Eng 165EM, Spring 2011

What Else is Pastoral? Renaissance Literature and the Environment

Of all the different ways of writing, pastoral may be the most versatile–as well as most misunderstood and overlooked. Pastoral can be lighthearted fun (as in Shakespeare’s As You Like It), scathing, subversive, and dangerous political allegory (as it was for poet Edmund Spenser), astonishingly beautiful nature writing (such as the description of Eden in Milton’s Paradise Lost), or any number of other forms. In fact, pastoral can take nearly any shape: a play, a lyric poem, an epic, a novel, even a song or film. In this course we will be tracing this remarkable mode of writing from its earliest beginnings to its height in the Renaissance and 18th century, while also considering how it is still very much at work in the world today.

“Please rate the overall quality of the instructor’s teaching”

Average rating: 4.8 of 5 (♣♣♣♣♣ Excellent; ♣♣♣♣ Very Good; ♣♣♣ Good; ♣♣ Fair; ♣ Poor)

♣♣♣♣♣ I love Professor Hiltner! He has such interesting ideas and I really enjoy his methods of teaching. It is also very apparent that he is really interested in what students have to say, which makes the class that much more enjoyable and makes you care more about the class too. I also really enjoyed all the material we read.

♣♣♣♣♣ Professor Hiltner makes this a fun and enjoyable class to be in. Honestly the pastoral is not the most interesting subject, yet I feel that this class has given me a newfound appreciation for the topic. In other words, I feel as if I actually learned something…

♣♣♣♣♣ I loved prof. Hiltner’s class! He made it the perfect safe spot to discuss topics regarding the pastoral without intimidation or judgment and if some of us were a little shy about expressing our opinions out loud in front of the class, the blog was a great way to break the ice. I find his teaching style to be quite effective!

♣♣♣♣♣ Very knowledgeable; very good slow pace of teaching, very clear; really liked the Wikipedia aspect of the course.

♣♣♣♣♣ Prof. Hiltner is a great instructor, who engages you in class discussion. He is really approachable and friendly. I liked meeting with him in the beginning of the course, gave both of us a chance to get to know each other a bit. I would definitely recommend this class.

♣♣♣♣♣ Wonderful class with a great depth of material. I wish that we had time to explore more pastoral works.

♣♣♣♣♣ A pleasure to be in this class! The professor was always very informative and continually stimulated discussion. The class was wonderful and unique – very refreshing from an English student’s standpoint.

♣♣♣♣♣ I liked the variety of material that was covered – constantly felt like we were traveling to a new place and time.

♣♣♣♣♣ I really enjoyed this class and how encouraging you were with our comments. It was a really relaxed environment where you could actually focus on/enjoy the poetry without having to memorize random facts for a final. Good teaching and class.

♣♣♣♣♣ Fun and engaging (even when I found the material not of particular interest). Glad to have ended college with this course.

♣♣♣♣♣ I really enjoyed this course and the readings. It may be useful in the future to provide short passages from the theory books in the readings. The Thursday presentations were helpful, but without having read any of what was being discussed, it was a little difficult to follow.

♣♣♣♣♣ I enjoyed this class because it allowed a lot of freedom and expression throughout the coursework. I felt like the reading was just right: not too much, not too little. The online blog was a great way for me to write about what I thought and Ken never made me feel inadequate about my responses. He was very supportive in his comments and genuinely cared for the well being of my learning.

♣♣♣♣♣ I liked the blog format of the class. I felt that this was a more useful means of assessment for the material covered than long essays or midterms and finals. The fact that the instructor took the time to meet with everyone in the class at least twice was really impressive – more instructors should do this!

♣♣♣♣♣ Excellent class. Very interesting… very thought provoking and unique. Professor Hiltner is a brilliant instructor… Take as many classes with him as you can!

♣♣♣♣♣ Ken is awesome! He knows a little bit about everything. He is very helpful and I enjoyed his class. I really like that he took time to get to know everyone individually.

♣♣♣♣♣ A more categorized blog system for weekly contributions.

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♣♣♣♣ I enjoyed this class. I am a Communication major and I would recommend taking a class with prof. Hiltner because he is passionate about his work and he makes you want to take part in discussions in class. Overall, great course on pastoral literature.

♣♣♣♣ Love his format of the class. Very apparent how knowledgeable he was in this field.

♣♣♣ [Student asked for comments to not be posted.]