EL 202 Syllabus Spring 2018

Monday 11:00-11:50,  JF 108    Wednesday 11:00-12:50, TB 240

Course Description

The word “Renaissance” conjures up images of revolution, of overthrowing the old and ushering in the new. This period sees the discovery of the New World, the rise of literary humanism, and the Protestant revolt against Roman Catholicism. But the concept of the “Renaissance”–along with that of the “Medieval”–was for the most part an invention of the 18th and 19th centuries. In fact, 16th- and 17th-century Europe was broadly continuous with the “Middle Ages”. The people were no less plague-ridden, and monarchs no less powerful; piety was never more fervent, and superstition never more terrible (more witches were burned during this time than any other). And yet something was surely changing, enough that scholars today usually describe the “Renaissance” as the “early modern” period. In this course, we will explore the continuities and discontinuities that compose the early modern world through the figure of the rebel. Did rebels think of themselves as rebels? Do early modern plays and poems have sympathy for the devil and his fellow-travellers, the rakes, rogues, and libertines of the period? If the early modern period can be described as a period of “revolutions”, were these revolutions oriented toward the new, or were they rather nostalgic, seeking a return to an imagined past?  

Grade Breakdown

Participation: 15%
Short papers: 40%
Midterm: 20%
Final: 25%

Grade Descriptions

Participation: Students are required to participate in this class–that includes showing up, offering opinions, and completing all assignments.
Short papers: 4 pages each, please follow prompts. Some papers will require you to make use of the EEBO-TCP database.
Midterm/Final: There are no quizzes in this class. Exams will test reading knowledge.


Course Packet (available at library copy center)
John Milton, Paradise Lost (available at bookstore)

Week 1
Monday, Feb. 5th   Introduction
Wed., Feb. 7th        Martin Luther, from The Freedom of a Christian; William Tyndale, “The Four Senses of Scripture” from The Obedience of a Christian Man and How Rulers Ought to Govern; “The Art of Disagreeing Badly” (web).

Recommended readings: Richard Strier,  “Martin Luther and the Real Presence in Nature”

Week 2
Monday, Feb. 12th      Church of England, “39 Articles of Religion.” Richard Baines note on Christopher Marlowe. Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus, Act 1.
Wed, Feb. 14th            Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus, Acts 2-3.

Recommended Readings: Leah Marcus, “Marlowe’s Magic Books”, in Marlowe in Context; Stephen Greenblatt, Renaissance Self-Fashioning, chapter 5.

Week 3
Monday, Feb. 19th      Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus, Acts 4-5.
Wed, Feb. 21st             Edmund Spenser, Letter to Raleigh and The Bower of Bliss, from            Te Faerie Queene.

                            Paper 1 Due Friday Feb. 22nd.

Week 4
Monday, Feb. 26th      Thomas Middleton, The Revenger’s Tragedy, Act 1.
Wed, Fed. 28th            Middleton, The Revenger’s Tragedy, Acts 2-3.

Week 5
Monday, Mar. 5th       Middleton, The Revenger’s Tragedy, Acts 4-5.
Wed, Mar. 7th             Middleton, The Revenger’s Tragedy

Week 6
Monday, Mar. 12th     John Donne, from Songs and Sonnets
Wed, Mar. 14th           John Donne, from Songs and Sonnets

Recommended reading: Jonathan Post, “Irremediably Donne”, from English Lyric Poetry: The Early Seventeenth Century.

                                 Paper 2 Due Friday Mar. 16th.

Week 7
Monday, Mar. 19th     John Ford, ’Tis Pity She’s a Whore, Act 1.

***Tuesday, Mar. 20th Midterm Exam, NH 302, 17:00***

Wed, Mar. 21st            John Ford, ’Tis Pity She’s a Whore, Acts 2-3.

Recommended reading: Bruce Boehrer, “Nice Philosophy”: ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore and the Two Books of God,” SEL 24 (1984): 355-371

Week 8
Monday, Mar. 26th     John Ford, ’Tis Pity She’s a Whore, Acts 4-5.
Wed, Mar. 28th           John Ford, ’Tis Pity She’s a Whore

Week 9
Monday, Apr. 2nd      John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book 1.
Wed, Apr. 4th             Milton, Paradise Lost, Book 1-2.

                               Paper 3 due Friday April 6th.

Week 10
Monday, Apr. 9th      Milton, Paradise Lost, Book 2.
Wed, Apr. 11th          Milton, Paradise Lost, Book 2-3.

Recommended reading: David Quint, Inside Paradise Lost.

                                          Spring Break

Week 11
Monday, Apr. 23rd    Milton, Paradise Lost, Books 3-4.
Wed, Apr. 25th           Milton, Paradise Lost, Books 4-6.

Recommended reading: Gordon Teskey, Delirious Milton.

Week 12
Monday, Apr. 30th    Milton, Paradise Lost, Book 8.
Wed, May 2nd           Milton, Paradise Lost, Book 8-9.

Week 13
Monday, May 7th     Milton, Paradise Lost, Book 9.
Wed, May 9th           Milton, Paradise Lost, Book 10; 12.574-end.

                             Paper 4 due Wednesday May 9th.

                                         Final Exam TBA

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