Trinity Western University

Course Descriptions

English, Graduate Courses

    • ENGL 510 The Writing of Creative Non-Fiction (3 sem. hrs.)

      A seminar in the reading and writing of literary nonfiction and in the development of a critical appreciation of its various forms. The course examines life writing in terms of its literary forms, as the authors' responses to their culture, and as texts within which identity is shaped and altered by the intentional acts of their writers. It examines current theories of life writing, based on the assumption that life writing participates in the construction of the identity and the historicity of the individual. Chosen texts demonstrate the art of life writing, as well as other paradigms for its interpretation and its literary and cultural influence. As the genre of literature in ascendency among readers and writers during this century, it bears careful examination as a means of navigating the reclamation of human selfhood and spirituality in our postmodern condition. The purpose is to provide approaches to the reading and writing of literary nonfiction. Studies include the techniques of writing creative nonfiction and the critical appreciation of this form, known as the "fourth genre." Such forms as (auto)biography, memoir, letters, diaries, travel and nature writing, and personal essays will provide the models for students' exploration of this genre. Examples are drawn from writers such as C.S. Lewis, Thomas Merton, E.M. Forster, George Orwell, Michael Ondaatje, Annie Dillard, Kathleen Norris, Flannery O'Connor, John Bunyan, Virginia Woolf, and others who form part of the literary canon of such writing.

    • ENGL 512 Studies in 20th Century American Literature (3 sem. hrs.)

      Examines representative works of 20th century American literary prose and the development of its themes in various historical, political, and socio-cultural contexts, including the major wars and social upheavals in which American society has been involved in the last one hundred years. Students examine the major themes and values that comprise a canon of literature which addresses the literary movements characterized by Realism and Naturalism and the contexts of Modernism and Postmodernism to which literature has responded in the American tradition. American literature and its contributions to the discussions on religion, morality and Christianity, and the relationship between the three, are engaged.

    • ENGL 522 Chaucer (3 sem. hrs.)

      This course focuses on Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, The Parliament of Fowls, and The Book of the Duchess. Care is taken to develop a good reading knowledge of Chaucerian Middle English. The literary, social, economic, political, and spiritual principles in Chaucer's text, and the aesthetic techniques employed to shape them, will be situated within the historical and cultural context of Ricardian, or late fourteenth-century England. Chaucer wrote for a populace that had confronted decimating plagues as well as social, economic, and religious upheaval. The course draws out the competing medieval voices that emerge in the works composed in this context, which often articulate searing critiques of a complex, disorderly, patriarchal, violent, and humorous medieval world.

    • ENGL 530 Medieval English Literature (3 sem. hrs.)

      Focuses on the rich and varied visionary and mystical literature of the early, high and late Middle Ages, including the writings of Bernard of Clairvaux, Richard of St. Victor, Julian of Norwich, Margery Kempe, Richard Rolle, the author of the Cloud of Unknowing, and Meister Eckhart. The influence of early theologians and philosophers (such as Origen, Plotinus, and Augustine) on these mystics is considered in detail, as is the influence of the medieval mystics on mystical thinkers of Renaissance Europe (including Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross). This course also seeks to read the ontological and epistemological elements of medieval mysticism through the filter of modern philosophical paradigms.

    • ENGL 534 European Literature in Translation (3 sem. hrs.)

      A survey of European drama and prose classics from the thirteenth to the twentieth century, this course explores and critically evaluates the shift in world views from Dante's Christian humanism to Kafka's and Camus' modern existentialist view of human existence. In order to provide depth to our analysis of the works and to highlight the significance of the shift in world view, the works will be discussed in their historical, philosophical, and cultural contexts, in combination with close reading and various theoretical interpretative approaches.

    • ENGL 551 Shakespeare I (3 sem. hrs.)

      Students study seven plays by William Shakespeare (representative histories, tragedies, comedies, and romances) in addition to his narrative poem Venus and Adonis. Shakespeare's plays are considered as both established literary works and as scripts written for performance, and students apply different critical approaches to his works in an attempt to discover the source and nature of the plays' aesthetic power and dramatic force. The course attempts to determine whether William Shakespeare is, as some have claimed, the greatest and most influential writer of all time.

    • ENGL 552 Shakespeare II (3 sem. hrs.)

      Students examine seven representative plays (not covered in Eng 551) of William Shakespeare and a selection of his sonnets. The Shakespearean works are read within the historically- specific cultural context in which they were produced. The course pays particular attention to the way in which Shakespeare blurs generic, thematic, and ideological boundaries in his poetic and dramatic works — exploring his fusion of the tragic and the comic, the sacred and the profane, the noble and the plebeian, the fantastic and the historic, and the orthodox and the transgressive. Students also explore the ways in which these richly layered texts affirm or interrogate the dominant cultural values in Elizabethan and Jacobean Britain.

    • ENGL 553 Milton (3 sem hrs.)

      The major poetic works and selected prose of Milton are read in light of his claim to be the delegated spokesperson for God and Parliament in early-modern England. Milton's works are seen both to reflect the tension and trauma of the Civil War, Interregnum and Restoration, and to participate in shaping a new state and new modes of existence.

    • ENGL 554 Renaissance Poetry and Prose (3 sem. hrs.)

      The course examines representative selections of the poetry and prose of the high and late Renaissance periods in England, covering a century from about 1580–1680, an era characterized by an impressive range of literary output that has never been rivaled in the Western world. Even apart from the work of the most eminent figures—Shakespeare and Milton—this period offers a rich and varied legacy of poetry and impressive essays, treatises, and allegories, by such great literary figures as Sidney, Spenser, Marlowe, Jonson, Bacon, Donne, Herbert, Marvell, Browne, Walton, Pepys, and Bunyan who, along with other selected authors, are represented in this course. The course also addresses the political, religious, and theological controversies that energized so much of the writing of this dynamic century.

    • ENGL 556 17th Century Women's Writing (3 sem. hrs.)

      A survey of women’s writing in the 17th century which examines the poetry, prose, and dramatic works of literary figures such as Lady Mary Wroth, Aemilia Lanyer, Anne Bradstreet, Katherine Philips, Margaret Cavendish, and Aphra Behn. The writings of these early-modern women are examined in order to understand how they address not only what it is to be a woman in early-modern times, but what it is to be human, an activity which involves the exploration of historical practices, philosophical concepts, political theories, and theological tenets.

    • ENGL 567 Drama to 1642 Excluding Shakespeare (3 sem. hrs.)

      The study of selected dramatic works written in English prior to the closing of the theatres in 1642, including medieval mystery and morality plays and works by Elizabethan, Jacobean and Caroline playwrights, excluding Shakespeare.

    • ENGL 571 The 19th Century Novel (3 sem. hrs.)

      This course offers a study of representative novels and novelists from 19th century Britain. The novel as a genre flourished during this time, as the novel's form was shaped by writers such as Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, and Thomas Hardy.

    • ENGL 572 Romantic Poetry and Poetics (3 sem. hrs.)

      A study of the poetry created by the six major poets grouped under the term "Romantic": William Blake, William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Lord Byron (George Gordon), Percy Bysshe Shelley, and John Keats. The course considers both the poetry and critical theories of these influential authors. Graduate students concentrate on the poetry and criticism of one particular poet.

    • ENGL 573 Victorian Poetry and Prose (3 sem. hrs.)

      The study of the poetry and non-fiction prose of British writers during the Victorian era (1837-1901), including prose authors such as Thomas Carlyle, John Stuart Mill, and John Ruskin, and poets such as Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Browning, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and Alfred, Lord Tennyson. The course considers these works in the context of Victorian Britain's preoccupation with questions about politics, education, art, science, religion, and the role of women.

    • ENGL 582 Studies in Modern British Literature (3 sem. hrs.)

      This course studies representative works in British prose, fiction and poetry that both shape and reflect contemporary British literary sensibilities. It includes a selection of poetry from writers such as W.B. Yeats, W.H. Auden, T.S. Eliot, Dylan Thomas, D.H. Lawrence, Philip Larkin and Seamus Heaney; prose from George Orwell and Virginia Woolf; and novels from A.S. Byatt, Joseph Conrad, John Fowles, David Mitchell and Graham Swift.

    • ENGL 583 World Literature in English (3 sem. hrs.)

      This course focuses on issues related to post-colonialism and literature through the study of literature written in English by writers from post-colonial nations.

    • ENGL 584 Contemporary Canadian Fiction (3 sem. hrs.)

      A study of representative works of contemporary Canadian fiction and the development of the post-modern, post-colonial, post-national novel. Authors (a minimum of six) may include a selection of Margaret Atwood, Dionne Brand, Timothy Findley, Jack Hodgins, Hugh Hood, Thomas King, Yann Martel, Rohinton Mistry, Alice Munro, Michael Ondaatje, Sky Lee, Jane Urquhart, Guy Vanderhaeghe, and Rudy Wiebe.

    • ENGL 590 Studies in Individual Authors (3 sem. hrs.)

      Designed to give students the opportunity of studying for an entire semester the works of up to two significant authors.

    • ENGL 591 Children's Literature (3 sem. hrs.)

      The course examines children's literature from the 17th century to the present, analyzing representative texts and changing attitudes toward children and their books. Beginning with early didactic stories and traditional folk and fairy tales, and then moving on to British, American, and Canadian novels, the course focuses on questions of history, philosophy, authorship, readership, and genre. The emphasis is on close critical readings of the texts.

    • ENGL 593 Fantasy Literature (3 sem. hrs.)

      Examines the long history of fantasy texts by first locating works of George MacDonald, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Madeleine L'Engle within the Anglo-Saxon epic and the Medieval romance literary traditions in English literature, including Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. The course also considers how these works have shaped the imagination of creators of modern fantasy as well as the argument that modern fantasy is a response to post-Enlightenment rationalism.

    • ENGL 600 Core Seminar: Reading the Signs of the Times: Text and Interpretation (3 sem. hrs.)

      Designed to orient students to the crucial transition from modernist to postmodernist and post-postmodernist models of texts and interpretation, models that depend on changing philosophical views of truth and reality. Examines the main interpretive paradigms in literary studies in order to show how views of reason, language, and textuality continue to shape one's life horizons.

    • ENGL 607 Special Topics in English Literature (3 sem. hrs.)

      Topics may vary. Courses to date include:

      • Foundations of Ethical Being
      • James Baldwin: The Dialectic of Race and Religion
      • Kierkegaard's Postscript
      • Life Writing as a Literary Genre: Biography as Identification of Self and Subjectivity
      • The Poetics of Resistance, Affirmation and Immigrant Voices and the Poetry of Trauma
      • Studies in George MacDonald
      • German Romanticism
      • Gothic Fiction
      • Poetics of American Literature
      • Merton and the Solitary Tradition
      • 18th Century Novel
      • Identity and Ethics in Communication
      • Milton and the Romantics
      • Shakespearean Trauma and the Early-Modern Suffering Self
      • Studies in the Late-Victorian Fiction of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

    • ENGL 610 Bibliography (3 sem. hrs.)

      Under the direction of the student's approved thesis or major research paper advisor, a course of reading and study which leads to the development of both a significant bibliographical essay (or annotated bibliography) and a thesis proposal. The latter includes at least the following: major question(s) to be addressed; significance of the issue(s); methodologies to be used; theories to be addressed and primary sources to be examined.

    • ENGL 611/612 Thesis (3 sem. hrs.; 3 sem. hrs.)

    • ENGL 613 Major Essay (3 sem. hrs.)

      Under the direction of a supervisor, students not writing a thesis will research and write a major paper of approximately 10,000–15,000 words in length.

    • ENGL 615 "Of Paradise and Light": Early Modern Devotional Writing (3 sem. hrs.)

      The study of the literary expression of religious desire, doubt, and despair in early-modern British literature. The aesthetic shaping of spiritual belief and sentiment within specific historical and cultural contexts is investigated in a selection of early-modern works, including those by Anne Vaughan Lock, Robert Southwell, George Herbert, John Donne, Elizabeth Melville, Henry Vaughan, Richard Crashaw, An Collins, Thomas Traherne, John Bunyan, George Fox, and Margaret Fell Fox. Their works are read alongside religious texts central to the Catholic and Protestant traditions, including the Geneva Bible, the Douay-Rheims Bible, the King James Bible, the Book of Common Prayer, John Fox's Book of Martyrs, the Thirty-Nine Articles, the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, and Joseph Hall's The Art of Divine Meditation.

    • ENGL 620 (Auto)biography as Literary Genre: Self-Identification and Subjectivity (3 sem. hrs.)

      Examines auto/biographies as literary artifacts, responses to culture, and as texts within which identity is shaped and altered by the intentional acts of their writers. Examines current theories of auto/biography by including life studies written by individuals whose association with the literary order has its origins in intellectual and cultural spheres. Explores how life writing participates in the construction of identity and engages subjectivity as a narrative strategy. Theorists including Paul Ricoeur, George Steiner, Richard Kearney, and Eva Hoffman are foundational to this study. The reading list includes (auto)biographical writings from authors such as Elie Wiesel, Victor Frankl, Eva Hoffman, Anne Michaels, Michael Ondaatje, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Richard Foster, John Bunyan, Frederick Buechner, Annie Dillard, Virginia Woolf, Lytton Strachey, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Thomas Merton, C.S. Lewis, and other significant (auto)biographers of the 19th and 20th centuries.

    • ENGL 625 Christian Humanism (3 sem. hrs.)

      This course seeks to recover humanism as a central ethos of Western culture and its Christian roots in two ways: first, by tracing, as much as possible, the story of humanism and its development from Christian roots to the Renaissance and to postmodernity and its current "overcoming." This historical exercise requires a counter narrative to the secularist master narrative that dominates both contemporary secular and Christian ideas of humanism. Secondly, the students are encouraged to consider recovering Christian humanism as a possible philosophy of culture that could address the main malaise of our present cultural predicament: an exhaustion of secular reason on the one hand, and the resurgence of religion (or at least its perception by secularist scholars) on the other. For this purpose the course draws on works from Eastern and Western theologians to establish theologically the theme of humanism as it arises from the Christology of the early church and persists into works of modern Catholic, Protestant, and Eastern theology. All of this study provides the student with a deep sense that studying in the humanities may indeed be linked directly to Christology and Ecclesiology.

    • ENGL 630 Religion, Gender, and Literature in 19th Century Britain (3 sem. hrs.)

      This course provides an intensive study of how the writers of influential 19th century British literary texts (including short and long poems, a novella, novels, and prose non-fiction) chose to portray the intersection of religious faith and gender. This course not only familiarizes students with the most significant 19th century British authors, but also enables a thorough exploration of two of the most prevalent areas of debate in the 19th century: gender roles and questions of faith. The course focuses on these texts as literature, taking into consideration genre, literary techniques, and audience, but the course as a whole crosses disciplinary boundaries as students read philosophical and historical writers such as John Stuart Mill and John Ruskin. Students also become familiar with the major theoretical approaches applied to these texts by contemporary literary critics.

    • ENGL 645 The Great Tradition: Christian Thought in Western Literary Classics (3 sem. hrs.)

      Focuses on one overarching theme: how Christian thought is embedded in some of the greatest literary classics of the Western World, selected from the Patristic period up to the 20th century. These include such diverse genres as St. Augustine's autobiographical ruminations in his Confessions; Dante's Divine Comedy; Shakespeare's Hamlet; Milton's Paradise Lost; Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress; Goethe's Faust; Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles; and T.S. Eliot's Murder in the Cathedral. This course deals with questions such as: What are we referring to when we speak of the mind? What is the nature of the human mind? Does it have a nature? Does it exist as something separate from the human brain? Is it a property of the human brain? Is it identical to the human brain? Or is it merely an abbreviated way of talking about bodily behaviours? More particularly, how is our phenomenologically rich and existentially weighted point of view on the world related to the neurophysiological conditions that underwrite it (or as one writer put it, “how is the water of the brain transubstantiated into the wine of consciousness?”)? How does the way we understand the answers to these questions inform the Christian belief that humans bear God’s image? And how does theology bear on our understanding of our bodies’ relationship to our minds?

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