This course is intended as an introduction to pre- and early modern English literature. We will read a wide range of English poetry, drama and prose, exploring how these texts think about literary production. What did it mean to write in English? How do different authors construct and articulate their literary identities? How do we distinguish between the "Middle Ages" and the "Renaissance"? Assignments will include two short papers, a midterm exam, a final paper and reading quizzes as appropriate. Class will be conducted as a mix of lecture and discussion; regular class attendance and participation will figure into the final grade.