English 258Survey of English Literature I
Dr. Michael Bryson
Sierra Tower 832

Course Description: This course is going to cover nearly a millennium's worth of literature in a relatively short time. As a result, we will be hitting only the highlights of the period from Beowulf through Jonathan Swift (about 700-1000 years, depending on your historical reckoning), with stops along the way to sample such luminaries as Chaucer, Sydney, Marlowe, Shakespeare, Donne, Herbert, Milton, and Congreve, among others. As we move through the course, you will gain a sense of the sweep of English literary history and the changes English itself has undergone; you will also learn a little something about literary genres (epic, drama, etc.) and literary forms (sonnets), with a side trip into the history of ideas (the philosophical and theological backgrounds of some of the literary texts).
The Norton Anthology of English Literature (7th ed) Volume 1

1) Reading journals (1 page—minimum—per week of reaction/commentary/analysis in response to that week's reading selections, to be due at the beginning of each class, beginning with week 2. No makeup or late work accepted for the journals)—250 points.
2) Midterm essay exam (5-7 pages in response to questions I will distribute in class. You will have two weeks to work on the exam out of class)—350 points
3) Final paper (7-8 pages in response to one of a variety of possible paper topics I will provide in advance)—400 points.

Statement on Academic Dishonesty:
Plagiarism is a serious offense that will be treated seriously. Please read the CSUN policy here.

Weekly Preview:

Week 1 (8/31): Introductions

Week 2 (9/7): AnonymousBeowulf

Week 3 (9/14): Chaucer—The Canterbury Tales (General Prologure, Miller's Tale)

Week 4 (9/21): Anonymous—Mystery Plays (The Chester Play of Noah's Flood, The Wakefield Second Shepherd's Play)

Week 5 (9/28): Various Authors—Sonnets and Sonnet forms (Wyatt, Spenser, Sydney, Shakespeare)

Week 6 (10/5): Various Authors—Philosophical and Theological backgrounds (Calvin, Hoby, Hobbes)

Week 7 (10/12): MarloweDr. Faustus

Week 8 (10/19): ShakespeareKing Lear; Midterm essay exam distributed (due 11/2)

Week 9 (10/26): Various Authors—Metaphysical Poets and Others (Donne, Herbert, Vaughan, Herrick)

Week 10 (11/2): MiltonParadise Lost 1-3

Week 11 (11/9): MiltonParadise Lost 4-6

Week 12 (11/16): MiltonParadise Lost 7-8

Week 13 (11/23—MiltonParadise Lost 9-12

Week 14 (11/29): CongreveThe Way of the World

Week 15 (12/6): SwiftA Modest Proposal; Pope The Rape of the Lock (Topics for final papers distributed—paper due 12/16)

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