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ENGL202: Cultural and Literary Expression in the English Renaissance

Unit 2: Prose and Polemical Writing   In this unit, we will acquaint ourselves with some of the most noteworthy prose and polemical works of Renaissance-era England, discussing their various rhetorical strategies and practices while relating them to their historical contexts.  We will approach these works by author rather than by subject in order to provide us with a fuller portrait of the works in their respective contexts.

2.1 Thomas More   Note on the text: In Utopia, Thomas More imagines a society and its various religious, social, and political customs as a means to criticize and contrast the politics of his times.  As with many humanists, he is interested in education and reform.

2.1.1 Brief Overview of Thomas More and His Philosophies   - Reading: The History Guide’s “Sir Thomas More, 1478-1535” excerpted from T.E. Bridgett’s “Life and Writings of Blessed Thomas More” (1913) Link:  The History Guide’s “Sir Thomas More, 1478-1535”(HTML)
 
Instructions:  Read both the brief overview of More’s life and philosophy as well as the character description by More’s contemporary and fellow philosopher Desiderius Erasmus which follows.
 
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2.1.2 Utopianism and Humanism—Contemporary Examples   - Reading: Julia R. Nelson’s “Sir Thomas More, Christian Humanism and Utopia” Link:  University of Wisconsin-Madison:  Julia R. Nelson’s “Sir Thomas More, Christian Humanism and Utopia (PDF)
 
Instructions:  From the link above, please select the final link on the page to access the reading in PDF format.  This excerpt from Julia R. Nelson’s undergraduate honor’s thesis was published in Archive: A Journal of Undergraduate History (Volume 7, May 2004). Read pages 59-66 (up to the section titled “Utopia”) for an excellent summary of the various trends of contemporary thought that preceded More’s Utopia.
 
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2.1.3 More’s Utopia   - Reading: Excerpts from Thomas More’s Utopia Public domain Link:  Luminarium: Anthology of English Literature’s illustrated version of the following excerpts from Utopia:

-   [Description of the Island of
    Utopia](http://www.luminarium.org/renlit/utopiadescr.htm)
-   [Utopian
    Trades](http://www.luminarium.org/renlit/utopiatrades.htm)
-   [Games of the
    Utopians](http://www.luminarium.org/renlit/utopiagames.htm)
-   [Riches, Jewels, and
    Gold](http://www.luminarium.org/renlit/utopiariches.htm)
-   [Utopians' Love of
    Learning](http://www.luminarium.org/renlit/utopialearning.htm)
-   [Euthanasia and
    Suicide](http://www.luminarium.org/renlit/utopiaeuthanasia.htm)
-   [Marriage and
    Divorce](http://www.luminarium.org/renlit/utopiamarriage.htm)
-   [Laws and
    Government](http://www.luminarium.org/renlit/utopialaws.htm)
-   [Death, Funerals,
    Afterlife](http://www.luminarium.org/renlit/utopiadeath.htm)
-   [Temples and Religious Services in
    Utopia](http://www.luminarium.org/renlit/utopiatemples.htm)(all
    HTML)

   
 Instructions: Using the links above, access the various subjects
addressed by More concerning his Utopians to learn what the
philosopher imagined to be the best of all possible worlds for his
fellow countrymen.  
    
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displayed on the webpage above.

2.1.4 Rhetorical Techniques in Utopia   - Reading: Julia R. Nelson’s “Sir Thomas More, Christian Humanism and Utopia” Link:  University of Wisconsin-Madison:  Julia R. Nelson’s “Sir Thomas More, Christian Humanism and Utopia(PDF)
 
Instructions:  From the link above, please select the final link on the page to access the reading in PDF format.  This excerpt from Julia R. Nelson’s undergraduate honor’s thesis was published in Archive: A Journal of Undergraduate History (Volume 7, May 2004). Read pages 66-90 (beginning with the section titled “Utopia”) for an in-depth study of More’s Utopia.
 
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2.1.5 The Concept of the Imagination in Renaissance England   2.2 John Lyly   Note on the text: In his prose romance Euphues, Lyly debuts his highly mannered style.  The work was well-received by the public, while its elegant, elaborate style set the tone for literary expression in his times, and influenced a number of later authors

2.2.1 Who Was John Lyly?   - Reading: Anniina Jokinen’s “The Life of John Lyly” Link:  Anniina Jokinen’s “The Life of John Lyly”(HTML)   
 
Instructions:  Read this short biography written by the founder of the expansive and useful website Luminarium: An Anthology of English Literature.
 
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2.2.2 Euphuism as a Literary Style: Mannered, Stylized Prose   - Reading: for 2.2.2-2.2.3: Professor J.W.H. Atkins’ “Elizabethan Prose Fiction: Euphuism” Link:  The Bartleby.com’s version of the Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21). Volume III. Renascence and Reformation. Professor J.W.H. Atkins’ “Elizabethan Prose Fiction:  Euphuism”(HTML)
 
Instructions:  Read this article by J.W.H. ATKINS, M.A., Fellow of St. John’s College, Professor of English Language and Literature, University College of Wales, Aberystwyth for a scholarly analysis of the rhetorical characteristics of eupuism and its origins. Note- this reading applies to 2.2.3 as well)
 
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2.2.3 Roots of Euphuism   2.2.4 Lyly’s Euphues Works: Style and Relationship to Tradition   - Reading: excerpt from John Lyly’s Euphues, The Anatomy of Wit Link:  Luminarium’s version of an excerpt from John Lyly’s“Euphues, The Anatomy of Wit”(HTML)
Also available on Google Books
 
Instructions:  Read this brief excerpt from the introductory portion of Lyly’s famous work to gain a better appreciation for his style.
 
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2.2.5 Lyly’s Legacy: Influence on Shakespeare, Sidney, and More   - Reading: Professor J.W.H. Atkins’ “Elizabethan Prose Fiction: Lyly’s influence” Link:  The Bartleby.com’s version of the Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21). Volume III. Renascence and Reformation. Professor J.W.H. Atkins’ “Elizabethan Prose Fiction:  Lyly’s influence”(HTML)
 
Instructions:  Read this article by J.W.H. ATKINS, M.A., Fellow of St. John’s College, Professor of English Language and Literature, University College of Wales, Aberystwyth for a scholarly analysis of Lyly’s influence.
 
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2.3 John Foxe   Note on the text: In The Book of Martyrs, Foxe provides a record of all known
Christian martyrs throughout history, focusing on the persecution of Protestants.
The work is considered one of the most influential in Christianity, deepening the
wide rift between Catholics and Protestants while assisting in the formation of a
Protestant identity.
 
Please note – The work commonly called The Book Of Martyrs was in fact titled Acts and Monuments by its author who disliked the alternate title. For our purposes, the two titles are interchangeable.

2.3.1 The Life of John Foxe   - Reading: for 2.3.1-2.3.2: Dr. Thomas S. Freeman’s “John Foxe: a biography” Link:  Humanities Research Institute, University of Sheffield-Sheffield:  Dr. Thomas S. Freeman’s “John Foxe: a biography”(HTML)
 
Instructions:  This lengthy, comprehensive essay by noted Foxe expert Dr. Thomas S. Freeman explores the life of John Foxe, his works and influence. Please note that this essay will address all the topics for 2.3.1-2.3.2.
 
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2.3.2 Foxe and Protestantism: Exile and Suffering   2.3.3 Foxe’s Book of Martyrs: Style, Technique, and Purpose   - Reading: Dr. John N. King’s “Literary Aspects of Foxe’s Acts and Monuments” Link:  Dr. John N. King’s “Literary Aspects of Foxe’s Acts and Monuments” (HTML)
 
Instructions:  Read this incisive essay by Ohio State University Distinguished Professor of English and Religious Studies Dr. John N. King for an excellent analysis of Foxe’s literary technique. Note – the essay makes copious use of excerpts from Acts and Monuments
 
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2.3.4 The Book of Martyrs’ Reception: Widespread Popularity and Catholic Critiques   - Reading: Professor David Loades’ “The Early Reception” Link:  Professor David Loades’ “The Early Reception”(HTML)
 
Instructions:  Read this knowledgeable analysis of the book’s early receptions by respected Oxford University Professor David Loades.
 
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2.3.5 Foxe’s Influence on the Formation of Protestant Identity   - Reading: Professor David Loades’ “Foxe in theological context” Link:  Professor David Loades’ “Foxe in theological context” (HTML)
 
Instructions:  Read this handy comparison of the ramifications of Foxe’s work to both Catholics and Protestants by respected Oxford University Professor David Loades.
 
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2.4 Sir Walter Raleigh   Note on the text: The Discovery of Guianais Sir Walter Raleigh’s account of discovering an area of the New World.  Both travel journal and political statement, Raleigh’s work provides insight into Renaissance conceptualizations of the New World, the political climate, and the Elizabethan court.

2.4.1 Brief Biography of Sir Walter Raleigh   - Reading: The BBC’s “Sir Walter Raleigh (c.1552-1618)” Link:  The BBC’s “Sir Walter Raleigh (c.1552-1618)” (HTML)
 
Instructions:  Read this worthy summary of Sir Walter Raleigh’s life from the “Historic Figures’ section of the BBC’s “History” site.
 
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2.4.2 Encounter with the New World: Conceptualizations and History   - Lecture: U.C.L.A.-Los Angeles: Professor Eugen Weber “The Renaissance and the New World” Lecture from The Western Tradition series produced by Annenberg Media. Link:  Professor Eugen Weber’s “The Renaissance and the New World”(Requires Flash) from The Western Tradition series of lectures
 
Instructions:  Scroll down to lecture #26, “The Renaissance and the New World” and click on the “VoD” link to watch celebrated Professor Eugen Weber’s 27:35 minute lecture that offers a captivating and well-rounded overview of the manner in which the New World changed Europe.
 
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2.4.3 Tradition of Travel Writing   - Reading: Ellen Hampton’s “Falsehood, Fantasy and Forger : 16th century English discovery literature on the New World” The Saylor Foundation does not yet have materials for this portion of the course. If you are interested in contributing your content to fill this gap or aware of a resource that could be used here, please submit it here.

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2.4.4 Sir Walter Raleigh’s Travel Writing   - Reading: Part IV of Sir Walter Raleigh’s The Discovery of Guiana Link:  Fordham Univeristy’s version of Part IV of Sir Walter Raleigh’s The Discovery of Guiana(HTML)
 
Instructions:  Scroll down the text to read the full “Part IV” which includes Raleigh’s famous assertion of his belief in the existence of the Ewaipanoma – a tribe with “eyes in their shoulders, and their mouths in the middle of their breasts.”

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2.4.5 The Concept of Self-Fashioning in Elizabethan England   - Reading: Sapience’s “Greenblatt, Renaissance Self-Fashioning from More to Shakespeare” The Saylor Foundation does not yet have materials for this portion of the course. If you are interested in contributing your content to fill this gap or aware of a resource that could be used here, please submit it here.

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