<div align="center">Early English Literature Survey</div>

 San José State University
English and Comparative Literature

English 56A: English Literature to the Late 18th Century

Fall 2011


Dr. Noelle Brada-Williams



Office Hours:

Mondays 1:30 PM to 4:30 PM.  Additional times by appointment in Faculty Office Building (FOB) 110.




(408) 924-4439


Monday and Wednesday 12:00 - 1:15PM Sweeney Hall 229

Course Description

This course introduces you to English literature from its early beginnings through the 18th century.  We will examine major literary movements, figures and genres from the Anglo-Saxon period to the end of the eighteenth century including the epic, the sonnet, restoration comedy, and various forms of pastoral. With each text, we will consider the relationships between the literary artifact and the culture that produced it.  Lectures and discussions will be organized around themes designed to address social and political aspects of the various cultures we will study such as the construction of gender, conceptions of marriage, religious faith, community, social status, England’s national identity and its growing international role as a colonial power.


Departmental Learning Objectives

English 56A serves the learning objectives of the Department of English and Comparative Literature, by having students demonstrate the ability to

1.      read closely in a variety of forms, styles, structures, and modes, and articulate the value of “close reading” or close analysis;

2.      show familiarity with major literary works, genres, periods, and critical approaches to World Literature;

3.      write clearly, effectively, and creatively, and adjust writing style appropriately to the content, the context, and the nature of the subject;

4.      develop and carry out research projects, and locate, evaluate, organize, and incorporate information effectively;

5.      articulate the relations among culture, history, and texts.


Assignments and Grading Policy

Coursework includes reading assignments (see schedule below); one eight to ten-page formal essay (which must include research and be put on turnitin.com—class password ID is 4195293 and the password is Norton); a midterm and final exam composed of both short identification and longer comparative essay questions, and a series of five short, roughly one-page assignments.  Late paper policy: keeping in mind the many emergencies and unforeseen events that can occur in the average SJSU student’s life, I have a very generous extension policy.  As long as you give me the request in writing—print or email— (complete with a new deadline) before the paper’s due date, most requests for an extension will be granted.  If the original deadline is passed by a student who has not received an extension or an extended deadline has been passed, 10% of the total points possible will be taken off for lateness up to one week. Extended or late papers will be graded AFTER on-time student work. Note that doing the reading and being able and willing to respond to the comments and questions of both the professor and your fellow students on a daily basis is a requirement of the course.  Reading quizzes and other in-class assignments will be given to ensure that students are indeed completing and understanding the readings.  These cannot be made up. Due dates for the paper and the times for the exams are listed on the reading and assignment schedule at the end of the syllabus.


Short writing assignments

will demonstrate SLO’s 1, 2, 3 & 5 (collectively)

5 short assignments of roughly a page each


Major paper will demonstrate SLO’s 3 & 4,

8-10 page analysis w/ research 2,800-3,500 words


Midterm will demonstrate SLO’s 1, 2 & 3

Short answer and comparative essay


Final Exam will demonstrate SLO’s 1, 2 & 3

5 I.D.’s  & 1 Comparative essay


Doing the reading and participating in class lectures and discussion, including reading quizzes & other in-class assignments will provide a chance for students to both acquire and demonstrate SLO’s 1, 2, and 5

class discussions, quizzes, etc.






The following statement has been adopted by the Department of English for inclusion in all syllabi:


In English Department Courses, instructors will comment on and grade the quality of student writing as well as the quality of ideas being conveyed. All student writing should be distinguished by correct grammar and punctuation, appropriate diction and syntax, and well-organized paragraphs.

The Department of English reaffirms its commitment to the differential grading scale as defined in the SJSU Catalog ("The Grading System").  Grades issued must represent a full range of student performance: A = excellent; B = above average; C = average; D = below average; F = failure.


In written assignments for English 56A, this scale is based on the following criteria:

A [90-92=A-, 93-96=A, 97-100=A+] = Excellent: The "A" essay is articulate and well developed with fluid transitions and a clear and persuasive use of evidence, which is drawn from the literary text itself, lecture materials (when appropriate), and research materials. An "A" essay contains a fresh insight which teaches the reader something new about the subject matter.

B [80-82=B-, 83-86=B, 87-89=B+] Above average: The "B" essay demonstrates a good understanding of its subject, a clear and persuasive use of evidence, a certain level of ease of expression, and solid organization.  However, it usually lacks the level of originality and creativity that characterizes the insight found in an "A" essay.

C [70-72=C-, 73-76=C, 77-79=C+]  = Average: The "C" essay makes a good attempt at all the assignment's requirements.  It has a reasonable understanding of its subject matter but its ideas are frequently simplistic or over-generalized.  The writing style is also more bland and repetitive than the style shown by "A" and "B" essays and it often contains flaws in grammar, punctuation, spelling and/or word choice.  It may also use textual evidence out of context.

D [60-62=D-, 63-66=D, 67-69=D+] = Below average: The "D" essay is poorly organized and generally unclear.  It has inappropriate or inadequate examples, is noticeably superficial or simplistic, and/or contains some serious mechanical and grammatical problems.  A "D" essay may also reveal some misunderstanding of the assignment requirements.

F = Failure: An "F" essay has not addressed the requirements of the assignment and is unacceptable work in terms of both form and content.

Classroom Protocol

You are required to be courteous and professional to both classmates and the professor.  Most people take this as a requirement in their daily lives and this statement does not need to be reiterated here.  However, people sometimes forget that the classroom is a professional setting and rules that govern a business meeting apply here.  For example, devices such as cell phones need to be turned off; coming to class late is unacceptable.  If an emergency arises that requires your absence from class, please contact the professor.  Simply prioritizing your education behind other time commitments does not constitute such an emergency.  Participating in class discussions and listening to and taking notes on class lectures are absolutely necessary for the successful completion of this course. Protocol for written work requires that all quotations must be enclosed in quotation marks or, when more than three lines, put in an indented block. Full citation of the original author and source must also be included.  For all papers, review a writing handbook for help with quote integration, formatting & proper citation (most of you will have purchased one for your Freshman comp. classes).  Also see the University policy on “Academic Integrity” below for help defining and avoiding plagiarism of all kinds.

University Policy on Academic Integrity

Students should know that the University’s Academic Integrity Policy is available at http://www.sjsu.edu/studentconduct/Policies/. Your own commitment to learning, as evidenced by your enrollment at San Jose State University and the University’s integrity policy, require you to be honest in all your academic course work. Faculty members are required to report all infractions to the office of Student Conduct and Ethical Development. The website for Student Conduct and Ethical Development is available at http://www.sa.sjsu.edu/judicial_affairs/index.html.

Instances of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. Cheating on exams or plagiarism (presenting the work of another as your own, or the use of another person’s ideas without giving proper credit) will result in a failing grade and sanctions by the University. For this class, all assignments are to be completed by the individual student unless otherwise specified. If you would like to include in your assignment any material you have submitted, or plan to submit for another class, please note that SJSU’s Academic Policy F06-1 requires approval of instructors.

Dropping and Adding

Students are responsible for understanding the policies and procedures about add/drops, academic renewal, etc. Information on add/drops are available at http://info.sjsu.edu/web-dbgen/narr/soc-fall/rec-324.html. Information about late drop is available at http://www.sjsu.edu/sac/advising/latedrops/policy/ . Students should be aware of the current deadlines and penalties for adding and dropping classes. Note that September 6, 2011 is the last drop without a “W.”  The instructor of this course will not automatically drop you if you do not show up.  Dropping is your responsibility.


Campus Policy in Compliance with the American Disabilities Act

If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, or if you need to make special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please make an appointment with me as soon as possible, or see me during office hours. Presidential Directive 97-03 requires that students with disabilities requesting accommodations must register with the DRC (Disability Resource Center) to establish a record of their disability.

Library Liaison for English & Comparative Literature:

Contact Toby Matoush via email: Toby.Matoush@sjsu.edu, or phone: (408) 808-2096 if you have library research questions that have not been answered in class. 

Student Technology Resources

Computer labs for student use are available in the Academic Success Center located on the first floor of Clark Hall and on the 2nd floor of the Student Union. Additional computer labs may be available in your department/college. Computers are also available in the Martin Luther King Library.

SJSU Writing Center

The SJSU Writing Center is located in Room 126 in Clark Hall.  It is staffed by professional instructors and upper-division or graduate-level writing specialists from each of the seven SJSU colleges. The writing specialists have met a rigorous GPA requirement, and they are well trained to assist all students at all levels within all disciplines to become better writers. The Writing Center website is located at http://www.sjsu.edu/writingcenter/about/staff//.

One Required Text:

The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Stephen Greenblatt, Gen. Ed.  8th Edition.   Volumes A, B & C (Package 1/3 volume set) ISBN: 0-393-92833-0.

English 56A

Fall 2011 Course Schedule

The schedule may vary depending on the needs of the class or scheduling issues.  Any changes will be reported in class and via the email you have registered with MySJSU.


 Readings & Assignments

1: August 24

Introduction to course.

2: August 29

Read the Norton introduction to “The Middle Ages” Beowulf (NAEL 1-23 & 29-47/at least to line 661)

August 31

Read Beowulf (NAEL 47-80/at least to line 2200)

3: September 5

Labor Day Holiday.  Campus Closed.

September 7

Complete Beowulf (to NAEL 100/line 3182) and read “The Wander,” “The Wife’s Lament” and the excerpt of The Anglo Saxon Chronicle (NAEL 111-117).  Begin reading Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (to part 1—NAEL 160-172)

4: September 12

Read all Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (NAEL 172-213). Short essay #1 due on what makes a good leader OR what defines good conduct /a good life in one or more of these texts (300-400 words).

September 14

Read Chaucer, Canterbury Tales (NAEL 213-255).  “General Prologue” and the “Miller’s Tale”

 5: September 19

Read Chaucer, Canterbury Tales (NAEL 256-284). “The Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale”

September 21

Read Chaucer, Canterbury Tales (NAEL 284-298, 315). “Pardoner’s Tale” and prep for next class by reading the 16th C headnote (485-513).

6: September 26

The origins of the English sonnet and Courtly Poetry: Wyatt, Surry, Spenser, and samples of Elizabethan Poetry (NAEL 592-613, 947-8, 975-992, plus Raleigh, 917-8, and Marlowe, 1022). Short essay #2 due analyzing some aspect of The Canterbury Tales (300-400 words).

September 28

Edmund Spenser, Amoretti and Epithalamium  (NAEL 903-916).

7: October 3

Christopher Marlowe, Dr. Faustus (NAEL 1023-1057). Short essay #3 due analyzing a poem or developing a sonnet or other of your own (with a brief explanation, 300-400 words).

October 5

Continue discussion of Faustus.  Read Early 17th c headnote (NAEL 1235-1259)

8: October 10

 John Donne: (NAEL 1260-1265), “The Flea,” “The Good-Morrow,” “Song,” “The Canonization” (1267-8), “Break of Day” (1270-1) “The Bait” (1274), “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning,” (1275-1276) and excerpts of Holy Sonnets (1295-1299). Ben Jonson: (1324-1326), “On My First Daughter,” “To John Donne, “On Giles and Joan” and “On My First Son” (1428-1430), “To Penshurst,” “Song : To Celia” (1434-1436),  “Sonnet to Lady Mary Wroth” (1438), “Still to be Neat “ (1444). Mary Wroth (1451-1452 and 1457-1461).

October 12

2nd day for Donne, review, etc.

9: October 17


October 19

Read Milton, Paradise Lost, headnote and “Lycidas” (NAEL 1785-1789, 1805-1811)

10: October 24

Read Milton, Paradise Lost,


Read Book One, lines 1-27, 84-191, 242-330

Read Book Two (the debate in Hell), 1-505

Read Book Four, 30-113 and 288-324

October 26

Read Milton, Paradise Lost, DAY TWO:

Read Book Four, 411-491

Read Book Eight, 460-653

Read Book Nine, 270-375, 532-612, 745-833, 921-1016

Read Book Ten 103-162

Read Book Twelve, 624-649

11: October 31

Read the Restoration and 18th c headnote and John Dryden, “Mac Flecknoe” (NAEL 2057-2086 and 2111-2117)

November 2

Read Aphra Behn, Oroonoko  (NAEL 2183-2226)

12: November 7

Finish discussion of Oroonoko Short essay #4 due analyzing any one of the texts that we have read since #3 was turned in (300-400 words). 

November 9

Read all of Way of the World (NAEL 2226-2284). Discuss at least through Act 4.

13: November 14

Read Mary Astell and Daniel Defoe (NAEL 2284-2294) and William Hogarth (2656-2663).  Finish discussion of Way of the World and

November 16

Read The Rape of the Lock (NAEL 2513-2525/Cantos 1-3) plus possible additional background reading/criticism

14: November 21

Finish The Rape of the Lock (NAEL 2525-2532/Cantos 4-5) plus possible additional background reading/criticism

November 23

Read Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels book 1 (NAEL 2323-2365). Last day to turn in short essay #5: a proposal for your final research paper (350 words max).

15: November 28

Read Swift, Gulliver’s Travels book 2 (NAEL 2365-2405)

November 30

Gulliver’s Travels book 4 (NAEL 2418-2462)

16: December 5

Read Samuel Johnson (2 NAEL 664-2666, 2749-2756, 2849-2850) and Olaudah Equiano (2850-59). Eight-ten page research paper due.

December 7

Read all of Anne Finch (NAEL 2294-2298), Mathew Prior (2298-2301), Thomas Gray’s poems (2862-2870) Oliver Goldsmith “The Deserted Village,” George Crabbe, excerpt from The Village (2877-2890), and review for final. 

December 14

Final Exam: Wednesday, 9:45 AM -1200 Noon