Print Version

Effective: Summer 2011

Prerequisites: Prerequisite: One of the following: ENGL 1A, 1AH, 1S & 1T or ESLL 26.
Grade Type: Letter Grade, the student may select Pass/No Pass
Not Repeatable.
FHGE: Humanities Transferable: CSU/UC
4 hours lecture. (48 hours total per quarter)

Student Learning Outcomes -
  • Student will demonstrate critical thinking and analysis of the literature within historical, (multi)cultural, and philosophical contexts.
  • Acquire knowledge of the historical and cultural period, major writers, and key texts produced from 650-1620s CE
Description -
A survey of selected literary works beginning with the earliest Old English period (Caedmon's Hymn, Beowulf, etc), Middle English period (the Gawain poet, Chaucer, etc) and the early modern period (Spenser, Shakespeare, Donne, Milton, etc) focusing on the development of literary genres within specific historical and cultural contexts.

Course Objectives -
The student will be able to:
  1. Develop critical thinking skills by:
    1. Reading, understanding, and identifying the major literary genres (Old English elegy, the dream vision, heroic narratives, Middle English verse romances, the sonnet, Elizabethan drama, epic, etc.)
    2. Applying relevant critical and theoretical frameworks (formalist, historicist/new historicist, feminist, post-colonial, etc) to evaluate the literature.
    3. identifying relevant historical, literary, and multicultural issues in the literature.
    4. analyzing the literature through interpretations and arguments in written and oral forms.
    5. collaborating in clarifying, explaining, and resolving interpretive issues or problems.
  2. Acquire knowledge of the historical and cultural period, major writers, and key texts and documents of English literature from the Old English, Middle English, and Early Modern periods by:
    1. studying at least six authors (the Beowulf poet, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, etc).
    2. tracing the emergence and development of literary styles, major genres (elegy, romance), and forms (the sonnet, etc) during this period.
    3. analyzing the rich and diverse indigenous, colonial, and emerging cultural influences on literature of this period.
    4. tracing the development and emergence of an English national identity and culture in literary texts from its early Anglo-Saxon origins, Anglo-Norman continental influences, and the early modern English state.
    5. analyzing the rich and diverse indigenous British, Scandinavian, Germanic, French, Italian cultural contributions to the literature in each period.
    6. analyzing dominant ethical, philosophical, political, religious, and social perspectives in the literature of this period.
    7. investigating the portrayal of gender roles in literature of this period.
    8. demonstrating via discussion and writing an awareness of the way Britain's past has shaped its linguistic and literary present.
Special Facilities and/or Equipment -

Course Content (Body of knowledge) -
  1. Survey of selected works/authors in each historical period of English Literature:
    1. Old English literature, including elegies, heroic narratives, etc (~650 - 1100)
    2. Middle English literature, including the lyric and verse romance (1100 - 1500)
    3. Early Modern literature, including the sonnet, stage play, etc (1500 -1660)
  2. Critical approaches to the literature of the period
    1. historical analysis showing the growth of principal literary genres and forms
    2. cultural analysis showing contributions of different groups
    3. formalist analysis focusing on the aesthetics of style
    4. feminist/postcolonial analysis
  3. Class activities
    1. Lectures about historical/cultural contexts of works surveyed
    2. Large and small group discussions of themes and techniques in each work
    3. Reading aloud and memorizing key passages of a text
    4. Written response to works under study
    5. When appropriate, movies, slides, recordings, guest lectures.
Methods of Evaluation -
  1. Comprehensive midterm and final examination
  2. Critical essays (at least one formal paper)
  3. Participation in class discussion
  4. Class presentations (at instructor's discretion).
Representative Text(s) -
Greenblatt, Stephen, ed. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. 8th Edition. Volume A: The Middle Ages. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2006.
Greenblatt, Stephen, ed. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. 8th Edition. Volume B: The Sixteenth Century and the Early Seventeenth Century. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2006.

Disciplines -
Method of Instruction -
Reading texts in the British literary canon; lectures on the texts and their historical, social, and theoretical contexts; class discussion regarding those issues and texts; small group projects and presentations; analytical writing projects.
Lab Content -
Not applicable.
Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing and Outside of Class Assignments -
  1. Reading from representative literary texts as assigned by instructor.
  2. Quizzes on reading comprehension of assigned literary texts.
  3. Individual and small group presentations on the literature and its historical, cultural, and theoretical contexts.
  4. Analytical and reader response journal assignments on readings.
  5. At least one formal literary analysis writing project demonstrating comprehension and critical thinking.