What can Christians learn from reading works of fiction?
Reading literature, whether Christian or non-Christian works, whether from the past or from the present, provides an important perspective of the world we live in. Redeemer's English Literature program prepares students to find their place and calling in the world by equipping them to read analytically, speak clearly, and write persuasively, finding threads of common grace and redemption in all materials, and asking how is God using language and literature to redeem our broken world.
English Literature is a Bachelor of Arts degree. It is offered as an honours major, a major, and as a minor.
Right from the start, small seminar-style classes provide you with a broad overview of different literary genres. Class discussion is lead by professors who are actively contributing to their field and are excited to share their love of language and literature with students.
First-year courses dig into different ways of reading and ways of writing through close readings of text and by critically analyzing texts through writing. Honing these foundational skills prepares students for future survey courses that dig into a more in-depth study of specific genres, styles, and time periods.
The Core Curriculum is a set of 10 courses that every student takes. The courses are woven through every major and get you to think deeply and broadly about what you’re studying. Think about it this way…
In your classes, you'll be introduced to the literary greats from a variety of genres and eras in courses like The British Novel and The Fiction of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. Reflect on the role of language in history, culture and faith through theoretical courses such as Shakespeare and Theory and History of Literary Criticism as you explore the human condition, brokenness and redemption through literature.
Upper year students can enrol in a Senior Writing Project course where they, under the supervision of a writing specialist, meet in a workshop format to practice different genres and styles.
Students can take a semester abroad at Oxford University in England with opportunities to visit theatrical productions, museums, and historical sites that provide an excellent context for material covered in classes. Anna Bailey '21 sought adventure and credits the Oxford Programme for refining her academic skills and interests. The Uganda Studies Program provides students with a unique opportunity to travel and do reflective, analytical, practical writing based on their experiences.
is the curriculum pastor at The Meeting House where she helps create kids' and youth curricula that's used by churches worldwide. She has recently published a book on raising disciples and making faith matter to kids.
English writing students Michelle Wright and Ben Wright channeled their pandemic experiences into a riveting anthology of creative non-fiction.
Despite her time being cut short due to COVID-19, fourth-year student Anna Bailey still experienced tremendous personal, academic and spiritual growth while studying...
From The Handmaid's Tale to Shakespeare's tragedies, Dr. Ben Faber considers the value of teaching literature.
Redeemer's Dr. Deborah Bowen explores in her public work and research how poetry can uniquely inspire us to care for the environment.
Doug Sikkema ‘06 and Dr. Deborah Bowen spearhead the Ross and Davis Mitchell Prize for Faith and Writing
Take that first step and experience Redeemer’s one-of-a-kind community like never before. Visiting campus — whether in-person or online — is the best way to figure out if Redeemer is the right fit for you.
Stories: how do they tell us about the world? Looking at short fiction and novels from a range of historical periods, in this course we will cultivate the ability to read with imaginative, intellectual, and spiritual discernment.
How do poems and plays express human experience? Looking at poetry and drama from a range of historical periods, in this course we will continue to cultivate the ability to read with imaginative, intellectual, and spiritual discernment.
A course on the art and craft of expository writing–writing that seeks to explore, explain, or argue a topic for a given audience. Students will practice various modes of nonfiction writing, from personal to persuasive essays, so as to learn the knowledge and skills needed to express themselves fluently and literately in written English, whether in print or digitally. Through a workshop format, students will learn seven traits of effective writing, study well-crafted essays on a range of intriguing topics, improve
grammatical correctness in their own writing, gain twenty-first century research skills, and become rhetorically savvy writers. This course is strongly recommended for students considering a career in teaching.
Energy, imagery, tension, patterns, insight, and revision: this course focuses on tools and strategies such as these, common to all forms of creative writing. Using a workshop format, this course develops students’ imaginative writing skills and cultivates productive writing habits. Students also explore a Christian understanding of the gift and practice of imagination as they experiment in different genres and modes–from fiction and poetry to creative nonfiction, drama, and graphic narratives.
This course focuses on the student’s unique voice and vision primarily expressed through the written word. Providing a forum for presenting works in progress, the course enables students to hear their words read, with feedback and discussion by the instructor and fellow playwrights. Students create scenes emphasizing dialogue and character, and participate in exercises related to narrative and the formation of dialogue.
An introduction to the central myths and stories that have shaped the literary and cultural imaginations of the Western world. Readings will engage paradigmatic narratives from Greek and Roman mythology.
This course explores the origins and development of Canadian literature by examining the forces that shaped it, the forms and genres that have characterized it, and the themes that have preoccupied it. As a study of Canadian literature from its beginning in the late eighteenth century to its presence as a contemporary literature in the 1970s, the course pays particular attention to the development of distinctive forms of prose and poetry and their relationship to the faith-perspectives of their practitioners.
This course surveys American writing from its origins before the United States existed as a nation until the middle of the twentieth century (WWII). Emphasizing the interrelationship between the literature and its historical background, the course includes the study of important prose and poetry from the colonial, revolutionary, Romantic, and Modern periods. Attention is given to this literature’s diverse cultural
strands, the contested space of exploration and colonization (including Puritanism), Enlightenment rationalism and individual liberty, transcendentalism, slavery and civil war, race relations, realism, naturalism, Imagism, and Modernism.
Studying literary works through an ecological lens will inform and nuance students’ perceptions of the relationship between culture and nature, the foundation of our current environmental sensibilities, and the role of human beings in the care and sustenance of the earth. Using regional and thematic approaches, the course considers the links between literary appreciation and social action.
A critical survey of classic and contemporary writing for children, exploring major themes and genres in the history of children’s literature.
A survey of the British Novel from its emergence as a literary form to the present day. The novel’s development will be traced through studies of representative writers such as Defoe, Austen, Dickens, Hardy, Woolf, Forster, Orwell, and Barnes.
An advanced course in essay writing, with a particular emphasis on argumentation. Students will refine their understanding of rhetorical theory and methods, cultivate ethical language practices, develop a mature style through attention to the sentence, and engage in an advanced study of grammar and editing.
An intermediate course in the writing of fiction, using a workshop format. Students will
gain experience in crafting fiction through attention to the full range of story elements
and to different narrative genres. Works by other writers are studied in the light of basic
principles of form.
A course in writing for the news media, focusing on print and internet, using a workshop format. Students will examine and discuss examples of professional journalism, try out the basic forms themselves, and give feedback on each other’s work.
A course in writing columns and opinion pieces for papers, magazines, web journals, and other news media, using a workshop format. Students will examine and discuss examples of professional column writing, practice such writing themselves, and give feedback on each other’s work. Students will learn advanced techniques of interviewing, researching and writing, and will receive some instruction on marketing a column to a periodical publication.
An intermediate course in the writing of poetry, using a workshop format. Students will gain experience in crafting poems through attention to a full range of poetic elements and to different genres. Poems by other writers will be studied in the light of basic principles of form. Through such writing and study, students will cultivate a Christian aesthetic of poetry.
A historical survey of some of the major ideas and practices in literary criticism, from Plato to the middle of the twentieth century.
This course explores the blossoming of Canadian literature from the 1970s into the twenty-first century by focusing on the local, regional, national, and global dimensions of this writing. While attending to different regions, the course addresses rich issues at the heart of this national literature: ethnicity, the environment, gender relations, indigenous life, immigrant experience, and religious faith within a postmodern world. While studying the formal conventions and cultural relationships that Canadian writers engage, students will also interact with local writers and visiting poets.
This course studies American poetry and fiction from 1945 to the present, emphasizing the interrelationship between the literature and the tumultuous period in which the United States became a global power. The course includes attention to a central aspect of American experience, race relations; to the unrest and experimentation of the time, represented, for example, by the Beat Movement; and to the contribution of Christian authors to the American canon (e.g. Flannery O’Connor, John Updike, and Marilynne Robinson).
A study of the development of the English language, from the Anglo-Saxon period to the present day.
A study of the poetry and prose of medieval England, with special attention to the works of Chaucer.
The literature of England from the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, including Shakespeare’s non-dramatic poetry and works by Sidney and Spenser.
The literature of the late Renaissance in England, from the reign of James I to the Restoration, including works by Wroth, Donne, Herbert, and Milton.
This course introduces students to the major writers who are associated with English Romanticism (1790-1830), including Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Keats, and Shelley.
Poetry, prose and drama from the Victorian period, including works by Tennyson, the Brownings, Dickens, George Eliot, Arnold, the Rossettis, Hopkins, and Wilde.
Literature from the first half of the twentieth century, including works by Hardy, Conrad, Yeats, Joyce, T.S. Eliot, Woolf, and Forster.
This course will investigate how British novels, short fiction and poetry are both marked by and speak into the challenging context of rapid change in British society since WW II. The course will include fiction by Golding, Greene, Carter, Byatt, Ishiguro, Barnes, M. Amis, and Z. Smith, and poetry by Auden, Larkin, Hughes, Heaney, G. Hill, and Boland.
A study of six representative comedies, histories, and tragedies by William Shakespeare from a number of critical perspectives.
An introduction to twentieth century literature in English from South Africa, West Indies, India, and East and West Africa, with some links to literature in contemporary Canada.
An advanced course in fiction, creative nonfiction, or poetry under the supervision of a writing specialist. Students will meet in workshop format and/or with the instructor in personal tutorials.
A consideration of the many different theoretical and critical approaches to literature and cultural studies that have proliferated since the middle of the twentieth century.
A study of a specific theme, genre, author or group of authors in Canadian literature.
A study of modern and contemporary Canadian short stories and novels, with a focus
on a specific genre, theme, cultural context or region.
A literary and theoretical exploration of the wide variety of styles and genres of poetry presently being written in Canada. As part of their coursework, students will attend readings in local venues, and will host the Canada Council poets at Redeemer.
A study of a specific theme, genre, author or group of authors in American literature.
A study of a specific theme, genre, author or group of authors in English literature.
An honours-level seminar on the lives and major works of these influential twentieth century Christian scholars.
The interpretation of Shakespeare on the stage and in the academy is shaped by both specific critical theories and general cultural practices. In this seminar course, students will test interpretations of Shakespeare in Formalist, Structuralist, Psychoanalytical, Marxist, New Historicist, Gender, Queer, and Postcolonial criticism.
This course is an intensive study of the major poetry and prose of John Milton (1608-1674), following the arc of Milton’s career against the background of the religious, political, and literary controversies of the seventeenth century. Together with shorter poems and selections of prose, students will be studying A Maske, Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, and Samson Agonistes.
A study of a specific theme, genre, author or group of authors in selected literature.
Twentieth century literature in English from countries that were previously British colonies, read in relation to canonical literature from Britain itself.
An off-campus practicum in writing for students in the Honours Writing Stream. Students specializing in creative writing, expository writing, creative non-fiction, poetry, drama, and journalism are all eligible to apply. For more information please consult the department.
For information on setting up an independent study see page 60 of the Academic Calendar.
The English Literature program does not have program-specific entry requirements.
Applicants from Ontario will be considered for general undergraduate admission based on the following requirements: