Texts: English Sixteenth Century Verse, ed. Richard Sylvester. Norton, 1984.
ISBN 0 393 30206 7
Edmund Spenser’s Poetry, ed. Maclean and Prescott. Third ed. Norton, 1993.
ISBN 0 393 96299 7
The sixteenth century was one of the high points of English culture. Familiar writers
of the period include Wyatt, Surrey, Sidney, Spenser, Marlowe, and—of course—Shakespeare.
We'll be reading all these as well as some lesser-known but excellent poets, like
Fulke Greville and George Gascoigne. We’ll study narrative and lyric poems and the
sonnet sequences that make the period unique. We’ll talk about Elizabethan prose
as well and how it prefigures writing of later periods.
Most classes will mix a bit of lecture with group work on the meaning and form of
assigned selections. We'll average about sixty pages a week but the reading load
will vary, going from short, intense poetry assignments to longer readings in narrative
poetry and prose.
Four basic grades will make up your semester average:
Attendance, exercises, daily grades 25%
Midterm and Final 25%
Research Paper 25%
Tests combine short-answer items and discussion topics from study guides provided
Daily grades are quizzes over the day's readings. Exercises are written discussions
on some aspect of what you've read. These are important practice for the discussion
topics you'll encounter on the tests. Missing grades cannot be made up. You may miss
two with no penalty, but further misses count against your average. If you pass all
quizzes and get all exercises in on time, you qualify for an 5-point bonus toward
your class net average--enough to go from a B (85%) to an A- (90%).
Attendance Policy: You are allowed up to three unexcused cuts. After you've missed
three classes, I'll want valid excuses. Anyone missing more than six classes without
a cast-iron excuse (something like a hospital stay) will be penalized five points
per cut on his or her final average or asked to drop the class.