English 341.01 Survey of British Literature [10th c.-18th c.]                  Fall 2013                             
Dr. Stephan Flores (sflores@uidaho.edu)                                                      
12:30 pm - 01:45 pm TR LIFE 163                                                                        
http://www.webpages.uidaho.edu/~sflores/                                                    Main office of Department of English: 885-6156
Office hours: Monday 1:30pm-3:00 p.m. & by appt.                                      125 Brink Hall

Prerequisite: English 102 or equivalent, and pre-or-co-requisite of Engl 175, or 257, or 258; English majors must in addition have completed Engl 215, or enroll by permission of instructor.

Course Description:

The course surveys the wonderful and varied history of medieval and early modern British poetry, drama, and prose fiction, including Beowulf, several of The Canterbury Tales, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, several non-Shakespearean plays (Webster's The Duchess of Malfi, Middleton and Dekker's The Roaring Girl, Cary's The Tragedy of Miriam), sonnets by Shakespeare, Donne's erotic lyrics and religious verse, Dryden's political verse, some Milton, Behn and Rochester's satiric verse, a late 17th-century Restoration social comedy--Congreve's The Way of the World--Eliza Haywood's short fiction, some Swift, and Pope's The Rape of the Lock. These and other selected works represent but a portion of the rich literature over these centuries; we'll proceed at a steady, fairly swift pace that enables us to consider substantial texts and secondary critical essays in some depth while also sustaining an overview that extends into the eighteenth century.

Our aim is to work together to explore the social, sexual, political, and formal issues these texts represent as well as the continuities and discontinuities of literary history. Assignments include near weekly Inquiry-Starter questions/comments, a Critical Essay, a Term Essay, and a Final Exam.

General guiding premise/claim for the course and its outcomes (also see expected learning outcomes noted further below, following the semester schedule): Literature provides us with a way of understanding how our social life works. Human social life consists of narratives for living, with ‘narratives’ being understood here as an actual life experience spread over time and guided by cultural stories that justify it to participants. Both the cultural and real-world narrative can change; both use frames to exclude norm-dissonant perspectives and values and to ensure that the meanings that support the continuity and homogeneity of the lived process are stable, predictable, and enforced. Who tells the stories in the culture thus largely shapes how that cultural world will be organized. Stories are what people believe and how they believe, and how people believe determines how they act and how they live. Stories can change how people think, perceive, believe, and act. The analysis of the work they perform is thus an important endeavor. And that is what criticism is all about. (An Introduction to Criticism: Literature/Film/Culture--Wiley-Blackwell, 2012).

Note that this class counts toward/satisfies several different elective possibilities in the different emphases in the English major, such as the "one upper-division course in literature before 1900 (3 cr)" requirement in the Literature emphasis, or as one of the options in the 9 credits of 300-level literature surveys, or in the Creative Writing emphasis the "Shakespeare or another course in literature before 1800 (3 cr)" requirement, or as one of two required electives among the 300-level literature surveys, and similar options/requirements in the Teaching emphasis or in the current Professional emphasis.

Broader contexts for desired course outcomes are situated within the department's goals for the English major and the university's learning outcomes. In addition, as the course progresses, see further below learning outcomes specific to this course and level.

Required texts:

The Norton Anthology of English Literature Vol. 1, Ninth ed.(2012)

Middleton, Thomas and Thomas Dekker. The Roaring Girl. Ed. Jennifer Panek. Norton Critical Edition. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 2011. [bundled for 'free' with the main Norton Anthology, via UI bookstore]

Other secondary works on library reserve and PDF documents (including scholarly articles/essays on many of our texts) in folders/course Bblearn site.


1. Nine written Inquiry Starters: a thesis/problem-driven, question-posing response (approximately 150 words each) informed by some aspect of the text under discussion as well as any assigned criticism/commentary (from the Norton edition’s introductory headnotes or an article that I've made available in Bblearn resource folders for selected texts). Inquiry Starters present a means for you and the class to share enthusiasms and questions as you delve into the text’s significance, methods, and effects, and to learn from others' comments (a version of Graff's "They Say, I Say" exchange, see Bblearn). No late entries —Inquiry Starters are due/posted on Bblearn before class (by 10:00 pm the night before class). Come to class prepared to talk about your ISs/ideas; at times we'll spotlight individual ISs, using the projector to introduce the ISs via Bblearn to facilitate discussion. Missing or late inquiry-starter entries will be counted against your semester grade (see below).

2. In-class Final Exam (December 16, 12:30pm-2:30pm)—bring “bluebooks” or paper, and your Norton edition text. This focused exam will entail/require two essays, with several choices among these possibilities: an essay (1) on either The Rape of the Lock or on the poetic exchange between Jonathan Swift's "The Lady's Dressing Room" and Lady Mary Wortley Montagu's "The Reasons That Induced Dr. Swift to Write a Poem Called the Lady's Dressing Room," or between Pope's "Epistle 2. To a Lady" and Anne Ingram, Viscountess Irwin's "An Epistle to Mr. Pope"--and an essay (2) on either Behn's Oroonoko or Haywood's Fantomina.

3. Critical Essay on either Beowulf, or Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, or one of The Canterbury Tales, or The Duchess of Malfi, or The Roaring Girl; 1600 words/six pages for main body of essay, double-spaced, with reference to at least one piece of “instructor-specified” secondary criticism beyond our assigned reading in the Norton edition, according to selections (refer to/cite/draw upon at least one substantial article/book chapter in Bblearn folder for the corresponding literary text) posted on our class website for criticism on each text. The primary aims of this thesis-seeking/problem-posing exploratory essay assignment is to engage with the text and its critical interpretation/reception by identifying problems, developing claims and arguments, and enriching your literary understanding, interests, and commitments. Use/learn Modern Language Association format for any notes and works cited (see, for instance, link to MLA format guidelines further below, and the Norton online resources/example of developing a research essay. For this assignment I may direct you to write an essay in response to one or more specific questions/problems of understanding and interpretation.

4. Term Essay on text or texts (excluding topic and text analyzed in prior Critical Essay, double-spaced (12 pt, Times New Roman, 1-inch margins, MLA format, approximately 9 pages for main body of essay), with significant reference to at least two secondary works of criticism (selected from folders on Bblearn, that include substantial recent articles or book chapters--note that there are folders for Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Chaucer, Skelton, The Duchess of Malfi, The Roaring Girl ,and our text of that play also includes essays, The Tragedy of Mariam, Marvell's poetry, Behn and Rochester, including essays on Oroonoko as well as poetry, Donne, Dryden, The Country Wife, The Way of the World, and Fantomina): this critical essay develops ideas prompted by our study, discussion, and viewing of the plays, by recent scholarship, and by your perspectives. If you wish to write on a text that we have considered but find that there are not two substantial critical essays on that text/writer in a Bblearn folder, please let me know as soon as possible. I shall attend to the ways that you select, define, and engage questions and contradictions, and to the clarity, imagination, and grace that you demonstrate in presenting your topic, (hypo)thesis, and argument, and the extent to which your work engages with, explains, and contributes to the larger "conversation" of scholarship on the topic and text(s) under analysis. I do not always expect essays to conclude by "solving" such problems or by "proving" your thesis; I hope that you address interesting topics (questions for debate, interpretation, and analysis) in thoughtful and useful ways. Please feel invited to confer with me during the writing process. See also general advice for critical essays similar to prior advice on the Critical Essay that pertains as well to this Term Essay.

5. Participation: Please take advantage of opportunities to share your insights and to listen and reply to others' ideas. I hope that questions and discussions will enable you to move the class in directions you find most helpful, give you opportunities to develop critical skills through collaboration, and provide for a productive, interesting exchange of perspectives among the class. We may form small groups from time to time primarily for discussing/sharing Inquiry Starters (as noted above).

6. All required work is due at the beginning of class on the due date—work turned in late will be graded accordingly. Required graded written work will be downgraded one notch (for example, B+ to B, converted to points for each assignment) for each weekday late (not just days classes meet but counting just one day for a weekend); note, however, that the Term Essay cannot be turned in late--it is due in class on December 12. Work submitted more than a week late will not be accepted. I will grant short extensions for medical and family emergencies—but talk with me as soon as possible to request an extension. Always keep copies of your work.

7. Attendance: If you have no absences by the semester's end (excused or not), you will receive three bonus points. Two absences will not affect your semester grade; a third absence will lower your semester total by three points, with a five-point reduction for each additional absence (four absences=minus 8 points, five absences = minus 13 points); six or more absences is sufficient cause for you to receive a failing grade for the course, regardless of your semester point total. All absences will be counted—excused or not—if something extraordinary occurs, talk to me.

8. Grades: Final Exam (50 pts); Critical Essay (100 pts); Term Essay (130 pts). These required assignments add up to a maximum of 280 points. Thus 252-280 points equals an A, 224-251 equals a B, 196-223 equals a C, 168-195 equals a D, and anything below 168 merits an F. I shall reserve a potential five bonus points based on my perceptions of the strength of your participation and efforts over the semester; incomplete or missing discussion-starter entries will be counted against your semester grade, with the loss of five points for each missing or incomplete entry, to a maximum loss of 45 points.

9. Office hours. I encourage you to confer with me—especially before assignments are due—to talk about your interests, intentions, and writing strategies. If you cannot make my regular hours (in Brink 125), we’ll arrange another time. I also welcome communicating with you by E-mail (sflores@uidaho.edu).

10. Use of laptops and cell phones during class is prohibited; occasional use of laptops—typically for group work and to access the online components of the class—may be permitted with instructor’s approval.

11. Do not submit work for this class that you have submitted or intend to submit for a grade in another course; as always, be careful to cite anyone else's work that you draw upon. See highlighted link on the class website to a useful guide to avoiding plagiarism, and a link to information on the university's policies regarding plagiarism.

12. Classroom Learning and Civility: To support learning and discovery in this course—as in any university course—it is essential that each member of the class feel as free and as safe as possible in his or her participation. To this end, we must collectively expect that everyone (students, professors, and guests) seek to be respectful and civil to one another in discussion, in action, in teaching, and in learning. Because knowledge and learning are constructed and construed through social inquiry and exchange, it is vital that course dialogue and debate encourage and expect a substantial range of reasoned, expressive, and impassioned articulation of diverse views in order to build a stronger understanding of the materials and of one another's ways of knowing. These practices strengthen our capacities for understanding and the production of (new) knowledge. As with the critical writing assignments for this class, our primary aims include engaging with texts and their varied critical interpretations by identifying problems, developing claims and arguments with supporting lines of evidence and explanation, and enriching our literary understanding, interests, and commitments.

Should you feel our classroom interactions do not reflect an environment of civility and respect, you are encouraged to meet with me during office hours to discuss your concern. Additional resources for expression of concern and avenues of support include the chair of the Department of English, Dr. Gary Williams, the Dean of Students office and staff (5-6757), the UI Counseling & Testing Center’s confidential services (5-6716), or the UI Office of Human Rights, Access, & Inclusion (5-4285).

13. Disability Support Services: Reasonable accommodations are available for students who have documented temporary or permanent disabilities. All accommodations must be approved through Disability Support Services (885-6307; dss@uidaho.edu; www.uidaho.edu/dss) located in the Idaho Commons Building, Room 306 in order to notify your instructor(s) as soon as possible regarding accommodation(s) needed for the course.

Schedule/Syllabus; If we fall behind, then on occasion we may defer or spill over discussion to next day, and adjust accordingly--for works that we discuss only one day, you are to have finished reading the work prior to class discussion; for works that we discuss over several days, make an effort to have finished most of the work prior to the first day of discussion but recognize that for the first day we'll likely focus our analysis/conversation on the first half or so of the text under discussion. For many of the texts, see PDFs of criticicim, study guide/questions in folders on class Bblearn site.





The Dream of the Rood; "Introduction": the Middle Ages to ca. 1485 (3-25); some riddles from the Book of Exeter (I'll project these on the document cam)

The Wanderer (117); Wulf and Eadwacer (see audio/video files/links via Bblearn Old English folder); The Wife's Lament (120); The Seafarer (pdf via Bblearn); rec.: Jennifer Neville, "Joyous play and bitter tears: the Riddles and the Elegies" (pdf in folder on Bblearn--you can find the riddles that we discussed in class in Neville's essay)


Beowulf; see study questions in pdf in Beowulf folder on Bblearn; rec.: Andy Orchard, "Beowulf and other battlers: an introduction to Beowulf" (2012, in folder on Bblearn)

Inquiry Starter 1 due by 10:00 pm the night before (9/4) on Bblearn, on Beowulf; Marie de France, Lanval


Sir Gawain and the Green Knight; see study questions (including those in the Norton notes PDF), close summary of the poem, notes on older criticism, and also Larry Benson's "The Meaning of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" (1965), Sheila Fisher's "Taken Men and Token Women in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" (1989), and Derek Pearsall's "Courtesy and Chivalry in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: the Order of Shame and the Invention of Embarrassment" in folder on Bblearn (read one of these essays by Thursday)

Inquiry Starter 2 due by 10:00 pm the night before (9/11) on Bblearn, on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight; Benson's, or Fisher's, or Pearsall's essay; Marie de France, Lanval


Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales: The General Prologue; be sure to listen to audio recordings/selections from these tales, on the Norton site

Chaucer, The Miller's Prologue and Tale


Inquiry Starter 3 due by 10:00 pm the night before (9/23) on Bblearn, onChaucer, The Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale; read one of the essays by either Patterson, Finke, Fradenburg, Leicester, or Hansen (via Bblearn folder on Chaucer)

Chaucer, The Pardoner's Prologue and Tale


John Skelton, The Bowge of Court (Bblearn pdf); "The Book of Phillip Sparrow" (Part I, pdf via Bblearn); "Introduction": The Sixteenth Century (1485-1603); optional: Margery Kempe, The Book of Margery Kempe (424-438)

Sir Thomas Wyatt the Elder, especially "They flee from me" (two versions, pp.653-654) "Whoso list to hunt" (based on Petrarch's Sonnet 190) "What vaileth truth?" "My lute, awake!" "Mine own John Poins" and "The long love that in my thought doth harbor (p.648, compare this to Surrey's translation of Petrarchs Rima 140); Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, "Love, that doth reign and live within my thought" (663); Edmund Spenser, Epithalamion


Shakespeare, Sonnets, especially #30, #55, #116, #129, #130; note also in addition to the many sonnets in our text, also several are available via pdf in Bblearn (#56, #104, #118, #121) along with essays on Shakespeare's verse and language

Inquiry Starter 4 due by 10:00 pm the night before (10/9) on Bblearn, on Marlowe, "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love"; Raleigh, "The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd"; John Donne, "The Bait"


Donne, "The Canonization" (p. 1377) "The Flea" "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning"; Donne, "The Ectasy," "Elegy 19: To His Mistress Going to Bed," (p. 1393) "Air and Angels" "Love's Alchemy" "The Funeral" "The Relic," "Holy Sonnets #10, #14; "Introduction": The Early Seventeenth Century (1603-1660); see Bblearn folder for study questions, summary of criticism on Donne, and recommended essay by Judith Herz on reading Donne's poetry

John Webster, The Duchess of Malfi (p. 1571)--as you read the play, or better yet, as you review the play, see the scene by scene summary and questions by Stage and Screen in the Bblearn folder


Inquiry Starter 5 due by 10:00 pm the night before (10/21) on Bblearn, on The Duchess of Malfi; Frank Whigham, "Sexual and Social Mobility in The Duchess of Malfi" (pdf via Bblearn) or Margaret Ranald's chapter (pdf in Bblearn folder)

Thomas Middleton and Thomas Dekker, The Roaring Girl


Inquiry Starter 6 due by 10:00 pm the night before (10/28) on Bblearn, on The Roaring Girl; also read Jean E. Howard's "Sex and Social Conflict: The Erotics of The Roaring Girl" (included in our Norton Critical Edition of the play)

Elizabeth Cary, The Tragedy of Mariam (via pdf in Bblearn and/or via Norton e-text on Norton site, with your text's passcode); see also the Longman edition introduction, in Bblearn



Critical Essay due in class; The Tragedy of Mariam; Karen L. Raber, "Gender and the Political Subject in Tragedy of Mariam" (pdf in Bblearn)

Andrew Marvell, read among his poems in the anthology, but include/focus to some extent on these poems: "The Nymph Complaining for the Death of Her Fawn" "To His Coy Mistress" "The Mower Against Gardens" "Damon the Mower" "The Mower to the Glowworms" "The Mower's Song" "The Garden" (see also folder on Bblearn)


Inquiry Starter 7 due by 10:00 pm the night before (11/11) on Bblearn, on John Dryden, Absalom and Achitophel; see my study guide and questions via pdf in Bblearn folder; "Introduction": The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century (1660-1785)

John Milton, "L'Allegro" and "Il Penseroso"; "Lycidas"


Inquiry Starter 8 due by 10:00 pm the night before (11/18) on Bblearn, onAphra Behn, Oroonoko; or, The Royal Slave; see PDF on Cultural and Historical Backgrounds to Oroonoko in Bblearn folder; optional/rec.: Anita Pacheco's essay on "Royalism and Honor in Aphra Behn's Oroonoko" also in Bblearn folder.

Behn, "The Disappointment"; Earl of Rochester, "The Imperfect Enjoyment" "The Disabled Debauchee" "Upon Nothing"; Rec. Zeitz, Lisa M. and Peter Thoms. "Power, Gender, and Identity in Aphra Behn's 'The Disappointment'." SEL 37 (1997): 501-516.; Optional: Additional Rochester poems in Bblearn folder (highly vulgar in language and views)--these include A Ramble in St. James Park, Artemisa to Chloe. A Letter from a Lady in the Town to a Lady in the Country concerning the Loves of the Town, The Maimed Debauchee, Love and Life; Also rec. for those who want to consider a major work/play: William Wycherley, The Country Wife (via folder in Bblearn, along with essays on this famous subversive sex comedy)


William Congreve, The Way of the World; see Bblearn folder for study quesetions, summaries of plot and criticism, and essays on the play

Inquiry Starter 9 due by 10:00 pm the night before (12/4) on Bblearn, on The Way of the World


Alexander Pope, The Rape of the Lock (see Bblearn folder for study questions and essays on the poem)


Term Essay due, hard copy in class--no late essays accepted; Eliza Haywood, Fantomina; or, Love in a Maze; see Bblearn folder for study questions and essays on Fantomina


Final Exam: 12:30pm-2:30pm, two essays, over several selected texts, with several choices, that may depend in part on what you wrote your Term Essay on--you cannot write on the same text as your Term Essay: an essay (1) on either The Rape of the Lock or on the poetic exchange from our anthology on "Debating Women in Verse" between Jonathan Swift's "The Lady's Dressing Room" (p. 2767) and Lady Mary Wortley Montagu's "The Reasons That Induced Dr. Swift to Write a Poem Called the Lady's Dressing Room," (p. 2770) or between Pope's "Epistle 2. To a Lady" (p.2772) and Anne Ingram, Viscountess Irwin's "An Epistle to Mr. Pope" (p.2780)--and (2) an essay on Haywood's Fantomina or Behn's Oroonoko (if your term essay was on Fantomina, then you'll write on Oroonoko, and vice versa--this also applies to the first essay, if you wrote your term essay on The Rape of the Lock. Bring your Northon anthology to the exam, along with bluebooks or ruled notebook paper.





Student Learning Outcomes (see this link for longer list and contexts for desired outcomes, that supplement the three outcomes stated below)
In English 341 students will learn, develop, and strengthen abilities
- to understand and to explain the historical dimensions of literary characters’ desires for and relation with others, including social negotiations and ideological debates over valued identities and principles, particularly as these desires and relations are understood as rhetorical functions and effects of the literary text in its particular language/form/structure and its contexts
-to explore the extent to which the culturally-inflected and historically-situated desires and power relations and identities in literary works are shown to be in flux, narrated and dramatized as being put into question or engaged in a debate among different social, political, class, gender, ethnic, religious/ideological arrangements
-to write a substantial critical essay that engages with a literary text and its critical interpretation/reception by identifying problems, developing claims and arguments, and enriching literary understanding, interests, and commitments

Examples of Contexts/Topics included in the Norton Anthology of English Literature website (related to student learning outcomes listed above--this outline suggests some of the texts/issues or 'content' of what students will explore/learn about)

Evaluation/Assessment Rubric for Instructor's Written Responses to Critical Essay and Term Essay, with check mark along a scale of Excellent to Weak, with specific comments to supplement comments/feedback on the texts of the essays themselves:

Rubric for Initial Criteria for Evaluating Critical Writing/Essays:   Excellent          Very Good-Good          Competent-Fair          Weak
Note: Ultimately the evaluation of your work is holistic,
and therefore also intends to register the different, nuanced,
unexpected and evocative effects of your analysis,
exploration, creative expression/affect, and engagement
with learning and discovery.

1. Strength and clarity of (hypo)thesis/focus/introduction

2. Intellectual/conceptual strength and persuasiveness of
main claim as well as ensuing argument/logic/premises/
critical analysis/theory/ideas         

3. Cohesive and coherent development, logical
 organization, including well-structured paragraphs with
clear points and compelling, specific support/evidence

4. Analysis of text’s/topic’s relevant cultural/historical
 contexts and if specified, of related scholarship/criticism;
analysis of text’s rhetorical/persuasive strategies, structure

5. Topic’s depth/complexity, including explanation of
problem to be addressed, recognition of text’s
conflicts/contradictions (ideological/rhetorical),
creativity and sense of discovery/affective engagement
conveyed—the articulated sense of “what’s at stake, why
 all of it matters”

6. Significance/ conclusion

7. Effective sentences, syntax, verbs, diction,
punctuation, complexity, and suitable style: academic,
critical, appropriate to your understanding of the

8. MLA style—parenthetical citation of sources,
Works Cited; formatting; spelling ungraded but noted

Lessons on Style (general advice/quited dated handout but perhaps worth looking over) [pdf]

Quick Advice on Punctuation (also dated) [pdf]

Summary/Overview of Perspectives on Critical Theory

Online Writing Center Resources (from writing essays to grammar and usage advice):


Review Guide to Using MLA Style for Citing Sources [from OWL/Purdue, see esp. left side tab: formatting and style guide]