This course covers the major poets and
dramatists from the Anglo-Saxon period to the Elizabethan age. We will begin
with Beowulf, one of the oldest poems
in the English language, read selections from Chaucer’s Canterbury Talesand other Middle English works, and end with
Elizabethan theater, which will include plays by Shakespeare and Marlowe. The course
will provide students with the background for reading these older works by
emphasizing the historical and cultural contexts in which early British
literature was produced and consumed. The specific focus will be on the
abundance of monsters, villains, and other evil-doers who populate the literary
landscape of the works selected. Beginning with the man-eating monster Grendel
and ending with Machiavellian villains like Iago and Barabas, students in this
course will have the opportunity to trace literary representations of monsters
and the monstrous through nearly a thousand years of British literature.
Because this course fulfills the WI requirement,
students should expect to write weekly reading responses, as well as four
formal literary analyses, totaling 4000 words. In addition, there will be
quizzes, a midterm, and a final exam. Class time will be spent on lectures,
class discussion, and supplementary audio visual content.
- Attendance and
- Four 4-page papers
- Informal writing
- Midterm and final exam
- Beowulf. Seamus Heaney, translator. Illustrated edition.
- Shakespeare, William. Othello.
- Marlowe, Christopher. The Jew of Malta.
course reader available from Professional Image