Department of English

University of Toronto

6000-Level Course Descriptions

Faithful Reading: Interpretation, Christianity, and Poetry
M. Knight

Course Description

In recent years critics have revisited (again) the question of how we read literary texts. Increasingly suspicious of reading-as-detection or a strategy more commonly referred to as the "hermeneutics of suspicion", literary scholars have considered a variety of alternatives, such as "surface reading" (Sharon Marcus), "reparative reading" (Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick), “distant reading” (Franco Moretti) and the “hermeneutics of trust" (Paul Ricoeur). Beginning with a survey of some of these approaches and the debates raised by their respective strategies of reading, this course will go on to consider another alternative: "faithful reading". By “faithful reading” I mean a method of reading that draws on Christian interpretative practices (e.g. prayer, discernment, communion and faith) and explores how they offer readers of any faith and none a nuanced way of accessing literature, prioritizing the experiential, personal and emotional aspects of a text over their material and historical meanings. The course will bring ideas from the Christian hermeneutical tradition into conversation with a range of theoretical writing, from the phenomenological tradition especially, and, in the last part of the course, we will apply the idea of “faithful reading” to three poetic case studies from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.

Course Requirements
Reading List:
Theorists under discussion will include Michel Foucault, D. A. Miller, Franco Moretti, Paul Ricoeur, Rita Felski, Sharon Marcus, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Geoffrey Hartman, Martin Heidegger, Kevin Hart and Jean-Luc Marion. The poetic case studies will likely focus on the selected work of Christopher Smart, Christina Rossetti and e. e. cummings.

Method of Evaluation:
Seminar Presentation and Related Short Paper (30%), Informed Participation (20%), Final Research Paper (50%).

Term: F-Term (September - December 2014)
Date/Time: Tuesday, 9:00am - 11:00am, 2 hours
Location: Room JHB718 (Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street)

Top of Page
Return to 2014-2015 Graduate Course Timetable.

The Literature of Protection
P. Downes

Course Description
This course will draw on work at the borders of literature, philosophy and politics to explore the concepts of security and protection from a range of rhetorical and theoretical angles. We will consider the language of emergency in revolutionary era texts and the idea of crisis in pro- and anti-slavery writings; we will look at Lincoln's appeal to exceptional authority during the U.S. Civil War and at the rhetoric of protection in recent United Nations policy statements on humanitarian intervention. Finally, we will consider the implications of the 9/11 attacks for the discourse of emergency and protection. We will read recent work in critical human rights theory and will perhaps foster dialogue with the University's new centre for the study of Global Security by providing a literary and rhetorical perspective on questions of global defense policy and international crisis management. Theoretical work will include essays by Agamben, Derrida, Brown, Redfield and Hamacher. Literary examples will be chosen primarily -- though not exclusively -- from the American eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and will include works by Melville, Hawthorne, Douglass, Whitman and Bierce.

Reading List:
The Responsibility to Protect (UN Policy Report); Melville, Benito Cereno; Hawthorne, "My Kinsman, Major Molineux"; Douglass, "The Heroic Slave"; Whitman, Selected Civil War Poems; Davis, "Life in the Iron Mills"; Bierce, Soldiers and Civilians; Agamben, States of Exception; Hamacher, "The Right to Have Rights" Derrida, Rogues; Redfield, Acts of Terror; Brown, Walled States.

Course Requirements:
Weekly responses and end of term essay.

Method of Evaluation:

Term: F-Term (September - December 2014)
Date/Time: Friday, 10:00am - 1:00pm, 3 hours
Location: Room JHB718 (Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street)

Top of Page
Return to 2014-2015 Graduate Course Timetable.

Construals of the Self: Autobiography in Africa and the Diaspora
U. Esonwanne

Course Description
“I and We/Either I am nobody or/I am a nation”: in these lines from The Schooner Flight, Derek Walcott neatly sums up the choices that confront writers in the Diaspora. In Africa, writers expose their characters to a similar predicament: to which self, the bourgeois or the communal, should they subscribe? Writer or character, each is riven by a competing urge: either declare her autonomy or subscribe to the axiom that ‘Mothoke motho ka batho ba bang’ (“a person is a person only through others”). Since autobiography (fiction and non–fiction) is, of all literary genres, that which is most directly concerned with self–making, it has hardly surprising that, from the 18th century on, writers in Africa and the Diaspora have turned to autobiography both to negate prior and contemporary negations of the African self and to construe an alternative self – that is, to analyze its structure, interpret its meaning, and translate it loudly to the world. But while negating prior negations of the self has been a relatively easy task, construing an alternative self has proven more difficult. First, the epistemological: Frantz Fanon asserts that recapturing and scrutinizing the self are the essential prerequisites necessary for bringing “a human world” into being. But self–recuperation, which presupposes a self that is temporally anterior to the subject and infrangibly linked to the past, brings us up against an epistemological dilemma neatly summed up by Nietzsche: “Was the person created out of a conception, or the conception out of a person?” Second, the conceptual: what notions of the self do African and Diasporic autobiographies elaborate, and how are they related to each other? Third, the categorical: how should we classify these notions and what is their morphology? These questions, and others, will animate our reading of a broad variety of autobiographical writings.

Course Requirements
Method of Evaluation: 
Course conduct will consist of open discussions, seminar presentations and, where necessary, lectures. Evaluation: participation 10%; seminar presentation 30%; mini–conference presentation 20%; research essay 40%

Reading List:

Texts (depending on availability): Equiano, Interesting Narrative (1789); Prince, The History of Mary Prince (1831): Douglass, Narrative of the Life (1845); Jacobs, Incidents (1861); Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son (1955); Malcolm X, X (1964); Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom (1995); Malan, My Traitor’s Heart (1990); Anderson, My Lord, What a Morning (1992); Soyinka, Ibadan (1994); Evaristo, Lara (1997); Walker, Black, White, and Jewish (2001); Obama, Dreams from My Father (2007); Coetzee, Summertime (2009); Fuller, Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight (2003); and Bashir, Tears of the Desert (2008).

Term: F-Term (September - December 2014)
Date/Time: Monday, 3:00pm - 6:00pm, 3 hours
Location: Room JHB718 (Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street)
Top of Page
Return to 2014-2015 Graduate Course Timetable.

Politics and Poetic Form
M. Nyquist 
[Methods Course: Studies in Poetics]

Course Description
In this course, you will learn to identify and discuss a variety of poetic forms. We will study some of the institutional and theoretical issues currently being debated, together with the history of specific sub-genres and forms. We will explore questions such as, what is involved in identifying, responding to or interpreting formal features of poetry? What social positions or ideological formations become associated with specific sub-genres or forms? In what ways have poets from marginalized communities eschewed or appropriated conventional genres, sub-genres or poetic forms? To make this workable, we will focus on (1) early modern and contemporary poetry and (2) the sonnet, eclogue and elegy. We will conclude with Walcott’s Omeros as a “post”-colonialist revision of epic.

Course Requirements


Adams, Poetic Designs
Eagleton, How to Read a Poem
Virgil, Eclogues and Georgics, trans. by C.D. Lewis
Derek Walcott, Omeros
These texts have been ordered through the Bob Miller Bookroom, 180 Bloor St. West, Lower Concourse.

The Poetics of Empire: A Study of James Grainger’s The Sugar Cane (1764) (2000)*
Reading Poetry: An Introduction by Tom Furniss and Michael Bath (2007)

Required Consultation:
The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics, eds. Alex Preminger and T.V.F. Brogan
Representative Poetry Online

Course Work
Seminar co-facilitations (2) 30% (15% each)
Class Participation 20%
First Essay, due 12 June 20%
Second Essay, due 11 July 30% 
Term: F-Term (September - December 2014)
Date/Time: Wednesday, 3:00pm - 6:00pm, 3 hours
Location: Room JHB718 (Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street)
Top of Page
Return to 2014-2015 Graduate Course Timetable.

Comedies of Capitalism
A. Ackerman

Course Description

In his 1966 study Modern Tragedy, Raymond Williams defined classical Liberalism as an irremediably tragic political outlook. In the self-interested individualism of Ibsen’s protagonists and the ideology of the free market more broadly, he found guilt, debt, alienation, and the loss of the communitarian ethos of classical tragedy: “Liberalism, in its heroic phase, begins to pass into its twentieth-century breakdown: the self-enclosed, guilty and isolated world; the time of man his own victim.” This seminar aims to reconsider the “genre” of economic and philosophical Liberalism—to chart an alternative genealogy of theatrical modernity, in which individual economic enfranchisement and its representation in drama and performance might be imagined as comic and liberating.

Course Requirements:

Primary Texts:

Plautus, Pseudolus, Menaechmi; Sondheim, Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum; Shakespeare, Comedy of Errors, Merchant of Venice; Jonson, Volpone; Middleton, A Chaste Maid in Cheapside; Gay, The Beggar’s Opera; Twain, Huckleberry Finn; Chaplin, Modern Times; Keaton, Seven Chances; Lloyd, Safety Last; Sturges, The Lady Eve; Marx Brothers, Duck Soup; Lubitsch, Trouble in Paradise; Barry, The Philadelphia Story; Berlin, Fields & Fields, Annie Get Your Gun; Gilbert and Loesser, How to Succeed in Business without Even Trying; Wilson, The Music Man; TV sit-coms (Honeymooners, Seinfeld, Fawlty Towers, Arrested Development)

Secondary Texts:
Selections from Raymond Williams, Modern Tragedy; Adam Smith, Theory of Moral Sentiments; Henri Bergson, Laughter; Erich Segal, The Death of Comedy; Northrop Frye, Anatomy of Criticism; Kenneth Burke, Attitudes Toward History; Richard Rorty, Contingency, Solidarity and Value; Stanley Cavell, Pursuits of Happiness; Philip Fisher, Still the New World; James Kloppenberg, The Virtues of Liberalism; John McGowan, Pragmatist Politics; David Graeber, Debt; Nial Ferguson, The Ascent of Money; James Livingston, Pragmatism, Feminism, and Democracy; Margaret Atwood’s Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth; Magda Romanska, ed. Comedy: Theory and Criticism (Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 2012)

B. Components:
Seminar discussion: Informed participation (20%).
One-page responses on Blackboard (20%).
Presentations (20%).
Research Essay (40%).

Term: S-Term (January - April 2015)
Date/Time: Monday, 4:00pm - 6:00pm, 2 hours
Location: Room JHB718 (Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street)

Top of Page
Return to 2014-2015 Graduate Course Timetable.

History and Structure of the English Language, post-1500
C. Percy

Course Description
No prerequisite is required for this course, which surveys the linguistic and cultural history of the English language from the late fifteenth century until the present day. In lectures and brief reports, we will identify representative developments in vocabulary, spelling, grammar, pronunciation, and the codification of English in dictionaries and grammars. Themes for research papers and seminar discussion can include the processes and implications of the standardization and codification of English; the functions of English, French, and Latin in and beyond Britain; pidgins and creoles; language and imperialism; the literary use of English (standard and non-standard varieties) by native and non-native speakers; the linguistic effects of printing, news media, the internet, and technology generally.

Course assignments
• (40%) Best 4 of 7 reports (due the day before class)
• 10%, A proposal and bibliography (‘classified’ by subtopic but not ‘annotated’ – see some of the final projects)
• 15%, second half of term) A 20 minute presentation and 10 minute discussion in class
• (30%) The final article, composed as if for web presentation
• Class participation grade (5%)

Term: S-Term (January - April 2015)
Date/Time: Thursday, 11:00am - 1:00pm, 2 hours
Location: Room JHB616 (Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street)
Top of Page
Return to 2014-2015 Graduate Course Timetable.

Space in Postcolonial Literature
S. Radović

Course Description
Postcolonial revisions of colonial history often focus, in explicit or implicit terms, on conceptual re-appropriations of space. In recent theoretical assessments of postcoloniality, many critics insist on the spatial dimensions of literature as a way of understanding postcolonial literary and discursive interventions. In this course, we will explore the so-called “spatial turn” in literary studies and a number of distinct theoretical paradigms useful for analyzing literary space in general and postcolonial spatiality more particularly. Starting with the premise that colonial and postcolonial histories revolve around notions of contested space and spatial representations of power, we will explore relevant theoretical and literary texts that allow us a view of space as generative of individual, communal, and cultural identity. We will also explore how the theories of space that developed in architecture and urban studies, human geography, environmental criticism and globalization studies affect the spatial reconceptualization of postcolonial discourse.

Course Requirements
Reading List:
“Of Other Spaces” (Michel Foucault), The Production of Space (Henri Lefebvre), Spatiality (Robert T. Tally Jr.), Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (Fredric Jameson), Postmodern Geographies (Edward W. Soja), For Space (Doreen Massey), Late Victorian Holocausts (Mike Davis), Poetics of Relation (Glissant), Place and Experience (Jeff Malpas), Postcolonial Ecologies (eds. DeLoughrey and Handley), The Enigma of Arrival (V.S. Naipaul), The Hills Were Joyful Together (Roger Mais), The Dragon Can’t Dance (Earl Lovelace), The Lonely Londoners (Sam Selvon), The God of Small Things (Arundati Roy), My Garden (Book) (Jamaica Kincaid), Shadow Lines (Amitav Ghosh). 

Method of Evaluation:
Class participation and weekly Discussion Board responses (15%)
Seminar presentation (15%)
Essay prospectus (20%)
Final Essay (50%).

Term: S-Term (January - April 2015)
Date/Time: Wednesday, 11:00am - 1:00pm, 2 hours
Location: Room JHB718 (Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street)

Top of Page
Return to 2014-2015 Graduate Course Timetable.

Life, Death, and American Fiction
D. Seitler

Course Description

How have the concepts of living and dying impressed themselves on the literary imagination? What specific aesthetic, narrative, and political forms and questions have informed and negotiated these concerns? Foucault, in “Right of Death and Power over Life,” discusses a perceptible shift in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to an “anatamo-politics of the human body” and a “biopolitics of the population” through which understandings of life and death in relation to state control came to the fore. But there are also a whole host of other instantiations of narratives of life and death that this course means to take up. With a focus on suicide plots in late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century American fiction, we will address psychoanalytic questions about the relationality of pleasure and pain, Foucaultian questions concerning the regulation of “life itself,” phenomenological questions about becoming and unbecoming, and narrative questions about the availability and unavailability of aesthetic forms through which habitable conditions of being can be represented.

Fictional texts will likely include those by Edith Wharton, Rebecca Harding Davis, Gertrude Stein, Willa Cather, Henry James, William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald and others; theoretical material will likely include those by Foucault, Merleau-Ponty, Heidegger, Lacan, Freud, Cazdyn, Berlant, Cvetcovich, Holland, Derrida, Holloway, Bersani, Edelman, and others. 

Course Components
Seminar presentation (15%), abstract (15%), participation (20%) and final research paper (50%).

Term: S-Term (January - April 2015)
Date/Time: Tuesday, 11:00am - 1:00pm, 2 hours
Location: Room JHB718 (Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street)
Top of Page
Return to 2014-2015 Graduate Course Timetable
Asian North American Literature; National and Transnational Feminisms
D. Cruz

Course Description
This seminar theorizes the intersections of gender and sexuality, nationalism, and transnationalism in Asian North American fiction. In studies of Asian North American literature such entwinings have been especially fraught on both the textual and disciplinary level. These tensions are perhaps best illustrated by what has become known in Asian North American literary studies as the Frank Chin versus Maxine Hong Kingston debate, a critical controversy that pitted the interests of male-coded cultural nationalism versus feminism in literary works. This seminar questions such divisions. To do so, we will study primary and secondary texts produced within and outside of North America, and we will think about the development of transnational Asian North American feminisms within a broader context of shifting relations between North America and Asia from the early twentieth century to the contemporary moment.

Course Requirements: (NB: Updated December 17, 2014)
Texts: Onoto Watanna, A Japanese Nightingale (1901); short stories by Hisaye Yamomoto; Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior (1975); Jessica Hagedorn, Dog-Eaters (1990); Hiromi Goto, Chorus of Mushrooms (1994); Julie Otsuka, When the Emperor Was Divine (2001); Jhumpa Lahiri, Unaccustomed Earth (2008); Monique Truong, Bitter in the Mouth (2010); Ruth Ozeki, A Tale for the Time Being (2013); Souvankham Thammavongsa, Light (2014); and Gina Apostol, Gun Dealer’s Daughter (2013)

Secondary and theoretical material will include work by King-Kok Cheung, Kandice Chuh, Iyko Day, David Eng, Inderpal Grewal, Laura Kang, Elaine Kim, Susan Koshy, Rachel Lee, Lisa Lowe, Anita Mannur, Mae Ngai, Eleanor Ty, and Sau-Ling Wong.

Method of Evaluation:(NB: Updated December 17, 2014)
Research Paper Proposal and Abstract (10%), Presentation (10%), Participation (20%), Research Paper (60%)

Term: S-Term (January - April 2015)
Date/Time: Monday, 9:00am - 12:00noon, 3 hours
Location: Room JHB718 (Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street) 

Top of Page
Return to 2014-2015 Graduate Course Timetable

Law and Literature
S. Stern

O.W. Holmes: “The life of the law has not been logic but experience.”
O.Wilde: “Experience is the name we give to our past mistakes.”

Course Description
Each week we will read several articles, along with several short stories and novels during the term. We will begin with a consideration of some of the questions and criticisms that scholars have recently raised as they have sought to justify or reorient the field. We will then look at some of the specific problems connecting law and literature at various points since the Renaissance. After a more intensive look at current theoretical debates, we will take up various problems at the intersection of law and literature: legal fictions, forms of legal writing and explanation, and the regulation of literature through copyright law. Next we will focus on two legal problems that have also occupied literary thinkers: the problem of criminal responsibility and literature’s ability to document human thought and motives, and the question of privacy in criminal law, tort law, and fiction. We will end by considering possible future directions for law and literature. The course requirements will include a final paper and two or three response papers for presentation in class.

Each unit includes some required readings and a number of suggested sources for students who are interested in doing further research in a particular area.

Some of the questions we will discuss include:
How does literature use or respond to legal structures, themes, and analytical techniques, and vice versa?
How does literature portray legal institutions and processes?
What can literature bring to the performance of legal tasks, including legal narrative?
To what extent can literary critical accounts of narrative structure and coherence explain the role of narrative in law, and where do these accounts fall short?
What is achieved and what is missed by positing literature as law’s “other” (e.g., as the imaginative and ethical alternative to legal rules and constraints)?

Two or three one- to two-page comment papers on assigned readings (to be used in class discussions of those readings) (cumulatively 20%); class participation (measured by regular attendance and contribution to class discussion) (20%); and a term paper of about 15 pages, on a topic to be approved in advance (60%).

Term: F-Term (September - December 2014)
Date/Time: Thursday, 4:00pm - 6:00pm, 2 hours
Location: Falconer Hall, Room FH2

Top of Page
Return to 2014-2015 Graduate Course Timetable

From CanLit to Canlits: The Re-formation of a Discipline

S. Kamboureli

Course Description
What shapes a literature as an institution and as a canon? How do institutional structures and sociocultural developments influence the formation of a literary tradition and its study? What is the relationship of literature to the nation state and to the public at large? What constitutes the formation of a literature as a discipline, and what (re-)shapes its political unconscious? What conditions and factors influence the critical approaches we adopt? These are some of the central questions that will frame our course. More specifically, we will examine recent approaches to CanLit as an institution, with specific emphasis on the TransCanada project’s interrogation of the field. To do so, we will read a selection of Canadian literary texts, alongside Canadian criticism and relevant theoretical material, to address the various forces and discourses (e.g., diaspora and aboriginality), as well as institutional structures (e.g., CanLit as a canon and critical paradigms) that inform the production, dissemination, teaching, and study of Canadian literatures today. Though not designed to be a course that will provide a fully historical perspective of CanLit as a discipline, it will allow us to engage with the historical conditions that have influenced the shape of the discipline today.

Course Requirements
Tentative Text List:

Two literary texts (TBA)

Foucault, Michel. “The Order of Discourse.” Untying the Text: A Post-Structuralist Reader. Ed. Robert Young. Boston: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1981. 48-77.

A small selection of essays on area studies and the formation of national literatures (TBA)

Selections from the following books:
Trans.Can.Lit: Resituating the Study of Canadian Literature, ed. Smaro Kamboureli and Roy Miki (2007)
Shifting the Ground of Canadian Literary Studies, ed. Smaro Kamboureli and Robert Zacharias (2012)
Critical Collaborations: Indigeneity, Diaspora, and Ecology, ed. Smaro Kamboureli and Christl Verduyn

A Selection of the following articles
McGee, Thomas D’Arcy. “Protection for Canadian Literature.” (1858)
Lighthall, William Douw. “Introduction.” Songs of the Great Dominion: Voices from the Forests and Waters, The Settlements and Cities of Canada. (1889)
Smith, A.J.M. “Wanted – Canadian Criticism.” (1928)
Frye, Northrop. “Conclusion.” Literary History of Canada: Canadian Literature in English, Volume II. (1965)
Brown, Russell M. “Critic, Culture, Text: Beyond Thematics.” Essays on Canadian Writing. (1978)
Davey, Frank. “Surviving the Paraphrase.” Surviving the Paraphrase: Eleven Essays on Canadian Literature. (1983)
Cameron, Barry. “English Critical Discourse in/on Canada.” Studies on Canadian Literature: Introductory and Critical Essays. Ed. Arnold E. Davidson. (1990)
Lecker, Robert. “The Canonization of Canadian Literature: An Inquiry into Value.” Critical Inquiry. (1990)
Davey, Frank. “Critical Response I: Canadian Canons.” Critical Inquiry. (1990)
Godard, Barbara. “Canadian? Literary? Criticism?” Open Letter. (1992)
Davey, Frank. “It’s a Wonderful Life: Robert Lecker’s Canadian Canon.” Canadian Literary Power. (1994)
Hutcheon, Linda. “The Canadian Postmodern: Fiction in English Since 1960.” Studies
Robert Lecker. “A Country without a Canon? Canadian Literature and the Aesthetics of Idealism.” Making it Real: The Canonization of English-Canadian Literature. (1995) on Canadian Literature. Ed. Arnold E. Davidson. (1990)
Brydon, Diana. “Introduction: Reading Postcoloniality, Reading Canada.” Essays on Canadian Writing. (1995)
Episkenew, Jo-Ann. “Socially Responsible Criticism: Aboriginal Literature, Ideology, and the Literary Canon.” Creating Community: A Roundtable on Canadian Aboriginal Literature. Ed. Renate Eigenbrod and Jo-Ann Episkenew. (2002)
Szeman, Imre. “The Persistence of the Nation: Literature and Criticism in Canada.” Zones of Instability: Literature, Postcolonialism, and the Nation. (2003)
Cavell, Richard. “Introduction: The Cultural Production of Canada’s Cold War.” Love, Hate, and Fear in Canada’s Cold War. Ed. Richard Cavell. (2004)
Bennett, Donna. “English Canada’s Postcolonial Complexities.” Unhomely States: Theorizing English-Canadian Postcolonialism. Cynthia Sugars, Ed. (2004)
Pennee, Donna. “Literary Citizenship: Culture (Un)Bounded, Culture (Re)Distributed.” Home-Work. (2004)
Findlay, Len. “Always Indigenize!: The Radical Humanities in the Postcolonial Canadian University.” Unhomely States: Theorizing English-Canadian Postcolonialism. Cynthia Sugars, Ed. (2004) 

Method of Evaluation:
Informed participation (including weekly submission of comments) 20%; Seminar report 20%; Short paper (based on report) 20%; Long paper 40%.

Term: S-Term (January - April 2015)
Date/Time: Thursday, 3:00pm - 6:00pm, 3 hours
Location: Room JHB718 (Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street) 

Top of Page
Return to 2014-2015 Graduate Course Timetable

Reading Auerbach’s Mimesis
C. Warley

Course Description
It is not much of an exaggeration to say that Erich Auerbach’s Mimesis (1946) is the most influential book of literary criticism of the twentieth century. This course returns to it with the hope that it can offer a model for literary criticism in the twenty-first century. Despite its intimidating range of reference and conceptual brilliance, Mimesis is a genuine pleasure to read: Auerbach’s quiet, clear, and humble prose is never condescending to anything. The course will carefully work through Auerbach’s unique methodological blend of philology, immanent critique, and Hegelian history with an eye particularly toward what he means by aesthetic “realism” and its connection to a “common life of mankind on earth.” In the latter part of the course, we will consider Auerbach’s pervasive influence on contemporary criticism by considering some recent invocations: Jameson, Moretti, Gallagher and Greenblatt, and in particular Rancière’s Aisthesis (2013). 

Course Requirements
New Course Reading List:
Auerbach, Mimesis
Rancière, Aisthesis
Time, History, and Literature: Selected Essays of Erich Auerbach, ed. James I. Porter, trans. Jane O. Newman

Method of Evaluation:
Paper 1 (30%)
Paper 2 (30%)
Annotated bibliography (20%)
Participation (20%)

Term: S-Term (January - April 2015)
Date/Time: Monday, 12:00noon - 3:00pm 3 hours
Location: Room JHB718 (Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street)

Top of Page
Return to 2014-2015 Graduate Course Timetable

Return to Graduate Courses main page.

Site Information:

Site Tools:

Click below for directions to the University of Toronto!

University of Toronto, St. George Campus
Map of St. George Campus
Map of Mississauga Campus
Map of Scarborough Campus