The Comic Vision

Language, Literature & Performing Arts
Course Code
ENGL 2315
Semester Length
15 weeks
Max Class Size
Method Of Instruction
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
This course offers a wide-ranging study of literary works in the comic tradition. Students will read from a variety of genres—fiction, drama, poetry, essays, and cartoons—and view examples from T.V., film, and the Internet.
Course Content

All second-year English literature courses share the following features:

  • Students are presumed to be proficient in the writing of critical essays on literary subjects.
  • Students are required to read in the course subject area beyond the texts assigned by the instructor or discussed in class.
  • Students are required to incorporate into their oral and written coursework secondary source materials. These may include autobiographical or biographical material; literary criticism or theory; unassigned texts by the author under study; relevant cultural or intellectual history; or other arts, such as music, film, or fine arts.
  • Readings and topics will vary with each instructor’s presentation of a course; however, all course materials are consistent with the objectives/outcomes stated above (in section “M”).

In English 2315, students will examine:

  1. what makes a literary text (or other modes such as jokes, cartoons, T.V. shows, or film) humorous;
  2. ways in which comedy is shaped by its historical and cultural contexts, and, conversely, the transcultural nature of some comic elements which seem unaffected by time, place, or language;
  3. ways in which comic writing is used to address social, psychological, political, and ethical questions.
Methods Of Instruction

Some or all of the following methods will be used:

  • Lecture/discussion;
  • Group work;
  • Peer editing;
  • Instructor feedback on students’ work; and
  • Individual consultation.
Means of Assessment
  1. A minimum of two formal academic essays, with a combined value of at least 40% of the course grade.
  2. A minimum of 80% of the course grade will be based on writing assignments (essays, essay-based exams, journals, paragraphs); a maximum of 20% of the course grade may be based on informal writing (quizzes, short answer tests); oral reports/presentations; participation/preparation grades; and/or other non writing-intensive assignments.
  3. A minimum of 15% of the course grade will be based on in-class writing (essay or exam).
Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of any second-year English literature course, the student should 

  1. be able to use with increased proficiency the skills of literary analysis taught in first-year English courses;
  2. be able to recognize the significance of the literary and non-literary or cultural context of a work being studied, such as the biographical, historical, mythological or philosophical context;
  3. be able to read critically and use in essays secondary sources, such as criticism and other texts by the same author, as an aid to comprehending the primary text(s) being studied;
  4. be able to read critically and independently works or aspects of works not discussed in class; and
  5. be able to formulate a thesis on a given subject in one or more specific works, and to develop this thesis using suitable textual evidence.

Upon completion of English 2315, the student should also have deepened her/his understanding of

  1. writers’ use of language and structure to create comic effects;
  2. influences of cultural and historical contexts in shaping comic writing;
  3. the differences between comedy and tragedy;
  4. the differences between “high” and “low” comedy;
  5. the characteristics of various sub-genres within the comic tradition, such as social satire, parody, black humour, and romantic comedy;
  6. critical theories of humour and comedy.
Textbook Materials

Textbooks and Materials to be Purchased by Students:

Texts will vary depending upon the instructor, and may include shorter readings compiled in custom course packs. 

Two sample reading lists follow:

Sample List A: 

  • Aristophanes,  Lysistrata
  • Selections from Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales
  • Shakespeare,   As You Like It
  • Jane Austen,  Pride and Prejudice
  • Mark Twain,  The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  • Oscar Wilde,  The Importance of Being Earnest
  • Samuel Beckett,  Waiting for Godot

Sample List B:

  • Regina Barreca, The Penguin Book of Women’s Humor
  • Alan Ayckbourn, Table Manners (part of The Norman Conquests trilogy)
  • Drew Hayden Taylor, The Buz’Gem Blues
  • Thomas King, One Good Story, That One
  • Nora Ephron,  Heartburn
  • Jonathan Franzen,  The Corrections
  • Sarah Silverman,  The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee



Any TWO university-transfer first-year English literature courses, or ONE university-transfer first-year English literature course and ONE university-transfer first-year Creative Writing or English writing course.


No corequisite courses.


No equivalent courses.

Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

Institution Transfer Details Effective Dates
Emily Carr University of Art & Design (EC) EC ENGL 200 lev (3) 2013/09/01 to -
Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) FDU ENGL 2XXX (3) 2007/09/01 to -
Langara College (LANG) LANG ENGL 2237 (3) 2007/05/01 to -
Simon Fraser University (SFU) SFU ENGL 2XX (3) 2004/09/01 to -
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) TRU ENGL 2XX (3) 2004/09/01 to 2010/08/31
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) TRU ENGL 2XXX (3) 2010/09/01 to -
Trinity Western University (TWU) TWU ENGL 2XX (3) 2004/09/01 to -
University of British Columbia - Okanagan (UBCO) UBCO ENGL 215 (3) 2005/05/01 to -
University of British Columbia - Vancouver (UBCV) UBCV ENGL 2nd (3) 2004/09/01 to -
University of Northern BC (UNBC) UNBC ENGL 2XX (3) 2004/09/01 to -
University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) UFV ENGL 1XX (3) 2004/09/01 to -
University of Victoria (UVIC) UVIC ENGL 230 (1.5) 2015/05/01 to -
University of Victoria (UVIC) UVIC ENGL 250 (1.5) 2004/09/01 to 2015/04/30
Vancouver Island University (VIU) VIU ENGL 209 (3) 2004/09/01 to 2012/12/31
Vancouver Island University (VIU) VIU ENGL 230 (3) 2016/09/01 to -
Vancouver Island University (VIU) VIU ENGL 2nd (3) 2013/01/01 to 2016/08/31

Course Offerings

Fall 2021

There aren't any scheduled upcoming offerings for this course.