English 45A

Literature in English: Through Milton

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Fall 2020 Goodman, Kevis
Lectures MW 9-10 + 1 hour of discussion section per week (sec. 101: F 9-10; sec. 103: F 10-11; sec. 105: Thurs. 11-12; sec. 106: Thurs. 1-2)

Book List

Chaucer, Geoffrey (ed. Kolve and Olson): The Canterbury Tales: Seventeen Tales and the General Prologue; Milton, John (ed. Teskey): Paradise Lost; Spenser, Edmund (ed. Kaske): The Faerie Queene, Book 1

Other Readings and Media

Course Reader: includes Renaissance and early 17th Century lyrics, selected essays, and reading guides. There will also be an active bCourses site, with handouts and materials.


This course offers an introduction to English literary history from the late fourteenth to the late seventeenth centuries. Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene, and John Milton’s Paradise Lost will be our main texts, but we will also look at selected shorter poems from the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In addition to the historical and formal issues specific to each text, topics for discussion will include: changes within the English language; tensions between received authority (literary, religious, or political) and experience; poets’ readings of their predecessors; challenges to didacticism posed by playful literary form; competing ideas about gender; shifting definitions of place and personhood; and quests of various kinds. Along the way, we will probe the uses and implications of a range of literary genres, modes, and forms (epic, romance, lyric, allegory, irony, and others).

Discussion Sections

101 Warren, Noah
F 9-10 305 Wheeler
103 Warren, Noah
F 10-11 305 Wheeler
105 James, John Patrick
Thurs. 11-12 31 Evans
106 James, John Patrick
Thurs. 1-2 41 Evans

Other Recent Sections of This Course

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