English 122iw. Imagining the World in Medieval and Renaissance Literature

Instructor: Alan Niles
Tuesday & Thursday, 1:30-2:45pm | Location: Sever 208
Course Website

How did writers and audiences imagine the world before modernity? This course offers an introduction to the first 1000 years of English literature (roughly 700-1700) and the shifting terms through which writers were able to imagine the world beyond their borders. We will encounter hardy seafarers, fantastical monsters, and real and imagined peoples at the margins of Europe and beyond. We will study the genres of travel narrative, romance, epic, drama, and lyric, and the different ways these forms registered global connections, ideas of race, and cultural and religious difference. We will pay particular attention to the accelerated pace of global

encounters and connections starting in the Renaissance, and the ways that English literature was able (or not) to register new peoples and places, new forms of economic connectivity, and the violence of colonialism and empire.

Note: This course satisfies the English Concentration "Arrivals" requirement for the Class of 2022.