ENGL310 - Medieval and Renaissance British Literature

Detailed study of selected major medieval and Renaissance works written in England. Cultural attitudes and historical contexts. May include Beowulf, Anglo-Saxon lyric, drama, sonnets; works of women writers, Chaucer, Spenser, Sidney. Some readings in Middle English.

This detailed study of a few major medieval and Renaissance works written in England aims to provide a grasp of the major qualities of these two literary periods by setting them side-by-side. We will look at how the literature both reflects and shapes cultural attitudes and historical contexts.  Themes include the views of earlier authorities, history of the English language, representation of women, history of the English Bible, and changing religious views. Readings may include Beowulf, Anglo-Saxon lyric, medieval drama, and early English sonnets; authors will include the Gawain poet, Chaucer, Spenser, Mary and Phillip Sidney, Queen Elizabeth, and even a little Shakespeare. Some readings will be in Middle English.  Graded assignments include papers, poetry memorization, and short analytical writing exercises.