Course Content (Syllabus)
Course content/ syllabus Lit6-260
Session 1. General Introduction to the course.
The Middle Ages: From the Romans to the Normans; feudalism; class structure of feudal society; family & marriage; the role of the church; development of literature. Read: “Middle English Literature” and “Medieval English” (Norton Anthology, 9th ed., pp. 13-24); “Feudalism – a Definition essay,” “Conquests of Britain- from Romans to Normans,” and “Medieval England – Social Structure” (all three in e-learning). Recommended viewing: video by Johanna Alemann*
Session 2. Thomas of England, Le Roman de Tristran (Norton 9th); background on Romance, pp. 140-142, Norton 9th; “Romance and Courtly Love” (e-learning); Capellanus, The Art of Courtly Love, trans. John Parry, pp. 28-36 & 184-186 (e-learning).
Session 3. The nature of Middle English; introduction to Chaucer & “The General Prologue” to The Canterbury Tales (Norton 9th, pp. 19-25 & 241-244); Chaucer, “The Franklin’s Tale” (in Norton 6th ed, & in e-learning); Everyman (morality play), lines 1-204 (Norton 9th).
Session 4. The Early Modern Age: Renaissance Humanism, Protestant Reformation, Tudor Politics; court & courtiers; patriarchy. Read: Erasmus, “Woman in childbed” (in e-learning); An Homily Against Disobedience & Willful Rebellion (Norton 9th, pp. 693-695); An Homily of the State of Matrimony (in e-learning); Queen Elizabeth, “Tilbury speech” (Norton 9th). Also read: Introduction to the 16th Century in Norton 9th ed., pp. 531-544; Κροντήρη, κεφ. 11: “Ουμανισμός.”
Session 5. Renaissance courtly love & the Petrarchan sonnet. Read: summary of Book 4 of Castiglione’s Courtier (in e-learning); Sidney’s Astrophil and Stella (sonnets 1, 6, 9, 37, 41, 71); Spenser’s Amoretti (sonnets 1, 37, 64, 67, 74, 75).
Session 6. Shakespeare’s Sonnets, 18, 130, 138 (all in Norton). Elizabethan Theatre: Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet.
Session 7. Romeo and Juliet
Session 8. Romeo and Juliet
Session 9. The Early 17th Century: from female to male monarch, the strengthening of patriarchy; navigations & colonial aspirations, scientific discoveries, changes in mood and literary style; the “strong lines” of John Donne & his followers. Read: Donne, “The Flea,” and “The Good-Morrow”; Holy Sonnets 10 (“Death, be not proud”) and 14 (“Batter my heart”); Marvell, “To His Coy Mistress” (all in Norton 9th). Also read “Literature and Culture 1603-40” (Norton 9th, pp. 1349-1360).
Session 10. Genesis, from the King James Bible (in e-learning); Milton, Paradise Lost (Book I: lines 1-26; Book IV: lines 285-535, 610-775; & Book IX: lines 494-833; 990-1066); “The Revolutionary Era, 1640-1660” (Norton 9th, pp. 1360-1364).
Session 11. Milton, Paradise Lost (Book X: lines 720-1104, & Book XII: lines 466-649);
Session 12. The Late 17th & Early 18th Century: The restoration of the monarchy, libertinism, the change in taste and literary modes, the emphasis on Reason, international trade, satire. Read: Pepys, From the Diary, “The Deb Willet Affair” (Norton 9th, pp. 2265-2269); Wilmot, “The Imperfect Enjoyment” (Norton 9th, 2298-2300); Astell, from Some Reflections Upon Marriage (Norton 9th, pp. 2420-2424).
Session 13. Locke, from “An Essay Concerning Human Understanding” (Norton 9th, p. 2280—the first two paragraphs); Addison, “The Royal Exchange” (Norton 9th, pp. 2650-52); Dryden, from “A Discourse Concerning the Original and Progress of Satire” (Norton 9th, 2257-2258); Swift, “A Modest Proposal” (Norton 9th, pp. 2633-2639). Also read from the Norton introduction to the Restoration and the eighteenth century, pp. 2177-2180 and 2182-2188.
Important Note: The materials included in this syllabus can be found either in The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Ninth edition, or in the course’s e-learning class.
*Video by Johanna Alemann, Europe in Transition, available from: https://archive.org/details/EuropeInTransition
Recommended films to view:
Shakespeare in Love (1998), dir John Madden
Tristan and Isolde (2006), dir Reynolds, (produced by Ridley Scott)