Department of English

University of Toronto


ENG373H1S   L0101   M1, W1-3
English Renaissance Sonnets, Grammar and Desire
Professor Jeremy Lopez

Brief Description of Course: In the title of this course, are “Grammar and Desire” meant as discrete items to be considered separately alongside a third item, “English Renaissance Sonnets”? Or is “Grammar and Desire” an appositive phrase intended to describe or characterize “English Renaissance Sonnets”? Is there a difference between these two things, and (or) can the course title mean both at the same time? Could—and, indeed, should—the meaning of the course title be made more definite by different words, word-order, or punctuation? 

These are the kinds of questions we will explore in this course as we analyze in minute detail the complex and shifting relations between (on the one hand) grammar, syntax, and punctuation, and (on the other) style and meaning in the sonnets of the English renaissance, with a particular focus on the sonnets of Shakespeare. Over the course of the course, we will expand our discussion outward from the sonnets so that we begin to think in detail about the relation between grammar and meaning in other literary forms and in our own critical writing. In short, this course will help you to think about grammar in particular, practical ways that will be useful for both your reading of and writing about literary texts.

Required Reading: Shakespeare’s sonnets as well as a number of sonnets and other lyric poems by some of Shakespeare’s contemporaries, e.g. Surrey, Wyatt, Sidney, Spenser, Jonson, and Donne.

First Three Authors: Shakespeare, Sonnets.

Method of Instruction: Lecture and discussion. 

Method of Evaluation: Exact marking scheme TBD, but it will probably look something like this: sonnet imitation exercise (20%), two short writing exercises (30%), class participation (20%), essay (30%).

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