English 10A-2 - Spring, 2018

Literatures in English I: to 1700

Class Information

Instructor: Branciforte, Joshua
CRN: 61658
Time: TR 3:10-4:30
Location: 107 Wellman


    This course is an introductory survey of English literature from Beowulf to the seventeenth century. In addition to selections from the three major authors – Chaucer, Spenser, and Milton – our readings aim to convey the breadth of genres and subject matter we find in medieval and early modern literature, including prose before the modern novel, verse satires as well as lyrics, and drama. Some major themes guiding the selections are: the evolution of heroic and masculine identity, the range of expressions of gendered subjectivity, and the persistent interest in representing encounters between the dominant group and cultural otherness. As a course designed to prepare you for further study in English literature, we will give special emphasis to understanding foundational modes (epic, tragedy, romance), conventions (verse forms, rhetorical figures), and historical developments (transformations of the English language, the rise of print culture, milestones of British political and social history). One aim of the course will be understanding the transformations that have traditionally led scholars to end the first phase of English literary history around 1700.


    Beowulf, Seamus Heaney, trans.
    Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer
    The Faerie Queene, Edmund Spenser
    Henry IV, Pt. 1, William Shakespeare
    Oroonoko, Aphra Behn
    Paradise Lost, John Milton