Seventeenth-century English Literature

BAC 137
T, Th 12:00 - 1:30
Prof. Richard Cunningham
Off. Hours: T, Th 9:00- 10:00
Office: BAC 431

Course Description

This section of Engl 2283 will focus primarily on the poetry of Ben Jonson, John Donne, George Herbert, and John Milton. Secondarily, we will examine the current state of play in the criticism of each of these major figures from seventeenth-century England. Students should expect to write three short papers, and to attend class every day. Missing more than two classes may result in a loss of grade; missing more than three classes, or coming to class unprepared too often (i.e. more than once), will result in a loss of grade.


Class preparation: You are to have finished reading everything assigned for a given day before class that day. You must bring a copy of the day’s assigned reading to every class meeting.

Incomplete course work: Be aware that the university calendar stipulates that no credit is given for a course unless all requirements for it have been met.

Late papers: Late papers will not be accepted unless you have spoken to the professor in advance, or you provide written documentation of a medical or other emergency.


Thurs., Sept. 8
Michael Drayton, Idea: sonnets “To the Reader,” 1, 6, 8, 9, 31

Sept. 13
Samuel Daniel, “Delia VI,”; “To the Lady Margaret, Countess of Cumberland”

Sept. 15 - 22
Ben Jonson, , Epigrams: “To The Reader”, “To My Book”, “To My Bookseller”, “To King James”, “On the Union”, “To Alchemists”, “On the New Hot-House”, “On a Robbery”, “To All, To Whom I Write”, “To Doctor Empiric”, “On my First Daughter”, “On my First Son” ; The Forest: “To Penshurst”, “Song To Celia”, “To Celia”, “That Women are but Men’s Shadows” ; “To the Memory of my Beloved, Master William Shakespeare”

Sept. 27 - Oct. 4
John Donne, Holy Sonnets: 1, 7, 10, 14; Songs and Sonnets: "Of Woman's Constancy", The Flea, "The Sun Rising", "The Indifferent", "The Canonization" Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions: Meditation 17

Oct. 6
Francis Bacon, Essays: "Of Truth", "Of Death", "Of Atheism", "Of Superstition", "Of Studies"

Oct. 11

Oct. 13
Mid-term exam (10%) on everything read to this point

Oct. 18 - 25
George Herbert, The Temple: “The Collar”, “Easter Wings”, “The British Church”, “Affliction I", “Affliction II", “Affliction III", “Affliction IV", “The Pulley” “The Altar”

Oct. 27

Nov. 1
Andrew Marvell, "To his Coy Mistress", The Definition of Love, "The Picture of little T. C. in a Prospect of Flowers", "On Mr. Milton's Paradise Lost"

Nov. 3
John Milton, sonnets 18, 19; "L'Allegro" and "Il Penseroso" ; Introduction to Paradise Lost

Nov. 8
Paradise Lost Reading Aid

Nov. 10 - 17
William Shakespeare, The Tempest

Nov. 22 - 29
Paradise Lost