Fall 2020 - ENGL 113W J100

Literature and Performance (3)

Class Number: 4227

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 9 – Dec 8, 2020: Mon, 5:30–8:20 p.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 15, 2020
    Tue, 7:00–10:00 p.m.



Introduces students to plays and performance works created and adapted for the stage, and/or the performative dimensions of other literary forms. May be organized historically, generically or thematically. The course may also explore the links between literary and performance theory. Includes attention to writing skills. Students with credit for ENGL 103W may not take this course for further credit. Writing/Breadth-Humanities.


"Performing Suspense in Fiction and Film"

To paraphrase Noel Carroll, novels and films aren’t snapshots of reality; rather, they are intricate and complicated constructions that use reality to affect us. They are emotive scripts, asking us readers and spectators to be moved, performed and affected. And indeed we are often deeply moved by what we read and see. But not always. Sometimes we refuse to perform what is "required" of us: for example, we are supposed to be frightened watching a horror film but we aren't or can't be. Our focus in the course will be mainly on one particular and popular script, namely suspense. We will study how we as readers and spectators are scared, thrilled and excited -- or not -- by suspenseful novels and films. 

We will read five novels that traditionally have been considered suspenseful: And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie; Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier; The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson; The Talented Mr. Ripley, by Patricia Highsmith; and The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins. We will touch on key concepts in narrative theory (of fiction and film), such as performance, genre, setting, character, and plot construction. Students will be asked to read a couple of short online philosophy articles and summaries. 

Students will keep a “response journal” to track how and when they feel suspense, and when they resist it. The course is “writing intensive” so students will have an opportunity to rework/revise their theses. Students will also screen several films at home, including at least two films by Alfred Hitchcock (these will be available via SFU’s library or made available by me, via Google Drive); I will provide the information in week one or two. Any editions, including e-book editions, of the assigned novels will be fine. 

The course will be delivered remotely, with recorded Lectures and emailed contact, as well as some online meetings using Zoom (or a similar, free, platform). Please note that I prefer this email address: kehlert@telus.net



On line attendance and participation: 10%

Journal work 10%

Short assignments and tasks 10%

First Essay (5 pages) with revision 30%

Second Essay (7 pages) with revision 40%



And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie. Any edition will do. I have provided the ISBN for just ONE edition.
ISBN: 978-0-06-207348-8

Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier. I have provided the ISBN for the 2015 Virago Press edition, but ANY edition will do, i.e., e-book.
ISBN: 978-1-84408-038-0

The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson. I have provided the ISBN for the Penguin Group edition, published in 2006, but any edition will work.
ISBN: 978-0-14-303998-3

The Talented Mr. Ripley, by Patricia Highsmith. I have provided the ISBN for the WW Norton edition but any edition, including e-reader, is fine.
ISBN: 978-0393332148

The Girl on The Train, by Paula Hawkins. I've provided the ISBN for the Doubleday edition (Canada) but any edition, including e-reader, will be fine.
ISBN: 978-0385682312

Department Undergraduate Notes:

IMPORTANT NOTE Re 300 and 400 level courses: 75% of spaces in 300 level English courses, and 100% of spaces in 400 level English courses, are reserved for declared English Major, Minor, Extended Minor, Joint Major, and Honours students only, until open enrollment begins.

For all On-Campus Courses, please note the following:
- To receive credit for the course, students must complete all requirements.
- Tutorials/Seminars WILL be held the first week of classes.
- When choosing your schedule, remember to check "Show lab/tutorial sections" to see all Lecture/Seminar/Tutorial times required.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in fall 2020 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).