Fall 2023 - ENGL 111W D100

Literary Classics in English (3)

Class Number: 3692

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 6 – Dec 5, 2023: Wed, Fri, 9:30–10:20 a.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 17, 2023
    Sun, 3:30–6:30 p.m.



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.


Classic Hits of the 80s

Not a nostalgic study of that A-ha video, Back to the Future, or Bryan Adams, but rather a rigorous close reading of three classic 80s novels: Don DeLillo’s White Noise, Toni Morrison’s Beloved, and Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses, all in the context of the popular and intellectual cultures of that weird decade.  Because these books are about as close to the present as they can be and still be considered "classics", along the way we'll pay particular attention to the vexed relationship--a highlight of literature since at least the Renaissance--between the "classic" and the "now."


Students will write better.
Students will read much better.
Students will understand such 80s literary preoccupations as postmodernism, postcolonialism, and magical realism: why they arose and mattered then, and whether they still matter now.
Students will understand the basics of reception theory.
Students will continue to develop their ability to appreciate complex recent literature, especially the relationships between form and content.


  • Attendance and Participation 10%
  • 750-word First Paper (Draft and Revision) 20%
  • Midterm Exam 15%
  • 1000-word Second Paper (One version only) 25%
  • Final Exam 30%


Some students may find The Satanic Verses extremely offensive.  It probably couldn't be otherwise, as the narrator--spoilers--is Satan, but some students may think that too easy an out on Rushdie's part.



Don DeLillo, White Noise

Toni Morrison, Beloved

Salman Rushdie, The Satanic Verses


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

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 website 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


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the semester are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.