ENGL 202 A: Introduction to the Study of English Language and Literature

Meeting Time: 
MWF 10:30am - 11:20am
* *
Tom Foster
Tom Foster

Syllabus Description:

Welcome to the built-in Syllabus section in Canvas. You may have already noticed that in this template, we've chosen to use a page we titled"Syllabus" to contain our syllabus information. We made this decision because we wanted to be able to have the syllabus as part of a Module, and this built-in section can't be added to Modules.

You have the options of using this section for your syllabus, but we'd still suggest you use the structure we provide on our "Syllabus" page , which you can simply edit, copy, and paste.

You can also use this Syllabus section to publicize your Individual Course Description in MyPlan. Once you've chosen the necessary settings, students browsing MyPlan can see everything you've posted in this section. You may not want to share your entire syllabus, but instead can post a description of the course and anything else you think is important for an incoming student to be aware of.


Schedule of readings:

Assigned readings should be completed before the scheduled date.  Most assigned readings not included in the four books ordered for the class are available as pdf files on the “Files” page of the Canvas site for the class (see the left margin of the Canvas front page for the “Files” link).  Alternately, some short works, especially poems, are available online, at the links in the schedule of readings below.  Suggested readings are not required but are instead provided as extra reading on topics that will be touched on in lecture; I will usually refer to those readings in class, but I will not assume that students have read the suggested works, and you will not be tested on them. 


Part 1. What is “Literature?”: National Vernaculars, the Printed Book, and Modern Culture

Week 1.

September 30: Introduction

October 2: How to read Imagined Communities (no assigned reading)


Week 2.

October 5: Read: Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities, chapters 1 and 2 (pdf)

October 7: Read: Anderson, Imagined Communities, chapter 3 (pdf)

October 9: Read: Michael Warner, excerpt from Letters of the Republic (pages 122-138; pdf)


Week 3.

October 12: Read: Geoffrey Chaucer, “Prologue,” lines 1-42 and “Miller’s Tale” (lines 79-746), from The Canterbury Tales, available online at


(select “side-by-side translation” for Middle English original and modern translation)

October 14: Read: Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (to the end of volume 1, chapter 5; page 64)      

October 16: Read: Shelley, Frankenstein (to the end of volume 2, chapter 4; page 118)


Week 4.

October 19: Read: Shelley, Frankenstein (to the end of volume 3, chapter 3; page 178)

Suggested: Roger Chartier, “The Practical Impact of Writing” (pdf)

October 21: Read: Shelley, Frankenstein (finish the novel; to the end of volume 3, chapter 7; page 225)


Part 2. What is “Literary Study?”: Theories of Language, Meaning, Reading, and Writing

October 23: Read: M.H. Abrams, “Introduction: Orientation of Critical Theories,” from The Mirror and the Lamp

         Read: Alexander Pope, “An Essay on Criticism,” part II, lines 289-304 only, available online at https://rpo.library.utoronto.ca/poems/essay-criticism-part-2

        Read: William Wordsworth, “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud,” available online at https://rpo.library.utoronto.ca/poems/i-wandered-lonely-cloud


Week 5.

October 26: No class; midterms due, Monday, 10/26

October 28: Read: Catherine Belsey, Critical Practice, chapter 1, “Traditional Criticism and Common Sense”

October 30: Read: Belsey, Critical Practice, “New Criticism” (pages 14-19)

                    Read: John Keats, “Ode on a Grecian Urn,” available online at https://rpo.library.utoronto.ca/poems/ode-grecian-urn


Week 6:

November 2: Read: Belsey, Critical Practice, “Reader Power” (pages 27-34)

                      Read: William Carlos Williams, “The Red Wheelbarrow,” available online at https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45502/the-red-wheelbarrow

                      Read: Langston Hughes, “Theme for English B,” available online

        at http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/theme-for-english-b/

November 4: Read: Belsey, Critical Practice, “Post-Saussurean Linguistics” (pages 35-43) and “The Plurality of Meaning” (pages 48-51)

                       Read: Langston Hughes, "My People," available online at


November 6: Read: Ted Chiang, “Story of Your Life” (pdf)

Suggested: Darko Suvin, chapter 1 of Metamorphoses of Science Fiction (pdf)


Week 7.

November 9: Read: Belsey, Critical Practice, “Ideology,” “The Subject,” “Psychoanalysis,”

         “Resistance” (pages 52-59, in all) and “Sherlock Holmes” (pages 101-108)

                      Read: Arthur Conan Doyle, “The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton (pdf)

Suggested: Belsey, Critical Practice, “The Subject and the Text (pages 62-77)


November 11: No class; Veterans Day holiday


Part 3. Writable Texts and the Cultural Politics of Reading

November 13: Read: Belsey, Critical Practice, “Unfixing the Subject” (pages 83-85 only) and “Barthes and Macheray” (pages 95-101)

Read: Harvey Kurtzman and Jack Davis, “Murder the Husband, Murder the Story” (pdf)                                                                   


Week 8:

November 16: Read: William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying (through page 38, Dewey Dell’s monologue)

November 18: Read: Faulkner, As I Lay Dying (through page 73, Tull’s monologue)

November 20: Read: Faulkner, As I Lay Dying (through page 114, Vardaman’s monologue)


Week 9.

November 23: Read: Faulkner, As I Lay Dying (finish the novel, through page 149)

November 25: No class; Thanksgiving holiday

November 27: No class; Thanksgiving holiday


Week 10.

November 30: Read: Nisi Shawl, Everfair (through page 64, to the end of “Fifty Kilometers Out of Matadi, Congo, July 1894”)

December 2: Read: Shawl, Everfair (through page 136, to the end of “Kinshasa, Congo, October 1897”)

December 4: Read: Shawl, Everfair (through page 198, the end of Part One)

Suggested: Paul Gilroy, “The Black Atlantic as a Counterculture of Modernity,” pages 1-19, 29-40 (pdf)


Week 11.

December 7: Read: Shawl, Everfair (through page 265, to the end of “Usumbura, Urundi to Mwanza, East German Africa, January 1915”)

December 9: Read: Shawl, Everfair (through page 325, to the end of “Kisangani to Kalemie, Everfair, February 1918”)

Suggested: Henry Jenkins, “How Texts Become Real” (pdf)


December 11: Read: Shawl, Everfair (finish the novel)


Final exams due, Monday, December 14


Catalog Description: 
Gateway course designed for English pre-majors and majors. Introduces critical, historical, and theoretical frameworks important to studying the literature, language, and cultures of English. Cannot be taken for credit if student has taken ENGL 301.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
June 28, 2020 - 10:50pm