300-level / Intermediate Courses

​​All 500-level courses and a certain number of 200-, 300- and 400-level courses have limited enrolment and require instructors' permission. Students hoping to enroll in these courses should consult the course descriptions on the Department of English website for the procedures for applying for admission. 


ENGL 304 The Later Eighteenth-Century Novel

Professor Peter Sabor
Fall 2019
MW 16:05-17:25

Full course description

Expected Student Preparation: Previous university-level course work in English.

Description: This course will study developments in the English novel from the mid-eighteenth century until the early 1800s. Attention will be paid to gender issues, as well as to genre, style, and thematic concerns. The course will focus on six novels. We shall begin in the 1750s with Samuel Johnson’s remarkable oriental tale, Rasselas (1759). From the 1760s, we shall explore the first Gothic novel: Horace Walpole’s pioneering The Castle of Otranto (1764). We shall then study an example of epistolary fiction: Frances Burney’s bestselling comic novel, Evelina (1778). We next turn to William Godwin’s Caleb Williams (1796), a powerful and complex novel written in response to government repression of the day. We shall conclude with two of Jane Austen’s novels. Sense and Sensibility (1811), first drafted in the 1790s, responds to many eighteenth-century issues, as its title suggests. Northanger Abbey (1817), also drafted in the 1790s, is a witty parody and reworking of Gothic fiction.

Texts:

  • Samuel Johnson, Rasselas (Broadview)
  • Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto (Broadview)
  • Frances Burney, Evelina (Broadview)
  • William Godwin, Caleb Williams (Broadview)
  • Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility (Broadview)
  • Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey (Broadview)

Evaluation: 25% mid-term test; 25% final test; 50% term paper (2,000-2,500 words).

Format: Lecture


ENGL 308 English Renaissance Drama 1

Professor Wes Folkerth
Winter 2020
TR 8:35-9:55

Full course description

Description: In this course we will survey the impressive yield of English Renaissance drama written by writers other than William Shakespeare. We will read twelve plays from the period, about one a week, including The Spanish Tragedy (Thomas Kyd), Endymion (John Lyly), Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay (Robert Greene), Tamburlaine the Great part one (Christopher Marlowe), Arden of Faversham (Anon), The Shoemaker’s Holiday (Thomas Dekker), The Tragedy of Mariam (Elizabeth Carey), The Alchemist (Ben Jonson), The Knight of the Burning Pestle (Francis Beaumont), A Chaste Maid in Cheapside (Thomas Middleton), The Changeling (Middleton and Rowley), and The Duchess of Malfi (John Webster). We will study these plays as exemplars of swiftly-changing and varied theatrical tastes in the period. Many of these works provide purviews into the cultural situation of early modern London that are rarely found in Shakespeare’s works. One essay from this course will be nominated for the Catherine M. Shaw Early Drama Award.

Texts (available at the Word on Milton): Bevington David, and Lars Engle, Katharine Eisaman Maus, Eric Rasmussen, editors. English Renaissance Drama: A Norton Anthology. WW Norton, 2002.
ISBN 0-393-97655-6.

Evaluation:
First Essay, 7-8 pages (25%);
Final Essay, 10-12 pages (35%);
Final Exam (30%);
Participation (10%).

Format: Lecture and class discussion.

Average Enrolment: 35 students


ENGL 311 Poetics

All sections offered in the FALL TERM 2019

Section 001 - Professor Brian Trehearne 
TR 13:05-14:25

Section 002 - Instructor TBA
Time: TBA

Section 003 - Instructor TBA
Time: TBA

Section 004 - Instructor TBA
Time: TBA

Full course description

Prerequisite or co-requisite: ENGL 202 or ENGL 200. This course is open only to English majors in the literature stream. All Literature Majors must sign up for a section of ENGL 311 in their first year in the Literature program.

Description: This course introduces students to the formal and stylistic elements of poetry and prose fiction, provides them with a shared vocabulary for recognizing and analyzing different literary forms, and develops their reading, writing, and critical discussion skills.

Although many critical methods can be applied to the works in this course, Poetics focuses on teaching students how to talk and write precisely about a wide range of formal and stylistic techniques in relation to literary meaning in poetry and prose fiction. All the critical methodologies you will learn in your other English courses will benefit from your knowledge of the material of ENGL 311. You will read some works in Poetics that are also required in other courses, such as ENGL 202 and 203, the Departmental Surveys of English Literature. In Poetics, we study such works not primarily in historical context, or as engagements with literary, cultural or social history, but for the techniques of literary art with which they communicate. The course instructors assume that students enrolled as English majors will already have some facility explaining what given works of literature mean; we instead focus on understanding how literature creates meaning. Discussions and assignments will therefore involve the memorization, identification, and application of concepts and terms essential to the study of literary techniques. The English Literature program requires that ENGL 311 be taken in U1 so that all Literature students will be well prepared for their other studies with a shared terminology and training in critical writing.

Texts: 

  • Abrams, M.H., and Geoffrey Galt Harpham. A Glossary of Literary Terms. 11th edn. Wadsworth-Cengage, 2014.
  • Bausch, Richard, and R.V. Cassill, eds. The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction. Shorter 8th edn. New York: Norton, 2015.
  • Ferguson, Margaret, Mary Jo Salter and Jon Stallworthy, eds. The Norton Anthology of Poetry. 6th edn. New York: Norton, 2018.
  • Messenger, William E., et al., eds. The Canadian Writer’s Handbook. 6th edn. Toronto: Oxford, 2015.

Evaluation: First essay, close reading, 4 pp., 10%; second essay, comparison of poems, 5 pp., 15%; third essay, on short story, secondary research required, 6-7 pp., 15%; mid-term exam, 10% (in class); formal final examin­ation common to all sections of Poetics, 30%; class attendance and participa­tion, 10%; willing and effective completion of occasional short assign­ments, such as pop quizzes, writing exercises, scansions, and recitations, including such assignments and discussion opportunities as may be posted on the course website, 10%. This evaluation is the same for all sections of Poetics.

Format: Lecture and discussion, chiefly discussion.


ENGL 313: Canadian Drama and Theatre: Quebec

Professor Erin Hurley​
Fall 2019
MW 10:05-11:25

Full course description

Expected Preparation: Previous university-level courses in drama and theatre, literature, or cultural studies.

Description: This course will offer a selective survey of drama and theatre in Quebec from the 1950s to the present. With a focus on French-language theatre (to be read in English translation), we will trace the changing aesthetics and politics of this dynamic tradition, reading them in light of the shifting performance and social contexts. A secondary focus will be minority-language dramatic output and theatrical production in Quebec in the same period, with a particular emphasis on that produced in English and in Yiddish.

Students will have the opportunity to conduct primary-source research and analysis on under-documented aspects of Quebec theatre. Students may also work on research projects related to the Winter 2020 Festival of Staged-Readings of Quebec Plays in English, to be produced in Moyse Hall by Professor Hurley. To this end, we will explore the holdings on theatre at McGill in the Department of English and in McGill Archives and Special Collections.

Texts: Coursepack of critical and secondary readings

Plays will be selected to capitalize on the theatrical offerings in Montreal in Fall 2019. However, significant texts such as the following may feature on the reading list.

  • Claude Gauvreau, The Charge of the Expormidable Moose (La charge de l’orignal épormyable)
  • Jovette Marchessault, Night Cows
  • Michel Tremblay, Les belles-sœurs  
  • Collective, La nef des sorcières
  • David Fennario – Balconville
  • Larry Tremblay, The Dragonfly of Chicoutimi
  • Omari Newton, Sal Capone, The Lamentable Tragedy of
  • Wajdi Mouawad, Scorched
  • Evelyne de la Chenelière, Bashir Lazar
  • Annabel Soutar, Seeds and/or Fredy

Evaluation: Participation; posted class notes; group research project; in-class author presentation; short paper.

Format: Discussions, discussions, discussions; lectures, small, medium-sized, long; presentations / performances and other pedagogical means which can be arrived at through an exchange about possibilities.


ENGL 314 20th Century Drama

Realism and its Discontents

Professor Sean Carney
Winter 2020
TR 16:05-17:25

Full course description

Description: This course will examine European and North American drama of the twentieth century. We will begin by studying the great realists of the late nineteenth century and the philosophy underlying their dramaturgy. This will lead us into a consideration of various positive and negative responses to the realist tradition. We will examine these plays in their original theatrical contexts, while at the same time positioning these dramas in relation to their individual social and political moments. We will interrogate the specificity of drama as an art form, the implications raised by repetition, performance, the theatre as a collective activity, and the role of the audience in the determination of meaning on the stage. The overall goal of the course is to impart to students a foundational understanding of this dominant trend in modern drama.

Texts: TBA

Evaluation: First essay: 25%; class participation: 15%; major essay: 30%; final exam: 30%.

Format: Lectures and conferences.


ENGL 315 Shakespeare

Professor Wes Folkerth​
Winter 2020
Time: TBA

Full course description

Description: In this course we will focus only on the first half of Shakespeare’s career, the Elizabethan portion, which coincided with the rise of the professional theatre as the centerpiece of an emerging entertainment industry. We will begin with a number of very early plays, including The Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Taming of the Shrew, Titus Andronicus, and Henry the Sixth, Part One. Before the midterm we will also read one of Shakespeare’s popular narrative poems, “Venus and Adonis.” After the midterm we will focus on three plays – Richard II, Romeo and Juliet, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (world classics of history, tragedy, and comedy) – which he wrote all within the space of about a single year. The Merchant of Venice, and Henry the Fourth, Part One round out the decade of the 1590s, and our course. The plan is to cover approximately one play per two weeks. Are you Shakespearienced? After this course you will be. The pace will be fast and unrelenting, with a view to giving students in the English major and minor programs a fuller appreciation of the scope of Shakespeare’s accomplishment in the first half of his career.

Texts: The Norton Shakespeare Volume I: Early Plays and Poems. 2nd edition. ISBN 978-0-393-93144-0. Available at The Word Bookstore on Milton Street.

Evaluation: Midterm exam (30%); final essay (30%); final exam (30%); conference participation (10%).

Format: Lecture and conference sections.


ENGL 316 Milton

Professor Maggie Kilgour
Fall 2019
MW 16:30-18:00

Full course description

Prerequisite: None.

Expected Student Preparation: Previous university courses in English literature, especially ENGL 202; some knowledge of Renaissance literature or culture is desirable.

Note: If course is full, students who want to take it should contact the professor to be put on the waiting list asap and should come to the first class.

Description: A study of the poetry and selected prose of one of England’s most important, influential, and still controversial writers. While to many people today Milton seems the epitome of literary and political orthodoxy, in his own time he was known as a radical thinker, an advocate of regicide and divorce. His writing is complex and challenging, demanding close and active engagement from his readers. In this course we will take up his challenge to see especially how he speaks to current concerns. In the first few weeks, we look at Milton’s early poetry and some of his political writings, tracing his development as a poet in relation to his social, political, and literary context. The centre of the course will focus on a close reading of Paradise Lost. In conclusion, we will look briefly at his last works, Paradise Regain’d and Samson Agonistes, and discuss Milton’s later reputation and his continuing role in the Western literary tradition.

Texts: (required texts are available at McGill Bookstore)

Stella Revard ed, John Milton: Complete Shorter Poems (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009)
Barbara Lewalski, ed. John Milton: Paradise Lost (Blackwell, 2007).
Selections from the prose: on MyCourses
Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (recommended)
King James Bible (recommended)

Evaluation: 25% mid-term; 40% term paper on Paradise Lost; 25% take-home exam; 10% class participation.

Format: Lecture and discussion.


ENGL 318 Theory of English Studies 2

Disability in Literature

Professor Wes Folkerth
Fall 2019
WF 11:35-12:55

Full course description

Description: This course is designed to introduce students to Disability as an historical and social concept in literary history. We will begin by considering the history of the concept of disability, especially as it pertains to the medical and social models that developed in the 20th Century. Before heading into literary history we will also read and discuss David T. Mitchell and Susan L. Snyder’s broadly influential ideas on narrative prosthesis and the materiality of metaphor. We will then turn our attention to disability in a variety of literary contexts, beginning with Grimm’s fairy tales. The criticism and selections of literary works we read after this will be drawn from a wide range of periods, from the Classical era to the medieval and early modern periods, the 18C, Romanticism and the 19C, through the modernist period and into the present day. In the final third of the course will turn our attention to Disability Studies’s many points of intersection with Feminist, Queer, Critical Race, and Postcolonial theories.

Texts (available at The Word on Milton:

The Cambridge Companion to Literature and Disability. eds. Clare Barker and Stuart Murray. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2018.

Other texts TBA.

Evaluation (tentative): Midterm essay (30%); Final essay (30%); Final exam (30%); Participation (10%).

Format: Lecture and discussion.


ENGL 320 Postcolonial Literature

Asian American and Asian Canadian Literature

Professor Richard Jean So
Winter 2020
TR 14:35-15:55

Full course description

Description: This course offers an introduction to literature written by Asians living in North America. We first cover canonical works of Asian American literature from the 1970 to 1990 period, including texts by Maxine Hong Kingston and Frank Chin. We then next cover examples of Asian American and Asian Canadian literature from before 1970 – widely regarded as the “early” period of this literature – to examine articulations of Asian-ness in North America before its codification as a formal social and cultural category. Then, we look at more contemporary expressions of this literature: in the 1990s “multicultural moment” (Native Speaker); its diasporic iteration, particularly for South Asian American authors; its Canadian iteration, looking at Joy Kogawa’s major novel Obasan; and finally, in our current moment of “post-race,” considering what does it mean to even “write” as an “Asian American” or “Asian Canadian.” Broadly, we will consider themes and issues of immigration, hyphenated identity, transnationalism, and cultural citizenship. The course focuses on fiction but will also cover examples of poetry, non-fiction and memoir, drama, and graphic novels.

Texts:

  • Maxine Hong Kingston, Woman Warrior;
  • Chang-rae Lee, Native Speaker;
  • Joy Kogawa, Obasan;
  • Jhumpa Lahiri, Interpreter of Maladies;
  • Adrian Tomine, Shortcomings

Evaluation: TBA

Format: Lectures and discussions.


ENGL 322 Theories of the Text

The Text in Context

Professor Alexander Manshel
Fall 2019
TR 11:35-12:55

Full course description

Description: This course will introduce students to a range of thinkers invested in how literary texts come to be. Yet rather than focus on the individual talent or overarching historical forces, we will take up what James English has called the “middle zone of cultural space.” This is the zone of agents, publishers, translators, booksellers, prize committees, university English departments, creative writing programs, canon warriors, Goodreads, Amazon and Oprah. Pairing critical readings with novels and short fiction, we will investigate the central institutions, figures, and forces that mediate contemporary literary production and reception. Who are the “unacknowledged legislators” of the literary field, and how do they come between writer and reader to shape what each can and should do? What forces influence our conceptions of aesthetic value, and how is literary prestige measured and doled out? How do literary texts circulate within a culture, and how have they travelled across national and linguistic boundaries? Critical readings will include work by Pierre Bourdieu, Pascale Casanova, James English, Roderick Ferguson, Henry Louis Gates, Gerald Graff, John Guillory, Amy Hungerford, Bruno Latour, Günter Leypoldt, Mark McGurl, Jodi Melamed, Franco Moretti, Toni Morrison, Janice Radway, Juliana Spahr, Claire Squires, John Thompson, Ted Underwood, Rebecca Walkowitz, and others. We will also encounter fiction and poetry by authors such as Percival Everett, Julia Alvarez, Rachel Cusk, Don DeLillo, Nam Le, Ben Lerner, Toni Morrison, Vladimir Nabokov, Celeste Ng, Sylvia Plath, and Colson Whitehead.

Texts:
Coursepack
Percival Everett, Erasure [Graywolf Press]

Evaluation (tentative): Participation (10%); midterm (20%); two critical essays (20% each); final exam (30%).

Format: Lecture and discussion.


ENGL 324 Twentieth-Century American Prose

Novels and Short Stories

Professor Allan Hepburn
Winter 2020
WF 13:05-14:25

Full course description

Expected Student Preparation: Previous university courses in English literature, including Survey (ENGL 202 and 203), Poetics (ENGL 311), and at least one other English course.

Description: This course surveys major twentieth-century American novels and short stories. The course asks how American writers think of themselves and the republic in terms of individualism, race relations, business, romance, and real estate. What makes an American? What makes an American novel? What myths sustain American identity? Writers on the left, writers on the right, writers from the northeast, the south, the west, and writers exiled in Europe will be included. Attention will be paid to the way that justice and litigation enter the American imagination—the desire to defend oneself or to plead one’s cause. In some cases, fame, wealth, and Hollywood deform American ambitions while producing cultural forms and norms. We will consider the reasons for the emergence of fiction inflected with references to television, virginity, electro-shock therapy, conspiracy theory, women in business, shopping, cosmetics, language theory, and romance.

Texts: This list of texts is provisional.

  • Edith Wharton, The Custom of the Country
  • Willa Cather, A Lost Lady
  • William Faulkner, Light in August
  • Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
  • Toni Morrison, Jazz
  • Don DeLillo, Libra
  • Short story coursepack

Evaluation: Essay one (30%); essay two (30%); attendance and participation (10%); final exam (30%).

Format: Lecture


ENGL 326 Nineteenth-Century American Prose

Fiction After the Civil War: Regionalism, Urbanism, Internationalism

Professor Peter Gibian
Fall 2019
TR 8:35-9:55

Full course description

Prerequisite: None.

Expected Student Preparation: Previous university-level course work in American Literature, preferably before 1900, or permission of instructor.

Description: A mid-level survey of later-19th-century prose fiction forms representing a wide range of literary movements and modes. The course will be organized to trace ever-widening geographical, literary, and cultural horizons. A first unit will explore “regionalist” or “local color” writings (by authors such as Harris, Harte, Twain, Chopin, Stowe, Jewett, Cable, Chestnutt, and Alcott) rooted in the specificity of a unique geographical place that is seen to define a unique cultural or psychological identity. The second course unit will survey classic writerly responses to the late-19th-century city—seen (in authors such as Crane, Dreiser, James, and Wharton) as a new sort of hybrid place in which diverse strangers from a variety of homes and backgrounds are brought together to work out forms of coexistence. The final unit will then follow another group of turn-of-the-century writers as they expand American horizons even further, reflecting the nation’s move into the international arena with new fictional treatments of the International Theme. Authors such as James and Wharton ground their writing in the ever-shifting experience of cross-cultural travel and meditate anxiously on the situation of the writer as “cosmopolite”--perfectly placed (or dis-placed) to explore the problems and possibilities of inter-national interchange in a modern, globalizing world.

Texts (Tentative; editions TBA):  (Tentative; editions TBA): To be selected from authors noted in the description above. Readings will include not only short stories but also several longer novels; the amount of assigned reading will be fairly intensive.

  • Coursepack of photocopied short stories.
  • Alcott, Little Women;
  • Dreiser, Sister Carrie;
  • Wharton, The Age of Innocence
  • Baym, ed., The Norton Anthology of American Literature (8th ed., Vol. C).

Evaluation (Tentative): 25% mid-term exam; 25% essay; 10% conference participation; 40% formal, 3-hour final exam. (NB: All forms of evaluation in this course—on exams as well as essays—test abilities in literary-critical writing and analysis; there will be no short-answer or multiple-choice exams graded by computer.)

Format: Lecture and discussion sections.

Average Enrolment: 45 students.


ENGL 328 The Development of Canadian Poetry 1

Professor Brian Trehearne
Winter 2020
WF 13:05-14:25

Full course description

Description: A survey of the development of Canadian poetry from the nineteenth century to the Second World War. We will read more than a dozen poets in their period contexts and in relation to major themes and formal innovations that have particularly preoccupied Canadian writers. We will be attentive to developments of form, structure, and style in early and modern Canadian poetry, and we will situate Canadian poetic practice in the contexts of Anglo-American poetry within which it emerged. This means, though our readings will not be arranged strictly chronologically, that we will also study the periods of English-language writing—Romantic, Victorian, and modernist—in relation to which our authors envisioned their unique Canadian projects.

Expected Student Preparation: Because substantial attention will be paid to developments of poetic form and style, the material of this course is directed chiefly to English Literature majors who have completed the required Poetics course (ENGL 311) in the English department. Students in other English department programs who have completed their relevant Poetics course are also welcome but should be prepared for the literary focus and methods of this course. Students in other departments must have my permission to register. Please communicate with me at once if you are registered for this course but not in an English department program.

Texts: 

  • Gerson, Carole, and Gwendolyn Davies, eds. Canadian Poetry: From the Beginnings through the First World War. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart [New Canadian Library], 2010.
  • Trehearne, Brian, ed. Canadian Poetry 1920 to 1960. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart [New Canadian Library], 2010.

Evaluation: Depending on class size, either 1 essay, 8 pp., 30%; mid-term, 20%; final examination, 40%; or 2 essays, 5 and 8 pp., 20% and 30%; final examination, 40%. In either case add: partici­pation in class discussion, 10%. Please note before registering for this course: I assess active participation in discussion and not attendance. Full attendance through the semester without speaking will earn 0/10 in this category and substantially affect your final grade.

Format: Lecture and discussion.

Average Enrolment: 25 students


ENGL 331 Literature of the Romantic Period 1

Professor Michael Nicholson
Winter 2020
WF 16:05-17:25

Full course description

Description: In this course, we will examine a range of English, Irish, African, and Scottish writings from the early Romantic period in order to explore literature’s central role in representing and generating the era’s many revolutions: aesthetic, political, cultural, scientific, and religious. Our study of the Romantic period will focus in particular on six literal and figurative forms of literary and cultural change: 1) the French Revolution and human rights; 2) originality, myth, and the Romantic imagination; 3) nature, enclosure, and environment; 4) feminism, sensibility, and domesticity; 5) slavery, empire, and abolition; and 6) Four Nations Romanticism (England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland).

We will balance aesthetic appreciation with a healthy skepticism of the period’s claims to revolution. Some guiding questions: What are the formal, ethical, technological, and thematic continuities and ruptures between neoclassical and Romantic literatures and cultures? Were there aesthetic revolutions during the Romantic era? What poetic and fictional forms are most amenable to revolutionary thinking? Is the Romantic Movement escapist or engaged, radical or reactionary? How do feminist, laboring-class, abolitionist, and African writers participate in the period’s many revolutions? How does critical theory represent Romanticism in our present time? In what ways has Romantic poetry influenced the formation of the English canon and our modern practices of close reading?

Our syllabus neither follows a strict chronological nor historical narrative. Instead, we will look at six related clusters of development within Romantic writing. As a result of this survey’s emphasis on important constellations of late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century literature and culture, certain formal and historical topics will recur: representations of imperial conflict; attempts to define the self in solitude; depictions of emotional and sexual intimacy; vacillations between sincerity and irony; critiques of empiricism, utilitarianism, and industrialism; originary turns to the fragment poem and the locodescriptive lyric; and revisionary returns to the satire, the sonnet, the idyll, and the ode. Finally, this remarkably transformative epoch of literary history encompasses the proliferation of new aesthetic theories of the sublime, the beautiful, and the picturesque.

Texts: Selected works by William Blake, Robert Burns, Jane Austen, Joanna Baillie, Walter Scott, Olaudah Equiano, Charlotte Smith, Hannah More, Anna Laetitia Barbauld, Helen Maria Williams, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Wordsworth, Edmund Burke, William Gilpin, Ann Yearsley, Matthew Lewis, William Cowper, Thomas Paine, and Maria Edgeworth.

Evaluation: 10% participation; 20% mid-term exam; 40% term paper; 30% take-home final exam.

Format: Lecture and discussion.


ENGL 333 Development of Canadian Poetry 2

Professor Robert Lecker
Fall 2019
TR 11:35-12:55

Full course description

Description: This is a course about really reading poetry, in this case, Canadian poetry. It focuses on a group of approximately ten Canadian poets who have formed and responded to the Canadian literary landscape since World War II. Most of the poets covered in the course are writers who confront modern and contemporary ideas about the nature of self, society, sexuality, gender, and art, but we also look at the ways in which these writers are trying to deal with the existential implications of new views about science, God, and the poet’s place in his or her rapidly changing world. Since part of the reading involves thinking about aesthetic and theoretical issues, the course will deal with these issues, just as it will pay close attention to the meaning and resonance of particular poems. At the same time, it will consider the ways in which these poets (and us, as readers) construct the place called Canada as a metaphor that’s central to our daily lives. Students are encouraged to explore multi-media material related to each poet in question. The writing component of the course (frequent short essays but no term papers or exams) is designed to improve interpretive abilities and to encourage creative forms of critical expression. Students enrolling in this course should be prepared to write short essays on a weekly basis, and to participate actively in class discussion.

Texts: Lecker, Robert, ed. Open Country: Canadian Poetry in English. Toronto: Thomson Nelson, 2007.

Evaluation (Tentative): A series of short essays on each of the poets studied in the course, 80%; attendance, 10%; participation, 10%.

Format: Lecture and discussion.

Average Enrolment: 25 students.


ENGL 335 Twentieth-Century Novel 1

British Fiction

Professor Allan Hepburn
Fall 2019
TR 16:05-17:25

Full course description

Expected Student Preparation: Previous university courses in English literature, including Survey (ENGL 202 and 203), Poetics (ENGL 311), and at least one other English course.

Description: This course provides a survey of twentieth-century British novels. In addition to a discussion of modernist innovations of time and consciousness, we will take into consideration ethical stances of twentieth-century British writers, whether those stances are specifically political or, more generally, moral. Recurring novelistic tropes—first love, country houses, the Great War, the place of the avant-garde, snobbery, class consciousness, labour, industrialization, money—will be investigated. We will also consider generic conventions of comedy and tragedy as they get mixed into novelistic representation. Gender and its permutations in terms of sexuality will inform discussions of novels by men and women.

Texts: Approximately six novels will be chosen from the list below. The final decision about texts will be made in July 2019.

  • Joseph Conrad, The Secret Agent
  • Arthur Conan Doyle, The Hound of the Baskervilles
  • E. M. Forster, A Passage to India
  • Elizabeth Bowen, The Death of the Heart
  • Muriel Spark, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
  • Hilary Mantel, The Giant, O’Brien
  • Jim Crace, Being Dead

Evaluation: Essay one (30%); essay two (30%); attendance and participation (10%); final exam (30%).

Format: Lecture and discussion.


ENGL 342 Introduction to Old English

Professor Dorothy Bray
Fall 2019
TR 16:05-17:25

Full course description

Description: This course aims to be an intensive introduction to the study of Old English, the earliest form of the English language. We will begin with the phonology, morphology, and syntax of the language (that is, basic grammar, which is necessary but not necessarily painful), and advance to the reading of selected texts in prose and poetry.

The aim is to give students a grounding in the language to enable them to read works in the original. Along the way, we will look at some of the history of the English language, how it works as a language, and how it has changed and developed. This may offer some insights into the structure and workings of present-day English. Classes will be devoted at first to grammar and translation, but we will also be examining representations and interpretations of Anglo-Saxon literature through the reading and translating of the texts.

Throughout the course, we will be doing translation exercises and tests. Many of the exercises will be done in class, so attendance is important. We will ‘workshop’ translations through an analysis of the grammar and vocabulary, and eventually discuss possible interpretations of the texts. The course culminates in a reading of one of the finest poems in the English language, regardless of period, The Wanderer, and a translation project with a short essay component.

Texts: An Introduction to Old English, by Peter Baker. 3rd. edition. Malden, MA and Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Inc., 2003; 2011. Also available as e-book.

Evaluation: Class tests 35%; homework and exercises 35%; final translation project 20%; attendance and participation 10%.

Format: Lecture, workshop and discussion.


ENGL 345 Literature and Society

Professor Paul Yachnin​
Winter 2020
TR 16:05-17:25

Full course description

Description: In this course, we ask, is Shakespeare modern? Is he a precursor of the political culture of modernity? Is he the author of our ideas about what it is to be a happy and fulfilled person? And what, after all, do we mean when we say the word “modern”? We address these questions by thinking about our own ideas and practices, by reading plays by other early modern playwrights, some other works from the period and a few key readings in political philosophy. But the focus of our attention is a selection of plays by Shakespeare himself.

We also will spend time developing effective written and oral presentation skills—how to gather, organize, and analyze evidence, how to develop an idea/argument, how to engage and persuade your readers or auditors.

Texts:

Taming of the Shrew, ed. Frances E. Dolan (Bedford / St. Martin’s)
The Roaring Girl and other City Comedies, ed. James Knowles (Oxford)
Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus, ed. Sylvan Barnett (Signet Classics)
Tempest, ed. Stephen Orgel (Oxford)
Merchant of Venice, ed. Jay Halio (Oxford)
King Lear, ed. Russell Fraser (Signet)
Other readings will be provided in electronic form. 

Evaluation:

  • Short essays (2 pages, 650 words approx.), 5 x 8% each, 40%
    I’ll count the best four of five, provided that you write all five
  • Presentation (3 minutes), 15%;
  • Participation, 15%;
  • Take-home Exam (on King Lear), 30%.

Format: Lecture, workshop, discussion.


ENGL 346 Materiality and Sociology of Texts

Professor Michael Van Dussen
Winter 2020
TR 10:05-11:25

Full course description

Prerequisites: None. Limited to English Majors.

Description: This course examines the material circumstances and human mediations that condition the ways in which texts are produced and used. In addition to examining the materiality of print and digital texts, students will gain first-hand experience working with original manuscripts (that is, hand-written texts) in McGill’s rare books collections. We will attend to the production, circulation, and use of texts broadly conceived—as objects that are crafted, transacted, read, seen, and otherwise used. One primary concern of the course will be to come to a nuanced understanding of the transition from manuscript to print, and from print to digital media. In what ways are manuscripts and printed texts produced, circulated and read differently? How does the physicality of a text condition interpretation and the making of meaning? How does regard for the material circumstances of textual production complicate notions of authorship and intentionality? Readings will include modern theories of bibliography and editing, as well as theories of the book by commentators from the past.

Texts (provisional):

  • Course pack
  • Van Dussen and Johnston, The Medieval Manuscript Book: Cultural Approaches

Evaluation (provisional): Mid-term exam, 25%; rare books essay, 15%; critical response essay, 15%; final exam, 30%; participation and attendance, 15%.

Format: Lecture, discussion, workshop.


ENGL 347 Great Writings of Europe 1

Professor Kenneth Borris
Winter 2020
MW 16:05-17:25

Full course description

Description: TBA

Texts: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

Format: TBA


ENGL 349 English Literature and Folklore

Professor Dorothy Bray
Winter 2020
MW 14:35-15:55

Full course description

Prerequisite: None in particular, but some knowledge of medieval and early modern literature is an advantage.

Description: The study of folklore embraces the popular traditions, literature, customs and beliefs of a society and culture. This course will examine selected texts from the early medieval literature of Britain (Anglo-Saxon, Anglo-Norman, Scottish and Welsh) and of Ireland, mostly in translation; we will look as well at some later medieval works of Anglo-Norman England, which embody the folklore and popular tale traditions of the British Isles, including Arthurian tradition and the Robin Hood legends. The main topic will be the study of the folktale in narrative; the focus will be on heroic tradition and the types of the hero, but we will also consider folk motifs, fairy lore, oral tradition, mythology, and folk beliefs.

The aim of the course is to explore how folk tradition was incorporated into literary narratives, and how they can be approached and interpreted. The goal is not the study of folklore per se, but how authors drew upon such traditional material in the composition of their literary texts. The range is delimited to the literature of the British Isles of the medieval period (ca 900-1500 CE), rather than to international tales of later eras.

The study of folklore crosses into the disciplines of anthropology and ethnology, and with respect to early literature, into social, cultural and political history as well. The questions we must ask are: how does folk tradition inform and influence these narratives? What meanings can we infer from a literary construct that draws upon folk tradition? And what does that tradition consist of? Beginning with some of the basics of folklore theory, we will then proceed to explore examples of the early ‘national’ literatures of Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Norman England (Beowulf, ‘Lanval,’ King Horn, Sir Orfeo, Geoffrey of Monmouth, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Geoffrey Chaucer’s ‘Wife of Bath’s Tale,’ Robin Hood legends); Celtic Wales (tales from the Mabinogi); and Celtic Ireland (the Ulster cycle and other tales), in order to see how these works incorporate folk motifs and tale patterns, and to determine what meaning we may draw from them.

Texts:

  • The Táin. Trans. Thomas Kinsella. Oxford UP, 1969: Selected tales and chapters. (On reserve).
  • The Mabinogion. Trans. Sioned Davies. Oxford UP, 2007 (available as an e-book): the Four Branches, ‘How Culhwch Won Olwen.’
  • Beowulf, trans. R.M. Liuzza. 2nd ed. Broadview, 2013. Or the translation by Seamus Heaney in The Norton Anthology of English Literature, ed. Stephen Greenblatt and M.H. Abrams, et al..
  • ‘Sir Orfeo.’ http://d.lib.rochester.edu/teams/text/laskaya-and-salisbury-middle-engli...
  • ‘Lanval’ by Marie de France. Available on MyCourses or in The Norton Anthology of English Literature, ed. Stephen Greenblatt and M.H. Abrams, et al.
  • Geoffrey Chaucer. ‘The Wife Bath’s Tale.’ Available on MyCourses or in The Norton Anthology of English Literature, ed. Stephen Greenblatt and M.H. Abrams, et al.
  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Translated by Marie Borroff. Available on MyCourses or in The Norton Anthology of English Literature, ed. Stephen Greenblatt and M.H. Abrams, et al.
  • ‘The Wooing of Étaín,’ trans. Jeffrey Gantz, in Early Irish Myths and Sagas (Penguin Books, 1981), 37-59. Available on MyCourses.
  • King Horn. www.lib.rochester.edu/camelot/teams/hornfrm.htm
  • A Gest of Robyn Hode. www.lib.rochester.edu/camelot/teams/gest.htm
  • Geoffrey of Monmouth, History of the Kings of Britain, selections.

    These selections may change. Other works may be made available on MyCourses.

Evaluation: Essay, 15%; essay, 20%; mid-term 20%; final paper 35%; attendance and participation 10%.

Format: Lecture and discussion.


ENGL 356 Middle English

Literature of the 15th Century: From Medieval to Early Modern

Professor Michael Van Dussen
Fall 2019
TR 13:05-14:25

Full course description

Note: Students who have taken ENGL 356 under a different course topic are free to take this version of the course. Although the course number is the same, the content is entirely different; therefore, these will count as two different courses toward university and program requirements. Course texts are all written in the original Middle English, but no prior experience with Middle English is required. Introduction to the language will be provided and a portion of several classes will be devoted to reading, translating, and transcribing.

Description: The fifteenth century in England was a dynamic time during which concepts of authorship, communication, textual production, and literate activity were undergoing tremendous change. English was developing quickly as England’s official language, overtaking French and Latin. Heresy and its suppression met with a burgeoning humanist movement, and mainstream religious practice was enormously vibrant and varied. Further, at the end of the fifteenth century, print technology coexisted with a lively manuscript culture in England. Yet despite all of these developments, literature of the fifteenth century has often been characterized as derivative and cautious, with far more scholarly emphasis being placed on the poets of previous generations like Chaucer, Langland, Gower, and the Gawain-poet. This course situates fifteenth-century English literature in its dynamic cultural contexts, examining how late-medieval literature in England intersected with developments in politics, religious controversy, law, gender relations, historiography, literacy, and technology.

Texts (provisional): 

  • Henryson, Orpheus and Euridice
  • Hoccleve, My Compleinte and Other Poems
  • Lydgate, The Temple of Glass
  • Malory, Le Morte D’Arthur
  • The Book of Margery Kempe
  • Robin Hood and Other Outlaw Tales
  • Medieval drama: selections from the Towneley Plays, the N-Town Plays, and the Chester Mystery Cycle

Evaluation (provisional): Mid-term exam, 25%; final exam, 35%; analytical reading essays (x2) 30% (15% each); participation and attendance, 10%.

Format: Lectures and discussions.


ENGL 359 The Poetics of the Image 

Professor Ara Osterweil​
Winter 2020
TR 14:35-15:55 | Mandatory Screening: TBA

Full course description

Description: This course is designed to teach students how to meaningfully close read image-based cultural texts. Using multiple strategies of visual analysis, students will learn how to perform perceptive, informed, and medium-specific interpretations of both still and moving images. Focusing our critical lens on some of the most innovative photography and film texts of the last century, we will study the nuances of composition, color, mise-en-scène, framing, camera movement, editing and sound. Paying close attention to the ways in which visual style creates meaning, students will learn to look beyond narrative and dialogue in order to understand both the semiotics and poetics of the image. In addition to numerous close-reading exercises, we will be supplementing our investigation of images with several classical texts by theorists such as John Berger, Roland Barthes, Andre Bazin, Sergei Eisenstein, Jacques Lacan, Sigmund Freud, Laura Mulvey, Kaja Silverman, Stan Brakhage, and Maya Deren. Students must come to class having completed all of the assigned reading, and will be expected to participate verbally in class on a weekly basis.

Lectures will be illustrated by copious examples. In addition to lectures, there is a mandatory screening every week as well as several discussion sessions led by a Teaching Assistant throughout the semester.

Art and films by:

  • Andy Warhol
  • Cindy Sherman
  • Dorothea Lange
  • Jean-Luc Godard
  • Chris Marker
  • Sergei Eisenstein
  • Ingmar Bergman
  • Carl Theodor Dreyer
  • Maya Deren
  • Stan Brakhage
  • Yoko Ono
  • Barbara Hammer

Evaluation: TBA 

Format: TBA


ENGL 360 Literary Criticism

Professor Monica Popescu
Winter 2020
TR 14:35-15:55

Full course description

Description: Writers, critics, philosophers, historians, and sociologists have been wrestling with a number of questions about literature. What is literature and what is it supposed to do? How do we determine the aesthetic value of a text? What is the function of the writer, literary works, and literary criticism? Who determines what texts mean and how? What is the relation between literary production and forms of social organization or the political world? Through thematic clusters of tetxs, this course explores several topics that are central to literary criticism and critical theory: interpretation; canon formation; ideology; class, race, gender, and sexuality; discourse; hegemony; signification; and performativity. We will familiarize ourselves with some of the most important critical schools and approaches, such as Formalism, Post-Structuralism, Marxism, Feminism, Postcolonialism etc. In this process we will engage with thinkers from Plato to Walter Benjamin and to Jacques Derrida, from Sigmund Freud to Jacques Lacan and to Lauren Berlant, and from Karl Marx to Frantz Fanon and to Judith Butler.

Some of the readings for this course will be difficult and dense. Thorough preparation for each class meeting is essential. The course is required for – but not restricted to – Honours students in the English department’s Literature stream.

Required texts (provisional):
Coursepack
The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism

Evaluation: 
Paper 30%;
Joint presentation and handout: 20%;
Final take home exam 35%;
Participation: 15%.


ENGL 365 Costuming for the Theatre I

Instructor Catherine Bradley 
Fall 2019
TR 10:05-11:25

Full course description

Prerequisite:  None. Permission of the instructor required for registration. 

Description: ENGL365 focuses on skills acquisition. The process of costuming a main stage theatre production is the practical project that fuels this class. Skills that will be covered include use of industrial sewing machines, hand sewing techniques, and costume making.

Before working on the costumes for the production, we will practice the skills needed to costume a production by working through a series of skill building exercises. Students work at their own pace, learning skills that advance their own level of expertise. Students who already possess advanced skills will mentor beginners, while pursuing their own individual challenges.

Reading the script is the first order of business, followed by charting the characters, and doing background research on the themes and traditions of this play. Next we meet with the director to discuss her design vision. Based on the direction, students will create images for the costume designs. The Director will choose the final designs, in collaboration with the Instructor. Each student will then be given specific costumes to actualize, based on the images that they submitted, along with their stated interests.

The English Department Main Stage theatre production provides an opportunity for students to practice their costuming skills in the atelier and backstage. The class will be in charge of the costumes for each actor from head to toe, transitioning the costumes into dress rehearsals, and running the costumes backstage. Each student will have a specific production duty as well as a hands-on production project. Once we are in full production mode, the atelier will be open on specific days for hands-on projects and production hours.

Texts: TBD, based on play selection for Moyse Hall production.

Evaluation: TBA

Format: TBA

Enrolment: Permission of the Instructor only. Contact catherine.bradley [at] mcgill.ca


ENGL 367 Acting 2

Movement Improvisation, Vocalizing and Mask

Instructor Myrna Wyatt Selkirk 
Fall 2019
MW 11:35-13:25

Full course description

Limited enrolment. Permission of instructor required. Admission to the course will be by application. See application format below. If you have never taken a course with me, please also sign-up for an interview. Sign-up sheets for interviews will be on the door of Arts 240 by April 1, 2019.

Prerequisite:  ENGL 230, ENGL 269 and/or permission of instructor.

Description: 

This is a movement improvisation course that will use vocalization and masks as important parts of the exploration. Exercises are built to encourage new pathways of movement. In this course, breath, voice and movement will be used to open participants to new ways of acting and reacting. We will explore ways to release thought and find that place where we are free from fear and open to internal and external stimuli.

Our investigation will involve the following:
Metaphor and Movement: exploring how images move us in new and exciting ways.
Sounding and Movement: exploring how breath and the vibrations of the voice move our bodies.
Space and Objects: exploring how the relationship to space and objects can change the way we move.
Groups and Pairs: adding the above elements to group work. How can your relationship to others in space who are vocalizing, moving and/or pausing change you? How do you change them?

This course will investigate various forms of movement improvisation and somatic movement practices. The training encourages a spirit of inquiry and discovery. As a part of the work we will engage with masks and explore masked and unmasked improvisations. We will investigate time, space, shape, flow, composition and acting through play. The course will utilize aspects of Viewpoints, Continuum, Womb Cxre, Performance Scoring, Action Theatre, Pochinko Clown, Alexander Technique, etc.

Evaluation: Evaluation will be based on class work, presentations and journals.

Format: Games; improvisations; movement and voice exercises; discussion; presentations.

Application:
Submit answers to the following questions to myrna.wyatt.selkirk [at] mcgill.ca. (In your application please use both the number and subject for each response):

  1. Acting Experience:
  2. Improvisation Experience (not required, just interested in the answer):
  3. Theatre courses taken at McGill or elsewhere:
  4. Any other relevant experience:
  5. Other things I should know about you:
  6. Expected year of graduation and Major(s) and Minor(s):
  7. Have you taken ENGL 230? ENGL 269?
  8. What will you bring to this course? This can expand on numbers 4 and 5 above. Discuss special attributes and personality traits. Talk about your ability as a collaborator.
  9. What do you hope to get out of this course?

Average Enrolment: 14 students


ENGL 368 Stage Scenery and Lighting 1

Instructor Keith Roche
Fall 2019
TR 10:05-11:25

Full course description

Description: TBA

Format: TBA

Evaluation: TBA


ENGL 370 Theatre History

The Long 18th Century

Professor Fiona Ritchie
Winter 2020
TR 9:35-10:55

Full course description

Expected student preparation: Ideally students enrolled in this course will have already taken ENGL 230 Introduction to Theatre Studies.

Description: An overview of dramatic forms and theatrical practice in Britain from the Restoration through the eighteenth century to the Romantic period (c. 1660-1843). The course is divided into four chronological units encompassing the reopening of the professional theatre, the rise of morality and sentiment, the age of Garrick, and the development of stage spectacle. Each unit will cover the theatrical conditions of the period and will examine a representative play staged at the time. Emphasis is placed on the plays as theatrical works rather than literary texts. We will also analyse historical documents to explore themes such as genre, acting style, audience experience, theatre architecture, financial practices, regulation of the stage, and company management. In addition to reading and discussing theatre history documents and play texts, students will also participate in practical workshops in which they will direct their peers in performing scenes from the plays studied in light of their knowledge of the playing conditions of the period.

Texts: Peter Thomson, The Cambridge Introduction to English Theatre, 1660-1900 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006); coursepack containing a selection of contextual documents and the following plays (tentative): Aphra Behn, The Rover (1677); Richard Steele, The Conscious Lovers (1722); David Garrick and George Colman the Elder, The Clandestine Marriage (1766); Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Pizarro (1799)

Evaluation: (tentative): Participation 10%; midterm research assignment 20%; practical assignment 30%; take home final exam 40%.

Format: Lecture, discussion, group work, practical work.


ENGL 371 US Popular Entertainments in the 19th Century

Professor Katherine Zien
Winter 2020
TR 16:05-17:25

Full course description

Note: Students who have taken ENGL 371 previously, with a different topic, may take ENGL 371 again for credit with the signature of a Department of English advisor.

Description: This course explores representations and constructions of U.S. national identity in nineteenth and twentieth century popular theatre and entertainments. As the nation experienced industrialization, urbanization, immigration, changing sexual and gender norms, and fraught cultural and racial contact, popular entertainments attracted mass audiences and created spectacles of national inclusion and ‘othering.’ Units address the following themes and forms: racial and reform melodramas; antebellum and post-Emancipation stagings of race (including blackface minstrelsy and abolitionist performances); frontier spectacles (such as Buffalo Bill’s Wild West); freak shows and “proprietary museums;” popular dance, vaudeville, and gendered displays; imperialism and world’s fairs; and the Jazz Age. We will culminate by investigating the Federal Theatre Project as a moment in which popular entertainments were institutionalized to create new contexts merging labor and leisure. In readings supplemented by contextualizing lectures, we will consider the place of the “popular” – in its classed, ethnic, racial, gendered, erotic, commercial, and hegemonic valences – in forging styles of U.S. citizenship and belonging that persist to the current day, often in camouflage.

Texts:

  • Play texts (Metamora; The Octoroon; Uncle Tom’s Cabin)
  • Films (The Jazz Singer)
  • Secondary sources including texts by Annemarie Bean, Daphne Brooks, Jayna Brown, W.E.B. Du Bois, Andrew Erdman, Susan Glenn, Saidiya Hartman, Bethany Hughes, Andrea Most, Joseph Roach, David Roediger, Michael Rogin, Robert Rydell, David Savran, and S.E. Wilmer, among others.

Evaluation: In-class participation: 10%; midterm exam: 30%; short response essays: 30%; research paper: 30%.

Format: Lectures and discussions.

Average Enrolment: Capped at 65 students.


ENGL 372 Stage Scenery and Lighting 2

Instructor Keith Roche
Winter 2020
​TR 10:05-11:25

Full course description

Description: TBA

Format: TBA

Evaluation: TBA


English 374: American Film and Television of the 1950’s

Professor Ned Schantz
Fall 2019
MW 8:35-9:55

Full course description

Expected Student Preparation: Prior film or television studies is advantageous but not required. Students are asked to see Sunset Boulevard before the first class.

Description: No decade in American history attracts a stranger combination of nostalgia and disgust. Indeed, no decade in American history is more peculiarly American—more attached to the prevailing stereotypes of naive affluence, cynical arrogance, and reckless enthusiasm, not to say bobby socks, hula hoops, malted milks, and Elvis Presley. In this course we will dive headlong into the maw of the fifties beast, with all the suburbs, commercialism, and Cold War paranoia that entails. But our method of comparative media and genre studies will also seek out gaps in that old fifties picture. As an aging and blacklist-ravaged film industry confronts an upstart television culture in search of definition—as film noir rots, the Western peaks, and science fiction surges—we will increasingly seek not just the sleek surfaces of the fifties cliché, but the churning history of our own present.

Possible films include: Rebel Without a Cause, Johnny Guitar, Glen or Glenda? Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Imitation of Life, Shadows, and The Apartment.

Possible shows include: I Love Lucy, Gunsmoke, The Honeymooners, Dragnet, The Twilight Zone, and Perry Mason.

Note: As stated above, all students are asked to see Sunset Boulevard before the first class.

Format: Lecture and conferences.

Evaluation: 3 Quizzes 5% each, posted course notes 5%, journal 30%, term paper 40%, participation 10%.

Average Enrolment: 70 students

Note: McGill University values academic integrity. Therefore, all students must understand the meaning and consequences of cheating, plagiarism and other academic offenses under the Code of Student Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures (see http://www.mcgill.ca/integrity/ for more information).


ENGL 375 Acting Simulations for Couples and Family Therapy (CAFT).

Professor Myrna Wyatt Selkirk
This is a 3-credit course that spans Fall and Winter Term.
Fall 2019: Time TBA
Winter 2020: Time TBA

Full course description

Description: This course is an opportunity for students to act in simulations for the Social Work, Couples and Family Therapy (CAFT) Program. You will be acting as clients coming to simulated therapy sessions either in a couple or as part of a family. This course offers you a great opportunity to do long form improvisation and to help therapists in training.

Requirements:

  • Experience as an Actor.
  • Experience with improvisation.
  • Drama and Theatre Major or Minor and/or permission of instructor.
  • Students must be available during the social work course, schedule TBA.

Activities and evaluation: 

  • Class simulations, 1 hour per week: 65%
  • Improvisations, rehearsals and planning, 2 hours per week: 25%
  • Reading Journals and Journals: 10%

Application: Written Application and participation in an Entrance Workshop. A Sign-up Sheet for the workshop will be posted on the door of Arts 240 by April 1, 2019.

Submit answers to the following questions to myrna.wyatt.selkirk [at] mcgill.ca. (In your application please use both the number and subject for each response):

  1. Acting Experience:
  2. Improvisation Experience:
  3. Theatre courses taken at McGill or elsewhere:
  4. Any other relevant experience:
  5. Other things we should know about you:
  6. Expected year of graduation and Major(s) and Minor(s):
  7. Have you taken ENGL 230? ENGL 269?
  8. What will you bring to this course? This can expand on numbers 4 and 5 above. Discuss special attributes and personality traits. Talk about your ability as a collaborator.
  9. What do you hope to get out of this course? Why is it of special interest to you?

Average Enrolment: 8 students


ENGL 377 Costuming for the Theatre II

Instructor Catherine Bradley 
Winter 2020
TR 10:05-11:25

Full course description

Prerequisite: None. Permission of the instructor required for registration.

Description: Costuming for the Theatre II builds on skills acquired in Costuming I, including costume construction techniques, and developing efficient costume production techniques. There are two main learning modules in advanced costuming: Technical Sewing, and Draping. Sewing skills that were gained in the first semester will be built upon through specific practical exercises, and by costuming the English Department Mainstage production. Draping techniques will be practiced on half-scale mannequins, and will culminate in a themed project.

The hands-on process of making a costume is the Production Project. Costuming II differs from Costuming I in the level of independence expected from the students. The various aspects of production will take a substantial amount of time throughout the semester. Students who are unprepared for the time commitment are asked to reconsider accepting a place in the class.

Each student will also have a specific Production Duty which is an individual responsibility which takes shape during the semester, and culminates at the end of term as the main stage production is presented. Duties include acting as Costume Crew Head, or Online Program Designer, or Costume Organizer, or Rehearsal Costume Co-ordinator, to name a few.

The different production duties feed into into two different teams – Prep Team and Dressing Team. The first focuses on Hair and Make-up, and the second focuses on running the costumes backstage. Dress rehearsals and show nights will be divided among the members of the two teams. After the final curtain, all students will be required to participate in the dismantling of the show.

Texts: TBD, based on play selection for Moyse Hall production.

Evaluation: TBA

Format: TBA

Enrolment: Permission of the Instructor only. Contact catherine.bradley [at] mcgill.ca


ENGL 378 Media and Culture

Canadian Inuit, Métis, and First Nations Literature Video and Film

Professor Marianne Stenbaek​
Fall 2019
Time: TBA

Full course description

Description: This course offers an introduction to Canadian Inuit, Métis and First Nations literature. Video and film will be discussed to a limited extent. It should be clear that the course is only an introduction because Canada is a very vast and varied country with over six-hundred different First Nations tribes, four distinct Inuit regions and several Métis groups who all have different traditions and often different languages and quite distinct histories.

We will look at works in English, either in the original or translated.

The course will look at oral literature, story-telling and legends handed down through generations as well as contemporary “collaborative life stories”, novels, and essays. Creations in modern media such as television and film have been both forceful and successful; examples will be included.

The common theme are “survival” in an era of colonialism in whatever form it may take and a search for reconciliation and a renewed identify in the contemporary world.

Texts: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

Format: Lectures, discussion, screening and field trips.


ENGL 383 Studies in Communication 1

The Mute in Literature and Film

Professor Berkeley Kaite
Fall 2019
WF 16:00-17:30

Full course description

Description: This course addresses the presence of mute characters in films and fiction. These characters – mute by virtue of deafness, a coma, trauma, or by apparent choice or inexplicable reason – don’t use vocal speech but communicate via sign language, the written text, embodied expression, their actions, and their silence. This last phenomenon – the one who doesn’t speak by volition or without underlying cause – is perhaps the most interesting. We have to ask what the silence performs and what it is the text can’t bring itself to say. We will focus on what the silence of the mute character amplifies, activates, propels, reveals, puts into motion, and represses. We will be in tune with the themes, motifs, metaphors that animate these texts. Among them are: music, the materiality of language, violence, death.

Language fails us: this could be the theme of this course. The focus is thus not on silence as a sign of repression or oppression but as a productive site which has the effect of amplifying voices, anxieties, and forces around it. That is to say, we will ask what interests are filled in to replace the silence of the mute. One could also say this is a course about cultural ventriloquism. We will of necessity discuss the fetishization of truth, identity and voice. The theoretical framework is drawn from some of the ideas of Michel Foucault on the productivity of power via silence; as well there are a few short readings on silence and voice which use some Foucauldian ideas.

Texts: 

Books
-

  • Mister Sandman, Barbara Gowdy
  • The Seal Wife, Kathryn Harrison
  • Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, Jonathan Safran Foer

Short story, chapters and article -

  • Karen Russell, “Accident Brief,” The New Yorker (June 19, 2006)
  • Chloe Taylor, “Confession and Modern Subjectivity,” The Culture of Confession from Augustine to Foucault: A Genealogy of the ‘Confessing Animal (Routledge, 2008)
  • Michael Chion, “The Mute Character’s Final Words,” The Voice in Cinema, ed. and trans by Claudia Gorbman (New York: Columbia UP, 1999)
  • Valerie Hazel, “Disjointed Articulations: The Politics of Voice and Jane Campion’s The Piano,” Women’s Studies Journal, 10:2 (September 1994)

Films -

  • Persona  (dir. Ingmar Bergman)
  • The Shape of Water (dir. Guillermo del Toro)
  • The Piano (dir. Jane Campion)
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (dir. Milos Forman)
  • Johnny Belinda (dir. Jean Negulesco)
  • Talk to Her (dir. Pedro Almodovar)

Evaluation (tentative): 10% short essay on the short story; 70% two short essays (35% each); 10% participation; 10% short responses.

Format: Lectures, discussions, screenings.


ENGL 385 Topics in Literature and Film

Solitude in Literature and Film

Professor Berkeley Kaite​
Winter 2020
WF 14:35-15:55

Full course description

Description: This course confronts a central modern ambiguity: to be fully human – i.e., social – is to be alone. We live among others and according to shared assumptions and norms and yet are capable of, and equipped for, self-contemplation, even self-absorption. This course addresses the literary and cinematic/televisual manifestation of solitude in a short story, novels, films, non-fiction essays and a TV show. We will examine how it is imagined, elaborated and, if not exalted, presented as inescapable: the experience of being one in a world. Our characters negotiate “the self” in relation to, among others: their environments; geographic location; nature; their history; official history; their location or dislocation within culture; the central ambiguities of modern life; memories and official memory, or memory as solitude; others; their emotions, desires and fears; their intellect and intellectual apprehension; intuitive and authoritative knowledge; the family; narrative, “truth,” and, perhaps foremost, language itself. A central human paradox is that we have words to describe the indescribable. Solitude may be indescribable but it still seeks expression in language, metaphor and images. All our characters are marginal in some way or another and that means they foreground questions about what constitutes a center. Our works depict hope, longing, and creative imaginings of understanding and existing.

Texts: books – (tentative)

  • Go, Went, Gone, Jenny Erpenbeck
  • The Empathy Exams, Leslie Jamison
  • The History of Love, Nicole Krauss
  • Doctor Glas, Hjalmar Söderberg
  • Funeral for a Dog, Thomas Pletzinger
  • Seeking Rapture, Kathryn Harrison

Films -

  • Hiroshima, Mon Amour (dir. Alain Resnais, 1959)
  • I Am Not Your Negro (Raoul Peck, 2017)
  • Paris Texas (dir. Wim Wenders, 1984)
  • The Straight Story (dir. David Lynch, 1999)
  • In Treatment (HBO, 2010)

Short story, chapters & article and selection -

  • Lorrie Moore, “People Like That Are the Only People Here: Canonical Babbling in Peed Onk”
  • Jonathan Franzen, “Farther Away: Robinson Crusoe, David Foster Wallace, and the island of solitude”
  • Nina Nørgaard, “Pleasure and Pain – Solitude as a Literary Theme: A Review Article”
  • Edward Engelberg, “Introduction,” Solitude and Its Ambiguities in Modernist Fiction
  • Selections from Janet Malcolm, Psychoanalysis: The Impossible Profession 

Evaluation (tentative): 10% weekly short responses (10@ 1%; 250 words); 10% discussion paper (900 words); 35% first short essay (2000 words); 35% second short essay (2000 words); 10% participation.

Format: lecture and discussion; screenings.


English 388 Hitchcock

Professor Ned Schantz
Winter 2020
TR 16:05-17:25

Full course description

Description: This course will investigate the full range of Alfred Hitchcock’s career in film and television from the twenties to the seventies. It will unfold in roughly two halves. The first half will be a crash course in Hitchcock studies—a condensed tour through some of the most recent and influential statements in the field (by critics such as Tania Modleski, D.A. Miller, Lee Edelman, Susan Smith, and Jonathan Goldberg), and a broad look at many of the major films. Be prepared to move fast.

The second half of the course will be a sustained consideration of modern hospitality, the dominant, but curiously undiscovered, theme of Hitchcock’s work. It is a theme that operates in several registers at once, and our approach in the second part of the course will be to isolate one of these registers each week. Examples might include the party scenes of Rebecca, Notorious, Rope, and Marnie, the refuge plots of The 39 Steps, Saboteur, and North by Northwest, or the contracts secured under hospitable pretences in Dial M for Murder, Vertigo, and Strangers on a Train. We will ultimately consider modern culture itself as a scene of troubling hospitality—a scene all the more vexed as we follow Hitchcock’s work from the cinema into the domestic space of television, where he will explicitly play the host.

Texts: Tania Modleski The Women Who Knew Too Much
and a coursepack.

Evaluation: 3 Quizzes 5% each; posted class notes 5%; short assignments 35%; term project 35%; participation 10%.

Format: Lecture and conferences.

Average Enrolment: 70 students

Note: McGill University values academic integrity. Therefore, all students must understand the meaning and consequences of cheating, plagiarism and other academic offenses under the Code of Student Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures (see http://www.mcgill.ca/integrity/ for more information).


ENGL 390 Political and Cultural Theory

The Private and the Public

Professor Paul Yachnin
Fall 2019
MW 10:05-11:25

Full course description

Description: In this course, we study key literary works that have been central to the creation of our ideas about the private and the public. These include two plays by Shakespeare, readings from the two influential “confessions” of St. Augustine and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the great nineteenth-century novel Jane Eyre, and Katherine Boo’s brilliant novel-like account of life in the “undercity.” Our literary reading will be supplemented by the work of a number of important thinkers, including Hannah Arendt, Jürgen Habermas, Michael Warner, and Martha Nussbaum.

The course is about the history of the ideas and practices that have created the shifting zones of private and public life. We’ll move toward a deeper understanding of how our world has been shaped by the history of privacy and publicity (i.e., the condition of being public). We will also work on critical writing skills—how to select evidence from a literary or philosophical text, how to analyze that evidence creatively and critically, how to build on evidence, and how to develop a coherent, persuasive, and moving argument. Students in the course will write four one-page argumentative, evidence-based essays. Students will also write two four-page essays—more reflective but still evidence-based and argumentative. The take-home exam will focus on privacy, publicity, and the question of justice.

Participation counts a lot in the course. That means being there and it also means bringing your ideas and questions to class. It is really true: there is no such thing as a stupid question. Questions of all kinds will drive the intellectual work of the course forward.

Texts: (available at Paragraph Books):

  • Shakespeare, Hamlet, ed. A. R. Braunmuller (Pelican)
  • Shakespeare, Othello, ed. Michael Neill (Oxford)
  • St. Augustine, Confessions, trans. Henry Chadwick (Oxford)
  • Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre, ed. Margaret Smith (Oxford)
  • Katherine Boo, Behind the Beautiful Forever: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity (Random House, 2012)

    Other readings will be provided in electronic form.

Evaluation: 

  • One-page papers (5% each), 20%
    I will calculate this grade based on the best three out of four one-page papers—provided that you write all four papers.
  • Four-page papers (20% each), 40%
  • Participation, 15%
  • Take-home Exam, 25%

Format: Lecture and discussion.


ENGL 391 Special Topics in Cultural Studies 1

Ecology and Existence

Professor Alanna Thain
Fall 2019
M 14:35-17:25

Full course description

Description: TBA

Texts: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

Format: Lecture and discussion.