Old English

Caedmon’s Hymn (pdf and other versions)


French Romances

Eric and Enid by Chretien de Troyes

Framing Stories

Bocaccio’s Decameron (prose translation)

Middle English

Canterbury Tales: the Knight’s Tale

Canterbury Tales: General Prologue

Chris:   The Canterbury Tales  (Prologue)

Avery Rose:  The Kight’s Tale


The beginnings of allegory


Roman Poet Statius wrote the Thebaid (about the battle for Thebes) roughly contemporary with the golden age of latin literature  (the time following Horace, Virgil, Ovid, & co.)  part of his Thebaid  can be found here:

Thebaid by Staius (1st Century)

Post Christian Roman poet “invented” the allegorical form with the  Psychomachia,   an epic-like struggle between personified virtues and vices that can be found here:

Psychomachia by Prudentius (5th Century)

Piers Plowman–A political allegory?

Piers Plowman prologue

Piers Plowman prologue (translation in modern English)

Passus I

Middle English Lyrics

Summer is Ycomen in

Adam Lay Bound

I Sing of a Maiden

Tell Me, Wight in the Broom

Middle English Ballads

Sir Patrick Spens

Thomas Rhymer

Middle English Prose

Le Morte D’Artur by Thomas Mallory

For Tuesday read  The Preface by Caxton and Book 1: Chapters 1-5

For Thursday read through the end of Book I, concentrating on the last four chapters.

Le Morte D’Arthur vol. II

For Monday read Book XIX in volume II.  Avi will lead the discussion everyone bring a (written) answer to the question,

How do the concepts of love and betrayal in Malory compare with the chivalric code of love of the French Romance poets?

Modern English

16th Century

Sir Philip Sidney’s An Apology for Poetry

Read from the beginning to page 117 through the end of the paragraph ending with “…maintaining of public societies.”  Pick up again at page 138, “But since I have so long a career in this matter…” and read to the end.  What do you notice about his prose?

Shepherd’s song or tale from Arcadia 

First read a synopsis of the whole thing and then read the poem and a little of the prose around it found at these places.

Sidney’s Arcadia streaming

In this version, it seems to begin at something labeled “Book I.] Arcadia 109.”

Sidney’s Arcadia pdf

The Shepherd’s song appears from the middle of page 130 to the middle of page 135 in this edition.

Sydney’s Sonnet Cycle

For Tuesday, 7 November, read sonnets 1, 10, 39, 41, and 74 from the following link:

Astrophel and Stella pdf


Christopher Marlowe

The Passionate Shepherd to his love

Hero and Leander

Read both of these for Monday, the 13th of November.  Pay special attention to the language  of the descriptions  of Hero’s shoes in Hero and Leander.  This is the most “golden” of the golden age.

Tamburlane the Great pdf

Tamburlane the Great streaming

Read Act I for Friday the 17th





Read the Induction for Tuesday

The Taming of the Shrew (open source)

The Taming of the Shrew pdf


For Monday, 4 December, read the rest of the play and write notes about what is left out of the movie 10 things I hate about you and if leaving those things out distorts Shakespeare’s intentions.

Over Break consider staging options for Macbeth around the “vision” scenes, especially those involving the witches.  How should the audience think about the witches?

17th Century

The Metaphysicals

John Donne

A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning

What is commonly presented as a poem entitled alternately “No Man is an Island” or “For whom the Bell Tolls” was actually part of a prose selection, the seventeenth of 20 Meditations dedicated to Charles I.  Read both of the excerpts below.

Meditation XVII (including the, “No man is an island,” passage).

“For whom the Bell Tolls” as a poem

Izaak Walton

For Monday, January 22, read the first few pages of Izaak Walton’s biography of John Donne finished in 1639 but reworked and published much later.   Read through “Valediction: Forbidding Mourning” which you should recognize when you reach.  If you want to have a look at The Compleat Angler, we’ll be starting that for Tuesday.

Life of Mr. Donne

Compleat Angler


Robert May

The Accomplished Cook


John Milton

For Thursday, Feb 8, read Sonnet XV and On Shakespear.1930

Sonnet XV: On the Lord General Fairfax at the Siege of Colchester


On Shakespear.1630

For Monday, read the argument and first 330 lines of Book I.  For Tuesday, you’ll need to read the rest of Book I, so if you want to get ahead….   silly thought, I know.

Paradise Lost



Jonathan Swift

A Modest Proposal


Samuel Johnson

Johnson on Shakepeare

Johnson on Milton


Romantic Poets

Samuel Coleridge

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

William Blake

We’ll start with a couple of Blake’s early poems from Songs of Innocence and Experience read 

The Lamb

The Tyger


Read the following for Friday, 23 March

Auguries of Innocence

The Sick Rose

On Monday we will look at these Blake “prophetic poems” (the first one is long and cryptic the second and third short and impenetrable).

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Jerusalem: I See the Four-fold Man, The Humanity in Deadly Sleep

The New Jerusalem

Here is The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, including the illustrations found in the original copy.

Marriage of Heaven and Hell with illustrations



The Preface to Lyrical Ballads

The Ruined Cottage (published as Part I of The Excursion


The Eve of St. Agnes

Ode on a Grecian Urn

Romantic Prose

Elia (Charles Lamb)

The Two Races of Men

Ann Radcliffe

The Italian

For Thursday, 19 April, read the introduction and first two chapters, paying special attention to the section introducing the monk Schedoni at the end of the second chapter.



For Thursday, read The Epic and the poem it “frames” Morte D’Arthur, paying close attention to similarities and differences between Tennyson’s poem and Mallory’s tale.

The Epic with Morte D’Arthur

For Friday read Crossing the Bar,  Mother and Poet, and Dover Beach

Crossing the Bar

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Mother and Poet

Mathew Arnold

Dover Beach

Literature and Science

Monday:  In light of today’s reading, write a brief essay on Arnold’s topic after 130 years, discussing both the accuracy of his prediction (considering the place of belles lettres in education and the rational study of them), and the likelihood of the same prediction made about the future of education.



T. S. Eliot

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

Good Literature?  Why/why not?  No such thing?  Why not?

The Waste Land




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