English | Literatures in English to 1600
E301 | 2009 | Clopper
11:15p-12:30p TR (30) 3 cr.
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
There will be two exams 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 (6th ed.), and a packet of supplementary materials.