ENGL478C - Selected Topics in English and American Literature before 1800: Early Modern British Literature and Political Crises
This course invites students to consider the political purposes and underpinnings of literature by examining political crises int he late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries and the writings surrounding them: Queen Elizabeth's refusal to marry, Protestant-Catholic religious debates and the Spanish Armada, the threat of the Ottoman Empire, and the death of an heir (Prince Henry). We will read orations by Queen Elizabeth, letters and poems by Mary Queen of Scots, petitions by Parliament, pamphlets and funeral orations, ballads, a courtly entertainment by Sir Philip Sidney, poetry by Edmund Spenser, and several plays--John Lyly's Campaspe, Thomas Kyd's The Spanish Tragedy, Shakespeare's Othello, and John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi. We will consider how literature intervenes in politics and how politics affects literature, and how gender is intertwined with both. Class will be mainly discussion with students giving reports and leading discussion in panels. Requirements include one short paper with required revision (4-5 pp.), one longer paper (7-8 pp.) based on historical research, midterm and final examinations, and class participation.
Two lower-level English courses, at least one in literature; or permission of department.