ENGLISH 2310: ENGLISH LITERATURE BEFORE 1790

 

FRANK GRADY                                                                                                                                                                                     FALL 2017

461 LUCAS                                                                                                                                                                                              TTh 12:30-1:45

516-5510 / fgrady@umsl.edu                                                                                                                                                                 Clark 409

T&TH 3:00-4:30 & by appointment                                                                                                                                                     [SEC. 001, #13149]

                  

     In this course we will be reading, writing about and discussing "representative works of selected major authors" from the tenth century through the seventeenth.  While surveying the first eight centuries of English poetry, prose and drama, we'll be asking what makes some works "representative" and some writers "major," and what these works want of their readers--not so much what they want us to know, but what they want us to do, what they want to do to us, and why we might sometimes want to resist their designs for us.  The author of The Battle of Maldon might assume that you are a tenth-century, land-owning, English-speaking, Viking-hating patriot, but you're not, and while there can certainly be some literary pleasure derived from pretending for a little while that you are, there's often more to be gained from resisting that assumption.  Thus we will be exploring the context as well as the content of the texts we study, so as to reveal and understand the things they take for granted that might or might not be true for us today.  We’ll also practice using some of the conventional tools of literary analysis—formal, historical, and theoretical.

 

 

REQUIRED TEXTS:

·       The Norton Anthology of English Literature: The Major Authors, Volume 1.  Ed. Stephen Greenblatt, et. al. 9th edition (Norton, 2013; hence NA).

 

·       Shakespeare, William. King Lear.  Ed. Grace Toppolo. Norton Critical Edition (Norton, 2007).

 

Additonal Resources:

·       Though relevant documents (e.g., essay topics) will be posted on Canvas, the main course page will be at http://www.umsl.edu/~gradyf/F17SYLL2310.htm, which can also be reached through my home page (www.umsl.edu/~gradyf).

 

·       Norton maintains a very useful web page designed to supplement our use of the Anthology at http://www.wwnorton.com/college/english/nael/, to which we will make frequent reference; in fact some of the texts we’ll be reading are stored in their on-line archive.

 

COURSE REQUIREMENTS (What I want you to do):

·       Come to class, and come on time.  Arriving late is not an endearing habit, and more than four unexcused absences (almost 15% of our brief semester) will have an adverse effect on your grade.  Absences mean you will certainly miss some quizzes, which cannot be made up.  I take attendance every day.

 

·       Keep up with the reading.  This won’t always be easy; this is a survey course, which means that we'll be moving fairly quickly ( see “eight centuries,” above) through a heavy and largely unfamiliar reading load, one that cannot be adequately digested in an hour before class.  Try to budget your time, and then try to add a little more to the budget, whenever you can. Remember that we are not just reading the texts assigned, but studying them, so

 

·       Think about the reading and be prepared to discuss it: about what happens in it, and to whom it happens; about what it assumes that you know about the world and about how people ought to behave (and how they actually do); about what it thinks is interesting, how it tries to make you feel, and whether it succeeds; about what form it implies that writing should take and how it tries to distinguish or beautify itself. And please learn the names of major characters. (Further details on the English Department’s goals for survey courses can be found here.)

 

·       Take two mini-midterms (10% each) and one final exam (15%), and write one imitation (15%) and two longer four- to six-page essays (20% each).  The final 10% will be based on a combination of quizzes (there’s that word again!) and in-class summaries.  You will have three chances to write the two longer papers, and I will distribute suggested topics about ten days in advance of each due date (though you will not be limited to those topics).  Plagiarism on papers, electronic or the old-fashioned kind, will mean an instant F for the assignment, my undying disapprobation, and possible disciplinary action by the university; please refer to this site for further details, and please please please ask me if you have any questions.

 

 

TENTATIVE SYLLABUS:

 

          T AUG 22  Introduction; The Wanderer (NA 107-10)

                                     

          TH Aug 24  Anglo-Saxon Literature (NA 6-10); The Battle of Maldon [Canvas]

 

 

          T AUG 29     Beowulf  ll. 1-1250 (NA 36-68)

 

          TH AUG 31   Caedmon’s Hymn (NA 29-32); The Dream of the Rood (NA 32-36); “Anglo-Norman Literature(NA 10-13)

 

 

          T SEP 5   Marie de France, Lanval (NA 120-34)

 

          TH SEP 7   “Middle English Literature…” (NA 13-18) and “Medieval English” (NA 19-23); Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Fitt i (NA 135-47)

 

 

          T  SEP 12   Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Fitts ii-iv (NA 147-88)

 

          TH SEP 14   Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (cont.)

 

                  

          T SEP 19    Medieval and Renaissance Drama: “Mystery Plays” (NA 299-300); Play of Abraham and Isaac [Canvas]; The Elizabethan Theater (NA 373-79);                    Mini-Midterm #1

 

          TH SEP 21  Marlowe, Doctor Faustus, Scenes 1-3 (NA 500-10) “William Shakespeare” (NA 535-39); King Lear, Act 1(3-32)

 

 

*M SEP 25  FIRST ESSAY DUE DATE *      A brief guide to quoting from the text & other relevant items

 

          T SEP 26    King Lear, Acts 2-3 (33-74)

 

          TH SEP 28   King Lear, Acts 4-5 (75-115)

   

               

          T OCT 3  King Lear; excerpts from Holinshed (KL 148-50) and Geoffrey of Monmouth (KL 162-65); Medieval to Renaissance: “The Sixteenth Century, 1485-1603” (NA 349-73) 

 

          TH OCT 5   Sidney, Defence of Poesy [Canvas] Castiglione/Hoby, The Courtier [Canvas]; Gosson, from The School of Abuse

                                                          

 

          T OCT 10    Sidney, cont.; 16th- and 17th-century sonnets (poems tba)

 

          TH OCT 12    sonnets (cont.)

                                      copia exercise results

 

 

          T OCT 17   John Donne (poems tba); “John Donne” (NA 666-68); “The Early Seventeenth Century” I (NA 637-54)

 

          TH OCT 19   The Revolution; “Early Seventeenth Century” II (NA 654-63); Mini-Midterm II

 

           

*M OCT 23  SECOND ESSAY DUE DATE *

 

          T OCT 24    Imitation workshop

 

          TH OCT 26    Milton, Paradise Lost, Book 1 (NA 799-819)

 

 

          T OCT 31   Paradise Lost, Book 2 & Book 3 (NA 819-54)

                                                                                

          TH NOV 2   Paradise Lost, Book 4 (NA 854-70)

           

 

            *M NOV 6  IMITATION DUE DATE*

 

          T NOV 7   Paradise Lost, Book 5 & Book 8 (NA 870-86, plus Canvas supplements)

                  Some additional Book 5 passages: God to Raphael / Adam and Raphael / God’s joke /Satan and Abdiel

          TH NOV 9   Paradise Lost, Book 9 (NA 887-911)

 

 

          T NOV 14   Paradise Lost, Book 10 (NA 911-24)

                                                            Some additional Book 10 passages: God to the Angels / Adam and the Son

          TH NOV 16    Paradise Lost, Book 12 (NA 924-29) and conclusions                                                    

                                                            Some additional passages: Prevenient grace / Michael and Adam / Adam on the Flood                  

 

 

            T NOV 21   

                        } Thanksgiving Break: No Class    

            TH NOV 23  

 

 

          T NOV 28  Restoration and Eighteenth Century” (NA 931-58)

                    

          TH NOV 30  Pope, The Rape of the Lock (NA 1226-44)

 

 

          T DEC 5   Pope, cont.

 

          TH DEC 7  Conclusions

 

            *F DEC 8 THIRD ESSAY DUE DATE*

 

 

          TH DEC 14        FINAL EXAM 10:00-12:00

 

 

Students with disabilities who believe that they may need accommodations in this class are encouraged to contact the Disability Access Services Office in 144 Millennium Student Center at 516-6554 as soon as possible to ensure that such accommodations are arranged in a timely fashion.