English 177 - Winter, 2022

Study of an Individual Author

Topic: Edmund Spenser

Class Information

Instructor: Sarpong, Ashley
CRN: 23471
Time: MWF 12:10-1:00
Location: 1120 Hart
GE Areas: Writing Experience


Edmund Spenser and the Construction of Difference

In a world growing seemingly more divisive by the moment, it may be helpful to take a pause and look to the past to trace the emergence of lines of division that demarcate our present. One helpful guide to help draw these genealogies of difference is Elizabethan poet Edmund Spenser. Most famous for writing his epic "The Faerie Queene", and perhaps most infamous for writing the prose tract "A View of the Present State of Ireland", Spenser?s literary works and service as a colonial administrator provide valuable insight into the political, cultural, and economic energies of the emerging English empire. In this course, we will study the prevailing structures of Elizabethan culture and literary presentation to understand how notions of difference-- along lines of race, gender, class, and national origin-- were (and continue to be) constructed in Spenser?s work. In turn, by the end of this quarter, we will work to deconstruct the contradictory or multiple messages present in the ideologies that nurture and were nurtured by Spenser's prose and poetry and radiate some four centuries later into our present.


In-Class Discussion Questions: 30%
Short Paper: 15%
Annotated Bibliography: 10%
Long Paper: 25%
Final Project: 20%


A. C. Hamilton ed. , Spenser: The Faerie Queene