A study of English writers of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries in relation to the international cultural movement of the European Renaissance, with an emphasis on changing attitudes towards the Renaissance project of reviving the classical past. The first half of the semester follows the impact of Renaissance humanism on poetry, history, philology, semiotics, exegesis, and autobiography; the second half considers individual case studies of the ways in which English Renaissance writers assimilate and transform humanism’s aims, aspirations, and failures.
An introduction to epic poetry and to several of the most significant works in the genre: Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, Vergil's Aeneid, Milton's Paradise Lost, and Wordsworth's The Prelude. The course examines epic poems in relation to their own historical contexts as well as the interplay between texts in the epic tradition, the shift from epic to novel, and the manifestations of epic narrative in the modern world especially in film.
A study of the works of the Edmund Spenser, with an emphasis on his masterpiece The Faerie Queene. The course will give particular attention to Spenser’s roots in the Bible and classical literature, his use of allegory, and his engagement with the politics and writing of his own day.
This course traces the reception of Ovid’s Metamorphoses through the diverse responses of Petrarch, Marlowe, Shakespeare, Spenser, Milton and Dryden, exploring how Renaissance writers fashioned their own poetry in response to the generative power of Ovid’s work.
This course investigates Shakespeare’s lifelong engagement with the literature, politics, and culture of ancient Rome. It will give careful attention to the three "Roman Plays" - Julius Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra, and Coriolanus - but will also consider the larger role of classical antiquity in Shakespeare’s development and achievement as a dramatist.
This course will study the literature of the English Renaissance in relationship to the cultural and intellectual movements of 16th century Europe. It aims to offer a survey of the major authors (Wyatt, Sidney, Spenser, Marlowe, Shakespeare), texts, and genres of this dynamic period. We will focus on the literary, intellectual, religious, and cultural contexts which English Renaissance authors aspired imitate and transform, including Petrarchan love lyric,...