English 392/002 Children’s Literature (September 2020)

Children’s Literature – Term 1 MWF 12:00 p.m.

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.

Dr. Gisèle M. Baxter

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Something in the Shadows is Watching

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

From The Turn of the Screw to The Others, creepy children frequently haunt Gothic texts. But what of Gothic texts assuming a young audience? Children’s/YA literature so often focuses on successful (or not so successful) negotiation of threats and learning opportunities in the intimate and public worlds around the child that “children’s” tales are often scarier than adult fiction.

In this section, we will study a variety of texts through a literary/cultural studies lens, exploring their (sometimes) evolving genre features. We’ll start with familiar (and not-so-familiar) oral-tradition folk/fairytales, to consider how their recurring devices establish tropes still frequently recurring. Then we will stray from the path and consider how a selection of novels might challenge or subvert perceived boundaries and conventions, especially in engaging with Gothic themes and motifs, ending with a graphic novel examining the adolescent engagement with Gothic culture.

Evaluation will be based on a midterm essay, a term paper requiring secondary academic research, and a take-home final exam, as well as participation in discussion.

This course will proceed in a fully online form using Canvas, and will involve a combination of asynchronous (notes, links, discussion forums, slides and videos) and synchronous (short live lectures and discussion) materials. I will make sure that the full course is accessible to all students. Any material in Online Library Course Reserve will be available in full text online.

Core texts include Martin Hallett and Barbara Karasek, eds. Folk and Fairy Tales, 5th Edition. (Broadview), The Witches, The Owl Service, Coraline, and Skim.

Folk and Fairy Tales is available as an ebook through Broadview Press, RedShelf, VitalSource, and GooglePlay (unless you have a very recent tablet, you may not be able to use the Adobe Digital Editions app, the platform required for ordering through the Broadview site). Sadly the UBC Bookstore seems only to have ordered the print edition.

The novels – Roald Dahl’s The Witches, Alan Garner’s The Owl Service, Neil Gaiman’s Coraline, and Mariko Tamaki/Jillian Tamaki’s Skim – are available in print (and have been ordered as such by the UBC Bookstore) and on the following digital platforms: Apple Books/iBooks (all), Kindle (all), Kobo (all except The Witches), Google Play (all). They can be read in these digital formats using an app or browser, and do not require a specific e-reader. In looking at search results, make sure the text has both the title and author correct.

Only legally published versions of material under copyright will be acceptable for use in this course.

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

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