About This Course
This course is supposed to cover British lit from the Middle Ages through the 18th century. We're not even going to pretend that this is possible to do, comprehensively, in 14 weeks. What we will hit are some of the most influential highlights and interesting moments of this millennium and a half, focusing rather more intently on the last 300 or so of those years.
You will get—and you will need it—a wide range of historical context to help you understand these texts; I have no illusions about any given piece of literature’s “universal” appeal and know that even the best readers need assistance with material that is many generations removed from our own lives and experiences. And, yet, in spite of their apparent foreignness, we will also be looking for connections, drawing lines of continuity with our own time, even as we discuss the contrasts.
Sample texts: The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 10th Ed. Volumes A, B, C
Defoe, Daniel. Moll Flanders. Penguin Classics Edition.