ENGL 3113W-01: Renaissance English Literature

Instructor: Clare Costley King’oo

Prerequisite: English 1010 or 1011 or 2011 or 3800

This course, designed with Honors students in mind, delves into the major writers and literary traditions of England from the beginning of the sixteenth century to the middle of the seventeenth century (or, roughly, from Sir Thomas More and Sir Thomas Wyatt to John Donne and John Milton). Our principal aim will be to familiarize ourselves with the most popular genres of the time, including autobiography, martyrology, lyric verse, epic poetry, prose fiction, and drama. We will also investigate how the literature of the period interacted with contemporary social, cultural, and economic upheavals—such as the arrival of the printing press, the development of Humanist thought, the growth of capitalist enterprise, the exploration and conquest of the new world, the expansion of the enclosure movement, and the often-violent religious conflicts of the Reformation. Our discoveries will be the focus of our own rigorous writing practices, as we work on improving our argumentative and stylistic skills through a range of reports and essays (with revisions). Lively participation in class discussions will be expected and warmly encouraged. Students who have already completed an early English literature course (British Literature I, Medieval English Literature, or Shakespeare, for example) will be particularly well prepared for this class.