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Family Matters

ENGL 430.920
instructor(s):
TR 5-8:10

What influences do family relationships have, not only on daiy life, but also on issues of identity, behavior and responsibility? Is the "dysfunctional family" a modern creation? This course will focus on themes of domestic life in early modern England. We will look at literary and non-literary texts written in the 16th and 17th centuries to try to understand family life in this crucial and transitional period of English social history. Specifically, we will study primary source materials such as laws, legal cases, homilies, conduct books, and personal diaries concerning such matters as chastity, betrothal, marriage, children, a wife or husband's "duties," domestic abuse, adultery, and bastardy. Among the literary figures we will be reading are Shakespeare, Middleton, Ford, and Wychereley.