Dr. Don King‎ > ‎Course Syllabi‎ > ‎

English 201

Fall 2017
English 201, Survey of English Literature, 1, 3 credit hours
            Section 1, MWF 11-12 a.m.
Belk 305
Don W. King: Home page 
Phone: 828-545-3293

COURSE DESCRIPTION: A survey of English literature before the Romantic period.  Major emphasis
upon the masterpieces.
COURSE RATIONALE: A study of English literature from the Anglo-Saxon through the 18th century
is critical to a liberal arts education.  Literature often acts as a lens through which we can see the ideas,
beliefs, and convictions the human beings who lived during the time periods studied.  In effect, we can
come to understand better the human condition through a close study of significant literary works.  In
addition, study of literary genres gives us a deeper appreciation for the literary works we enjoy today.

TEXTS:   Required:

The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 9th edition. Vol. 1 (for a number of very helpful online aides, see Norton Literature Online at http://www.wwnorton.com/college/english/literature/WelcomeFull.htm)

The Canterbury Tales

Strongly recommended:

A Handbook to Literature, Eds. William Harmon and C. Hugh Holman

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (6th ed), Ed. Joseph Gibaldi.

Also, see Oxford Reference Online www.oxfordreference.com for some basic reference assistance.  It contains desktop access to 100 key Oxford dictionaries and reference works. The Core Collection brings together 100 language and subject dictionaries and reference works - containing well over 60,000 pages - into a single cross-searchable resource.  Also, see the Oxford English Dictionary, the grandfather of all dictionaries at http://dictionary.oed.com

COURSE OBJECTIVES: The central objective of this course is to introduce you to the early |
masterpieces of English literature; specifically, this course will be a survey of British literature
from the Old English period through the Eighteenth century.

Additionally, there are several questions we will consider as we work through the course, including,
but not limited to:
  1. What are the significant differences between Old, Middle, and modern English?

  2. How pivotal is knowledge of Scripture when reading, analyzing, and interpreting literature? What "views" of Scripture are revealed by the writers? Which biblical texts most inform English literature through the 18th century?

  3. How is early English literature informed by both classical and Christian traditions?

  4. How do the various writers view the relationship between passion and reason, flesh and spirit, body and soul, matter and spirit? Are their views biblical?

  5. In general, what view do the writers hold regarding the human condition? Are we "created a little lower" than the angels or are we simply sophisticated animals? Why is how they approach this question important?

  6. Do any of the works consider the ideas of redemption or restoration? If so, what does this reflect about the writer’s view of the human condition?

  1. That you read and analyze a primary or heroic epic, a medieval romance, middle English lyrics and plays, a frame poem (including its various literary genres), lyric poems and sonnets, a Shakespearean play, and a secondary epic.

  2. That you write at least one in class essay.

  3. That you write a literary analysis and demonstrate your ability to gather information and present it effectively by combining summary with analysis, application with theory, and research with synthesis.

  4. That you complete quizzes and major tests.

  5. That you complete a creative project. 

  6. That you learn to value the literature covered in this course as something that can enrich your life, revealing the complexity of the human experience and informing your spiritual life.


Week 1: Course introduction; Old English elegies 

Week 2:  Beowulf (in class essay)

Weeks 3 & 4:  Sir Gawain and the Green Knight; Middle English lyrics and ballads

TEST 1: September 25

Weeks 5-8:  Introduction to Chaucer; The Canterbury Tales                  

TEST 2: October 23

Week 9: Everyman

Weeks 10 & 11:  Shakespeare's Twelfth Night 

TEST 3:  November 10 

Week 12 & 13:  Milton's Paradise Lost

Weeks 14 & 15: John Donne and George Herbert

TEST 4:  December 11, 11-1 p.m.       

1.  You will be tested in three ways. First, in order to encourage you to keep up with the reading,
I will give brief, unannounced quizzes from time to time. Collectively the quizzes will
count 20% of your final grade.  Second, you will have four major tests.  Each test will be
based fifty percent on class notes and fifty percent on the reading. These tests will make-up
40% of your final grade.  Third, you will write in class essays that will count 10% of your
final grade. 
2.  You will also write a literary analysis of 1,250 to 1,500 words (5 to 6 pages). The analysis
will count 10% of your final grade and is due Dec. 3, 2017 by midnight.  
3.  You will develop a creative project based upon your personal reaction to anything we have
studied throughout the semester.  I prefer that this project be creative in whatever fashion you
are creative.  For example, in the past students have put on skits, built or baked various things,
written songs, done videotape or computer presentations, painted pictures, sculpted figures,
done needlepoint, conducted interviews, written satires, and so on.  “The sky’s the limit” but
you should check out your idea with me before you begin.  Group projects are possible but need
to be approved by me. The project will count 10% of your final grade and must be presented in
front of the class on or before the last regular class meeting.   
4.  The remaining 10% will come from your class participation, discussion, regular attendance,
homework, reserve and supplemental reading, journaling, group work and various short writing
5.  Attendance policy.  You may miss eight classes for any reason.  I do not distinguish between
excused and unexcused--an absence is an absence.  After you exceed eight absences, each
additional absence will lower your final grade by 25 pts (or 2.5%).
6.  There are a total of 1000 pts possible in the course. Final grades will be compiled using the
following guidelines:  

1000-900    A to A-

899-800      B+ to B-

799-700      C+ to C-

699-600      D+ to D-

599-0          F

LIBRARY: All students are encouraged to take advantage of the services and resources available
from the library. You can search the online catalog and the library’s databases by going to
http://www.montreat.edu/library/.  Select “Catalog” to search the online catalog or “Electronic
Resources” to search the databases.  The catalog lists all of the books in the Montreat College library
as well as the holdings of five other colleges.  You may check out books from all of these libraries 
via Interlibrary loan.  From the online catalog, you can also check on reserve materials by selecting
“Reserve Desk” and searching by instructor name or course name.  
The web resources provides links to a variety of databases containing journal articles, online reference
sources, and electronic books (ebooks).  These web resources are accessible both on and off campus.
Ask the library staff for a password for remote access if you live off campus.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:  In addition to the books listed below that are on three-day reserve, the library
(or the MCLN) holds many journals that may be of help in doing research for this course. Of much
interest to you, however, will be the multiple resources available via electronic databases, especially

Old English

Brodeur, A. G.  The Art of Beowulf
Fry, Donald K.  The Beowulf Poet
Greenfield, Stanley B.  A Critical History of Old English
Lawrence, W. W.  Beowulf and Epic Tradition
Nicholson, L. E.  An Anthology of Beowulf Criticism
Wrenn, Charles.  A Study of Old English

Middle English

Ackerman, Robert.  Backgrounds to Medieval English Literature
Rowland, Beryl.  Companion to Chaucer Studies
Schoek, R. J.  Chaucer Criticism, Vols. 1 and 2
Wilson, R. M.  Early Middle English Literature


Bryant, J. A. Jr. Shakespeare and the Uses of Comedy.
Carter, Thomas. Shakespeare and Holy Scripture.
Charlton, H. B. Shakespearean Comedy.
Harbage, Alfred. A Reader's
Guide to William Shakespeare.
Kirsch, Arthur. Shakespeare and the Experience of Love.
Milward, Peter. Shakespeare's Religious Background.
Muir, Kenneth. Shakespeare's Sources.
----------. Shakespeare: The Comedies.
Noble, Richmond. Shakespeare's Biblical Knowledge
Ornstein, Robert. Shakespeare's Comedies.
Parrott, T. Marc. Shakespearean Comedy.
Tillyard. E. M. W. The Elizabethan World Picture.

17th Century

Gardner, Helen.  John Donne
Kermode, Frank.  Discussions of John Donne
Tuve, Rosemond.  A Reading of George Herbert
Walton, Izaak.  Lives of John Donne
White, Helen.  The Metaphysical Poets


Blessington, Francis. Paradise Lost: A Student's Companion to the Poem.
Bush, Douglas. Paradise Lost in Our Time.
Danielson, Dennis. The Cambridge Companion to Milton.
Hanford, James H. John Milton, Englishman.
Kermode, Frank. The Living Milton.
Nicolson, Marjorie. John Milton: A Reader's Guide to His Poetry.
Sims, James. The Bible in Milton’s Epics.
------------ and Leland Ryken, eds. Milton and Scriptural Tradition: The Bible into Poetry.
Tillyard, E. M. W. Studies in Milton.
Walker, Julia, ed. Milton and the Idea of Woman.


To write a successful paper in this course, you will need to follow a process of planning, writing,
and revising your papers. The Writing Center tutors will work with you one-on-one on any or all
parts of this process. This academic service is available to assist you in becoming a confident writer

The Writing Center is located in Library. The Center is open Sunday – Thursday between 6:00 and
11:00 p.m. (additional daytime hours to be determined in the near future and announced via email).  
An appointment is not necessary. You may contact Dr. Kimberly Angle at kangle@montreat.edu if you
have questions. In addition, please know that an excellent internet resource is available to you at all
times: Purdue University’s OWL (On‑line Writing Lab). This site provides an “always on” and
authoritative resource for composition, grammar, and citation. The address

“Writing is an act of faith, not a trick of grammar.”

  E.B. White

ACADEMIC INTEGRITY:  For all individual assignments students are expected to present their

own work; documentation of research for your literary analysis must follow the specific criteria as
outlined in the MLA Handbook for Writer of Research Paper. Cases of academic dishonesty, including
but not limited to cheating and plagiarism, will result in either of failure of the assignment or of the
course.  For the college's policy on this issue, please click academic integrity


In addition, for all tests and papers you must sign off on the following statement before I will grade your

test or paper: “On my honor as a Montreat student, I certify that this assignment is my own work, except

where I acknowledged the use of the works of others. 


Students with disabilities who may need academic accommodations are asked to speak with the professor

within the first two weeks of class.  Students are also responsible for making sure that proper documentation

of the disability is on file with the college Disability Services Coordinator, Holleigh Woodward. The office

is located in the Health and Counseling Center in the lower level of Bell Library.  The Disability Services

Coordinator may be reached by phone at extension 3538, or by email at hwoodward14@montreat.edu.  

Failure to inform the professor of a disability or provide appropriate documentation to the Disability Services

Coordinator may compromise our ability to provide the accommodations needed in a timely manner. For

more information about Montreat College disability services, see:  


FINAL COMMENTS: This syllabus and other details about the course, including your grades for the course,

Please feel free to set up a personal meeting with me or email me at dking@montreat.edu if you need help with any aspect of the course.

I reserve the right to make minor changes to the syllabus and course requirements as we move through the semester.

Back to Don King's Home page