English 190

Research Seminar: The Faerie Queene: The Ethics of Imagination


Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
9 Spring 2018 Landreth, David
TTh 2-3:30 225 Dwinelle

Book List

Spenser, Edmund: The Faerie Queene

Other Readings and Media

Further reading will be distributed via bCourses.

Description

Edmund Spenser's Faerie Queene (1590-96) is the most vast, most gorgeous, and most deliriously strange of English poems. Its hallucinatory dreamworld mingles self with landscape, character with plot, happenstance events with essential truths. The poet's prodigious imagination whirls us across the poem's world—a world of bold and blundering knights, diabolical yet ridiculous wizards, and treacherously seductive works of art. Yet its poetic voice claims at all times to be teaching us something about how to live in our own world—some ethical ideal—while remaining strangely suspicious of its own imaginative power.

Our central question in this seminar will be what it might mean for us to be taught by such a poem: does learning happen when we read the The Faerie Queene? If so, how, and what kind? Do we learn from charting the poem's elaborate and conflicted structures of morality? From the working out of its loosely woven tales of adventure? From the internal challenge posed to the poem's ethical intentions by its own dazzling techniques of imaginative pleasure? Or from actively resisting the poem's ideological commitments to monarchical government, colonial oppression, and religious strife?

In addressing that complex question, we will spend time attending to The Faerie Queene's techniques of artistry; immersing ourselves in its sprawl; considering how it chooses and manipulates its sources in classical epic, in Scripture, and in medieval romance; reading some central critical approaches to the poem; and considering its legacy for speculative fiction, fantasy, and science fiction in contemporary writing. In our own writing we'll experiment with those different ways of encountering the poem, building up to a research assignment of about fifteen pages.

This section of English 190 satisfies the pre-1800 requirement for the English major.

Please read the paragraph about English 190 on page 2 of the instructions area of this Announcement of Classes for more details about enrolling in or wait-listing for this course.

Please click here for more information about enrollment in English 190.

Other Recent Sections of This Course

spring, 2020

190/1

Research Seminar: Ecopoetry and Ecopoetics

190/2

Research Seminar: William Faulkner’s Temporalities

190/3

Research Seminar: American Romanticism

190/4

Research Seminar: Poetry and the Virtues

190/5

Research Seminar: British Fiction Since 1945

190/6

Research Seminar: Hollywood in the Thirties

190/7

Research Seminar: Jane Austen

190/8

Research Seminar: James Joyce

190/9

Research Seminar: Victorian Versification

190/10

Research Seminar: Modern California Books and Film

fall, 2019

190/1

Research Seminar: Creative Sentences

190/2

Research Seminar: Shakespeare and Company

190/3

Research Seminar: American Transcendentalism

190/4

Research Seminar: Cli Fi (Climate Change Fiction)

190/5

Research Seminar: The Urban Postcolonial

190/6

Research Seminar: Literature on Trial: Romanticism, Law, Justice

190/8

Research Seminar: Ideology

190/10

Research Seminar: Inventing Nature and Constructing Race

spring, 2019

190/1

Research Seminar: Flann O'Brien and Irish Literature

190/2

Research Seminar: Transsexual Literatures and Cultures

190/3

Research Seminar: James / Baldwin

190/5

Research Seminar: California Books and Movies Since World War I

190/6

Research Seminar: Carnal Knowledge in Medieval and Early Modern Literature

190/7

Research Seminar

190/8

Research Seminar: Edgar Allan Poe

190/9

Research Seminar: Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln

190/10

Research Seminar: Emily Dickinson

190/11

Research Seminar: Willa Cather

190/13

Research Seminar: Sixties Cinema

fall, 2018

190/1

Research Seminar: Melville in the 50s

190/2

Research Seminar: Laughter and Vision: Explorations in the Novel of Ideas

190/3

Research Seminar: Representations of Coercion and Resistance in African American Slave, Jim Crow, and Neo-slave Narratives

190/4

Research Seminar: William Blake

190/7

Research Seminar: The Urban Postcolonial

190/8

Research Seminar: Repression and Resistance

190/9

Research Seminar: Mark Twain

Griffin, Ben

190/10

Research Seminar

No instructor assigned yet.

190/11

Research Seminar

No instructor assigned yet.

190/12

Research Seminar: California Books and Movies Since World War I

190/13

Research Seminar: The Jamesian Novel

190/14

Research Seminar

spring, 2018

190/1

Research Seminar: Trials of Literature: Romanticism, Justice, and the Law

190/2

Research Seminar: James Joyce

190/3

Research Seminar: Hawthorne & Melville

190/4

Research Seminar: Reading Walden Carefully

190/5

Research Seminar: Harlem Renaissance

190/6

Research Seminar: Sixty Years Since: The Historical Novel

190/7

Research Seminar: Contemporary Historical Fiction

190/8

Research Seminar: Literary Theory and Its Objects

190/10

Research Seminar: Pagan Fictions in Christian Literature

190/11

Research Seminar: Andrew Marvell

190/12

Research Seminar: California Books and Movies Since World War I

190/13

Research Seminar: Alfred Hitchcock

fall, 2017

190/1

Research Seminar: Britain in the ‘60s

190/2

Research Seminar: The Historical Novel

190/3

Research Seminar: Another Day in Purgatory: Irish Literature and the Afterlife

190/6

Research Seminar: Literature and Revolution

190/7

Research Seminar: Monsters, Exiles, and Outlaws in Medieval Literature

190/8

Research Seminar: George Eliot and the Realist Novel

190/9

Research Seminar: Historiography and Narrative: Literature and the Interstices of History

190/10

Research Seminar: Suspicious Mind

190/11

Research Seminar: Nonsense

190/12

Research Seminar: Making Memories

spring, 2017

190/1

Research Seminar: The Urban Postcolonial

190/2

Research Seminar: Harlem Renaissance

190/3

Research Seminar: Literature and the Linguistic Turn

190/4

Research Seminar: Jane Austen and the Theory of the Novel

190/5

Research Seminar: Writing a World in Crisis: Medieval and Modern

190/6

Research Seminar: Shakespeare: From the Globe to the Global

190/7

Research Seminar: Place-Love: Fiction and the Melancholy of Form

190/8

Research Seminar: Literatures of the Ocean

190/9

Research Seminar: Beowulf

190/10

Research Seminar: Hollywood in the 1930s

190/11

Research Seminar: The Literature of Immortality

190/13

Research Seminar: California Literature & Film Since WWI


Back to Semester List