E301 2079 CLOPPER (Note instructor change)
Literatures in English to 1600

11:15a-12:30p TR (70) 3 cr. (Note time change)


We will read texts from the eighth century to about 1600 in roughly chronological order; however, the course will not attempt to be a survey in the sense that it tries to “cover” the important works of this large expanse. Rather, we will read representative texts within units that focus on issues of importance. For example, we will begin with a unit on medieval monasticism and the Old English texts that that institution preserved. In addition to reading these texts, we will ask such questions as: why would monks preserve a literature that is secular? How might they have read such texts? How did they appropriate such texts? Other units will center on Chaucer and the emergence of a national literature, the appropriation of medieval and classical works in the Renaissance as a way of forging a new English identity, and stage-playing as a subversive activity.

There will be one exam during the semester and a comprehensive final. There will be a mixture of short and long essays and various kinds of exercises. The required texts are the Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol. 1 (7th ed.), and a packet of supplementary materials.