English Courses

English Courses @ X

Please note: 

English 100, 111/112, 215, 233, 238/239 (formerly 237), 263, and 264 are normally offered every year.

All other courses in the 200, 300, and 400 levels are offered on a rotating basis over a two- or three-year period. The senior seminars are offered on a priority basis to senior Advanced Majors and Honours students. Other students interested in taking a senior seminar should inquire with the departmental chair (crushton@stfx.ca) or administrative assistant (english@stfx.ca) about availability and prerequisites.

Note: ENGL 100, 111/112, or equivalent is required for entrance to all other ENGL courses (2018-2019 Academic Calendar, p. 72).

The list of Course Offerings for the 2018-2019 academic term.



English 100 and English 111/112 are equivalents, and both patterns act as pre-requisites for future English courses at X. Students will receive credit for one or the other, not both. English 111 may be offered in both Fall and Winter, while 112 will normally be offered in Winter. Students may take 111 and 112 in different sections and with different professors, and even in different years (i.e., you can take 111 in your first year, and 112 in your second or subsequent years). If you enroll in English 100 and decide to leave the course before January, you might consider enrolling in English 111 in your second semester.

FOR TRANSFER STUDENTS: When you arrive at StFX, many of your courses will transfer as StFX equivalents. If your courses transfer in as any of the following, you should take English 112 if you intend to take future English courses: 111, 100A and 100B. If you arrive with only the equivalent of 112 or with courses that transferred as 193 or 196, please contact the Department.


ENGL 100 Introduction to Literature and Critical Writing

This course introduces students to the critical tools and methods of literary study, including close reading and argumentative writing. Students will learn about the history of genres (e.g. poetry, drama, and the novel) and forms of literature (e.g. tragedy, realism). Texts may include the earliest writing in English to more recent works in various media. Credit will be granted for only one of ENGL 100, ENGL 110 or ENGL 111/112. Six credits.

ENGL 111 Literature and Academic Writing 1

This course will give students key skills such as: how to write literary-critical essays; how to build a question or problem from a close-reading of a literary work; how to frame an argument in a way that gives it purpose; how to develop that argument by presenting and analyzing evidence; how to engage in scholarly debate; how to do literary-critical research. Credit will be granted for only one of ENGL 111, 100 or 110. Three credits.

ENGL 112 Literature and Academic Writing II

This course follows ENGL 111. It introduces students to the study of literature by familiarizing them with literary-critical concepts and terminology, by fostering an understanding of genre and form, by teaching the fundamental skill of close-reading, and by introducing them to literary works from a range of historical periods. Prerequisite: ENGL 111. Credit will be granted for only one of ENGL 112, 100 or 110. Three credits.


Prerequisite: ENGL 100, 110 111/112, or equivalent.

ENGL 201 Science Fiction and Fantasy

This course will examine the history of speculative literature, including the relationship between science and narrative, the rise of ethnic science fiction and fantasy, and ways in which the future and the past might be imagined. Prerequisite: ENGL 100 or 111/112 or equivalent. Three credits.

ENGL 206 World Masterpieces I: The Classical World

Through a reading of Homer's classical and influential poems (the Iliad and Odyssey), the course will explore how the ancient world thought texts worked. Readings will include Plato, Aristotle, Longinus, Horace and others. The course will also look at the New Testament's adaptation of older texts, including the Old Testament, from a literary vantage point. Three credits.

ENGL 211 Introduction to Film and Media Studies

This course will consider concepts and discussions that have developed in the history of film, television, and media studies. Students will be introduced to the vocabulary of film and media studies, techniques of analysis, and major theoretical discussions in these fields. Screenings will introduce students to various kinds of films, dating from the early 20th century to the present. Credit will be granted for one of ENGL 211, 209 or 297 "Analyzing Film." Three credits.

ENGL 215 Principles and Practices of Literary Criticism

This course builds on the skills students acquire in ENGL 100. Its aim is twofold. On the one hand, it will concern itself with philosophical questions regarding literariness, form and genre, and schools of critical approach (e.g. rhetorical, historical, sex and gender, sociological, political, psychological, neo-formal). On the other hand, it will develop practical skills by: expanding critical vocabulary; developing abilities to write argumentatively; and increasing proficiency with sources and databases. Three credits.

ENGL 217 British Fiction, 1900-1950

A study of British fiction in the first half of the 20th century. Literary works will be considered in relationship to central cultural and intellectual developments of this period, as well as crucial historical points of reference (the world wars, colonialism and decolonization). Authors to be studied may include Joseph Conrad, E.M. Forster, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and Elizabeth Bowen. Credit will be granted for only one of ENGL 217 and ENGL 350. Three credits.

ENGL 218 Contemporary British Fiction

This course will examine British fiction published since 1950. We will be concerned in particular with the following issues: changing conceptions of British national identity, and the relationship between these changes and the development of British fiction; ongoing discussions in this period on the capabilities and responsibilities of fictional narrative; the notions of postmodernism and late modernism and the pertinence of these periodizing terms to post-war British fiction. Credit will be granted for only one of ENGL 218 and ENGL 350. Three credits. 

ENGL 231 Introduction to Creative Writing -- Also see "Creative Writing Courses @ X"

This course teaches students how to write creatively in two genres—poetry and fiction—in a workshop setting.  Students will explore those elements of composition (imagery, dialogue, point of view, characterization, etc.) that make for interesting and challenging writing. Six credits.

Interested students are required to submit a portfolio and a list of English courses previously taken to english@stfx.ca by June 1. The portfolio should consist of 10-15 pages of prose fiction, poetry, drama, or any combination thereof.

ENGL 233 Children's Literature: 1865 to the Present

Using the landmark publication of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland as a starting point, this course provides a critical survey of children's literature in Britain, America, and Canada. Authors to be studied include Carroll, L.M. Montgomery, Maurice Sendak, Roald Dahl, R.L. Stevenson, E.B. White, and various picture books. Credit will be granted for only one of ENGL 233 or ENGL 234. Three credits.

ENGL 238 Shakespeare's Early Works

An introduction to Shakespeare's early works, covering his writing from 1585 to 1600. Works may include histories, tragedies, comedies, and poetry. Credit will only be granted for one of ENGL 238 and ENGL 237. Three credits.

ENGL 239 Shakespeare's Later Works

An introduction to Shakespeare's later works, from roughly 1600 to his death in 1616. Works studied may include tragedies, romances, comedies and poetry. Credit will only be granted for one of ENGL 239 and ENGL 237. Three credits.

ENGL 240 Literature of the Middle East

This course will introduce students to the rich literary heritage of various countries in the Middle East. In addition to the geographic range, the course will also introduce students to various kinds of literature including traditional poetry and folk tales, but the main focus will be the novel and the short story of the twentieth century. Writers studied may include Najib Mahfuz, Elias Khoury, Hanan al-Shaykh, Ghassan Kanafani, Tayeb Salih, Muhammad Shukri, and others. Three credits.

ENGL 241 Modern & Contemporary Poetry

A study of some of the major poets of the 20th and 21st centuries, including Elizabeth Bishop, T.S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens, Mariann Moore, W.B. Yeats, Gwendolyn Brooks, Philip Larkin, Derek Walcott, Sylvia Plath, Adrienne Rich, Henri Cole, Eavan Boldan, etc.  Credit will be granted for only one of ENGL 241, 320, or ENGL 298 "Modern & Contemporary Poetry." Three credits.

ENGL 243 The Protomodern American Novel 

In this course we will examine novels written between 1870 and 1910 that establish the concerns that we now associate with modernism. Topics include time, consciousness, inequality, photography, urbanization, art, nativism, utopianism, ethnicity and exile. Authors we might read include Edward Bellamy, Theodore Dreiser, Frank Norris, Jacob Riis, Mark Twain, Henry James, William James, Stephen Crane, Harold Frederic, Ellen Glasgow, Charles Chesnutt, Abraham Cahan, Jack London, Mary Antin and James Weldon Johnson. Credit will be granted for only one of ENGL 243 and ENGL 344. Three credits.

ENGL 245 Postcolonial Literature

This course will introduce you to the culture of empire and to a growing body of writing that has come to be called "postcolonial." Broadly defined as the literature of peoples who have experienced colonialism, this body of writing raises important questions about place, identity and belonging, and about the role of literature in representing nation, empire, and globalization. We will read fiction, poetry, and essays by writers from Europe, Africa, South Asia, and the Caribbean. Credit will be granted for only one of ENGL 245 and ENGL 247. Three credits.

ENGL 253 Coffeehouse Culture of 18th-century England

A course exploring a variety of works through the lens of the 18th-century coffeehouse. Focusing primarily on the periodical literature of the time—The TatlerThe SpectatorThe Plain Dealer and The Female Spectator—and novels and poetry, the course will consider themes like conversation, urban space, taste and culture, consumerism, gender fashioning, and the private subject made public. Three credits. 

ENGL 254 Topics in 18th-Century Literature

"The Whore's Story." This course explores the changing literary, social and cultural significance of the figure of the whore in a variety of 18th-century works. Poetry, pornography, and pamphlets, as well as Hogarth's engravings A Harlot's Progress, Behn's play, The Rover, and Cleland's novel, Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasur (aka Fanny Hill) will be studied among other works. Graphic language and content may offend some students. Three credits.

ENGL 257 The 21st-Century American Novel

This course will introduce students to recent formal and generic developments in the American novel and situate these trends within the history of the novel as a literary form. Three credits.

ENGL 263 Canadian Literature I: 18th and 19th Centuries

This course will survey Canadian poetry and prose in the historical contexts of exploration, settlement, and Confederation.  Students will examine early Canadian authors’ engagements with the Romantics and Victorians, and will consider the emergence of a national literature.  Selected authors may include Frances Brooke, Samuel Hearne, John Richardson, Thomas Chandler Haliburton, Susanna Moodie, James de Mille, Isabella Valancy Crawford, and Sir Charles G.D. Roberts. Credit will be granted for only one of ENGL 263 or ENGL 265. Three credits.

ENGL 264 Canadian Literature II: The 20th Century and After

This course examines the major genres of Canadian writing during the 20th and 21st centuries, including fiction, poetry, and non-fiction. The course will emphasize key aesthetic developments within the contexts of modernism, feminism, postcolonialism, regionalism, postmodemism, environmentalism, culture and race. Credit will be granted for only one of ENGL 264 or ENGL 265. Three credits.

ENGL 270 The Romantic Gothic: Poetry and Short Fiction

A study of Gothic literature in its historical and philosophical context, this course will explore 19th-century short fiction and poetry as well as a play and influential 18th-century literary sources. Authors may include: Horace Walpole, Edmund Burke, Immanuel Kant, William Wordsworth, Charlotte Smith, Mary Robinson, James Hogg, Walter Scott, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, John Keats, Lord Byron, and Joanna Baillie. Three credits.

ENGL 271 Gothic Fiction: The 18th- and 19th-Century Gothic Novel

An examination of the Gothic novel and the cultural forces that produced it. The course will explore supernatural tales from the classical and medieval periods which acted as forerunners to the genre. Authors may include: Horace Walpole, Ann Radcliffe, Matthew "Monk" Lewis, and Jane Austen; students may also read Frankenstein  and Dracula. Three credits. 

ENGL 290 The Canterbury Tales

The course will introduce Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, but it does more than that. The generic and formal diversity of Chaucer's collection allows for discussion of medieval literary form and content, while also introducing significant aspects of medieval culture (the problem of "courtly love," military adventurism, medical theory and political life.). Further, the course allows discussion of medieval manuscript tradition and theories of influence. Credit will be granted for only one of ENGL 290 and ENGL 390. Three credits.

ENGL 295 Selected Topics

ENGL 297 Selected Topics

ENGL 298 Selected Topics

Prerequisite: 9 credits ENGL unless otherwise noted. 

ENGL 304 The Early Tudor and Elizabethan Renaissance

"Revenge and Morality: Breaking the Boundaries of Elizabethan Drama." This course will focus on two of the most influential playwrights in the history of English Literature, Thomas Kyd and Christopher Marlowe, both of whom had tremendous influence on Shakespeare but who are great dramatists in their own right. (NB--This description replaces that which is listed in the 2017-2018 Academic Calendar.) Prerequisite: ENGL 100, 111/112 or equivalent. Three credits.

ENGL 305 The Later Elizabethan Renaissance

This course will introduce students to some of the most influential drama of late Elizabethan England, outside Shakespeare. Playwrights studied include Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Kyd, Thomas Dekker, and Ben Jonson. We will study their works in their social, historical, and literary contexts. (NB--This description replaces that which is listed in the most recent Academic Calendar.)  Prerequisite: ENGL 100, 110 or equivalent. Three credits.

ENGL 308 Milton and his Time

This course will provide an intensive study of Milton's life and major poems, especially Paradise Lost, and some of his polemical prose. The course will also focus on the historical and political contexts of this revolutionary age, and Milton's contributions to the Republicanism of the era. Credit will be granted for only one of ENGL 308 and ENGL 312. Three credits.

ENGL 311 Photography and Narrative

This course examines the role of visual technologies of mechanical reproducibility—including film and photography—in twentieth-century considerations of experience, aesthetics, and memory, addressing in particular the encounter between photography and narrative in literature, theory, and cinema. Authors and visual artists studied may include Andre Breton, Walter Benjamin, Roland Barthes, Hollis Frampton, and W.G. Sebald. Three credits.

ENGL 313 Literary Theory's Histories

This course introduces students to the histories of literary theory. Depending on the instructor, the course may cover either a specific period in literary studies (e.g. Medieval, Early Modern, Romantic) or a broader historical accounting of contemporary theory’s antecedents. Credit will be granted for only one of ENGL 313 and ENGL 445. Prerequisite: 9 credits of ENGL; ENGL 215 is recommended. Three credits.

ENGL 314 Contemporary Literary Theory

This course introduces students to current issues in literary criticism including (but not limited to): formalism, gender and sexuality, materialism, psychology and historicism. Our aim will be to consider the usefulness of different approaches in opening up our readings of texts. We will examine a sample of different types of works—a novel, a play, a film, lyric poems—in testing different theoretical approaches. Credit will be granted for only one of ENGL 314 and ENGL 445. Prerequisite: 9 credits of ENGL; ENGL 215 is recommended. Three credits.

ENGL 318 Cultural Theory Through Popular Culture

An introduction to the study of culture as a system of constructing values and identities, primarily through textual production. The course will combine case studies of genre fiction, film, and television with analyses of practicing cultural scholars. Six credits.

ENGL 319 Topics in Film Studies

This course will address the development of cinema from a historical and formal perspective. Topics to be covered include movements and periods in the history of the cinema, the impact on cinema of technological developments, different modes of narrative cinema, and major categories of formal analysis, such as mise-en-scène, editing, and cinematography. One focus of the course will be on the techniques and conventions of writing about cinema. Prerequisite: 9 credits of ENGL; ENGL 211 is recommended. Three credits.

ENGL 323 Victorian Medievalism

This course will examine Victorian treatments of the medieval. Texts studied will include non-fiction, fiction, and poetry. We will also consider the Gothic Revival in architecture and the Pre-Raphaelite movement in painting. Authors may include Thomas Carlyle, Alfred Lord Tennyson, E. B. and Robert Browning, John Ruskin, George Eliot, Edward FitzGerald, William Morris, and Christina and D. G. Rossetti. Three credits.

ENGL 325 The American Novel 1850-1940

What kinds of social creatures are people? What causes our social lives to fall into patterns, shapes, and configurations? How do these forms define our social worlds? In this class we will look at American novels written at the end of the 19th and the start of the 20th century as resources for understanding the complexity of modern social life. Three credits.

ENGL 327 Celtic Kings, Heroes and Monsters - Medieval Ireland

Cross-listed as CELT 328; see CELT 328. Three credits.

ENGL 329 Studies in Women Writers: Feminisms and Their Literatures

An introduction to feminist theories within historical, cultural, and philosophical contexts, this course explores the relationship between feminist theories and literary texts that exemplify or extend them. Cross-listed as WMNS 329. Three credits.

ENGL 330 Studies in Women Writers: Genres, Cultures and Contexts 

This course explores modern and contemporary poetry written by women in English. Cross-listed as WMGS 330. Three credits.

ENGL 337 Children's Literature: Genres and Themes 

"Child-Soldier Narratives in / as Children's Literature." Children's literature is a particulary fruitful terrain for exploring the kinds of hopes and fears that adults attach to children and to the kinds of worlds those children might make. In this class we will focus on the central tension between children in danger and dangerous children in recent children's literature about child soldiers, as well as in the memoirs of former child soldiers and human rights efforts to protect children. Three credits.

ENGL 338 Canadian Drama 

This course will examine how Canadian drama has been (re)defining our national identity for the past four hundred years. Introducing students to theatrical forms such as vaudeville, minstrelsy, clowning, and verbatim theatre, this course will simultaneously consider issues of nationality, race, and gender. Playwrights include Tomson Highway, Margaret Atwood, Djanet Sears, and Guillermo Verdecchia. Credit will be granted for only one of ENGL 338 or ENGL 366 "Canadian Drama." Three credits.

ENGL 347 Literature of Africa and the African Diaspora

A study of the literature of sub-Saharan Africa and/or the African Diaspora, including African-Canadian, African-American, Afro-Caribbean, and Black British literatures. Topics will vary from year to year. Three credits.

ENGL 353 Tolkien and the Inklings

"Inklings and Myth." This course will examine the Inklings and their engagement with mythology. Works by Tolkien (the Silmarillion materials), C.S. Lewis (the Narnia books) and Roger Lancelyn Green will be included. Three credits.

ENGL 355 Restoration and 18th-Century Drama and Prose

"The Libertine and the Erotics of Power." This course will explore the character and philosophy of the libertine by focusing on John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester. We will study two plays, Shadwell's The Libertine and Etherege's The Man of Mode; the role of props such as the lady's fan in stage and gender performance; contemporary responses to Etherege's comedy; and selections of Rochester's poetry. The final goal of the course is to stage an on-book performance of a few keys scenes from The Man of Mode. Three credits. 

ENGL 356 18th-Century Novel and Poetry

A study of selected novels and poetry from the major writers of the "long" 18th century.  Three credits.

ENGL 366 Selected Topics in Canadian Literature

This course will look at the rich development of poetry in English in Atlantic Canada with a particular focus on the period from 1930 to the present. Diverse idioms, forms, and genres of poetry will be encountered, including works by Mi'kmaq and African Nova Scotian poets as well as a few selected Acadian writers in translation. Three credits.

ENGL 367 The Canadian Novel

Students will read novels and short stories in English to develop a sense of the thematic patterns, style, and changing narrative strategies in Canadian fiction, especially in works since 1930. Credit will be granted credit for only one of ENGL 365 and 367. Six credits.

ENGL 368 Canadian Poetry

A study of Canadian verse in English with selected examples of French verse in translation, since colonial days, with emphasis on the period since 1920. Six credits.

ENGL 371 Victorian Literature, 1832-1867

A study of early- to mid-Victorian literature encompassing the poetry of Emily Brontë, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Browning, and Matthew Arnold; the prose of Thomas Carlyle, Charles Darwin, and John Stuart Mill; and a novel by Charles Dickens or one of the Brontë sisters. Credit will be granted for only one of ENGL 371 or ENGL 375. Three credits.

ENGL 372 Victorian Literature, 1867-1901

A study of mid- to late-Victorian literature encompassing the prose of Walter Pater, John Ruskin, and Matthew Arnold; poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins, George Meredith, William Morris, Christina and D.G. Rossetti, Algernon Swinburne, and Oscar Wilde; plays by Wilde and George Bernard Shaw; stories by Vernon Lee and Rudyard Kipling; and a novel by George Eliot.  Credit will be granted for only one of ENGL 371 or ENGL 375. Three credits.

English 379  American Literature

This course will examine 20th- and 21st-century American prose, focused around a particular literary school or movement. Three credits.

English 388 Heroic Literature of the Middle Ages

A study of medieval texts which reflects the heroic, aristocratic, and military literature of the Middle Ages, which may include Beowulf (in translation), Thomas Malory's Le Morte Darthur, various romances, including Arthurian texts like Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and selections from medieval historical chronicles. Three credits.

English 389  Chaucer’s Contemporaries

This course examines the authors and works associated with the court of Richard II and with the 14th century, a moment of literary and artistic achievement in which writers sought to understand many of the great events of their times (the Black Death and the Peasant's Revolt of 1381), and saw ancient class divisions start to break down. Texts may include Chaucer, the Pearl-poet, Langland, Gower, and Usk. Credit will be granted for only one of ENGL 389, ENGL 392 or CELT 392. Three credits.

ENGL 397 Selected Topics in Literature I

"Romantic Poetry and the Science of Impulse" This course focuses on "impulse" in the early Romantic period as exemplified in the poetry of Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, and Shelley, and in Wordsworth's preface to the Lyrical Ballads and Coleridge's Biographia Literaria. The course will pay close attention to the evolving importance of impulse, the moment of insight that impels one to act ways that define the ethical dimensions of character, in both poetry and criticism. Three credits.

English 398 Selected Topics in Literature II

Three credits.

NOTES: Normally students enrolling in a senior seminar will have third-year standing and have taken a minimum of 15 credits in English. The senior seminars are offered on a priority basis to senior Advanced Majors and Honours students in English who are required to take one 3-credit senior seminar in Fall term, and another 3-credit senior seminar in Winter term.  All other interested students should inquire with the departmental chair (crushton@stfx.ca) or administrative assistant (english@stfx.ca) about availability and prerequisites.

ENGL 400 Honours Thesis

Honour students write a thesis under the supervision of a faculty thesis director. Students must meet the thesis director in March of the junior year to prepare a topic. Honours students must register for the thesis as a six-credit course in the senior year. The thesis must be submitted no later than March 31 of the senior year. See chapter 4 of the Academic Calendar and Honours and Advanced Major Theses. Six credits.

Senior Seminars:

ENGL 491:10  Selected Topics I

The topic for 2017-2018 is Where Fairy Tales Come From. In this seminar, we will read classical and medieval texts alongside fairy and folk tales collected in the 18th and 19th centuries. These are the sources raided by Disney and other modern producers of content for children, and our task will be to demonstrate the sources are adapted along narrative and didactic lines. Three credits.  


ENGL 492:10 Selected Topics II

The topic for 2017-2018 is Film Noir and Pulp Fiction. This seminar will consider the encounter of American popular crime fiction and cinematic artristry that produced the tradition of film noir. We will consider hard-boiled crime storeis of literary figures who contributed to the noir aesthetic--Raymond Chandler, James Cain, Ernest Hemingway--and films from the 1940s and 1950s, the classic period of film noir. In the final section of the course, we will consider some later developments of noir culture. Three credits. 

ENGL 497 Advanced Major Thesis

Advanced major students develop a thesis based on work done in any 300- or 400-level class, taken in the Fall of the Senior year. See chapter 4 of the Academic Calendar or see note on thesis requirement under Honours and Advanced Major Theses.

ENGL 499 Directed Study

In consultation with the department and with approval of the chair, students may undertake a directed study program in an approved area of interest, which is not available through other course offerings. Three or six credits.