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.

featured courses

See Western Academic Timetable for course delivery details.

fall/winter 2024-25 Courses (Subject to change)

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 >>

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

Fall/Winter 1020E / 001 J. Devereux Syllabus 
Fall/Winter 1020E / 002 J. Boulter Syllabus
Fall/Winter 1020E / 003 (Evening) M. McDayter Syllabus

1022E - Enriched Introduction to English Literature
Why does literature matter? This course will pose this question by examining works of literature from the fourteenth century to now and through assignments that ask you to hone a range of interpretive, critical, and creative skills necessary to your future success as students and leaders. Above all the course will explore how the writing and reading of literature are inherently political acts that ask us to think through our most pressing issues – environment, sexuality, race, gender, class – with tolerance for others and hope for the future. 1.0 course

Fall/Winter 1022E / 001 J. Faflak Syllabus 

1027F - The Storyteller’s Art I: Introduction to Narrative POPULAR!
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. 0.5 course

Fall 2024 1027F / 001 C. Keep Syllabus 
Fall 2024 1027F / 002 M. Lee Syllabus 
Fall 2024 1027F / 003 (Evening) B. Diemert Syllabus 

1028G (001) - The Storyteller’s Art II | Introduction to Narrative: The Rise of the Machines POPULAR!
This course explores a particular theme, mode, or genre of storytelling. Instruction is by lecture and tutorials; emphasis on developing strong analytical and writing skills. 0.5 course

Winter 2025 1028G / 001 C. Keep Syllabus 

1028G (002) - The Storyteller’s Art II | Introduction to Narrative: Monsters, Ghosts, and Demons POPULAR!
Monsters, ghosts, and demons appear in sublime stories. This course charts the development of these supernatural beings in the nineteenth century, including Frankenstein, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Dracula. The course will examine several gothic narratives in their historical, cultural, and artistic contexts.

The weekly course schedule consists of two hours of lecture and a third hour of tutorial discussion facilitated by a teaching assistant. In addition to providing opportunities for the discussion of reading and lecture materials, tutorials will also provide substantial instruction in effective essay writing and research methods. English 1028G is a course in its own right. It need not be taken in combination with any other course. Students who took English 1028G (The Storyteller’s Art I), will have the equivalent of a 1.0 “essay” course for their breadth requirements, and completed the 1.0 credits in first-year English necessary to take senior-level courses. 0.5 course

Winter 2025 1028G / 002 M. Lee Syllabus 

1028G (003) - The Storyteller’s Art II | Introduction to Narrative: Comedy POPULAR!
This course explores a particular theme, mode, or genre of storytelling. Instruction is by lecture and tutorials; emphasis on developing strong analytical and writing skills. 0.5 course

Winter 2025 1028G / 003 (Evening) B. Diemert 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. 1.0 course

Fall/Winter 2017 / 650 (Online) Instructor: tba Syllabus 

2033E - Children’s Literature POPULAR!
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

Fall/Winter 2033E / 001 G. Ceraldi Syllabus 

2041F - Special Topics in Drama: The Knight of the Burning Pestle
In this course, students participating in the Department of English and Writing Studies' Drama Production - The Knight of the Burning Pestle, 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 prior to the course start date so that students can register and receive a course credit for their part in the production. See course page for more details. Permission required to enroll. 0.5 course

Fall 2024 2041F / 001 J. Devereux Syllabus 

2071F and 2071G - 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

Fall 2024 2071F / 650 (Online) A. MacLean Syllabus 
Winter 2025 2071G / 001 A. MacLean Syllabus 

2072F and 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 Angela Carter. 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. 0.5 course

Fall 2024 2072F / 001 G. Ceraldi Syllabus 
Winter 2025 2072G / 650 (Online) G. Ceraldi Syllabus 

2073G - Speculative Fiction: Utopias and Dystopias
An examination of major utopian and dystopian texts. Will concern ways in which humanity has tried to imagine a perfect world, fix the current world, or construct an exaggerated version of the world in order to demonstrate its flaws and weaknesses. 0.5 course

Winter 2025 2073G / 001 G. Ceraldi Syllabus 

2091G - Special Topics: From Pixels to Papyrus: A Brief History of the Things We Read
Description TBA. 0.5 course

Winter 2025 2091G / 001 M. McDayter 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 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. 0.5 course

Fall 2024 2092F / 001 G. Ceraldi Syllabus 

2099G - The Alice Munro Chair In Creativity: The Creative Moment (cross-listed with ARTHUM 3391G)
The Creative Moment is an experimental, improvisational course in artistic creation and the development of the creative personality. Students who are interested in creative writing, especially, but in any of the arts, who would like to figure out ways to connect in a more natural and exciting and open way to their own creative process, and to other students, should consider taking this course. Rigour, curiosity, seriousness, and a sense of play will be encouraged. 0.5 course

Winter 2025 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.


2112F - Adapting Across Page, Stage, and Screen (cross-listed with Film 2212F and Theatre Studies 2212F)
How does the shape an artwork takes contribute to its aesthetic and political power? When artworks flex across form and media how do their messages change? What did Marshall McLuhan mean when he said “the medium is the message”? How do genre and form shape social and political discourse? In this course, students explore these questions and more as they investigate texts that assume multiple cultural forms and represent a diversity of perspectives. 0.5 course

Fall 2024 2112F / 001 B. Diemert Syllabus 

2191G - Special Topics in English: Arts for a Damaged Planet
Description TBA. 0.5 course

Winter 2025 2191G / 001 J. Schuster Syllabus

2200F - History of Theory and Criticism
This course offers an introduction to some of the most influential ideas in and about literature and the arts from Plato to the turn of the twentieth century.  It will try to take a step back and ask fundamental questions about literature and the arts, as well as about what we are doing when we study them.  To quote the German Romantic poetic Friedrich Hölderlin, “Wozu Dichter in dürftiger Zeit?” (“What are poets for in wretched times”—a question for today!).

So, we’ll ask what literature is for.  Why does it matter?  Why does studying it matter?  What is the nature of truth in literature?  What is beauty? How are such central concepts arrived at?  What are their implications? 0.5 course

Fall 2024 2200F / 001 J. Plug 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/G0.5 course

Winter 2025 2201G / 001 A. Pero Syllabus 

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

Fall 2024 2202F / 001 M. Bassnett Syllabus

2203G - Studies in Narrative Theory
An introduction to important issues and concepts in the theory and analysis of narrative from different periods. 0.5 course

Winter 2025 2203G / 001 B. Diemert Syllabus

2301E - British Literature Survey
This survey course charts the history of British and Irish literature through study of its major authors, from the anonymous poet who wrote Beowulf to the very recent Irish novelist Claire Keegan. Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales), John Donne's love poetry and devotional verse, Shakespeare, Milton, Wordsworth, Jane Austen (Sense and Sensibility, Emily Brontë, (Wuthering Heights) and T.S. Eliot are read along the way. 1.0 course

Fall/Winter 2301E / 001 J. Doelman Syllabus 

2337F - J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and Friends
This course explores the popular fiction of J.R.R. Tolkien (The Lord of the Rings) and C.S. Lewis’ Narnia Chronicles and Out of the Silent Planet in relation to the western literary tradition. Both Tolkien and Lewis were highly esteemed literary scholars and their knowledge of classical, medieval and renaissance themes and conventions deeply influenced their major works.  At the same time, these novels were very much of the twentieth century, and thus responded to such conflicts as the two world wars and the accelerated pace of technological, social, and cultural change. Their works also draw on the conventions of genre fiction of the twentieth century (science fiction, fantasy and children’s literature). The wider circle of Tolkien and Lewis (sometimes called ‘The Inklings’) also used genre fiction (the detective novel and thriller) to explore deeper issues, and the last weeks of the course will consider works by Charles Williams and Dorothy L. Sayers. 0.5 course

Fall 2024 2337F / 001 J. Doelman Syllabus 

2401E - American Literature Survey
A survey of American literature from the contact period in North America to the postmodern era. In this class, we will read some of the most fascinating literary works of the United States in a variety of modes and genres—from novels to sentimental poetry to postmodern short stories. We will consider the aesthetic and formal properties of each text and consider how writers were shaped by the social conditions, ideological conflicts, economic forces, and political developments of their times, such as the forced displacement of Indigenous peoples and the practice of chattel slavery. As we study the evolution of major artistic movements and periods, we will also trace the development of important assumptions, myths, and fundamental beliefs about the United States that still influence American discourse today.

In this survey, we will also pay close attention to the voices that are heard—and not heard—in different moments of US history. The pressure of attempting to read 400 years of literary history will force us to pose questions about the limits of the American literary canon. Why do we read what we read, and who benefits from that? How have ideas of what constitutes “literature” (or “America,” for that matter) changed over time? What could lesser-known writers contribute to our understanding of the US nation and its literature? And is it possible to read so-called canonical writers in a way that produces new kinds of knowledge?

Readings will include novels such as Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, Ernest Hemingway’s In Our Time, and Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar; short fiction by Herman Melville, Henry James, William Faulkner, and Alice Walker; life writing such as Harriet Jacobs’ Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Zitkala-Sa’s Impressions of an Indian Childhood and Henry David Thoreau’s Walden; and poetry by Anne Bradstreet, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, T.S. Eliot, Langston Hughes, Allan Ginsberg, and Sherman Alexie. 1.0 course

Fall/Winter 2401E / 002 A. MacLean 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. 1.0 course

Fall/Winter 2501E / 001 M. Jones Syllabus 

2601E - Global Literatures in English Survey
This course offers students a great opportunity to survey of the links between and among different literary traditions and innovations across such diverse geographic regions as Asia, Africa, Australia, South America, and the Caribbean. Through close reading of literary texts written in English, students will explore how cultures produce different--often competing--ways of making meaning. 1.0 course

Fall/Winter 2601E / 001 (Evening) N. Bhatia 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.


3200F - Feminist Literary Theory
An introduction to critical debates in twentieth-century feminist literary theory. Students will study (1) the diversity of feminist approaches to literature, literary production, the politics of language, questions of genre and subjectivity; and (2) the intersections among feminist literary theories, postcolonialism, Marxism, anti-racist criticism, queer theory, and post-structuralism. 0.5 course

Fall 2024 3200F / 001 J. Emberley Syllabus

3203G - Human, All Too Human
This course considers the figure of the posthuman as it emerges in the work of contemporary theorists. Beginning with an attempt to define the posthuman, it will then move to answer a series of critical questions regarding what is at stake in posthumanism’s critique of the humanist subject. 0.5 course

Winter 2025 3203G / 001 J. Boulter Syllabus

3204F - Critical Race Theory (cross-listed with GSWS 3324F)
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. 0.5 course

Fall 2024 3204F / 001 E. Lawson 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. 1.0 course

Fall/Winter 3300 / 001 R. Moll Syllabus 

3315E - Disenchanted Chaucer: Authority and Literature in Medieval England
Plague, famine, and rebellion marked the 1300s in England. In this time of crisis, many people questioned the authority of the institutions, church and crown, that governed daily life and the social order. This course will explore the idea of authority and the many ways in which authority was criticized, challenged, and subverted in the writings of Geoffrey Chaucer and his contemporaries, in a wide range of genres, including romance, dream vision, drama, and satire. 1.0 course

Fall/Winter 3315E / 001 A. Schuurman Syllabus 

3320F - Desire in the Renaissance (cross-listed with GSWS 3324F)
This course will examine the profuse complexity of Renaissance love poetry. Love poems were transgressive, fantastical, and even political. They allowed both men and women to break through cultural and religious restrictions on the expression of desire, and gave them a language to discuss gendered and political dynamics of dominance and submission.

In this course, I’m especially interested in the idea of “writing back.” While we’ll take care to establish the normative language of desire, we’ll also think extensively about how writers transgress that language. We’ll ask questions such as: How do women writers establish themselves as desiring subjects using the patriarchal discourses of Petrarchism and Neoplatonism? How do both male and female writers destablize normative gender hierarchies, express same-sex desires, and even gesture towards non-binary identities? How do Renaissance writers respond to and reshape traditional narratives of desire in ways that allow us, today, to reflect on our own increasingly multidimensional experience of desire, gender, and sexuality? 0.5 course

Fall 2024 3320F / 001 M. Bassnett Syllabus 

3326G - Death in the Renaissance
Drawing on poetry, drama and prose, this course will consider a range of literary responses to death during the period 1590 to 1670. It will begin with discussion of the period’s funeral and mourning customs, and then turn to such works as Shakespeare’s Hamlet, John Donne’s devotional poetry and his “Death’s Duel” (described by some as his own funeral sermon), a range of funeral elegies (including John Milton’s “Lycidas” and selections from Paradise Lost) and Sir Thomas Browne’s meditation on ancient Roman burial urns Urn Burial. As student interests lead, we may also relate these literary works to depictions of death in the visual arts and to funeral music from the period. 0.5 course

Winter 2025 3326G / 001 J. Doelman Syllabus 

3330E - Shakespeare
Shakespeare has inspired poems, novels, films, and new drama, and his plays remain a touchstone of artistic achievement, both on the stage and the page. There is also much to interrogate about Shakespeare’s place in the canon of literature in English. This course, taught by one of the department’s awarding-winning professors, will introduce you to twelve of Shakespeare’s plays. We will study comedies, histories, and tragedies, beginning with Richard II, which we will see at the brilliant new Patterson Theatre at the Stratford Festival. There will be emphasis on the plays in production and students will be given the interpretive tools and confidence to make Shakespeare their own. 1.0 course

Fall/Winter 3330E / 001 J. Purkis 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. 1.0 course

Winter 2025 3331G / 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. 0.5 course

Fall 2024 3341F / 001 M. McDayter 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. 0.5 course

Winter 2025 3351G / 001 M. Lee 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. 0.5 course

Winter 2025 3352G / 001 J. Devereux Syllabus 

3362F - Endless Forms: Life Sciences and Nineteenth-Century Literature
This course will study the changing relation between human and non-human animals in the nineteenth century and the emergent concept of history as driven by competition between species. Our two key texts will take up this topic in very different ways: they will be Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species (1859), one of the most important scientific works every published, and Bram Stoker’s pathbreaking Gothic novel Dracula (1897). We will also study contextual material by other writers on the species debate and on Victorian theories of race and gender. 0.5 course

Fall 2024 3362F / 001 M. Rowlinson Syllabus 

3371F - Contemporary Experimental Literature (cross-listed with ARTHUM 3393F)
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. 0.5 course

Fall 2024 3371F / 001 J. Boulter Syllabus 

3480F - Reading (North) America Now: What is Literary Activism? (cross-listed with ARTHUM 3393F)
Can literature help us confront the most urgent injustices and pressing crises of our time? Can aesthetic responses to racial, colonial, and ecological violence motivate interventionist action? Is there such a thing as “literary activism”? These are some of the questions that will guide our study of art and activist movements in Canada and the US. In this course we will examine aesthetic strategies employed by authors, artists, and critics who frame their creative work in activist terms. In particular, we will ask what applicable resources North American literary history can offer when confronting structural inequality, systemic racism, and climate upheaval as interconnected humanist failures. Drawing on such resources, we will endeavour to test both the limits and possibilities of literary activism in the context of climate justice. 0.5 course

Fall 2024 3480F / 001 K. Stanley Syllabus 

3490G - American Drama
What is America, as a theatrical idea? How does the stage reflect the nation, its myths and aspirations? This course explores theatre as a “public art” form in the modern and contemporary United States, reading a variety of dramatists that may include Hansberry, Kushner, Miller, O’Neill, Parks, Williams, and Wilson. 0.5 course

Winter 2025 3490G / 001 A. MacLean Syllabus

3579F - Topics in Canadian Literature: Theatre Ghosts (cross-listed with Theatre Studies 3951F)
This course will explore a narrow topic within post-confederation Canadian literature. It may concentrate on a shorter historical span, a particular genre, or use some other principle of selection0.5 course

Fall 2024 3579F / 001 Instructor: tba Syllabus 

3900F - Special Topics: Indigenous Literature and Environmental Justice (cross-listed with Indigenous Studies 3001F)
Description TBA. 1.0 course

Fall 2024 3900F / 001 J. Emberley Syllabus 

4000 Level Courses

4000-level courses are designed for Honours students (whether those in an HSP or a Double Major). Fourth-year, non-Honours 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: Songs and Sonnets
Topics vary from year to year. Description TBA. 0.5 course

Fall 2024 4320F / 001 J. Leonard Syllabus 

4321G – Seminar in Renaissance Literature: Suffering and/as Identity in Renaissance Literature
Topics vary from year to year. Description TBA. 0.5 course

Winter 2025 4321G / 001 J. Johnston Syllabus 

4340G – Seminar in Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Literature: Jane Austen
Topics vary from year to year. Description TBA. 0.5 course

Winter 2025 4340G / 001 M. McMurran Syllabus 

4351F – Seminar in Nineteenth-Century Literature: Pre-Raphaeilites
Topics vary from year to year. Description TBA. 0.5 course

Fall 2024 4351F / 001 D. Bentley Syllabus 

4372G - Seminar in Twentieth-Century British and Irish Literature: Weird Fiction
Topics vary from year to year. Course description TBA. 0.5 course

Winter 2025 4372G / 001 A. Lee Syllabus 

4470F - Seminar in American Literature: The Harlem Renaissance
Topics vary from year to year. Course description TBA. 0.5 course

Fall 2024 4470F / 001 A. MacLean Syllabus 

4472F - Seminar in American Literature: Give Me Liberty, Or Give Me Death: 20th Century American Novels (Huron University College)
The most infamous line of the Declaration of Independence sets up a quintessential paradox within the American imaginary that all people “are created equal,” and, yet, that citizens also possess the “unalienable Rights” of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” While equality and liberty might seemingly appear to be mutually compatible (and desirable) goals, this seminar examines influential 20th century American novels that take up the fight for equality and the dangers of unfettered liberty. It will examine the ways in which rhetoric of liberty has shifted from Patrick Henry’s notorious call to “Give me liberty, or give me death!” in 1775 during the Revolutionary War to Malcolm X’s declaration that 1964 was the year of “the Ballot or the bullet” to former President Donald Trump’s claim in 2020 that “Republicans are the party of Liberty, Equality, and Justice for All.” How is discourse of liberty used to both promote civil rights’ agendas and to counteract them? This seminar explores the tension between equality and liberty by considering novels that are both catalysts for, and products of, the major socio-political transformations of the 20th century in the United States, including the women’s liberation movement, the Harlem Renaissance, the gay liberation movement, the Native American Renaissance, and the Mad movement. Students will be introduced to some of the major thematic concerns of American literature, as well as study the formal elements of the novel as a medium, in order to develop their own individualized research project on a topic of their choosing. Potential authors to be included on the syllabus include, but are not limited to: Malcolm X, Kate Chopin, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Toni Morrison, Sylvia Plath, James Baldwin, Leslie Marmon Silko, W.E.B. DuBois, and Viet Thanh Nguyen. 0.5 course

Fall 2024 4472F / 550 S. Blanchette See HUC

4771G - Seminar in Literary Studies: Making Decolonial Shakespeares (cross-listed with ENGLISH 9224B)
This half-year graduate seminar will introduce students to the “decolonial turn” in Shakespeare and early modern cultural studies, with a specific focus on the contributions of women-identifying artists (including AFAB, trans, Indigenous, POC, Black, and disabled artists). We will begin by unpacking what we talk about when we talk about “Shakespeare”, examining the ways in which that figure became central first to the labour of the British Empire, including the creation of “white” identities, and then through the long 20th centuryl to the Anglo-American cultural economy. We will then look to recent explorations of Shakespeare and race, Indigeneity, ability, gender identity, and more – both in the scholarly literature and, more importantly, in contemporary performance work.

Case studies will include Adjua Andoh and Lynette Linton’s Richard II at Shakespeare’s Globe (2019); Emma Frankland’s Galatea at the 2023 Brighton Festival; WhyNot Theatre’s Prince Hamlet (2019), and Jani Lauzon and Kaitlyn Riordian’s 1939 at the Stratford Festival (2022). In addition to reading literature and viewing performances, students can expect to hear directly from artists about their work, their rehearsal and creation processes, and their political projects, as well as to learn some of the processes, both ethical and scholarly, associated with ethnographic research in the arts and humanities. Registration through the department: uenglish@uwo.ca. 0.5 course

Winter 2025 4771G / 001 K. Solga Syllabus

4851G - Seminar in Literary Studies: Music and Culture (Huron University College)
This course looks at the cultural impact of popular music from the beginning of the twentieth century to the present. We study the development and characteristics of different forms of popular music, including blues, jazz, folk, punk, and hip hop. We look at how popular music and musicians have been represented in other cultural media, including literature, film, and critical theory. 0.5 course

Winter 2025 4851G / 550 J. Vanderheide See HUC

4851G - Seminar in Literary Studies: Disruptive Bodies: Movement as Metaphor (King's University College)
Why were traditional dances suppressed by colonial regimes? Why are dances reclaimed at moments of cultural renewal? What are the connections between the choreography of social dances and bids for cultural and political power? Reading fiction (written in English) from different cultures, students will examine how gender and racial identity are represented through the movements of dancing bodies, and how dance as a trope can express reinforcement of the social order as well as its disruption. 0.5 course

Winter 2025 4851G / 570 S. Natarajan See KUC

4881F - Seminar in Literary Studies: Stratford as Hub of Canadian Literature and Drama (King's University College)
This course will begin by considering the massive impact of the Stratford Festival Theatre, the Stratford International Film Festival, and the Stratford Music Festival on the post-Second World War circuits of festival culture. Our class will travel to the Stratford Festival to attend same-day performances of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and Andrea Scott’s Get That Hope, the world premier of a play about Jamaican Canadians. We will explore the tensions between cosmopolitanism, nationalism, and localism in theatre criticism about the Stratford Festival. Subsequently, we will examine how Stratford became a focal point of two intersecting literary traditions in Canada, the Shakespearean (J.D. Barnett, Kathleen and Robina Lizars, Timothy Findley) and Southern Ontario Gothic (James Reaney, Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro, Adrew Pyper). We will also investigate the less canonical contributions of Indigenous, Black, and Jewish artists to this cultural hub. 0.5 course

Fall 2024 4881F / 570 I. Rae See KUC

4899F – The Alice Munro Chair in Creativity Seminar: Creative Writing Workshop POPULAR!
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. See the Department Website for the specific focus of this year’s seminar. 0.5 course

Fall 2024 4899F / 001 Instructor: tba Syllabus 

4999E - Thesis
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 English Studies 4999E - Undergraduate Thesis for details. 1.0 course

Fall/Winter 4999E / 001 Instructor: Various See English Studies 4999E - Undergraduate Thesis

Spring/Summer 2024 Courses (Subject to change)

Distance Studies (May 6-July 26)

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, IN-PERSON EXAM, 1.0 course

Spring/Summer 1020E / 650 M. Hartley 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. Ceraldi 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
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 Angela Carter. 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. 0.5 course

Spring/Summer 2072F / 650 J. Kelly Syllabus

3330E - Shakespeare CANCELLED
Shakespeare has inspired poems, novels, films, and new drama, and his plays remain a touchstone of artistic achievement, both on the stage and the page. There is also much to interrogate about Shakespeare’s place in the canon of literature in English. This course, taught by one of the department’s awarding-winning professors, will introduce you to twelve of Shakespeare’s plays. We will study comedies, histories, and tragedies, beginning with Richard II, which we will see at the brilliant new Patterson Theatre at the Stratford Festival. There will be emphasis on the plays in production and students will be given the interpretive tools and confidence to make Shakespeare their own. 1.0 course.

Spring/Summer 3330E / 650 Syllabus

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