English 20 introduces students to the three hundred years of English literature, language, and culture stretching from Chaucer through Spenser, Shakespeare, and Milton. This class will examine the rich and varied traditions of poetry and prose concerning erotic desire and sexuality, with a particular emphasis on how desire organizes and structures individual identity. Texts may include selections from Chaucer's _Canterbury Tales_, Shakespeare's _Antony and Cleopatra_ and _Twelfth Night_, Christopher Marlowe's _Hero and Leander_, Sidney's _Astrophil and Stella_, Spenser's _Amoretti_ and Books 3 and 4 of the _Faerie Queene_, John Donne's _Songs and Sonnets_, and Milton's _Paradise Lost_. Our discussion of these writers will also integrate selective samplings from the classical (Greek and Latin) and continental writerswhose ideas about Eros and personal identity influenced English writers, such as Sappho, Plato, Ovid, St. Augustine, Dante and Petrarch. This organization is designed to give students a sense of the roots and sources of the English literary tradition, but the class will also provide an excellent introduction to the humanities generally.
This course will teach the specific methods and skills of textual analysis and critical reasoning, developing students' abilities to write and research papers in the humanities. English 20 satisfies the Arts and Letters requirement, and is a requirement for English Majors.