English 246C

Graduate Proseminars (Renaissance)

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Fall 2022 Marno, David
W 2-5 Wheeler 305


According to one of the most influential, and contested, theories of modernity, our life in capitalism and bureaucratic rationality began in the early modern period “when asceticism was carried out of monastic cells into everyday life, and began to dominate worldly morality.” In this course, we ask how or indeed whether 16th-century literature fits in with Max Weber’s theory of the Protestant Reformation bringing about the disenchantment of the world. Did the worldly poetry of Thomas Wyatt or Philip Sidney precipitate the secularization Weber talks about? Should we read the psalm translations of Anne Locke or Mary Sidney as some of the earliest attempts at re-enchantment by literature? Or do the literary cultures that emerged between Thomas More’s Utopia and his great-grandnephew John Donne’s satires tell an altogether different story?

The plan of the course is to consider a little bit of prose and drama but keep our main focus on poetry; however, the reading schedule will have the flexibility to accommodate texts students would like to read in the context of the course.

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