As usual, here's the course description: Studies major works of English literature from Beowulf (750) to Blake (1780). Includes such authors as Chaucer, Marlowe, Donne, Milton and Swift.
A bit of brainstorming. What to teach?
--I'm going to do some open brainstorming, and then add in hours. Figure 40 hours of instructional time for the course.
Beowulf - 3 hrs
"The Dream of the Rood" (w/ B)
--what other Old English works should students really know? (Given that I'm not a medievalist, and we have one semester to get to Blake.) These have to be in translation.
Marie de France - "Lanval" - 1 hr
Gawain - 3 hrs
Chaucer - "Knight's Tale," "Miller's Tale," "Franklin's Tale" -4-5 hrs
--maybe a drama?
Spenser - Bk I of the FQ - 2-3 hrs
Marlowe - Faustus - 2-3 hrs
Poetry - Sonnets, and stuff: Shax, Wyatt, etc. - 3 hrs
--Would you teach, say, Lear, though there's a Shakespeare class, too? Any likelihood that students would be taking both? (Lear is 3 hrs)
Jonson - Volpone - 2 hrs
Milton - Bk I of PL - 3-4 hrs
Behn - Oroonoko - 3 hrs
Poetry - Donne, Marvell, Herrick, Jonson - 4 hrs
Swift - "Modest Proposal" - 1 hr
Pope - "Rape of the Lock" - 1 hr
NOVEL - thinking of Joseph Andrews, but need to read it soon! - 3 hrs
Poetry - Pope, and on up to Blake. (Please don't make me do Dryden!) - 3 hrs
Right now, I'm at 45 hours, counting the higher number for each text, so I could do this if I planned and prepped well, and held some things to fewer hours. (That's counting Lear.)
What would you add, and what would you give up to add it?
What would you drop? (I'm guessing a lot of students have seen "A Modest Proposal" in HS? Drop?)
What could you see me condensing or skipping?
*When I was a grad student, my grad school taught a massive survey to undergrad English majors. Chaucer was done in Middle English, and by all accounts, everyone found it miserable. TAs hated it, and students hated it worse.
When I was adjuncting there, I taught the (then required) upper-level Chaucer class and faced the difficulties of students reading Chaucer in that survey. First, they hated it. Every single person came to that class hating Chaucer. Second, they didn't bring anything about Chaucer or the tales they'd read with them to the Chaucer class. They remembered nothing except how much they'd hated it.
And so, I vowed never to teach Middle English texts in Middle English unless I had the time in the class to teach students to read Middle English well enough to enjoy the texts. Thus, anything I teach from ME in this class will be in translation.