Julius Caesar; Anthony and Cleopatra; Sejanus; Coriolanus; Timon of Athens; The Roman Actor; The Wonder of Women (Sophonisba); Cymbeline; and "The Rape of Lucrece."
English 7053: Posthumanism and the Gothic: Animals, Monsters and Machines
Image: "Modern Condition," etching on paper by Lucy Valkury; www.astropatheticus.com
Dr. Jennifer Lokash (email@example.com)
This course will attempt to uncover the roots of contemporary cultural representations of posthumanism in a selection of iconic Gothic texts, which are obsessed with what we might call the "ontological hygiene" of the human body (Elaine Graham). Late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Gothic writing and art is characterized by its dark response to the anthropocentric discourses of the Enlightenment and Romantic humanism. These discourses rely on binary categories such as alive/dead, natural/artificial, born/made, inside/outside, human/nonhuman, self/other, etc., categories that early Gothic texts problematize by representing the stable and normative human body as under threat in various ways. To what extent do the contemporary texts that we are going to read—situated as they are in contexts such as bioengineering, cloning, plastic surgery, and digital technology—suggest that the human body as a category is always shifting or even disappearing? How is this end prefigured in Gothic representations of the body and embodiment? What is becoming of the human body? For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
English 7072: “A Touch of the Basic Brimstone”: Canadian Humour and Satire
Dr. Faith Balisch (email@example.com)
Since the late twentieth century Canadians have been well-known for their humour, particularly as a result of the export of humour to the United States through the writing and acting skills of such people as Dan Aykroyd, John Candy, Joe Flaherty, Michael J. Fox, Eugene Levy, Lorne Michaels, Catherine O'Hara, Gilda Radner, Dave Thomas, etc. Canadians have been laughing for years over the antics on televisions shows such as SCTV, This Hour has 22 Minutes, and, more recently, Little Mosque on the Prairie and The Rick Mercer Show. Writers such as Robertson Davies, Margaret Atwood, and Carol Shields have national and international reputations for their fresh, sharply ironic and/or satiric fiction. Comic-strip cartoonist Lynn Johnston is recognized world-wide for her humorous comic strip, For Better or For Worse. Across Canada, in newspapers from St. John's to Victoria, readers enjoy a humorous and/or satiric column each week, and our political cartoonists are renowned. Yet there is, to date, no full length study of Canadian humour and/or satire. The myth that there is no significant Canadian humour persists. In this course, we will this confront this myth through the examination of the humour and/or satire in a selection of works by twentieth-century Canadian writers.
English 7075: The Poetry of Newfoundland: From Colonial Trope to Vernacular Expression
Prof. Mary Dalton (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The course is designed to trace the path of poetry in and of Newfoundland from the time of the seventeenth-century colonizers to our own period. It concentrates on the burgeoning of the island's poetry in the late twentieth- and early twenty-first century. It explores the authors' preoccupations and technical strategies as the poetry develops into a distinctive body of writing. Some of the authors considered are: E. J. Pratt, Irving Fogwill, Tom Dawe, John Steffler, Al Pittman, Agnes Walsh, Carmelita McGrath, Michael Crummey, James Langer, Mark Callanan. The course involves some assignments which allow students to engage in original research, e.g. major interviews with authors based on The Paris Review model.
English 7050: Reconstructing NIneteenth-Century Society: Thackeray, Gaskell, and Eliot
Dr. Mark Cumming (email@example.com)
This course will explore three Victorian masterworks—William Makepeace Thackeray's Vanity Fair (1847-48), Elizabeth Gaskell's Wives and Daughters (1864-66), and George Eliot's Middlemarch (1870-71)—and their fictional reconstructions of early (pre-industrial and pre-Victorian) nineteenth-century British society. The course will examine each novel's refashioning of gender, station, home, and family, and each novel's treatment of social change and disruption.
William Makepeace Thackeray. Vanity Fair. Oxford World's Classics.
Elizabeth Gaskell. Wives and Daughters. Oxford World's Classics.
George Eliot. Middlemarch. Oxford World's Classics.
Fall 2013 (subject to change)
English 7003: Trends in Contemporary Critical Theory
Dr. Fiona Polack (firstname.lastname@example.org)
English 7035: Arthurian Romances
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 7021: Book History and Print Culture
Dr. Don Nichol (firstname.lastname@example.org)
English 7054: Contemporary British Fiction: Postmodernism and Beyond
Dr. Bradley Clissold (email@example.com)
English 7070: Modern Drama in Performance
Dr. Jamie Skidmore (firstname.lastname@example.org)
English 7024: The Essay: A Creative Writing Workshop
Dr. Rob Finley (email@example.com)
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)