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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Spring 2008

E 392M • Sir Philip Sidney and 16th-century Lyric Poetry

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
35555 TTh
9:30 AM-11:00 AM
MEZ 1.104

Course Description

This course will present a survey of 16th-century English lyric poetry and related works on poetics, beginning with the "scattered rhymes" of Petrarch (whose form and subject matter set the poetic agenda for all of Europe for two centuries) and moving through his major importers, translators, imitators, and revisers, from Wyatt to Spenser. We'll read four notable mixed-genre works: Gascoigne's Adventures of Master F. J., Sidney's The Lady of May and The Old Arcadia, and Spenser's Shepheardes Calender. All of these works mix poetry and prose, and three are pastorals. We'll also read the three major Elizabethan poetics manuals (by Gascoigne, Sidney and Puttenham) and perhaps some minor ones. We will also engage with Henrician and Elizabethan history (especially regarding the court and religion) and with relevant criticism and theory (feminist, new-historicist, genre, pastoral, etc.). We'll finish with a reading of Shakespeare's sonnets, which bring English Petrarchan poetry to its culmination.


Petrarch. Rime Sparse (trans. Durling).

Wyatt. Complete poems.

Surrey. Selected poems.

Gascoigne. The Adventures of Master F. J.

Sidney. The Lady of May, The Old Arcadia, Astrophil and Stella. The Defence of Poetry.

Spenser. The Shepheardes Calender, the Amoretti and Epithalamion.

Elizabethan Courtier Poets. Ed. Steven W. May. (Courtly poems by Oxford, Essex, many others.)

The Psalms of Sir Philip Sidney and the Countess of Pembroke [Sidney's sister]. Shakespeare. Sonnets.

Puttenham. The Art of English Poesy.

Some other Renaissance poetics manuals (Gascoigne, Webbe, Lodge?).

Some history, theory, and criticism.


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