Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more; it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.
― Shakespeare, Macbeth V, i

What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason! How infinite in faculty!
In form and moving how express and admirable! In action how like an angel! In apprehension how like a god!
― Shakespeare, Hamlet, II, ii

And new philosophy calls all in doubt,
The element of fire is quite put out;
The sun is lost, and th’earth, and no man’s wit
Can well direct him where to look for it.
― Donne, An Anatomy of the World, First Anniversary, 1, 205

A little learning is a dang’rous thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain.
And drinking largely sobers us again.
― Pope, An Essay on Criticism, I

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man
in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
― Austen, Pride and Prejudice. ch. 1

If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear as it is, infinite.
― Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

The world is too much with us: late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
Little we see in Nature that is ours.
― Wordsworth, Sonnets, 1807

I am a part of all that I have met
Yet all experience is an arch where thro’
Gleams that untraveled world, whose image fades
Forever and forever when I move.
― Tennyson, Ulysses, 1.6

There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book.
Books are well-written or badly written.
― Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray


English - English Literature

The proposed B.A. and B.A. hon. degree programs in English – English Literature will be distinguished by their focus on the English-language literary tradition as a whole and by their historical approach to the subject.

Texts will be selected and studied according to the influence they have exercised on the traditions of English literature, with particular attention to innovations in genre, form, and literary technique. Students will read major works from every period of English literature from the late fourteenth century to the present.

Program coursework and research materials will integrate extensive coverage of methods and theoretical constructs, while the curriculum’s presentation of primary materials along historical lines will ensure a deep understanding of the English-language literary tradition.

The Honours Degree Program in English Literature


First year

William Shakespeare, portrait by Cobbe

ENG 1.1 Pre-modern and Renaissance literature: Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales (General Prologue, The Nun's Priest's Tale); More, Utopia; Spenser, The Fairie Queen, Book 1; Sidney, Defense of Poesy; Shakespeare, Sonnets

ENG 1.2 Elizabethan Drama: Marlowe, Doctor Faustus; Kyd, The Spanish Tragedy; Webster, The Duchess of Malfi; Johnson, Volpone; Dekker, The Shoemaker's Holiday

ENG 1.3 Shakespeare I: Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Julius Caesar, HamletTwelfth NightTroilus and Cressida

ENG 1.4 Shakespeare II: Richard II, Henry IV, Part I, Henry IV, Part II, Henry VKing LearThe Tempest

ENG 1.5 Metaphysical Poets: Selected poems of Donne, Herbert, Vaughan, Crashaw, Marvell, et al.


Second year


ENG 2.1 Milton: Lycidas, selected sonnets, Paradise LostRochester, portrait

ENG 2.2 Restoration Literature: Dryden, MacFlecknoe, All for Love; Rochester, Satire against Mankind, selected poems; Congreve, The Way of the World

ENG 2.3 Augustan Literature: Pope, The Rape of the Lock, Essay on Man; Swift, A Modest Proposal, Gulliver’s Travels; Addison, selected essays; Johnson, Rasselas, The Vanity of Human Wishes

ENG 2.4 Early Novels: Behn, Oroonoko; Defoe, Moll Flanders, Robinson Crusoe

ENG 2.5 18th Century Novel I: Richardson, Pamela (excerpts); Fielding, Tom Jones; Smollett, Humphrey Clinker


Third year


ENG 3.1 18th Century Novel II: Sterne, A Sentimental Journey; Burney, Evelina; Radcliffe, The Mysteries of Udolpho; Lewis, The MonkJane Austen, portrait

ENG 3.2 Romantic Poetry: Gray, selected poems; Blake, Songs of Innocence, Songs of Experience; Wordsworth, Lyrical Ballads, The Prelude Book 1; Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Kubla Kahn; Keats, selected poems; Byron, selected poems; Shelley, selected poems

ENG 3.3 19th Century Novel I: Austen, Emma; Scott, Rob Roy; Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre; Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights

ENG 3.4 19th Century Novel II: Thackeray, Vanity Fair; Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter; Melville, Moby Dick; Dickens, Hard Times

ENG 3.5 19th Century Novel III: Eliot, Middlemarch; Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady; Hardy, Tess of the D’Urbervilles; Moore, Esther Waters


Fourth year


ENG 4.1 Later Nineteenth and Early 20th Century Poetry: Emmerson, Tennyson, Swinburne, Arnold, Browning, Hardy, Hopkins, Yeats, T. S. Eliot, Stein,Virginia Woolf, portrait by George Charles Beresford (1902) Stevens, Auden, selected poems

ENG 4.2 James Joyce, Ulysses

ENG 4.3 Early 20th Century Novel: D.H. Lawrence, Sons and Lovers; Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse; Conrad, Heart of Darkness; Faulkner, As I Lay Dying; Waugh, A Handful of Dust

ENG 4.4 Early 20th Century Drama: Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest; Shaw, Saint Joan; Miller, Death of a Salesman; O’Neill, Long Day’s Journey into Night; Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire; Beckett, Waiting for Godot

ENG 4.5 Postcolonial Literature: Rhys, The Wide Sargasso Sea; Naipaul, A House for Mr. Biswas; Narayan, The English Teacher; Achebe, Things Fall Apart; Salih, Season of Migration to the North