ENG 211: English Survey I 


Block 5, 2010
Class meets: 9:30-1
1, 1:00-3 (see schedule for details)

Prof. Katy Stavreva
Office: South Hall 200
Office Hours:
M, W 11-noon, T 3-4 and by appointment

Class web site: http://people.cornellcollege.edu/kstavreva/EnglishSurvey1

Phone: x-4255 (o)



Required Texts

Abrams et al., The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 8th edition, vol. 1 and
Norton Anthology web companion at http://www.wwnorton.com/college/english/nael/welcome.htm

Course Description

Covering 1000 years of literature in "English," from the 8th to the "long 18th century" (which apparently began in 1660), English 211 will provide you with a grounding in the forms, genres and historical traditions of English literature, and help you establish a sense of its cultural context. This was a period of profound cultural changes reflected in the literary works and sometimes precipitated by means of these works. In 1066 the Normans invaded England. In the sixteenth century England broke with the Roman Catholic church, established a royal ascendancy over the church, and began to build an empire. In 1649, in the midst of a raging civil war, the King of England, Scotland, and Ireland was executed. A Glorious and, more importantly, Bloodless Revolution occurred in 1688. All of this cultural turmoil and trauma made for some remarkable literature.

Needless to say, we'll be moving at the speed of light and by the end of the block we all may well find more than a passing resemblance between ourselves and the monks at the top of the page. To help you keep you bearings, we will revisit the convergent themes of love, politics, and death in each of the three main historical periods of the survey: the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and the post-Restoration era. We will pay close attention to the language, form, and genre of individual works to the extent that the pace of the survey course allows us, but your final exam will ask you to demonstrate a grasp of developments in literature over time, and to illustrate your critical stance with specific examples from the readings.

Course Requirements

Active class participation is vital to your success and the success of this course. Paying due respect to the readings means coming to class ready to articulate, examine, and negotiate the responses you have formed. I may administer reading quizzes if the need arises; if so, quiz grades will factor into your participation grade. To determine your participation grade, I will take into account

Glossary Entries. You will need to submit four properly documented definitions and analytical illustrations of literary concepts discussed in class.

Teaching Presentation in which you will introduce the class to a literary work (or a self-contained segment thereof) and its literary contexts/resonances. The presentation will be followed by a short personal anthology.

A midterm and a final exam, both of which will include an objective part and short analytical essays.


Late work is a problem because of our packed schedule. Besides, papers which get separated from the main stack have the nasty habit of getting buried among lecture notes, article drafts, committee reports, and plain old correspondence in my office, thus making me (when I canít locate them) uncharacteristically irritable, which Iím sure you hope to avoid. Therefore, papers turned in late get a grade of F. If you need an extension, please let me know at least 36 hours in advance.

Attendance: Class attendance is assumed; you are individually responsible to cover missed topics and exercises; excessive tardiness or missing more than two class sessions will lower your final grade; missing five class sessions constitutes grounds for failing the course.

Plagiarism, also known as intellectual theft, and cheating will not be tolerated. The polilcy on Honesty in Academic Work in the latest issue of The Compass is binding, and ignorance of this policy is not a valid excuse for plagiarism. For the purposes of this class (and most English classes), use MLA style to document other peopleís ideas.You can find a user-friendly guide to MLA documentation in Diana Hacker's online edition of Research and Documentation Online (at http://www.dianahacker.com/resdoc/p04_c08_o.html).If youíre unsure how to credit a source (this includes both the quoted words and the paraphrased ideas of another person), please donít hesitate to ask me.


Class Participation -- 10%
Glossary Entries -- 20%

Teaching Presentation (including personal anthology) -- 25%
Midterm Exam -- 20%
Final Exam -- 25%

Help and accommodation: I realize that reading early texts can be a challenge. Donít hesitate to stop by my office if youíre struggling with a reading or an assignment. Iím happy to talk with my students outside of class, and besides, there's always tea in my office. If you have a disability that requires seating or some other accommodation, please come see me during the first two days of classes. For help with writing, check out the Writing Studio in Cole Library's Center for Teaching and Learning..

Reading and Writing Schedule

NOTE: This schedule is not written in stone. Please bring it to class to record adjustments as they occur. Unless indicated otherwise, all readings are from the Norton Anthology of English Literature, v. 1 (8th edition). NTO=Norton Topics Online (at http://www.wwnorton.com/college/english/nael/connections.htm). Please note that the assigned readings from NTO are in electronic format and print them out as soon as possible. The introductory notes to the assigned texts in the anthology are mandatory reading.

Week 1

1st Mon.

AM Introduction to the class.
Cycle One: Love, Politics, and Death in The English Middle Ages
PM "The Middle Ages (to ca. 1485)" (1-14); "The Wanderer" and "The Wife's Lament" (
111 -15 ).
Concepts: Exeter book,
poetic stress vs. poetic meter, alliterative poetry (Anglo-Saxon), kenning, elegy, fate/wyrd.

1st Tue.

AM Beowulf (29-60). "Linguistic and Literary Conte xts" at http://www.wwnorton.com/college/english/nael/middleages/topic_4/welcome.htm.
PM Beowulf (60-79).
s: oral epic, shame/guilt culture, gift culture, Sutton Hoo, irony, "peace-weaver, "terrible woman."

1st Wed.

PM Beowulf (79- end ).
scop, Christian hero, elegiac hero.

1st Thur.

PM Marie de France, "Lanval" (1 42 -); Chaucer, Canterbury Tales, "General Prologue," ll. 1-18 (216 -18 ); reading Chaucer's Middle English (Harvard U. Tutorial 1).
Concepts: lay (ver
se form), romance, Breton poetry, iambic pentameter, rhyming couplet, nature beginning.

1st Fri.

AM Chaucer, "General Prologue" (218 -38 ); reading Chaucer's Middle English (Harvard U. Tutorials 2-5); "Medieval Estates and Orders: Making and Breaking Rules".
frame narrative, estates satire, implied narrator.

Week 2

2nd Mon.

P M Midterm Exam.

2nd Tue.

Cycle Two: Love, Politics, and Death in Renaissance England
Petrarchism. Wyatt, "My Galley" with Petrarch,
Rima 189 (597);"Whoso List to Hunt" with Petrarch, Rima 190 (595); "They Flee from Me" (599); Sidney, Astrophil and Stella 2, 9, 37 (975-).
Discussion continues.
Renaissance self-fashioning, spezzatura, Petrarchism, imitatio, Italian sonnet (octave, sestet), courtly coterie, sonnet collection (sonnet cycle), English sonnet (quatrain, closing couplet).

2nd Wed.

PM Shakespeare, Sonnets: # 20, 129, 144, 147 (1064, 1074, 1075, 1076). Elizabeth I, "Verses Written with a Diamond (688), "On Monsieur's Departure" (695). Discuss presentation assignment. Concepts: patronage, anti-Petrarchism, poulter’s measure.

2nd Thur.

AM Library workshop on compiling a genealogical bibliography. Class meets at 10 a.m. in Cole Library computer lab, 2nd floor.
PM Donne, "The Flea" (1263), "The Sun Rising" (1266), "The Canonization" (1267), "Break of Day" (1270).
Concepts: metaphysical poetry, metaphysical conceit, aubade, parody, (rhetorical) apostrophe.

2nd Fri.

AM Presentations start today. Spenser, Fairie Queene, introduction, "A Letter of the Authors," Book 1, canto 1 and canto 2, stanzas 1-8 (714-34). Consult the "Review Notes for The Fairie Queene, Book 1" by Prof. J. M. Richardson of Lakehead University, Canada (http://flash.lakeheadu.ca/~jrichard/fq.html).
allegory/”dark conceit,” Spenserian stanza, argument (in an epic poem), “shuttling” reading.
PM Discussion continues.

Week 3

3rd Mon.

PM Francis Bacon, "Of Masques and Triumphs" (1560), Ben Jonson, The Masque of Blackness (1 326-34) and The Irish Masque at Court (NTO at http://www.wwnorton.com/college/english/nael/17century/topic_4/jonson.htm).
Concepts: essay, broken music, figure, masque, anti-masque, Banqueting Hall, concordia discors.

3rd Tue.

AM Donne, Holy Sonnets (1295-99).
: emblem (publication form).
PM Lanyer, "Eve's Apology in Defense of Women" (1
313-19) along with introduction to "The Gender Wars" (1543).
apology, querelle de femmes (women's controversy), polemic.

3rd Wed.

Cycle Three: Love, Politics, and Death after the Restoration
AM Milton, Paradise Lost, book 1, ll. 1-49 and book 4 (1830-33, 1887-1
908 ). Optional reading: "Paradise Lost in Context" (NTO at http://www.wwnorton.com/college/english/nael/17century/topic_2/welcome.htm).
PM Paradise Lost, book 9, ll. 74
5 -1190 (1989-1998).
: new epic, miltonic syntax, epic simile, anti-hero, narrative perspective, invocation.

3rd Thur.

AM "The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century" (2057-80); "The Plurality of Worlds: An Overview" (NTO at http://www.wwnorton.com/college/english/nael/18century/topic_3/welcome.htm) with de Fontenelle's Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds (NTO at http://www.wwnorton.com/college/english/nael/18century/topic_3/discovery.htm); Addison, "On the Scale of Being" (2490-92); Cavendish, "A World in an Eare-Ring" (NTO at http://www.wwnorton.com/college/english/nael/18century/topic_3/cavendish.htm).
restoration literature, natural or "new" philosophy, new science.
PM Swift, Gulliver's Travels, part 2 (2365-2405)
: grotesque, satire.

3rd Fri.

P M Behn, Oroonoko, or the Royal Slave (2183-2204 -92) ; Equiano, from The Interesting Narrative, [The Middle Passage] (28 50 - 55 ). Discuss final exam.
novel, novella, memoir, "passing," pastoral, "exile" as trope.

Week 4

4th Mon.

P M Behn, Oroonoko, or the Royal Slave (2 204-26 ) ; Equiano, from The Interesting Narrative, [A Free Man] (2855-59); "Slavery and the Slave Trade in Britain" (NTO at http://www.wwnorton.com/college/english/nael/18century/topic_2/welcome.htm). Concepts: primitivist literature, captivity (slave) narrative, spiritual autobiography. Last day of presentations.

4th Tue.

AM Behn, "The Disappointment" (2180-83); Earl of Rochester, "The Imperfect Enjoyment (2169-71); Dryden, Song from Marriage a la Mode (2087); Astell, Some Reflections upon Marriage (2284-88); Montagu, "Epistle from Mrs Yonge to Her Husband" (2587-88). Concepts: “imperfect enjoyment” (poetic genre), heroic epistle, feminist separatism.

4th Wed.

AM Final Exam.

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