Academic Catalog


Foothill College Course Outline of Record

Foothill College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Effective Term: Summer 2023
Units: 5
Hours: 5 lecture per week (60 total per quarter)
Prerequisite: Eligibility for college-level composition (ENGL 1A or 1AH or ESLL 26), as determined by college assessment or other appropriate method.
Advisory: Successful completion of college-level composition (ENGL 1A or 1AH or ESLL 26) or equivalent; not open to students with credit in ENGL 43A, 46A or 46B.
Degree & Credit Status: Degree-Applicable Credit Course
Foothill GE: Area I: Humanities
Transferable: CSU/UC
Grade Type: Letter Grade (Request for Pass/No Pass)
Repeatability: Not Repeatable

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Students will be able to analyze period literature within the contexts of critical theoretical lenses, including theories of literary structure, history, gender and sexuality, socioeconomic class, race and ethnicity.
  • Students will be able to contextualize the period literature within the beginnings of globalization as an historical and political force inextricable from modern colonialism.


A survey of literature spanning the earliest Old English texts, Middle English period, Early Modern period, through Neoclassicism, including early writers of the British colonies. Texts discussed and analyzed within historical, sociocultural, philosophical, political, legal, and aesthetic contexts, integrating theories of race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, socioeconomic class and labor, slavery, colonialism and immigration, religion/spirituality, and ability. Specific to this honors course: a higher level of sophisticated scholarship through extensive research and literature review, critical essays, and opportunities for scholarly presentation, student-generated discussions, and self-directed projects. Rigorous application and analysis of theoretical paradigms as applied across these contexts in analysis of literary texts.

Course Objectives

The student will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of major writers, key texts, and documents of British literature from the Old English period through the late 18th century
  2. Identify major literary genres, analyze the connections between these genres, and trace the emergence and development of literary forms during these periods
  3. Apply relevant critical and theoretical frameworks to evaluate the literature within historical, (multi/inter)cultural, and philosophical contexts
  4. Demonstrate orally, and in college-level writing, sophisticated analytical understanding of the literary texts via a range of theoretical paradigms
  5. Demonstrate appropriate formatting and documentation

Course Content

  1. Major writers and texts
    1. Old English texts (e.g., Caedmon's HymnBeowulf)
    2. Middle English period (e.g., Chaucer, the Gawain poet, de France, Kempe)
    3. Early Modern period (e.g., Shakespeare, Spenser)
    4. Neoclassical writers
      1. Age of Reason (e.g., Burney, Cugoano, Equiano, Johnson, Sancho)
      2. Augustan Age (e.g., Swift, Pope, Defoe)
      3. Restoration (e.g., Milton, Dryden, Behn)
  2. Literary genres and forms
    1. Old English forms, including elegies, heroic narratives, alliterative verse
    2. Middle English forms, e.g., the lyric, verse romance
    3. Early modern sonnet and drama, blank verse
    4. Early British slave narratives
    5. Metaphysical poetry
    6. Heroic couplet
    7. Rise of the novel
  3. Relevant critical and theoretical frameworks
    1. Historical contexts, including dominant and marginalized ethical, philosophical, political, religious, social, and aesthetic perspectives in the literature of this period, including issues around immigration, colonization, and British national and ethnic identities
    2. Gender studies
    3. Queer theories; sexuality studies
    4. Psychological theories (Freudian, Jungian)
    5. Marxian and other socioeconomic frameworks, including those around early British slavery
    6. Theories of race and ethnicity, including critical race theory
    7. Postcolonial, anticolonial, and neocolonial studies
    8. Formalist theories
  4. Analytical understanding of the literary texts
    1. Class discussion regarding analytical reading of literary texts
    2. Composition of literary analysis essays on the literary texts
    3. Recognition of linguistic differences between Old, Middle, and Early Modern English
  5. Formatting and documentation
    1. Modern Language Association (MLA)
    2. American Psychological Association (APA)

Lab Content

Not applicable.

Special Facilities and/or Equipment

1. When taught on campus, no special facility or equipment needed.
2. When taught online, ongoing access to computer with email and basic software capabilities, including relevant Learning Management Systems.

Method(s) of Evaluation

Methods of Evaluation may include but are not limited to the following:

Examinations as determined by instructor
Composition of at least two formal literary analysis essays of at least 1500 words each; these essays must be theory-based and research-based in nature
Informal assignments as determined by instructor
Class discussion
Formal presentations (at instructor's discretion)

Method(s) of Instruction

Methods of Instruction may include but are not limited to the following:

Reading and discussion of British literary texts
Lectures on the literature and its historical, social, and theoretical contexts
Group projects and presentations
Literary analysis, oral and written

Representative Text(s) and Other Materials

Black, Joseph, et al., editors. The Broadview Anthology of British Literature, Volumes 1-3. 2021.

Abbott, Jean, Elaine Treharne, and Mateusz Fafinski, editors. Beowulf for All. 2021.

Robinson, Bonnie J.. British Literature I: Middle Ages to the Eighteenth Century and Neoclassicism (available as OER). 2018.

Greenblatt, Stephen, editor. The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 10th ed., Volumes A-C. 2018.

Creative Commons. Creating Literary Analysis (available as OER). 2012.

Ferrante, Joan M.. To the Glory of Her Sex: Women's Roles in the Composition of Medieval Texts. 1997.

Overing, Gillian R.. Language, Sign, and Gender in Beowulf. 1990.

Equiano, Olaudah. The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, Or Gustavus Vassa, the African. 1789.

Cuogoano, Quobna Ottobah. Thoughts and Sentiments on the Evil and Wicked Traffic of the Slavery and Commerce of the Human Species. 1787.

Sancho, Ignatius. Letters of the Late Ignatius Sancho, an African. 1784.

As this course spans roughly the years AD 700-1789, many of the texts are contemporaneous with this time period (therefore older than four years); anthologies and theoretical texts are updated.

Robinson text available as OER:

Creative Commons text available as OER:

Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing, and Outside of Class Assignments

  1. Reading from representative literary texts as assigned by instructor
  2. Quizzes on reading comprehension of assigned literary texts
  3. Analytical and reader response journal assignments on readings
  4. Composition of extended, theory-based, research-based literary analysis