English 513.01: Survey of British Literature
Instructor: Prof. Sean Moore. Contact at firstname.lastname@example.org or 2-3827
In this course, we will read key works of British literature from the first century A.D. to the mid-eighteenth century. This broad chronology will cover an intriguing variety of literary works (epics, tragedies, lyric poems, etc.), constituting what we conveniently (if somewhat clumsily) call “the first half of British literature.” Points continually foregrounded in this course will be that virtually none of the writers we will read considered themselves as authoring works of “English literature” as such, and they could never have imagined that they would someday end up being part of a British literature “canon” taught in college courses like this one. Nor, for that matter, was England even conscious of itself as a “nation” until, roughly, the last few decades of the sixteenth century. Among other things, we will be examining a broad range of themes, including the nature of heroism, villainy, ambition, power, greed, passion, courtship, love, marriage, family relationships, idealism, cynicism – and much, much more. This course will pleasantly surprise you at how so-called “old” literature (despite, admittedly, often being more difficult to read than contemporary literature) treats many themes of current, contemporary interest. WI
In Spring 2022 this course fulfills a Pre-1800 Literature requirement for English Department majors.