This course starts with a book written at the end of the Roman Empire, St. Augustine's Confessions--part biography and part theology. We then read brilliant Seamus Heaney translation of the Anglo-Saxon classic, Beowulf.  We cover the medieval masterpieces, The Inferno, and selections from the Canterbury Tales. We spend lots of time in the legends of King Arthur, throwing in a 20th century novel on the topic, T.H. White's The Once and Future King. We read the influential Utopia and Doctor Faustus and the first book of Spencer's amazing epic The Faerie Queen. Then we take our time and soak in the English language's greatest and most important writer, William Shakespeare, sampling his poetry, comedies, tragedies, and histories. The course concludes with a quick look at the metaphysical poets of the 17th century. 

For 2016-17, this class meets live on Mondays from 12:30-1:30 PM, Eastern Standard Time. All sessions will be recorded and made available to enrolled students. 

Click here for Class Session Calendar

The Lit 2 Syllabus includes: 

  • Confessions, Augustine
  • Beowulf, Anonymous
  • The Inferno, Dante
  • Selections from the Canterbury Tales, Chaucer
  • “Gawain and the Green Knight,” Anonymous
  • The Once and Future King, T.S. White
  • Excerpts from Le Morte D’Arthur, Mallory
  • Utopia, More
  • Fierce Wars and Faithful Loves (The Faerie Queen, Book I) Spencer 
  • Doctor Faustus, Marlowe
  • Hamlet, Shakespeare
  • Henry IV, Part 1, Shakespeare
  • Henry IV, Part 2, Shakespeare
  • Henry V, Shakespeare
  • Macbeth, Shakespeare
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare
  • Miscellaneous Sonnets, Shakespeare
  • Selected Poems, Metaphysical Poets

The specific editions below are recommended for the course. Many specific translations. Getting the wrong translation will almost certainly cause confusion. I recommend purchasing the books from the links below. If you prefer another way of obtaining the books, be sure to take note of the editions and, more importantly, the particular translations. 

In most cases, I look for the most inexpensive version available. I apologize for the cost of Fierce Wars and Faithful Loves. It's a rather obscure version of Spenser's The Faerie Queene, but it is outstanding--the best, most readable version I've found anywhere. 

If you prefer to use e-books, or to borrow books from the library, feel free, just be sure to find the exact translations where applicable.

Disclosure: I receive a small commission when you purchase via the links below.