ENGL 443, Introduction to the English Renaissance – Premodern Worlds
In 1492 Christopher Columbus, and his European shipmates, arrived on the shores of the Americas. 1492 also often marks the divide between the medieval era and the Renaissance as distinct literary and historical periods. However, medieval and Renaissance authors alike depicted the known world, documented global exploration, and imagined possible places in poetry, prose, and plays. In this course we will read accounts of real and imaginary places described in English literature from the premodern era (the medieval and Renaissance periods) by authors such as Marie de France, John Mandeville, Thomas More, Francis Bacon, Henry Neville, Margaret Cavendish, and John Milton. This course is designed to deepen students’ knowledge of English literature and literary criticism. Our reading will necessarily be selective, rather than comprehensive, as we engage with texts from approximately 700 years of literary history. Class discussions and assignments will address histories of race and colonialism, issues of gender and authorship, and utopian studies that emerge from our primary readings and secondary scholarship. Building on this work, all students will complete a final research project.
ENGL 221/221W, Survey of British Literature to 1798
(Fall 2015, Fall 2016)
In this course we will explore the rich and varied British literature from the medieval and early modern eras. Our reading will necessarily be selective, rather than comprehensive, as we engage with texts from a thousand years of literary history. We will read works of epic poetry, romance, drama, and lyric poetry, paying special attention innovations in literary form, vernacular language, and textual transmission. Students of all levels are welcome and no prior experience is required or assumed. The course is designed to develop a critical vocabulary for discussing the formal structures and historical contexts of medieval and early modern literary works and to cultivate facility in analyzing and writing about literature. In addition, students enrolled in the W (Writing Across the Curriculum) section of this course will work on revision and peer review. Readings will include Marie de France’s Lanval, selections from Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, John Milton’s Paradise Lost, Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko, Shakespeare’s Othello, and a wide selection of lyric poetry.
ENGL 202B, Writing in the Humanities
(Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017)
This course is designed for students who will major in the study of the humanities—art, integrative arts, history, literature and languages, women’s studies, African American, Latino, or Asian studies, media and film studies, journalism, speech communication, and other related majors—and who are planning for occupations such as artists, writers, historians, museum curators, journalists, teachers, or lawyers. This course allows students to focus on issues in their field and develop research and writing skills necessary for their upper-level courses and career. While our required readings in philosophy and literature propose utopian and dystopian visions of society, these texts will inspire debate and offer material for our writing activities from short papers and cover letters to resumes and research papers.
With these goals in mind, the course seeks to have students:
- Consider audience, tone, and voice.
- Study rhetorical situations and critical thinking in selected texts and digest this information in summary or paraphrase.
- Distinguish between evidence and opinion.
- Develop claims and arguments.
- Become more familiar with the journals, professional literature, and databases in their fields.
- Improve the skills necessary for effective research in the humanities and then successfully employ them in papers.
ENGL 440, Studies in Shakespeare
(Fall 2015, Spring 2017)
This course is designed to deepen students’ knowledge of Shakespeare’s works through the study of the genres in which he wrote. Reading Shakespeare’s comedies, histories, and tragedies, we will explore Shakespeare’s genres as they developed over the course of his career. As we read Shakespeare’s plays, we will also consider how they engage with social and political issues of Shakespeare’s time as well as our own. Class discussions and assignments will address issues of performance, textual history, and literary criticism. Building on this work, all students will complete a final research project. Readings may include selected sonnets, Twelfth Night, Measure for Measure, Richard II, 1 Henry IV, Macbeth, and Antony and Cleopatra.
ENGL 200, Introduction to Critical Reading
This course provides an introduction to literary theory and criticism. We will focus our analysis on Shakespeare’s Sonnets and engage with this work from a variety of critical and theoretical perspectives. Students will learn about the history of literary theory and criticism, and develop their own critical reading and writing skills. We will explore multiple frameworks for the study of literary texts that students may choose to draw on in advanced courses.
ENGL 445, Shakespeare’s Contemporaries
This course is designed to deepen students’ knowledge of early modern English drama through the study of plays by Christopher Marlowe, Ben Jonson, John Webster, John Ford, Thomas Dekker, Francis Beaumont, and John Fletcher. Reading comedies, histories, and tragedies by these playwrights, we will explore the rich theatrical tradition of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. As we read these plays, we will also consider how they engage with social and political issues of their time as well as our own. Class discussions and assignments will address issues of performance, textual history, and literary criticism. Building on this work, all students will complete a final research project.
ENGL 129, Shakespeare
This course is designed to introduce students to Shakespeare and his world. Students of all levels are welcome and no prior experience is required or assumed. We will read six of Shakespeare’s plays, including some of his most celebrated. As we read these plays, we will analyze their genre, dramatic structure, and language as well as how they engage with social and political issues of Shakespeare’s time and our own. We will specifically address issues of performance, film adaptation, and publication history through interactive assignments. The course is designed to develop a critical vocabulary for discussing the formal structures and historical contexts of Shakespeare’s plays and cultivate facility in reading and writing about Shakespeare’s works.