Apr 17, 2024  
2022-2023 Academic Catalog 
2022-2023 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

ENG 316-01 - Studies in English Renaissance Literature

4 credits (Fall)
The Origins of Character. We now take it for granted that a literary character is more or less like a person, who develops and grows through experience over time, experience which it is literature’s job to represent. This seminar has two goals: to show how profoundly alien that concept is - of personal growth through time, even personal identity at all in our modern individualistic sense - to the Renaissance, and to track the historical, philosophical, and narrative forces through which it came to seem possible, even necessary. Our guide through the hundred years of character innovation between Spenser and Behn will be genre: how do comedy, tragedy, allegory, romance, and lyric conceive of character, and is there any common denominator between them? Does anything change or stay the same through time? How are these genres inflected by the massive religious, political, and scientific changes sweeping England over the seventeenth century? How do race, gender, and class inflect the presentation of character? Students will complete, in several stages, a research essay making a genuine contribution to our topic. 

Prerequisite: ENG 223  or ENG 273 
Note: Plus-2 option available.
Instructor: Likert