ENGC02: Major Canadian Authors

ENGC02: Major Canadian Authors - butterflies against black background



Course Name: Major Canadian Authors -- Metamorphosis & Survival

Instructor: Prof. Marlene Goldman

Course Description: This course offers an in-depth engagement with some of Canada’s best writers including Alice Munro, Margaret Atwood, Dionne Brand, Thomas King, and Andre Alexis, to name only a few. As we contend with the ongoing global pandemic, we will take the opportunity to come together and engage with works  that portray individuals and communities reacting to personal and social transformation. Timothy Findley’s novel The Wars, for example, features a young man from Toronto transported to the trenches on the Western Front during WWI — an event that shatters his prior relationships with his family and the world as he knows it. Similarly, Atwood’s speculative fiction Oryx & Crake opens after a virus has eradicated most of the human race; the cataclysmic events are narrated by Jimmy, the lone survivor. Alexis’ equally speculative fantasy novel Fifteen Dogs follows the adventures of a pack of dogs who have been cursed and blessed with the gift of human consciousness at the whim of two wily gods, Hermes and Apollo. All of the texts under consideration raise questions about survival; moral choices; familial relationships; human-animal and environmental connections; creativity; and endings and beginnings.

Course Features & Delivery: Each class, which will be taught synchronously and also available asynchronously, will offer modules and, where appropriate, synchronous opportunities to 1) explore the biography and social context of the authors; 2) examine how each writer plays with narrative elements — characterization, narration, perspective or focalization, text time, and dialogue; 3) practice close reading and reflective writing skills; and 3) chat in small groups and as a class.


The Wars, by Timothy Findley

Oryx & Crake, by Margaret Atwood

Goodness, by Michael Redhill

Fifteen Dogs, by Andre Alexis

Truth & Bright Water, by Thomas King

Short stories by Alice Munro & Dionne Brand


Online asynchronous participation (including some combination of timely responses to posts/group chat questions/ class discussion questions) = 15%

Short 1-page written responses to formal discussion question (one for each text, 250-word max) = 25%

Short essay (3 pages) =  25%

Final Essay (5 pages) = 35%


Learn more about Prof. Goldman's teaching and research, as well as how to contact her with any questions.


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