ENGL407 - Non-Dramatic Literature of the Sixteenth Century

This course will provide an overview of the literary genres and generic developments of the sixteenth and early seventeenth century. Focusing upon major writers, the course will explore the relationship between their imaginative achievements and the various literary, religious, and political contexts in which these works were written and read. It will aim to supply some sense of the new cultural forms that the age produced—in particular, we will explore the forms of resistance that the religious and political tensions of the period demanded. We will try to understand the problems that figurative language presented within a Protestant cultural context, and how the full flowering of religious lyric poetry evolved in the seventeenth century. We will also investigate the interconnected religio-political pressures of both pre- and post- civil war England. Writers will include: Wyatt, Surrey, Whitney, Sidney, Herbert (Mary), and Spenser. Assignments will include three essays (4, 6, and 8 pages, respectively) throughout the term.


Two English courses in literature or permission of department.