English 2322: Survey of British Literature I

Dr. Mark Womack



Office: LRNC 208

Campus Availability: MW after 11:30 (by appointment)

Fall 2009


MWF 9:10-10:05

MOD-2 103
3 hours
ENGL 1301 and 1302

Course Description

This course will introduce students to representative works of British literature from the Middle Ages through the 18th century. We will study these literary texts as literary texts—works of verbal art designed to delight readers and auditors—not primarily as historical documents. We will spend virtually all our time in class analyzing specific passages in great detail, thinking about how the text in front of us works on our minds and ears as we read it. This course will thus provide an opportunity to learn how to read literature closely and to write about it with precision and clarity.

Although not organized around any particular themes, the course will grapple with two critical questions: 1) “Why have these works persisted in our culture for so long?” and 2) “How do these writers manipulate the resources of language to shape our experience as readers?” As you will see, I believe these questions about canon formation and about literary form are inseparably related.

Catalog Description

A survey of the literature of Great Britain from Anglo-Saxon times to mid-eighteenth century.

Course Learning Outcomes for English 2322

  • Trace, interpret, and evaluate the cultural and literary development of English literature, both in form and content, from the Old English or Anglo-Saxon period through the neoclassical period.
  • Interpret and evaluate a literary work through understanding of the theme, situation, tone, structure, and style.
  • Recognize the aesthetic, moral, and intellectual values of literature.
  • Recognize some of the major themes of literature.
  • Understand the distinguishing characteristics of various genres such as epic poems, sonnets, plays, odes, elegies, short stories, novels, and allegories.
  • Write logical, well-organized, well-supported critical responses to a literary work.
  • Appropriately document material used as the result of research.

Required Text

The Norton Anthology of English Literature:
Volume 1
(8th Edition)

Additional Materials

  • in-class writing tools (pen/pencil & paper)

  • Course Policies


    You should attend all of every class. Excessive absences constitute grounds for failing the course; if you miss nine or more days of class, you will receive an “F.” I make no distinction between “excused” and “unexcused” absences; an absence is an absence. I assign no grade penalty for your first two absences; starting on your third absence, however, each day you miss will reduce your final average by one point. Three tardies equal one absence. Leaving class before I dismiss you counts as two tardies. I will take role at the beginning of each class session; if you arrive after role call, check in with me at the end of class. It is your responsibility to find out, from your classmates, what you miss when you are not in class.


    You will write two critical essays: one comparing translations of Beowulf, one analyzing a Renaissance sonnet. You will take a mid-term exam and a comprehensive final. All the material for both tests will come directly from readings, lectures, and class discussions. I do not assign extra credit or make-up work. Failure to complete ANY assignment may result in a failing grade for the course. You will submit your essays and take your exams on-line through Blackboard Vista. I do not accept late work; work not submitted on time will not receive a grade. I discuss grades only in private, and only forty-eight hours (at least) after I have returned an assignment.


    I will frequently give a 5 minute pop quiz on the day’s reading assignment either at the beginning or the end of class; if you miss that 5 minutes of a class, you miss that quiz. Missed quizzes cannot be made up for any reason whatsoever. When calculating your quiz average, I will drop your 2 lowest quiz scores.

    Grade Breakdown

    Essay 1
    Essay 2
    Midterm Exam
    Final Exam

    Final Course Grade

    Letter Grade
    Final Average

    Grading Scale

    A’s B’s C’s D’s F’s
    A+: 100 B+:  88 C+:  78
    A:    95 B:    85 C:    75  D: 65   F: 55   
    A-:   92 B-:   82 C-:   72

    Plagiarism Policy

    If I find clear evidence of academic dishonesty for ANY assignment, I will record a 0 (0 points) for the assignment and notify the English Dept. Chair of the incident and the grade. If a second incident of academic dishonesty occurs, I will record an “F” for the course grade and notify the English Dept. Chair of the incident and the grade.

    Manuscript Requirements

    Make and keep a copy of every essay you submit. Follow strict MLA format in all your papers. Use 1 inch margins, double space, and paginate. Use only 12 point fonts and readable typefaces (such as Times New Roman or Georgia). Edit and proofread everything you turn in; make each assignment as error-free as your can make it.


    I expect you to participate in class professionally—arrive on time, meet deadlines, collaborate, and pull your weight. I expect you to have read and be prepared to discuss the assigned readings for every class period. Professionalism includes all of these as well as regular attendance and willing participation in all facets of classroom life.

    Cell Phones

    Keep your cell phone turned off and out of sight during class time. Notify me before class begins if there is an emergency situation that absolutely requires you to leave your cell phone on. I reserve the right to confiscate any cell phone visible during class and to answer or confiscate any cell phone that rings during class.


    You may use your laptop only for taking notes, accessing the class website, or other specifically class-related work. If you use it to IM, e-mail, play games, shop or any other non-academic activity, you forfeit your right to bring a laptop to class for the rest of the semester. I reserve the right to confiscate any laptop used inappropriately during class.


    I will make all course materials—including the policy statement, the syllabus, assignment sheets, and so on—available on the class website: Check the site regularly to keep up with class announcements.

    Tentative Instructional Outline

    Mon 8/24 Review instructions, policies, and syllabus
    Wed 8/26 Beowulf lines 1-1650 (29-69)
    Fri 8/28 Beowulf lines 1651-3182 (69-100)
    Mon 8/31 Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Parts 1 & 2 (160-85)
    Wed 9/2 Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Parts 3 & 4 (185-213)
    Fri 9/4 CHAUCER The Canterbury Tales “General Prologue” lines 1-446 (213-29)
    Mon 9/7 LABOR DAY
    Wed 9/9 CHAUCER “General Prologue” lines 447-860 (229-28)
    Fri 9/11 CHAUCER “Miller’s Prologue & Tale” (239-55)
    Mon 9/14 CHAUCER “Wife of Bath’s Prologue & Tale” (256-84)
    Wed 9/16 CHAUCER “Pardoner’s Prologue & Tale” (284-98)
    Fri 9/18 The Second Shepherds’ Play (406-35)
    Mon 9/21 WYATT & SURREY (592-606, 607-615) and “Tudor Style” (500-06) ESSAY 1
    Wed 9/23 SIDNEY Astrophil and Stella, sonnets 1-56 (975-85)
    Fri 9/25 SIDNEY Astrophil and Stella, sonnets 61-108 (985-92)
    Mon 9/28 SPENSER The Faerie Queene 1.1 [Redcrosse and Error] (714-32)
    Wed 9/30 SPENSER The Faerie Queene 1.9.21-54 [Despair] (812-20)
    Fri 10/2 SPENSER The Faerie Queene 2.12 [The Bower of Bliss] (857-67)
    Mon 10/5 SPENSER The Faerie Queene 3.6 [The Garden of Adonis] (867-79)
    Wed 10/7 SPENSER The Faerie Queene 3.12 [The Masque of Cupid] (892-902)
    Fri 10/9 Review for Mid-Term Exam
    Mon 10/12
    Wed 10/14 MARLOWE Doctor Faustus, Prologue-scene 6 (1022-41) SFW 27
    Fri 10/16 MARLOWE Doctor Faustus, Chorus 2-Epilogue (1041-57)
    Mon 10/19 SHAKESPEARE Sonnets 1, 3, 12, 15, 18, 20, 29, 30, 33, 60, & 71 (1060-68)
    Wed 10/21 SHAKESPEARE Sonnets 73, 94, 116, 127, 129, 130, 138, 144, 146, 147, & 152 (1068-77)
    Fri 10/23 SHAKESPEARE King Lear, Act 1 (1143-64)
    Mon10/26 SHAKESPEARE King Lear, Act 2 (1164-80) ESSAY 2
    Wed 10/28 SHAKESPEARE King Lear, Act 3 (1180-95)
    Fri 10/30 SHAKESPEARE King Lear, Act 4 (1195-1212)
    Mon 11/2 SHAKESPEARE King Lear, Act 5 (1213-23)
    Wed 11/4 DONNE poems: “The Flea,” “The Good-Morrow,” “The Canonization,” “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning,” “The Relic,” & “Elegy 19, To His Mistress Going to Bed” (1260-84)
    Fri 11/6 DONNE poems: Holy Sonnets, “Good Friday, 1613, Riding Westward,” & “A Hymn to God the Father” (1295-1302) *Last Day to Drop & Receive a “W”
    Mon 11/9 MILTON Paradise Lost, book 1 (1830-50)
    Wed 11/11 MILTON Paradise Lost, book 2 (1850-71)
    Fri 11/13 MILTON Paradise Lost, book 3 (1872-87)
    Mon 11/16 MILTON Paradise Lost, book 4 (1887-1908)
    Wed 11/18 MILTON Paradise Lost, book 5 & book 8: lines 250-653 (1908-27 & 1965-73)
    Fri 11/20 MILTON Paradise Lost, book 9 (1973-98)
    Mon 11/23 MILTON Paradise Lost, book 10: lines 1-228, 414-584, 720-1104 & book 12: lines 466-649 (1998-2003, 2007-10, 2013-21, & 2051-55)
    Wed 11/25 ROCHESTER poems: “The Disabled Debauchee,” “The Imperfect Enjoyment,” “Upon Nothing,” & “A Satire against Reason and Mankind” (2167-77)
    Mon11/30 POPE An Essay on Criticism Part 2, lines 337-83 & The Rape of the Lock (2504-05; 2513-32)
    Wed 12/2 SWIFT “A Modest Proposal” & “The Lady’s Dressing Room” (2462-68; 2590-93)
    Fri 12/4 Review for Final Exam
    Wed 12/9
    9:00-10:50 AM

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    Evaluation of Instruction: LSC-CyFair is committed to student success. As part of its’ institutional effectiveness efforts, our instructors are assessed in several ways. For the continuous improvement of our instruction, all students are required to provide input for each course they take each semester using the Course Evaluations Questionnaire, which can be accessed online for each course. This occurs approximately half way through your course and your instructor will provide you more information on this process. Once you evaluate your course, print and turn in the receipt of completion to your instructor. The college deans review these evaluations each semester. The deans, and/or department chairs may visit each instructor’s class at some time during the semester to observe the instructional environment being provided, and complete an assessment of the instructor.

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    Withdrawal Policy: Withdrawal from the course after the official day of record and prior to “W” Day, (see current catalog for this date) will result in a final grade of “W” on your transcript. Instructor approval is necessary if you want to withdraw after official day. No credit will be awarded for a course earning a “W”. If you stop attending class, you must withdraw at the registration office prior to “W” day. If you stop attending class and do not officially withdraw, you will receive an “F” for the course.

    Your instructor, Mark Womack, reserves the right to amend any policies listed here with sufficient written and verbal notice.

    Page Last Updated: 31 August 2014