Spring 2021 - ENGL 111W D100

Literary Classics in English (3)

Class Number: 4149

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo, We 2:30 PM – 3:20 PM

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 20, 2021
    12:00 PM – 12:00 PM
    TAKE HOME-EXAM, Burnaby



Examines literary “classics”, variously defined, apprehending them both on their own terms and within larger critical conversations. May incorporate the comparative study of work in related artistic fields and engage relevant media trends. Includes attention to writing skills. Students with credit for ENGL 101W may not take this course for further credit. Writing/Breadth-Humanities.



Edgar Allan Poe, the King of the Weird, says something particularly weird in "The Fall of the House of Usher." There he claims that what should really scare us are not scary things but our fear of those things. Wanna know more? Well, you could slog through books of philosophy (William James and Julia Kristeva would help), spend quality time with some of history's freakier paintings (Goya’s Saturn Devouring His Son anyone?), bone up on the occult ("the invisble spheres were formed in fright," says Herman Melville), and watch The Babadook projected onto Poe's Baltimore tombstone at midnight.

Or you could just take this class.

We’ll read classic horror—our tentative list includes Ambrose Bierce, Emily Dickinson, Louise Erdrich, Nola Hopkinson, Washington Irving, Shirley Jackson, H. P. Lovecraft, Joyce Carol Oates, Fitz James O’Brien, and lots of Poe—and I’ll put it in the context of all that other stuff: philosophy, art, history, psychology, religion, the occult, even pandemics. In these contexts this work becomes creepy for altogether new reasons.

Beyond the required reading, we'll have optional Zoom coffeehouses (Zoffeehouses) to discuss horror films. I'll also host an optional book club where we'll read one of the weirdest ghost stories ever penned, Henry James's novella The Turn of the Screw.

Finally, because this is a “W” course, we’ll talk a lot about writing. Does that scare you more than anything? It need not. To make the pill go down easier, we’ll read scary writers (Hilary Mantel, Stephen King, Poe) on writing like your life depends on it.


  1. To better understand how language, and especially figurative language, works.
  2. To recognize complex relationships between texts and contexts (e.g., historical, social, cultural, philosophical).
  3. To develop skills in analyzing and interpreting language and text, broadly defined, and to learn strategies for creating and communicating informed claims about them.
  4. To learn to use language, its history, and its capacities to engage with the ideas of others.
  5. To apprehend horror writing as a vector for social critique.


  • Paper 1 20%
  • Paper 2 30%
  • Final Exam 30%
  • Tutorial Contributions & Informal Writing 20%


The assignment ditribution listed above is tentative.

Lectures will be asynchronous in the form of videos posted to SFU's Mediasite. Meanwhile, we'll use our scheduled lecture time on Mondays and Wednesdays (2:30-3:20 pm) for optional meetings such as the horror book club, Q&A, and perhaps writing workshops.

Tutorials will be synchronous. Make sure you’re available online at your scheduled time every week. Tutorials will not be held the first week of the semester.



All required texts will be available on the web or on our Canvas site as PDFs.


We'll read short stories and poems by Ambrose Bierce, F. Marion Crawford, Emily Dickinson, Louise Erdrich, Nola Hopkinson, Washington Irving, Shirley Jackson, H. P. Lovecraft, Joyce Carol Oates, Fitz James O’Brien, and Edgar Allan Poe, though this list may change by the time class starts. We'll likely also read Shirley Jackson's novel The Haunting of Hill House. Again, all required readings will be freely available on the web or as PDFs. Students who want to participate in the optional book club in which we'll read Henry James's The Turn of the Screw can purchase the book once the semester gets underway.

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 spring 2021 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).