This course will introduce you to some of the most exciting and vital issues and texts-- historical, cultural and literary-- of Renaissance England. We will read a variety of men and women, some well known, others not, who will take us into pre-modern worlds that are significantly different from our own, and yet help us understand our own modernity. Readings will range from Shakespeare's plays and love poetry of the period to the speeches of Queen Elizabeth I, Columbus's letter announcing the 'discovery' of America, and Edmund Spenser's controversial view of Ireland.
Through these various texts, we will explore how various ideas and practices changed during the Renaissance, particularly those about the human subject, God, gender relations, the family, love, authority, the nation and racial difference. And most importantly, we will see how literary texts contribute to these meanings in their own distinctive ways.
Students will be graded on the basis of a two short class presentations, a mid-term and a final paper.
Fulfills Sector 2, Sector 3 of the English Standard Major.