There is so much English literature, and students have so little time
to prepare classes, that it seems pointless to try to cover more than a
few short texts. This syllabus offers a course designed to introduce a
few of the major writers of British poetry, and their works, within a historical
framework. Each week we will read some well-known poems and try to locate
them in their historical period, and in the life of the poet. Students
will write about a half-page of notes on the poem set each week, to help
them in the discussion.
Each student will prepare written reports on one pre-1800 and one modern British poet, other than those covered in the course. These reports will be presented in class and also be submitted for grading, one in the 8th week and one as the final report.
All classes will be conducted entirely in English.
The first ten minutes will be spent in a short dictation exercise or
Then will come a fifteen-minute lecture.
This will be followed by forty-five minutes of group discussion on the works selected for each class.
The last twenty minutes will be a session for reporting, questions, and open discussion.
Week 1 Introduction to the course. Old English : The
Week 2 The Middle Ages : Chaucer's General Prologue (extracts)
Week 3 The Elizabethan Age : Shakespeare Sonnets 29, 73, 116, 144.
Week 4 (No class)
Week 5 Early 17th century: John Donne 'The Sun Rising', 'A Valediction Forbidding Mourning'; 'Batter My Heart'
Week 6 The Civil War and the Restoration : John Milton's 'Il Penseroso'
Week 7 Augustan Poetry : Pope's Epistle to a Lady
Week 8 The 18th Century : Gray's Elegy
Week 9 Romanticism : William Wordsworth : Tintern Abbey
Week 10 Romanticism : John Keats :
Week 11 G. M. Hopkins
Week 12 Wilfred Owen
Week 13 T. S. Eliot : Little Gidding
Week 14 Philip Larkin
Week 15 Final Class
The texts are all online through the above links. There is no other textbook. The Norton Anthology of British Literature is an expensive but useful tool for deeper study. Brother Anthony's books on The Middle Ages and The Renaissance might be helpful in the early weeks.
Students will choose the poets that they wish to report on by the second week of class.
Class participation and reporting 30%
Written reports 25% each
Final (take home) exam 20%