The following is the list of graduate seminars for 2021-22.

ENG 805.3: Topics in Individual Authors

Reading John Donne in Manuscript Miscellany or Reading John Donne in a Digital Environment

Instructor: Brent Nelson

Winter 2022 - Wednesdays, 9:30 am to 11:40 am

The vast majority of the individual witnesses of Donne’s poems (some 5,000 of them surviving from the seventeenth century) are found in manuscripts. No other poet of the Renaissance was so widely circulated in this way. His poems were sent by the author to friends and patrons, and they in turn sent copies to their friends, resulting in a wide and complex social network of poems and friendships facilitated by these poems. A great many of the poems were collected in miscellanies which containing also works other writers as well. This course considers what happens when we read the poems of Donne, not in the context of a single-author edition, but in the context of the manuscripts themselves in which they circulated, and in the social contexts in which they were collected. How might this notion of sociability, not only in the dissemination of these texts, but also in the resulting manuscript documents themselves, affect the way we edit and study the poems of John Donne? What might sort of generic or thematic patterns might these relationships between works in such contexts might we discover? What might we learn about reading practices in the seventeenth century? To answer these and other such questions, we will employ current digital tools and methods for editing and analyzing these texts and their networks.

ENG 803.3: Topics in Literary and Cultural History

Literary Criticism, Friendship, Caricature, and Quarrels: Alexander Pope and his Circle

Instructor: Allison Muri

Fall 2021 - Tuesdays, 1:00 pm to 3:20 pm

Alexander Pope (1688–1744), the most prominent poet of the English Augustan period as well as one of its most trenchant satirists, provides the focal point for this course on early eighteenth-century literature and visual culture.

Suffering from Pott’s disease, which restricted his height to about four and a half feet and caused progressive curvature of the spine, headaches, and respiratory problems; a Roman Catholic and suspected Jacobite in a virulently anti-Catholic period of London’s history; never married; a friend to Tories sidelined for forty years after the death of Queen Anne, Pope was the subject in print and caricature of a stream of hostile ridicule by his enemies. He was also the most successful writer of his day. A dazzling poet and an astute businessman, he profited more from his writing than any poet before him.­ And in terms of his quarrels, he gave as good as he got. In examining the aesthetic, intellectual, historical, and political contexts of Pope’s writings, we will have an opportunity to explore issues of gender and representation; early feminist writings by Mary Wortley Montagu who briefly infatuated and then famously quarrelled with Pope; the rise of female authors such as Eliza Haywood famously lampooned in Pope’s Dunciad; his relationships with Theresa and Martha Blount; the transformation of print culture as exemplified by literary publisher and bookseller Bernard Lintot the “unspeakable” and opportunistic bookseller Edmund Curll, and new periodicals such as The Spectator and The Grubstreet Journal; Pope’s mentors such as William Wycherley, and his circle of male friends, most prominently the Scriblerus Club (Jonathan Swift, John Gay, John Arbuthnot, Henry St. John, and Thomas Parnell).

Readings for this class will include An Essay on Criticism (1711); The Rape of the Lock (1714); excerpts from Pope’s Shakespeare (1725); “Peri Bathous, Or the Art of Sinking in Poetry” (1728); An Essay on Man (1733–4); Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot (1734); Epistle to a Lady (1734); The Dunciad in Four Books (1742); a sprinkling of works written by members of Pope’s circle; excerpts from attacks on Pope; letters to and from Pope; and representations of Pope and his circle both scurrilous and elegant in paintings, drawings, engravings, and pamphlets. 


  • Pat Rogers, ed. Alexander Pope: The Major Works (Oxford Worlds’ Classics, 2009)
  • Pat Rogers, The Cambridge Companion to Alexander Pope (Cambridge UP, 2007)
  • Paul Baines, Alexander Pope (Routledge, 2000)
  • reading package

ENG 811.3: Topics in National and Regional Literatures

Victorian Disabilities

Instructor: Kylee-Anne Hingston (STM) 

Fall 2021 - Wednesdays, 9:30 am to 11:50 am

Throughout the nineteenth century, the concept of the human body—where it begins and ends, how it connects to one’s identity or soul, what it represents socially and culturally—was continually being negotiated in response to rapid changes in industry, technology, medicine, in social and economic class structures, and in religious doctrine and practice. As a result, “disability is everywhere in Victorian literature and culture,” Martha Stoddard Holmes notes. In this course, we will examine disability and illness in both canonical and under-studied Victorian fiction, paying particular attention to disability’s place in narrative form and genres to uncover the ways certain bodies, minds, and behaviours were invested with meaning. To ground our analyses in the methodology of literary disability studies, we will place texts such as Jane Eyre and Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in dialogue with the foundational theories of Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, Lennard Davis, and David Mitchell and Sharon Snyder and with the current critical conversations in Victorian disability studies.

ENG 843.3: Topics in Genres and Contexts

Literary Modernism and Life Writing

Instructor: Ella Ophir 

Winter 2022 - Tuesdays, 10:00 am to 12:20 pm

“Everything personal soon rots; it must be packed in ice and salt.” So declared Irish poet W.B. Yeats, in one of the more resonant formulations of the ideal of impersonality so often associated with literary modernism. Recent scholarship, however, has begun to remap modernism through its subterranean but extensive relations with autobiography and biography. Within the framework of contemporary theory and scholarship on auto/biography,“autobiografiction,” and autofiction, we will look at how writers of the modernist era began thinking about the relationship between writing fiction and writing lives. We will begin with Virginia Woolf, in whose works we find the most extensive and searching early twentieth-century reflections on, and experiments with, the various forms of life writing. Other modernist writers studied may include James Joyce, Gertrude Stein, Zora Neale Hurston, and Jean Rhys. 

ENG 811.3: Topics in National and Regional Literatures

Reading in Mane-me-sas-kwa-tan (Saskatoon): Narratives, Relationships, and Land on the Prairies

Instructor: Kristina Bidwell 

Winter 2022 - Thursdays, 1:00 pm to 3:20 pm

This course will explore relationships between narratives, peoples, and land by analyzing the ways that diverse stories revolve and interact around selected places on the prairies, including Saskatoon.  In addition to reading literary texts, students will also research other forms of celebrated and neglected stories of those places – potentially including popular, visual, oral, and archival narratives. By exploring overlapping and sometimes conflicting stories of particular locations, we will explore the potential of stories to move us towards a more complex, nuanced, and shared understanding of where we live, how we live, and on whose lands we live.  In addition to standard literary critical analysis, this course will also require more personal creative-critical inquiry that involves self-reflection, journaling, and observations of our physical surroundings in relation to the course readings. 

Primary text readings for this class may include: fiction by Katherena Vermette, Stephen Graham Jones, Annette LaPointe, and Guy Vanderhaeghe; memoirs by Sharon Butala, Billy Ray Belcourt, J.E. Chamberlin, Louise Erdrich, Mark Sakamoto, Candace Savage, and Gregory Scofield; and selections from the Black Prairie Archives: An Anthology

Secondary critical readings will help us theorize the relationships between stories and land may include work by Lisa Brooks, J.E. Chamberlin, James Cox, Tol Foster, Shari Huhndorf, Daniel Heath Justice, Mark Rifkin, and Robert Warrior.

ENG 819.3: Topics in Methods and Texts

Contemporary Comparative British Literature

Instructor: Jerry White 

Fall 2021 - Thursdays, 10:00 am to 12:20 pm

This course will introduce the broad concerns of comparative literature with a special focus on These Islands – Britain, Ireland, the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands, etc. 

The course will begin with foundational readings in Comparative Literature – Goethe, Wellek, Damrosch, Casanova, Spivak, etc.  We’ll then move on to Canadian Comparative Literature as a case study, with readings by Blodgett, Pivato, Carrière/Braz, Durnin, etc.  We’ll then do a “crash course” in translation studies, reading work by Benjamin, Steiner, Simon, Cronin, von Flutow, and Ní Dhomhnaill. 

From then on we’ll be preoccupied with what Susan Bassnett memorably recalled as “comparing the literatures of the British Isles, which seemed to him [her coffee companion from Slovakia] and his colleagues to be the proper business of British comparatists.”  Using Bassnett’s 2003 anthology Studying British Cultures as a kind of textbook, we’ll read literary works written in English (Ted Hughes’ Wodwo and Stevie Smith’s poetry), Gaelic (Sorley MacLean’s long poem “An Cuilithionn 1939”), Scots (Hugh MacDiarmid’s long poem “A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle”), Welsh (poetry by Menna Elfyn and Gillian Clarke), Irish (Pádraic Ó Conaire’s 1910 novel Deoraíocht and work by the Belfast poet Gearóid Mac Lochlainn), and Jèrriais (poetry by Amelia Perchard and Alice de Faye).  We will also look at literary works by immigrant writers (novels and essays by Monica Ali and Salman Rushdie), as well as discussing issues around languages that linguists have considered to be extinct but are now being revived (Cornish and Manx).

ENG 801.3: Introduction to Textual Scholarship

Instructor: Peter Robinson

Spring 2022 - Mondays thru Fridays, 2:00 pm to 4:20 pm

This class will give an introduction to the theory, history and practice of textual scholarship. It will cover the following questions:  What is textual scholarship and why is it important?  The key concepts: texts, documents and works; the history of texts from 3000 BC to the digital age; key events in the history of textual scholarship over that period; fundamental vocabulary: the words, phrases and ideas needed to navigate scholarship relating to texts; fundamental people and organizations: the most significant people and organizations in textual scholarship over the last two hundred years; how texts, their study, use and editing are changing in the digital age.