Department of English Language and Literature

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Faculty of Letters

Department of English Language and Literature

Undergraduate program

2011-2012 Academic Year, Fall Semester

Course Syllabus

Semester: Fall Semester, 2011

Lecture Time : Monday & Wednesday 8:50-10:25

Course Title: Renaissance Prose and Poetry

Course Code: IDE 205

Course Level : First semester, second year

Credits/ECTS Credit: 4 / 5

Academic Staff Information


Office Number and Location

Office Hours

E-mail Address

Christopher Cary

MZ - 14

Monday &Wednesday


Course Description: Renaissance Prose and Poetry: 1485-1660

“…[T]he Renaissance is the name of a many-sided but yet united movement, in which the love of the things of the intellect and the imagination for their own sake, the desire for a more liberal and comely way of conceiving life, make themselves felt, urging those who experience this desire to search out first one and then another means of intellectual or imaginative enjoyment, and directing them not only to the discovery of old and forgotten sources of this enjoyment, but to the divination of fresh sources thereof—new experiences, new subjects of poetry, new forms of art.” -- Walter Pater, The Renaissance

The Renaissance era, spanning roughly from 1485 to 1660, is undoubtedly one of the richest periods in English literature, especially regarding the genres of poetry and drama. This period features the works of such literary luminaries as Edmund Spenser, Sir Philip Sidney, William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, John Donne, Ben Jonson, Mary Wroth, George Herbert, Andrew Marvell, and John Milton. Sometimes referred to as the “Early Modern Era,” this era features a flowering of the arts and sciences inspired by the rediscovery of many classical texts in literature, history, and philosophy. The influence of these texts was considerable as the Renaissance bore witness to the emergence of a newly invigorated humanism. However, the Renaissance is not an era of books alone—it is an era of voyages and exploration. It is a time when newly discovered continents inspired adventurous romance and futuristic visions of utopia. Most vividly, it is an age of luminous religious lyrics and transcendent love sonnets. It is an age of classically inspired pastorals and epics, infused with equal measures of piety and eroticism. As we study the works of several key writers from this period, we will strive to gain insight into their achievements in their own time, as well as what makes them great artists in any age.

Course Objectives

After successfully completing this course, the students shall be able to execute the following tasks:

  • Define and apply relevant literary terms and interpretive methodologies

  • Understand and discuss the literary characteristics of the Renaissance period

  • Describe and discuss the most important literary figures of the Renaissance period and their most important contributions

  • Read, understand, and interpret representative texts in a literary, socio-political, cultural and historical context

  • Compare and contrast the most important genres of literature and specific works written during the Renaissance period

Required Textbook:

Greenblatt, Stephen and M.H. Abrams, eds. The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol I, 8th Edition (The Major Authors). New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2006. ISBN 0-393-92830-6.

Recommended Resources: (available in the university library or in an ebook format)

Abrams, M. H., ed. The Norton Anthology of English Literature, vol. I-II. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1979.

Bloom, Harold, ed. Elizabethan Drama. New York: Chelsea House, 2004.

Daiches, David. A Critical History of English Literature, vols. 1-2. London: Mandarin, 1994.

Ford, Boris, ed. The Pelican Guide to English Literature, vols. 1-7. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1966.

Kermode, Frank and John Hollander, eds. The Oxford Anthology of English Literature, Vols I-II. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1973.

Legouis, Emile. A History of English Literature: The Middle Ages and The Renaissance, trans. by Helen Douglas Irvine. London: J. M. Dent and Sons Ltd, 1971.

McGregor, Lynn, Maggie Tate, and Ken Robinson. Learning Through Drama. London: Heinemann Educational Books Ltd., 1977.

Poplawski, Paul, ed. English Literature in Context. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

Sanders, Andrew. The Short History of English Literature, 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.

Recommended websites:

Luminarium: Anthology of English Literature:

Project Gutenberg:

Course Calendar: (subject to revision during the semester)


Readings and material to be covered


Course introduction; review of literary terms and analytical methods; an overview of authors and genres


Socio-political, cultural and historical overview of the 16th Century (1485-1603)


Utopia by Sir Thomas More (1478-1535) – class presentation


Selected poetry of Sir Thomas Wyatt the Elder (1503-1542) and Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey (1517-1547); The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser (1552-1599) – class presentation


Selected sonnets from Amoretti and Epithalamion by Edmund Spenser (1552-1599); selections from Astrophil and Stella by Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586)


The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus by Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593) – class presentation


Selected sonnets by William Shakespeare (1564-1616); Twelfth Night (or What You Will) – class presentation


Twelfth Night (or What You Will) by William Shakespeare (1564-1616)


Midterm exam


Socio -political, cultural and historical overview of the early 17th Century (1603-1660); selections from Songs and Sonnets by John Donne (1572-1631) – class presentation


Selected poetry of Ben Johnson (1572-1637), Mary Wroth (1587-1651), and Robert Herrick (1591-1674)


Selected poetry of George Herbert (1593-1633), Richard Lovelace (1618-1657), and Andrew Marvell (1621-1678)


Lycidas and Paradise Lost by John Milton (1608-1674)


Paradise Lost by John Milton (1608-1674) – class presentation

Course Requirements:

Requirements include the completion of weekly readings, participation in class discussions, contributions to a group presentation on a literary topic, and completion of midterm and final exams. Since the foundation of this course is built upon classroom discussions, students are expected to prepare in advance and discuss assigned readings during each class period. Participants are expected to attend classes regularly and arrive on time to avoid disruptions. Students should bring their textbook to all classes. The classroom language is English, and the use of any other languages will not be allowed. Assignments will not be accepted after the stated deadline.

Expected Workload:

Students should expect to spend two to three hours (on average) of study and preparation for each 50-minute class period.

Assessment Methods:

Two written exams are the major portions of the overall assessment in the course. Students are likewise expected to contribute to a group presentation on a literary topic, and participation in classroom discussions is of vital importance for success in this course.

*Grading Policy:

Written mid-term exam


Written final exam


Participation in group presentation

10% of final exam

Class participation

5% of midterm exam 5% of final exam

*The minimum passing grade at Karabük University is 60% out of 100%. A student must acquire a score of 50% or higher on the final exam in order to pass the course (regardless of his/her midterm grade). Please see relevant regulations at

Attendance Policy:

Absence from class lectures shall not exceed 30%. Students who exceed the stated limit without a medical or emergency excuse approved by the Dean of the English literature department shall not be allowed to take the final examination and shall receive a mark of zero for the course. If the excuse is approved by the Dean and the program coordinator, the student shall be considered to have withdrawn from the course.


Plagiarism is broadly defined as the act of stealing and passing off somebody’s work or ideas as one’s own without crediting the original source, and it is a serious offense in all scholarly communities. If a student quotes or summarizes an author’s written works or ideas, he/she must provide an appropriate citation in the assignment. If an act of plagiarism by a student is discovered, a disciplinary investigation will immediately follow.


Cheating is unfortunately a common problem. The Department of English Language and Literature at Karabük University has now adopted policy of zero tolerance. Any student who is discovered cheating will be investigated by a disciplinary committee and punished to the fullest extent possible under the current academic policy. No further warnings will be issued and no exceptions will be made.


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