An introductory survey of English writing between Chaucer and Milton, this course examines major works of poetry, drama, prose fiction, and critical prose. It asks, in particular, what it means to refer to "English literature" in respect of a period that reserved the term "literature" to the Greek and Roman classics. In what circumstances did the idea of a native literary tradition first arise in England? What did the choice to write in English mean? Students should expect that class meetings will take the form of discussions, rather than lectures, and that class participation will therefore weigh heavily in the final evaluation. There will also be two short papers, a mid-term and a final exam, and reading quizzes as necessary.