30.360 Age of Beheadings

A study of representative English literature from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The course will include texts by authors such as Wyatt, Sidney, Spenser, Herbert, Donne, Lanyer, Jonson, and Milton. Students will learn to read and understand both literary forms (such as sonnets, metaphysical poetry, narrative fiction, and epic poetry), and also early modern literary devices (such as puns, blazons, allusions, and paradoxes).

3 lecture hours per week, one term.
Prerequisite: 6 credit hours in first-year English literature or permission of Instructor.

Tentative Reading List and Schedule for the Fall 2017 semester:

All texts from The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Volume B, Ninth Edition. Eds. Stephen Greenblatt et al. New York: Norton, 2012, or distributed in class.

For more information, contact Dr. Smid.


6 (W) Introduction

11 (M) NAEL: Introduction and Time Line

 13 (W) Wyatt, “Whoso list to hunt”; Petrarch, “Rima 190”; Wyatt, “My Galley”; Petrarch, “Rima 189”; Wyatt, “Who list his wealth and ease retain”

18 (M) Surrey, “Wyatt resteth here, that quick could never rest”; “Love, that doth reign and live within my thought; Sidney, “Astrophil and Stella” stanzas 1 and 2

20 (W) Sidney, Defense of Poesy

 25 (M) More, Utopia

 27 (W) Elizabeth I, “The doubt of future foes”; “Speech to the Troops at Tilbury”; “Verses Written with a Diamond”; “On Monsieur’s Departure”


2 (M)  Spenser, The Faerie Queene (FQ): “A Letter of the Authors,” Proem to Book I

4 (W)   Spenser, FQ I.i.

9 (M) Thanksgiving

11 (W) Mary Sidney Herbert, “Psalm 52”; “Psalm 139”

16 (M) Donne, “The Flea”;  “A Valediction: forbidding Mourning” ; “The Good-Morrow”

18 (W) Donne, “Holy Sonnet V”; “Holy Sonnet X”; “Holy Sonnet XIV”; “Good Friday, 1613. Riding Westward”; “A Hymn to God my God, in my sickness”

 23 (M) George Herbert, “Easter Wings”; “The Altar”; “Redemption”

 25 (W) Bacon, “Of Truth”; “Of Seditions and Troubles”

30 (M)Lanyer, “Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum: Eve’s Apology in Defense of Women”; Rachel Speght, from “A Muzzle for Melastomus”


1 (W)   Lanyer, “The Description of Cookham”; Jonson, “To Penshurst”      

6-10 No classes

13 (M) Herrick, “The Argument of His Book”; “To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time”; “The Hock-cart, or Harvest Home”

15 (W) Vaughan, “Regeneration”; “The Morning-Watch”; “I Walked the other Day”; ““They are all gone into the world of light!””

20 (M) Marvell, “To His Coy Mistress”; “On a Drop of Dew”; “A Dialogue Between the Soul and Body”

22 (W) Presentations: Milton, Paradise Lost

27 (M) Presentations: Milton, Paradise Lost

29 (W) Presentations: Milton, Paradise Lost


4 (M)   Presentations: Milton, Paradise Lost

6 (W)   Exam prep, course evaluations