English | Elizabethan Poetry
L309 | 28030 | Joan Pong Linton


L309 ELIZABETHAN POETRY
Joan Pong Linton

28030 - 2:30p-3:45p TR (30 students) 3 cr., A&H

England under Elizabeth I was a time of tremendous literary ferment,
producing some of the best poetry, prose, and drama in English in
diverse genres. With a woman at the head of a patriarchal social
order, and 45 years of relative peace highlighted by victory over
the invading Spanish Armada, these literary productions reflected
and reflected on, challenged and redefined the intellectual,
religious, socio-economic, and political struggles and developments
of their time. Readings will be largely focused on sixteenth-century
texts, some later responses, and some classical continental sources.
Class discussions will attend to a number of topics, including
courtly and Ovidian languages of desire; religious devotion and
dissent; the writing of the city and country; the celebration and
discontents of the English nation and empire; the self-authorizing
(male) writer in the print market; the writings of women with and
against the grain of an emerging “female literature”; the scientific
and ecological imagination. Individual student presentations will
provide material essential to a full understanding of the period,
such as the legacy of Christian humanism, the interconnected
discourses of domesticity, nationhood, and colonialism, the
literature of degree (social class), the politics of the
reformations in England, state-sponsored education and the arts of
government, etc. In considering literature as lenses on culture,
this course invites students to reflect on the ways Elizabethan
literature can provide a critically distancing perspective on our
present institutions and our ways of knowing, doing, and living in
the world today.

Readings will be drawn from: English Sixteenth-Century Verse: An
Anthology, ed., Richard Sylvester (Norton, 1984); Edmund Spenser's
Poetry, ed. Hugh McLean (Norton Critical Editions);Marlowe, Doctor
Faustus (Norton Critical Edition, 2004);  A Midsummer Night’s Dream
(Pelican, 2000), The Oxford Shakespeare: The Complete Sonnets and
Poems ed., Colin Burrow (2008); An Anthology of Elizabethan Prose
Fiction, (Oxford World's Classics, 2009). A number of readings and
criticism will be available from OnCourse.

In addition to writing two short papers and a comprehensive final
exam, students will also have the opportunity to work in pairs to
present on a topic (15 minutes). There will be several interpretive
exercises, both in-class and take-home. These exercises, which will
be shared in class and graded afterwards, are designed to help
sharpen critical skills, promote discussion of individual texts, and
prepare for the exam.