11:15a-12:30p TR (30) 3 cr.
This course will cover the major works of the Celtic and Germanic British Isles from its beginnings in the seventh century into the Renaissance and likely beyond a bit. From Ireland will come the earliest vernacular lyrics of all Europe, the Táin Bó Cuailgne, and one of the masterpieces of Buile[Mad] Shuibhne from the Middle Irish period in Seamus Heaney’s superb translation. From Wales will come the collection known as the Mabinogion and lyrics by the greatest medieval Welsh poet, Daffydd ap Gwilym. From England in the same period will come Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and selected works of Chaucer. The number of Renaissance texts will depend on how much time is available but should include works by writers such as Marlowe, Shakespeare, and Sidney, and if time permits works by Jacobean writers such as John Donne and others of the group of so-called metaphysical poets. We will thus have a sampling of a variety of genres—epic, lyric poetry, drama at the least—and learn the particular values of several different cultural types, including early tribal, feudal, and early modern. Because none of these cultural groups is likely to be familiar to enrollees in this course, a substantial amount of time will be spent on their structure and values, for only by understanding these cultural values can we make sense of their literature.
There will likely be two or three papers, and a midterm and a final. All of the English works will be found in volume 1 of Norton Anthology of English Literature—a convenience for English majors who are very likely to require this book for several of their other courses, including English E301 and E302.
Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol 1, 7th edition (Norton, 1999)
The Táin, Thomas Kinsella, translator (Oxford, 1970)
The Mabinogion, Jones & Jones, translators, (Dutton Everyman, 2001)
Daffydd ap Gwilym: His Poems, Gwyn Thomas, translator (U. Wales Press, 2001)
Sweeney Astray, Seamus Heaney, translator (Noonday, 1985)
Note: Many of these texts can be found, new and used, at Amazon.com, abebooks.com and other on-line sources.