--from The Shepherd’s Kalendar, c. 1507
The early modern era brought to
This term our class will focus on the period of English literature and
history marked by the reign of the Tutors, from 1485 to 1603, and mid-way into
the seventeenth century. Our primary
focus will be on the sixteenth century and its pivotal role in the transition
from the medieval to the early modern.
This period is also known as the Renaissance, especially when used to
reference Italian and Continental literature and art. The term “Renaissance” means a re-birth and
is used to signify the renewed interest on the part of Humanists in classical
texts and learning; until the mid-1400s knowledge of the Greek language and
Greek texts was quite limited. In 1453,
with the fall of Constantinople to the Turks, scholars fleeing
Thus the sixteenth century is both a period of revived classical
learning, known as the development of Humanism, a period of nascent modernity,
yet also a period very much connected to medieval literary forms and authors. It is also marked, of course, by the
influence of two of the most powerful royal personalities in English history: Henry
VIII and his daughter Elizabeth I. We
will read texts written for the court and consider the impact of these monarchs
on the literature of the period. Our
reading in this period will, of course, include the poetry and playwriting of
perhaps the most influential writer in English, William Shakespeare. We will read a fair amount of poetry written
for an aristocratic audience during this period and learn some basics about
prosody and poetic structure, in particular, the classic form of the sonnet.
Cartography and Printing:
Our study of the literature of the period will be informed by two concurrent
cultural developments of the period: the development of print culture and the
development of the cartographic representation of geography—a new print
practice intimately connected with exploration and colonization. In the late 1500’s William Caxton set up the
first printing press in
To ground our study of the early book in the materiality of the book,
we will take two field trips: one to our own university archives and one to
Multnomah County Library’s
Despite increasing exploration and the proliferation of world maps
printed on the continent, English printers chose not to produce world maps
during the sixteenth century; I’d like to engage our class in pondering this
paradox and consider the role of narrative in the dissemination of geographic
LAC Learning Outcomes: This class meets the Liberal Arts Core Outcome LLE4:
Demonstrate familiarity and proficiency in scholarly writing within
their major discipline. It may also be
used to meet AI
1. Develop well-argued interpretations of texts based on close reading.
2. Demonstrate the ability to critically examine the relationship between literature and its historical and cultural contexts.
3. Demonstrate knowledge of literary history and major literary movement.
Use the cross-disciplinary study of geography, cartography, and book studies to read and interpret early modern literature.
Stephen, ed. The Norton Anthology of
English Literature, Vol.
Handout of Critical Essays: These will be given out in class.
Diana. The Writer’s Reference.
Joseph, ed. MLA Handbook for Writer’s of
Research Papers, 6th edition.
About the Instructor:
This course follows my own passionate interests in material culture of
the book and early printed maps. I am
thrilled to be teaching this course as it gives me the opportunity to read more
widely in the early modern period, the “sister” period to my primary research
interest, the late medieval period. I
did my dissertation at the
This past summer, I attended a seminar in
Writing in the Discipline
Probably unbeknownst to you, this class is designated a Writing in the Discipline (WID) class, as are all “period studies” in the ELW program. This means that we will meet the university requirement (one I wholeheartedly support) that students meet Liberal Arts Core Outcome LLE4: Demonstrate familiarity and proficiency in scholarly writing within their major discipline.
Information about WID courses:
In WID courses, writing assignments have been designed that provide significant opportunities for students to learn about a discipline or a particular body of knowledge, its methods of scholarship and modes of communication.
All WID courses are characterized by the following:
1) Informal, ungraded, or minimally graded writing is used
as a mode of learning the content material.
2) Students practice the conventions of writing in their
discipline and the proper use of materials from external
3) Students complete at least 5,000 words (20 pages) of
writing, of which at least 2,000 words (8 pages) are
polished, formal assignments that have been revised.
4) Students are guided through the whole writing process
and are expected to revise drafts based on feedback
from peers and faculty.
writing papers for English Literature and Writing classes should use the MLA
documentation and citation system. Information on MLA and other citation styles
can be obtained from A Writer’s Reference,
the MLA Handbook (see above), and
We are a small seminar of self-selected, bright students. I will ask each of you to prepare some questions for class on a particular week. Class will be a mix of discussion, student presentations, films, and peer groups. It is essential that you come prepared for class by having read the readings and that you participate in class discussions. We have two field trips scheduled that please the inner bibliophile in you and we have a guest speaker on the evening of October 27th. This lecture is required although it does not meet during our regular class time. Please see me if this poses a difficulty for you. For the weekly reading and assignments please see the Class Schedule handout.
One short paper (2-4 pages) that explores a geographic metaphor in one of the literary texts we are reading or that provides a close reading of the text.
book “biography,” preferably done in Powerpoint, presented to the class. Research either a book in our university
archives or in the Wilson Rare
Literary Geospace—To be honest, I don’t actually know what this assignment will be exactly! My idea is to ask you to provide a spatialized reading of a work of literature, or a literary reading of a map. We will figure this assignment out together. What does it mean to read a text for its spatiality? This assignment can be done collaboratively and could be done as a hypertext project. Let’s have fun with this.
Final Paper—an eight-page paper that explores the relationship of a work of early modern literature in relation to cartography and geography. We will have time to prepare a draft to be read by peers and to get feedback from me (per the WID philosophy).
Assessment and Evaluation
Your final grade will be calculated on the following basis:
10% Class participation and preparation for class.
20% Mid-term paper
20% Literary Geospace Assignment
30% Final Paper. 10% of this grade includes having the draft ready by the due date and participation in the peer review process.
v Participation: This includes preparation for class and timely attendance at all classes. It also includes active reading in preparation for participation in class discussion and having drafts ready for peer review. I am going to make a blog for this class and ask each of you to be the lead blog poster one week of the term by providing a synopsis of one of the texts assigned and posing some questions for class discussion.
You must complete all assignments to get a grade in the course;
assignments must be handed in during class on the day they are due. Late papers will receive a reduced
grade. Weekly attendance is extremely
important to me and is required; please be punctual. More than one absence will lower your grade
by a half step for each additional absence (i.e. from
A = 100-93, A- = 92-90;
My teaching philosophy is based on sharing my love of literature with students in an environment that is intellectually challenging and that asks students to work to their highest potential. The study of literature is one of the great preparations for a life infused with insight, independence, wit, intellectualism, beauty, pathos, and joy. Somehow this will translate into meaningful work and civic engagement. Through historical literature you can engage in a dialogue with voices from the past. We will seek to contextualize and understand these voices, but be aware that these voices also seek us—be ready to listen!
is a non-traditional university with students who have busy lives. Nonetheless, I expect my students to work to
the same standards as their peers at any institution. Henry David Thoreau claimed that the
work out of the theoretical practice of cultural materialism and new historicism. I am particularly passionate about book
history and the way in which manuscript and book production and the materiality
of books are key aspects of literary meaning. Right now I am working on two books: a
materialist history of the Malory texts (manuscript and print) and a study of
literature and cartography in late medieval and early modern
· is appropriately narrow in focus,
· presents an argument based on sound critical thinking,
· draws upon and properly acknowledges the work of others, and
· presents new understanding in an organized fashion.
Unless otherwise indicated by the instructor, all writing in
Student Rights and Responsibilities
All members of the Marylhurst community are expected to act in ways that foster the university’s primary function of education. Conduct that interferes with this educational responsibility will be dealt with directly.
Please refer to the Marylhurst University Student Handbook, for specific information about student rights and responsibilities, as well as the policies and procedures. The Handbook is available online at: http://www.marylhurst.edu/student/resources/studenthandbook.html. For further information contact the Coordinator of Student Services at 503.636.8141, ext. 3344.
Turning in work created by another student or downloaded from the internet, failing to credit another’s ideas or words, or submitting papers intended for another class are typical instances of academic dishonesty. If it is determined you have done so intentionally, you are likely to fail the assignment and possibly the course, despite points earned through other work. Engaging in plagiarism can result in dismissal from the University. If you have questions about quoting or citing the works of other writers, ask me or the writing center tutor.
Need for Accommodations
Students who experience disabilities are encouraged to contact the Coordinator of Disability and Student Services at 503-636-8141, ext. 3344; TTY 503-699-6301; or email firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance in requesting classroom accommodations.