Spring 2021 - ENGL 410W D100

Topics in Early Modern English Non-Dramatic Literature (4)

Class Number: 4159

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu, Th 2:30 PM – 4:20 PM

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 28, 2021
    3:30 PM – 6:30 PM

  • Prerequisites:

    One of ENGL 304, 306, 310, 311, 313 or 315. Reserved for English honours, major, joint major and minor students.



The study of selected works of Early Modern poetry and prose written in English, and situated in their cultural context. May be organized by author, genre, or critical approach. Students with credit for ENGL 410 may not take this course for further credit. Writing.


Toward information
Early-modern Europe (1500-1700) was a time and place of language. The national vernaculars (English, French, Italian, and so on) were newly stabilized by poetic expression and political authority. The printing press enabled unprecedented reproduction of texts. And the pedagogic movement known as humanism put literature at the centre of academic curricula. At the same time, however, early-modern thinkers were increasingly troubled by the limitations of words: so ambiguous, so changeable, so ephemeral. Moreover, the epistemological status of literary thinking was increasingly challenged, over the course of the period, by empirical and experimental inquiry. What emerged from this confluence of the word and the world? Perhaps the beginnings of the concept that we now call "information." In this course, we’ll learn about a range of period attempts, in and around literature itself, to get to a communicative level beyond language. Authors will include Spenser, Herbert, Donne, Jonson, Bacon, and Milton. All of our texts will be sourced online. 


  • Mid-term writing 20%
  • Term paper 35%
  • Exam 35%
  • Participation 10%


We expect to be online again for the Spring 2021 term. Assuming so, this course will mostly consist of synchronous (real-time, live) online seminars. From my perspective, the relevant systems work surprisingly well!

Department Undergraduate Notes:

IMPORTANT NOTE Re 300 and 400 level courses: 75% of spaces in 300 level English courses, and 100% of spaces in 400 level English courses, are reserved for declared English Major, Minor, Extended Minor, Joint Major, and Honours students only, until open enrollment begins.

For all On-Campus Courses, please note the following:
- To receive credit for the course, students must complete all requirements.
- Tutorials/Seminars WILL be held the first week of classes.
- When choosing your schedule, remember to check "Show lab/tutorial sections" to see all Lecture/Seminar/Tutorial times required.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in spring 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).