King Henry IV, alabaster effigy in Trinity Chapel, Canterbury Cathedral, ca. 1437
OCT. 11: You must have submitted at least four e-mail responses by this date

OCT. 13: Midterm Examination (75 minutes)

OCT. 13-15: Fall Reading Break, no section meetings

NOV. 16: 5-7 page paper, due 5 p.m., in TA's mailbox

NOV. 23: Deadline for optional oral presentation on Renaissance lyric

DEC. 6: Complete portfolio of e-mail responses, to be handed to TA at close of Monday lecture.

DECEMBER 15: "Take-home" Final Examination, due 5 p.m., TA's mailbox






Preparation: You must come to lectures and sections having already read the assigned material.

Attendance and participation: Regular attendance and lively participation in your discussion sections will affect your final grade. My lectures will open up angles of approach to unfamiliar material but should not prevent you thinking for yourself. Sections will not only recapitulate the lecture material, they will also raise new issues. Your TA will expect you to share your insights concerning our readings. You are allowed ONE absence from discussion sections; each additional absence (except in the case of dire illness or emergency, promptly reported to your TA) will result in the deduction of 1/3 of a grade from your course grade (e.g., if you miss 3 section meetings, your grade of B+ becomes a B-). Take the section attendance requirement seriously; it will be strictly enforced. College athletes should give their TA a list of all sports events which may cause them to miss a section meeting. This list, signed by your athletic coach, must be handed in at the first section meeting).

TEN thoughtful e-mail postings: E-mail discussion groups will be set up for each section; you will be asked to post a response (250-300 words) to TEN of the reading assignments, starting the week beginning Monday Sept. 13. Your very last response should be made no later than Monday Dec. 6. You may post either in advance of the Monday lecture or the Wednesday one and you MUST post before the lecture, not retrospectively. At least FOUR of your responses should be posted before the midterm exam. If you respond to the Monday readings, please post your response no later than Monday noon; if you respond to the Wednesday readings, please post your response no later than Wednesday noon. You can talk about anything you find interesting in the reading(s) for a given day, but should ground your remarks in specifics: cite and discuss particular portions of the text, don't offer vague generalizations. Your TA will print out your response and comment upon it each week without formally grading it; he or she will, however, re-collect all your e-mail responses at the end of the Dec. 6 lecture and give you a grade based on your overall performance in this assignment. A handout giving more details on this assignment will be distributed in your first section meeting.

One 5-7 page paper: Due in your TA's mailbox by noon on Tuesday November 16. The paper will grow out of one of the e-mail postings you wrote earlier in the semester, and you should confer with your TA in advance about the topic you are developing.

Midterm examination: A 75-minute examination on Wednesday October 13 covering all works up to and including The Pardoner's Introduction, Prologue and Tale.

Final examination: A "take-home" examination, 3 hours in length, to be handed in no later than 5 p.m. on Wednesday, December 15.

OPTIONAL Extra Credit: An oral presentation on a Renaissance lyric. Details of this assignment will be distributed after the mid-term. Deadline for the oral presentation: November 23.



E-mails: 25% of final grade.

Paper: 20% of final grade.

Mid-term: 15% of final grade.

Attendance/Participation: 10% of final grade.

Final: 30% of final grade.

Please note that these figures are guidelines rather than mathematical absolutes. Your TA may take other factors into account (for better or worse) when assessing your course grade.

Factors which may affect your final grade for the better: particularly energetic and thoughtful participation in discussion section; significant and sustained improvement in your work over the course of the semester; outstanding performance in the final examination; extra credit for optional oral presentation.

Factors which may affect your final grade for the worse: late or careless mail postings; sloppy attendance (and/or persistent unpunctuality) at sections; zombie-like behavior during class discussion. 

If you score an F on more than one of the assignments or tests, you will automatically fail this course.



King Edward the Confessor, a 15th Century panel from St. Edward's Chapel, Canterbury Cathedral




The readings are in the Norton Anthology of English Literature (6th edition, available at the University Bookstore), with the exception of Shakespeare's The Tempest (NAL/Signet). If you own the Riverside Shakespeare or the Norton Shakespeare you may use those volumes: no other substitutions are permitted.

Certain additional readings (e.g., for the lectures on Renaissance Petrarchism) will be made available to you as handouts distributed at least one week in advance of lecture.



It is difficult to have personal contact with your professor in a course of this size unless YOU take the initiative. Visit me during my office hours (Tuesday, 1-3 p.m.; Wednesday, 11 a.m.-noon), or e-mail me about further questions you may have about issues raised in lecture or section. I also welcome general feedback on the content and delivery of my lectures. Please visit the message board on this home page for weekly announcements pertaining to the course.


Plagiarism includes copying another person’s paper, restating ideas from a book or article without citing the book/article as a source, or copying more than seven words from a book or article without quotation marks and a citation of the source of the quotation. Any example of presenting another person’s work as your own constitutes plagiarism. Incidentally, you can also plagiarize yourself: you should never submit work written in another course for any assignment in this course unless your double submission is approved by your instructor.

It is never an acceptable excuse for plagiarism to say "I didn’t think the assignment was important" or "I was under a lot of stress." All the work you do for this course matters, and nothing justifies plagiarism. If you are having serious problems which might compromise your ability to carry out the assignments for this course, talk to your TA about possible strategies for dealing with the crisis.