USQ LogoCourse specification
The current and official versions of the course specifications are available on the web at //
Please consult the web for updates that may occur during the year.

ENL3004 The Literary Canon: How to Read Great Books

Semester 2, 2012 External Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Arts
School or Department : School of Humanities and Communication

Contents on this page


Examiner: Brian Musgrove
Moderator: Lawrence Johnson


Pre-requisite: 3 courses of Literature

Other requisites

Students will require access to e-mail and have internet access to UConnect for this course.
This course should be completed during the student's last year in the program.


This course provides students with a range of strategies for reading 'great books'. A number of celebrated English literary texts will be examined in terms of their sophistication and value, framed within the context of historical debates about the cultural importance of Classic Literature and the social and political functions of an English literary canon.


On successful completion of this course students should be able to:

  1. demonstrate advanced academic and professional literacy by describing the formal characteristics of great books and critically applying this knowledge using specific examples drawn from different periods of literary history;
  2. critically evaluate the cultural importance of Classic Literature within the context of the formation of the English literary canon, with reference to a number of celebrated English literary texts;
  3. employ advanced ethical, research, and enquiry skills by researching, devising and expressing a complex argument which addresses objectives 1 and 2;
  4. compose pieces of writing that adhere precisely to disciplinary conventions, specifically tailored to developing these complex arguments in cogent fashion;
  5. (ONC mode only): consistently provide evidence of preparation through contributions to tutorial discussions using appropriate oral modes.


Description Weighting(%)
1. What is a Classic? How to Read Great Books 8.00
2. The Canon: Definitions, Formation and Problems 8.00
3. A Cradle of Western Culture: Shakespeare's 'Hamlet' 14.00
4. Of the Devil's Party: Milton's 'Paradise Lost' 14.00
5. No Man is an Island: Defoe's 'Robinson Crusoe' 14.00
6. Class and Cultivation: Austen's 'Mansfield Park' 14.00
7. The Midas touch: Eliot's 'Silas Marner' 14.00
8. A Literary Self: Joyce's 'Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man' 14.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • Austen, J 1998, Mansfield park, Norton, New York.
    (Norton Critical Edition, edited by Johnson, Claudia.)
  • Defoe, D 1993, Robinson Crusoe, 2nd edn, Norton, New York.
    (Norton Critical Edition, edited by Shinagel, Michael.)
  • Eliot, G 2008, Silas Marner, the weaver of Raveloe, Oxford University Press, New York.
  • Joyce, J 2008, Portrait of the artist as a young man, Oxford University Press, New York.
  • Milton, J 2004, Paradise lost, Norton, New York.
    (Norton Critical Edition, edited by Teskey, Gordon.)
  • Shakespeare, W 2010, Hamlet, 3rd edn, Norton.
    (Norton Ctitical Edition, edited by Robert S. Miola.)

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Bloom, H 1994, The western canon: the books and school of the ages, Harcourt Brace, New York.
  • Bristol, M 1996, Big-time Shakespeare, Routledge, London.
  • Brown, C 1995, John Milton, St Martin's Press, New York.
  • Court, FE 1992, Institutionalising English literature: the culture and politics of literary study, 1750-1900, Stanford University Press, Stanford, Calif.
  • Dodd, VA 1990, George Eliot: an intellectual life, Macmillan, Basingstoke.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Examinations 2.00
Lectures 14.00
Private Study 123.00
Seminars 28.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
ASSIGNMENT (2000 WORDS) 100 35 24 Aug 2012
RESEARCH ESSAY (2500 WORDS) 100 40 12 Oct 2012
EXAMINATION (2 HOURS) 100 25 End S2 (see note 1)

  1. Students will be advised of the official exam date after the timetable has been finalised.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    There are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students? responsibility to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration. Students must attend and complete the requirements of the Workplace Health and Safety training program for this course where required.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    If students submit assignments after the due date without (prior) approval of the examiner then a penalty of 5% of the total marks gained by the student for the assignment may apply for each working day late up to ten working days at which time a mark of zero may be recorded.

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    Candidates are allowed to bring only writing and drawing instruments into the Closed examination.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Any Deferred or Supplementary examinations for this course will be held during the next examination period.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. The due date for an assignment is the date by which a student must despatch the assignment to the USQ. The onus is on the student to provide proof of the despatch date, if requested by the Examiner.

  2. Students must retain a copy of each item submitted for assessment. This must be despatched to USQ within 24 hours if required by the Examiner.

  3. In accordance with University Policy, the Examiner may grant an extension of the due date of an assignment in extenuating circumstances.

  4. If electronic submission of assessments is specified for the course, students will be notified of this in the course Introductory Book and on the USQ Study Desk. All required electronic submission must be made through the Assignment Drop Box located on the USQ Study Desk for the course, unless directed otherwise by the examiner of the course. The due date for an electronically submitted assessment is the date by which a student must electronically submit the assignment. The assignment files must be submitted by 11.55pm on the due date using USQ time (as displayed on the clock on the course home page; that is, Australian Eastern Standard Time).

  5. If the method of assessment submission is by written, typed or printed paper-based media students should (i) submit to the Faculty Office for students enrolled in the course in the on-campus mode, or (ii) mail to the USQ for students enrolled in the course in the external mode. The due date for the assessment is the date by which a student must (i) submit the assessment for students enrolled in the on-campus mode, or (ii) mail the assessment for students enrolled in the external mode.

  6. The Faculty will NOT normally accept submission of assessments by facsimile or email.

  7. Students who do not have regular access to postal services for the submission of paper-based assessments, or regular access to Internet services for electronic submission, or are otherwise disadvantaged by these regulations may be given special consideration. They should contact the examiner of the course to negotiate such special arrangements prior to the submission date.

  8. Students who have undertaken all of the required assessments in a course but who have failed to meet some of the specified objectives of a course within the normally prescribed time may be awarded one of the temporary grades: IM (Incomplete - Make up), IS (Incomplete - Supplementary Examination) or ISM (Incomplete -Supplementary Examination and Make up). A temporary grade will only be awarded when, in the opinion of the examiner, a student will be able to achieve the remaining objectives of the course after a period of non directed personal study.

  9. Students who, for medical, family/personal, or employment-related reasons, are unable to complete an assignment or to sit for an examination at the scheduled time may apply to defer an assessment in a course. Such a request must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation. One of the following temporary grades may be awarded IDS (Incomplete - Deferred Examination; IDM (Incomplete Deferred Make-up); IDB (Incomplete - Both Deferred Examination and Deferred Make-up).

  10. Students may be assigned an "Incomplete" grade to signify that all the requirements of the course have not yet been met. Students who are graded "I" can pass the course by successfully completing such additional work as prescribed by the examiner by a given date. Students who have been awarded an IM, ISM, IDM or IDB grade must access information regarding further work to be completed, in the Student Centre of U Connect. The Grades Page in the Student Centre contains information about further work to be completed. Students who have not completed the additional work to the satisfaction of the examiner by the given date will receive the appropriate Failing grade.

Other requirements

  1. Students can expect that questions in assessment items in this course may draw upon knowledge and skills that they can reasonably be expected to have acquired before enrolling in the course. This includes knowledge contained in pre-requisite courses and appropriate communication, information literacy, analytical, critical thinking, problem solving or numeracy skills. Students who do not possess such knowledge and skills should not expect to achieve the same grades as those students who do possess them.