Department of English

University of Toronto

ENG304Y1Y L0101

ENG304H1F   L0101   MWF10
Poetry Prose 1600-1660
Instructor: J. Welburn
Office Location: Jackman Humanities Building, Room TBA
Email: j.welburn@utoronto.ca


Brief Description of the Course: The seventeenth century was a period of revolution, both in the original sense of the word—a return to a point of origin—and in the more familiar sense of a rupture or break with the past. Writers in this period often sought to imitate, reproduce, and revive classical and biblical forms, but in practice they radically transformed these established traditions in striking ways. These decades of dramatic social change, religious conflict, scientific discovery, and expanding empire produced some of the most influential works of English literature. We will survey a range of poetry by writers such as Donne, Jonson, Marvell, and Wroth, focusing in particular on Milton’s epic poem, Paradise Lost. We will also explore some of the scientific and political literature that came out of this revolutionary period, including works by writers such as Bacon, Milton, Hobbes, Cavendish, and Winstanley. We will pay particular attention to the utopian dimension of the poetry and prose of this period—the ways in which literature provides a formal or symbolic resolution of existing social and ideological contradictions.

Required Reading: Broadview Anthology of Seventeenth-Century Verse and Prose, eds. Alan Rudrum, et al. (Broadview, 2000); Three Early Modern Utopias, ed. Susan Bruce (Oxford, 1999); John Milton, Paradise Lost, eds. Stephen Orgel & Jonathan Goldberg (Oxford, 2008); Margaret Cavendish, The Blazing World and Other Writings, ed. Kate Lilley (Penguin, 1994).

Texts are available at the Bob Miller Bookroom, 180 Bloor St. West, Lower Concourse.


First Three Authors/Texts: Donne, Jonson, Bacon.

Method of Evaluation: Participation (20%); writing exercise (10%); first essay (15%), mid-term test (15%); second essay (15%); third essay (25%).

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