Eng 101, Summer 2013

English Literature: the Medieval Period to 1650

This course is an introduction to the first eight hundred years of English literature from the Anglo Saxon beginnings to the 1645 edition of Milton’s Poems. After surveying some very early works, such as the Dream of the Rood, we will read Beowulf, one of the greatest epics in the English language, in Seamus Heaney’s exquisite translation. From there we will move to excerpts from Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales before concluding in the Renaissance with Milton and Marvell. Throughout the quarter we will be considering just what these texts can tell us about the cultures that produced them, especially their attitudes toward gender, politics, religion, and the environment. What, for example, might “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” tell us about the position of women in Chaucer’s England? Similarly, does the Dream of the Rood, which is–quite remarkably–told in part from the perspective of a tree, tell us anything about how nature and the natural world was imagined?

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

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

♣♣♣♣♣ An absolutely brilliant course. Prof. Hiltner is one of the greatest professors that I’ve ever had. The death of his knowledge is unbelievable and he was able to answer any questions that we had. He made me interested in a period of literature that isn’t usually my favorite. He was nice, helpful, and understanding. A truly wonderful course.

♣♣♣♣♣ As somebody who is not an English major, I still found this class very enjoyable. So much so that in the fall I’m going to be looking into double majoring. Really amazing class. A tiny bit rushed, but still so good.

♣♣♣♣♣ I appreciated the midterm/final reviews in class because I know it’s much more of a privilege (since most of my professors/TAs don’t have reviews). I would have preferred to read Chaucer in translation, but I’m glad I didn’t because it gave me a feel for Chaucer style. I will be crashing your Milton course in the winter (2014) since I know it will be full before I can add it. Great professor, offers interesting views about course materials. Easy to understand! Coherently connects different works from different periods together. Best professor I’ve had it UCSB.

♣♣♣♣♣ Ken is an awesome teacher. He’s very clear and easy-to-understand. He tries to make us do as well as possible. He clearly is passionate about what he’s teaching. I’d take a class with him again.

♣♣♣♣♣ I am interested in medieval literature and took this class is an indication of whether I should specialize in medieval Lit. I absolutely loved this class! The lecture was always interesting and I can now say that I have at least read many of the great authors of the time. Thank you Prof. Hiltner! You’re awesome 🙂

♣♣♣♣♣ Very good professor, made a previously uninteresting topic interesting, and made the works and class not a chore, which I expected it to be. Well-run and organize class. 10/10 would take again.

♣♣♣♣♣ Very chill class. Shouts out to Donne, Milton, and Chaucer’s Pardoner. Hiltner is a delightful jolly fountain of medieval knowledge.

♣♣♣♣♣ Teacher is awesome!

♣♣♣♣♣ I loved his teaching style. His tests are not meant to trip us up at all. Overall, great teacher.

♣♣♣♣♣ Very good class. I enjoyed it a lot. Great professor.

♣♣♣♣♣ Great professor, truly interested in his lectures and students. Goes out of his way to help – easily the best English professor that I’ve had by a wide margin.

♣♣♣♣♣ The course was well-planned and Prof. Hiltner is very knowledgeable on the subject. All his lectures are relevant to the tests. I would have liked to have started with the Faerie Queene early one and I wish we had more time for the reading. However, Prof. Hiltner is very accessible is extremely helpful. Great class! Will take another with him.

♣♣♣♣♣ The course was well-organized. The daunting nature of medieval literature was made enjoyable and manageable by the professor. Very well taught and straightforward.

♣♣♣♣♣ He’s a really good teacher, but medieval literature is really boring.

♣♣♣♣♣ Prof. Hiltner is both knowledgeable and passionate about the material, making the class a great overall learning experience. I’d happily recommend his class.

♣♣♣♣♣ Hiltner is a very good lecturer. He keeps the material interesting and relevant and structures the assignments very. The only issue was the pace of the course, given the amount of work and readings.

♣♣♣♣♣ I was not interested in this course, but Hiltner made material engaging. I now have a different perspective on Middle English and medieval literature.

♣♣♣♣♣ Prof. Hiltner is an excellent teacher, who goes out of his way to help his students. He breaks down the class material and answers any questions we may have. His lectures are really clear and detailed. The readings are interested and new. Thank you! Have a great summer!

♣♣♣♣♣ All the reading is tedious, but you made it somewhat interesting.