1. University of Virginia
  2. Arts & Sciences

Renaissance Literature


  • ENRN 3110 The New Philososphy and Renaissance Literature
    1100-1215 TR - CABELL B030

    Instructor: Daniel Kinney

    Innovations and ancient revivals in Renaissance culture; reconceiving the self, redefining tradition, redesigning the state. Authors to be addressed include More, Sidney, Shakespeare, Donne, Bacon, and contemporary continentals Erasmus, Machiavelli, and Montaigne. One short, one longer paper, and a final exam.

  • ENRN 3210 Shakespeare I, section 0001

    1100-1215 TR - MINOR 125

    Instructor: Katharine Maus

    A survey of the first half of Shakespeare's career, concentrating on the
    comedies and histories. We will pay particular attention to Shakespeare's
    treatment of romantic love and political life as subjects. Three 5-page
    papers and a final examination will be required.

  • ENRN 3250 Milton

    1400-1515 TR - CABELL 122

    Instructor: Clare Kinney

    A large part of this course will be dedicated to a careful exploration of John Milton’s enormous and embattled epic of origins, Paradise Lost, but we’ll also be examining several of his earlier poetic experiments and glancing at his political writings on censorship and divorce. Among the issues I hope the course will address: Milton the revolutionary (the politics and poetics of rebellion); Milton the rewriter of Scripture (inspired re-creation or Satanic supplementation?); Milton and gender (is Edenic bliss really conditional upon female secondariness?); Milton and literary history (how can we digest the poetry that tries to swallow all its predecessors?).

    Requirements: enthusiasm, stamina, regular attendance and lively participation in class discussions; a short paper on the earlier poetry; midterm examination; series of e-mail response postings on Paradise Lost; either (each student may choose) a 10-12 page paper on Paradise Lost or a very comprehensive final examination on Paradise Lost.

  • ENRN 4410 Shakespeare's Histories
    1530-1645 TR - CABELL B026

    Instructor: Katharine Maus

    This seminar focuses on some of the many plays Shakespeare based on events from British and Roman history.  In these plays, most of which dramatize what we would call “regime change,” Shakespeare raises some fundamental political questions.  For instance: what forces hold a state together, and what forces pull it apart? What constitutes a legitimate government? How ought power to be distributed among members of a society, and who ought to have a voice in policymaking? What is justice and how should it be administered? If those in authority are exceeding or falling short of their mandate, what remedies are available for their underlings? Under what circumstances is it appropriate to wage war? What is the relation between public and private life?

    In addition to these philosophical questions, we will think about some literary ones—especially about how Shakespeare goes about fashioning the materials he finds in his sources to create a compelling play.

    No prior Shakespeare course is required, though some prior exposure to medieval or Renaissance literature would be helpful. In comparison to the ENRN 3210-3220 sequence, the topical focus will be tighter but the reading assignments a bit heavier, including excerpts from Holinshed’s Chronicles, Thomas More’s Richard III, and Plutarch’s Lives of the Noble Romans in addition to the Shakespeare plays.  Assignments will include a 5-6 page paper due in mid-semester, a 8-10 page paper due toward the end of the semester, and perhaps a class presentation.

  • ENRN 4530 Lyric Poetry
    0930-1045 TR - BROOKS 103

    Instructor: Elizabeth Fowler

    So much of the most brilliant poetry in English is brief, intricate, emotional, musical, and written between the fourteenth and seventeenth centuries. We’ll study lyric in English by authors such as Chaucer, Henryson, Wyatt, Spenser, Wroth, Donne, Marvell, and Herbert (devotional, amorous, elegiac, and so forth), refining our sense of what language can do in its most intense, witty, ornate, gorgeous, and sweet moments. There will be quizzes, two written exams, a presentation, and a research paper that evolves in four stages.

    This course particularly welcomes students in the department's medieval and renaissance program, for whom it will serve as the program's designated core seminar.