English 115A

The English Renaissance (Through the 16th Century)

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Spring 2011 Nishimura, Kimiko
Nishimura, Kimiko
TTh 2-3:30 200 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

More, T.: Utopia; Castiglione, B.: The Book of the Courtier; Spenser, E.: The Faerie Queene; Marlowe, C.: Edward the Second; Shakespeare, W.: The Taming of the Shrew; Shakespeare, W.: The Merchant of Venice

Recommended: Nashe, T.: The Unfortunate Traveler & Other Works


An interdisciplinary exploration of literature produced in England mainly from 1550 to 1600 -- a period of considerable shifts not only in social, political, and ideological formations, but also in literary production and consumption. Our general approach will be to read each text closely and with attention to the socio-historical issues at play. As indicated in the syllabus, each text is keyed to a specific theme drawn from the broader cultural context of the time: the place of literary imitation in the construction of individual as well as national identities; the tensions between the established elite culture and the emerging institutions of "middle-class" and popular culture; the role of discourses of sex/gender in various domains of domination and marginalization, etc. Students are expected not only to exhibit basic skills in literary analysis, but also to push beyond them toward a more sophisticated and nuanced interpretive practice. Although largely a lecture course, discussion is warmly welcomed. There will be a number of writing assignments of different types.

This course satisfies the pre-1800 requirement for the English major.

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