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English 1022E

Enriched Introduction to English Literature

Fall/Winter 2012-2013
Instructor: David Bentley
Lecture: Tuesdays & Thursdays 11:30 am - 12:30 pm
Classroom: Middlesex College room 110
Faculty Profile: D.M.R. Bentley
Canadian Poetry:

Syllabus: English 1022E
English 1022E Blog:

English 1022E has four principal purposes:

— to give students an overview of English literature from the Middle Ages to the present;
— to introduce them to a variety of historical perspectives and critical approaches;
— to permit them to strengthen and apply their writing skills to the study of literature;
— and, last, but by no means least, to enable them to deepen their interest and enjoyment in the study and use of English.

Major works of Canadian as well as English literature such as Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Shakespeare's The Tempest, Milton's Paradise Lost, Conrad's Heart of Darkness, T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land, and Anne Michaels' Fugitive Pieces are examined against the backdrop of major events and developments in Western and North American culture, including the Renaissance, the rise of Romanticism, the emergence of European Imperialism, and the genocides of the twentieth century.

Because English literature has always been a crucible (or crossroads) where elements drawn from every field of human activity meet, interact, and find imaginative expression, the course continually focuses on the ethical, philosophical, political, and environmental aspects of the works studied and relates them to shifting ideas and practices in economics, psychology, and other areas, as well as, of course, the other arts. The course also focuses on a wide range of literary forms and genres such as comedy, satire, tragedy, the novel, the sonnet, and the epic not only because these are the vehicles that give shape and impart meaning to imaginative expression, but also because they are a means of coming to an understanding and appreciation of the continuity of literature across time and, indeed, across cultures.

In essays and discussion, students are encouraged to engage independently and critically with the materials studied and, by doing so, to achieve a high level of writing and analytical skill. Teaching consists of a combination of wide-ranging but sharply focused lectures delivered by the instructor to the group as a whole, followed by tutorials conducted in a seminar format that explore and discuss specific literary and critical issues.


Department of English - The University of Western Ontario
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