Research in the  
Department
of English

Research in the English Department includes the tri-council funded 
Canterbury Tales Project, co-led by Bateman Chair Peter Robinson
.

The Department of English boasts a wide array of research interests. Our distinguished researchers include Professor Emeritus Dr. Len Findlay, who was named Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (RSC) in 2007 on the strength of his distinguished research career. Also in 2007, Professor Don Kerr, teacher, poet, playwright, editor, and historian, was awarded the Saskatchewan Order of Merit; in 2018 he won the Saskatoon Musician’s Association Kenny Shields Award for contributions to the professional arts. In 2005 Dr. Robert Calder was presented with the university's Distinguished Researcher Award on the strength of his work: most notably, his book Willie: The Life of W. Somerset Maugham (1989) has attracted enormous critical acclaim and garnered the Governor-General's Literary Award for Non-Fiction. In 2018, he was awarded the Saskatchewan Order of Merit. Dr. Peter Robinson holds the Bateman Professorship and is a world authority on Chaucer and digital humanities. In 2018, Dr. Lisa Vargo was awarded the Distinguished Scholar Award by the Keats-Shelley Association of America, recognizing career-long excellence in scholarship on the writers of the period. 

Recent Publications

The Small Things That End the World

Jeanette Lynes
Coteau Books, 2018

Jeanette Lynes’s new novel opens in 1954, the year young Sadie Wilder gets her big break at last – a chance to babysit for the posh Bannister family whose regular babysitter is down with the mumps. Sadie is certain she can deal with any obstacle, but little does she — or anyone else, for that matter — know that on that very night Hurricane Hazel, to this day, one of Canada's worst natural disasters, is about to strike Toronto. Sadie is alone with the two small Bannister children as winds and floodwaters ravage the house. The Small Things That End The World tells the riveting story of that fateful, tragic night, and its aftermath that takes us into the twenty-first century, an era of environmental disasters and the fragile economic lives of many, brought on by globalization. Lynes's novel poses big questions: How do we care for each other? How do we forgive? How do we move from one moment to the next in a precarious world? After catastrophe strikes, how do we keep believing in the forces of good?

Renaissance Texts, Medieval Subjectivities: Rethinking Petrarchan Desire from Wyatt to Shakespeare

Danila Sokolov
Duquesne University Press, 2017

Crosses the traditional medieval/early modern boundary to focus on reading Renaissance texts in light of earlier poetic forms

In a major contribution to the burgeoning area of study that crosses between early modern texts and premodern cultures, Danila Sokolov argues for the necessity of reading the work of English Petrarchan writers in light of earlier medieval forms of poetic subjectivity. By doing just that, this book directly challenges one of the most enduring myths of contemporary criticism and shows that the many innovations associated with the poetry of Petarchism derive from medieval subjectivities that continue to inform modern ideas of selfhood and modernity more generally.

Birth of a Family

Tasha Hubbard
National Film Board of Canada, 2017

Three sisters and a brother, adopted as infants into separate families across North America, meet together for the first time in this deeply moving feature-length documentary by director Tasha Hubbard. Removed from their young Dene mother’s care as part of Canada’s infamous Sixties Scoop, Betty Ann, Esther, Rosalie and Ben were four of the 20,000 Indigenous children taken from their families between 1955 and 1985, to be either adopted into white families or to live in foster care. As the four siblings piece together their shared history, their connection deepens, bringing laughter with it, and their family begins to take shape.

A Hero for the Americas: The Legend of Gonzalo Guerrero

Robert Calder, Professor Emeritus
University of Regina Press, 2017

A group of shipwrecked Spaniards washed onto the coast of the Yucatán Peninsula in 1512, leading to first contact between the Spanish and the Maya. Two men survived the ordeal: Jerónimo de Aguilar, who became a translator for Hernán Cortés in his conquest of the Aztecs, and Gonzalo Guerrero, who, as legend has it, embraced the Mayan way of life and skillfully led the opposition to the Spanish take-over of the Yucatán. University of Regina Press, 2017.

Reviled in 16th-century Spain as an apostate and a traitor, Guerrero is today remembered all over the Yucatán with statues and images, and as the symbolic father of millions of Mexican mestizos.But like Robin Hood and King Arthur, Guerrero's story has become embellished by legend and myth. The product of fifteen years of research by a Governor General's Award winner, A Hero for the Americas is the first comprehensive investigation of this controversial figure.

The Gold

David Carpenter, Professor Emeritus
Coteau Books, 2017

As Joseph Burbidge comes to discover, finding gold in Canada's North is less than half the battle. 

Joe is blessed with resolve and with good partners to share the load. Stinky Riley is a wrangler and bush pilot who is Joe's first mentor in prospecting. Isidore Chartrand is a hunter and trapper who accompanies Joe on his northernmost odyssey, and more than once, saves Joe's life. Joe has to fight to protect his claim, and this conflict sets in motion a moral dilemma that will dog him for the rest of his life.

On the long trail from high adventure and romance to atonement, readers will meet some delightful, complex, and sometimes malicious characters. Carpenter's latest novel is a quest for more than one kind of gold.

The Meanings of J. Robert Oppenheimer

Lindsey Michael Banco
U of Iowa Press, 2016

From U of Iowa Press: He called the first atomic bomb “technically sweet,” yet as he watched its brilliant light explode over the New Mexico desert in 1945 in advance of the black horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, he also thought of the line from the Hindu epic The Bhagavad Gita: “I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” Physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, the scientific director of the Manhattan Project, the single most recognizable face of the atomic bomb, and a man whose name has become almost synonymous with Cold War American nuclear science, was and still is a conflicted, controversial figure who has come to represent an equally ambivalent technology. In the decades since the successful detonation of the world’s first atomic bomb under his supervision, Oppenheimer has been portrayed as an emotionless and soulless man of science, an almost mystical Byronic visionary, a popular celebrity, an incarnation of the horrors of nuclear warfare, the embodiment of the American dream, and a Communist threat to the American way of life. In turn, he has been used to represent abstract ideas such as patriotism, ingenuity, intelligence, masculinity, and even science itself.
 
Following the seventieth anniversary of the Manhattan Project, The Meanings of J. Robert Oppenheimer examines how he has been represented over the past several decades in biographies, histories, fiction, comics, photographs, film, television, documentaries, theater, and museums. Lindsey Michael Banco gathers an unprecedented group of cultural texts and seeks to understand the multiple meanings Oppenheimer has held in American popular culture since 1945. He traces the ways these representations of Oppenheimer have influenced public understanding of the atomic bomb, technology, physics, the figure of the scientist, the role of science in war, and even what it means to pursue knowledge of the world around us. Questioning and unpacking both how and why Oppenheimer is depicted as he is across time and genre, this book is broad in scope, profound in detail, and offers unique insights into the rise of nuclear culture and how we think about the relationship between history, imagination, science, and nuclear weapons today.

The Season's Vagrant Light: New and Selected Poems

Sheri Benning
Manchester: Carcanet Press, 2015

This book marks the UK début of Canadian poet Sheri Benning, featuring new poems alongside work previously published in Canada. Benning’s early work draws on her strongly felt connection to her native landscape, rural Saskatchewan. In poems that couple sinew and roots, blood and sap, skin and stone, Benning explores an ecology of affiliation between humans and the natural world. The poems are also alive to the quiet intimacies between father and daughter, mother and child, between siblings and between lovers. Benning’s later work travels further afield – to Russia, New Mexico, Scotland – but always the physical landscape is entwined with memory, the landscapes of the mind.

Bedlam Cowslip

Jeanette Lynes
Wolsak and Wynn, 2015

Winner of the 2016 Saskatchewan Arts Board Poetry Award 

In this new collection, Jeanette Lynes turns her attention to the life and work of John Clare (1793–1864), the renowned poet of the countryside and one of England’s greatest working-class bards. In these poems, the Romantic world of Clare – strewn with wildflowers and dizzy with birdsong – is visited by a new, postmodern voice, and the conversation that ensues is both profound and dazzling. Painstakingly researched and deftly crafted, these poems share Clare’s loves, ambitions, rages and failures. 

Where the Nights Are Twice as Long: Love Letters of Canadian Poets

Jeanette Lynes and David Eso
Goose Lane, 2015

David Eso and Jeanette Lynes collect letters and epistolary poems from more than 120 Canadian poets, including Pauline Johnson, Malcolm Lowry, Louis Riel, Alden Nowlan, Anne Szumigalski , Leonard Cohen, John Barton, and Di Brandt, and many others, encompassing the breadth of this country's English literary history.

Presented in order not of the chronology of composition, but according to the poets' ages at the time of writing, the poems in the book comprise a single lifeline. The reader follows an amalgam of the Poet from the passionate intensity of youth, through the regrets and satisfactions of adulthood and middle age, and into the reflective wisdom of old age.

The Education of Augie Merasty

Joseph Auguste Merasty with David Carpenter, Professor Emeritus
University of Regina Press, 2015

Named the fourth most important "Book of the Year" by the National Post in 2015 and voted "One Book/One Province" in Saskatchewan for 2017, The Education of Augie Merasty was featured on the front page of The Globe and Mail to become a national bestseller. 

A courageous and intimate memoir, The Education of Augie Merasty is the story of a child who faced the dark heart of humanity, let loose by the cruel policies of a bigoted nation. 

A retired fisherman and trapper who sometimes lived rough on the streets, Augie Merasty was one of an estimated 150,000 First Nations, Inuit, and Metis children who were taken from their families and sent to government-funded, church-run schools, where they were subjected to a policy of aggressive assimilation. 

As Augie recounts, these schools did more than attempt to mould children in the ways of white society. They were taught to be ashamed of their heritage and, as he experienced, often suffered physical and sexual abuse. 

But even as he looks back on this painful part of his childhood, Merasty's sense of humour and warm voice shine through.

Where I'm From: ITEP Creative Writing 2005-2013

Bill Robertson, editor
ITEP, University of Saskatchewan, 2014

From The Indian Teacher Education Program (ITEP) at the College of Education, University of Saskatchewan: Contained in the anthology is poetry of many forms, varieties, genres, themes, moods, and dictions, plus a little prose along the way. The content of this work ranges from the joy of new birth to the sadness of final farewells; from the injustice and heartbreak of the residential school system and its aftermath to the power and affirmation of new beginnings, the re-discovery of culture and its opportunities for growth; from life on the rez to the lights of the big city; from the trapline to the essay deadline; from bannock and bingo to a whole new lingo.

The Literary History of Saskatchewan, Vols. 1-2

David Carpenter, Editor
Coteau Books, 2013 & 2014

From Coteau: Saskatchewan's literary history is both colourful and complex. It is also mature enough to deserve a critical investigation of its roots and origins, its salient features, and its prominent players. This two-volume collection of scholarly essays, conceptualized and compiled by well-known Saskatchewan novelist, essayist and scholar David Carpenter, examines the Saskatchewan literary scene. Volume 1, Beginnings, starts with early Aboriginal storytellers and moves through the decades to the burgeoning 1970s. Volume 2, Progressions, addresses Saskatchewan’s literary development since 1970 and provides tributes to some of the major contributors to that development.

Interdisciplinary / Multidisciplinary Woolf: The Selected Papers of the 22nd Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf

Ann Martin, editor (with Kathryn Holland)
Clemson University Digital Press, 2013

From Clemson: Interdisciplinary/Multidisciplinary Woolf comprises thirty-five essays selected from papers delivered at the 22nd Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf, hosted by the University of Saskatchewan. Contributors link inter- and multidisciplinary scholarship to the intellectual and creative projects of Woolf and her modernist peers. Essays that identify and extend points of contact between literary studies and varied disciplines are arranged in four thematic sections: "History, Materiality, Multiplicity"; "Patterns, Practices, Principles";  "Art, Influence, Embodiment"; and "Publishing, Politics, Publics." This collection contains writing by established and emergent scholars.

James VI and I, Scotland and Literature

David Parkinson, Editor
Leuven: Peeters, 2013

From Peeters: This volume offers a broadly conceived sequence of perspectives on cultural change, principally in Scotland and from Scottish perspectives, during the long reign of King James VI and I. The contributors to this volume include established and new scholars in early modern history and literary studies from Italy, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, as well as Canada and the United States. From the perspectives they provide, the cultural changes of the reign of James VI and I emerge out of a colloquy between the king and his realms, a colloquy in which each of the participants is undergoing a transformation.

To view older research publications, check our archives below.