ENGL 330
Renaissance Literature in Global Perspective
Last Offered Spring 2019
Division I
This course is not offered in the current catalog or this is a previous listing for a current course.

Class Details

The Renaissance is usually seen as a decidedly Western “rebirth”: the moment in which the emerging nations of modern Europe define themselves by both their connection to and their distance from the classical heritage of Greece and Rome. What might it mean, then, to understand the Renaissance also as shaped by a global network of interactions among Western and non-Western societies, economies, and cultures? In this course our focus will be on literature in the broadest sense, including lyric poetry, epic, and drama, but also travel reports, royal memoirs, and philosophical histories as means of imagining the shape of the world, familiar and unfamiliar. We’ll begin by considering Europe’s eccentric place within the larger Afro-Eurasian cultural system of the late Middle Ages, and how what we call the Renaissance emerges from a sense of linkage to as well as separation from the traditions of the Islamic world and beyond. We’ll then examine the intense and troubling interrelation between Renaissance writing’s intellectual dynamism and the often catastrophic effects of Europeans’ encounter with what was for them a New World in the Americas. Finally, we’ll think about whether or not it makes sense to see the European Renaissance as one facet of a broader global process, similar to concurrent movements of cultural expansion and hybridization such as in Mughal India. Authors to be studied may include Petrarch, Boccaccio, Chaucer, Ibn Khaldun, Thomas More, Babur, Mira Bai, Marguerite de Navarre, the Inca Garcilaso, Marlowe, and Camoes. (All readings in English.)
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 25
Expected: 25
Class#: 4063
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: two papers (15-20 pages total); regular short responses
Prerequisites: a 100-level ENGL course, or a score of 5 on the AP English Literature exam, or a score of 6 or 7 on the Higher Level IB English exam
Enrollment Preferences: graduating seniors
Distributions: Division I

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