Graduate Course Offerings

Tentative 2018-2019 Courses 

Note: English 6999 (Master's Research Essay) is available every semester, though students are encouraged to take this course in the Spring semester.

WINTER 2019 

English 7003: Trends in Contemporary Critical Theory (required course) (Dr. Fiona Polack, Wednesdays, 10am - 1pm)

This course will address compelling areas of theoretical discussion currently animating the highly diversified and porous discipline of English. Students will consider contemporary thought relating to topics including the Anthropocene and climate change; Indigenous ways of knowing; posthumanism; and social and economic precarity. To deepen our theoretical explorations, we will read apposite literary work in a variety of genres from writers across the globe. The key aims of English 7003 are to map influential early twenty-first-century critical reading and writing practices, and, concurrently, to strengthen students’ capacities to think, research, read, and write at the graduate level.

English 7101: Shakespearean Adaptation (Dr. Robert Ormsby, Monday 10am - 1pm)

Shakespearean Adaptation will consider two avenues of enquiry. The first is to examine how Shakespeare adapted literary sources to suit the conventions of early modern drama and the theatre for which he was writing. The second is to explore the ways that artists have “made fit” his plays for the stage and the screen, with a focus on late twentieth adaptations of three tragedies: Romeo and Juliet, Othello, and Hamlet. This course will take up such concerns as what adaptation means, the varying relationships between source and adaptation, the different ways that originality and authorship are construed, and Shakespeare’s exceptional cultural capital.

English 7202: Here and Away: Creative Non-fiction (Dr. Robert Finley, Thursdays 7 - 10pm)

Here and Away is a writing workshop designed for writers interested in exploring the possibilities for engaging with place, whether home or away, through creative non-fiction. By developing topics and approaches through a series of pieces relating to place, and by analyzing a number of texts including examples of memoir, travel writing, nature and environmental writing, and writing of the dispossessed, you should have, by the end of the course, a better understanding of several important sub-genres of creative non-fiction and of the possibilities for ‘listening’ to the world which they afford. Most of the course work is devoted to practical work on writing, but this will be supplemented with close readings and rhetorical analyses of a number of assigned texts. A substantial final portfolio of original work, presentation of critical readings of assigned texts, and participation in peer critiques and group work will form the basis for evaluation in the course.

English 7550: "Canada Reads": Literary Prizes, the CBC, and the Canonization of CanLit (Dr. Caitlin Charman, Fridays 10am - 1pm)

Last fall, in her provocatively titled editorial for the website Open Book, “CanLit is a Raging Dumpster Fire,” Alicia Elliott argued that “dissatisfaction with the state of CanLit, strangely enough, is the current state of CanLit.” Elliott was referring to the very public angst among Canada’s literary community that followed the UBC Accountable letter, in which a number of the country’s most prominent writers called on the University of British Columbia to “establish an independent investigation into how” the dismissal of Steven Galloway from his position as head of Creative Writing was “handled by the Creative Writing Program, the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and the senior administration at UBC.” In addition to spurring a heated debate regarding the nature of due process and transparency in how universities handle allegations of sexual assault, harassment, and bullying, the UBC Accountable letter “represent[ed] a very serious and public fracture in CanLit’s persona,” as Jen Sookfong Lee observed. The letter prompted many writers and academics to challenge the power dynamics and the cultural politics within the institutions that comprise “CanLit” and, as Sookfong Lee notes, to question whether CanLit really is as “left-leaning,” “progressive,” and supportive of a “diversity of voices” as many have assumed.

This course will examine one of the most powerful institutions in CanLit: the literary prize. We will read a selection of award-winning novels from CBC’s Canada Reads, the Giller Prize, and the Governor General’s Awards from the early 1990s to the present day—alongside a variety of readings about arts policies, cultural nationalism, multiculturalism, and prize culture—in order to assess the current “state of CanLit.”

English 7750: Graphic Storytelling (Dr. Nancy Pedri, Tuesdays 10am - 1pm)

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 the growing field of comics studies that adopts a narratological approach.


English 7602: The Female Gaze: Victorian Women Writing, Painting, Exploring (Dr. Annette Staveley, Mondays 2-5 pm)

Kate Bunce, Melody

Through extensive reading, discussion and analysis, we shall look at recent critical interpretations of women's writing in England between 1840 and 1900.Through a series of seminar papers on selected texts, we shall discover how women used their writing to redirect the focus on their supposed limitations in art, experience and activism. In their novels, poetry, diaries and letters, many women in Victorian England actively engaged with the issues of the day. Frequently, they wrote against the dominant opinions about women's education, professional attainment, desires for fiscal independence and sexual fulfillment. We shall choose from a range of writers, both the familiar and the unfamiliar, and shall consider how far they negotiated within the cultural discourses of their time, how far they advanced female agency, and how they answered back against the cultural prescriptions of womanhood. Lesser known writers, artists and explorers such as Gertrude Bell, Sarah Braddon, Kate Bunce, Eleanor Marx, and Ethel Smyth will be viewed as well as the Brontës, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, George Eliot and Elizabeth Gaskell.

Past graduate courses


Department of English

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000