Sample Course Offerings - Medieval and Renaissance
ENGL 440: Disability and Marginality in Medieval England and France - Dr. Edward Wheatley
This course, which will be taught at the Newberry Library, will focus on disabled bodies and the cultural forces that acted upon them, as represented in a variety of types of early Christian and medieval texts in Latin, French, and English. We will devote special attention to blindness because of its strong metaphorical associations in medieval Christian discourse. The course will begin with readings in disability theory and its relation to the study of literature. Literary texts will include Old French farces and fabliaux, hagiographic texts, “The Croxton Play of the Sacrament,” “The Tale of Beryn,” and texts by Chaucer and Henryson. Students will write two essays and a research paper based on an oral report presented to the class.
ENGL 455: Shakespeare - Dr. James Knapp
The past two decades of Shakespeare scholarship have witnessed an increasing emphasis on material culture and the materiality of the early modern stage. Studies of stage properties, theatrical space, and the material conditions of playing in early modern London have shaped the ways in which we view the interactions of Shakespeare’s characters with their material surroundings. Likewise the material conditions of the early modern print trade have yielded insights into the relationship that the playwright had with the publication and circulation of his works in both print and manuscript. This new materially focused scholarship has largely displaced earlier scholarship that had concentrated on Shakespeare’s aesthetics, his place in the history of ideas and the nature of his linguistic innovation. Yet, the relationship between material existence and the immaterial world of ideas is a consistent focus of the plays and poetry. This course will examine how a focus on Shakespeare’s interest in the immaterial—the conceptual, spiritual, non-existent—complicates materially inflected readings of his poetry and plays.
ENGL 458: Milton- Dr. Christopher Kendrick
The seminar will cover Milton’s early poetry as presented in his 1645 Poems; the great Restoration works (Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, and Samson Agonistes); and three of his political pamphlets (Areopagitica, The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce, and A Treatise of Civil Power). We will discuss the thematics of sexuality, politics, and religion, and pay special attention to matters of genre and style, in Milton's works.