English 10A-4 - Fall, 2014

Literatures in English I: to 1700

Class Information

Instructor: Petrosillo, Sara
CRN: 42372
Time: TR 3:10-4:30
Location: 105 Olson


    The aim of this course is prepare you for advanced study in English literature. Our focus will be literature written in English before 1700, a period of fascinating historical, political, social, and linguistic transformation. We will read texts from a range of authors and genres that reflect, address, and helped produce these changes. Topics we will consider include: the development of both the English language and literary genres; material culture and the history of the book; gender and sexuality; the status of the monarchy during periods of political growth and unrest; and women’s participation in the literary world. Of paramount importance will be students’ development of skills in reading, discussing, and writing about the literature. Specifically, we will work on three kinds of skills: (1) seeing a big picture by spanning time and surveying the globe to track the emergence, development, and dissemination of the English language and its literatures; (2) focusing carefully on key literary texts and some strategies for interpreting them, or “close reading,” of poetry, prose, and drama; and (3) positioning your interpretation of a literary text in relation to other scholarship on it.

    Required texts:
    Course Reader (available at Classical Notes in the MU and on Smartsite in electronic form)
    As You Like It, Norton Critical Edition, Ed. Leah Marcus, ISBN 9780393927627 (available at bookstore)
    The Wife of Bath, Case Studies in Contemporary Criticism, Ed. Peter Beidler, ISBN 9780312111281 (available at bookstore)


    Anglo-Saxon poems and riddles
    Middle English lyrics
    Lais, Marie de France
    The Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale, Geoffrey Chaucer
    Excerpts from A Revelation of Love, Julian of Norwich
    Excerpts from the Book of Margery Kempe
    The Fair Maid of Astolat, Thomas Malory
    Speeches and poetry of Queen Elizabeth I
    Excerpts from Astrophil and Stella, Philip Sidney
    Excerpts from Amoretti, Edmund Spencer
    Poetry of Christopher Marlowe
    Poetry of John Donne
    As You Like It, William Shakespeare
    Poetry of Anne Bradstreet
    Various 20th and 21st century criticism