English 270 General Syllabus

Basic Information

English 270 Section TBA

British Literary Tradition

Credit Hours: 3

Course Prerequisites: English 110-112 or English 111-112 with an earned grade of C or higher.

Instructor’s Name: TBA

Instructors Office Address, Email Address, Office Hours, and Office Phone Number: TBA

Textbook and Related Materials:

Puchner, Martin et al., ed. The Norton Anthology of World Literature, vol. 1. 5th edition. New York; Macmillan, 2012.


[The department permits other standard anthologies such as the Longman Anthology of World Literature.]

Course Purpose, Goals, and Objectives

Course Description

World Literature (3) A survey of world masterpieces (excluding British and American writers) from the beginning through the Renaissance.

General Course Objectives (Keyed to General Education Learning Outcomes)

Students will demonstrate the ability to:

  1. Employ various critical and analytical methods (e.g., close reading, historical and linguistic analysis, ideological analysis) in the study of literary texts from a variety of genres and historical periods through written assignments [LOC 1, 4].
  2. Analyze important primary texts from World literature from the ancient period through the Renaissance[LOC 2].
  3. Interpret literary texts as shapers, reflectors, and instruments of change of cultural phenomena (e.g., value systems, familial/social institutions, government and their policies, philosophical/religious institutions) [LOC 3, 4, 5]
  4. Analyze literary texts for personal aesthetic pleasure and the enjoyment of language [LOC 1]
  5. Analyze the contributions of literary texts within various societies and how these have impacted history and the human condition [LOC 6]
  6. Employ a comparative approach in the analysis of the literature of the world and the expression of those ideas within a global literary context, particularly focusing on the interplay of ideas and forms [LOC 4, 5]
  7. Recognize diversity in literature, based on race, ethnicity, economic status, and gender across historical periods as important to the understanding of local and global culture [LOC 5]

Outline of Course Content

Individual instructor decisions may vary slightly from section to section, but the emphasis is upon the canon in which the specific ideas noted above can be observed, examined, and analyzed.


All sections of English 270 will:

  1. Involve students in critical reading to facilitate active engagement with texts. Students will read approximately 50 pages each week.
  2. Involve students with the full range of literary periods, and genres and styles—in connection with global models—within those periods appropriate to the course.

The Ancient World (Beginnings to 500 CE)

The epic [Homer, Virgil, etc.]: The epic form in context; development of epic language and method of characterization; relations of individuals to governments.


Texts of ancient religion [Hebrew Bible, Christian Scriptures, Bhagavad Gita, Analects, Dao texts, etc.]: Notion of deities and their relations to human beings; literary forms in context; relations of the individual to governments; differences between religion and philosophy; examination of racial and ethnic status as religious markers.


Dramatic traditions [Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Japanese traditions, etc.]: Attention to the difference between ritual and drama; development of characterization; relationship between drama and civilization myths; relationship between the individual and governmental authority.


Lyric poetry [Pindar, Sappho, The Tamil Anthologies, the Chinese Book of Songs, Ovid]: The lyric in context; gender differences in social context; comparison between eastern and western notions of love.

The Medieval World (500-1500 CE)

The folk and art tale [The Tale of Genji, Tale of Heike, The Thousand and One Nights, Lais of Marie de France]: The tale of intrigue; gender relationships in social contexts; generic characteristics of the tale.


The Quran: Notions of divinity; relationship between Quran and Hebrew Bible and Christian Scriptures; the role of Mohammad as messenger and prophet.


The epic [Dante, The Song of Roland, Son Jara, etc.]: The epic in context; human relationships in the social order; conflicts between Christian and Islamic world views; visions of social and theological organization; critics of contemporary politics and people.


The lyric [Representative texts for Carmina Burana, Representative texts from the Tang Dynasty, Representative texts from courtly women’s writing in China]: The lyric in context; representation of war, love, relationships, nature, etc., representation of gender difference.

The Renaissance (Early Modern World, 1500-1700 CE)

The lyric [Petrarch, Ronsard, Du Ballay, Vernacular poetry of South East Asia]: The lyric in context and its development throughout Western Europe, the representation of advice, representation of gender difference, mysticism and poetry.


Conduct books [Machiavelli, Erasmus, Castiglione, Conduct letters from South East Asia]: Relationship of person to person; relationship of person to governmental authority; courtesy as civilized behavior.


Prose fiction [Navarre, Rabelais, Montaigne, Cervantes]: The frame tale in context; the representation of reality; the birth of the modern essay; the critique of the romance as a literary form.


The literature of exploration [Polo, Columbus, Native American and South American Native traditions]: The encounter of Europeans and indigenous peoples of the “New World; the notion of the old world in the new; cultural clashes between competing traditions.

Course Requirements/Expectations

Grading Procedures

Individual sections of the course may differ, but each section will have at least two in-class exams, part of which will include essay writing. In addition, each student will engage in other relevant writing activities. Over the course of the semester, students write at least 10 pages of finished written work outside of exams, focused particularly on literary texts. Finished writing may be done in or outside of class. Some writing may include work with secondary sources.

Signature Assessment for Student Learning Outcomes in the Humanities


  1. A four-to six-page double-spaced paper that is a critical analysis of a single text with a synthesis in light of its literary, historical, and cultural contexts (LOC 2, 3, 4, and 5).
  2. The paper could examine either a poem, play, section of a novel, or short story as determined by either the instructor or instructor and student in collaboration (LOC 2).
  3. Since the paper must involve an engagement with “critical and analytical methodologies of the humanities,” the instructor builds in instruction on use of secondary sources, not limited to procedure, but how to evaluate those sources relative to their theoretical understanding of the selected primary text (LOC 1).
  4. The assignment requires students to use 2-3 secondary sources and requires 4-6 in-text citations of the secondary sources’ ideas in the form of summaries, paraphrases, and direct quotations about the effectiveness of those ideas in solving the interpretive dilemmas at those points. At the same time, students will be assessed on their direct engagement with the primary text through analysis of words, phrases, and sentences on one level and an overall impact of the literary text as a complete unit of meaning at a second level. (A rubric will be used to determine the effectiveness of the analysis of both primary text and also with handling of ideas from secondary sources reflective of the humanities methodology) (LOC 1, 2).
  5. In establishing a context for the explication of a single text, students comment on cultures, values, institutional forms (e.g., country, religion, family, gender, race, sexuality) that connect not only to the historical period of the selection, but also how those expressions cohere or disconnect across the sweep of time (LOC 3, 4, 5, and 6).
  6. While the explication of a text is sometimes thought to simplify meaning, the purpose of the assignment is to examine the complex relationship of words and ideas in the text as an example of a cultural moment in which it was written as well as how it speaks to speaks to modern audiences (LOC 4, 5, and 6).

Class Policies

Students are expected to attend class regularly. Policies regarding class attendance and make up exams will vary with the instructor, but all are within the handbook guidelines. The English Department has adopted the National Writing Project definition of plagiarism.

Disabilities Statement

Any student eligible for and requesting reasonable accommodations due to a disability is required to provide a letter of accommodation from the Student Success Center.


Revised Fall 2016

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