Saturday, July 11, 2009

Final Essay

Updated: The Final Essay in open topic, three thousand words minimum, due in my mailbox on August 7th no later than 23:59, engaging any three course texts and centred explicitly around the major course theme. Note that the three texts need not be given equal importance in your argument.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Our Own Canada Day Holiday

In further honour of nation's day, and in light of the plain fact that a Canadian Literature course does not get a celebratory rest day by statute, we will have our own Canada Day holiday on Thursday July 2nd. For those of us who are strongly academically focused, it is an opportunity to refine the mid-term essay to the fine gem-like hardness of an A+ ...

Revised Mid-Term Due Date

In honour of our nation's day -- Canada Day, July 1st -- the mid-term deadline is now extended until Tuesday July 7th in lecture. Syllabus is updated accordingly.

Happy day.....

Canadian ... Molson

The three Molson brothers (Geoffrey, Andrew and Justin) -- who have just bought Canadians (i.e. les Canadiens) -- are widely-liked members of Canadian society.

One of their representatives -- Mr. Roy Speers, father of our classfellow Holly -- very generously donated well-chilled cans of Molson Canadian, accompanied by sharp-looking Molson beer glasses, to our class. We toast this generosity, and the Canadian institution.
(Fries with gravy in the background...)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Orwell on British Schoolboy Fiction

To more fully understand the literary genre in which Mordecai Richler opens The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, read George Orwell's still-resonant essay "Boys' Weeklies."

The aspects -- a gang of boys with a 'title' and a leader; an antagonistic and idiosyncratic master; japes in and out of school, etc -- are all there. We'll look in lecture at explanations for Richler's choice.

(Orwell, of course, is to be read universally for its own justification.)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

English Honours Programme: Information

Dr. Stephen Collis is hosting an information session for the Honours Programme on Monday June 8th at 1:30pm in AQ 6093.

The Honours programme is an excellent embellishment to an English degree, and an enjoyable experience to boot. The Department's online link is here.

Friday, May 15, 2009

"Canadians" poem

Courtesy of classfellow R.H, an apposite poem by Miriam Waddington.


Here are
our signatures:
geese, fish, eskimo
faces, girl-guide
cookies, ink-drawings
tree-plantings, summer
storms and winter

We look
like a geography but
just scratch us
and we bleed
history, are full
of modest misery
are sensitive
to double-talk double-take
(and double-cross)
in a country
too wide
to be single in.

Are we real or
did someone invent
us, was it Henry
Hudson Etienne Brûlé
or a carnival
of village girls?
Was it
a flock of nuns
a pity of indians
a gravyboat of
fur-traders, professional
explorers or those
amateurs map-makers
our Fathers
of Confederation?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A Multiculturalism Acid Test?

Ripped from today's headlines, the comments sections are here some type of forum for the voice of demos on the multiculturalism doctrine, and thus some empirical material (albeit of a certain--though definable-- selection) to contextualise aspects of the course texts.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Margaret Atwood & Polemic

In light of one of the Project group's topic, and our course non-fiction (but not-non-literary) text by Margaret Atwood, here is a link to a blog post from a prvious course on Ms. Atwood's recent high-profile polemical engagement on the question of taxpayer funding for the Arts in Canada.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Course Reading Break

A Reading Week is a great idea: opportunity during Term to read the course texts for the second time through.

Accordingly, there is no lecture or tutorial in English 357 on May 19th (Monday the 18th being of course Queen Victoria day.)

Victoria's Day

We're about to enjoy a holiday in honour of Queen Victoria. Tallying up her vestigial influence on Canada is an inexhaustible pastime -- Victoria, Alberta, Prince Edward Island, Prince Albert, New Westminster, Regina and many many more were all named in her honour, for a start. Canada, from its 1867 confederation, is a Victorian nation at birth.

I came across this oblique & tendentious article in the Telegraph on the predominance of women at the political head of England following on from Victoria's eminent sixty-four year regnancy:
Have you noticed that modern Britain is the most matriarchal society in the history of the world? The four most famous figures in the public service since the war have been women - the Queen Mother, the Queen, Diana, Princess of Wales and Margaret Thatcher.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Course Website FAQ

Here are FAQ about the course website.
  • The 5 most recent posts are displayed on the main page.
  • A permanent link list, entitled "Pertinent & Impertinent" is always visible on the sidebar of the course website, containing direct links to crucial information.
  • Also on the sidebar, always visible, is the "Blog Archive" displaying direct links to all posts on the course website.
  • The "Blog Archive" has sections for years 2009 and 2007. Our course links are under the 2009 section. The 2007 archive is for a previous iteration of the course which may, or may not, be interesting for you.
  • An "Older Posts" hotlink is always visible at the bottom of the main page which displays the next 5 most recent posts.
  • Certain PowerPoint lecture slides are occasionally posted on the course website.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Course Outline

Alien-Nation: the Canadian State in Literature

A national literature is an essential element in the formation of national character.
E.H. Dewart, “Introductory Essay,” Selections from Canadian Poets, Montreal, 1864.
Canada is an alien nation to many of its constituents. Immigrant cultures, by definition; First Nations, from imposed European economic and political structures; French from Anglophone; geographic region from geographic region; urban elites from rural and suburban culture; Don Cherry from Margaret Atwood: for these and more, alien-nation is all but indisputably the state, and the State of Canada. Indeed, the inability to find any agreement at all on what Canadian identity is - beyond the puerile or the petitio - suggests that Canada is alienated from itself. To illustrate that this is true no less for the dominant culture as for those more marginal, this course presents for reading and analysis established texts from the mainstream of Canada’s national literature, 1920 to now, that, each in an intriguingly different way, represents the Canadian alien nation. Students will be encouraged to express and develop their own position on this, in response to the texts as the course progresses. A Term ‘alienation’ project invites the introduction of any aspect of Canadian culture congenial to the student’s interests to embellish a creative and scholarly personal engagement with the literary texts and course theme. After all, being told what to think by institutional elites is yet one more aspect of Canadian alien nation, and from which students will doubtless be delighted to find themselves here spared.
Montgomery, L. M. Emily of New Moon
Wilson, Ethel The Innocent Traveller
Richler, Mordecai The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz
Kogawa, Joy Obasan
Brown, Chester Louis Riel
Atwood, Margaret Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth
Avison, Margaret Always Now: Volume I

15% Productive participation
20% Mid-term essay (2000 words)
30% Term Alienation Project
35% Final essay (3500 words)
To receive credit for this course, you must complete all requirements.