British Literature Competencies

Early English Literature (ENGL 233)

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

  • describe the interrelationship of Early English literary texts with their historical time periods;
  • articulate the value literary texts have in illuminating human motivations and behavior;
  • analyze texts and read critically;
  • Identify commonalities within genres—and understand them in terms of  the subjects that authors have chosen to develop within these genres;
  • compare and contrast genres and periods of literature with specific references to the pieces of literature studied;
  • identify relationships of types and define literary terms;
  • identify key Early English historical/literary figures and the significance of important dates;
  • create an argument around identified literary themes and substantiate it with specifics from the text.

Middle English (ENGL 402/602)

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

  1.   Discuss the materials and issues in both academic and popular discourse concerning texts written in Middle English between the 11th and 16th centuries exclusive of Chaucer.
  2.   Display an understanding of linguistic changes which occurred from Old English through Middle English  to Early Modern English by way of group discussion and quizzes.
  3.   Read texts written in Middle English (both aloud in recordings and by way of translation quizzes) utilizing the then-current alphabet and spelling with dialectal variations. Display fluency with the aid of the glossary and/or the Middle English Dictionary.
  4.   Interpret and discuss those texts as they are embedded within their period and social milieu in group Discussion Board assignments.
  5.   Engage in academic discourse on Middle English Language and Literature by way of
    • small group Discussion Boards,
    • voice boards or recordings,
    • peer reviews of one another’s papers, and
    • short individual papers and/or projects.

Chaucer (ENGL 403/603)

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

  1. Display reading fluency in a broad selection of Chaucer's corpus of work,
  2. Understand the texts' meaning within the context of the period's history and key figures:
    •   Medieval Cosmology and Worldview
    •   Key Biographies;
  3. Display an ability to read Chaucer's London Dialect of Late Middle English; and
  4. Show an awareness of Chaucer's aesthetics, poetics, & prosody.

The English Renaissance (English 404/604)

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

  • describe the interrelationship of Renaissance literary texts with their historical time periods
  • articulate the value literary texts have in illuminating human motivations and behavior 
  • analyze texts and read critically 
  • Identify commonalities within genres—and understand them in terms of  the subjects that authors have chosen to develop within these genres.
  • compare and contrast genres and periods of literature with specific references to the pieces of literature studied
  • identify relationships of types and define literary terms
  • identify key Renaissance historical/literary figures and the significance of important dates
  • create an argument around identified literary themes and substantiate it with specifics from the text.

Shakespeare (English 405/605)

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

  • describe the interrelationship of the Shakespearean texts with their historical time periods
  • articulate the value literary texts have in illuminating human motivations and behavior 
  • analyze texts and read critically 
  • Identify commonalities within genres—and understand them in terms of  the subjects that authors have chosen to develop within these genres.
  • compare and contrast genres and periods of literature with specific references to the pieces of literature studied
  • identify relationships of types and define literary terms
  • identify key historical/literary figures from Shakespeare's time and the significance of important dates
  • create an argument around identified literary themes and substantiate it with specifics from the text.

17th Century Literature Before the Restoration (English 406/606)

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

  • describe the interrelationship of the literary texts with their historical time periods
  • articulate the value literary texts have in illuminating human motivations and behavior 
  • analyze texts and read critically 
  • Identify commonalities within genres—and understand them in terms of  the subjects that authors have chosen to develop within these genres.
  • compare and contrast genres and periods of literature with specific references to the pieces of literature studied
  • identify relationships of types and define literary terms
  • identify key historical/literary figures and the significance of important dates
  • create an argument around identified literary themes and substantiate it with specifics from the text.

Milton (English 407/607)

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

  • Attain an awareness of Milton and his time as one of great compendia, of religion, history, philosophy, and all natural sciences, in the medieval sense scientia  or art/science as one entity, the poet being a polymath and moral teacher as with Homer and thus worthy to be understood as an instrument of the divine.
  • Describe Milton’s literary endeavors, in his early work, as poetic experiments in which he explores and then combines classic generic distinctions and conventions of literature--poetry, drama, romance, epic, comedy, tragedy, and pastoral--into a poetic  poetic fabric which, blending sacred and secular literature, became a feature of Paradise Lost.
  • Trace the development of Milton’s view that poetic abilities are “the inspired gift of God” and “are of power beside the office of a pulpit,” to “celebrate in glorious and lift hymns the throne...of God’s almightiness, and what he works and what he suffers to be wrought with high providence,” thus creating an image of virtue, a heroic figure that can be looked upon a model of action--the Bible revealing the standards which are exemplified by the hero or heroes and then recorded by the poet.
  • Analyze how Milton prose works, as with Areopagitica, one of greatest defenses of freedom of the press and the freedom to learn ever written, influenced Milton’s poetic achievements, especially Paradise Lost, as well as the founding documents of the United States.
  • Identify ways Milton achieved a dignified, elevated style as demanded by the epic decorum of Paradise Lost, how, for instance, Milton rendered syntax, semantics, tone, and sentence structure consistent with Christian revelation in the depiction of God the Father and God the Son as characters in an epic poem, as with Adam and Eve who, together, speak as the voice of the human race.
  • Determine Milton’s methods that contribute to his use of language in Paradise Lost as a marvel of compressed purpose and creative potential, ways, for instance, that his language incarnates human conscious and unconscious energy, its beliefs, intuitions, and its thoughts, longings, aspirations, struggles, sorrows, and attainments.
  • Comprehend ways Milton, in keeping with the ends or purpose of the epic poem of Homer and Virgil, rendered Paradise Lost as a theodicy, a vindication of divine justice that depicts the Hebraic-Christian world view with its dramatic accounts of the origin, fall, and redemption of the human race.
  • Identify ways Milton’s Paradise Lost challenges comparison with the epics of Homer and Virgil not only in style, decorum, and literary form, but also in its treatment of action, character, theme, conflict, and setting, since, for example, Milton depicts an eternal, omniscient, omnipresent God who, in the epic itself, creates time, space, and matter, an infinite universe of providential design, the action of two-fold revelation, the Book of God’s Word and the Book of God’s Six Days Work.

Victorian and Edwardian Literature (English 412/612)

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

  • explore the socio-cultural and historical realities (background) of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and their own time through the study of both seminal works of poetry and non-fiction prose and critical works
  • probe in depth various critical and theoretical approaches through the composing of an annotated bibliography and researched essays
  • gain a fuller understanding of English society and culture through literature and ancillary disciplines such as history, sociology, art, political theory and aesthetic movements in an essentially comparative approach
  • detect the roots of contemporary Anglo-American society in seminal literary works of these periods in close, critical readings of literary texts
  • articulate—both in writing and verbally—important conclusions about beauty, work, social issues, and theories of social utility and how these insights have developed over the past century and a half.

The English Novel (English 414/614)

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of modern and postmodern British novels which engage with the themes of imperialism, colonialism and postcolonialism.
  • Analyze connections between historical conditions of literary production and the aesthetics of the British novel. (E.g. how the conditions of colonialism and postcolonialism influenced the development of modernism and postmodernism.)
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the main concepts and methods used in the discipline of postcolonial studies and apply this knowledge to the analysis of the selected British novels.
  • Employ the skills of close reading, interpretation, synthesis, and critical analysis to the reading of British novels.
  • Enhance skills of conducting research and writing critical papers, according to professional standards of literary studies
  • Engage with the readings in British fiction and postcolonial theory on creative and personal levels.