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ENGLISH 1C06B History Of English Literature (C01)

Academic Year: Winter 2019

Term: Multiterm

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Peter Walmsley


Office: Chester New Hall 323

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 23728

Office Hours: Tuesdays 10:00-11:00am or by appointment

Course Objectives:


A survey mapping the history of English literature from its origins to the present. Students will be introduced to literary historical periods, genres, and critical approaches to works by canonical and non-canonical authors. The scope of this course will permit us to trace several cultural narratives, including the rise and fall of empire, shifting performances of gender and sexuality, the emergence of ideas of nation and selfhood, and the birth of consumer society. We will consider how a literary text is an expression of a particular cultural moment, with all its social and material preoccupations, and yet makes meaning through a complex dialogue with traditions of writing from the past. The course will place considerable emphasis on developing critical skills in reading and writing. In Term 2 you will have an opportunity to revise your major essay.


This course aims to:

  • familiarize you with the history of British and Commonwealth writing in several genres (poems, plays, epics, and novels, but also a travel narrative, an autobiography, a political treatise, and a radio comedy series), and to explore how and why writers have been reworking inherited forms
  • introduce you to key historical and social contexts for literature of different periods
  • develop your skills at close textual analysis, encouraging you to read slowly, for detail and nuance
  • provide a toolbox of technical critical terms that will help you understand and explain how literature works
  • investigate some influential theoretical frameworks for literary study (e.g. feminist, postcolonial)
  • give you the opportunity to improve your writing skills, by offering guidance in the art of writing clear, well-argued, and well-supported analyses and arguments.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:



The Broadview English 1C06 Coursepack

Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility, ed. Ros Ballaster and Tony Tanner (Penguin)

Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway, ed. Jo-Ann Wallace (Broadview)

Tom King, The Dead Dog Café (available free on-line through Mills Library)

First Year English and Cultural Studies Handbook. This handbook, prepared by the Department of English and Cultural Studies, is available on-line at no cost:

This handbook contains crucial information on essay writing, documentation, and how to avoid plagiarism. All students in Level I English and Cultural Studies courses should read this handbook before the end of September.

Optional: The Little Penguin Handbook, ed. L. Faigley (Pearson Educational)

Method of Assessment:


Essay 1, 500 words: topics circulated in tutorial the week of Sept. 24, essays due in tutorial the week of

    Oct. 15: 5%

Essay 2, 1000 words: topics circulated the week of Nov. 5, essays due in tutorial the week of

     Nov. 26: 15%

Essay 3, 2000 words: topics circulated the week of Jan. 21, first essay submission due in tutorial the week of

     Feb. 25 (10%), second revised submission due in tutorial the week of March 25 (15%): total weight of this assignment is   25%

    Tutorial grade: 15%

December Exam (in exam period): 20%

April Exam (in exam period): 20%

All essays are due at the beginning of your tutorial in the relevant week indicated above. If your essay is handed in after this time (including any time after the tutorial has begun) it will be docked one grade-point a day. For example, if an essay is worth a B+, but was handed in a day late, it will be given a B; two days, a B-; three days, a C+; and so on up to seven days. Saturdays and Sundays count as working days. This means: start working on your essay as soon as you receive your assignment description so you can hand it in on time.

Please consult the First Year English and Cultural Studies Handbook, available online from the departmental website, for further information about your assignments, including the required format for the bibliography and quotations.

Always keep your own copy of any assignment that you turn in for grading.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:

English 1C06, Term 2

Schedule of Readings and Assignments

Week 1:     Jan. 8, Thomas Gray, Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard (369)

Jan. 10, Stephen Duck, The Thresher’s Labour (372); Mary Collier, The Woman’s

Labour (Collier’s poem is available online at, or check out the originals electronically through McMaster library)

Week 2:     Jan. 15, Olaudah Equiano, Interesting Narrative (376); Mary Prince, History (394)

Jan. 17, Mary Wollstonecraft, Vindication (406); Anna Laetitia Barbauld,

“Washing Day” (430)

Week 3:     Tutorial: Term 2 Essay Topics Circulated

Jan. 22, William Blake, Songs of Innocence and Experience (435)

Jan. 24, Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility

Week 4:     Jan. 29, Austen, cont’d

Jan. 31, Austen, cont’d

Week 5:     Feb. 5, Austen, cont’d

Feb. 7, John Keats, “Ode to a Nightingale” and “To Autumn” (453, 455)

Week 6:     Feb. 12, Keats, The Eve of St. Agnes (447); Alfred, Lord Tennyson, “Mariana" (459)

Feb. 14, Matthew Arnold, “Dover Beach” (461); Thomas Hardy, “Hap,” “The  Darkling Thrush,” “The Convergence of the Twain,” “Channel Firing”


Reading Week

Week 7:     Tutorial: Essay Drafts Due

Feb. 26, Christina Rossetti, “In an Artist’s Studio” (474), Goblin Market (475)

Feb. 28, Rupert Brooke, “The Soldier” (online at

  ; Siegfried Sassoon, “Glory

            of Women” (485); Wilfred Owen, “Anthem for Doomed Youth,”

            “Dulce et Decorum Est” (486-7)

Week 8:     Mar. 5, Virginia Woolf, Mrs Dalloway

Mar. 7, Woolf, cont’d

Week 9:     Tutorial: Drafts Returned

Mar. 12, Woolf, cont’d

Mar. 14, Woolf, cont’d

Week 10:   Mar. 19, William Butler Yeats, “Easter 1916,” “Leda and the Swan,” “Crazy Jane Talks to the Bishop,” (491-4)

Mar. 21, James Joyce, “The Dead” (489)

Week 11:   Tutorial: Revised Essays Due

Mar. 26, Chinua Achebe, “Dead Men’s Path,”

(; Achebe, An Image of Africa (posted on Avenue); Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Decolonizing the Mind, Chapters 3-5,

Mar. 28, Philip Larkin, “Church Going,”

            “High Windows,”

            “This Be the Verse”

Week 12:   Apr. 2, Tom King, Dead Dog Café (available on Avenue)

Apr. 4, King cont’d

Week 13:   Apr. 9, Exam Review, Essays Returned in Lecture

Term 2 Essay Revision Process: This term we will be focusing on improving our writing through revision. You will have an opportunity to formally revise this term’s essay, which will be 2000 words long and is worth 25% of the course grade. You will submit a finished draft of the essay to your TA in week 7 (NB: don’t treat this as a rough draft, but submit your most polished work). Your TA will return your draft with a grade and suggestions for revision in week 9, and a final, revised version of the paper is due in week 11. Grade breakdown for each part of the essay: initial draft, 10%; final version, 15%.