English 319, Renaissance Literature
3 credit hours
Belk 219, MWF 12-1 p.m.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: A course in sixteenth and seventeenth century British literature with an emphasis upon writers of the Elizabethan and Metaphysical periods, including Phillip Sidney, Edmund Spenser, William Shakespeare (non-dramtic works), Ben Jonson, John Donne, and George Herbert.
COURSE RATIONALE: While 1550-1660 was one of the most turbulent times in English political history, beginning with Elizabeth I tenuous claim to the throne and culminating with the execution of Charles I in 1649 and the emergence of Oliver Cromwell as the Lord Protectorate of the Commonwealth, this period also reflects a literary transition from the highly traditional and stylized Elizabethan poetry of Spenser, Shakespeare, and later Ben Jonson, to what has come to be known as metaphysical poetry, verse based on startlingly new similes and metaphors and reflecting the expanding view of the world as realized in new geographic, scientific, and philosophic discoveries and ideas. In addition, as seen in the poetry of John Donne and George Herbert, this period reflects the flowering of religious poetry that is both earnestly devout and artistically excellent.
The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 8th edition. Vol. 1
John Donne's Poetry, 2nd edition, Ed. Arthur L. Clements (Norton)
George Herbert & the 17th Century Religious Poets, Ed. Mario A. DiCesare (Norton)
The Cambridge Companion to English Poetry, Donne to Marvell (Cambridge)
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 16th and 17th century British literature, specifically through a study of lyric poetry. Because such poetry is often a reflection of the society in which it is produced, a secondary objective will be a general knowledge of the lives of Phillip Sidney, Edmund Spenser, William Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, John Donne, and George Herbert as well the political, social, and religious temper of sixteenth and seventeenth century England. A final objective will be an examination the extensive use of the Bible in the poetry of this period (Montreat College Educational Objectives IV, 1, 2, 3, and 7).
Additionally, there are several questions we will consider as we work through the literature of this period, including, but not limited to:
1. What are the unique characteristics of Elizabethan poetry, particularly Skakespeare's sonnets (MCEO 1c, 1d, 1e, 1g)?
2. What are the unique characteristics of the poetry of Ben Jonson and his followers, the so-called "Tribe of Ben" (MCEO 1c, 1d, 1e, 1g)?
3. What are the unique characteristics of the poetry of John Donne, particularly those qualities often referred to as metaphysical (MCEO 1c, 1d, 1e, 1g)?
4. What are the unique characteristics of the poetry of George Herbert and the other religious poets he influenced? What makes such poetry succeed both as an expression of faith and art (MCEO 1c, 1d, 1e, 1g)?
5. How pivotal is a knowledge of Scripture when reading, analyzing, and interpreting these writers? What is their "view" of Scripture? Which biblical texts most inform their poetry (MCEO 1c, 1d, 1e, 1g)?
6. What view of the relationship between passion and reason, flesh and spirit, body and soul, matter and spirit is reflected in the work of these writers? Are these view biblical (MCEO 1c, 1d, 1e, 1g)?
1. That you read and analyze selected sonnets and poems of the several Elizabethan writers, especially the sonnets of Shakespeare (MCEO 2 and 3).
2. That you read and analyze the poetry of Ben Jonson, John Donne, George Herbert, and other selected 17th century British poets (MCEO 2 and 3).
3. That you learn to describe the literary characteristics of traditional British lyric poetry (MCEO 2 and 3).
4. That you learn to describe the literary characteristics of 17th century metaphysical poetry (MCEO 2 and 3).
5. That you write one book review concerning the material and/or writers covered in the course (MCEO 2 and 3).
6. That you write a well-researched literary analysis (MCEO 2 and 3).
7. That you complete a creative project (MCEO 2 and 3).
8. That you utilize email to extend class discussion, to communicate with me, to perform assigned small group work, and to submit all important written work (MCEO 2, 3, and 4).
9. That you utilize Moodle for class management, including accessing notes, checking grades, participating in class discussions, and related activities (MCEO 2, 3, and 4).
Week 1: Course introduction; characteristics of Elizabethan poetry
Week 2: Elizabethan poets, including Sidney and Spenser
Week 3-5: Shakespeare's sonnets and Venus and Adonis
TEST 1: Feb. 22
Weeks 6-7: Ben Jonson's poetry and the "tribe of Ben" and the Cavalier poets
Weeks 8-9: The poetry of John Donne
TEST 2: Mar. 24
Weeks 10-11: The poetry of George Herbert
Weeks 12-14: Other metaphysical poets; poets in the line of "Holy Herbert"
TEST 3: May 17, noon.
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. In addition, you may request books or journal articles 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 list of databases at http://www.montreat.edu/library/completeelectronic.asp provides links to a variety of databases containing journal articles, online reference sources, and electronic books (ebooks). These databases are accessible both on and off campus. You can search for journals at http://www.montreat.edu/library/electronic.asp. 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 JSTOR
Barish, Jonas A. Ben Jonson: A Collection of Critical Essays.
Vendler, Hennessy. The Art of Shakespeare's Sonnets.
Wallerstein, Ruth C. Richard Crashaw: A Study in Style and Poetic Development.
Walton, Izaak. Lives of John Donne.
White, Helen. The Metaphysical Poets.
Williamson, George. Six Metaphysical Poets: A Reader's Guide.
Message from the Writing Center: 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, as both a student and a graduate.
The Center is located on the top floor of the L. Nelson Bell Library in the back of the computer lab. The Center is open Sunday – Thursday between 6:00 and 11:00 p.m. An appointment is not necessary. If you are a day student or a non-traditional student, you may contact the Director, Cathy James (email@example.com), to schedule a daytime appointment.
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 is http://owl.english.purdue.edu/
ACADEMIC INTEGRITY: For all individual assignments students are expected to present their own work; documentation of research must follow the MLA Handbook for Writer of Research Paper (you can access an online version of this at http://owl.english.purdue.edu/). Cases of academic dishonesty, including but not limited to cheating and plagiarism, will result in either failure of the assignment or the course. For the college's policy on this issue, please click academic integrity.
FINAL COMMENTS: As you can see, this syllabus is on-line; for the most accurate information about the course, go to listing for this course on Moodle . Class discussions, tests, and writing assignments will assume you have accessed all these materials via Moodle . Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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