Past Courses

Table of Contents


2016-2017

Undergraduate Courses

ENGL 110, Approaches to Literature (3 credits)

Fall 2016

Instructor: Dr. Vin Nardizzi
Email: nardizzi@mail.ubc.ca

Imagining Nature

Through the study of drama, fiction, film, poetry, students will outline some of the relationships between criticism and literature. Intended for students who have a strong interest in literature, this course will introduce all students to the fundamentals of university-level literary study and will furnish them with the skills to think and to write critically about literature. In lectures and in discussion groups, students will explore basic literary concepts as well as methods of literary analysis to enable them to excel in more specialized English courses at the second-year level and beyond.

The theme for this course, “Imagining Nature,” aims to provide a focus for students who may find the reading materials unfamiliar or challenging. Our readings and discussions will engage how literature imagines nature. These questions are central to our endeavour: how does literature shape our relationship to nature, and does literature about nature help us to think and act differently in an era of climate change? Our syllabus will be divided into mini-themes, all of which represent a powerful way that literature has imagined nature: “catastrophe” and “pastoral,” “picturesque” and “sublime,” and “cultivation” and “wilderness.”

We’ll mainly read poetry (Andrew Marvell, William Wordsworth, John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Virgil, Sir Philip Sidney, Christopher Marlowe, Walter Ralegh, Ben Jonson, William Blake, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, George Gordon, Lord Byron); some prose (Jamaica Kincaid, Lydia Davis, Joseph Conrad, Ann Radcliffe); less drama (Tom Stoppard and William Shakespeare) and then watch one film (Wall-E).

ENGL 364A, Nineteenth-Century Studies (3 credits)

Fall 2016

Instructor: Dr. Deanna Kreisel
Email: deanna.kreisel@ubc.ca

The City in Nineteenth-Century British Literature

In this course we will read, discuss, analyze, and write about nineteenth-century British literature depicting cities and urban spaces. We will also read theoretical texts (both older and modern) that think through the meaning and symbolic significance of these spaces. What does the city symbolize for nineteenth-century British culture? What kinds of utopian hope does it mobilize? How does the traditional “country-versus-city” dichotomy organize ways of thinking about the possibilities of human life? What were the impacts of rapid urbanization and industrialization on British culture? How were these impacts experienced differently by different populations: women, children, marginalized “others,” the poor? How did the authors of imaginative literature respond to and shape these fundamental questions? The course texts will be organized around three British cities: London, Manchester, and Bath. Literary works will include: Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friend; Arthur Morrison, A Child of the Jago; Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey; Elizabeth Gaskell, North and South; and shorter pieces and essays by Henry Mayhew, Charles Baudelaire, Friedrich Engels, and others. We will also read a range of modern criticism and theory dealing with cities, urbanization, and critical geography.


2015-2016

Graduate Courses

ENGL 512A, Middle English Studies (3 credits) 

Instructor: Dr. Robert Rouse
Email: rrouse@mail.ubc.ca

The Material (of) Medieval Literature

This course is designed to provide students with an introduction to medieval British literature at a graduate level. The course will ensure important period coverage for graduate students working pre-1900, as well as allowing more focused work for those specializing in early- and pre-modern literature. In addition, the course will involve an introduction to the frameworks of recent theoretical turns ranging across the geographical, spatial, ecocritical, transhuman, and the transtemporal.

A major theme of this course will be an engagement with the vibrant connective tissues and fluid network ecologies of medieval literature. Interfacing with the ongoing UBC/SFU Oecologies research collective, students will be encouraged to situate their work within an ongoing examination of the challenging and provocative ways in which premodern culture imagined its relationship with the non-human world.


2015-2016

Undergraduate Courses

ENGL 410W, Topics in Early Modern English Non-Dramatic Literature (4 credits)

Instructor: Nathan Szymanski
Email: nszymans@sfu.ca

Singing Shepherds: The Pastoral Poet in the English Renaissance

This course will provide a study, rooted in the English Renaissance, of pastoral poetry and its accompanying models of love, lust, loss, sex, friendship, and competition. Our initial focus will be to analyze poems that respond to Classical literary forebears of the pastoral (Theocritus and Virgil). Then, over the course of the semester, we will track the proliferation of pastoral motifs into diverse poetic genres in England, first and foremost the epic, but also the ‘minor’ genres of the epyllion (mock epic), estate poem, and elegy.

Questions this course will investigate include the following: What is the basis of literary or poetic relationships during the period? Which models of lust and love become most associated with the pastoral? How does one embark upon a poetic / literary career? Why do so many Renaissance poets adopt the names of Classical shepherds? Alongside foundational pastoral criticism, we will read a diverse range of scholarship (studies of influence, Queer studies) to help us answer these questions and pose many others. But, mainly we will look closely at the poems themselves to see what they have to say. We will read poems by Barnabe Googe, Edmund Spenser, Mary Sidney Herbert, Philip Sidney, Christopher Marlowe, Walter Raleigh, John Donne, Richard Barnfield, Ben Jonson, Robert Herrick, John Milton, and Andrew Marvell, among others.

ENGL 490, Majors Seminar – Literature (3 credits)

Instructor: Dr. Vin Nardizzi
Email: nardizzi@mail.ubc.ca

Some Versions of Renaissance Pastoral

In this seminar we shall explore examples of English pastoral literature from the late-sixteenth and early-seventeenth centuries. Since we would be hard pressed to provide a satisfactory definition of what “the pastoral” is, our central concern will be the multiple, shifting versions of pastoral figures that English Renaissance writers employed. We will study period translations of Theocritus, Vergil, and Horace; the pastoral verse of Christopher Marlowe, Richard Barnfield, Ben Jonson, and Edmund Spenser; the pastoral prose and poetry of Philip Sidney; and the pastoral drama of Shakespeare, John Fletcher, and Giovanni Guarini (in translation). Our texts will be accompanied by brief (but potent) readings by Raymond Williams, William Empson, Giorgio Agamben, Julian Yates, Catriona Mortimer-Sandilands and Peter Erickson, Stephen Guy-Bray, Bruce Smith, Valerie Traub, Annabel Patterson, Paul Alpers, Louis Montrose, Robert Watson, and Ken Hiltner. Our discussions of pastoral texts, then, will range from Marxism to gender and queer studies, to intellectual history, to New Criticism, to New Historicism, and to animal and environmental studies. There are indeed many – maybe too many – versions of pastoral on offer in this seminar; it has clearly had something to offer successive generations of scholars. We will thus have to address, over the course of a leisurely term, why Renaissance pastoral literature has such explanatory usefulness.


2014-2015

Graduate Courses

ENGL 515A, Shakespeare (3 credits)

Instructor: Dr. Vin Nardizzi
Email: nardizzi@mail.ubc.ca

Shakespeare and Nature

In Keywords, Raymond Williams famously observes, “Nature is perhaps the most complex word in the language” (219). Later in the entry on “nature,” after quoting several excerpts from Shakespeare’s King Lear, Williams remarks that the “complexity of meaning” exemplified in these passages “is possible in a dramatic rather than an expository mode” (222). Taking Williams’s cue, we shall explore in this seminar what it is exactly that drama, as an aesthetic form, can make evident about the full nature of “nature”; in so doing, we will, of course, aim to test Williams’s claim. Shakespeare’s plays and poems (King Lear, Pericles, Richard III, and the so-called “procreation sonnets”) will comprise the bulk of our readings. We shall frame them with shorter works of prose and poetry by Bacon, Montaigne, Hooker, Hobbes, Descartes, Spenser, Sidney, Ovid, Donne, and Herbert.


2014-2015

Undergraduate Courses:

ENGL 491A, Senior Honours Seminar – Research (3 credits)

Instructor: Dr. Patricia Badir
Email: patribad@mail.ubc.ca

Shakespeare in the Wilderness: 100 Years of Shakespeare in Canada

2016 is the quarter centenary year of Shakespeare’s death. This seminar will use this forthcoming occasion as an opportunity to look back over 100 years of Shakespearean production in order to think about how the motives of Shakespearean aesthetics have shaped, and continue to shape, Canadian academic and cultural institutions. We will combine the reading of Shakespeare’s plays (those most frequently performed in this time period) with archival and secondary material. We will consider the English travelling companies; local community theatre and Little Theatre productions; regional theatre productions; Shakespeare societies and clubs and we will look at the rise of the big Festivals (including Stratford and Bard on the Beach). We will also explore the relationship between the formation of English Departments in Canadian Universities and the rise of the sub-discipline of Shakespeare Studies in Canada and in the UK and the US. In other words, this project is a critical and commemorative endeavor that understands the quartercentenary as an advantageous moment in which to consider the role Shakespeare has played in the foundation of English studies in the academy broadly defined.

We will also think about the relationship (most poignantly defined by Northrop Frye) between a particularly Canadian ethos that seeks to anchor culture, and thus the culture of the academy, in a ecological aesthetic that remains fundamental to the twenty-first-century university. This is a pressing problematic to engage; indeed, UBC’s most recent vision document articulates a relationship between “place” and “promise” by means of a photograph that locates professors and students on a precipice, over a beach, gazing out onto the ocean, under stormy skies (http://strategicplan.ubc.ca/the-plan/). If one regards this image in the Shakespearean, mid-First-World-War contexts this course is proposing, these figures might as well be Gloucester and King Lear less stripped of their tragic (and, of course, romantic) registers than the institutional banner-head first suggests.

Students will be encouraged to attend sessions at the Shakespeare Association of America Conference that is scheduled to be held in Vancouver in the Spring of 2015.


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