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ENGL 205 - Introduction to Canadian Literature

This course explores writers, themes and genres in Canadian literature. Students maybe asked to study works from the nineteenth century, but the emphasis will be on twentieth century prose, poetry, and drama.


Credits:  3


Hours: 45 (Lecture Hours: 3)


Total Weeks:  15



Any two of ENGL 100 Composition: Academic Writing, ENGL 105 Literature and Composition: Non-fictional Prose, ENGL 111 Literature and Composition: Poetry and Drama, OR ENGL 112 Literature and Composition: Prose Fiction.


Non-Course Prerequisites: 






Course Content:
- Introduction
    An overview of major developments in the Canadian novel as a genre: realism, modernism, and postmodernism.
    Reviewing the characteristics of university-level literary criticism.
- Realism and George Bugnet's The Forest
    Tensions in Bugnet’s world view: Catholicism (religion) and Naturalism (science) as influential perspectives in the novel.
    Group exercise: character profiles
    Analyses of published literary criticism: Rudolf Bader’s “Frederick Philip Grove and Naturalism Reconsidered” (from Gaining Ground, ed. by Robert Kroetsch); also see David Carpenter's "George Bugnet: An Introduction (from Journal of Canadian Fiction).
    Group exercise: Image patterns in The Forest
- Modernism and Sheila Watson's The Double Hook
    Modernist patterns in Watson's novel.
    Group Exercise: analyses of image patterns.
    Analyses of published literary criticism: article to be announced.
- Modernism and Margaret Atwood's Surfacing
    Modernist patterns in Atwood's novel (and traces of postmodernism).
    Video: An Interview with Margaret Atwood.
    Group exercise: analyses of image patterns.
    Analyses of published literary criticism: Janice Fiamengo's "Postcolonial Guilt in Margaret Atwood's Surfacing" (from The American Review of Canadian Studies)
    Other theoretical perspectives on Surfacing: Fairy-tale morphology, Jungian ritualism, etc.
- Postmodernism in Thomas King's Green Grass, Running Water
    Narrative structure in King's novel.
    King's use of postmodern intertextuality.
    Moral seriousness in postmodernism: playfulness and sincerity.
    Historical contexts: The reservation system and Plains Indian Ledger Art, etc.
    The deconstruction of binary dualisms as a postmodern strategy.
    Analyses of published literary criticism: article to be announced.
- Postmodernism in Yann Martel's Life of Pi
    Martel's challenge to fictional realism: an overview of the narrative structure in Martel's novel: mise-en-abyme patterns, etc.
    Radical epistemological uncertainty and versions of "the truth."
    Pi and the postmodern self.
    Close readings of the text: allusions to the mathematical concept of pi, the island episode, etc.
- Conclusion

    Summary of key concepts throughout the course.


Learning Outcomes:
Class discussion and written assignments will provide an enhanced understanding of discipline-based modes of inquiry within post-secondary literary studies. Specifically, students will:

- Engage in close readings of literary texts
- Find relevant primary and secondary sources through library research
- Situate literary works within relevant social-historical contexts
- Effectively use the critical ideas and terms that accompany university-level analyses of literature
- Demonstrate an understanding of published scholarship within the discipline, particularly with respect to theoretical perspectives
- Accurately employ MLA Style documentation
- Engage in effective revision by having an opportunity to revise the first paper and/or by showing improvement in the second paper.
- Students who successfully complete English 205 will be prepared for upper-division literature courses. Note that Simon Fraser University has recognized English 205 as a "W" course that meets discipline-specific, writing-intensive criteria.


Grading System:  Letters


Passing Grade:  D (50%)


Percentage of Individual Work: 90


Percentage of Group Work: 10


Additional Comments:
-Regular attendance is expected. Students who do not regularly attend class will likely jeopardize their ability to meet assignment criteria.
-Except where otherwise specified, all take-home assignments are due at the beginning of class, on scheduled due-dates. In fairness to all students, half a letter grade per day will be deducted from late assignments. This grade penalty may be waived if the instructor determines that lateness is due to justifiable causes.
-While academic writing necessitates a dependence on sources and the employment of other voices, there is an important distinction between these conditions and the academic offense of plagiarism. We will discuss plagiarism during the semester.


Textbooks are subject to change.  Please contact the bookstore at your local campus for current book lists.

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