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 Langland, Chaucer, Spenser, and Milton; lyric poetry by Sidney, Wroth, Donne, and Herbert; dramatic works by Shakespeare and Marlowe; and prose works by Kempe, More, and Bacon. Our study of these authors will be driven by questions concerning the role of utopian thought in literary endeavor, the interrelation of economics and religion, the social construction of gender and desire, and the rise of British imperialism. Requirements: careful reading, regular attendance, active participation, short analytical papers, and a final exam.