Courses Taught




Maria Assif 




Christine Bolus-Reichert  

on leave 2017-18


Neal Dolan   




Andrew DuBois 




Deirdre Flynn     




Kara Gaston




Marlene Goldman




Sarah King




Neil ten Kortenaar 




Katherine Larson




Garry Leonard 




Alice Maurice 

on leave 2017-18


Anne Milne

416 208-5114








Sonja Nikkila




Yulia Ryzhik




Sara Saljoughi 




Daniel Tysdal 




Karina Vernon




Andrew Westoll    




Laura Jane Wey  

 on leave 2017-18

    Chair: Professor Katie Larson  
    Associate Chair Professor Karina Vernon  

 For advice regarding course selection and program requirements, please contact Undergraduate Advisor, Sean Ramrattan at




ENGA11H3S: Introduction to Twentieth-Century Literature and Film: 1945 to Today

Instructor: Garry Leonard

In ENGA11, we will continue our study of literature and film against the backdrop of twentieth-century modernity, from 1945 to the present. In lectures on works such as Becket’s Waiting for Godot, we will place the rise of fascism, and its discourse of mastery, alongside the loss of transcendental certitude and the post-enlightenment crisis brought on by the Atomic Age and the Holocaust. Ethnic, racial, and postcolonial issues will figure prominently in discussions of Naipaul’s Miguel Street and Morrison’s The Bluest Eye. Issues of identity and postmodernism will be explored in the novel White Noise and Hitchcock’s Vertigo. At all times we will be interested in the lived experience of modernity—what it felt like—as well as whatever it was, and whatever it still is.


ENGB04H3S: Critical Thinking about Poetry

Instructor: Neal Dolan

The title “Critical Thinking About Poetry” says much about what we hope to accomplish in this course. We are going to amass a range of critical tools that will help us to read poetry deeply and with pleasure. Along the way we will learn much about the history of poetry written in English. We will see that poetry is not some alien discourse from outer space, but is written by and for human people right here on earth. We will also see how the best poems are designed with the utmost care and how such well-crafted objects offer many compelling truths and kinds of beauty. Most of the great poets in English will be considered. Success in this course is contingent on coming to class and doing the reading with care.


ENGB05H3S: Critical Writing about Literature

Instructor: Maria Assif et al.

English B05 teaches essay-writing skills that are specific to the analysis of literature, mainly fiction, at a university level, and is taught through workshops. This is not a grammar course; you are expected to enter it with solid English literacy skills. (Instructors will assist students with literacy resources if required.) Throughout the term, we will be examining and practicing different writing skills (paraphrasing, quoting, explicating, analyzing, in-class writing, critiquing, metawriting, and researching), discussing a variety of library research techniques, bibliographies, and MLA-style citation guidelines. To apply these acquired skills, you will be asked to do in-class exercises, produce paragraphs and short papers, and develop a research-based assignment by the end of the course. Ultimately, you should feel comfortable developing your own voice, as distinct from the critics you investigate, and should consequently gain more confidence in your own readings of both primary and secondary sources. Required texts may vary by section.


ENGB28H3S: Charting Literary History II

Instructor: Yulia Ryzhik

An introduction to the historical and cultural developments that have impacted the study of literature in English from 1700 to our contemporary moment. This course will familiarize students with the eighteenth century, Romanticism, the Victorian period, Modernism, and Postmodernism, and will attend to the significance of postcolonial and world literatures in shaping the notions of literary history and the literary “canon.”


ENGB32H3S: Shakespeare in Context

Instructor: Yulia Ryzhik

Part I: Our Shakespeares / Ourselves

This course explores Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets from three vantage points: from the perspective of the literary traditions and historical sources from which Shakespeare drew inspiration, from the perspective of the contemporary contexts and controversies of the English Renaissance, and from the perspective of Shakespeare’s afterlives in film, performance, and literature. Over the course of the term, we will explore some of the traditions out of which Shakespeare’s works emerged and the creative legacies these works have engendered. We will consider how Shakespeare’s body of work innovates on language and conventions of genre and how it continues to be a source for shaping and challenging many of the central questions we ask of ourselves, our literatures, and our cultures today. Pre-1900 course.


ENGB34H3S: The Short Story

Instructor: Noa Reich

An introduction to the short story as a literary form. This course examines the origins and recent development of the short story, its special appeal for writers and readers, and the particular effects it is able to produce.


ENGB35H3S: Children’s Literature

Instructor: Natalie Rose

An introduction to children’s literature. This course will locate children's literature within the history of social attitudes to children and in terms of such topics as authorial creativity, race, class, gender, and nationhood.


ENGB39H3S: Tolkien’s Middle Ages (NEW in 2018!)

Instructor: TBA

This course considers the relationship between modern fantasy and medieval literature through the work of J. R. R. Tolkien. A professor of medieval literature at Oxford, Tolkien used his academic research to develop the mythology, language, and literature of Middle Earth. This course will survey both Tolkien’s writing, including the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and the medieval poetry that inspired it, from Old English heroic epic to Welsh folklore. Throughout, we will consider how and why the middle ages offer such compelling material for 20th and 21st century fantasy.


ENGB61H3S: Creative Writing: Fiction I

Instructor: Daniel Scott Tysdal

Topic: “Something Glimpsed from the Corner of the Eye in Passing”: Writing Short Fiction

The short story is an essential because ubiquitous form, yet it is also one that, despite this ubiquity, lacks a satisfactory definition. The short story is perhaps best characterized by its concern with the fleeting, the liminal, the traumatic and intruding. This concern is variously conceived by a number of the form’s finest practitioners as seeing by “the flash of fireflies” (Nadine Gordimer), as bearing witness to outsider people “wandering about the fringes of society” (Frank O’Connor), as attending to “something glimpsed from the corner of the eye in passing” (V.S. Pritchett). In this course, we will explore the short story’s realm of the secret, the lacking, the truncated, and the unsaid as a means of studying the range of narrative elements—from mode to metaphor, from design to dialogue—that compose the well-told story and uniquely imagined world.


ENGB75H3S: Cinema and Modernity: Melodrama, Film Noir, and Western

Instructor: Deirdre Flynn

In this class we will explore the ways in which modernity (the socio-historical, economic, and cultural context of the films) intersects with narrative content (character, plot, and various mise-en-scène elements that are part of the film’s narrative) and cinematic form (camera angles, shot types, editing, lighting, sound, and other cinematic elements that are not part of the story itself) in the Hollywood genres of Melodrama, Film Noir, and Western. We will ask how each genre offers a different entry point into modernity, suggesting priorities and values particular to the genre and, in some cases, depicting solutions to resolve the irresolvable problems of modernity. We will view and discuss the following films in the following order: Broken Blossoms, Now, Voyager, Imitation of Life, American Beauty, Detour, Double Indemnity, Lost Highway, High Noon, Shane, and Taxi Driver. In addition to posting five short discussion board entries, you will write a midterm essay, take a midterm test, and take a final exam.  


ENGC01H3S: Indigenous Literature in Canada/Turtle Island (NEW in 2018!)

Instructor: Karina Vernon

This course introduces students to a diverse selection of recent writing by Indigenous authors in Canada/ Turtle Island, including novels, poetry, drama, essay, oratory and autobiography. Discussion of literature is grounded in Indigenous literary criticism, which addresses such issues as appropriation of voice, language, land, spirituality, orality, colonialism, gender, hybridity, authenticity, resistance, sovereignty and anti-racism.


Critical Reflections 30%

Participation 10%

Group Presentation 30%

Final Essay 30%


Readings (subject to change)

Introduction to Indigenous Literary Criticism in Canada, eds. Heather Macfarlane and Armand Garnet Ruffo (2015)

An Anthology of Canadian Native Literature in English, eds Daniel David Moses, Terry Goldie and Armand Garnet Ruffo (2013)


ENGC03H3S: Topics in Canadian Fiction

Instructor: Marlene Goldman

An analysis of Canadian fiction with regard to the problems of representation. Topics considered may include how Canadian fiction writers have responded to and documented the local; social rupture and historical trauma; and the problematics of representation for marginalized societies, groups, and identities.


ENGC04H3S: Entering the Dark Rooms of Our Souls: Writing the Short Film

Instructor: Daniel Scott Tysdal

“Film as dream, film as music. No art passes our conscience in the way film does,

and goes directly to our feelings, deep down into the dark rooms of our souls.”

—Ingmar Bergman


“It’s always been a lie that it’s difficult to make films.”

—Lars von Trier


Course Description: Film, as Bergman suggests, possesses the power to engulf us, to transcend the conscience and delve “deep down into the dark rooms of our souls.” One of the reasons for this power is that film is a combination of all of the arts—theatre, music, painting, architecture, poetry, and on and on. And yet as enthralling as the power of this combination of mediums and forms can manifest for us as viewers, this same combination—in its sheer variety and range—can leave us as artists feeling overpowered. This is why we need to hold von Trier’s comment close to our soul’s dark rooms. For implicit in von Trier’s typically trickstery assertion is a basic fact: the secret to making a film is to make a film, to take that first step, knowing that if your vision moves others and you are willing to put in the work you will not walk alone.

In this course, we will take the most foundational first step together: writing the script. Our focus will be the short film screenplay, and through our readings, screenings, discussions, and writing we will explore both the power of the medium so eloquently described by Bergman and the practical techniques that create this power, techniques that, mastered, will allow us to agree wholeheartedly with von Trier, not only in theory but based on what we have made. We will accomplish this through a variety of activities, including generating story ideas, discussing short films, writing and workshopping scripts, learning how and why to make pitches, and, even, preparing a portion of our scripts for public presentation, whether through a dramatic reading, storyboards, or a screening.


ENGC15H3S: Concepts in Literary Criticism

Instructor: Andrew DuBois

A study of selected topics in literary criticism. Schools of criticism and critical methodologies such as New Criticism, structuralism, poststructuralism, Marxism, psychoanalysis, gender and sexuality studies, New Historicism, and postcolonialism will be covered, both to give students a roughly century-wide survey of the field and to provide them with a range of models applicable to their own critical work as writers and thinkers. Recommended for students planning to pursue graduate study in English literature.


ENGC17H3S: Colonial and Postcolonial Literature (NEW in 2018!)

Instructor: Neil ten Kortenaar

Over the course of five centuries, European empires changed the face of every continent. The present world bears the traces of those empires in the form of nation-states, capitalism, population transfers, and the spread of European languages. Of course, conquest and colonization were also resisted. This course will consider how empire and resistance to empire have been imagined and narrated in a variety of texts over centuries and continents. The course will examine anticolonialism and postcolonialism, the intellectual movements that challenge the Eurocentric understanding of history, literature, and culture inherited by the former colonies.


Texts to be studied are likely to include:

Shakepeare The Tempest

Daniel Defoe Robinson Crusoe

EM Forster A Passage to India

Albert Memmi The Colonizer and the Colonized

Chinua Achebe  Things Fall Apart

Tsitsi Dangarembga  Nervous conditions.

Plus readings by Frantz Fanon, Ranajit Guha, Edward Said, Gayatri Spivak,

Evaluation: weekly responses (20%), 2 short essays (40%), class participation (10%), exam (30%)


ENGC21H3S: The Victorian Novel to 1860

Instructor: Sonja Nikkila

In many ways, reading novels from the first decades of Victoria’s reign (1837-1860) is like being a stranger in a strange land. People dressed differently, spoke differently, and on some very crucial points (including gender, race, and religion) thought quite differently from us. But as we will discover in this course, there is as much that connects us to those wacko Victorians as there is that separates us. We will explore the novels of some of the most beloved and enduring authors in English literature alongside modern film adaptations to reconcile the unfamiliarity of the period with the universality and timelessness of the stories they told. Pre-1900 course.


Evaluation Method: Your mark for the course will be based on an essay (including a topic proposal exercise), several short written assignments, and in-class participation, alongside the final exam.


Texts May Include: Dickens’s Oliver Twist, Thackeray’s Barry Lyndon, Anne Brontë’s Agnes Grey, Gaskell’s North & South, Trollope’s The Warden, George Eliot’s Adam Bede

ENGC33H3S Deceit, Dissent, and the English Civil Wars, 1603-1660

Instructor: Yulia Ryzhik

A study of the poetry, prose, and drama written in England between the death of Queen Elizabeth in 1603 and the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660, a time period as rich in literary achievement as it was intellectually and politically volatile. This course will examine the innovative literature of these politically tumultuous years alongside debates concerning personal and political sovereignty, religion, censorship, ethnicity, courtship and marriage, women's authorship, and new developments in science and philosophy. Pre-1900 course


ENGC35H3S: Imagined Communities of Early Modern England, 1500-1700

Instructor: TBA

 “[Race is] a narrative, a story, a history. Something constructed, told, spoken, not simply found.”--Stuart Hall, Identity Documents (1988)

From the ‘spice islands’ of the Indonesian archipelago to the frontier of the Americas, from the frozen edges of the Arctic ocean to the sun-bleached sands of the Mediterranean islands, the globe—both a real and imagined space—changed dramatically during the Renaissance. This course explores how ideas about community, particularly ideas about race and kind, took shape in the context of what scholars today call ‘The Global Renaissance.’ How did different systems of knowledge shape ideas about the expansiveness and limits of human sameness and difference? Our journey will be guided by reading a number of English plays (Fletcher’s Island Princess, Brome’s The Antipodes, Shakespeare’s Othello &c). We’ll stop along the way to explore the colourful pages of world atlases, called Theatres of the World, and to explore dictionaries of ‘new’ languages collected, including The New World of Words and A Key into the Language of America. Throughout, we’ll ask how these cultural productions worked to shape early modern ideas about what both binds and divides human beings around the globe. 

Methods of evaluation include: two short response essays (3 pages); creative assignments; and a final essay of 8-10 pages. 


ENGC39H3S: The Early Novel in Context, 1740-1830

Instructor: Anne Milne

A contextual study of the first fictions that contemporaries recognized as being the novel. We will examine the novel in the context of its readers; of neighbouring genres such as letters, non-fiction travel writing, conduct manuals; and of culture more generally. Authors might include Richardson, Fielding, Sterne, Burney, Austen and others. Pre-1900 course.


ENGC54H3S: Gender and Genre

Instructor: Sonja Nikkila

This course will be about “definition”: how we categorize texts (novel or poem or play, comedy or tragedy, literature or fiction), as well as how we categorize people (by gender and sexuality, by race and ethnicity and nationality, by profession and age and appearance). Perhaps most importantly, we will be thinking about how “definition” doesn’t work, and what happens when the shapes and forms and categories shift. What do we do when the pieces don’t fit into an established order? By focusing on texts and identities that challenge simple classification — using notions of “queer,” of “trans,” of “non-conforming” — we will find ourselves challenged to define and then re-define our ideas about literature and gender, as well as our own ways of understanding the world. Note: This course will satisfy a pre-1900 requirement.


Evaluation Method: Your mark for the course will be based on written assignments (response papers plus a term essay), a short performance piece (either individual or group), and in-class participation, alongside the final exam.


Texts May Include: Elizabeth Cary’s The Tragedy of Mariam, Margaret Cavendish’s The Convent of Pleasure, Frances Burney’s Evelina, Ang Lee’s film version of Sense & Sensibility, Sally Potter’s Orlando, Ursula K. LeGuin’s Left Hand of Darkness, the Wachowskis’ The Matrix


ENGC82H3S: Cinema Studies: Themes and Theories

Instructor: Garry Leonard

A variable theme course that will feature different theoretical approaches to Cinema: feminist, Marxist, psychoanalytic, postcolonial, and semiotic. Thematic clusters include "Madness in Cinema," and "Films on Films."


ENGC87H3S: Creative Writing: Fiction II

Instructor: Daniel Scott Tysdal

Topic: “Plundering What Is in Them”: Writing Through Reading


“Every good writer I know or have known began with an insatiable appetite for books, for plundering what is in them, for the nourishment provided by them, which you can’t get from any other source.”

  —Richard Bausch


Every trade, art, and craft—from carpentry to cooking to plumbing to painting—involves undertaking an apprenticeship, learning, as the saying goes, at the foot of a master. For writers, the situation is no different. Our apprenticeship is composed of joining our deep immersion in language and the world with an equally deep immersion in the works of great writers. In this course we will turn to a variety of very different greats, immersing ourselves in everything from the lyric minimalism of Beattie to the eloquent and reflective mourning of Mukherjee to the postmodern multi-formed contemplations of Oates. The goal is simple: to try our hands at their hands as a means of making us better writers and storytellers. We will not seek to create mindless pastiches, but, instead, we will build with the storyteller's tools in the way that these writers build, our own way of swinging the hammer and wielding the paint-soaked brush inevitably coming to bear on the work, merging our voices with their voices to create something unique and new. Admission by portfolio.


ENGD12H3S: Topics in Life Writing

Instructor: Sarah King

It is often said that acknowledging the reality of death can be a spur to living a more meaningful life. In this course we will read and analyze a range of autobiographical narratives by and about the end of life in light of current thinking on both life-writing and death narratives. Why and how do some people, faced with their own impending death, or observing the death of someone close to them, turn to writing as a source of meaning? How does writing about death—or life in the face of death—make meaning for writers and readers? What is the relationship between death-writing and identity, experience, and closure? We will also consider political, ethical and material questions around whose death narrative is published, by whom, and who benefits.


Full-length texts will include:

Paul Kalanithi’s When Breath Becomes Air, about his diagnosis with lung cancer at age 36, and what followed, including a new baby

Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home—a graphic memoir about the death of her father (who, incidentally, both taught English and ran a funeral home)

Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking—about the year following the sudden death of her husband

Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning—about his experience in a WWII concentration camp

We will also read a range of shorter works or excerpts by Atul Gawande, Christopher Hitchens, bell hooks, Audre Lorde, Oscar Moore, Oliver Sachs, Virgina Woolf, as well as theoretical articles about life-writing.


We will write as well as read, reflecting on our own attitude towards death, and with that, towards life. This is a perfect course for students approaching the end of their undergraduate career, as they reflect on what is meaningful in life, and how to live.  It does require a willingness to engage with the fact that death is one of the certainties of life.


ENGD22H3S: Special Topics in Creative Writing II

Instructor: Alyx Dellamonica

This multi-genre creative writing course, designed around a specific theme or topic, will encourage interdisciplinary practice, experiential adventuring, and rigorous theoretical reflection through readings, exercises, field trips, projects, etc. Admission by portfolio.


ENGD29H3S: Chaucer at Work

Instructor: Kara Gaston

Advanced study of Chaucer that explores the process of writing poetry in fourteenth-century England. Specific topics vary from year to year and might include an exploration of Chaucer’s cultural and literary contexts or a survey of contemporary critical approaches to Chaucer and Medieval English literature. Pre-1900 course.


ENGD57H3S: Studies in Major Canadian Writers

Instructor: Marlene Goldman

Advanced study of a selected Canadian writer or small group of writers. The course will pursue the development of a single author's work over the course of his or her entire career or it may focus on a small group of thematically or historically related writers.


ENGD60H3S: Topics in American Prose

Instructor: Andrew DuBois

This seminar course will usually provide advanced intensive study of a selected American prose-writer each term, following the development of the author's work over the course of his or her entire career. It may also focus on a small group of thematically or historically related prose-writers.


ENGD71H3S: Studies in Arab North American Literature

Instructor: Maria Assif

English D71 is a seminar course that aims at studying Arab North-American writers from the twentieth century to the present. The focus is primarily on life writing in Arab North American literature; some of the issues examined will be gender, identity, history, and trauma. Equal emphasis will be placed on secondary sources, both in relation to these particular texts as well as the relevant genres and historical, critical studies. No knowledge of the Arabic language, culture and history is required.

Required texts:

A Thousand Farewells: A Reporter's Journey from Refugee Camp to the Arab Spring Paperback by Nahlah Ayed
Publisher: Penguin Global   ASIN: B00IBSNLU4
Intolerable by Kamal Al-Solaylee
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd  ISBN-10: 1554688876  ISBN-13: 978-1554688876
Looking for Palestine: Growing Up Confused in an Arab-American Family by Najla Said 
Publisher: Hudson Street Press (an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) Inc) (Nov. 20 2014)
Life Without a Recipe: A Memoir by Diana Abu-Jaber  
Publisher: WW Norton ISBN-10: 0393249093  ISBN-13: 978-0393249095
How Does It Feel to Be a Problem? Being Young and Arab in America by Moustafa Bayoumi
Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics) (July 28, 2009)
ISBN-10: 0143115413  ISBN-13: 978-0143115410 
The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between by Hisham Mattar
Publisher: Vintage Canada  ISBN-10: 0345807758  ISBN-13: 978-0345807755

ENGD93H3S: Theoretical Approaches to Cinema

Instructor: Sara Saljoughi

TOPIC: Postcolonial Theory (NEW in 2018!)

Hollywood cinema is often described as a "dominant" cinema that overshadows marginal and oppositional forms of filmmaking. Hollywood movies have been seen as an integral component of U.S. imperialist ideology. In fact, the moving image has long been intimately connected with a colonial model of global exploration and domination. How has this history influenced filmmaking throughout the world? How has cinema represented colonial and postcolonial experiences? How do cinematic techniques illuminate the subtleties of postcolonial trauma? Can postcolonial films resist reproducing the "dominant" style of Hollywood?

In this course, we will examine these questions using postcolonial theory and films as our primary texts. In doing so, we will look at how cinema has engaged some of the key terms and concepts of postcolonial thought such as hybridity, colonial discourse, nation/nationalism, and difference.

Films may include ethnographic documentaries, selections from Latin America's "Third Cinema," and contemporary examinations of the postcolonial nation, such as Girlhood (2014) and Caché (2005). Assignments include a short essay (and re-write), participation in discussion, responses to films, and a term paper.





ENGA10H3F: Introduction to Twentieth-Century Literature and Film: 1890 to World War II

Instructor: Garry Leonard

A study of literature and film against the backdrop of the Twentieth Century, from 1890 to the onset of World War II. Matthew Arnold put it this way: “I wander between two worlds. One dead, the other powerless to be born.” Auden announced the coming of “the Age of Anxiety.” Eliot’s defining 1922 poem is called “The Wasteland.” And yet the Twentieth Century and the Twenty-first are still seen as participating in the Enlightenment project, a project devoted to constant announcements of progress, perpetual offerings of unprecedented satisfaction, and aggressively marketed examples of innovation. We will begin in the 1890s, a time that saw the invention of cinema as well as, in the space of ten years, the publication of Dr Jekyll and Mr HydeThe Picture of Dorian GrayDraculaHeart of Darkness, and Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams. All of these works, separately and together, tell of a deep unease at the heart of what has come to be known as “modernity.” Moving forward through works by James Joyce and Virginia Woolf, we will look at the cultural trauma of World War I. An emphasis on film and its unique relationship to the Twentieth Century will be fostered by lectures on Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times and the way it showcases rising concerns that modernity has profound, often hidden costs at the personal level, even as it is made to appear more and more astonishing and progressive on the global level.


ENGB02H3F: Effective Writing in the Sciences

Instructor: Deirdre Flynn

This course will provide science students with practical strategies, detailed instructions, and cumulative assignments to help them hone their ability to write clear, coherent, well-reasoned prose for academic and professional purposes. Topics will include scientific journal article formats and standards, peer-review, and rhetorical analysis (of both scientific and lay-science documents).


ENGB03H3F: Critical Thinking About Narrative

Instructor: Sonja Nikkila

The ability to shape (and re-shape) stories is one of humanity’s most notable traits, and everything that makes us “human” can be found in the narratives we tell — from the personal and immediate to the political and historical, from “a galaxy far, far away” to “there’s no place like home.” In this course we will learn how to analyze multiple narrative forms (books, movies, podcasts, comics, etc.) through reading and “close reading,” and most importantly, we will learn how to empower ourselves by recognizing the power that stories can have over us. Narrative is truly a “life or death” matter, and for that reason we will be focusing our attention on stories of life and death — we will be detectives hunting down murderers as well as the judge and jury who put them on trial and decide their fate.


Evaluation Method: Your mark for the course will be based on a combination of written assignments (short essays) and participation (in discussion tutorials and online), alongside the final exam.


Texts May Include: Gabriel García Márquez’s Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad, Sherlock Holmes stories, Shane Black’s Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, and Season 1 of the Serial podcast.


ENGB05H3F: Critical Writing about Literature

Instructor: Maria Assif et al.

English B05 teaches essay-writing skills that are specific to the analysis of literature, mainly fiction, at a university level, and is taught through workshops. This is not a grammar course; you are expected to enter it with solid English literacy skills. (Instructors will assist students with literacy resources if required.) Throughout the term, we will be examining and practicing different writing skills (paraphrasing, quoting, explicating, analyzing, in-class writing, critiquing, metawriting, and researching), discussing a variety of library research techniques, bibliographies, and MLA-style citation guidelines. To apply these acquired skills, you will be asked to do in-class exercises, produce paragraphs and short papers, and develop a research-based assignment by the end of the course. Ultimately, you should feel comfortable developing your own voice, as distinct from the critics you investigate, and should consequently gain more confidence in your own readings of both primary and secondary sources. Required texts may vary by section.


ENGB06H3F: Canadian Literature I: Imagining the Nation

Instructor: Karina Vernon

"Hey what are you doing?"

she said, and he said

"i’m just standing here

being a Canadian."

and she said, "Wow

is that really feasible?"

and he said, "Yes

but it requires plenty of imagination."

— Lionel Kearns "Public Poem for a Manitoulin Canada day"


Why does “being a Canadian” involve such a leap of the imagination as Kearns describes? In what ways is the nation itself a bold act of collective imagination? In this course we explore such questions by delving into the archive of early (pre 1920s) Canadian literature. We will see how the nation has been imagined and re-imagined by writers and storytellers across time. We will have the opportunity to survey the wide variety of literature produced in varying imaginings of this terrain from Turtle Island to Canada, including pre-contact Inuit and First Nations oral traditions, writings of early European explorers, work of pioneer settlers, and writings of the post-confederation period. We will also have the pleasure of watching a film, looking at some paintings and political cartoons, and reading a contemporary graphic novel. At the end of the course students will have interrogated their inherited imaginings of Canada, and have thought carefully about the ways differing literary representations of Canada serve—and sometimes challenge—the societies that produce them. Pre-1900 course.



Cynthia Sugars and Laura Moss, Canadian Literature in English: Texts and Contexts Volume I. Toronto: Penguin, 2008.



Two in-class quizzes 20%

Short Essay (5 double-spaced pages) 20%

Long Essay (8 double-spaced pages) 30%

Final Exam 30%)


ENGB14H3F: Twentieth-Century Drama

Instructor: TBA

A study of major plays and playwrights of the twentieth century. This international survey might include turn-of-the-century works by Wilde or Shaw; mid-century drama by Beckett, O'Neill, Albee, or Miller; and later twentieth-century plays by Harold Pinter, Tom Stoppard, Caryl Churchill, Peter Shaffer, August Wilson, Tomson Highway, David Hwang, or Athol Fugard.


ENGB25H3F: The Canadian Short Story

Instructor: Marlene Goldman

A study of the Canadian short story. This course traces the development of the Canadian short story, examining narrative techniques, thematic concerns, and innovations that captivate writers and readers alike.


ENGB27H3F: Charting Literary History I

Instructor: Yulia Ryzhik

An introduction to the historical and cultural developments that have shaped the study of literature in English before 1700. Focusing on the medieval, early modern, and Restoration periods, this course will examine the notions of literary history and the literary "canon" and explore how contemporary critical approaches impact our readings of literature in English in specific historical and cultural settings. 


ENGB50H3F: Women and Literature: Forging a Tradition

Instructor: TBA

An examination of the development of a tradition of women's writing. This course explores the legacy and impact of writers such as Christine de Pizan, Julian of Norwich, Mary Wollstonecraft, Anne Bradstreet, Margaret Cavendish, Jane Austen, Mary Shelley, Emily Dickinson, and Margaret Fuller, and considers how writing by women has challenged and continues to transform the English literary canon. Pre-1900 course


ENGB60H3F: Creative Writing: Poetry I

Instructor: Daniel Scott Tysdal

Topic: Tradition and the Generation in Your Bones: Writing Poetry in the Presence of the Past and the Future

In his essay “Tradition and the Individual Talent,” T.S. Eliot articulates an anxiety all writers feel: the tension that subsists between past traditions and the generation one now feels rattling in his or her bones. Put differently, writers are uniquely poised to experience the pull of the past (the forms and practice of previous generations) and the pull of the future (the forms and practices this generation has yet to discover). In this workshop we will submit to the respective pulls of the past and future in order to search for forms we can explore in our own creative compositions. We will follow Eliot and work to obtain the historical sense he values by exploring traditional occasions, forms, genres and tools; we will also leave Eliot and permit our own “rattling bones” to lead us as we explore the creative potential of our 21st-century environs. We will test the creative potential of contemporary culture and technology—from 1337 (leet) to cell phones to the World Wide Web—forging through the “new” nature, the world of theory, pop mythos, and the expected (advertising) and unexpected (plastic surgeons?) in contemporary art. Admission by portfolio.


ENGB61H3F: Creative Writing: Fiction I

Instructor: Andrew Westoll

Topic: Writing Short Fiction

The short story is an essential form, but it is also one that lacks a satisfactory definition. For Raymond Carver, a good story delivers “news of the world.” For John Updike, a good story turns the daily grind into “something shimmering and absolute.” For Alice Munro, a story is “a home without a blueprint,” a structure built from the ground up that encloses spaces and gradually makes connections between them. Short stories are perhaps best characterized by their concern with small moments that have huge potential. In this course we will explore the vast possibilities of the short story form by studying the range of narrative elements—from metaphor to psychic distance, from character to plot, from structure to dialogue—that compose the well-told story and uniquely imagined world. Evaluation: workshops, final portfolio. Text: Norton Anthology of Short FictionAdmission by portfolio.


ENGB63H3F: Creative Non-fiction I

Instructor: Andrew Westoll

Topic: The Literature of Fact

No literary genre demands a deeper engagement with the world, or engenders more controversy for it, than creative nonfiction. The problem begins with its name: what other genre is defined by what it isn’t? Creative nonfiction has been called many things – narrative nonfiction, literary journalism, personal essay, memoir, the fourth genre. Writer John McPhee, one of the preeminent practitioners of the form, calls creative nonfiction “the literature of fact,” and for our purposes this is the best way to sum it up. Because no matter the label all good creative nonfiction shares one key characteristic: the story being told must be true. This workshop course will introduce you to the diversity of styles, techniques and obstacles common to CNF. Through weekly readings and craft exercises, original writing submissions and constructive workshops sessions you will learn to compose your own works of CNF and gain the confidence to begin transforming true happenings into true prose. By the end of the course, you will have a firm grasp on the "ten keys" to creative nonfiction and a sophisticated understanding of the vast artistic possibilities of the genre. Most importantly, you will have learned the truth behind writer Katherine Boo’s observation: that the hard work of creative nonfiction, although discomforting at times, can be “mind-stretching, life-enhancing, slap-up fun.” Evaluation: workshops, final portfolio. Text: classic longform nonfiction (e.g., Joan Didion, Jon Krakauer, Ted Conover) Admission by portfolio.


ENGB70H3F: Introduction to Cinema

Instructor: Sara Saljoughi

Why was cinema called the art of the twentieth century? How is it that when we watch a horror film, we know when we are being cued to be scared? What makes Martin Scorcese's Taxi Driver a classic? In this course, students will learn how to answer these questions by looking at how movies work. Students will be introduced to the basic elements of film form, such as editing, cinematography, mise-en-scène, and sound. But the course will also look at how movies tell stories, construct worlds, and make meaning. No prior knowledge of film studies is required to take this course. Introduction to Cinema will give students the skills to take advanced courses in film and media culture, as well as helping students understand the crucial role movies play in our society. Films may include Do the Right Thing, The Godfather, and Chinatown. Evaluation may include a mid-term, a shot-by-shot analysis, and a final exam.

ENGC23H3F: Fantasy and the Fantastic in Literature and the Other Arts

Instructor: Sonja Nikkila

Disclaimer: Here be dragons. (As well as wizards, witches, djinni, and a few of the earth’s mightiest heroes…) This course is aimed both at students familiar with fantasy literature and at those new to the genre, and everyone should exit the course having learned to think differently about what “fantasy” means. We will be looking at fantasy (as a genre or category) and the fantastic (as a mode or element), and while the course will focus primarily on literary fiction, we will also be exploring other art forms (such as illustration, comics, and film). Key concepts will include the problems of definition and categorization, core fantasy concerns such as world building and “the quest,” and the themes of origin and “recursive plundering” (a.k.a., fantasy’s obsession with retelling and revising stories).


Evaluation Method: Your mark for the course will be based on a term essay as well as several shorter creative-critical assignments (past versions of the course have included everything from mapping to blogging to re-designing a course syllabus), in-class participation, and a final exam.


Texts May Include: L. Frank Baum’s Wonderful Wizard of Oz (and various TV and film adaptations)Christopher Nolan’s Inception, Diana Wynne Jones’s Howl’s Moving Castle (as well as Miyazaki’s film version), Terry Pratchett’s Men At Arms, various retellings of The Arabian Nights, and entries from the Marvel universe including Ms. Marvel / Kamala Khan and Captain America / Steve Rogers. As you might imagine with a Fantasy course, J.R.R. Tolkien will feature in ways that are both specific and overarching, but you will not be assigned The Lord of the Rings in its entirety.


ENGC29H3F: Chaucer

Instructor: Kara Gaston

This class focuses on Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, a kaleidoscopic story collection populated by noble knights, talking birds, lascivious monks, and powerful women. The Tales run the gamut from the scatological to the profound, pushing the boundaries of what was considered possible for English poetry in Chaucer’s time. We will read the Canterbury Tales in Chaucer’s own language, Middle English, and give special attention to the beauty and skill of his verse. Assignments will include a short Middle English quiz, a dictionary activity, and interpretive essays. Pre-1900 course.


ENGC38H3F: Novel Genres: Fiction, Journalism, News, and Autobiography, 1640-1750

Instructor: TBA

An examination of generic experimentation that began during the English Civil Wars and led to the novel. We will address such authors as Aphra Behn and Daniel Defoe, alongside news, ballads, and scandal sheets; and look at the book trade, censorship, and the growth of the popular press. Pre-1900 course.


ENGC42H3F: Romanticism

Instructor: TBA

A study of the Romantic Movement in European literature, 1750-1850. This course investigates the cultural and historical origins of the Romantic Movement, its complex definitions and varieties of expression, and the responses it provoked in the wider culture. Examination of representative authors such as Goethe, Rousseau, Wollstonecraft, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Blake, P. B. Shelley, Keats, Byron and M. Shelley will be combined with study of the philosophical and historical backgrounds of Romanticism. Pre-1900 course.


ENGC51H3F: Contemporary Arab Women Writers

Instructor: Maria Assif

This course explores Arab women's experiences and stories through an examination of writings by Arab women from the 1860s to the present. After a discussion of the problematics of looking at Arab women’s lives and narratives exclusively within a Eurocentric and/or Western frame of reference, we will address the historical development of Arab women’s literary productions—reading and discussing fiction, poetry, memoirs, blogs, and polemical pieces by Arab women writers from the Arab world and diaspora. These class meetings will focus on the ways in which Arab women have articulated their subjectivity, challenged or reformulated societal and familial roles, negotiated traditions, responded to political and cultural exigencies, and formulated literary and feminist aesthetics.


Required texts:

A Map of Home: A Novel by Randa Jarrar

Burned Alive: A Survivor of an "Honor Killing" Speaks Out by Souad

The Poetry of Arab Women: A Contemporary Anthology edited by Nathalie Handal

Woman at Point Zero (Second Edition) by Nawal El Saadawi

              The Moor's Account By Laila Lalami

PLUS selected texts posted online.


ENGC78H3F: Dystopian Visions in Fiction and Film

Instructor: Deirdre Flynn

There can be no “dystopia” (bad place) without a “utopia” (not-place or ideal place); the words form a mutually constitutive binary. However, the term “utopia” came first: shortly after the Europeans first landed in what we now refer to as North America, Thomas More published a novel entitled Utopia (1516), setting his ideal place on an island off the New World. The term “dystopia” came into use over 250 years later in reference to another island, Ireland, when J.S. Mill gave an 1886 parliamentary speech, critiquing the Conservative British Government as being “dys-topians, or cacotopians” because they were treating Ireland and its people in ways that, he argued, were “too bad to be practicable.” Given this brief history of these two terms, it seems they share four key qualities: an enclosed space, self-contained resources (either sufficient or not), captive inhabitants (either conscious of their captivity, or not), and a total and totalizing “vision for how life may be lived” (Clare Archer-Lean, Revisiting Literary Utopias and Dystopias: Some New Genres). This course examines dystopian constructions of space, time, community, and subjectivity in the following stories, novels, and films: Brave New World1984 (film), La Jetée12 Monkeys, “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelus,” Do Android’s Dream of Electric Sheep?, The Handmaid's Tale (novel), Children of MenInterstellar, and Safe. In addition to posting five short discussion board entries, you will write a midterm essay, take a midterm test, and take a final exam.


ENGC84H3F: Cinema and Migration (NEW in 2017!)

Instructor: Sara Saljoughi

In this course, we will critically examine the representation of migration in cinema. We will use a wide array of films from around the world as our primary texts. Whether examining films about refugees caught in a web of crime on London's streets (Dirty Pretty Things) or portraits of Arab families living in France (The Secret of the Grain), we will ask how cinema confronts "the immigrant" or "refugee" as a category and identity. Other films, such as 2015's Dheepan, which is a story about three Tamil refugees arriving in France, will help us consider how migration, as a cinematic trope, allows us to consider questions of war, trauma, ethnicity, race, class, sexuality, and gender.  Through close readings of our primary texts, we will ask questions such as: who tells the narrative of immigrants and refugees? Can films about migration challenge dominant discourses? Is there an aesthetics of the cinema of migration? How has film history itself been shaped by migration? Students will produce a short film about immigration as the final project in this course. The other course requirements include a short essay and a rewrite of that essay, as well as participation in class discussion and activities.


ENGC86H3F: Creative Writing: Poetry II

Instructor: Daniel Scott Tysdal

Topic: Tradition and the Generation in Your Bones 2:

Writing Poetry in the Presence of the Past and the Future

In his essay “Tradition and the Individual Talent,” T.S. Eliot articulates an anxiety all writers feel: the tension that subsists between past traditions and the generation one now feels rattling in his or her bones. Put differently, writers are uniquely poised to experience the pull of the past (the forms and practice of previous generations) and the pull of the future (the forms and practices this generation has yet to discover). In this course we will submit to the respective pulls of the past and future in order to search for forms we can explore in our own creative compositions. Thus, to supplement our weekly workshop, we will follow Eliot and work to obtain the historical sense by exploring 20th-Century Poetic traditions, while at the same time permitting our own “rattling bones” to lead us as we explore the creative potential of our local environs through discussions, readings, and writing exercises. Admission by portfolio.


ENGC88H3F: Creative Nonfiction II

Instructor: Andrew Westoll

Topic: Experiential Writing

Creative nonfiction has been called “the weirdest genre on Earth,” and one of the reasons is that the author is often deeply involved in the story they are telling. This is especially true for a subgenre called “experiential writing,” in which the writer becomes a fully-fledged character on the page. This kind of writing can be the most challenging to pull off, as the writer must necessarily suffer both the personal and the creative discomfort that results from exposing oneself to the real world – and then writing honestly about it. This course will introduce practiced nonfiction writers to the diversity of modes and approaches available to the experiential writer. Through a mixture of lectures, discussions, writing challenges and constructive workshop sessions, you will learn to write convincingly about yourself and the world-at-large while pushing your creative comfort zone. You will also explore some of the latest innovations, both oral and digital, in the experiential form. As always, you will pay close attention to craft, to honour the truth of William Zinsser’s claim that “a clear sentence is no accident.” But you will also become what philosopher Roman Krznaric calls “empathic adventurers,” writers who communicate their life experience in such a way that enlightens and entertains in equal measure. Evaluation: workshops, final portfolio. Text: classic longform nonfiction (e.g., Nellie Bly, Barbara Ehrenreich, Bill Buford). Admission by portfolio.


ENGD03H3F: Topics in Contemporary Literary Theory

Instructor: Erag Ramizi

Topic: Literature, History, Anachronism

Through a series of theoretical texts, this course will interrogate the links between literature, history and time. By analyzing the particularities of the novel as a literary genre and realism as an aesthetic mode, we will examine the tensions between material reality and fictional representation in order to understand the intersections between narration and historiography. We will consider the categories of empiricism, positivism, mimesis and verisimilitude, and how they are employed by realist storytelling and historical narratives. This will ultimately lead us to ponder how the dynamic between the past and the present can be reflected in textual form, and we will become familiar with various theories on time and temporality. We will discuss why anachronism is considered a mortal sin by historians and how, conversely, literature makes productive use of anachronism. Equipped with this theoretical arsenal, we will read Thomas Hardy’s 1891 novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles as a case study of our inquiries throughout the semester. Theoretical texts will include pieces by Mikhail Bakhtin, Georg Lukács, Erich Auerbach, Fredric Jameson, Raymond Williams, Hayden White, Walter Benjamin, Jacques Rancière, and Giorgio Agamben, among others.



Attendance and Participation: 10%

Diagnostic Written Assignment: 5%

Oral Presentation: 25%

Midterm Paper (5 pages): 25%

Final Research Paper (10 pages): 35%


ENGD19H3F Theoretical Approaches to Early Modern Literature and Culture
Instructor: Yulia Ryzhik
An in-depth study of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century literature together with intensive study of the theoretical and critical perspectives that have transformed our understanding of this literature. This course takes Shakespeare's King Lear as its anchor text, and also considers topics such as textual criticism, Shakespeare's sources, and subsequent adaptations.


ENGD42H3F: Studies in Major Modernist Writers

Instructor: Garry Leonard

Topic: James Joyce

Joyce’s biographer, Richard Ellmann, once remarked “we are still learning to be Joyce’s contemporaries.” It’s an observation Joyce might well have been pleased to hear if we judge from this note he sent to his publisher in an effort to get his first work, Dubliners, published: “I seriously believe that you will retard the course of civilisation in Ireland by preventing the Irish people from having one good look at themselves in my nicely polished looking-glass.” A character in Ulysses remarks, “Shakespeare is the happy hunting ground of all minds that have lost their balance.” In a similar manner, Joyce’s fiction has been the happy hunting ground of literary critics and theorists seeking to maintain their balance. No literary theory of the past fifty years has failed to touch down at some point on Joyce’s work. As a result it is sometimes difficult to approach the fiction as something other than a paradigm of any number of methodologies. This seminar will not entirely avoid that fate, and student seminar presentations/discussions will be designed to interrogate the strengths and weaknesses of various approaches, and yet our primary question will be what did Joyce think he was doing in writing these stories and novels, and what does he appear to have accomplished in doing so? Orienting one’s reading of a text through authorial intention has always been a problematic approach to say the least, and yet Joyce went out of his way, time and time again, to present himself as someone on a mission, someone who must not be stopped unless we seek “to retard the course of civilisation.” His character Stephen Dedalus is no less messianic: “I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race.” Youthful hubris? Probably. But, given what Joyce accomplished, also pretty much on the mark. Accordingly, while we will encounter and review all the major approaches in this seminar, we will also maintain an interest throughout in “the reality of experience” Stephen set out to encounter, especially as it pertains to the formation of an aesthetic that would become modernism --an aesthetic forged, in large part, in the “smithy” of what we now call modernity. More specifically, this “smithy” included the rise of advertising and commodity culture, the birth of a new Art form (cinema), and the corresponding explosion of form and content in futurism, Dadaism surrealism, and impressionism.


ENGD48H3F: Studies in Major Victorian Writers

Instructor: Sonja Nikkila

Topic: The Brontës At Work


Emily, Anne, and Charlotte Brontë stand together — and alone — among Victorian writers. They wrote passionately and powerfully about many issues, from intense sketches of the intimate and personal (love, romance, vengeance, forgiveness) to broad strokes painted across the social canvas of Victorian England (women’s suffering and women’s rights, industrialization, education, morality, religion). In this course, we are going to focus our attention on how the Brontë sisters engaged with the idea of “work” in their novels, both in terms of essential questions (how shall I earn a living? what kind of employment suits me best? am I qualified for the job I want?) as well as existential concerns (what does it mean to be “called” to a vocation? what is the place of women outside hearth and home? what is the difference between “home” and “work”?). We will finish the semester by comparing and contrasting the Brontë’s work with contemporary adaptations (or spiritual sisters) of their novels to determine how — and whether — the issue of “women at work” has changed in today’s world. Pre-1900 course.


Evaluation Method: Your mark for the course will be based on a research essay (including proposal), a small-group presentation project, and in-class participation. Please note that the seminar format leans heavily on being part of the discussion — attendance and engagement are crucial!


Texts May Include: Brontë novels Jane Eyre and Agnes Grey (individual groups will look at Shirley, Villette, Tenant of Wildfell Hall, and Wuthering Heights), novel and film versions of The Nanny Diaries, Patricia Park’s Re Jane, Steven Shainberg’s film Secretary


ENGD59H3F: Topics in American Poetry

Instructor: Neal Dolan

Topic: Walt Whitman

This seminar will provide advanced intensive study of the American poet Walt Whitman, following the development of the author's work over the course of his entire career. Pre-1900 course.


ENGD62H3F: Topics in Postcolonial Literature and Film

Instructor: Neil ten Kortenaar

European empires first united the world in unequal economic and political relations, but since their demise other forces have contributed to globalization, the ever-tightening linkage of the world, including finance capitalism, migrations, electronic and digital media, and terrorism and espionage. We will examine how this new interconnected world has been imagined in literature and film in sites other than North America.


Texts to be studied are likely to include:

Mohsin Hamid                       How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia

Hari Kunzru                            Transmission

Caryl Phillips                           Crossing the River

Kevin Kwan                             Crazy Rich Asians

Abdul Rahman Munif             Cities of Salt

Kamila Shamsie                      Burnt Shadows


Films to be studied are likely to include:

Jia Zhangke                             The World

Abderrahmane Sissako          Bamako

Fatih Akin                               Edge of Heaven


Theoretical articles by Arjun Appadurai, Fredric Jameson, Immanuel Wallerstein, Franco Moretti, Gayatri Spivak.


Evaluation: weekly responses (20%), 2 short essays (40%), class participation (10%), exam (30%)


ENGD84H3F: Canadian Writing for a New Century

Instructor: Karina Vernon

An analysis of features of Canadian writing at the end of the twentieth and the beginning of the twenty-first century. This course will consider such topics as changing themes and sensibilities, canonical challenges, and millennial and apocalyptic themes associated with the end of the twentieth century.


ENGD98Y3: Senior Essay and Capstone Seminar

Instructor: Maria Assif

Course Description: This year-long seminar is an advanced writing course that meets every other week. It enables students to develop the writing skills they need to become successful writers in their academic and post-academic careers.  Course topics include writing summaries, annotated bibliographies, critiques, literature reviews, abstracts, introductions, senior essays, and revisions. Strategies for reading critically, organizing and developing thoughts, choosing appropriate vocabulary, and revising their own writing and others’ are also covered. Ultimately, all these skills should be used towards the development of a major independent research project, in collaboration with another faculty member specialized in the field of their choice. Epistemologically, the seminar will also be a chance to expose the students to various English literary fields and methodologies and enhance their knowledge of their selected field. Beyond the gratification of this rich content itself, the course aims at creating and fostering a safe and trusting community of English students, who thrive in student-led seminars and discussions, peer-review sessions, and individualized consultations with faculty. Depending on the subject area of the senior essay, this course can be counted towards the Pre-1900 requirement.

Prerequisites: A Minimum GPA of 3.5. in English courses; 15.0 credits, of which at least 2.0 must be at the C- or D-level in English. Please note that some of these requirements can be waived—on a case-by-case basis.

Required Texts: A Handbook of Critical Approaches to Literature by Wilfred L. Guerin, Earle Labor et al. and Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace, 11th Edition, Willams and Bizup