Fall 2022 - ENGL 216 D100

History and Principles of Literary Criticism (3)

Class Number: 4808

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Fr 2:30 PM – 5:20 PM
    RCB 6101, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    12 units or one 100-division English course.



The study of selected works in the history of literary criticism, up to and including modern and contemporary movements in criticism.



Ways of Reading

Course Description:

What is literary criticism and theory? Why should we care about it? What difference(s) can it make in how we read and why we read? This course will provide a solid introduction to some of the most exciting literary criticism and theory of the 20th and 21st centuries and explore the multiple ways it offers for reading all sorts of materials, from novels and films to art and architecture. Over the course of the term we will address key issues within theory, including debates about language, power, culture, race, class, gender and sexuality. Along the way, we'll look at contemporary examples of these theories in action in order to see how they are used and why they matter. We will end by considering new forms of theory emerging today in response to the histories of racial capitalism and settler colonialism.

If you are a new English major looking to discover and understand what literary criticism and theory are, this course will be great for you; if you are a more experienced student looking for new ways of reading and thinking about art, culture, novels and new media, this course will be an excellent choice; and if you are simply excited about theory and want to explore it more, this class will help you do that.



  • Participation 15%
  • Presentation/Position Paper 20%
  • Take-home Midterm 30%
  • Final Exam 35%


Please note that this is a small seminar-style class that meets once a week for 3 hours. Unlike other 200-level courses in the English Department, it does not include a large lecture and a tutorial.



All critical readings will be posted on Canvas. This site is password protected and is available only to students registered in the course.


Leitch, Vincent B., et al., eds., The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, 2nd. ed. 
ISBN: ISBN: 978-0-393-9329

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