The British Isles were home to an exceptionally vibrant early literary tradition spanning English, French, Irish, Latin, and other languages. British writing connected rulers and rebels, merchants and monks, brewers and bureaucrats. This course is a survey of British literature from the beginnings to 1700. Most texts are in English; some are read in translation. The course focuses on connections between literature, power, and the formation of literary canons. The survey covers all major genres of early British literature. Texts and authors include Beowulf, Marie de France, Chaucer, Margery Kempe, Spenser, Shakespeare, Milton, and Behn.

units

Literature before literature
Bards and beer halls
Monks and scholars
Clerics and kings, history and magic
Ladies, monsters, and courtly love
Rebels, truthseekers, and the status quo
London lawyers and bureaucrats
Visionaries and prisoners
The English royal court
Lovers and believers
Dissenters, Puritans, and a rake

course website