Department of English

University of Toronto

ENG434H1F L0101

ENG434H1F     L0101   T1-3
Advanced Seminar Group 3: 
Black Epics of the Americas
George Elliott Clarke
Office Phone: 416-946-3143 
Office Location:  Jackman Humanities Building, Room 804


Brief Description of Course: In this course, we will read a selection of epics, epyllia that are arguably epic, and narrative lyric suites that could be considered epic in reach and scope. These works, authored by Afro-heritage authors from around the Americas, deal with the history and repercussions of slavery, imperialism, racialization, and hybridity. We will read works by M. Tolson, D. Walcott, M.N. Philip, and others, all of which offer provocative narrative (of one sort or another), bracing (or caustic) critiques of oppressions (plural), and which challenge or expand traditional, canonical definitions of the epic form/format.

Required Reading: Tolson, Harlem Gallery; Walcott, Omeros; Philip, Zong!; Mordecai, Book of Mary; Castro, Cantos to Blood & Honey; W. Compton, 49th Parallel Psalm; Trethewey, Bellocq’s Ophelia; and likely Cesaire--in English translation, namely, Notebook of a Return to My Native Land.

First Three Authors/Texts: Tolson, Walcott, Philip

Method of Instruction: Lecture and seminar discussion.

Method of Evaluation: One short paper and one research paper.

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