Renaissance and 17th Century Literature (online)

Exploring the Early Modern World
English 4220/7220
Semester
Fall
Year
2020
William Kerwin
Arranged
Online
Course Description

The focus of this course will be the literature of the English Renaissance.  We will be reading some of the period’s great poetry, but our main reading will be six plays, by a few authors, including William Shakespeare.  After an opening module on lyric poetry, each play will be introduced with a particular literary or historical focus, and then we will proceed act-by-act, asking specific questions about the play’s language and the thematic concerns.  We will look at film clips of a range of productions and adaptations of the plays, and we will also look at several poems by other authors that can shed light on the poetic approaches and social issues found in our plays.  Students will respond to prompts for discussion exchanges, write short essays on each play, recite a memorized poem or speech, and then write a longer essay at the end of the course.  Those with an interest in teaching this literature, including teaching Shakespeare, will have opportunities to explore that interest throughout the term.  Those in the seven-thousand level section will write a longer final paper.