English 110 Approaches to Literature (January 2021)

Approaches to Literature – Term 2 TTh 2 p.m.

Dr. Gisèle M. Baxter

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NOTE: This course will be Web-oriented: it will be fully online and delivered through Canvas. This status differs from that of courses developed by CTLT and offered through Distance Learning. It also retains a registration cap.

Literary Monsters and Monstrous Literature

Rey: “You are a monster.”
Kylo Ren: “Yes, I am.”
– Star Wars: The Last Jedi

“Deformed, unfinished, sent before my time into this breathing world” – Richard III 1.i

What is a monster? We know monsters from myths and legends, folktales, horror fiction and film. We know their variety: the grotesque, the beautiful, the terrifying, the pitiable, the sports of nature and the forces of evil. Dragons, werewolves, vampires, zombies, Frankenstein’s Creature, Dorian Gray, the Joker, many of the characters in The Walking Dead or Penny Dreadful or Game of Thrones: they’re everywhere, from under the bed to the battlefield, and right into a great deal of literature. Which leaves us here: in this section of 110 we’ll focus on how literary texts across the genres use representations of monstrosity to say a variety of things.

Core texts will include the following (with availability):

  • Richard III (1995 film; dir. Richard Loncraine): this will be available to stream through Library Online Course Reserves
  • William Shakespeare, Richard III (excerpts): download as a PDF file from the Folger Shakespeare Library (you do not have to buy the print text, though you may use a complete edition you already own)
  • Robert Louis Stevenson, Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (Broadview, 3rd ed.): the UBC Bookstore has ordered print copies; the ebook is available on VitalSource, RedShelf, GooglePlay, and Adobe Digital Editions
  • Janet Gardner and Joanne Diaz, Reading and Writing About Literature (Bedford St. Martins/Macmillan Learning, 5th ed.): the UBC Bookstore has ordered print copies; the ebook is available on RedShelf and VitalSource
  • Charles Perrault, “Bluebeard” (etext; Library Online Course Reserves)
  • Angela Carter, “The Lady of the House of Love” (etext; Library Online Course Reserves)
  • A collection of poems in the public domain will be provided as a PDF file on the course’s Canvas site; another short story might be added pending copyright permission.

Note: I have enquired about whether the UBC Bookstore can order digital access cards for Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Reading and Writing About Literature.

Evaluation will be based on three short writing assignments, participation in discussion, and an essay-based final examination.

This course will proceed in a fully online form, using Canvas and a combination of  synchronous (short live lectures and workshops) and asynchronous (notes, links, discussion forums, slides) materials. I will make sure all that course material is available online and/or in digital format (and will identify ebook or streaming options for all course texts) and that the full course is accessible to all students.

Keep checking this post for updates concerning the course, its texts, and its requirements.

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