English 2006A

The Study of Literature

Dr. Elizabeth McKim
322 Edmund Casey Hall
(506) 452-0448
Mailbox: EC302

Office Hours: M-Th 3:30-5:00 pm
Other times by appointment or by chance

Course Description

Through a combination of lecture and discussion, we shall examine a variety of poetry, drama, and prose texts from Anglo-Saxon to modern times to discover the literary conventions they display and the assumptions about language and literature that govern them-and our perceptions of them. Our goals will be to develop an awareness of the conventions and history of English literature, to further develop the abilities to analyse and write about literary texts, and to develop proficiency in basic research methods in the discipline of English.

But we have an even more important goal: to think about why so many people have devoted their lives to literary scholarship. What is the source of their passion? What fuels it? What makes dusty drudgery for some a labour of love for others? This will be an intense class for inquiring minds, with heavy emphasis on group discussion enlivened by individual insights and epiphanies.


Semester 1

Michael Meyer, Thinking and Writing About Literature (Bedford Books).
William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream (Signet).
Jane Austen, Emma (Oxford).
Annie Dillard, The Writing LIfe (HarperCollins).

Semester 2

DeRoche, Joseph, ed. Heath Introduction to Poetry, 5th ed. (Houghton Mifflin).

Course Requirements

Weekly assignments 20%
Essay 15%
Research project 1 20%
Research project 2 35%
Participation 10%

Essays: There will be one short essay and one research project in the first semester and a more extensive research project in the second semester. Topics and detailed instructions will be provided well in advance.

Weekly Writing: Most weeks, you'll be asked to do a page of informal writing related to or inspired by one of the texts we're studying. You'll be provided with a question or a topic one week in advance. Because it's informal, you don't have to worry about spelling or grammar; you do, however, need to demonstrate that you've done some genuine reflection (or research, if required)! You will receive full credit simply for handing in an acceptable assignment; you'll see a checkmark on it when I hand it back. If I think you haven't spent enough effort on the assignment, I'll put an X on it to let you know it hasn't been accepted, and I'll indicate why. We'll often use the assignments as the basis of group discussions on the day they are due.

Assignments must be submitted in class on the day they are due. Late weekly writings defeat the purpose, so will not be accepted. A late essay or research project will be accepted only after prior consultation, and only if it is accompanied by a medical certificate or other documentation. (A note from the Registrar's Office does not constitute acceptable documentation.)

Attendance and participation: Attendance is required. A sign-up sheet will circulate daily, and it is your responsibility to sign it. Students who miss more than six classes between September and April will lose the 10% participation grade. Participation involves playing a role in group discussions and providing regular evidence that you have read the texts and thought about them.

You are requested to arrive at class on time!

English 1006 Introduction to Literature
English 2006 Study of Literature
English 3806 Literary Theory

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