English 3300—British Literature I
Western Michigan University
T TH 11:00-12:15, Brown 3048
Prof. Anthony Ellis
Office: Sprau 724
Office hours: Tuesday 12:30-2:00, and by appointment
Office phone: 387-2606
* The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 8th edition, ed. Stephen Greenblatt, vol. 1
* As You Like It, by William Shakespeare
Both books are on sale at the campus bookstore in the Bernhard Center. You should bring
the anthology with you to every class meeting.
ENGL 3300 is a survey of English literature that extends from the Middle Ages to the
eighteenth century. The course is designed to give you a sense of literary history, an
understanding of some central texts, and a grasp of how British literature and its readers have
developed over a significant span of time. You will be required to read carefully and to write
critically. The course will combine lecture and discussion.
You will write three 3-4-page papers (each one counts as 15% of your grade). I will
distribute prompts for the papers at least two weeks before they are due. All papers should be
submitted at the beginning of class on the due date to be considered on time.
There will also be a midterm (20%) and a final exam (35%).
I expect you to attend all classes. You should be aware that more than three absences may
lower your final grade by one full letter. More than six absences may lower it by two full letters.
There are no makeups of exams, except in cases of emergency or serious illness.
You are responsible for making yourself aware of and understanding the policies and
procedures in the Undergraduate and Graduate Catalogs that pertain to academic honesty. These
policies include cheating, fabrication, falsification and forgery, multiple submission, plagiarism,
complicity and computer misuse. (The policies can be found at www.www.wmich.edu/catalog
under Academic Policies, Student Rights and Responsibilities.) If there is reason to believe you
have been involved in academic dishonesty, you will be referred to the Office of Student
Conduct. You will be given the opportunity to review the charge(s). If you believe you are not
responsible, you will have the opportunity for a hearing. You should consult with me if you are
uncertain about an issue of academic honesty prior to the submission of an assignment or test.
* * * *
The reading and writing assignments on this syllabus describe what you should complete
by that day. I may have to alter the schedule slightly over the course of the semester.
T, Jan. 12 introduction to the course
Th, Jan.14 Chaucer, “The General Prologue” to The Canterbury Tales
T, Jan. 19 Chaucer, “The Miller’s Prologue and Tale”
Th, Jan. 21 Chaucer, “The Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale”
T, Jan. 26 Wyatt, poems (pp. 592-606)
Th, Jan. 28 Spenser, from The Shepheardes Calendar: “To His Booke” and “October”; from
Amoretti: sonnets 1, 34, 37, 54, 64, 67, 75, 79, and “Epithalamion”
T, Feb. 2 Sidney, from Astrophil and Stella: sonnets 1, 7, 31, 39, 41, 47, 53, 81; from The
Defense of Poesy: “The Poet, Poetry,” “Three Kinds of Poetry”
Th, Feb. 4 Shakespeare, sonnets 1, 12, 18, 20, 29, 30, 55, 60, 65, 71, 73, 97, 106, 116, 129,
130, 135, 146
T, Feb. 9 Donne, “The Flea,” “The Good Morrow,” “Song (Go and Catch a Falling Star)”,
“The Undertaking,” “The Sun Rising,” “The Indifferent,” “The Canonization,”
“Break of Day,” “Love’s Alchemy,” “The Apparition,” “A Valediction:
Forbidding Mourning,” “The Relic,” “Elegy 19: To His Mistress Going to Bed”
Th, Feb.11 Donne, “Satire 3,” “Holy Sonnets” 5, 7, 10, 14, “Good Friday, 1613, Riding
Westward,” “Hymn to God My God, in My Sickness,” from Devotions upon
Emergent Occasions: “Meditation 17”
T, Feb. 16 Shakespeare, As You Like It, acts 1-2
Th, Feb. 18 Shakespeare, As You Like It, acts 3-5
***You should plan to attend the WMU Theatre Department’s production of As
You Like It, directed by Jim Daniels, which opens this weekend in the Laura V.
Shaw Theatre on campus. The schedule is as follows:
Th, 2/18 8 pm Th, 2/25 8 pm
Fr, 2/19 8 pm Fr, 2/26 8 pm
Sat, 2/20 8 pm
Sun, 2/21 2 pm
For more information, go to www.wmich.edu/theatre.
T, Feb. 23 Shakespeare, As You Like It
Th, Feb. 25 Lanyer, poems (pp. 1313-24)
T, Mar. 9 Midterm exam.
Th, Mar. 11 Jonson, “To My Book,” “On My First Daughter,” “To John Donne,” “On My
First Son,” “Inviting a Friend to Supper,” “Epitaph on S.P.,” “To Penshurst”
T, Mar. 16 Webster, The Duchess of Malfi
Th, Mar. 18 Webster, The Duchess of Malfi
T, Mar 23 Herbert, “The Altar,” “Redemption,” “Easter Wings,” “Prayer (1),” “Jordan (1),”
“The Windows,” “The Collar,” “The Pulley”
Th, Mar. 25 Marvell, “The Coronet,” “A Dialogue Between the Soul and the Body,” “A
Nymph Complaining for the Death of Her Fawn,” “To His Coy Mistress,” “The
Definition of Love,” “The Mower Against Gardens,” “Damon the Mower,” “The
Garden,” “An Horatian Ode”
T, Mar. 30 Milton, Paradise Lost, books 1-3
Th, Apr. 2 Class cancelled: instructor out of town.
T, Apr. 6 Milton, Paradise Lost, books 4-6
Th, Apr. 8 Milton, Paradise Lost, books 7-9
T, Apr. 13 Milton, Paradise Lost, books 10-12
Th, Apr. 15 Pope, “The Rape of the Lock”
T, Apr. 20 Swift, “Verses on the Death of Dr, Swift”; from A Tale of a Tub: pp. 2315-23; “A
Th, Apr. 22 Swift, from Gulliver’s Travels, part 4, “A Voyage to the Country of the
Final exam: Monday, April 26, 8:00-10:00 a.m.
* * * * *
Paper prompts and deadlines
None of these prompts encourage you to consult outside, secondary sources as you conceive
your ideas and write your paper. However, if you do make use of sources other than the primary
texts, please cite them appropriately in your paper using MLA-style documentation.
Thursday, February 9 (750-1000 words; choose one option)
(1) Compare the portrait of any pilgrim (other than the Wife of Bath and the Miller) from
Chaucer’s “General Prologue” with his or her tale. Note: this option involves reading a tale not
assigned on the syllabus; your choice of tale may or may not appear in the anthology.
(2) Write a comparative analysis of a pair of poems on a similar theme. These poems should be
by different authors; choose from among Wyatt, Spenser, Sidney, Shakespeare, and Donne. You
may decide to write about poems not on the course syllabus, if you wish.
Thursday, March 25 (week 10)—(750-1000 words; choose one option)
(1) Write a paper on Shakespeare’s portrayal of romantic love in As You Like It.
(2) Write an interpretive paper on any passage of about 25 to 100 lines in Webster’s The Duchess
of Malfi. Your chosen passage might be one long speech or an exchange. Discuss specific
language, imagery, dramatic situation, etc. (Be sure to indicate act, scene, and line numbers in
your written response.)
Thursday, April 22 (week 14)—(750-1000 words; choose one option)
(1) How does Milton use imagery (both literal and figurative description) to manipulate the
reader’s response to Satan in Paradise Lost? Discuss examples from the first two books and
some of the later books.
(2) Develop your own paper topic on Herbert, Marvell, Milton, Pope, and/or Swift. If you choose
this option, please submit paper topic ideas to me either in person or via e-mail
(email@example.com) no later than Thursday, April 8.