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English 232 - Winter, 2020
Problems in English Literature
Allegory, the Unthinkable, and the More-than-Human in Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene (1596) and Amoretti
Modern readers might think of Edmund Spenser as the author of one of England's longest poems writ, as Ben Jonson quipped, in "no language." An unfinished work, it praises Queen Elizabeth I, memorialized as Gloriana, Belphoebe, Cynthia, or the "Faerie Queene." Yet while the poem seemingly shadows this human monarch, she barely appears and its world teems with what cultural geographer Sarah Whatmore terms more-than-human life: a "clownishe" and elfin knight, a mournful tree, an unfriendly dragon, false avatars, a crafty shape-shifting hermit, a resourceful dwarf, an iron man, gender-bending heroines, giants and a blatant beast, within an interwoven plot that tells of two rivers in love, a sea deity who sulks, graces and angels who disappear, self-guided lances, a headstrong horse and a happy human-come-hog. This course explores the limits of literary modes such as allegory, the poetics of lyric, and the long form of the early modern romance alongside questions that stretch the meaning of "human." Together, we will analyze Spenser's "worlding" that anticipates many recent posthumanist theories (ecofeminism, the Chthulucene, game theory, geontologies, and other unthinkables).
A word to the intended reader: the readings that comprise our nine weeks together will be "clowdily enwrapped," full of "darke conceit," an "endlesse worke" that may at times "seeme tedious and confused." But if pursued like a hound on the scent, promises more pleasure than a sermon and whose end will be to "fashion a gentleman or noble person in virtuous and gentle discipline."
5% Active Seminar Engagement and Participation
Showing up regularly and on time is not enough for a graduate level course engagement. You are expected to be an active participant. Come to class with your opinions, your rationale, and your interpretation, and at least one question for every session.
15% History Exercise (3-4 pp / rolling deadline).
5% Research proposal & annotated bibliography
May build off the history exercise; 6-8 secondary peer-reviewed sources; one paragraph that justifies your archive of chosen passages from the syllabus readings, one paragraph that formulates a research question, and an annotated bibliography of secondary sources (6-8) with one - two paragraphs of critical annotation for each source.
75% Roundtable Length Critical Essay / Creative Analytic Project and Critical Rationale (10-12 pp)
Edmund Spenser: The Faerie Queene. 2nd edition.
, Eds. A.C. Hamilton, Hiroshi Yamashita, and Toshiyuki Suzuki. Longman, 2006.
Welcome Professor Zinzi Clemmons
Anti-Racist Reading Lists
UC Davis English End of Year Celebration - June 3rd, 2020
Professor Bloom Wins Awards for Mentoring and Research
Professor Milburn Wins First Dean’s Prize for Contributions to Arts and Sciences
Student of the Month: Vera Bell
English Major Jumana Esau Wins University Medal
Professor Houston Wins Distinguished Teaching Award
Alumni Stories: Sofia Molodanof
National Institutes of Health Promoting Research on Music and Health: Phased Innovation Award for Music Interventions (R61/R33, Clinical Trial Optional)
2020-10-02 @ 12:00 am
Zinzi Clemmons, Creative Writing Series
2020-10-06 @ 4:30 pm
Ariana Reines, Creative Writing Series
2020-10-13 @ 4:30 pm
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Department of English
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Updated: September 16, 2020
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