History of English Literature
     (12-047-02) MWF 10:00

Taught by Brother Anthony in English.

This course surveys the literature written in England before Romanticism (1789). It will include study of the main aspects of English social and political history, which form the background reflected in the literary works.

The main text-books will be Brother Anthony's books on Literature in English Society : The Middle Ages and The Renaissance (Sogang University Press) Beyond the quotations and summaries contained in these books, students will need the full text of a few poems (linked in the lists of works below) and may want to read the full text of other works. These will all be found in Volume One of the Norton Anthology of English Literature (any edition) or online through links listed in Brother Anthony's Home Page.

All students are expected to have access to the World Wide Web and to know how to explore it for useful resources. Brother Anthony's Home Page offers a list of some of the main sites for medieval and renaissance literature and culture.

This course will consist mainly of lectures. The last 15 minutes of each class will often be spent in small-group discussion or group research.

Course Outline

Week 1 (No class Mon) Pre-Conquest England : Bede, The Dream of the Rood
Week 2 Beowulf, Elegies. Medieval Romance: Love and Chivalry
Week 3 Arthurian legend: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Malory.
Week 4 (No class Fri) Chaucer : The Canterbury Tales
Week 5 Chaucer, Women, and the Church
Week 6 (No class Mon) Medieval Drama
Week 7 Medieval Lyric Poetry; the Renaissance begins
Week 8 Mid-term Exams
Week 9 Utopia; Renaissance poetry : Wyatt, Spenser, Sidney, Marlowe
Week 10 Renaissance Drama, Shakespeare
Week 11 John Donne, Ben Jonson, George Herbert, Andrew Marvell
Week 12 John Milton; the Civil War
Week 13 Francis Bacon; John Hobbes; Dryden;
Week 14 Augustan writers: Pope, Swift; Defoe; Richardson, Fielding;
Week 15 Gray and the Pre-romantics. (Thurs) Final Exams

Course Methodology

Students will have read the following pages in the two volumes by Brother Anthony, focusing on the writers and works listed, as preparation for class:

Weeks 1 - 2
Reading :The Middle Ages pages 1 - 33.
Works : Bede's History; The Dream of the Rood; Beowulf; The Wanderer.

Weeks 2 - 3
Reading : The Middle Ages pages 35 - 70 (society and Romance); 101 - 103 (Sir Gawain); 170 - 172 (Malory).
Works :Havelock, King Horn, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Malory.

Weeks 4 - 5
Reading : The Middle Ages pages 81 - 100 (society and alliterative poetry including Piers Plowman), ), 109 - 113 (Lady Julian and Margery Kemp), 123 - 149 (Chaucer)
Works : Troilus and Crisseyde; The General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales; Margery Kemp; Julian of Norwich; Piers Plowman.

Weeks 6 - 7
Reading : The Middle Ages pages 191 - 207 (drama), 104 - 108 (poetry), 115 - 123 (early Renaissance), 155 - 190 (Renaissance thought)
Works : Lyric poems; The Second Shepherd's Play; Everyman.

Week 9
Reading : The Renaissance pages 1 - 53 (general), 61, 69 - 72, (Spenser) 85 -7, 93 - 99, 101 (Sidney), 159 - 160
Works : More's Utopia; Wyatt, Spenser Faerie Queene Book I, Sidney Astrophel and Stella (sonnet 1), Marlowe's 'The Passionate Shepherd' and Ralegh's 'The Nymph's Reply'.

Week 10
Reading : The Renaissance pages 103 - 113, 131 - 148, 149 - 162
Drama before Shakespeare, Shakespeare (sonnets 73, 116), later Elizabethan lyric poems.

Week 11
Reading : The Renaissance pages 177 - 178 (society), 189 - 234 (Donne & Jonson), 253 -263 (Herbert), 294 - 301 (Marvell)
Works : Donne's 'A Valediction Forbidding Mourning'; Jonson's 'On my First Son'; Herbert's 'Love 3'; Marvell's 'To His Coy Mistress'

Week 12
Reading : The Renaissance pages 178 - 187 (society), 303 - 325 (Milton)
Works : Milton: 'L'Allegro', 'Il Penseroso', Paradise Lost.

Week 13
Reading : The Renaissance pages 331 - 355 (thinkers)
Works : Bacon 'Of Truth';

Week 14
Reading : The Renaissance pages 357 - 361 (fiction)
Works : Alexander Pope An Essay on Man (opening of Epistle Two)

Week 15
Works : Gray's Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard

Research Assignments

Students will prepare a series of research files. After reading the text in the Text-book, they should prepare 1 - 2 pages of notes outlining the main historic events and social characteristics of the period. It would be a good idea if notes taken during class were also included in the completed File. Students will search in the library or on-line for illustrations illustrating the period and works being studied (major subjects are suggested below).

File 1 : Preconquest (Anglo-Saxon) England. (Due Monday Week 3)
Illustrations: The Sutton Hoo treasure; the Vikings; the Anglo-Saxon church; King Alfred; the Winchester Psalter; the Beowulf manuscript; the Ruthwell Cross; Charlemagne's church at Aachen; the Bayeux Tapestry.

File 2 : The Middle Ages
     part 1: Chivalry (due Monday Week 6)
Illustrations : Knights in armour; the Crusades; life at court; minstrels, jousting; costumes; castles; cathedrals; Arthurian legend; Glastonbury Abbey; monasteries; medieval manuscripts.
     part 2 : Chaucer and his World (due Monday Week 9)
Illustrations : Chaucer's Canterbury Pilgrims; The Wilton Diptych; rural life; city life; daily activities in the 14th century; the Black Death; 14th century church architecture; university life. The first printed books; English medieval mystery plays; The Wars of the Roses;

File 3 : The Renaissance (due Monday Week 12)
Illustrations : The Italian Renaissance: Florence, Michelangelo; Leonardo da Vinci; Christopher Columbus, the New World. Erasmus; Sir Thomas More. Henry VIII; the Reformation, Luther, Calvin; Queen Elizabeth; the Spanish Armada; Shakespeare's theatre; his works in print (Quartos and Folio); his memorial at Stratford. Everyday life in Shakespeare's time; Elizabethan architecture.

File 4 : The 17th and 18th Centuries (due Monday Week 15)
Illustrations : The Masques of Jonson; portraits of the major writers; the Civil War; Cavaliers andf Roundheads, Cromwell, the execution of King Charles; the Pilgrim Fathers; life in the American colonies. 18th century architecture, tea rooms, the first newspapers. Styles of costume in the 17th and 18th century.

Extra Reading Materials

Rogers, Pat, ed. The Oxford Illustrated History of English Literature. New York: Oxford UP, 1990.
Wynne-Davies, Marion, ed. The Bloomsbury Guide to English Literature. New York: Prentice Hall, 1990.
Colyle, Martin, Peter Garside, Malcolm Kelsall, and John Peck, eds. Encyclopedia of Literature and Criticism. London: Routledge, 1991


Grading will be based on the quality of the 4 Research Files(5% each), the result of the Mid-term and Final Exams (25% each) (other quizes may also be given without warning), and a Final Essay (15%) due at the end of the Semester discussing the theme: 'Time, Love, Death, and God, in the literary works we have studied'. The remaining 15% will cover unannounced quizes, class attendance and participation.