English Studies Courses

To complement English modules, our courses focus on narrower themes and issues which better reflect the current state of the field and the research interests of our faculty.

fall/winter 2020-21 Courses (tentative Schedule)

1000 Level Courses

1000-level courses initiate students to the university-level study of English literature. Students will be introduced to the rich diversity of English literature and to the scholarly research tools which make the study of English possible. Discussions, activities and assignments focus on close reading practices which allow students to move beyond arguments based primarily on questions plot. Students will be expected to begin to develop their own critical point of view and to take responsibility for their own engagement with the texts at hand. 1000-level courses are an ideal way to enter an English module, but they also provide the foundations of analysis and argument essential to university-level scholarship in any text-based discipline (e.g. history, philosophy, sociology, classics, etc.). Learn more >>

1010G - This University
Learn about Western, its story, its architecture, academic calendar, governance, codes of conduct, research; and learn about universities, their origins in the Middle Ages, their development and current campus issues. Read a short story by Western’s own Nobel prizewinner Alice Munro, and think about universities in the world today. Taught in a flexible blended format. 0.5 course

Winter 2021 1010G / 200 (Blended) J. Toswell Syllabus 

1020E - Understanding Literature Today
By studying a broad range of exciting and important literary works from the past and present, this course will increase your understanding and appreciation not just of the richness and power of the works themselves, but also of the role of literature in reflecting and shaping our perceptions of the world and of ourselves. 2 lecture hours, 1 tutorial hour, 1.0 course

Fall/Winter 1020E / 001 Instructor: tba Syllabus
Fall/Winter 1020E / 002 Instructor: tba Syllabus 
Fall/Winter 1020E / 003 (Evening) Instructor: tba Syllabus

1022E - Enriched Introduction to English Literature
The principal aims of English 1022E are: (1) to give students an overview of English literature from the Middle Ages to the present, with some attention to recent Canadian writers; (2) to introduce students to a variety of literary genres, historical perspectives, and critical approaches; (3) to permit students to strengthen their writing and research skills and to apply them to the study of literature; and, last, but by no means least, (4) to enable students to deepen their interest in and enjoyment of the study and use of English. Among the authors studied are William Shakespeare, John Milton, John Keats, Christina Rossetti, Joseph Conrad, James Joyce, T.S. Eliot, Margaret Atwood, Leonard Cohen, and Anne Michaels. 2 lecture hours, 1 tutorial hour, 1.0 course

Fall/Winter 1022E / 001 Instructor: tba Syllabus

1027F - The Storyteller’s Art I: Introduction to Narrative
The act of storytelling has been essential to human culture from the time of the ancient Greeks to the present day. Stories are integral to the way we define ourselves – and manipulate others. This course will examine the story teller’s art not only through novels and short stories but also in its ancient and modern forms, ranging from the epic to more recent forms such as the graphic novel. As diverse as these stories may seem, they share a central concern with the way we represent ourselves and interpret others. 2 lecture hours, 1 tutorial hour, 0.5 course

Fall 2020 1027F / 001 Instructor: tba Syllabus 
Fall 2020 1027F / 002 Instructor: tba Syllabus

1028G - The Storyteller’s Art II: Introduction to Narrative
This course explores a particular theme, mode, or genre of storytelling. Consult the Department of English for details of current course offerings. Instruction is by lecture and tutorials; emphasis on developing strong analytical and writing skills. 2 lecture hours, 1 tutorial hour, 0.5 course

Winter 2021 1028G / 001 Instructor: tba Syllabus 

1028G - The Storyteller’s Art II: Introduction to Narrative - Disturbed Stories; Unsettling Narratives
This course explores a particular theme, mode, or genre of storytelling. Consult the Department of English for details of current course offerings. Instruction is by lecture and tutorials; emphasis on developing strong analytical and writing skills. 2 lecture hours, 1 tutorial hour, 0.5 course

Winter 2021 1028G / 002 Instructor: tba Syllabus

2000-2099 Level Courses (No prerequisites)

2017 - Reading Popular Culture
"If Shakespeare were alive today, he'd be writing for television." This course addresses the many forms of popular culture, including television, music, popular fiction and film, urban myths, and celebrities. The aim of this course is to encourage students to develop a critical understanding of all aspects of popular culture. 3 lecture hours, 1.0 course

Fall/Winter 2017 / 002 Instructor: tba Syllabus

2033E - Children’s Literature
This course examines the development of literature for and about children from its roots in fairy tales, nursery rhymes, and nonsense literature. Animal stories, adventure tales, picture books, and domestic novels will be considered alongside visits to fantasy realms like Wonderland, Neverland, or the Land of Oz. A central focus will be the assumptions about children and childhood that shape these texts, all produced by adults based on what they believe children enjoy, want, or need. 3 lecture hours, 1.0 course

Fall/Winter 2033E / 001 Instructor: tba Syllabus 
Fall/Winter 2033E / 650 (Online) Instructor: tba Syllabus

2041F - Fall Theatre Production - The Rehearsal
In this course, students participating in the Department of English and Writing Studies' Fall Theatre Production - The Rehearsal, explore in theory and practice approaches to text in performance. Only students working as an actor, director, stage manager, assistant stage manager, lighting, set or costume designer may enroll. Please note: Auditions are held in March every year so that students can register and receive a course credit for their part in the production. Permission of the Chair of Undergraduate Studies required to enroll. 3 lecture/tutorial hours, 0.5 course

Fall 2020 2041F / 001 J. Devereux Syllabus 

2071FG - Speculative Fiction: Science Fiction
From Mary Shelley's Frankenstein to Ridley Scott's Blade Runner, a consideration of the history and development of science fiction. Will include science fiction themes such as the Other, new technologies, chaos theory, cybernetics, paradoxes of space/time travel, first contact, and alien worlds. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Fall 2020 2071F / 001 Instructor: tba Syllabus
Winter 2021 2071G / 650 (Online) Instructor: tba Syllabus

2072F - Speculative Fiction: Fantasy
A study of the purposes and historical origins of fantasy, and modern developments in fantasy: alternate worlds, horror or ghost stories, sword & sorcery, heroic fantasy. May include writers such as Tolkien, Simmons, Peake, Herbert, Beagle, Rowling. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Fall 2020 2072F / 650 (Online) Instructor: tba Syllabus

2072G - Speculative Fiction: Fantasy
Wizards, vampires, fairies, and the Chosen One – these figures are no longer confined to a genre ghetto but have instead moved to the mainstream. This course examines the roots of the fantasy genre in novels such as Dracula and The Lord of the Rings and considers how the tropes of the genre have been reproduced and transformed by authors like J.K. Rowling and Neil Gaiman. We will examine the continuing appeal of stories about magic, whether they involve supernatural intrusions, visits to the realm of faerie, or extraordinary powers hidden in apparently ordinary places. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Winter 2021 2072G / 001 Instructor: tba Syllabus

2091F - Special Topics: History and Future of the Book
Description tba. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Fall 2020 2091F / 001 Instructor: tba Syllabus

2091G - Special Topics: The Women and the University
Description tba. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Winter 2021 2091G / 001 Instructor: tba Syllabus

2092F - Special Topics in Popular Literature - The Many Faces of Harry Potter
This course will examine the Harry Potter series in relation to the multiple genres that it draws on, including the gothic novel, detective fiction, fantasy, adventure, and even the dystopian novel. We will read all seven books alongside other novels and short stories that illustrate the generic conventions Rowling is working with. There will also be opportunity to consider the translation of the series into film. 3 lecture hours, 0.5 course

Fall 2020 2092F / 001 Instructor: tba Syllabus 

2096F - Special Topics in Popular Literature - Winter is Coming: A Game of Thrones
Like most universities, Western has a coat of arms: two Lions rampant double queued issuant Ermine Ducally crowned Gold; in base a Stag trippant of the second; on a Chief of the third a Sun Rising Gules. This looks like a composite of several sigils from George R.R. Martin’s fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire (our heraldic device is alarmingly close to that of Joffrey Baratheon), but then the eye falls on our motto: Veritas et Utilitas, Truth and Usefulness. What could be less true or useful than fiction, especially fantasy fiction? The aim of this course is to earn its place in Western’s coat of arms. Our emblem is not the Baratheon stag, or Lannister lions, or Martell rising sun, but the one Western places “in Chief”: an Open Book proper edged and Clasped Or. We shall go deep into Martin’s books and deep into their historical sources to find both veritas and utilitas. 3 lecture hours, 0.5 course

Fall 2020 2096F / 001 Instructor: tba Syllabus

2097B - The Madness of Creativity (cross-listed with Music 3854B)
This course explores the creativity of madness and the madness of creativity. Starting with an examination of the history of madness and historical and cultural attitudes toward madness, we will address the general equation between madness and creativity through various works of literature and culture as a way of engaging students in the creative (and often chaotic) process of ‘thinking outside of the box’ of accepted cultural, social, and ethical norms of thought and behavior. We will thus explore creativity and of madness as both definitions and symptoms of humanity in order to explore how we often avoid thinking about their more complex nature. We will bring in works and characters primarily from the music and literature to frame the questions and guide conversations. We will approach and assess student comprehension and experience of course material through lectures, tests, reflections, short essays, large and small group discussion, play activities, workshops. Above all we want students to gain an appreciation of how “play ... is the very essence of thought” and to open themselves to a more compassionate and productive understanding of how madness and creativity are intimately connected – and necessary to the planet’s survival. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Winter 2021 2097B / 001 Instructor: tba Syllabus

2099G - The Alice Munro Chair in Creativity: The Creative Moment
This course will explore some of the factors that govern creativity, examining significant historical examples of turning-point moments across a range of disciplines and using literary texts as a way of exploring how evolution in the arts feeds and is fed by evolution in other fields. The course will begin with a broad overview of creativity and then focus on three distinct cultural moments: the rise of drama in Elizabethan England, the birth of modernism in the early 20th century, and the sudden flourishing of Canadian culture in the 1960s. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Winter 2021 2099G / 001 Instructor: tba Syllabus

2100-2999 Level Courses

2000-level courses welcome students into the community of literary scholarship. Literary surveys focus on the development of textual traditions across time while courses in theory introduce students to the multitude of tools available for text analysis. Developing research skills and methods of investigation will allow students to begin to articulate their own questions and to situate their own analysis within the discourse of previous scholarship. Assignments will demand independent study in which students develop and explore their own areas of interest and grapple with the difficulties and challenges of the discipline. For students in an English module, 2000-level courses provide the basic tools necessary for more advanced and independent study. For non-English students, 2000-level courses are an excellent way to complement other modules while indulging in some of the great literature available in the language. Learn more >>

These courses require prerequisites. Students are responsible for ensuring that they have successfully completed all course prerequisites and that they have not taken an antirequisite course, as stated in the Academic Calendar.


2200F - History of Theory and Criticism
An introduction to important issues in the history of literary criticism and theory from Plato to the twentieth century. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Fall 2020 2200F / 001 Instructor: tba Syllabus

2201G - Contemporary Theory and Criticism
This course builds on the historical foundations of English 2200F/G to concentrate on important issues in contemporary literary theory and criticism. English 2200F/G is recommended as preparation for English 2201F/G. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Winter 2021 2201G / 001 Instructor: tba Syllabus

2202G - Studies in Poetics
An introduction to important issues and concepts in the theory and analysis of poetry from different periods. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Winter 2021 2202G / 001 Instructor: tba Syllabus

2301E - British Literature Survey
This course investigates the changing forms of literature produced in the British Isles from the Middle Ages to the present. It addresses key movements and styles through careful analysis of both major authors, such as Shakespeare, Austen, Woolf, or Yeats, and some less well-known yet engaging figures. 3 hours, 1.0 course

Fall/Winter 2301E / 001 Instructor: tba Syllabus 

Click for video! 2401E - American Literature Survey
This course offers a survey of important texts and authors from the Puritan and Revolutionary periods to the present. It addresses not only the major movements and styles of American literature associated with such authors as Poe, Dickinson, Twain, Hemingway, and Morrison, but also the innovative work of less familiar Indigenous and ethnic authors. 3 hours, 1.0 course

Fall/Winter 2401E / 002 Instructor: tba Syllabus 

2501E - Canadian Literature Survey
What does literature tell us about the making of a nation and its citizens? Spanning the period from imperial exploration to Confederation to the present day, this course examines Canada’s vibrant literary culture. Students will encounter a diverse range of genres and authors, from accounts of early explorers to current internationally acclaimed and award-winning writers. 3 hours, 1.0 course

Fall/Winter 2501E / 001 Instructor: tba Syllabus 

2601E - Global Literatures in English Survey
This course introduces students to South Asian, Australian, Caribbean, and African literatures in English. Over the last four decades, these literatures have been studied under rubrics such as commonwealth, post-colonial, world and global literatures. The course will address the relations between postcolonial literary studies and literary globalism. Following an introduction to these terms, students will study works by authors from a range of cultural and historical contexts. These writers engage with the consequences of colonialism, decolonization, nationalism, and globalization in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. 3 hours, 1.0 course

Fall/Winter 2601E / 001 Instructor: tba Syllabus

3000-3999 Level Courses

3000-level courses allow students to focus on topics, whether an historical period, a cultural tradition or a literary theme, which pique their own critical curiosity. Class discussions will address the interactions of texts with one another, with their historical moment or with larger social trends. Students will also explore how scholarship has evolved over time and learn how to place their own thought and writing within a developing and ongoing critical tradition. Advanced research skills, tailored to specific critical problems, will allow students to develop habits of independent exploration and analysis which will lead to nuanced and persuasive written work which fully participates in the discipline of English studies. Typically, students in an English module will be enrolled in 3000-level courses in their third and fourth years. A reasonable amount of choice in the modules will allow English students to pursue their own interests while becoming members of an academic community. Students not in English modules will find courses which stimulate their critical imaginations while complementing their own module offerings. Learn more >>

These courses require prerequisites. Students are responsible for ensuring that they have successfully completed all course prerequisites and that they have not taken an antirequisite course, as stated in the Academic Calendar.


3201F - Introduction to Cultural Studies
An introduction to cultural studies methodology and theory, and the history of cultural studies as a discipline. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Fall 2020 3201F / 001 Instructor: tba Syllabus

3204G - Critical Race Theory (cross-listed with Women's Studies 3324G)
This course explores key concepts in critical race theory, focusing on: cultural constructions of race and their connection to settler colonialism and imperialism; the links between race, class, gender, and sexuality; processes of racialization; whiteness as an “invisible” category; the hypervisibility of racialized subjects; and anti-racist cultural production. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Winter 2021 3204G / 001 Instructor: tba Syllabus 

3300 - History of English Language
A study of the historical development of English phonology, morphology, orthography and syntax from Old English to the modern period. At the same time, we examine the changing roles of English (commercial, literary, and administrative) and the different varieties of the language available to its many speakers. 3 hours, 1.0 course

Fall/Winter 3300 / 001 Instructor: tba Syllabus

3316E - Love in the Middle Ages
Love may seem like a universal emotion, but as Chaucer notes:

Ek for to wynnen love in sondry ages,
In sondry londes, sondry ben usages.

If people express their love differently in different ages and lands, does it follow that they also feel love differently? This course will explore the different expressions and experiences of love in the medieval period. We will focus on the literature of late-medieval England, but we will place the English within a broader European context. We will also look at a variety of manifestations of love: the familial, divine and platonic in addition to the more obvious romantic and erotic. While exploring this most fundamental of emotional states, we will learn to read and enjoy Middle English literature. We will begin with Chaucer’s short lyric poems which are relatively easy, and work our way to more challenging genres and dialects of the language. 3 hours, 1.0 course

Fall/Winter 3316E / 001 Instructor: tba Syllabus 

3320F - Desire in the Renaissance
Love and desire are complicated emotions, both today and in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. We will examine the profuse complexity of Renaissance love poetry, by men and women, queer and straight, including writers such as Shakespeare, Wroth, Donne, Barnfield, Spenser, Wyatt, Sidney, Marlowe, Herrick, Carew, Suckling, Marvell, and Philips. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Fall 2020 3320F / 001 Instructor: tba Syllabus

3322G - Witchcraft, Magic and Science in Renaissance English Literature
This course examines witchcraft, magic, and the emergence of science in a variety of dramatic and/or non-dramatic English Renaissance texts. These may include, but not be limited to, works by Shakespeare, Marlowe, Jonson, Middleton, Spenser, Milton, Donne, Bacon and Burton, as well as select contemporaneous witchcraft, exorcism, and demonology pamphlets. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Winter 2021 3322G / 001 Instructor: tba Syllabus

3329F - Topics in Renaissance Literature: Milton's Minor Poems and Selected Prose
This course is a complement to 3321F (my course on Paradise Lost), though neither course is a prerequisite for the other and it does not matter in which order they are taken, should any students decide to take both. The course will fall into three roughly equal parts: 1) a close reading of the early poems (especially “L’Allegro” and “Il Penseroso,” A Masque Presented at Ludlow Castle, “Lycidas”, and the English sonnets); 2) a study of the prose pamphlets from Milton’s middle years (especially The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce, Areopagitica, and The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates); 3) a close reading of  Paradise Regained and Samson Agonistes. Emphasis throughout the course will be placed on Milton’s lasting political relevance for our own time, especially as he addresses (or has influenced) such topics as divorce and marriage (including same-sex marriage), free speech (both its advantages and disadvantages), the rights of the individual in society, and the difficulty of distinguishing terrorism from legitimate resistance to authoritarian rule. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Fall 2020 3329F / 001 J. Leonard Syllabus

3330E - Shakespeare
This year-long course offers intensive study of one of the world’s greatest playwrights. It will range across twelve plays that illustrate the variety of writing Shakespeare produced for the stage. We will discuss how theatrical conventions and political pressures gave – and in different ways, continue to give – this drama meaning. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Fall/Winter 3330E / 001 Instructor: tba Syllabus

3332F - Money in Renaissance Drama
Seventeenth-century England saw enormous changes in the distribution of money. Dramatists responded in diverse ways to the social disruption caused by new patterns of wealth and impoverishment. Plays studied on this half-course present cityscapes populated by predators and swindlers, nostalgic evocations of lordly hospitable practices, and meditations on greed. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Fall 2020 3332F / 001 Instructor: tba Syllabus 

3342G - Body, Soul and Person in the Eighteenth Century
Are we hard-wired for immortality? Poets seem to think so. This course is about how literature, and poetry in particular, expresses the idea of soul and its relation to the body and to the mind. We focus on the eighteenth century when all these ideas were changing dramatically. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Winter 2021 3342G / 001 Instructor: tba Syllabus 

3352G - Am I to be the Hero of my own Life: Nineteenth-Century Fictions of the Individual and the World
Nineteenth-century philosophers celebrated the individual, but the period also saw the emergence of new forms of social control in politics, the market, and the workplace. This course examines the individual’s relation to society and the world in nineteenth-century English literature. Besides fiction, it may include poetry, drama, and non-fiction. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Winter 2021 3352G / 001 Instructor: tba Syllabus 

3359F - Topics in Nineteenth-Century Literature
This course will be broad enough to provide an introduction to this historical period. It may concentrate on a shorter historical span, a particular genre, or use some other principle of selection. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Fall 2020 3359F / 001 Instructor: tba Syllabus

3369F - Topics in Nineteenth-Century Literature
This course will be broad enough to provide an introduction to this historical period. It may concentrate on a shorter historical span, a particular genre, or use some other principle of selection. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Fall 2020 3369F / 001 Instructor: tba Syllabus

3370G - Modernism and the Birth of the Avant-Garde
Fascinated by innovation and revolution, modernism is obsessed with the new, celebrating the speed, alienation, and fragmentation of modernity. Yet it is also steeped in nostalgia, in a world dashed by modernity itself. This course offers a range of texts that explore modernist reimaginings of art, politics, psychology and identity. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Winter 2021 3370G / 001 Instructor: tba Syllabus

3449F - Topics in Early American Literature
This course offers advanced studies in American Literature produced before the Civil War. Specific content will vary from year to year depending on the instructor. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Fall 2020 3449F / 001 Instructor: tba Syllabus

3490G - American Drama
This course will focus on the home in US drama. The living room is perhaps the most ubiquitous of settings in American drama, but it is a complex space, a battleground upon which larger conflicts in American culture are staged. Through our observations of plays such as Death of a SalesmanOur TownA Raisin in the Sun, and Hamilton, we will ask such questions as: how does the home define the concepts of work and leisure, male and female, old and new, poor and rich, foreign and domestic, public and private, comfort and danger? How are larger national ideologies (for example, the American dream or the concept of race) articulated through the home? How is the nation a home? Finally, how do different artistic movements (such as realism and expressionism) and genres (such as the comedy, the living room drama, and the musical) approach these issues differently? 3 hours, 0.5 course

Winter 2021 3490G / 001 Instructor: tba Syllabus

3572G - Canadian Literature and Multiculturalism
Explore "multiculturalism," one of Canada's most celebrated and contested national attributes! An official designation since the 1980s, multiculturalism unofficially has always been part of the making of Canada. Study representations of multiculturalism, from the 1890s to 2018, through detailed analysis of literary texts and critical debates about multiculturalism. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Winter 2021 3572G / 001 Instructor: tba Syllabus

3581F - Toronto: Culture and Performance (cross-listed with Theatre Studies 3581F and Arts & Humanities 3390F)
How does the theatre that appears on Toronto’s stages reflect, extend, challenge and question the City of Toronto’s global-city aspirations? This is just one of a host of questions we’ll be asking in this exciting new course, as we travel to Toronto regularly to see live theatre of all kinds, talk with actors, directors, and reviewers, and explore the city’s contemporary theatre ecology through readings drawn from performance studies as well as urban studies. Students can expect to make at least four class trips into the city to see live performance, and to read a handful of scripts from the city’s most recent theatre seasons alongside some contextual materials. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Fall 2020 3581F / 001 Instructor: tba Syllabus

3670G - Global Indigenous Literatures
This course engages with the cultures of storytelling and literary production of different Indigenous peoples across the globe. In reading this literature with attention to the distinct cultures, territories, and histories of particular Indigenous nations, this course will also consider what unites Indigenous peoples on an international level. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Winter 2021 3670G / 001 Instructor: tba Syllabus

3680F - Indigenous Literatures of Turtle Island
This course will introduce students to a diverse range of Indigenous storytelling practices from Turtle Island (North America), which may include oral narratives, literature, and visual and performance arts. Students will consider how these practices both shape and are shaped by specific historical and geographical contexts. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Fall 2020 3680F / 001 Instructor: tba Syllabus

3891F - Topics in Cultural Studies
This course offers an advanced study in a more narrowly defined area of cultural studies. Specific content will vary from year to year depending on the instructor. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Fall 2020 3891F / 001 Instructor: tba Syllabus

4000 Level Courses

4000-level courses are designed for Honors students (whether those in an HSP or a Double Major). Fourth-year, non-Honors students with a 70% average may also enroll in 4000-level courses. These courses typically explore narrowly defined topics: a particular work or author, a brief historical moment, or a clearly defined theoretical issue. Students and faculty will engage with the texts at hand and the surrounding critical tradition. Deploying and expanding their critical skills, students will find and explore their own research questions while situating their argument within an ongoing conversation. 4000-level seminars are an opportunity for sustained, independent study within the structure of a communal seminar. The small, seminar setting prepares English students for continued study at the graduate level. 4000-level courses are typically not suitable for students not in English modules unless the topic specifically compliments the student’s work in their home module. Learn more >>

4311E – Seminar in Medieval Language and Literature
Description tba. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Fall/Winter 4311E / 001 Instructor: J. Toswell Syllabus 

4320G – Seminar in Renaissance Literature: Milton and C. S. Lewis
C. S. Lewis (1898-1963) is mostly remembered as a Christian apologist and an author of children’s literature (the “Narnia” chronicles), but he was also a Professor of English at both Oxford and Cambridge, and a writer of science fiction (the “Perelandra” trilogy). While at Oxford, he wrote one of the most influential works of Milton criticism of the twentieth century, A Preface to Paradise Lost (1942). His posthumously published The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature (1964) also makes frequent reference to Milton. The “Perelandra” trilogy is a reimagining of the Adam and Eve story, much influenced by Paradise Lost, which Lewis first read when he was a nine-year-old boy. Lewis’s Milton criticism has always provoked controversy and there has been a strong reaction against it in recent years, most notably from the self-styled “New Milton Critics,” who have charged Lewis with robbing Milton of radical and heretical energy. This seminar course will provide students with an opportunity to read both Lewis and Milton in the light of these criticisms. We shall read Paradise Lost alongside both Lewis’s criticism and the “Perelandra” trilogy, with a special emphasis on Milton’s and Lewis’s depictions of outer space and life on other worlds. We shall  read The Silver Chair alongside Milton’s Ludlow Masque (“Comus”), and The Magician’s Nephew alongside Paradise Lost and minor poems by Milton and Thomas Traherne. 3 hours, 0.5 course. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Winter 2021 4320G / 001 J. Leonard Syllabus

4670G – Seminar in Global Literature in English: Refugee Narratives
In 1951, the UNHCR ratified the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, a landmark document that defined  the refugee, what his or her rights are, and the responsibilities of states with respect to claims for asylum. Because asylum seekers are expected to tell their stories as part of this process, the document highlights the importance of  narrative as a means of making “refugeeness” legible. This seminar explores the significance of narrative, focusing on formal conventions and subversions to these conventions. Though it takes as one starting point the Convention, as aninterdisciplinary course, the seminar also necessarily develops an extra-legal approach to narrative. We will turn take account of other cultural forms for creative expression of this condition and experience, including literature, popular storytelling, film, and photography, which we will explore by drawing on the analytical tools afforded by the emerging  interdisciplinary field of critical refugee studies. Through close engagement with select cultural texts, which we will  analyze drawing on these critical tools, this course will consider stock figures and common themes in refugee  narratives--including gratitude and ingratitude; displacement and resettlement; problems and solutions—and the cultural work that they do. We will also examine the ways forms of refugee subjectivity and the function that the figure of the refugee serves in upholding and unsettling settler colonialism. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Winter 2021 4670G / 001 T. Phu Syllabus 

4771F – Seminar in Literary Studies: Cultures of Storytelling, Cultures of Reading
Description tba. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Fall 2020 4771F / 001 Instructor: tba Syllabus

4899F – The Alice Munro Chair in Creativity Seminar: Creative Writing Workshop
A workshop course directed by the Alice Munro Chair in Creativity. The course is aimed at students interested in developing a sustained creative work, whether an early draft of a prose narrative, story collection or poetry. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Fall 2020 4899F / 001 Instructor: tba Syllabus 

4999E - Thesis
English 4999E is individual instruction in the selection of a topic, the preparation of materials, and the writing of a thesis. Students who wish to take this course must apply to the Chair of Undergraduate Studies, Department of English and Writing Studies. This course is restricted to students in fourth year of an English Program with a minimum A average. Additional registration in 4000-level English courses require permission of the Department. See Undergraduate Thesis Course for details. 1.0 course

Fall/Winter 4999E / 001 Various Consent form 

SPRING/SUMMER 2020 Courses

Distance Studies (May 4-July 31)

1020E - Understanding Literature Today
By studying a broad range of exciting and important literary works from the past and present, this course will increase your understanding and appreciation not just of the richness and power of the works themselves, but also of the role of literature in reflecting and shaping our perceptions of the world and of ourselves. 1.0 course

Spring/Summer 1020E / 650 M. McDayter Syllabus

2033E - Children's Literature
This course examines the development of literature for and about children from its roots in fairy tales, nursery rhymes, and nonsense literature. Animal stories, adventure tales, picture books, and domestic novels will be considered alongside visits to fantasy realms like Wonderland, Neverland, or the Land of Oz. A central focus will be the assumptions about children and childhood that shape these texts, all produced by adults based on what they believe children enjoy, want, or need. 1.0 course

Spring/Summer 2033E / 650 G. Cerladi Syllabus

2071F - Speculative Fiction: Science Fiction
From Mary Shelley's Frankenstein to Ridley Scott's Blade Runner, a consideration of the history and development of science fiction. Will include science fiction themes such as the Other, new technologies, chaos theory, cybernetics, paradoxes of space/time travel, first contact, and alien worlds. 0.5 course

Spring/Summer 2071F / 650 J. Kelly Syllabus 

2072F - Speculative Fiction: Fantasy
A study of the purposes and historical origins of fantasy, and modern developments in fantasy: alternate worlds, horror or ghost stories, sword & sorcery, heroic fantasy. May include writers such as Tolkien, Simmons, Peake, Herbert, Beagle, Rowling. 0.5 course

Spring/Summer 2072F / 650 J. Kelly Syllabus

3330E - Shakespeare
Shakespeare remains one of the most influential of English writers. This course studies plays across a range of genres. Instructors may integrate theatre-oriented exercises and/or other dramatic or non-dramatic material, depending on individual emphasis. 1.0 course

Spring/Summer 3330E / 650 J. Devereux Syllabus 

Intersession (May 11-June 26)

2033E - Children's Literature-DELIVERED BY DISTANCE STUDIES
This course examines the development of literature for and about children from its roots in fairy tales, nursery rhymes, and nonsense literature. Animal stories, adventure tales, picture books, and domestic novels will be considered alongside visits to fantasy realms like Wonderland, Neverland, or the Land of Oz. A central focus will be the assumptions about children and childhood that shape these texts, all produced by adults based on what they believe children enjoy, want, or need. 1.0 course

Spring/Summer 2033E / 001 G. Ceraldi Syllabus

fall/winter 2019-20 Courses

1000 Level Courses

1000-level courses initiate students to the university-level study of English literature. Students will be introduced to the rich diversity of English literature and to the scholarly research tools which make the study of English possible. Discussions, activities and assignments focus on close reading practices which allow students to move beyond arguments based primarily on questions plot. Students will be expected to begin to develop their own critical point of view and to take responsibility for their own engagement with the texts at hand. 1000-level courses are an ideal way to enter an English module, but they also provide the foundations of analysis and argument essential to university-level scholarship in any text-based discipline (e.g. history, philosophy, sociology, classics, etc.). Learn more >>

1010G - This University
Learn about Western, its story, its architecture, academic calendar, governance, codes of conduct, research; and learn about universities, their origins in the Middle Ages, their development and current campus issues. Read a short story by Western’s own Nobel prizewinner Alice Munro, and think about universities in the world today. Taught in a flexible hybrid format. 2 lecture hours, 1 tutorial hour, 0.5 course

Winter 2020 1010G / 650 (Hybrid) J. Toswell Syllabus 

1020E - Understanding Literature Today
By studying a broad range of exciting and important literary works from the past and present, this course will increase your understanding and appreciation not just of the richness and power of the works themselves, but also of the role of literature in reflecting and shaping our perceptions of the world and of ourselves. 2 lecture hours, 1 tutorial hour, 1.0 course

Fall/Winter 1020E / 001 M.J. Kidnie DRAFT Syllabus 
Fall/Winter 1020E / 002 A. Lee Syllabus 
Fall/Winter 1020E / 003 (Evening) M. Stephenson Syllabus

1022E - Enriched Introduction to English Literature
The principal aims of English 1022E are: (1) to give students an overview of English literature from the Middle Ages to the present, with some attention to recent Canadian writers; (2) to introduce students to a variety of literary genres, historical perspectives, and critical approaches; (3) to permit students to strengthen their writing and research skills and to apply them to the study of literature; and, last, but by no means least, (4) to enable students to deepen their interest in and enjoyment of the study and use of English. Among the authors studied are William Shakespeare, John Milton, John Keats, Christina Rossetti, Joseph Conrad, James Joyce, T.S. Eliot, Margaret Atwood, Leonard Cohen, and Anne Michaels. 2 lecture hours, 1 tutorial hour, 1.0 course

Fall/Winter 1022E / 001 J. Faflak Syllabus (subject to change) 

1027F - The Storyteller’s Art I: Introduction to Narrative
The act of storytelling has been essential to human culture from the time of the ancient Greeks to the present day. Stories are integral to the way we define ourselves – and manipulate others. This course will examine the story teller’s art not only through novels and short stories but also in its ancient and modern forms, ranging from the epic to more recent forms such as the graphic novel. As diverse as these stories may seem, they share a central concern with the way we represent ourselves and interpret others. 2 lecture hours, 1 tutorial hour, 0.5 course

Fall 2019 1027F / 001 C. Keep Syllabus 

1028G - The Storyteller’s Art II: Introduction to Narrative - The Rise of the Machines
This course explores a particular theme, mode, or genre of storytelling. Consult the Department of English for details of current course offerings. Instruction is by lecture and tutorials; emphasis on developing strong analytical and writing skills. 2 lecture hours, 1 tutorial hour, 0.5 course

Winter 2020 1028G / 001 C. Keep Syllabus 

1120E - Representing Violence: An Introduction to the Study of English Literature - CHANGED TO 1020E-003
Violence threatens and expresses human culture; it encourages social cohesion and disruption; it is an essential and controversial element of human entertainment. While studying literature which engages with violence, students will develop techniques of close reading and critical analysis, as well as fundamental tools of academic inquiry, research and writing. 2 lecture hours, 1 tutorial hour, 1.0 course

Fall/Winter 1120E / 001 M. McDayter Syllabus

2000-2099 Level Courses (No prerequisites)

2017 - Reading Popular Culture
"If Shakespeare were alive today, he'd be writing for television." This course addresses the many forms of popular culture, including television, music, popular fiction and film, urban myths, and celebrities. The aim of this course is to encourage students to develop a critical understanding of all aspects of popular culture. 3 lecture hours, 1.0 course

Fall/Winter 2017 / 002 A. Wenaus Syllabus 

2018B - The Culture of Leadership I
This course addresses the complex nature of leadership represented in key works of literature and culture, from Malory to Alice Munro, Shakespeare to David Mamet. We will focus on the ethical dilemmas and moral choices faced by leaders to ask what role a leader plays: hero, manager, thinker, strategist, artist, figurehead, authority? 3 hours, 0.5 course

Winter 2020 2018B / 001 A. MacLean Syllabus 

2033E - Children’s Literature
This course examines the development of literature for and about children from its roots in fairy tales, nursery rhymes, and nonsense literature. Animal stories, adventure tales, picture books, and domestic novels will be considered alongside visits to fantasy realms like Wonderland, Neverland, or the Land of Oz. A central focus will be the assumptions about children and childhood that shape these texts, all produced by adults based on what they believe children enjoy, want, or need. 3 lecture hours, 1.0 course

Fall/Winter 2033E / 001 G. Ceraldi Syllabus  
Fall/Winter 2033E / 650 (Online) C. Suranyi Syllabus 

2041F - Fall Theatre Production - The Cenci
In this course, students participating in the Department of English and Writing Studies' Fall Theatre Production - The Cenci, explore in theory and practice approaches to text in performance. Only students working as an actor, director, stage manager, assistant stage manager, lighting, set or costume designer may enroll. Please note: Auditions are held in March every year so that students can register and receive a course credit for their part in the production. Permission of the Chair of Undergraduate Studies required to enroll. 3 lecture/tutorial hours, 0.5 course

Fall 2019 2041F / 001 J. Devereux Syllabus 

2071FG - Speculative Fiction: Science Fiction
From Mary Shelley's Frankenstein to Ridley Scott's Blade Runner, a consideration of the history and development of science fiction. Will include science fiction themes such as the Other, new technologies, chaos theory, cybernetics, paradoxes of space/time travel, first contact, and alien worlds. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Fall 2019 2071F / 001 A. MacLean Syllabus 
Winter 2020 2071G / 650 (Online) A. MacLean Syllabus

2072F - Speculative Fiction: Fantasy
A study of the purposes and historical origins of fantasy, and modern developments in fantasy: alternate worlds, horror or ghost stories, sword & sorcery, heroic fantasy. May include writers such as Tolkien, Simmons, Peake, Herbert, Beagle, Rowling. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Fall 2019 2072F / 650 (Online) G. Ceraldi Syllabus

2072G - Speculative Fiction: Fantasy
Wizards, vampires, fairies, and the Chosen One – these figures are no longer confined to a genre ghetto but have instead moved to the mainstream. This course examines the roots of the fantasy genre in novels such as Dracula and The Lord of the Rings and considers how the tropes of the genre have been reproduced and transformed by authors like J.K. Rowling and Neil Gaiman. We will examine the continuing appeal of stories about magic, whether they involve supernatural intrusions, visits to the realm of faerie, or extraordinary powers hidden in apparently ordinary places. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Winter 2020 2072G / 001 G. Ceraldi Syllabus 

2091G - The Creative Moment
This course will explore some of the factors that govern creativity, examining significant historical examples of turning-point moments across a range of disciplines and using literary texts as a way of exploring how evolution in the arts feeds and is fed by evolution in other fields. The course will begin with a broad overview of creativity and then focus on three distinct cultural moments: the rise of drama in Elizabethan England, the birth of modernism in the early 20th century, and the sudden flourishing of Canadian culture in the 1960s. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Winter 2020 2091G / 001 N. Ricci Syllabus 

2092F - Special Topics in Popular Literature - The Many Faces of Harry Potter
This course will examine the Harry Potter series in relation to the multiple genres that it draws on, including the gothic novel, detective fiction, fantasy, adventure, and even the dystopian novel. We will read all seven books alongside other novels and short stories that illustrate the generic conventions Rowling is working with. There will also be opportunity to consider the translation of the series into film. 3 lecture hours, 0.5 course

Fall 2019 2092F / 001 G. Ceraldi Syllabus  

2092G - Special Topics in Popular Literature - The Faerie Realm
Before there was Narnia or Middle Earth, people told stories about the Faerie realm, a world that is both part of and yet separate from ordinary mundane reality. Folkloric traditions suggest that our world is penetrable by a race of beings who dwell under hills or in forests but who interact with humans in various ways: casting glamours, abducting babies, or marketing wares to unwary purchasers. This course will examine the depiction of the Faerie realm by authors ranging from Christina Rossetti in the nineteenth century to Susanna Clarke in the twenty-first, examining how fairy folklore is transformed in these texts into a sometimes frightening, sometimes attractive alternative to ordinary modes of perception.. 3 lecture hours, 0.5 course

Winter 2020 2092G / 001 G. Ceraldi Syllabus  

2096G - Special Topics in Popular Literature - Winter is Coming: A Game of Thrones
Like most universities, Western has a coat of arms: two Lions rampant double queued issuant Ermine Ducally crowned Gold; in base a Stag trippant of the second; on a Chief of the third a Sun Rising Gules. This looks like a composite of several sigils from George R.R. Martin’s fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire (our heraldic device is alarmingly close to that of Joffrey Baratheon), but then the eye falls on our motto: Veritas et Utilitas, Truth and Usefulness. What could be less true or useful than fiction, especially fantasy fiction? The aim of this course is to earn its place in Western’s coat of arms. Our emblem is not the Baratheon stag, or Lannister lions, or Martell rising sun, but the one Western places “in Chief”: an Open Book proper edged and Clasped Or. We shall go deep into Martin’s books and deep into their historical sources to find both veritas and utilitas. 3 lecture hours, 0.5 course

Winter 2020 2096G / 001 J. Leonard Syllabus

2100-2999 Level Courses

2000-level courses welcome students into the community of literary scholarship. Literary surveys focus on the development of textual traditions across time while courses in theory introduce students to the multitude of tools available for text analysis. Developing research skills and methods of investigation will allow students to begin to articulate their own questions and to situate their own analysis within the discourse of previous scholarship. Assignments will demand independent study in which students develop and explore their own areas of interest and grapple with the difficulties and challenges of the discipline. For students in an English module, 2000-level courses provide the basic tools necessary for more advanced and independent study. For non-English students, 2000-level courses are an excellent way to complement other modules while indulging in some of the great literature available in the language. Learn more >>

These courses require prerequisites. Students are responsible for ensuring that they have successfully completed all course prerequisites and that they have not taken an antirequisite course, as stated in the Academic Calendar.


2190G - Special Topics in English: Creativity of Madness (cross-listed with Music 3860B)
This course explores the creativity of madness and the madness of creativity. Starting with an examination of the history of madness and historical and cultural attitudes toward madness, we will address the general equation between madness and creativity through various works of literature and culture as a way of engaging students in the creative (and often chaotic) process of ‘thinking outside of the box’ of accepted cultural, social, and ethical norms of thought and behavior. We will thus explore creativity and of madness as both definitions and symptoms of humanity in order to explore how we often avoid thinking about their more complex nature. We will bring in works and characters primarily from the music and literature to frame the questions and guide conversations. We will approach and assess student comprehension and experience of course material through lectures, tests, reflections, short essays, large and small group discussion, play activities, workshops. Above all we want students to gain an appreciation of how “play ... is the very essence of thought” and to open themselves to a more compassionate and productive understanding of how madness and creativity are intimately connected – and necessary to the planet’s survival. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Winter 2020 2190G / 001 J. Faflak/B. Younker Syllabus 

2200F - History of Theory and Criticism
An introduction to important issues in the history of literary criticism and theory from Plato to the twentieth century. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Fall 2019 2200F / 001 M.H. McMurran Syllabus 

2201G (formerly 2210FG) - Contemporary Theory and Criticism
This course builds on the historical foundations of English 2200F/G to concentrate on important issues in contemporary literary theory and criticism. English 2200F/G is recommended as preparation for English 2201F/G. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Winter 2020 2201G / 001 N. Joseph Syllabus 

2202G (formerly 2230FG) - Studies in Poetics
An introduction to important issues and concepts in the theory and analysis of poetry from different periods. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Winter 2020 2202G / 001 J. Schuster Syllabus

2301E (formerly 2307E) - British Literature Survey
This course investigates the changing forms of literature produced in the British Isles from the Middle Ages to the present. It addresses key movements and styles through careful analysis of both major authors, such as Shakespeare, Austen, Woolf, or Yeats, and some less well-known yet engaging figures. 3 hours, 1.0 course

Fall/Winter 2301E / 001 J. Boulter Syllabus 

Click for video! 2401E (formerly 2308E) - American Literature Survey
This course offers a survey of important texts and authors from the Puritan and Revolutionary periods to the present. It addresses not only the major movements and styles of American literature associated with such authors as Poe, Dickinson, Twain, Hemingway, and Morrison, but also the innovative work of less familiar Indigenous and ethnic authors. 3 hours, 1.0 course

Fall/Winter 2401E / 002 A. MacLean Syllabus  

2501E (formerly 2309E) - Canadian Literature Survey
What does literature tell us about the making of a nation and its citizens? Spanning the period from imperial exploration to Confederation to the present day, this course examines Canada’s vibrant literary culture. Students will encounter a diverse range of genres and authors, from accounts of early explorers to current internationally acclaimed and award-winning writers. 3 hours, 1.0 course

Fall/Winter 2501E / 001 M. Jones Syllabus  

2601E (formerly 2310E) - Global Literatures in English Survey
This course introduces students to South Asian, Australian, Caribbean, and African literatures in English. Over the last four decades, these literatures have been studied under rubrics such as commonwealth, post-colonial, world and global literatures. The course will address the relations between postcolonial literary studies and literary globalism. Following an introduction to these terms, students will study works by authors from a range of cultural and historical contexts. These writers engage with the consequences of colonialism, decolonization, nationalism, and globalization in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. 3 hours, 1.0 course

Fall/Winter 2601E / 001 N. Joseph Syllabus 

3000-3999 Level Courses

3000-level courses allow students to focus on topics, whether an historical period, a cultural tradition or a literary theme, which pique their own critical curiosity. Class discussions will address the interactions of texts with one another, with their historical moment or with larger social trends. Students will also explore how scholarship has evolved over time and learn how to place their own thought and writing within a developing and ongoing critical tradition. Advanced research skills, tailored to specific critical problems, will allow students to develop habits of independent exploration and analysis which will lead to nuanced and persuasive written work which fully participates in the discipline of English studies. Typically, students in an English module will be enrolled in 3000-level courses in their third and fourth years. A reasonable amount of choice in the modules will allow English students to pursue their own interests while becoming members of an academic community. Students not in English modules will find courses which stimulate their critical imaginations while complementing their own module offerings. Learn more >>

These courses require prerequisites. Students are responsible for ensuring that they have successfully completed all course prerequisites and that they have not taken an antirequisite course, as stated in the Academic Calendar.


3201F (formerly 2250FG) - Introduction to Cultural Studies
An introduction to cultural studies methodology and theory, and the history of cultural studies as a discipline. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Fall 2019 3201F / 001 T. Phu Syllabus 

3204G - Critical Race Theory (cross-listed with Women's Studies 3324G)
This course explores key concepts in critical race theory, focusing on: cultural constructions of race and their connection to settler colonialism and imperialism; the links between race, class, gender, and sexuality; processes of racialization; whiteness as an “invisible” category; the hypervisibility of racialized subjects; and anti-racist cultural production. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Winter 2020 3204G / 001 J. Sandhar Syllabus  

3300 (formerly 3001) - History of English Language
A study of the historical development of English phonology, morphology, orthography and syntax from Old English to the modern period. At the same time, we examine the changing roles of English (commercial, literary, and administrative) and the different varieties of the language available to its many speakers. 3 hours, 1.0 course

Fall/Winter 3300 / 001 M. Fox Syllabus 

3315E (formerly 3116E) - Disenchanted Chaucer: Authority and Literature in Medieval England
The Middle Ages are often, and correctly, characterized as deeply conservative. Faith in the authority of secular rule, domestic hierarchies and ecclesiastical structures dominated personal and social ideologies. In late medieval England, however, the crown was beholden to the counsel and consent of competing political interests, the household was fashioned according to idealized and practical models at odds with one another, and the church was torn by both theological and financial controversies Poets of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries recognized the competing impulses of their age and produced a wide variety of literature which critiqued, challenged and, at times, attempted to support the status quo. This course will explore some of the most compelling literature written in English, although our special focus will be on the works of Geoffrey Chaucer, his contemporaries and immediate successors. In order to study Middle English literature you must be able to read Middle English, so we will also study the grammar, pronunciation and rhythms of Middle English in its many forms. 3 hours, 1.0 course

Fall/Winter 3315E / 001 R. Moll Syllabus  

3321F (formerly 3224E and 3228FG) - Paradise Lost
This half-course will examine such topics as Milton’s grand style, Satan, epic heroism (is Paradise Lost an epic or anti-epic?), the nature of innocence, what it means to “fall,” and whether there can be a “fortunate fall.” Attention will also be paid to seventeenth-century politics, science and astronomy. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Fall 2019 3321F / 001 J. Leonard Syllabus 

3331G - Adapting Shakespeare
Shakespeare invented few of the plots of his plays; instead he used others’ writing. Later artists (including stage and film directors, playwrights, and novelists) have likewise drawn on Shakespeare's plays as inspiration. This half-course explores this range of “Shakespearean adaptation” through close study of two or three major plays. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Winter 2020 3331G / 001 J. Purkis Syllabus 

3337E - Shakespeare and the Drama of His Age
A hive of playwrights, among them Shakespeare, produced a wealth of new theatrical writing in Renaissance England. This year-long course groups six plays by Shakespeare with six relatedplays by writers such as Marlowe, Kyd, Fletcher, Jonson, and Massinger, all of whom, like Shakespeare, flourished in the professional theatres. 3 hours, 1.0 course

Fall/Winter 3337E / 001 J. Purkis Syllabus 

3341F - Sex, Death, and Philosophy: Libertinism and Eighteenth Century British Literature
The restoration of the monarchy in 1660 ushered in a new and sometimes frightening era of philosophical, social, and sexual freedom. This course explores Libertinism, a subversive doctrine that challenged cultural and sexual norms, through the poems, plays, and prose of the late 17th and early 18th centuries. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Fall 2019 3341F / 001 M. McDayter Syllabus 

Click for video! 3350E - The Nineteenth-Century Novel: Austen to Hardy
During the nineteenth century novels became the privileged medium in which British society viewed itself as a whole made up of interrelated parts. The period also saw unprecedented change in novelistic technique and in the business of publishing novels. This course will study these and other developments in prose fiction. 3 hours, 1.0 course

Fall/Winter 3350E / 001 M. Rowlinson DRAFT Syllabus 

3351G - Romantic Revolutions
Revolt, radicalism, counter-revolution, reaction, reformation; hope, crisis, peace, war, invention, imagination, catastrophe, wonder, terror. What shadows did revolution cast upon the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries? This course examines a range of texts that reflect Romantic and post-Romantic transformations, upheavals, and reversals in aesthetic, socio-political, scientific, and/or psychological thought and writing. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Winter 2020 3351G / 001 M. Mazur Syllabus 

3353F - The Woman Question: Nineteenth-Century Woman Writers
In the nineteenth century, women readers and women writers were an important part of the new mass market for English literature, often leading in the emergent campaign for women’s rights. This course will discuss these and other issues in fiction, non-fiction, and poetry by women from the 1790s to 1900. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Fall 2019 3353F / 001 J. Devereux Syllabus 

3371F - Contemporary Experimental Literature
Several contemporary poets and fiction writers express a profound dissatisfaction with traditional literary genres, preferring to focus on radical innovations in technique. This course examines a range of texts that offer a more clinical approach to writing, inspired by such structures as dreams, arbitrary constraints, and game theory. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Fall 2019 3371F / 001 J. Boulter Syllabus

3372F - Drama of the Irish Literary Revival
The Abbey Theatre in Dublin, site of new dramatic forms as well as political rioting, was at the centre of the Irish Literary Revival of the early twentieth century. This course examines the beginnings of the theatre in 1904 and explores the function of drama within the Irish literary tradition. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Fall 2019 3372F / 001 J. Devereux Syllabus 

3470F - American Cult Classics
This course explores movements or genres with passionate followings and transgressive or countercultural themes. How did these cult traditions emerge and how can we explain their appeal? Topics may include religious or illicit countercultures, American gothic fiction, Beat literature, hard-boiled detective fiction, and sci fi. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Fall 2019 3470F / 001 J. Schuster Syllabus 

3479F - Topics in American Literature: Topic TBA - CANCELLED
This course will explore a narrow topic within later American literature. It may concentrate on a shorter historical span, a particular genre, or use some other principle of selection. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Fall 2019 3479F / 001 T. Carmichael Syllabus 

3581F - Toronto: Culture and Performance (cross-listed with Theatre Studies 3581F and Arts & Humanities 3390F)
How does the theatre that appears on Toronto’s stages reflect, extend, challenge and question the City of Toronto’s global-city aspirations? This is just one of a host of questions we’ll be asking in this exciting new course, as we travel to Toronto regularly to see live theatre of all kinds, talk with actors, directors, and reviewers, and explore the city’s contemporary theatre ecology through readings drawn from performance studies as well as urban studies. Students can expect to make at least four class trips into the city to see live performance, and to read a handful of scripts from the city’s most recent theatre seasons alongside some contextual materials. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Fall 2019 3581F / 001 K. Solga DRAFT Syllabus 

3680F (formerly 3880F) - First Nations Literatures (cross-listed with First Nations 3880F)
This course will introduce students to a diverse range of Indigenous cultural practices, primarily North American, which might include oral narratives, writings, and visual and performance materials. Students will also consider how these practices both shape and are shaped by specific historical and geographical contexts. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Fall 2019 3680F / 001 P. Wakeham Syllabus 

3911G - Special Topics: Asian North American Literature and the Remains of War
“We are here because you were there.” – Stuart Hall.

Though Canada and the U.S. are often celebrated in immigrant novels as havens for those seeking safety from war, a diasporic framework complicates this meta-narrative of benevolence. Stuart Hall’s observation about the legacies of imperial violence on Black diasporic subjects also applies for Asian diasporas. This course examines the emergence of Asian diasporic literature in Canada and the U.S., paying particular attention to the cultural work that they do in forming community and protesting injustice. In our close study of select novels, we will consider the significance of their formal experimentation, examine their engagement with the themes of race, gender, and sexuality, and situate them within their social and historical contexts, focusing in on how they respond to and the violence of wars, from WWII, to the Cold War, to the Global War on Terror. Texts we may explore include: Sheila Bala’s The Boat People; Mohsen Hamid’s Exit West; Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior; Joy Kogawa’s Obasan; Marjorie Liu’s Monstress; Madeleine Thien’s Do Not Say We Have Nothing; Monique Truong’s The Book of Salt; and Ocean Vuong’s On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Winter 2020 3911G / 001 T. Phu Syllabus 

4000 Level Courses

4000-level courses are designed for Honors students (whether those in an HSP or a Double Major). Fourth-year, non-Honors students with a 70% average may also enroll in 4000-level courses. These courses typically explore narrowly defined topics: a particular work or author, a brief historical moment, or a clearly defined theoretical issue. Students and faculty will engage with the texts at hand and the surrounding critical tradition. Deploying and expanding their critical skills, students will find and explore their own research questions while situating their argument within an ongoing conversation. 4000-level seminars are an opportunity for sustained, independent study within the structure of a communal seminar. The small, seminar setting prepares English students for continued study at the graduate level. 4000-level courses are typically not suitable for students not in English modules unless the topic specifically compliments the student’s work in their home module. Learn more >>

4320F – Seminar in Renaissance Literature: Shakespeare and Friends
TBA. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Fall 2019 4320F / 001 J. Purkis Syllabus 

4360G – Seminar in Nineteenth-Century Literature: Visual Culture and Victorian Literature
This course will explore the relationship between the visual arts and literature during the Victorian period and will discuss Victorian illustration, photography, art education, exhibitions, and galleries, as well as periodicals such as Punch and the Magazine of Art. We will begin by examining illustrated texts, including the Moxon Tennyson (1857), and then look at novels that represent art, artists, or artist’s models, such as Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White (1859), Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s Lady Audley’s Secret (1862), Oscar Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Gray (1890), and George Du Maurier’s Trilby (1894). 3 hours, 0.5 course

Winter 2020 4360G / 001 J. Devereux Syllabus 

4370G – Seminar in Twentieth-Century British and Irish Literature: Post Postmodernism
TBA. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Winter 2020 4370G / 001 A. Lee Syllabus 

4371G – Seminar in Twentieth Century British and Irish Literature: Twentieth and Twenty-First Century British Women Novelists and the War Novel (Brescia University College)
The seminar will consider texts by mostly British women who have engaged aspects of the experience of the World Wars in their writing. Texts by Kate Atkinson, Pat Barker, Elizabeth Bowen, Katharine Burdekin, Penelope Fitzgerald, Sarah Waters, and others will be central to the course, but short pieces by others may also be discussed. The war novel has usually been the province of male authors, but this seminar will expand our sense of what is possible. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Winter 2020 4371G / 530 B. Diemert Syllabus 

4570F – Seminar in Canadian Literature: Advanced Fiction Workshop
This advanced fiction workshop offers a chance for students who are serious about their writing to get a start on the novel they’ve always wanted to write under the guidance of a seasoned professional novelist. The course will focus on the crucial early stages of the writing process. By the end of the course students should have completed anywhere from 20 to 40 pages of an early draft of their novel. It is advised that students who enroll in the class have at least a rough idea beforehand of the project they would like to pursue. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Fall 2019 4570F / 001 N. Ricci Syllabus 

4572F – Seminar in Canadian Literature - Literature of the Canada/U.S. Border (Huron University College)
TBA. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Fall 2019 4572F / 550 N. Brooks Syllabus 

4851G – Seminar in Literary Studies: Music and Culture (Huron University College)
TBA. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Winter 2020 4851G / 550 J. Vanderheide Syllabus

4851G – Seminar in Literary Studies: The Performance and Embodiment of Gender in Woolf, T.S. Eliot, Kafka, and Joyce (King's University College)
This course explores ideas about how gender is embodied, constructed, and performed in texts by Virginia Woolf, T.S. Eliot, Franz Kafka, and James Joyce. Among the theorists whose ideas we draw on are Jean-Paul Sartre, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Iris Marion Young, and Judith Butler. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Winter 2020 4851G / 570 N. Joseph Syllabus

4871F – Seminar in Literary Studies: Street to Stage - Festival Cultures in Theory and Practise (King's University College)
TBA. 3 hours, 0.5 course

Fall 2019  4871F / 570 Instructor: I. Rae Syllabus

4999E - Thesis
English 4999E is individual instruction in the selection of a topic, the preparation of materials, and the writing of a thesis. Students who wish to take this course must apply to the Chair of Undergraduate Studies, Department of English and Writing Studies. This course is restricted to students in fourth year of an English Program with a minimum A average. Additional registration in 4000-level English courses require permission of the Department. See Undergraduate Thesis Course for details. 1.0 course

Fall/Winter 4999E / 001 Various Consent form 

Course listings are subject to change. See Western Academic Timetable for date, time, and location of specific courses. See Undergraduate Sessional Dates for more details and deadlines.

Previous Courses Offered & Course Outlines