This course introduces students to some of the major works of literature written in Britain from the Anglo-Saxon invasion to the aftermath of the English Civil War in the 17th century. The surviving stories from these centuries are richly diverse in language, form, and genre, and register great shifts, yet also surprising continuities in conceptions of heroism and honor, theories of family and nation, the relationship between the church and the individual, the nature of authority, and humanity?s place in the universe. Thus, strategies for thinking critically about this period?s literature emerge from a combination of close textual analysis and historical context. Readings may include works by the Beowulf-poet, the Gawain-poet, Chaucer, Kempe, the Sidneys, Spenser, Shakespeare, Donne, and Milton.
Prerequisites: Students who have ENGL 231/232/233 transfer credit may not take this course.