ENGL 201 - Survey of English Literature I

Major writers from the medieval period through to 1660 will be examined within their historical context.


Credits:  3


Hours: 45 (Lecture Hours: 3)


Total Weeks:  15



Any two of ENGL 100 Academic Writing, ENGL 105 Nonfictional Prose, ENGL 111 Poetry and Drama, OR ENGL 112 Prose Fiction


Non-Course Prerequisites: 






Course Content:

English 201 concentrates on close readings of representative works which are primarily but not exclusively canonical and reflect the achievements of English literature from its early beginnings in the British Middle Ages to the Restoration period in England. Students will read of a medieval world that assumed that there was an essential order to the universe, even as the period’s literature registered emerging tensions and convergences in Celtic and Christian traditions. Students will sample Anglo-Saxon heroic verse, French-inspired romances, and Middle English satires, which demonstrate how English vernacular eventually overcome Latin and French as England’s language of choice for writing. Students will sample genres such as the court-inspired plays and poetry of “golden age” of English literature in the Renaissance, and they will explore how new artistic genres emerged in response to the repressive Puritan regime of Oliver Cromwell. Literary works include the expressions of common people and of their concerns about militarism, heroism, spirituality, chivalry, gender, race, and reproduction and inheritance. Assigned readings also include powerful individual voices, from the anonymous author of Beowulf, to the Renaissance courtiers who benefited from royal patronage, and to the great epic poet John Milton.

- Anglo-Saxon Literature:
   Reading: Beowulf
     Germanic and Christian traditions
     Vernacular culture, oral transmission and primary epics
     Heroic poetry and the comitatus
     Lyric voice
     Old English versification
- Anglo-Norman Literature and Writings of the Central Middle Ages:
   Readings: Marie de France, Lanval; Anonymous, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight; Geoffrey Chaucer, "The Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale"; "The Miller's Tale"
     Medieval romance
     Chivalry and Arthurian legend
     French-inspired lai
     Bob-and-wheel stanza
     Estates satire and fabliau
- Renaissance Literature:
   Readings: Poetry by Sir Thomas Wyatt, Sir Philip Sidney, William Shakespeare, John Donne, Lady Mary Wroth, Andrew Marvel, and George Herbert; Sir Philip Sidney's Defence of Poesy; William Shakespeare, Othello
     Renaissance Humanism
     Sonnet and sonnet cycle
     Metaphysical poetry
     (anti) Petrarchan conceits
     Antitheatrical debate
     Vates and the imitation of nature
     Elizabethan and Jacobean theatre
     Tragic convention
- Commonwealth and Seventeenth-Century Literature:
   Readings: Poetry by Margaret Cavendish and Katherine Philips; Joseph Swetnam and Ester Sowernam, "The Arraignment of Lewd, Idle, Froward, and Inconstant Woman" and "Ester Hath Hanged Haman"; John Milton, Paradise Lost, Books 1 and 9; Anna Trapnel, from Anna Trapnel's Report and Plea; Alice Thornton, from Book of Remembrances
     The English Civil War
     Royalist literature
     Platonic love and lyric poetry
     Seventeenth-century pamphlet wars
     Querelle des femme
     Secondary epic
     Autobiography and commonplace books

     Religious disclosure and the body politic


Learning Outcomes:

- Read literary works written in Middle English and Early Modern English
- Identify writing styles from the major literary periods, 700-1660
- Analyze contrasts and resemblances between authors' presentations of themes
- Describe genres of literature within their historical time periods
- Identify and write about generic attributes of literature
- Compose a short essay that offers a close analysis of a literary work
- Compose a proposal and annotated bibliography for a research essay
- Compose an article-length research paper
- Taken clear notes from lecture material to aid in preparation for a midterm and a final exam


Grading System:  Letters


Passing Grade:  D (50%)


Percentage of Individual Work:  100


Additional Comments:

- Out of fairness to other students, a penalty of 5 % will be deducted each day an assignment is late; an alternate due date must be obtained from the instructor prior to the original submission date.
- Students must submit the final research project to pass the course. Failure to submit the research project will result in an automatic 'F' in ENGL 201.
- A plagiarized paper will receive '0,' and it will be forwarded to the Dean of Academics and the NLC plagiarism committee for further review.


Textbooks are subject to change.  Please contact the bookstore at your local campus for current book lists.