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Course : Survey of English Literature, Semester 1

Course Number
Section Number
Fall 2019
Prothro-Yeager Hall, 205
Days & Times
Final Exam Day/Time
Thursday, December 12, 2019 12:00 am

Required books:

Beowulf: A Verse Translation. Translated by Seamus Heaney. Edited by Daniel Donoghue. 2nd Norton Critical Edition. New York: Norton, 2019.

ISBN 978-0-393-93837-1. 

Thomas Malory. Le Morte Darthur: Selections. Edited by Maureen Okun. Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview, 2015. ISBN 978-1-55481-159-5. 

Gordon Teskey, editor. Paradise Lost. New York: Norton, 2005. ISBN 978-0-393-92428-2. 

Denise N. Baker, editor. The Showings of Julian of Norwich. New York and London: Norton, 2005. ISBN 9-780-393-97915-6.

Course goals:

THREE RESPONSES (60 percent of overall grade; 20 percent each). Each response is approximately 600 words: that is, two 300-word paragraphs. Each response is typed, double-spaced, and features three quotes from the primary text in the first paragraph and in the second paragraph significant quoting from one of the essays in the required critical edition. Each response must follow the model at the end of this syllabus. We use MLA for in-body citing and the bibliographic citation. 

MOVIE RESPONSE (10 percent): Students will write ONE movie response of approximately 600 words (two paragraphs, each 300 words). The quotes from the movie do not have to be perfect; students may paraphrase at length the content of dialogue. Paragraph one features specific visual details and paraphrased dialogue. Paragraph two features thematic discussion and answers this question about fate and freewill: Do the main characters’ choices matter or does the outcome for each main character seem preordained? 

JULIAN OF NORWICH (30 percent): Final Essay is similar to the first responses but features the use of TWO essays from the required critical edition. Students will receive a specific prompt with format and instructions.

Daily Calendar and Due Dates:

Dr. Fields must attend the Rocky Mountain MLA convention and will be out of town Wednesday through Saturday, October 9-12.

August 27 29:

The Old English (or Anglo-Saxon) word for fate is wyrd, pronounced “weird.” How does fate work? Where do you sense it? How would you define it?

Tuesday     Review of syllabus. Beowulf lines 1-163

Thursday    Beowulf lines 164-661 (pp. 3-19).

September 3, 5:

Monday closed for Labor Day

Tuesday     Beowulf lines 662-1250 (pp. 19-36).

Thursday    Beowulf lines 1251- 2199 (pp. 36-59)

September 10, 12:

Tuesday     Beowulf lines 2200-3182 (pp. 59-83).

Thursday    Beowulf lines 2200-3182 (pp. 59-83).

September 17, 19:

Tuesday        Essays in our critical edition of Beowulf

Thursday    Sir Thomas Mallory, Le Morte Darthur:

The Marriage of King Uther unto King Arthur, pp. 31-43

September 24, 26 :

Tuesday     DUE DATE BEOWULF Response (600 words; see model at the end of this syllabus).

                A Noble Tale of Sir Launcelot du Lake pp. 44-78.

Thursday    Launcelot and Elaine pp. 79-109.

October 1, 3

Tuesday     The Noble Tale of the Sankgreal pp. 110-160.

Thursday    Sankgreal, cont.

Oct 8, 10

TUE-THUR              [Dr. Fields is out of town on Thursday for a conference.]

Movie showing in class of THE WITCH (2016; Dir. Robert Eggers). This movie faithfully represents the values, language, spirituality, imagination—and fears and terrors—of early 17th century English puritans in colonial America. The Witch is a horror movie and disturbing. Students may choose to avoid it and instead write a response for any movie based on a Shakespeare play, whether streaming it online or a DVD title from Moffett library. NOTE: You must arrange with Dr. Fields AHEAD OF TIME what alternative movie you have selected. After you check in on Tuesday and Thursday, you may work on your movie response essay or anything related to class in the lounge area by our classroom or in the student lounge next to the Jim Hoggard Room.  

The response must be 600 words: two paragraphs of 300 words each. The first paragraph is descriptive of key scenes and may paraphrase the conversation of the characters. The second paragraph is thematic and answers these concerns regarding freewill and fate: Do the choices of the main characters seem to matter? Does the outcome of events seem predetermined?   

Tuesday     MOVIE RESPONSE DUE (600 words)

Tuesday     The Noble Tale of the Sankgreal, cont.

Thursday    Launcelot and Queen Quinevere, pp. 226-236.

October 15, 17

Tuesday     Death of Arthur, pp. 246-253, 262-269, 294-322. 

Thursday    Paradise Lost. Introduction xv-xxvii. Bk 1. 1-168. Bk 1. 242-70: Satan seems to embody the modern concept of heightened, ever expanding self. Our reality (presumably) is self-determined: “A mind not to be changed by place or time! / The mind is its own place and in itself / Can make a heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven” (253-55). Bk 1. 271-978: The Princes of Hell & the construction of Pandemonium.

October 22, 24

Tuesday     DUE DATE MALLORY’S ARTHUR (600 words; see model at the end of this syllabus). Bk 2.1-228: Belial counsels his fellow demons NOT to challenge God anymore for supremacy.

Thursday    Bk 2.229-479: Mammon and Beëlzebub. Bk 2.629-1055: Satan meets his old flame, Sin, and their mutual progeny, Death. 

October 28 Monday: Last Day for penalty-free “W.”

October 29, 31

Tuesday     Bk 3.56-132: God the Father and God the Son contemplate the coming fall of man; Bk 3.193-203: Peculiar Grace; Bk 3.227-65: Man Shall Find Grace. Bk. 4. 20-113: Hell within him; Bk 4.288-392: Satan plots against Adam and Eve. Bk 4.410-538: Eve recalls her own creation. Book 5: 28-135: Eve tells her troubling dream.

Thursday    Bk 5.563-907: Satan contemplates rebellion; Bk 6.1-55, 245-353: War in Heaven. Bk 6.469-568: Invention of the cannon; Bk 6.679-912: The Son defeats Satan.

November 5, 7

Tuesday     Bk 8. 1-65: Eve leaves the conversation; Bk 8.357-653: The Creation of Eve recalled by Adam.

Thursday    Bk 9.205-375. Ironically, the creature who undoes Adam arises from his own visionary conception of the perfect companion. He dreamed of her and awoke to find her. Bk 9.445-1189. Eve may have been beguiled and deluded by the serpent’s deceit, but Adam knowingly disobeys God because he cannot conceive of life without Eve—the companion he so desperately wanted.

November 12, 14

Tuesday     Bk 10. 1-228: The judging of Adam and Eve. Bk 10.229-409: Satanic family reunion on the bridge between worlds.

Thursday    Paradise Lost. Bk 10.773-1012: Remorse of Adam & Eve. Bk 11. 1-98: Repentance and hope;  Bk 11.556-711: Michael shows Adam the future: the Sons of God intermarry with Cain’s progeny and produce the Giants; Bk 11.712-901: The Flood.

November 19 21

Tuesday     Julian of Norwich’s Showings [Revelations of Divine Love]. Overview of the 16 revelations, or “showings,” of the divine love:

1. Ch. 4 bleeding from crown of thorns p. 8.

2. Ch. 10 bloody face p. 17.

3. Ch. 11 God in the point p. 20.

4. Ch. 12 scourging p. 22).

5. Ch. 13 the fiend is overcome p. 23.

6. Ch. 14 the Lord’s feast p. 24.

7. Ch. 15 everlasting sureness p. 25.

8. Ch. 16 the pale languishing p. 26).

9. Ch. 22 three heavens & Father in Christ p. 34.

10. Ch. 24 Christ’s side p. 37.

11. Ch. 25 Virgin Mary p. 37.

12. Ch. 26 I am all p. 39.

13. Ch. 27 All shall be well p. 39.

14. Ch. 41 prayers are heard p. 56.

15. Ch. 64 vision of the child p. 99.

16. Chs. 67 & 68: fiend’s face & kingdom of the soul p. 103.

Ch. 1: the 16 revelations in Julian’s words; Ch. Chs. 2-4: Julian is near death. Ch. 5: Julian contemplates something as small as a hazelnut. Ch. 6: We are clad in the goodness of God;

Thursday    Ch. 7: God’s “homely” love; Ch. 10: Under the sea; Ch. 11: God in all things; nothing removed from my hands. Ch. 27: All shall be well. Ch. 29: Julian’s doubt; Ch. 31: You will see; Ch. 32-33: Julian has more doubts; Chs. 36-39: The Great Deed & Dread of sin. Ch. 45-47: higher and lower selves—the two domes (judgments). Chs. 49-50: Her dilemma.

November 26 – Thanksgiving Holiday is Nov 27-29

Tuesday     DUE DATE PARADISE LOST RESPONSE (600 words; see model at the end of this syllabus).

Ch. 51: The Fall of the Servant.

Dec 3, 5

Tuesday     You receive the SPECIAL PROMPT for the Final Essay.

Chs. 55, 58-61: Our heavenly mother Jesus—here is Julian of Norwich’s most provocative and dynamic insight. Ch. 86: The meaning was love.

Thursday    See Introduction ix-xix for summary; for precedents for Julian’s teachings, see Augustine 135, Hilton 136-37; Aelred, De Institutione Inclusarum “Jesus as Mother,” 137-38; Ancrene Wisse, “Jesus as Mother,” 139. Compare Margery Kempe’s vision 130-34. See also Grace M. Jantzen’s “The Life of an Anchoress” 143-50.

December 12 Thursday, Final Essay Due 10:30 AM

The final essay on Julian of Norwich is due IN PERSON on Thursday, December 12 at 10:30 AM in our regular classroom.

See attached grading rubric.


Four undocumented absences means 10 percent off the overall semester grade. The professor will accept documentation in the form of cellphone pictures (by email attachment) of clinic sign-in sheets, court dates, prescription labels, repair receipts, and work schedules; he will accept emails from family members, lawyers, and supervisors. Many times students are helping family members or friends in crisis. The key is keeping Dr. Fields in the loop, communicating and working with him by email, and, most importantly, coming to an agreement on how to document the absences.


Late work

Students must submit their work on due dates in person: not by surrogate, not under an office door, not left on a desk, and not by email attachment. If lateness is undocumented, the late penalty is 10 points out of 100. The Final Essay is penalized 10 points if not submitted in the official time window for that final exam.

Note: You may not submit a paper for a grade in this class that already has been (or will be) submitted for a grade in another course, unless you obtain the explicit written permission of me and the other instructor involved in advance.

Plagiarism is the use of someone else's thoughts, words, ideas, or lines of argument in your own work without appropriate documentation (a parenthetical citation at the end and a listing in "Works Cited")-whether you use that material in a quote, paraphrase, or summary. It is a theft of intellectual property and will not be tolerated, whether intentional or not.

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