Spring 2024 - ENGL 211 D100

The Place of the Past (3)

Class Number: 4795

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 8 – Apr 12, 2024: Mon, 10:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 20, 2024
    Sat, 12:00–3:00 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    12 units or one 100-division English course.



Examines literature and language within specific social, cultural, geographical, and textual environments to explore the mutually informing relationship between history and text. May be further organized by historical period, genre, or critical approach. Breadth-Humanities.


            Democracy. Human rights. Empathy. Environment. ImaginationScience. These are ideas whose meaning and value are being contested in contemporary debates. But where did this ideas come from? In this course, we are going to look closer at the evolution of these concepts as they were articulated by individual writers in late eighteenth and early nineteenth-century Britain. We will also try to figure out how these ideas circulated during the period -- through oral performance, print or manuscript? Investigating media in this time period era means we are going to think more about the role that literature, especially poetry, played in shaping and sometimes questioning the ideas in the era as well as compare how ideas circulate in the present. 

            As someone who has studied the era for a long time, I am excited to make you further acquainted with the writing of this dynamic period as I believe that by looking at the literature and culture of the past we can understand more about the complexities of our present time period – and about ourselves.

            We will be examining a lot of diverse material throughout the semester.  Some of it will seem strange and alien, but if you do the reading, prepare for and attend class and do periodic reviews of what we’ve studied, you will be able to keep on top of things.  I hope you have a great time in the class and that, even if you don’t enjoy everything we read, you come away with a better sense of the nineteenth century and the people who wrote and lived during that time. And hopefully you will also find at least a few texts that you love as much as I do!


1. understand the evolution of the ideas of Democracy, Human rights, Sympathy, Environment, Imagination and Science in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
2. understand how ideas circulated in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries within a media environment in which literature (particularly poetry) played and important role; and compare this to the circulation of ideas in our present era
3. Develop critical thinking skills through oral and written responses and presentations. 


  • Midterm: 25%
  • Essay 25%
  • Final exam 30%
  • Preparation, attendance and participation 20%



Abrams/Greenblatt, et. al. (eds), The Norton Anthology of English Literature, The Romantic Period Volume D 

ISBN: 978-0393603057

Shelley, Mary Frankenstein (Broadview Press) 
ISBN: 9781554811038


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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:


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