Course Descriptions

ENG 2251

English Literature: Beginnings–Milton

Jason Herman

MWF 10:30-11:50 a.m. 

A course covering four segments of early English lit: the Anglo-Saxon Period of Beowulf’s epic heroism and The Wanderer’s devotional duty; the High Middle Ages, home of Chaucer with his unforgettable pilgrims on their way to Canterbury and King Arthur with his knights who must quest for self-knowledge; the Tudor Era, a flowering of English culture under the strong and brilliant Queen Elizabeth; and the Seventeenth Century, locale for the elegant Ben Johnson and the great Christian epic poet, John Milton.

In this course, we move from epic to romance and back to epic, passing through, on our way, plays and lyric poetry from the hands of the most skilled and subtle of English authors: Marlowe, Wyatt, Phillips, Herbert, and many more.

Obviously, a survey course covering lots of territory but — surprisingly for many students — also an experience with a faraway past that provides useful insights into their present-day world of love, devotion, and belief.

Writing on the window of an English classroom

How to Read a Poem

English Professor Susan Van Zanten gives you a quick guide on how to get the most out of reading poetry.

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”
Jane Austen
Pride & Prejudice