Spring Term

Course Information

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1. Creative Writing Workshops
2. Common Ground Courses
English 40. Arrivals: British Literature, 700-1700
Instructor: Daniel Donoghue

Tuesdays & Thursdays, 10-11:30 am | Location: Sever 102 / Section: Sever 211

Enrollment: Limited to 27 students.

An introduction to major works in English literature from Beowulf through the seventeenth century, the course will explore various ways that new literatures are created in response to cultural forces that shape poets, genres, and group identity. We will hone close reading skills, introduce rhetorical tropes, and develop techniques of critical writing.

Note: Be sure to attend first class meeting to be considered for admittance.

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English 57. Poets: Metaphysical Poetry
Instructor: Gordon Teskey

Mondays & Wednesdays, 1-2 | Location: Robinson 107

Enrollment: Limited to 27 students.

A course on the major lyric poets of the 17th century, Donne, Jonson, Herbert, and Marvell. What is the relation between poetry and philosophy, between lyric expression and permanent order? In the seventeenth century, medieval notions of order gave way before the rise of science and of early modern philosophy.

Note: Be sure to attend first class meeting to be considered for admittance. Formerly English 90qm.

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3. Undergraduate Seminars
English 90hb. Five Shakespeare Plays
Instructor: Marc Shell

Thursdays, 2-4 pm | Location: Barker 211

Enrollment: Limited to 15 students.

Five Shakespearean Pieces: The seminar will focus on five plays (Hamlet, Measure for Measure, Henry V, Tempest, and Merchant of Venice) with special attention to staging, literariness, and location.

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4. Undergraduate Tutorials
5. Lectures with Sections
English 103g. Old English: Working with Manuscripts
Instructor: Daniel Donoghue

Mondays & Wednesdays, 11-12 | Location: Barker 211

The task of translation will be supplemented by consistent attention to the manuscript contexts of Old English literature. The texts will include selections from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Genesis, the Exeter Book Riddles, Beowulf, and others. The course will guide students through basic principles of manuscript study and will culminate in a collaborative edition of an Old English text.

Note: Students who complete both English 102 and 103 with honors grades will fulfill the College language requirement and the English Department’s Foreign Literature requirement. Prerequisite: English 102. 

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English 124d. Shakespearean Tragedy
Instructor: Stephen Greenblatt

Mondays & Wednesdays, 10-11 am | Location: Harvard Hall 201

We will read the succession of tragedies from the early Titus Andronicus and Romeo and Juliet to the late Antony and Cleopatra and Coriolanus, with particular attention to the astonishing sequence of Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, and Macbeth. Part of the course will involve screening and discussion of film, as well as glimpses of modern adaptations. Readings will include theories of tragedy, as well as Shakespearean sources and modern criticism.

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English 131p. Milton’s Paradise Lost
Instructor: Gordon Teskey

Mondays & Wednesdays, 2-3 pm | Location: Barker 024

This course focuses on Milton’s most famous work, Paradise Lost, the greatest long poem in English and the only successful classical epic in the modern world. Milton went totally blind in his forties and composed Paradise Lost by reciting verses to anyone available to take them down, comparing his lot to that of blind prophets and poets of legend. He had prepared all his life to write an epic poem, although he thought it would be on a British theme, such as King Arthur, not on a biblical one, the fall of humanity and the origin of history. We will read through the poem entirely and in sequence, while considering such matters as Milton’s innovative verse, his concept of the origin of history, and his creation for readers of the experience of the sublime. We will consider how he constructs scenes and how he builds characters, especially his most famous one, Satan.

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6. Graduate Seminars
7. Cross-Listed in other Departments
8. Freshman Seminars