English 2283.X1 – Fall 2017

Prof: Dr. Richard Cunningham
Office: BAC 431
Tel: 1345
Email: richard.cunningham[at]acadiau.ca
Office Hours: Wed. 1:30 - 4:30, or by appointment
To print a copy of this syllabus, click here.

Oxford English Dictionary

Acknowledgement of Traditional Territory:

We are in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq People.

This territory is covered by the “Treaties of Peace and Friendship” which Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) and Mi’kmaq peoples first signed with the British Crown in 1725. The treaties did not deal with surrender of lands and resources but in fact recognized Mi’kmaq and Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) title and established the rules for what was to be an ongoing relationship between nations.

Disability Statement:

Students with disabilities that affect learning:

If you are a student with a documented disability who anticipates needing supports or accommodations, please contact Dr. Abu Kamara, Coordinator, Accessible Learning Services at 902-585-1291, abu.kamara@acadiau.ca or Kathy O’Rourke, Disability Resource Facilitator at 902-585-1823, disability.access@acadiau.ca. Accessible Learning Services is located in the Fountain Commons, Lower Level.

Course Description:

This section of ENGL 2283 will be mostly a poetry course. Students will read from most of the major English poets of the seventeenth century, as well as a few very important poets of the late sixteenth century. In addition to poetry, students can expect to read short prose pieces such as essays by Francis Bacon, the same author’s speculative fiction The New Atlantis, a couple of essays by John Milton, and two or three dramatic works from the period (probably one each by Shakespeare, Jonson, and Dryden).

Course Text:

Broadview Broadview Anthology of Seventeenth-Century Verse & Prose, Eds. A. Rudrum, J. Black, & H. F. Nelson. Broadview, 2004.


Bacon's Doctrine of Idols

Timeline of Relevant Kings & Queens

on Donne's Holy Sonnets

An e-copy of Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding

Early English Books Online

Off-campus access to library databases, etc.

Bible Gateway. Be sure to conduct your search in the King James Version.

Licensing Order of 1643


An Open Source version of Hobbe's Leviathan


T.S.Eliot on Hamlet


Requirement Grade Weight Date Due
Proposed Course Syllabus 10% Sept. 12
First Essay 10% 4 weeks or more before your 2nd paper
Second Essay 25% Dec. 5
Attendance and Participation 30% Every Tuesday & Thursday
Final Exam 25% TBA


Acadia University Grading System


Requirement 1: Proposed Course Syllabus

Familiarize yourself with the Anthology by reading the “Editorial Preface” (pp. vi-vii), and then the Table of Contents (ix-xxx). We have 21 class days we can devote to the close study of works of literature connected by authorship or by concept. You must include at least one essay by Bacon, and one by Milton, and at least one play by Shakespeare, Jonson, or Dryden. A more detailed description is provided on the assignment sheet.

Requirements 2 and 3: Essays

You can decide which texts or authors or ideas you want to write about, but for each paper you are required to consult at least two secondary sources. Your essay should be an entry into an ongoing conversation with the secondary sources (individually or collectively). You can decide when to submit each paper, but they must be separated by four weeks. That is, whenever you submit your first paper, your second paper must be submitted at least four weeks later; or, looked at the other way, whenever you submit your second paper, your first paper must be submitted at least four weeks earlier. Your second paper must be submitted no later than Nov. 29. If you have not submitted your first paper by October 25 you will receive a zero for that paper.

Each essay should be of middling length, which means between five and twelve pages. The only significant difference (aside from the topic) between the two essays will be your incorporation into your second essay of what you learn from the professor’s comments on your first essay.

Requirement 4: Attendance & Participation

American President John Kennedy once famously said “ask not what your country can do for you. Ask rather what you can do for your country.” This is the spirit in which you ought to understand this fourth requirement.

Requirement 5: Final Exam

The final exam will be built out of a consensus reached in class on the final day (for this course) of the term.

Schedule of Course Readings

Date Reading Name & Rationale
Sept. 14 Bacon's "Of Simulations and Dissimulations," (26)
& "Of Love," (28).
Felipe: To figure out if a person is pretending or not.
Nick: "Verisimilitude" is one of my favourite words.
Sept. 19 Chamberlain, Letters, 1 -4. Adrian: Q. Elizabeth ruled for the majority of the 16th century over the British empire; her death must have sent ripples throughout the world.
Sept. 21 Donne, The Holy Sonnets, 122-132. Emma: We read “Wit” last year in English 1406, in which the Holy Sonnets of Donne played an important role, and I would be interested to learn more about them.
Sept. 26 Lanyer, Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum, 84-93. Richard: Lanyer is an understudied and too-little known poet whose S.D.R.J. offers an excellent foil for Milton's Paradise Lost
Sept. 28 Jonson’s “To the Immortal Memory and Friendship of that Noble Pair, Sir Lucius Cary and Sir H. Morison,” 157 – 9.
Please also read Jonson's "To William Camden" (147), "On Lucy, Countess of Bedford," and "To Sir Henry Savile" (148), "To Sir Thomas Roe" (149), and "To the Memory of my Beloved . . ." (161-2.
Madison: When I read it, I really enjoyed it. The fact that is it sectioned-off is interesting. I’d like to hear what everyone thinks about it.
Oct. 3 Locke’s An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, pp. 1029-35. Jenna: Locke seems like a classic and worth incorporating.
Oct. 5 Marvell’s “The Nymph Complaining for the Death of her Fawn” (838-40),
"A Dialogue between Soul and Body" (857), and "Damon the Mower" (858-60). 
Taylor: The value placed on the fawn, the way it’s stated that the fawn’s death should be treated as murder, would be interesting to study. 
Oct. 10 Herrick’s “To the Most Illustrious, and Most Hopeful Prince, Charles, Prince of Wales,” 309-310. Theo: Very intense word choices, seems like a strong piece.
Oct. 12 Vaughan, all (872-85), but especially “The Night,” 883-4. Tyler: Night time has always been my favorite part of the day.
Oct. 17 Milton, Areopagitica, 561-88. Nick: Nick failed to follow the instructions for the "proposed Syllabus" closely enough; for his sins he gets to “lead” in our discussion of Aereopagitica.
Oct. 19 Speght, “Of Woman’s Excellency” 398-400. Britney: It sounds like a very empowering essay, which I always like reading. I am also intrigued to see what the author is going to say and what her perspective is.
Oct. 24 Marvell, “A Dialogue between the Soul and Body,” 857 Keisha: I love that it’s a back and forth between perspectives of the Soul and the Body.
Oct. 26 Speght, “A Muzzle for Melastomus,” 397-400. Robyn: The author tears apart a chauvinistic writer.
Oct. 31 Marvell, “A Dialogue between the Soul and Body,” 857.

Speght, “A Muzzle for Melastomus,” 397-400.
Keisha (on Marvell): I love that it’s a back and forth between perspectives of the Soul and the Body.

Robyn (on Speght): The author tears apart a chauvinistic writer.
Nov. 2 Herrick, "His Prayer to Ben Jonson" (319), and
Carew's "To Ben Jonson" (385).
Mercedes: It would be interesting to see how Jonson's contemporaries viewed him.
Nov. 7 Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy, 188-201 Richard
Nov. 9 Milton, "L'Allegro" & "Il Penseroso," 510 - 15, and Sonnets 18 and 19 (522). Richard: Milton is one of the greatest poets in English, my personal favourite, and one of the more important people in England in the c17th.
Nov. 14 Fall Break No class
Nov. 16 Hobbes, Leviathon 239-71
Nov. 21 Shakespeare, Hamlet Class choice
Nov. 23 Hamlet Class choice
Nov. 28 Bacon New Atlantis Richard
Nov. 30 Wilmot, "A Satire Against Reason and Mankind" (1156-9);
"The Disabled Debauchee" (1159-60), and; "The Imperfect Enjoyment" (1160-1).
Dec. 5 Course Review & Exam Preview