English Literature from the Medieval Period to 1650

Course Number: ENGL 101
Prerequisites: Writing 2, or 50, or 109, or English 10 or upper-division standing
General Education Areas Fulfilled: Writing Requirement, GE Area G Requirement
Catalog Course Entry: ENGL 101
Quarter: Summer A 2012
Instructor: Hiltner, Ken
Day(s): MTWR
Time: 12:30 - 1:35 PM
Location: GIRV 2127
Not open for credit to students who have completed English 20.
This course is an introduction to the first eight hundred years of English literature from the Anglo Saxon beginnings to the 1645 edition of Milton's Poems. After surveying some very early works, such as the "Dream of the Rood," we will read Beowulf, one of the greatest epics in the English language, in Seamus Heaney's exquisite translation. From there we will move to Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and excerpts from Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales before concluding in the Renaissance with Milton and Marvell. Throughout the quarter we will be considering just what these texts can tell us about the cultures that produced them, especially their attitudes toward gender, politics, religion, and the environment. What, for example, might "The Wife of Bath’s Tale" tell us about the position of women in Chaucer's England? Similarly, does the "Dream of the Rood," which is—quite remarkably—told in part from the perspective of a tree, tell us anything about how nature and the natural world was imagined?