English 45A

Literature in English: Through Milton

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Fall 2021 Goodman, Kevis
MW 12-1 + one hour of discussion 3 Physics Building

Other Readings and Media






This course offers an introduction to English literary history from the late fourteenth to the later seventeenth centuries. Three long epics or epic-romances—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 Renaissance lyrics. In addition to the historical and formal issues specific to each poem, topics for discussion will include: changes within the English language; tensions between experience and received authorities (literary, religious, or political); 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).

We will be using these specific editions of our three main texts. Shorter works will be available in a Course Reader (electronic and hard copies will be available).

  1. Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales: Nine Tales and the General Prologue, ed. V. A. Kolve and Glending Olson. Norton Critical Editions. (ISBN-13: 978-0393952452)
  2. Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, Book 1, ed. Carol V. Kaske. Hackett Classics (ISBN-13: 978-0872208070).
  3. John Milton, Paradise Lost, ed. Gordon Teskey. Norton Critical Editions. (ISBN-13: 978-0393924282).

Discussion Sections

102 Zodrow, Kristin
Friday 12-1 122 Wheeler
103 Zodrow, Kristin
Friday 10-11 122 Wheeler
105 Funderburg, Katie
Thursday 11-12 233 Dwinelle
106 Funderburg, Katie
Thursday 1-2 55 Evans

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