British Literature to 1600

British Literature to 1600

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, cultural, and linguistic contexts in which early British literature was produced and consumed. Additionally, the course will introduce students to different literary modes and forms including epic, romance, allegory, elegy, satire, and drama.

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. Other forms of assessment include quizzes, a midterm, and a final exam. Class time will be spent on lectures, class discussion, and supplementary audio visual content.

Course Requirements

  • Attendance and participation
  • Four 4-page papers
  • Informal writing assignments
  • Quizzes
  • Midterm and final exam

Required Texts 

Volumes A & B of The Norton Anthology of English Literature.Stephen Greenblatt et al., eds. 9th ed. New York: Norton, 2012. (Available at the UHM bookstore)