ENGL 3400 Readings in British Literature: Renaissance to Modern

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Catalog Description

Pre- or co-requisite: ENGL 2900. Introduction to the study of British literature and culture, including key authors, movements and traditions in their historical, literary, and aesthetical contexts. 

Course Description

ENGL 3400 Readings in British Literature: Renaissance to Modern is one of the six core Readings courses in the English undergraduate degree program. The core Readings courses provide majors with awareness of the concepts, histories, and theories central to the study of literature and language, and thus serve as “gateway” courses to 4000-level electives. ENGL 3400 explores the key developments, figures, and movements in British literature from the English Renaissance to literary Modernism through readings drawn from a range of genres. Progress is measured, variously, in written work, exams and other projects.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • demonstrate understanding of the key authors and texts of the period.
  • identify and analyze the principal literary genres and conventions in each period (i.e. Renaissance, Romantic, Victorian, etc.) and across the entire period.
  • make effective comparisons and connections between relevant aspects of different texts.
  • identify historical and cultural developments important to each period (i.e. Renaissance, Victorian, Modernist, etc.).
  • recognize the possible relationships between a text and its historical and cultural context.
  • account for and explain historical trends and issues that affected the development of British literature and culture within each period and across the entire period.
  • demonstrate general skills in reading comprehension, critical thinking, literary analysis, and academic writing in the humanities.

Course Outline

Course content might be organized in a number of ways. Listed below are two common methods of organizing a literature survey course.

Chronological Structure

Weeks 1-3—English Renaissance|
Weeks 4-5—Late Renaissance and Civil War
Weeks 6-8—Restoration and Eighteenth Century
Weeks 9-10—British Romanticism
Weeks 11-13—Victorian Literature
Weeks 14-15—Modernism

Modes/Genres Structure

Weeks 1-5—Drama from Shakespeare to Shaw
Weeks 6-9—Poetry from Shakespeare to Eliot
Weeks 10-15—The British Novel

About the Banner: Detail from William Holman Hunt, "The Lady of Shalott" (1905) (image from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Holman-Hunt,_William,_and_Hughes,_Edward_Robert_-_The_Lady_of_Shalott_-_1905.jpg)