The aim of this course is to offer opportunities for specialised study of a wide range of English Renaissance poetry from the early Tudor period to the mid seventeenth century. The structure of the course will allow students to focus
attention on individual authors, including Wyatt, Sidney, Spenser, Shakespeare (as non-dramatic poet), Donne, Jonson, and Milton, as well as different literary forms and genres (e.g., the sonnet, satire, complaint, epic, erotic epyllion, elegy)and to consider larger historical issues of cultural and political significance, such as: the concepts of renaissance and humanism; the roles of religion in literature society; changing perceptions of femininity; the construction of a national mythology in poetry; and the development of the English language as a worthy medium for noble ideas and their eloquent expression. Among the forms or genres which recur and mutate throughout the period are the sonnet and the metrical psalm, both of which reflect a new concern with introspective themes. Among the topics which recur are ideas of the poetic personality and the development of a self-consciously English tradition of poetry, both of which are evident in a series of poets' elegies written throughout the period for contemporary poets (e.g., Surrey's for Wyatt, Spenser's and Ralegh's and the Countess of Pembroke's for Sidney, Jonson's for Shakespeare, and Milton's Lycidas). Assessment will be by three essays on suggested topics or the student's choice of topic where appropriate. In addition, each student will be expected to make two brief, oral presentations to the seminar on his/her choice of texts. Students' contributions to seminar discussion are of crucial importance.
Note: Prof. Rivkah Zim is a visiting professor from King's College of the University of London. Students who take this course, *and* any medieval literature course, may use the *two* in place of the usual English 201 requirement.