EN315 Earlier English Literature

for FA 2010

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EN 315 Earlier English Literature


FA 2010 HO


Atkinson, Stephen


Associate Professor of English


B.A., English, Wesleyan University; Ph.D., English Literature and Language, Indiana University

Office Location

Copley 306

Office Hours

MWF 8:00-9:00; MW 1:30-2:30; TR by appointment

Daytime Phone




Class Days


Class Time


Credit Hours


Longman Anthology of British Literature,  volumes 1A and 1B.

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Course Description:
A survey of major authors and works from the medieval beginnings of English literature to approximately 1700. Special attention to Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, and Milton. 3:0:3

Educational Philosophy:
Students are responsible for their own learning. The instructor's job is to create an environment in which the learning can flourish and bring his own experience and expertise to bear where it is helpful.

Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. Discuss the nature of literary history and its relationship to political and social history.
  2. Examine “canon-formation” (i.e., how it's determined what constitute the major works of a period).
  3. Demonstrate familiarity with recent trends in English studies and the range of current approaches to literary texts.

Core Assessment:

All Park University courses will include a Core Assessment with rubric. This will include ¾of the Core Learning Outcomes listed above. The Core Assessment in this course will be a major critical paper of no fewer than 5 pages, which will include research and MLA documentation. The project will be completed in the final quarter of the term.

 The rubric for this assignment is published so the student can see the expectations.

Class Assessment:

  1. Attendance/Participation.  This is not a lecture course.  Everyone is expected to contribute to discussions.  Obviously, you can't contribute if you're not present, so attendance is necessary--but not sufficient.  In addition to being present, you must be prepared--up to date with both the readings and the journal--and ready to talk.
  2. The journal is a running record of your responses to (not just a summary of) the reading, spontaneous and unedited writing.  Topics will sometimes be assigned for journal entries, but you should always use the journal to record your own thoughts and feelings.
  3. Four case studies.  These will explore specific issues faced by either contemporaneous or modern readers of early texts.  At least two will be team projects; at least one will include a presentation.
  4. An essay for the first issue of Park Essays in Early Literature (PEEL).  Essays will explore issues in the literature of the English medieval and Elizabethan periods.  The project will consist of (1) a proposal, (2) a draft, (3) a submitted essay; and (4) a revised version for publication.  Details later.


  1. Class attendance/participation         25%
  2. Reading journal                               25%
  3. Case studies                                   10%
  4. Essay                                              40%

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

Because the course is discussion-driven, a precise schedule isn't possible.  Assignments will be decided as we go, and due dates determined as projects get underway.  If you have to miss a class, be sure you get the assignment (reading and journal), so that you're caught up for the next meeting.
We'll divide the course coverage (about 1000 years of English literature!) into five topics:
  1. Old English heroic literature
  2. The 14th century: Chaucer, Langland, and the Gawain-poet 
  3. The development of early English drama
  4. Spenser, his contemporaries, and the English Reformation
  5. Milton, his contemporaries, and English classicism
The projects will be assigned as we go.
The essay proposal will be due in Week 10; the draft in Week 11; the essay in Week 13; and the publication version in Week 16.

Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life. Park University students and faculty members are encouraged to take advantage of the University resources available for learning about academic honesty (www.park.edu/current or http://www.park.edu/faculty/).from Park University 2010-2011 Undergraduate Catalog Page 92

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. from Park University 2010-2011 Undergraduate Catalog Page 92-93

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "F".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.

Park University 2010-2011 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95-96

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: http://www.park.edu/disability .


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Last Updated:8/3/2010 9:34:56 AM