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Literature Before 1660

ENGL 020.301
instructor(s):
fulfills requirements:
Sector 3: Early Literature to 1660 of the Standard Major

This survey course will introduce students to a range of English literary works of the medieval and early modern periods. Our discussions will be guided by development of the basic skills of critical literary analysis, as well as by the questions these texts raise about their – and our – essential cultural concerns. We will thus ask at each turn how a text’s formal features serve to construct – or compete with – its representations of gender, sexuality, race, class, religion, and nation. Our readings, organized by genre, will include the romance narratives of Marie de France, Geoffrey Chaucer, and Edmund Spenser; the drama of the medieval Corpus Christi cycle and Shakespeare’s theatre; the short lyric poems of Thomas Wyatt, Philip Sidney, John Donne, and Mary Wroth; the spiritual autobiographies of Margery Kempe and Thomas Browne; and John Milton’s great Christian epic. Work for the course, in addition to these readings, will include several short writing assignments, a presentation, and a midterm and final exam.