This course will examine prose and poetry produced by the English Renaissance,a time period stretching slightly beyond the beginning and ending points of the 1500's, sometimes referred to as the Tudor or Elizabethan Age to reflect the reigning monarchs' influence on the literature of the period.
We will consider texts in their historical, cultural, and political context and interrogate the material circumstances of their production. Since this offering is cross-listed as a Women's Studies course, we will examine all that we read against a background of a feminist perspective. And all of our work will evolve in the context of an inquiry-driven seminar setting. The reading list includes both canonical and less well known works and explores the idea of "genre" in an age of experimentation with form: Sonnets, histories, pastoral poetry, ballads and broadsides, diaries, letters, speeches, literary critique, essays, and Commonplace Books. This course is designed to lead students to a deeper knowledge of the wide variety of English sixteenth-century non-dramatic texts, an understanding of the role of gender identity in Early Modern culture, a sense of the methods of New Historical critique, and an appreciation for the construction of knowledge in a community of scholars.
Painting by Holbein,
Hans the Younger
Painting by Brueghel,
Pieter the Elder