Department of English

University of Toronto

5000-Level Courses

5000-Level Graduate Courses - 2013-2014


Pathological Forgetting In Canadian Literature
M. Goldman

Course Description
This course examines contemporary biomedical and aesthetic representations of what might best be termed pathological modes of forgetting. To a great extent, the theoretical context for this course is provided by philosopher Ian Hacking's observations concerning western culture's ongoing preoccupation with "the sciences of memory." Given current understandings of the modern self as a melding of memory and will the lack of sustained attention to the complex cultural meanings of pathological memory loss and of Alzheimer's, in particular, is a surprising oversight. Drawing on the research of scholars in the sciences and the social sciences, this course turns to literary and aesthetic discourses to analyze their formal structures as well as the political and ethical stakes involved in biomedical and aesthetic discourses that portray memory loss associated with illness.

Reading List
1. M. Laurence. The Stone Angel
2. M. Ignatieff. Scar Tissue
3. J. Mighton. Half-Life
4. A. Munro. “The Bear Came over the Mountain” and Away from Her
5. M. Richler. Barney’s Version
6. M. Redhill. Goodness
7. C. Adderson. The History of Forgetting

Books are available at The Bob Miller Book Room
180 Bloor Street West, Lower Concourse
Toronto, ON M5S 2V6
Telephone: (416) 922-3557
Fax: (416) 922-4281

Course Requirements
Each week students will be required to be prepared to answer orally a list of questions handed out the previous week (or sent to you via e-mail; students will also be asked to chose one question from the list and to write up a 1-2 page response (double spaced, 12 pt. font) that will be handed in at the end of each class—no late submissions will be accepted without permission of the professor. [One-page responses = 15% of grade]

Each student is responsible for one seminar report to be presented orally (max. 15 min.). The report should, where appropriate, analyze the intersections between the theory and the fiction under consideration. A written version of the report is due the week following the oral presentation (max. 8 pages). [Oral presentation and response to questions from the class = 10% of total grade; written version of seminar which, if necessary, can be revised in the light of questions and/or further research = 30% of final grade.]

There is one major research paper, which may develop out of your seminar but should include (theoretical and fiction) material not read on the course (max. 20 pages). [Research paper = 45% of final grade].

Friday / 11:00 am - 1:00 pm (2 hours)
Room JHB617, Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George

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Class, Culture, and American Realism
N. Dolan

Course Description
Sociological inclusiveness – serious mimetic attention to the middle and lower classes – is one of the hallmarks of modern realist literature. But what is social class as a subject of literary representation? What, in particular, is social class in modern industrial-commercial liberal-democratic society as opposed to its agrarian feudal-aristocratic predecessor? Is class a form of collective self-identification or just an academic descriptor? Is a class akin to a culture? How, if at all, do different classes interrelate? How has the nature and experience of social class changed over time? And what are the motivations and the special difficulties involved when the highly literate members of the educated classes attempt to sympathetically represent the less literate members of less educated classes? Why do issues of “culture” come up so frequently in such works?

This course attempts to address such questions in relation to a selection of major works of American literary realism. In the first three weeks we will establish a set of shared conceptual reference points by recourse to some of the major sociological theorists of class, from Marx to Bourdieu. In all subsequent weeks the discussion will focus on a primary work of literature.

Required Texts may include:
Rhonda Levine, Social Class and Stratification
Pierre Bourdieu, Distinction
Annette Laureau and Dalton Conley, Social Class: How Does it Work?
Michael Warner ed. The Portable Walt Whitman
Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn
Henry James, The Princess Casamassima
William Dean Howells, A Hazard of New Fortunes
Stephen Crane, Maggie, a Girl of the Streets
Frank Norris, McTeague
James Farrell, Young Lonigan
Theodore Dreiser, An American Tragedy
William Andrews, ed. The Portable Charles W. Chesnutt
W. E. B. DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk
Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth

Course Requirements
One term paper, 15-20 pp, worth 75%; constructive participation in class discussions and one class presentation, worth 25%

Wednesday / 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm (3 hours) ** NB: for October 2nd only, the class will begin one hour earlier at 2:00 pm
Room JHB617, Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George

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Theorizing The Caribbean Diaspora
C. Campbell

Course Description
When theorist James Clifford declared, "We are all Caribbeans now in our urban archipelagos," he was suggesting, among other things, the centrality of the idea of "the Caribbean" to "diaspora."  In this course we will explore the ways in which these two concepts are mutually constitutive, by examining both the Caribbean diaspora and the Caribbean as diaspora.  We will read critical and creative texts as explanatory frameworks for thinking through key terms such as transnationism, belonging, home, nation citizenship and migration.

Participation; presentation; and a research paper.

Texts: Brent Hayes Edwards, The Practice of Diaspora; NourbeSe Philip, Zong; Derek Walcott, Selected Poems; Paule Marshall, Brown Girl, Brownstones; Claud McKay, Home to Harlem; Paul Gilroy, The Black Atlantic; James Clifford, Routes: Travel and Translation I the Late Twentieth Century; Dionne Brand, Map to the Door of No Return.

Monday / 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm (2 hours)
Room JHB616, Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George

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ENG5580HS "Methods" Course
American Pastoral:  Agriculture and Environment in American Literature [Studies in Historical Analysis]
A. Most

Course Description
American Pastoral will delve into the American fascination with the natural landscape and re-read canonical (and not so familiar) works of American literature in light of our contemporary environmental crisis. Through poetry, essays, fiction and film, as well as key works of environmental criticism, we will examine how American writers have used the land for literary purposes, and how changing attitudes towards the natural environment have shaped the contours of the American literary tradition.
Required Texts
Available for purchase at Bob Miller Book Room, 180 Bloor St. West. (Note: list revised March 19)
Henry David Thoreau, Walden; Willa Cather, My Antonia; John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath; Rachel Carson, Silent Spring; Wendell Berry, The Art of the Commonplace; Toni Morrison, Beloved; Cormac McCarthy, The Road; Philip Roth, The Counterlife; Michael Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma.

Most secondary readings, and some primary readings will be posted on the course Blackboard site. Blackboard will also be the central location for posting response papers, seminar presentations, and other course discussions. Please check the site daily for updates and comments from your classmates.

Recommend Films are in Robarts, in Media Commons on the third floor. They are available for in-library viewing only, but most are also available at better video stores.

Course Requirements
1) Class Discussion: In this seminar, each student in the class bears an equal responsibility for carrying the discussion. You will be evaluated based on both the quality and quantity of your oral participation as well as on your participation in the on-line written discussions. Each class session, I will suggest a few topics or questions to consider in the coming class session’s readings. These questions will serve as a springboard for an on-line discussion on Blackboard. Half the class will begin the discussion by posting short (500 word) responses to the readings on Blackboard no later than 10pm on the Sunday preceding our Tuesday class. The other half of the class will post responses to one or more of these papers no later than 5pm on the Monday before our Tuesday class. Students will alternate roles each week. Our seminar meeting should therefore always be a continuation of a discussion already in progress. [30%]

2) Presentation: During the term, each student will give one 20-minute oral presentation on the assigned readings for the class, and then will offer directions for further discussion. Students are required to meet with me at least one week before the presentation, and to post an outline of the presentation on Blackboard (on that class’s discussion board) by 10pm on the night before class. Signup for presentation takes place on Blackboard and will be available when the Blackboard site opens. [20%]

3) Final Essay: 20 – 25 page seminar paper on one or more of the assigned readings. Due in the English Department Office at JHB by Tuesday, April 17th. [50%]

Thursday / 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm (2 hours)
Room JHB718, Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George

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Privacy in American Literature
J. DeLombard

Course Description
What is privacy? Whose interests are served by it? What kinds of people and places are associated with it? Who invades it and how? Does it have a gender? A race? A class? What is its relationship to publicity? Is it the same thing as secrecy? Is it indispensible to dignity? Can – and should – it be protected? By whom, how, and to what end? Although a constitutional right to privacy would not emerge until 1965, and the individual's legal right to privacy was not articulated until 1890, these questions preoccupied American writers and readers over the course of the long 19th century.

This course will draw on historicist, book historical, and law-and-humanities methodologies to offer far more than a thematic treatment of privacy in American literature. Among other things, these approaches will lead us to consider how the legal concept of privacy might be indebted to the literary activism of antebellum reformers – and whether a right to privacy is even thinkable in the absence of an industrialized literary market.

Course Requirements
May include:
J. Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur, Introduction, Letters from an American Farmer
Catherine Maria Sedgwick, “Cacoethes Scribendi”
Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave
Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter
Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
Constance Fenimore Woolson, For the Major
Edward Bellamy, Looking Backward: 2000-1887
Samuel Warren and Louis Brandeis, “The Right to Privacy,” Harvard Law Review (Dec. 1890)
Henry James, “The Aspern Papers”; “The Reverberator”;Tragic Muse or Portrait of a Lady
Pauline Hopkins, Contending Forces
Edith Wharton, The Touchstone
Michael Rosen, Dignity: Its History and Meaning

Course Requirements
Participation: 20%
Colloquium Paper Presentation: 30%
Research Papers: 50%

Tuesday / 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm (2 hours)
Room JHB718, Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George

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Free Love?: Conjugal Politics And American Literature
N. Morgenstern

Course Description
In May of 2012 President Obama publically announced his support for gay marriage, and two high-profile cases (challenges to the federal Defense of Marriage Act and to California's proposition eight) will be heard by the Supreme Court in March of 2013. Are marriage rights progressive rights or do we need to tell a more complicated story? Are we now witnessing the beginning of the end of marriage, as some studies would indicate, or will marriage continue to be a crucial social and symbolic form? How does the marriage contract relate to the social contract? Is the contractual relation a democratic ideal? What is the fantasy of contractualism and what continues to trouble this fantasy? This course will look at selected moments in American literary history from the American Revolution to the present. The emphasis of our inquiry will be theoretical rather than historical, as we will attempt to understand the contractual subject and articulate a political philosophy of marriage. Topics for discussion will include marriage and the state, radicalism in relationship to marriage and anti-marriage, the sovereignty of the individual, marriage and racial difference, and anthropological and deconstructive considerations of the contract and the gift.

Course Requirements
Seminar participation (20%); presentation(s) (20%); abstract (10%); research paper (50%).

Readings may include: Charles Brockden Brown, Alcuin and Ormond; James Fenimore Cooper, The Last of the Mohicans, Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Blithedale Romance; Edith Wharton, Summer; Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady; Abraham Cahan, "The Imported Bridegroom;" Nella Larsen, Quicksand; Carson McCullers, The Ballad of the Sad Café; John Locke, Second Treatise of Civil Government; Carol Pateman, The Sexual Contract; Jacques Derrida, Given Time; Peggy Pascoe, What Comes Naturally: Miscegenation Law and The Making of Race in America; Elizabeth Freeman, The Wedding Complex; Judith Butler, "Is Kinship Always Already Heterosexual?"

No pre-requisites, but some familiarity with American literature and literary theory preferred.

Thursday / 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm (2 hours)
Room JHB718, Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George

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Space and the Education of Desire: Postcolonialism and Diaspora
A. Quayson

Course Description
Even though both Postcolonial and Diaspora Studies share similar interests in varied concepts such as space, nation, transnationalism, migration, homeland and nostalgia, the disciplinary histories of the two fields have set their methods and subjects into distinct domains of research and analysis. The aim of this course then is to bring the two fields together to debate the relationship between space and the education and production of desire. The following questions will form the core concerns of the course: What is space and how do spatial concepts apply in studies of postcolonialism and diaspora? Is postcolonial melancholy equivalent to diasporic nostalgia? Is the memory of a homeland the same as the memory of tradition, precolonial or otherwise? Is the trauma of dispersal similar to the trauma of colonization? How do diasporic and postcolonial subjects give an account of the past(s) that produced them? What is the relationship between indigeneity, diaspora and postcolonialism? Is there a theoretical language by which to connect the circulations of diasporas to those of colonizers and of labour migrants from the early modern period to the present day?

Course Requirements
Texts (provisional for now):
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
Chinua Achebe, Arrow of God
Tayeb Salih, Season of Migration to the North
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude
Derek Walcott (selected poems)
Junot Diaz, The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Mohamed Hanif, A Case of Exploding Mangoes
Anne Michaels, Fugitive Pieces

Supplementary literary texts will include:
Shakespeare, The Tempest and Merchant of Venice
Sophocles, Philoctetes
Salman Rushdie, Satanic Verses
JM Coetzee, Waiting for the Barbarians

Participation: 10%
Class Presentation of Responses to Texts: 15%
Thesis proposal: 15%
Annotated Bibliography (20 items): 20%
Final Paper (3,500 words): 40%

Thursday / 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm (2 hours)
Room JHB718, Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George

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Ashbery, Bishop, O’Hara
A. DuBois

Title: Fiction and Virtue in the Late Nineteenth-Century U.S.
S. Wilson

Course Description
"But I always want to know the things one shouldn't do." "So as to do them?" asked her aunt. "So as to choose," said Isabel.

Popular eighteenth- and nineteenth-century seduction narratives intertwined questions of virtue, citizenship, and fiction for generations of American readers. John Adams famously wrote that "Democracy is Lovelace and the people are Clarissa." This course will read mid- to late-nineteenth-century American fictions of virtue with an eye to these earlier discourses of seduction and to ongoing debates over civic virtue and corruption. We will discuss the literature and culture of sensibility, the cross-roads of sympathy and identification, the strategies and effects of didacticism, the fostering of critique and skepticism, and the amply-troped pleasures and dangers of reading; we will place literary writing, and fiction most particularly, in a broader print context, with specific attention to the public sphere of the mid- to late-nineteenth-century United States. In indicating a resolutely empirical approach to the problem of virtue, Isabel Archer's words above imply the eclipse of another generation's cautionary narratives of betrayal and ruin; however, The Portrait of a Lady suggests that the terms, and the stakes, of the fiction of virtue have not changed nearly as much as the young woman from Albany might like to think they have.

Course Requirements
Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter; Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin; Herman Melville, Benito Cereno; Harriet E. Wilson, Our Nig; Horatio Alger, Ragged Dick; Maria Amparo Ruiz de Burton, Who Would Have Thought It?; Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady; Mark Twain, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; Edward Bellamy, Looking Backward; Charles Chesnutt, The Conjure Woman; Kate Chopin, The Awakening.

Blackboard contributions and/or seminar presentation (30%); Participation (20%); Paper (50%)

Wednesday / 12:00 noon - 2:00 pm (2 hours)
Room JHB617 (NB: ROOM CHANGE), Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George

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ENG5643HS "Methods" Course
Jane Austen and Virginia Woolf, In and Out of Their Times [Studies in Narrative]
D. Lynch

Course Description
This seminar brings Jane Austen and Virginia Woolf together, in part so as to investigate and problematize the historicism that would have us keep them apart and consign each to a separate period. Though their careers unfolded during eras that, defined by revolution and global war, have always loomed large in the history books, the writings of each register some skepticism about the authority of historical representation-either emphasizing the distance between historical time and women's time, for instance, or emphasizing history books' inadequacy when it comes to capturing what Woolf calls "an ordinary mind on an ordinary day." The interrogatory tone that is often audible in the two authors' references to the truth claims of historicism constitutes the launching point for this seminar. It will alibi our efforts as we juxtapose Austen's novels of manners-the epitome, Sir Walter Scott suggested in a review of Emma, of a new "style of novel" that arose at the start of the nineteenth century --with Woolf's modernist fictions. Throughout the term we'll be putting some pressure on just those claims for novelty and modernity and examining the whiff of an oxymoron built into the recent concept of a "domestic modernism." We will also be aiming, as we zigzag between Austen and Woolf, and between the early nineteenth century and the early twentieth century, to open up new ways of thinking about: (e.g.) the novel's relationship to canonicity; the consolidation of the categories of "the woman writer" and "the woman reader"; the marriage plot; the representation of character; and the ways in which the novel of manners has staged the fraught relationship between its historical period and the periodicity of the everyday. For assistance in pursuing that thinking, we'll draw on queer theory, feminist theory, reception studies, and novel studies.

Course Requirements
Our major texts will be Northanger Abbey, Emma, Persuasion, Austen's "History of England" and "Plan for a Novel"; The Voyage Out, A Room of One's Own, Mrs. Dalloway; and Woolf essays such as "Jane Austen" (from The Common Reader) and "Mr. Bennet and Mrs. Brown." We'll take a look at Q. D. Leavis's Fiction and the Reading Public. We'll also engage contemporary criticism and theory by Mary Favret, Clara Tuite, Claudia L. Johnson, William Galperin, Rachel Bowlby, Melba Cuddy-Keane, Pamela Caughie, Brenda Silver, Heather Love, Patrice Petro, Laurie Langbauer, and others.

Requirements: informed and open-minded participation (15 %); weekly response papers posted to Blackboard (25 %); seminar presentation (20 %); final 20-page paper (40%).

Tuesday / 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm (3 hours)
Room JHB718, Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George

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James Joyce: Modernism, Modernity, Mythology
G. Leonard

Course Description
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 50 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.

The texts for Dubliners, A Portrait of the Artist as a young Man and Ulysses will be ordered at the Bob Miller bookstore. A packet will be prepared with selections gleaned from the bibliography below.

Reading List:
Berman, Marshall. All that is solid melts into air: the experience of modernity. 1987.
Charney, Leo. Cinema and the invention of modern life.
Felski, Rita. The gender of modernity
Fornäs , Johan. Consuming media: communication, shopping and everyday life. 2007.
Gillespie, Michael Allen. The theological origins of modernity.
Gilroy, Paul. The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness, 1995.
Jameson, Fredric. A singular modernity: essay on the ontology of the present. 2002.
Misa, Thomas J. Modernity and Technology.
Smart, Barry. Facing modernity: ambivalence, reflexivity and morality, 1999
Attridge, Derek. The Cambridge companion to James Joyce
Ellmann, Richard. James Joyce (New York: Oxford University Press, 1959)
Herr, Cheryl. Joyce's Anatomy of Culture
Joyce, Stanislaus. My Brother's Keeper: James Joyce's Early Years
Kershner, R.B. Joyce, Bakhtin, and Popular Literature: Chronicles of Disorder
Leonard, Garry. Advertising and commodity culture in Joyce.
Reading Dubliners again: a Lacanian perspective
North, Michael. Reading 1922: A Return to the Scene of the Modern
Armstrong, Tim. Modernism: a cultural history
Caws, Mary Ann. Manifesto: a century of isms
Caughie, Pamela L. Disciplining Modernism.
Kolocoroni, Vassiliki. Modernism: an anthology of sources and documents
Levenson, Michael Harry. The Cambridge companion to modernism
Nicholls, Peter. Modernisms: a literary guide
Whitworth, Michael H. Modernism.

Course Requirements
10 % Participation (weekly two page position papers) 20% Twenty Minute Presentations followed by student-led discussion 70% Final essay. 20 pages.

Friday / 9:00 am - 12:00 noon (3 hours)
Room JHB 616, Jackman Humanities Building

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