ENGL 5029: British Literature and Culture Before 1800 (Fall 2019)

ENGL 5029-001 Medieval Genres, Katie Little The Middle Ages has long been synonymous with "quiet hierarchies," Christian dogmatism, and primitive thinking. And yet, it was also (or instead) a time of great literary invention and experimentation: the beginning of a literature in English, the emergence of new genres, and challenges...

Neo-Nazis and Old English writing side-by-side

ENGL 5029-002: British Literature and Culture Before 1800, Beowulf: The Culture and The Critics (Spring 2019)

The Old English poem we call Beowulf has long been held as a kind of canonical “beginning” for English literature, though in more of a “prehistoric” sense than a foundational one. English departments liked to have an Anglo-Saxonist around to expose students to Old English as a way to inculcate...

Illustration of a Sunday market

ENGL 5029-001: British Literature and Culture Before 1800, Slavery and Eighteenth-Century Literature (Spring 2019)

In 1790, the planter-historian William Beckford claimed that Jamaica was “one of the richest jewels in the crown of Great Britain.” In the eighteenth century, slave-grown sugar was Britain’s most important colonial commodity, and Caribbean colonies, her most prized economic possessions, more valuable in gross economic terms than the Thirteen...

A parade of people in Medieval clothing

ENGL 5029-001: British Literature and Culture, Medieval Drama

The plays that survive from the Middle Ages were written for street performances, services in churches and monasteries, entertainment in great halls and outdoor stages, but never for theaters as such. As games and/or worship more so than texts per se, these plays require as much an anthropological as a...