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Major British Writers 1350-1660

ENGL 020.900
instructor(s):
T 5:30-8:30

In this course, we will read works by some of the authors you'd expect to encounter in a survey class on medieval and Renaissance literature, including Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, and Milton, and some with whom you are probably less familiar, like Langland and Elizabeth Cary. The works we will read belong to a wide variety of genres, from allegorical poetry to Christian mysticism, and we'll look at their treatment of similarly diverse social, historical, and gender-related issues. Our primary focus, however, will be on the works' situation in and commentary on various intellectual trends that appeared in the fourteenth through sixteenth centuries. Beyond discussing medieval and Renaissance education in general, we'll consider the works' attitudes toward knowledge and learning, toward their classical literary heritage, and toward various religious and philosophical debates that were active in these centuries. We will also consider the value and history of the terms "medieval" and "Renaissance," and discuss what it meant to be an author and write a text in these periods. Requirements will include two papers, fulfillment of the reading assignments, and regular class attendance and participation.