E f316K • Masterworks of Literature: British
2:30 PM-4:00 PM
This course has three objectives. The primary one is to introduce students to the systematic study of English literature from the Middle Ages to the early twentieth century. It will include lectures about historical issues central to the various periods covered, lectures focusing on social and political as well as literary, artistic, and intellectual history. The purpose of these lectures is to help students understand the ways in which a text embodies the chief concerns of its age. The second objective of the course is to help students improve their skills as readers and interpreters of literature. Hence, they will be required to perform close and careful readings of the works studied. The course will offer a wide variety of different kinds of literature from lyric to epic, satire to tragedy, and most class periods will be devoted to detailed reading of those works. The final objective of the course is to help students improve their skills as writers. To this end, students will have to write essays in response to questions on the examinations (as well as writing brief responses to short-answer questions).
There will be two examinations in the course. Students will also receive a collective grade for class participation. The best performance on an examination or in class participation will count forty percent of the final grade; the next best performance will count thirty-five percent; and the least successful performance will count the remaining twenty-five percent. This system is designed to weight grades in such a way that students get more credit for what they do best and also to allow for improvement during the course of the semester.
Norton Anthology of English Literature: The Major Authors, Seventh Edition
Optional text: Chaucer, the Canterbury Tales, ed. A. Kent Hieatt and Constance Hieatt (Bantam) (this text is optional; the Chaucer selections are all in the Norton Anthology)