ENGL 468A/001 September 2014

English 468A/001: Children’s Literature

Instructor: Dr. Gisèle M. Baxter

“And all the time she went further and further into the wood” – the Brothers Grimm, “Little Red Riding Hood”

Description: Children’s literature has long invited both fascination and controversy. Despite crossover texts appropriated by unintended audiences, and the emergence of daring and diverse material, the folk/fairy tale retold as a life lesson and the “girls’ books”/”boys’ books” dichotomy continue to influence publishing and reading, popular culture, and constructions of gender. Starting with a selection from Philip Pullman’s recent collection of tales by the Brothers Grimm, we will examine the evolving boundaries and assumptions of children’s/YA literature, through a literary/cultural studies lens. Then we will stray from the path and look at texts that challenge or subvert its conventions, considering the forms and extents of danger represented where a mostly young readership is assumed.

Note: This senior undergraduate course is concerned with the literary study of texts, and not whether the texts are “good” for young readers or how to introduce texts to them. The texts represent no specific hierarchy or cross section; many others will come up in discussion. If you chose this section because of one specific text, please find out about all the others, so you can bring the same attention and enthusiasm to each of them.

You will need a Campus Wide Login (http://www.cwl.ubc.ca) username and password to access the Connect site (http://elearning.ubc.ca) for this course, which will provide resources and useful links, and where you will contribute to discussion forums and an ongoing journal. All assignments and handouts will be distributed electronically: emailed to you as document attachments and posted on the course’s Connect site.

6 credits of first-year English, or the 18-credit Arts One Program, or the 6-credit ASTU 100A in CAP, or 3 credits of first-year ENGL plus one of ASTU 100B or ASTU 150 and third-year standing are prerequisite to all English courses numbered 343 and above.

Tentative Core Text List:

Except for Tales from the Brothers Grimm, any print or e-book editions of the texts are fine as long as they are complete. (The recommended resource books will not be ordered through the bookstore.)

  • Philip Pullman, Tales from the Brothers Grimm: A New English Version
  • Alan Garner, The Owl Service
  • Roald Dahl, The Witches
  • Stephenie Meyer, New Moon
  • Joanne Harris, Runemarks (pending availability)
  • Mark Haddon, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
  • Recommended if you have little/no experience writing literary analysis: Janet Gardner’s Reading and Writing about Literature 3rd ed or Robert Dale Parker’s How to Interpret Literature 2nd ed
  • Recommended for general writing issues: The Canadian Writer’s Handbook: Essentials Edition

Course Requirements:

  • focused textual analysis (in class; worth 15%)
  • focused analysis of a text using an academic article (15%)
  • in-class presentation (10%; script/notes must be submitted)
  • term paper (25%): an email topic proposal will be required
  • participation (10%; based on contribution to in-class and online discussion, and completion of at least one online exercise)
  • final examination (essay based; 25%) Even with submission of all assignments, you must write and pass the final exam in order to pass this course.

© Gisèle M. Baxter. Not to be copied, used, or revised without explicit written permission from the copyright owner.


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