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What courses will you take?

This guide is designed to help you make course selections for 2022-23. While the Mount’s University Calendar gives descriptions for all English and Writing courses, not all of those courses are offered each year. In the drop-down menus below, you’ll see more detailed information about the courses offered, program options, an introduction to English at the Mount, information on courses for next year, and checklists to help you plan. Please consult the University Calendar for official information on admissions and program requirements.

  • Program Options — Students can take a 20-unit Bachelor of Arts degree with an Honours or a Major in English literature (typically four years). English can also be taken as a Combined Major with another subject in the Arts or Science offerings. A 15-unit Bachelor of Arts (General Studies) degree is also available with a Concentration in English (typically three years). These and other options (such as a Minor in Literature or Writing) are explored below in the drop-down menu.
  • ENGL or WRIT — Courses offered by our department are designated as English (ENGL) or Writing (WRIT) or both (ENGL/WRIT). Courses with the WRIT designation can count towards the Writing Minor or they can be taken as an elective. ENGL/WRIT courses let you decide if you want the course to count towards an English program option, towards the Writing Minor, or as an English or Writing elective.
  • Pre-requisites — Please consult the University Calendar to ensure you are adequately prepared for the courses you want to take. Generally, taking a 1000-level course is recommended to help you prepare for 2000-level and 3000-level courses.

Looking for Academic Advising?

At the Mount, we want to ensure you’re on the right track from registration straight through to graduation. Our academic advisors are here to make sure your course choices work for your degree requirements and timeline. Download our advising checklists and contact your academic advisor – we encourage you to meet in person. A list of academic advisors is posted on the English Department bulletin board on the 5th floor of the Seton Academic Centre (between Room 510 and Room 511), or if you need to be assigned to an advisor, ask our administrative assistant, Tracy McDonald, in Seton 561 (902-457-6346;

English/Writing Course Booklet 2022-2023

Download the English Course Booklet-2022-23 — or read the course descriptions below.

An introduction to English at the Mount

Victorian lit recitations 2011

Left: Victorian Literature students after a public recitation of 19th-century poetry.




Study what you love

In the English Department you can select courses that cover a wide range of subjects from traditional and historical literatures to contemporary theory and cultural studies. As part of your course work, you may find yourself memorizing lines for a performance project, researching eighteenth-century women writers, examining art responding to 9/11, or analyzing what makes a monster in different cultures. You will craft persuasive essays about books, authors, and issues that excite you. Some of your course work might deal with authors and subjects that you already know you love, and other courses will introduce you to exciting new challenges and approaches.

Even as you may be involved in analyzing how a book is made into a film, or translating lines of medieval poetry, or debating concepts of gender and sexuality in contemporary media, you will also be improving your oral and written communication skills, your research abilities, and your own creativity as a writer while developing the theoretical tools that will lead you to a greater literary and cultural understanding.

We know that you’re more likely to succeed in university if you study what you love.

Charlotte Kiddell at Grand Opening of McCain Centre

Left: Charlotte Kiddell, English Honours student and student activist, one of ten Canadians recently chosen by the CBC to interview the Prime Minister one-on-one.



Gain skills in communication and critical analysis

University English teaches you both clear, articulate writing and critical analysis of the ways that language and literature work. These skills are acquired by prolonged experience and practice, rather like high-diving or ballet or piano-playing. Regular attendance at classes is consequently essential, along with active participation.

To maximize participation, English classes at the Mount are usually run in a discussion format. Your instructors will sometimes transmit information necessary to understand the background of literary works or certain critical approaches — but on the whole, our teaching of English will not be simple transmission, any more than your learning will be simple memorization. Rather, we try to raise thought-provoking questions about literary texts, so that students can try out various solutions. Through weighing one solution against another, and checking all these solutions against the text, you should acquire a good sense of literary judgment. This will, over time, make your responses more convincing, more sophisticated, and more able to take account of the full complexity of literature.

These skills are carried over into the formulation of written arguments. English Department faculty make an effort to give full, careful comments on each student’s written work. If taken to heart, these comments should prevent the repetition of errors, and year by year the writing of English students increases in precision and authority.

While all of our English courses will enable you to become a better writer, our Writing courses are for those who are especially interested in exploring the theory and practice of writing in different situations and in different types of writing. Writing courses will introduce writing as a rhetorical practice: a highly intentional exercise of choices to achieve a particular goal. Their topics range from an introduction to the field of writing studies, through creative writing and persuasion, editing and publishing, to theory and research in the field. Our Writing classes are run as small workshops of no more than 20 to 25 students in which you and your instructor and other students work closely on your writing, research, and editing.

The skills gained by these teaching practices — the ability to think through problems and then to communicate the results convincingly — will be useful not only in English classes but in any number of different fields and professions. In fact, excellent communication skills are among the top three priorities of most employers today. Read more about our students’ career paths.

Left: a photo-collage of Halifax street art by Katrina Haight, part of her project in a Contemporary Culture course on psychogeography and the city as text. Read more about Katrina’s project. 




Enjoy innovative teaching in a creative community

At the Mount, you will get to know your professors and classmates as you read, discuss, write, and work together in small classes of no more than 20 to 35 students. And your professors will get to know you as well, guiding you through your assignments and advising you on your program of study. Your work is graded by your professor, not by student teaching assistants.

While your professors are all active researchers in their fields, they also look for creative new ways to bring their knowledge into the classroom to share with you. All of our faculty are committed to high standards of teaching, and many of them have won or have been nominated for university, regional, and national teaching awards. Read more about our professors’ teaching and research interests and their recent activities.

It’s this personal level of attention that allows us to offer a full-year honours thesis course in which a student works with one professor on a substantial research project, a unique opportunity among Halifax universities. Other research and teaching opportunities are also available to our senior students, such as working as a research assistant or writing tutor.

1000-level courses (Introductory)

Photo: Krista HillEnglish 1000-level courses. Photo Krista Hill






If you are considering a major in English or if you are looking to sharpen your critical faculties, then choose ENGL 1170/1171 or ENGL 1155. These are introductions to English studies at the university level, but they take different approaches. Read the descriptions that follow carefully.

If this is your first experience of English study at university, please note that it will differ from high school, and students sometimes report a drop in their English grades. You will need a GPA of 2.0 (equivalent to a C average) in English to become and to remain a major. The Calendar has a full description of the meaning of the various grades used in the university, and your English professors will most likely distribute in class the English Department Marking Scheme handout which describes how the department applies the university’s grading system. Copies of this handout are available from the department administrative assistant, Tracy McDonald, in Seton 533.


WRIT 1120 is a course in writing theory and practice; it is the foundation of the minor in Writing, but it is valuable for any student. Those who enjoy writing and its challenges will find more enjoyable challenges, and will acquire a deeper understanding of how writing is accomplished, from first glimmering of idea to final edit. English majors and minors can take this course as an elective.

If you are considering a major in English or if you are looking to sharpen your critical faculties, then choose ENGL 1170/1171 or ENGL 1155. These are introductions to English studies at the university level, but they take different approaches. Read the descriptions that follow carefully.

If this is your first experience of English study at university, please note that it will differ from high school, and students sometimes report a drop in their English grades. You will need a GPA of 2.0 (equivalent to a C average) in English to become and to remain a major. The Calendar has a full description of the meaning of the various grades used in the university, and your English professors will most likely distribute in class the English Department Marking Scheme handout which describes how the department applies the university’s grading system. Copies of this handout are available from the department administrative assistant, Tracy McDonald, in Seton 533.

WRIT 1120 The Writing Process: Theory and Practice

Half (0.5) Unit–Fall or Winter

NOTE: In WRIT 1120, you will be challenged and assisted to develop new strengths, whether or not you consider yourself to be a “good writer” already. This course is not “remedial”; it will challenge you to improve your writing skills by slowly and recursively engaging rich, rewarding, and often difficult ideas, texts, and problems. You will practice your writing as a process, done in your own time and in conjunction with your classmates and your instructor.

In this course, you will approach writing from a rhetorical perspective: that is, writing is not just a matter of following a series of rules or applying a set of templates. Instead, writing involves making choices that are appropriate to the situation. You will get practice in drafting and substantial revision as well as editing and polishing.

This course is the foundation of the Writing minor; it is recommended that you take 1120 before you attempt any other WRIT or WRIT/ENGL courses.


01F   MW 9:00 – 10:15   TBA

02F   MW 1:30 – 2:45   TBA

03F   MW 4:30 – 5:45   TBA

04F   TTh 10:30 – 11:45    Dr. Nathaniel Street

05F   TTh 4:30 – 5:45   TBA

18F   Synchronous Online: TTH 6:00 – 7:15   TBA


06W   MW 9:00 – 10:15   TBA

07W   MW 4:30 – 5:45   TBA

08W   TTh 9:00 – 10:15   TBA

09W   TTh 10:30 – 11:45   TBA

10W   TTh 4:30 – 5:45   TBA

19W   Synchronous Online: MW 6:00 – 7:15   TBA

ENGL 1155 Introduction to Literature: Gender and Form

Full (1.0) Unit–Fall and Winter

01FW   MW 12:00 – 1:15   Dr. Rhoda Zuk

02FW   TTh     1:30 – 2:45   Dr. Karen Macfarlane

An introduction to the critical study of the major forms of fiction, poetry, and drama, using examples from the time of Chaucer to the present day. Readings will include a balance of female and male writers, and a special focus for discussion will be representations of gender.

Note: Students may not take both ENGL 1155 and ENGL 1170/1171 for credit.

(This course is also listed as a women-emphasis course in the Women’s Studies Department.)

ENGL 1170 Introduction to Literature: Literary Genres

Half (0.5) Unit–Fall or Winter

An introduction to the terms and methods of literary analysis. Through critical study of a range of literary works, including short fiction, poetry, drama, and a novel, students will acquire the skills needed to write about them effectively.

Note: Students who have received credit for ENGL 1155 may not take this course for credit.


01F   MW 10:30 – 11:45   TBA

02F   MW 3:00 – 4:15   TBA

03F   TTh 9:00 – 10:15   TBA

04   TTh 12:00 – 1:15   TBA

18F Synchronous Online: M 6:00 – 7:15   TBA


05W   TTh 12:00 – 1:15   TBA

19W   Synchronous Online: M 6:00 – 7:15   TBA

ENGL 1171 Introduction to Literature: Literary Transformations

Half (0.5) Unit–Fall or Winter

An introduction to the critical study of literature from different historical periods. By following a particular theme or genre from the Middle Ages to the present day, students assess how writers are influenced by, respond to, and transform previous texts. It is recommended that students take ENGL 1170 before ENGL 1171.

Note: Students who have received credit for ENGL 1155 may not take this course for credit.


01F   TTh 3:00 – 4:15   Dr. Bernadette Russo


02W   MW 10:30 – 11:45   TBA

03W   MW 1:30 – 2:45   TBA

04W   MW 3:00 – 4:15   TBA

05W   TTh 3:00 – 4:15   Dr. Bernadette Russo

19W   Synchronous Online: T 6:00 – 7:15   TBA

2000-level courses


2 studentsPhoto: Krista Hill

You may take a 2000-level ENGL course once you have completed one unit of literature at the 1000 level or five units of any university study. Completion of at least one unit of ENGL at the 2000 level is recommended for English courses at the 3000 and 4000 level. WRIT and ENGL/WRIT courses may have particular pre-requisites.


ENGL 2201 Shakespeare / one unit

Full (1.0) Unit – Fall and Winter
MW 12:00 – 1:15
Instructor: Dr. Reina Green

In this course we will examine a range of plays by William Shakespeare from across his career (1590s-1610s), covering the genres of comedy, history, tragedy, and romance. We will study these works in their historical, socio-political, theatrical, and contemporary cinematic contexts and reflect on the implications these contexts can have for an understanding of his plays. Key themes that will frame our discussions are power, authority, rebellion, and revenge in connection to gender, race, sexuality, and family ties. In addition, we will consider how Shakespeare explores these topics from genre to genre.

This course is required for English majors.

ENGL 2202 Introduction to Critical Methods / half unit

Fall term
TTh 10:30-11:45
Instructor: Dr. Karen Macfarlane

Literary theory explores how we do what we do as readers and literary critics. It explores the issues around how language works, how we define and work with literary and cultural texts, how we work through the series of complex codes and meanings that make up our culture, how our material position (our social position, our race, gender, ability, sexuality etc.) affects the use of language, the production of literature, the structures and forms of narrative, our position as readers and a variety of other issues related to our relationship with the texts around us.

This course is structured as an introduction to critical theory as a field of study with the aim of providing students with a strong grounding in the methods, terms, and strategies that underpin English studies. You will be introduced to the major schools and approaches that shape contemporary theory (such as psychoanalysis, Marxist theory, structuralism, poststructuralism, feminist theory and postcolonialism). In addition to reading texts about theory, we will read selected primary theoretical works and we will read selected literary texts through a variety of critical lenses.

This course is required for English majors and strongly recommended for all English students at all levels of the programme, and for all students interested in thinking about language, literature and culture.

ENGL 2205 Introduction to Literature for Children and Young Adults / one unit

Full (1.0) Unit – Fall and Winter
MW 3:00 – 4:15
Instructor: Dr. Rhoda Zuk

A study of folktales as well as fairy tales, picturebooks, poetry, and novels created for children and young adults from 1700 to the present. An emphasis will be on the diverse views of children and childhood over time and between cultures.


ENGL 2207 Queer Literature and Culture / half unit

Winter term
TTh 10:30- 11:45
Instructor: Dr. Bernadette Russo

What is queerness? How is it performed in culture? Policy? Art? This course will provide an exploration of 2SLGBTQ+ culture and literatures from a range of historical periods through a combination of theory, art, film, television, and/or other forms of popular culture.


ENGL 2213 Contemporary Film / half unit

Fall term
MW 1:30 – 2:45
Instructor: Dr. Bernadette Russo

This course will focus primarily on the nuanced language used in film to convey meaning to audiences, including but not limited to elements of cinematography, mis-en-scène, editing, and sound. We will initially consider a brief history of film to provide a context and understanding of the various components of film evolution. We will also explore film forms and genres. Through our discussions, you will develop an understanding of the manner in which film conveys meaning beyond the narrative. Films used for this course will cover a broad range; however, contemporary films will be most often selected.

ENGL/WRIT 2220 Writing to Influence: Introduction to Rhetorical Persuasion / half unit

Fall term
18F  Synchronous Online
T 6:00 – 7:15
Instructor: TBA

Winter term
01W TTh 1:30 – 2:45
Instructor: Dr. Nathaniel Street

Pre-requisite: WRIT 1120 or five units of university study. If you are taking this course in the Writing minor, you are recommended to complete WRIT 1120 first.

This class takes Aristotle’s definition of rhetoric as “an ability, in each case, to see the available means of persuasion” as a starting point for theorizing and practicing the persuasive power of writing. We will study classical rhetorical concepts and techniques – invention, kairos, ethos, stasis, topoi – for discovering, creating, and analyzing rhetorical argument. Students will do this by learning the theory and history of these concepts, practice using them to analyze the rhetorical power of example texts, and mobilizing them in their own writing. This work will culminate in a semester-long research project written for a popular audience in the spirit of essays written for publications like The Walrus, The Atlantic, and The New Yorker.

ENGL/WRIT 2221 Introduction to Creative Writing / half unit

Fall term
TTh 4:30 – 5:45
Instructor: TBA

Pre-requisite: 0.5 unit of English at the 1000 level or permission of the instructor. If you are taking this course in the Writing minor, you are recommended to complete WRIT 1120 first.

A study and practice of creative writing, including poetry, fiction, and/or creative nonfiction, in a workshop environment driven by writing exercise and peer review. Instruction will be grounded in contemporary creative writing from peer reviewed journals. Additionally, the course may be supplemented by visits from or to creative writers.

WRIT 2222 Introduction to Editing / half unit

Winter term
MW 4:30 – 5:45
Instructor: TBA

Pre-requisite: WRIT 1120 and ENGL/WRIT 2220 or permission of the instructor.

A practical and historical study of text editing. Particular attention will be paid to practices of manuscript analysis, substantive editing, copy editing, and proofreading, using standard practices set by the Editors’ Association of Canada. Students will practice editing texts from a range of genres: literature, scientific and humanist scholarship, and popular writing. Students will have access to a number of professional resources, including processional editors.

ENGL/WRIT 2223 History of Writing, Reading, and the Book / half unit

Winter term
T 6:00 – 7:15 p.m.
Multi-mode Online
Instructor:  Dr. Anna Smol

Book history is an interdisciplinary field, and in this course our topics will range from literary and rhetorical analysis to historical research and cultural debates. We will study the book as a material object, from scroll to codex to digital text, and review the development of oral, manuscript, print, and digital culture from antiquity to the contemporary era, setting Western developments in a global context. We will discuss the social, political, and economic factors at play in constituting writing systems, readers, authors, patrons, scribes, printers, and publishers in different eras, including contemporary developments in digital writing and publishing. We’ll examine the book’s relation to power in discussions of censorship, libraries, sacred texts, and the revolutionary power of books. We’ll consider the nature of oral traditions and their interaction with written literacies. Course readings will alternate between non-fiction (in theoretical and historical articles) and fiction (People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks, short stories by Thomas King, and Fangirl, a young adult novel by Rainbow Rowell). The course will offer options for creative projects and exercises.

This is a multimodal online course consisting of one required 75-minute synchronous class every week, along with asynchronous components: participation in a discussion forum before every class, an individual written response after class, and at various points in the term, two essays and a take-home exam.  For more information about the course, please see .

This course may also count as a 0.5 elective in the Cultural Studies program.

ENGL 2263 Detective Fiction / half unit

Winter term
TTh 3:00 – 4:15
Instructor:  Dr. Karen Macfarlane

This course is an introduction to the genre of detective fiction. The emphasis this term will be on how concepts of the rational, the irrational, and the intuitive shape selected works in the genre. We will be paying particular attention to the use of scientific methods in works that pit the detective against the supernatural, the uncanny and the monstrous and the way that these categories challenge and/or uphold narratives of nation, gender, sexuality, and race. Our focus will be on nineteenth century works such as those by Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Allan Poe, William Hope Hodgson but we will also take our inquiries into the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. We will read selective works of non-fiction (about detection as well as critical sources about the genre) to help contextualise our discussions.

3000-/4000-level courses (senior/advanced seminars)

english-dept-seminarCourses at the 3000 or 4000 level require successful completion of at least one unit of literature at the 1000 level. At least one unit at the 2000 level is recommended.

An English Department seminar. Photo: Krista Hill



WRIT 3212 Selected Topics in Writing: Writing Pedagogy / half unit

Fall term
TTh 1:30 – 2:45
Instructor:  Dr. Nathaniel Street

This course engages one simple question: how do we teach writing? Engaging that question, however, is far from simple. The history of composition studies emerged humbly enough, with a demand, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, to prepare less-privileged students (the kind who didn’t grow up with Latin tutors) to take university literature courses. In other words, we could say that composition studies began in 1885, with a newly mandated course at Harvard titled “English A.” Over the course of the next 50 years, the mandatory first-year writing course spread across North America, especially in The United States. Most instructors of these courses were literary scholars who “paid their dues” teaching first-year writing until they could get a “real job” teaching literature. Those who did not “advance” (disproportionately women) made careers teaching writing.

Something happened in the 100-or-so-years after the start of English A. Instructors discovered that teaching writing is not simply a matter of teaching the “basics” of grammar and genre so students would be ready for “real” or “more advanced” studies. Instructors realized that the teaching of writing requires research, philosophical care, and pedagogical sophistication. In short, it requires a field of study dedicated to better understanding what writing is, how we relate to it, and how we are able to learn and teach it.

This course surveys the major theoretical and pedagogical developments in composition studies since the mid 20th century. We will pay particular attention to“process pedagogy,” which treats writing as a fluid, non-linear process rather than as a product to “get right.” We will further cover other major theories that inform contemporary pedagogy, including expressivism, social constructivism, and feminism. We will consider how these pedagogies inform writing instruction in the classroom and in tutoring, especially in writing centres.

This course will provide ample opportunities for experiential learning. Through a series of workshops, students will tutor each other, using their own writing as case-studies. Additionally, students will develop and refine their own approaches to writing instruction and articulate that approach in a Statement of Teaching Philosophy. This course should be of particular interest to students preparing for admission to a B.Ed. program and/or those who wish to work in the MSVU Writing Centre.

ENGL 3311 Indigenous Feminisms and Sexualities / half unit

Fall term
TTh 12:00 – 1:15
Instructor:  Dr. Bernadette Russo

“Indian people must wake up! They are asleep! . . . Part of this waking up means replacing women in their rightful place in society. . . . There’s no power in medicine that has all force unless it‘s balanced. The woman must be there also, but she has been left out! When we still had our culture we had the balance. The women made ceremonies, and she was recognized as being united with the moon, the earth, and all the forces on it. Men have taken over. Most feel threatened by holy women. They must stop and remember the loving power of their grandmothers and mothers.”—Rose Auger (Cree), Native Aboriginal Women’s Summit 2007.

Resonating with the hope of healing, Rose Auger’s (Cree) speech is a call for the awakening of Indigenous feminisms and sexualities. Yes, Indigenous feminisms: a plurality as wide ranging and diverse as Indigenous peoples. Pre-settler contact, many Indigenous nations were matriarchal in structure, while others were egalitarian, and still others were patriarchal. The values structures, kinship formations, and systems of identity pre-colonization were richly varied and unique.

The primary focus of this course will be the intersectional consideration of Indigenous feminisms and sexualities at the interstices of race and class. What are Indigenous feminisms? How are Indigenous feminisms different from other forms of feminism? Why study Indigenous feminisms? What does the term Indigenous sexualities mean, and what does it encompass? How are Indigenous feminisms and Indigenous sexualities influenced by and performed at the intersections of race and class in North America? How is sexual violence institutionalized and institutionally weaponized and deployed to preserve settler and patriarchal positionality? These contested issues provide a springboard into the complex realm of Indigenous expression.  As these topics broadly encompass an array of Indigenous experience, expression, and scholarship, this course will consider specific forms, and issues within each area. However, regardless of the focus, the course will consistently employ an Indigenous epistemology and an Indigenous critical framework. The course will also place Indigenous feminist and sexuality theories in dialogue with their contemporaries of the Western-European canon.

ENGL 3319 Modern Poetry to 1945  / half unit

Fall term
MW 10:30 – 11:45
Instructor:  Dr. Graham Fraser

The Modernist period (1900-1945) was a time of radical artistic change, crisis, and invention.  In this course we will examine a range of Modernist poems and poetics in order to understand the innovations of Modernist literature against the background of 19th century poetry, and we will look into connections between Modernist poetry and other Modernist movements in art (especially visual art) and the larger cultural, scientific, philosophical, and political shifts and crises which shaped the first decades of the Twentieth century.

Modernist poetry is often intentionally difficult in terms of both its poetic form and the complexity of its ideas.  It expects much of its audience and demands that its readers rise to its level and meet it on its own terms.  This course is designed to confront, understand, and hopefully enjoy these difficulties (and perhaps even to reveal them to be not so difficult after all).  Some of the poets and poetic movements addressed will include: Imagism, Vorticism, Surrealism, Loy, Williams, Yeats, Pound, Eliot, H.D., Stevens, Stein, Moore, Riding, and Bishop.

Text: Norton Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Poetry Volume 1. 3rd ed.

ENGL 3327 Victorian Literature / half unit

Fall term
MW 3:00 – 4:15
Instructor:  Dr. Karen Macfarlane

In this course we will be focusing on the ways in which Empire, with all of its related issues around social reform, social inequities, definitions of race, nation, and “civilisation”, was represented in British literature from approximately the 1850s until the turn of the century. We will be using selected works of critical theory as well as non-fiction sources from the period to help contextualise our discussions of literary works by authors such as Charles Dickens, Arthur Conan Doyle, Elizabeth Gaskell, and H. Rider Haggard.

ENGL/WRIT 3330 Myths and Theories about Writing / half unit

Winter term
TTh 10:30 – 11:45
Instructor:  Dr. Nathaniel Street

Is writing just second-rate speaking? What does it mean to be an author? Does writing communicate and, if so, what? And what is writing, anyway? Beginning with Plato’s Phaedrus, wherein Socrates warns that writing will degrade “living” thought, this course tackles the mythological foundations of writing.

This course is structured as an extended meditation on the question of writing. At all points, we could reduce the class and its texts to a handful of simple questions: what is writing? how does it work? how does it affect us?  Our course texts will engage these questions from a variety of angles that take into account the mythos of writing. We will treat myth in several ways: as false beliefs about writing that must be re-considered, as legendary points of origin that need to be sifted through, and as a kind of power that must be articulated. We’ll do this by discussing key philosophical and literary texts in class, but you’ll do much of your thinking-work by writing through the texts and the problems and theories they engage. Thus, part of the class’ goal is to both theorize and perform the mythological power of writing.

ENGL 3346 Contemporary Literature / half unit

Winter term
MW 10:30 – 11:45
Instructor:  Dr. Graham Fraser

This course examines some of the concerns of contemporary postmodern fiction.  We will pay particular attention to postmodern conceptions of authorship, history, memory, autobiography, and the role of material objects in culture and fiction.  We will also examine the ways in which these texts challenge the traditional boundaries between fiction and other textual forms (poetry, the image, non-fiction genres) and their efforts to bend or re-create language and fictional form into new shapes.   Some of these works are popular in orientation and others are more obscure – all, however, are important and compelling works of literature which offer a great deal to think about and enjoy.

Tentative Text List:

Baker, The Mezzanine; Beckett, Nohow On; Brossard, Mauve Desert; Carey, Alva and Irva; Carson, The Autobiography of Red; Hoban, Riddley Walker; Johnson, The Unfortunates; Marcus, The Age of Wire and String; Sebald, Rings of Saturn; Shapton, Important Artifacts

ENGL 3352 Nineteenth-Century American Literature / one unit

Full (1.0) Unit – Fall and Winter
MW 1:30 – 2:45
Instructor: TBA

A study of American literature from 1776 to 1900. The course examines constructions of a national identity from the Declaration of Independence to later Civil War and topics such as resistance, gender, slavery, Indigenous relations, and American Romanticism. Authors may include Callahan, Cooper, Dickinson, Emerson, Melville, Poe, Stowe, and Wheatley.

For English Honours students, this course fulfills the requirement of 0.5 units of Eighteenth-Century or Romantics and 0.5 units of Nineteenth-Century British or American Literature.


ENGL 3364 Shakespeare’s Contemporaries / half unit

Winter term
MW 3:00 – 4:15
Instructor: Dr. Reina Green

The late sixteenth and early seventeenth century is known as the golden age of English drama and not just because Shakespeare was writing for the stage. Playgoing was like watching Netflix today. Theatre was pop culture, and, like today’s pop culture, it reflected the social anxieties of the time—anxieties about social hierarchy, gender relations, and politics to name a few. In this course we will read some of the most popular plays of the period by playwrights who worked alongside or in competition with Shakespeare: writers such as Christopher Marlowe, Ben Jonson, and Thomas Middleton, who may have influenced Shakespeare’s work or were influenced by it. We will also read works by writers like Elizabeth Cary whose plays were not publicly performed but who may have had just as much influence on Shakespeare. We will think of these works not just as written texts, but as live performances staged for audiences who both cheered and jeered.

ENGL/WRIT 3377 Old English: Translation Theory and Practice / half unit

Winter term
MW 4:30 – 5:45
Instructor: Dr. Anna Smol

Translation is both an academic subject of study and a creative art. Learning to translate Old English will give you the opportunity to experience first-hand the processes and challenges of translation, raising your awareness of translators’ choices no matter what language you are reading. We will examine translation theories from the Middle Ages to the present, discussing concepts of originality and equivalence, the status of translations, and issues dealing with gender and colonialism.

You will put these theories into practice by learning to translate Old English, one of the languages spoken and written in Britain from approximately the 5th to the 11th century. We’ll start with the basics of grammar while reading widely in modern translations of Old English poetry to become acquainted with this early medieval literature. These readings will introduce you to a growing body of contemporary texts termed the “New Old English” poetry. At the same time, you will learn to translate for meaning before eventually crafting a polished translation of a short passage on your own along with an analysis of your theoretically informed choices as a translator.

We study Old English in order to read and translate it but not to converse in it as you would a modern language. Learning to read Old English will acquaint you with a fascinating literature, challenge your historical preconceptions, and allow you to engage creatively with the texts in workshopping your own translation – and, of course, in the process improving your understanding of how language works, essential knowledge if you hope to become a teacher, writer, editor, or effective communicator in any role. No previous knowledge of the language – or even of grammar – is expected. For more details about the course, please go to the course webpage at

For English Honours students, this course may count as a 0.5 medieval credit or as a half unit of a theory credit. For English Majors, this course partially fulfills the requirement of a pre-nineteenth-century course. For Writing Minor students, WRIT 3377 counts as an upper-level elective in the Writing Minor.

ENGL 4415 Studies in Children’s Literature / half unit

Winter term
MW 4:30 – 5:45
Instructor: Dr. Rhoda Zuk

The concept of “home,” of belonging, is a central trope in children’s literature that, in picture books, novels, and folklore authored by writers of the African diaspora, is complicated by the displacement, material insecurity, and physical and symbolic violence attendant on systemic anti-Black racism. This course will be grounded in readings selected from recent, influential studies of racialized childhood and children’s literature. Having supplemented that preparation with a consideration of Black cultural theory, we will move on to an analysis of folklore, poems, picture books, stories, and novels for children and young adults created by iconic as well as emergent Black Canadian, American, and West Indian writers and illustrators.

ENGL 4480 Studies in Literature and Film / half unit

Fall term
MW 4:30 – 5:45
Instructor: Dr. Reina Green

In this course we will explore the relationship between literature and film by looking at how some of Shakespeare’s plays have been adapted to film. Shakespeare’s work has been a popular source for screen adaptations since the film industry began at the end of the nineteenth century. We will examine why filmmakers worldwide continue to adapt Shakespeare’s plays and what happens when a work intended for the late sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century stage is adapted to a different media and different culture in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. We will consider the cultural value of Shakespeare and how adaptations of his work are marketed, along with the relationship between “live” theatre, the larger-than-life movie screen, and the virtual life of social media. Throughout, our exploration of the print, stage, and screen versions of Shakespeare’s plays will be informed by theories of adaptation.

Note: Students who have received credit for ENGL 3380 may not take ENGL 4480 for credit. 

Planning Ahead: Courses for 2023-2024

Karen Livingstone Image

Our upper-level courses are offered in rotation, usually in alternate years. The courses listed below are the 2000- to 4000-level courses which we hope to offer in 2023-24. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of this projection as the timetable will be affected by faculty sabbaticals, levels of funding, and other factors beyond the department’s control. We will ensure, however, that Majors and Honours students will be able to meet their requirements.


Image: Lothlorien (detail) by Karen Livingstone. Created as part of a creative project / analysis in ENGL 4475.


  • ENGL 2201 Shakespeare
  • ENGL 2202 Introduction to Critical Methods
  • ENGL 2207  Queer Literature and Culture
  • ENGL 2213   Contemporary Film
  • ENGL/WRIT 2220 Writing to Influence: Introduction to Rhetorical Persuasion
  • ENGL/WRIT 2221 Introduction to Creative Writing
  • WRIT 2222 Introduction to Editing
  • ENGL 2242 Themes in Women’s Writing
  • ENGL 2260 Poetry
  • ENGL 2261  Short Fiction
  • ENGL 2270 Classical Traditions
  • ENGL/ WRIT 3212  Selected Topics in English/Writing
  • ENGL/ WRIT 3221 Creative Non-Fiction
  • ENGL 3308 Romantic Rebels and Reformers
  • ENGL 3310 Indigenous Literature: Indigenous Futurisms
  • ENGL 3342 Modern Fiction
  • ENGL 3352 Nineteenth-century American Literature
  • ENGL 3356 Seventeenth-century Literature
  • ENGL 3365 Eighteenth-Century British Novel
  • ENGL 3376  Medieval Literature
  • ENGL 4408 Critical Literature

Summer School 2023

Summer Session I:

  • WRIT 1120 The Writing Process: Theory and Practice
  • ENGL 1170 Introduction to Literature: Reading Literary Genres
  • ENGL/WRIT 2220 Writing to Influence: Introduction to Rhetorical Persuasion
  • ENGL 2270 Classical Traditions
  • ENGL 3366 Nineteenth-century British Novel

Summer Session II:

  • WRIT 1120 The Writing Process: Theory and Practice
  • ENGL 1171 Introduction to Literature: Literary Transformations
  • ENGL/WRIT 2221 Introduction to Creative Writing
  • WRIT 2222 Introduction to Editing
  • ENGL 2262 Science Fiction

Program Option: Honours Degree

English Honours. Photo Krista HillThe MacDonald Collection, MSVU Library. Photo: Krista Hill

The 20-unit Honours degree in English is designed for students who maintain a GPA of 3.0 or above and who are interested in an in-depth study of English literature. The Mount Honours English degree is unique among Halifax university English programs in that it includes the writing of an Honours thesis, a year-long full-credit course in which Honours students research a topic that interests them under the supervision of a faculty member and write a thesis on the subject. Students who are considering graduate school should enroll in the Honours program, but it is also a suitable degree for any student who is doing well in English courses.

If you are considering an Honours program, read the package of information for prospective Honours students available from the Department Secretary in Seton 533 and talk to your advisor or the Department Chair about your interest. The program requires careful planning, especially if you are considering graduate studies. Roughly, you should have a GPA of 3.0 or above in order to apply for Honours; MA programs usually require a GPA of 3.0 to 3.5 for admission. Graduate programs in English usually require that students pass a second language exam at some point in their studies, so it is advisable, if you are thinking of going on to do an M.A. or PhD in English, to take a language course during your undergraduate years.

Admission to the Honours program must be approved by the Honours Committee of the English Department. Typically, application through the Department Chair would be made after the completion of 10 units of study; acceptance is contingent upon the agreement of a faculty member to supervise the thesis. Honours students are also required to present an Honours colloquium, and to attend those presented by other Honours students.

View Program Requirements (Academic Calendar) »

Program Option: Major

Old English class toastStudents in an Old English class preparing to give their presentations.

The degree with a major is intended for those students with a clearly focused interest who wish to gain knowledge in depth of a single discipline.

View Program Requirements (Academic Calendar) »

Program Option: Combined Major

English 2000-level courses. Photo: Krista HillThe combined major degree is intended for those students who wish to gain in-depth knowledge of two disciplines. Students must declare a major or combined major before registering for their sixth unit of coursework. Students who do not make this declaration within this time frame will not be permitted to register for further coursework.

Photo: Krista Hill

View Program Requirements (Academic Calendar) »

Program Option: Concentration

A Concentration in English literature is available for students in the BA General Studies (15-unit degree).

View Program Requirements (Academic Calendar) »

Program Option: Minor in English Literature

Students who require a Minor as part of their degree may complete a Minor in English Literature. Please note that the English Department offers two different Minors, one in Literature and one in Writing, and that the requirements are different for each one. A Minor in English Literature consists of three full units of ENGL courses, including two full units of English at the 2000 level or above.

View Minor Requirements (Academic Calendar) »

Program Option: Writing Minor

PencilsOffered by the Mount’s Department of English, the Writing Minor will enable you to become a strong and flexible writer who can excel in any university field of study or future career. You’ll explore the theory and practice of writing, covering communication in many forms such as creative writing, editing, researching in the digital age, the business of publishing, classical rhetoric, scientific writing, and contemporary theories about composition.

Visit the Writing Minor page »

Information on Plagiarism

When you submit an essay as part of the requirements of a university course, it is assumed that the essay is your own work. Plagiarism is an inexcusable offence in the academic world, but some students seem uncertain about how to recognize and avoid plagiarism.

The university calendar defines plagiarism as “presenting someone else’s words, ideas or information as though they were one’s own” and lists a number of specific examples. Note the scope of this definition: words: this means that you must not incorporate material from another source directly into your work without proper citation and quotation marks; ideas: this means that your material must be original – if you are influenced by another’s original thoughts, understanding, interpretation, or perception then you need to acknowledge that influence with a citation; information: there is a difference between common knowledge in the discipline (date of Shakespeare’s death, for instance) and more specialized or controversial information: it is the specialized information that must always be cited. The scope of this definition makes diligence necessary when you are using secondary sources. Keep close track of where you got your information. Any presentation of material other than your own, whether intentional or unintentional, is plagiarism. It is your responsibility to make sure that your paper reflects your own ideas and that the material from which you drew any other information is properly cited.

Quotations: The rules governing quotation and references are very simple. If you find a passage that seems particularly apt for your chosen topic, you may reproduce it in your essay so long as it is copied accurately, enclosed in quotation marks (or indented, in the case of longer quotations), and followed by a correct parenthetical reference. (See  the English Department’s A Student’s Guide to MLA 2009 for instructions). At the end of the essay, under the heading “Works Cited,” you must also list the author’s name, the title of the work, the name of the publisher, and the place and date of publication. Detailed descriptions of correct forms for citations can be found in A Student’s Guide to MLA 2009..

Paraphrase: You may, however, decide that, although an article or chapter is relevant to your studies, and has influenced you in the preparation of your essay, there is no specific passage that offers itself as quotable material. In this case you may paraphrase or summarize the argument or opinion presented. Since you do not use the words of the original, you do not need to use quotation marks, but you must still provide a correct parenthetical reference (see A Student’s Guide to MLA 2009 for instructions). What you must not do, under any circumstances, is find relevant passages on the topic, cut and paste them (or simply copy them out), and offer them as if they were your own work. Note here that you must still indicate clearly in the body of your work that you have drawn your idea/information/interpretation from another source. It is not enough to include the source in your bibliography. Not indicating that specific passages, ideas etc are drawn from another source is plagiarism.

Electronic Sources are not excluded from this rule. If you use information from web sites, from full text databases (like EBSCO), from CD ROMs, or from other electronic sources these must be followed by a proper citation. Cutting and pasting sections of these sources into your own paper, even if you change them slightly or take only sections, is plagiarism and is not allowed. You will be penalized.

Penalties: Plagiarism is theft. Like any other form of dishonesty, it is unacceptable and results in serious consequences. Penalties include the awarding of a grade of F or zero to the assignment containing plagiarized material, or receiving a grade of F for the course (at the time of the infraction), or receiving a grade of F* for the course (which indicates that the course was failed because of cheating. This grade will remain on your transcript). It is that serious a matter.

September 2006