Course Topics

ENG 260  Shakespeare
For four centuries Shakespeare has been celebrated as the greatest writer in English. This course will help students more fully understand the power of his plays, both as literature for reading and scripts for performance. Reading plays in each major type (comedies, tragedies, and histories; typically seven to eight plays) we will explore such topics as language, moralvision, gender, politics, and historical context. Students will have the opportunity to explore their interpretations in writing and by staging a scene.

ENG/WGST 361  Chaucer & Medieval Literature
From heroes fighting monsters to Arthurian romances, medieval literature is best known for its stories of chivalry. Less well-known but equally wonderful are the comic tales of sex in trees and greedy friars dividing a fart. We will read Beowulf, narrative poems about love and adventure by Marie de France, the tale of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and much more, with in-depth attention to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.

ENG 362 Renaissance Literature
English literature came into its own during the Renaissance, as Sidney, Spenser, and Raleigh courted Queen Elizabeth's favor through love poetry, and sonnets were all the vogue. The period also produced the counter-cultural poetry of Donne and Marvell, and profound religious lyrics of Herbert, and the golden age of English drama with the plays of Marlowe, Shakespeare, and Jonson. The course will explore this rich body of literature through both literary and cultural analysis, with options for a range of student writing.

HON 220  From Ancient to Modern: Transitions and Encounters
This course examines intellectual developments between antiquity and the beginnings of the modern period. It explores such developments as the attempt to reconcile Christianity with ancient Greco-Roman philosophy, the rise of Islamic thought, new intellectual movements in South and East Asia, theological debates of the European Reformation, and encounters among peoples and cultures as a result of global exploration and migration. Prerequisite: consent of instructor.

ENG 185  What Tolkien Read
In The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien attempted to recreate a native mythology for England. To do so, Tolkien drew on the medieval poems and stories he studied as an Oxford professor. In this course, we will read some of the works that fed his imagination, including The Wanderer, Beowulf, Gawain and the Green Knight, and stories from the Icelandic sagas. Through class discussion, small group projects, and seminar presentations, we will think about how those works provided Tolkien with his materials and how they were transformed in his own work. It would be good if students could read (or re-read) the Lord of the Rings before the term starts.

PAID 450  English Theory-Mirror Soc Humanity
This course is a study of London and Stratford theatre in its contexts - the history, culture, and values of England and the modern world. The theatre, the richest in the world in its variety and depth (from highbrow to farce, Shakespeare to Stoppard), serves as focus for exploration of the cities London and Stratford, and of the intellectual, aesthetic, and moral territory of drama.