This course introduces students to British literature from Chaucer to Milton. In addition to paying close attention to literary form, we will concentrate on relating medieval and early modern poetic, dramatic, and prose texts to the historical contexts in which they were written. We will read narrative poetry by Geoffrey Chaucer, Edmund Spenser, and John Milton; lyric poetry by John Donne and George Herbert; dramatic works by William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe; and prose works by Julian of Norwich, Margery Kempe, and Thomas More. Our study of these authors will be driven by questions concerning class and gender in medieval society, Renaissance humanism and its discontents, the allegorical mode and religious belief, and the intersection of the erotic and the sacred. Requirements: careful reading, active participation, short analytical papers, and a final exam.