ENGL 468A/98A Summer 2015

Children’s Literature (online version; 3 credits)

Instructor: Dr. Gisèle M. Baxter

Danger and Discovery

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

Children’s literature has long been the focus of both fascination and controversy, and more recently of academic attention. In this course, we will study a broad selection of texts through a literary/cultural studies lens, exploring their (sometimes) evolving generic features and audience assumptions. We’ll start with familiar (and not-so-familiar) oral-tradition folk/fairytales, to consider how their recurring devices establish tropes still commonly used in children’s adventure-quest stories. Then we will stray from the path and consider how texts assuming a mostly young readership might challenge or subvert perceived boundaries and conventions, especially in representing discovery or peril.

Text List for Summer 2015:

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 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
  • J.M. Barrie, Peter and Wendy
  • Roald Dahl, The Witches
  • Neil Gaiman, Coraline
  • Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki, Skim
  • Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games
  • Custom Course Materials package
  • Recommended if you have little/no experience writing literary analysis: Janet Gardner’s Reading and Writing about Literature 3rd ed
  • Recommended for general writing issues (grammar/mechanics; documentation/citation): The Canadian Writer’s Handbook: Essentials Edition
  • Readings from Folk & Fairy Tales will be announced shortly before term starts in May; you will gain online access to the course on the first day of term.

Course Requirements:

  • Short Critical Analysis 1: Week 4: 15%
  • Short Critical Analysis 2: Week 7: 20%
  • Term Paper: Week 13: 30% (an informal email proposal will be required by the end of Week 10)
  • Participation (ongoing: based primarily on contribution to open discussions, with optional prompts for posts to a 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 concerning focus: This senior undergraduate course is concerned with the academic literary analysis of texts, and not with 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 all of them.

Note concerning pace: 468A/98A is the online equivalent of a classroom course and is structured the same way: 13 weeks, with weekly readings and required contribution to open discussion (on Connect). There is much reading to be done, and you’ll have to pace it so that you can contribute to discussion in the appropriate week. You 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.
  • 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.

A book order form will be available from CTLT: http://ctlt.ubc.ca/distance-learning/courses/engl/engl468a/

© Gisèle M. Baxter. Not to be copied, used, shared, or revised without explicit written permission from the copyright owner. No re-use under Policy 81.

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