Course Instructor Days Times Room


This course takes the form of a survey of the major literature written in English, from the Middle Ages to 1699. We will read a selection of works by all the major writers, including Chaucer, Marlowe, Shakespeare, Donne, plus many other lesser-known writers who engage with issues current to our own cultural moment. We will also explore a number of different genres as they emerged, from epic and Romance to Renaissance lyric, prose, and drama. 

The course has four goals: 

1. To introduce you to an ever-changing list of canonical literary texts written in Britain from the Middle Ages to the end of the Seventeenth Century, along with their styles, genres, and forms. 

2. To give you a sense of the main concepts, issues and conflicts at the heart of each text. 

3. To stimulate, enrich, and challenge your critical thinking and writing skills, with particular attention to close reading and interpretation. 

4. To clarify and enhance your understanding of the role of history in shaping literature.


Class Participation (talking in class, doing the reading, coming prepared): 15%

Short Paper 1 (2-3pp): 20%

Short paper 2 (2-3pp): 20%

Midterm Exam: 20%

Final paper in lieu of exam (5-8pp): 25%


Our sole text is the Longman Anthology of British Literature, Volumes 1A, 1B and 1C. We are using the 4th edition, which is available from the university bookstore and online. Please be sure to have Volume 1A by the start of the second week of classes and to bring it to class every day. I will also post some supplemental readings, images, and digital material on eLearning Commmons (eLC).