English 45. Arrivals: British Literature 700-1700

Instructor: Anna Wilson
Day & Time: Tuesdays & Thursdays 1:30-2:45pm
Course Website

In this course we will read some of the most significant works of literature written in the British Isles before 1700, whose influence continues to be felt in present-day writers. We will trace the early evolution of different genres - romance, epic, drama, lyric - and the emergence of English from an underdog position to a fully realized literary language. We will read some of the classics alongside some of their lesser known interlocutors, while exploring how these texts respond to and shape issues of their time, including war, shifting political regimes, national, racial, and religious identities, and changing attitudes to gender and sexuality. Come for the grounding in the great works of early British literature, stay for the dragons, genderfluid knights, dark comedies about selling your soul, and surprisingly racy sonnets.