This course will explore the rhetoric and the social positioning of several early modern English prose genres, ranging from aristocratic romances to how-to books. We will review the traditional critical history, but we will also focus on two important (and related) strategies of early modern English prose. We will consider the slipperiness of any truth claim -- whether about God, the material world, or the self -- and the boundary between fact and fiction. We will also look at how prose functioned to generate, repress, and satisfy a reader's manifold desires. Texts will include: selections from Philip Sidney's The New Arcadia and The Defense of Poesy; selections from John Florio's translation of Montaigne's Essais; selections from John Foxe, Acts and Monuments; Thomas Nashe, The Unfortunate Traveller; selections from Bacon's Essays; Hugh Platt's Jewell House of Art and Learning; polemical exchange between Joseph Swetnam and Rachel Speght; selections from John Lyly, Euphues: The Anatomy of Wit; Thomas Browne's Garden of Cyrus; John Donne, selections from Devotions upon Emergent Occasions.
Fulfills 1 & 5 requirements.