Department of English

University of Toronto

ENG150Y1Y L0101

ENG150Y1Y  L0101 MWF10
The Literary Tradition
Instructor: Adleen Crapo
Office Location:
Office Phone: TBA

Brief Description of Course: This course will consider key texts in the Western literary tradition. In so doing, it will demonstrate how Western identity has been constructed through literature. It will enable students to grapple with questions of origin and identity. We will begin with the Epic of Gilgamesh, and continue on to Homer and Virgil. This will allow us to consider how classical cultures discussed ideas of self and other. The next step chronologically will be the Hebrew Testament and Qur’an. We will consider the ways in which religions and cultures attempt to establish themselves with respect to outsiders. When we move to pre-modern Europe, we will explore how an early woman writer, Christine de Pizan, participated in key debates about European identity. We will return to the epic with a consideration of excerpts from Dante’s Divina commedia and we will see how discussions of identity have evolved since Ancient Rome. Montaigne’s consideration of cannibals in “Of Cannibals” and Shakespeare’s Tempest will allow us to see how two authors use similar sources to delve into similar themes of exploration but in different genres.

We will take up the novel with Don Quixote, before moving on to the Princess of Cleves, two foundational realist novels that will allow us to formulate ideas about identity and representation. In the eighteenth century, we will develop our understanding of Western identity by considering Diderot, Wollstonecraft, and excerpts from Goethe. We will go back to the novel in examining Mansfield Park by Jane Austen, and the economic realities of 19th century writing in England. We will begin to close the gap between past and present by reading Howards End and then Zadie Smith’s On Beauty. We will finally end in contemporary Montreal with an examination of several Monique Proulx short stories. Our final questions will be: who are we? And how are Canadians connected to this vast tradition?

This class will focus on building writing proficiency through a series of writing assignments: 2 in the first term and 2 in the second. Students will also complete a short independent project as part of their mark, and will post a write-up of their project to the class Tumblr. The instructor will prioritize an accessible classroom, and will ensure students know how to access services. Students will leave the course with a better idea of how to formulate important research questions after close reading, and how to engage with important texts in writing. Each lecture will have a focused discussion period in which every student is expected to participate and engage with their colleagues and instructor. .

Required Reading: TBA.

First Three Authors/Texts: TBA.

Method of Evaluation:

Link to ARTSCI Calendar Course Descriptions.

Link to ARTSCI 2016-17 Timetable with Room Allocations.

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