Department of English

English 202.6 (01): Reading the Canon; Texts/Contexts
MWF 9:30, Arts 202
Professor Lisa Vargo
Office: Arts 408; Phone: 966-2781; e-mail:
Web Site:
Office Hours: TBA

Course Description:
English 202.6 examines and worries notions of the literary canon, with particular attention to the development of the British tradition, which in turn has often proved influential in the formation of other literatures in English. We will begin by defining the term "canon" and explore how canons, both personal and external, are ever at work shaping and shaped by what matters to us. From this starting point we will undertake a chronological survey of British literature from Beowulf to dub poetry, and attempt to account for the emergence of so-called "major" figures from particular historical and cultural contexts and gain a sense of canon-formation as an ever-changing and contested practice. Assignments will be directed towards developing specific skills useful to literary studies:
1. Careful reading of text, joining what is known as "close reading" with critical thinking.
2. Effective essay writing, including clear writing, format, and critical engagement.
3. Basic research skills, including library data bases, the OED, DNB, reading criticism.

NOTE: Students with credit for English 200.6 may not take this class for credit.

Required Texts: (please buy the edition specified)
Abrams, M.H., ed. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. Major Authors, 8th Ed., 2 vols. packaged with Frankenstein (Norton).
English 202.6 Readings Package (2006) (University of Saskatchewan).
Department of English. Requirements for Essays. Revised 2003 (University of Saskatchewan).

Course Requirements:
Essay 1 Personal canon (10%)
Essay 2 Close reading of a passage (20%)
Research Exercise (10%)
Essay 3 (20%)
Essay 4 Analysis of a critical article (10%)
Final Exam (30%)

Policy on Late Assignments:
Essays are due on or before the assigned date. Essay topics will be circulated well before the due date of the assignment. Plan accordingly as you will certainly have assignments for other classes due at the same time. A one-week grace period is allowed. After that, in fairness to the other students, a doctor's note or equivalent documentation will be required.

The College of Arts and Sciences is concerned about academic dishonestly, and because of that concern it has become very serious about penalizing students who cheat. It is the responsibility of every student to become familiar with what plagiarism means, how to avoid charges of plagiarism, and what the consequences are when plagiarism is found in student work. If you are unclear about the nature of plagiarism, please ask me! BASIC DEFINITION: IF IT DOESN'T COME FROM YOUR BRAIN, IT NEEDS TO BE CITED.

Please make yourself familiar with the section on plagiarism on pages 4-6 of Requirements for Essays (Revised 2003). You are plagiarizing if you present the words or thoughts of someone else as if they were your own, or if you submit without approval of the instructor any work for which credit has previously been obtained or is being sought in another course. (Exceptions are proverbial sayings or common knowledge.) PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS INCLUDES THE WEB. WHEN YOU LOOK AT MATERIAL ON THE INTERNET IT MUST BE CITED, OTHERWISE YOU ARE LIABLE FOR A VISIT TO THE COMMITTEE ON STUDENT ACADEMIC DISHONESTY.

Avoid charges of plagiarizing by acknowledging your sources in the essay and including them in the list of works cited. When quoting, make sure that all words and phrases from the source are in quotation marks. When paraphrasing, acknowledge the source of the idea, but rewrite in your own language. Paraphrasing should be kept to a minimum and the source for the ideas must be cited.

Plagiarism, whether from the Internet, from other students, or from published sources, is a serious academic offense that bears severe consequences. Instructors will report such offenses to the dean of the student's college, and any allegations will be reviewed by the university's committee on Student Academic Dishonesty. Penalties can range from a "0" on an essay to a reduced mark for the course to expulsion from the University. Records of penalties assessed are kept on file by the University Registrar; penalties become more severe for subsequent offences. For information on these matters, please visit the very helpful site: .

Students with Disabilities:
The University of Saskatchewan is guided by a policy and procedures document with respect to students with disabilities. You may obtain a copy of this document from your instructor upon request. If you have a disability, you are urged to identify yourself to your instructors, explaining the nature of your disability in order that your instructional needs can be met.