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Department of English Publications


Sentimental Readers: The Rise, Fall and Revival of a Disparaged Rhetoric. Faye Halpern (University of Iowa Press: 2013).

How could novels like Uncle Tom’s Cabin change the hearts and minds of thousands of mid-nineteenth-century readers, yet make so many modern readers cringe at their over-the-top, tear-filled scenes? In her new book, Sentimental Readers: The Rise, Fall and Revival of a Disparaged Rhetoric, Faye Halpern explains why sentimental rhetoric was so compelling to readers of that earlier era, why its popularity waned in the latter part of the nineteenth century, and why today it is generally characterized as overly emotional and artificial. But she also does more: she demonstrates that this now despised rhetoric remains relevant to contemporary writing teachers and literary scholars.



Shakespeare Beyond English: A Global Experiment. Susan Bennett and Christine Carson, eds. (Cambridge University Press: 2013). 

A collection of more than 40 articles on last year’s Globe-to-Globe Festival. Part of London’s 2012 Cultural Olympiad, the Festival offered an unprecedented opportunity to see all of Shakespeare’s plays performed in a six-week period and in languages other than English. This book is the only complete critical record of that event. Cambridge University Press and Shakespeare’s Globe co-hosted a launch for Shakespeare Beyond English and its editors in the Upper Foyer of the theatre on August 27th, 2013.



Creative Writing Research Group Publications 


Cross Cultural Transfers: The 85 Project, by Robert Majzels and Claire Huot (Toronto: Moveable, Inc., 2013)

The “85” project is a poetic multi-media investigation into the reception of the Chinese language and culture into English. The operation involves several transfers: from the original Chinese text into a literal character-for-word translation, then into 85 English letters, and into a visual poem. The visual poem is subsequently read aloud, and that reading is videotaped. Readers struggle to assemble words and phrases, creating if only for a moment the strange experience of speaking another culture. Concomitantly, the potential of reading English is unlocked by the permutation of letters. The reader of an 85 becomes a writer who manipulates language in its materiality.

The theoretical background for this defamiliarization of language can be found in a Western philosophical tradition dating back at least to the Rabbinical thinkers of the Talmudic era. Coincidentally, it is also akin to the morpho-syllabic process of constructing meanings with shifting semantic kernels of the Chinese language. Read more...


Monoceros by Suzette Mayr

Monoceros, a novel by Suzette Mayr (Toronto: Coach House Books, 2011)

A seventeen-year-old boy, bullied and heartbroken, hangs himself. And although he felt terribly alone, his suicide changes everyone around him.

His parents are devastated. His secret boyfriend’s girlfriend is relieved.

His unicorn- and virginity-obsessed classmate, Faraday, is shattered; she wishes she had made friends with him that time she sold him an Iced Cappuccino at Tim Hortons. His English teacher, mid-divorce and mid-menopause, wishes she could remember the dead student’s name, that she could care more about her students than her ex’s new girlfriend. Who happens to be her cousin. The school guidance counsellor, Walter, feels guilty – maybe he should have made an effort when the kid asked for help.

Monoceros is a masterpiece of the tragicomic; by exploring the effects of a suicide on characters outside the immediate circle, Mayr offers a dazzlingly original look at the ripple effects – both poignant and funny – of a tragedy. A tender, bold work.

How to Write by Derek Beaulieu

How to Write, by Derek Beaulieu (Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2010)

How to Write is an instruction manual for the demise of ownership. A multitudinous dialogue of writers and subjects, words and contexts, it unleashes a cacophony of voices where authors don’t own their words, they merely rent them from other authors. Containing ten pieces of conceptual prose ranging from the purely appropriated through the entirely recomposed, and covering a range of texts from the anonymous to the famous, it includes samplings from, among many others: Lawrence Sterne; Agatha Christie; Bob Kane; Roy Lichtenstein; and every piece of text within one block of the author’s home. Its title story is an exhaustive record of every incidence of the words “write” or “writes” in forty different English-language texts picked aesthetically to represent a disparate number of genres. 

Bitter Medicine: A Graphic Memoir of Mental Illness by Clem Martini and Oliver Martini


Bitter Medicine: A Graphic Memoir of Mental Illness, by Clem Martini and Olivier Martini (Alberta: Broadview Press, 2010)

In 1976, Ben Martini was diagnosed with schizophrenia. A decade later, his brother Olivier was told he had the same disease. For the past thirty years the Martini family has struggled to comprehend and cope with a devastating illness, frustrated by a health care system lacking in resources and empathy, the imperfect science of medication, and the strain of mental illness on familial relationships.

Throughout it all, Olivier, an accomplished visual artist, drew. His sketches, comic strips, and portraits document his experience with, and capture the essence of, this all too frequently misunderstood disease. In Bitter Medicine, Olivier’s poignant graphic narrative runs alongside and communicates with a written account of the past three decades by his younger brother, award-winning author and playwright Clem Martini. The result is a layered family memoir that faces head-on the stigma attached to mental illness.

Shot through with wry humour and unapologetic in its politics, Bitter Medicine is the story of the Martini family, a polemical and poetic portrait of illness, and a vital and timely call for action.

Woodstock Rising, a novel by Tom Wayman (Toronto: Dundurn, 2009) 

Activist young people are making major societal changes this year in Egypt and Tunisia. Woodstock Rising looks back at a time when student activists in North America were fighting for social change.  Set mainly in southern California, and braiding actual events with fictitious ones, Woodstock Rising follows a Canadian grad student through the tumultuous fall, winter and spring of 1969-1970 as he struggles to end the Vietnam War, end the draft, battle racism and imperialism, and get a date.


  Additional recent publications to be added soon...