This course is designed as an introduction to literary history from the height of Middle English literature to the literature of the seventeenth century. The course will move chronologically through the material, emphasizing how specific generic forms (such as epic, pastoral, tragedy, the sonnet) accentuate, reflect, and transform the social and cultural conditions in which they were produced. We will read narrative poetry by Chaucer, Skelton, Spenser, and Milton; dramatic works by Shakespeare, Jonson and Marlowe; and lyric poetry by Daniel, Donne, Wroth, Herbert, Lanyer, and Marvell. Prose works will include More's Utopia, Sidney's Defence of Poetry, excerpts from Bacon's essays and the works of Nashe and Dekker. And we will also consider generic hybrids like Elizabeth Cary's closet drama, The Tragedy of Mariam .