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

Fall 2009

E 392M • 16th Century: Literature & History

Unique Days Time Location Instructor


Course Description

This course will provide an introduction to historicist study of 16th-century English literature. It will present both familiar and unfamiliar texts, writers, and genres, and will include substantial attention to the materials of the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, and Mary I as well as to the more familiar matter of Elizabeth I. Texts of a "literary" and "historical" nature will be read concurrently throughout. Since the course will also function to some degree as an introduction to the period, representations of the cultural center will make up the core of the class.


Reading units (specific texts tentative):

(1) The reign of Henry VIII (1509-47): absolutist rule; the English Reformation; the Dissolution of the Monasteries; aristocratic manuscript poetry and life-records.

• Wyatt. Poems
• Surrey. Poems
• Roper. Life of More
• Cavendish. Life of Wolsey
• Lisle Letters
• data from Howell's State Trials (trials of the king's wives Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard for sexual treason; Earl of Surrey for trespass on royalty)
• Scarisbrick, J. J. Henry VIII

(2) The mid-century reigns of Edward VI and Mary I (1547-1558): Protestant and Catholic extremism

• Foxe. Acts and Monuments (the "Book of Martyrs"): execution of Latimer and Ridley
• Latimer. Sermons.
• Anon. Arden of Faversham (a 1590s staging of a 1555 murder linked to the Dissolution)

(3) The reign of Elizabeth I (1558-1603): courtesy and social mobility; politics and erotics; dynastic pressures; usurpation, rebellion, and civil war

• Castiglione. The Book of the Courtier
• Gascoigne. Adventures of Master F. J.
• Sidney. The Lady of May; Astrophil & Stella; letters
• Stubbes, A Gaping Gulf
• Kyd. The Spanish Tragedy
• Marlowe. Edward II
• Shakespeare. Richard II; Henry IV, Part One; Sir John Oldcastle; Henry VIII
• the Essex rebellion: data from Howell, and from Bacon's Life and Letters
• other data on Essex's followers having the King's Men stage Richard II on the night before the rebellion.
• other data on the Oldcastle controversy
• the Howard-Overbury affair and Middleton's plays
• Stone, Lawrence. The Crisis of the Aristocracy (abridged ed.)
• Keith Wrightson. English Society, 1580-1680.


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