ENGL 468A/99A September 2014

English 468A/99A: Children’s Literature (online version)

Instructor: Dr. Gisèle M. Baxter

“You are always in danger in the forest, where no people are.” – Angela Carter, “The Company of Wolves”

This course provides an introduction to the scholarly study of literature written for children.

The precursors of and influences on what we now consider children’s literature are numerous and date back centuries, ranging from scholastic dialogues, to hymnals and primers, to transcriptions from oral traditions of folklore, myth, legend and romance. From John Newbery’s 18th century publishing revolution through to the Harry Potter phenomenon and beyond, children’s literature has been the focus of both fascination and controversy, and in recent decades it has increasingly earned academic attention. In this course, we will study a broad selection of texts produced over the last 150 years. We will approach them as cultural and literary productions, exploring their (sometimes) evolving generic features and audience assumptions, in terms of age, gender, content, and perceived boundaries. Students will be introduced to relevant theoretical material and encouraged to develop independent critical responses to the texts. Participation in online discussions as well as group activities is an integral component of this course.

Course Requirements:

  • Critical Response 1: Week 4: 15%
  • Critical Response 2: Week 7: 15%
  • Term Paper: Week 13: 35% (an informal email proposal will be required by the end of Week 11)
  • Participation (ongoing: based both on contribution to open discussions and the private journal): 10%
  • Final Examination (invigilated): 25% Even with submission of all assignments, you must write and pass the final exam in order to pass this course.

Note: 468A/99A is the online version of a classroom course. As in a classroom course, there are weekly readings and the equivalent of attendance is met by online contribution to general discussion and a response journal via the Connect online blackboard system (http://elearning.ubc.ca). Your interaction will be at least as much with your classmates as with me. You will spend roughly the same amount of time weekly on this course as on any three-credit course in winter term, and will need daily access to a computer with a current operating system and browser, and a reliable high-speed internet connection. The university sets the final exam date, and if it conflicts with travel plans, I cannot schedule an exam ahead of that date.

Text List for September 2014:

Except for Folk & Fairy Tales and the Custom Course Materials, any editions (print or e-book) are acceptable as long as they are complete. You may want the Broadview editions of Treasure Island or Anne of Green Gables for the scholarly material: very useful for writing assignments! (The recommended books have not been ordered through the bookstore. If the library has them I will try to put them on reserve.)

  • Hallett and Karasek, eds. Folk & Fairy Tales. Broadview. 4th ed.
  • Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island
  • Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
  • C.S. Lewis, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe
  • Salman Rushdie, Haroun and the Sea of Stories
  • Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki, Skim
  • S.E. Hinton, The Outsiders
  • Lois Lowry, Number the Stars
  • Custom Course Materials package
  • 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

Readings from Folk & Fairy Tales will be announced shortly before term starts in September; you will gain online access to the course on the first day of term.

Note: This senior undergraduate course is concerned with the literary study of texts, and not whether the texts are “good” for young readers or with 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.

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.

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

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