Eng 101, Fall 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: 4.9 of 5 (♣♣♣♣♣ Excellent; ♣♣♣♣ Very Good; ♣♣♣ Good; ♣♣ Fair; ♣ Poor)

♣♣♣♣♣ I thoroughly enjoyed this class, the professor, and the material. I am actually upset that I won’t have the opportunity to take another class with Ken because his knowledge is truly inspiring. Studying Milton has made me want to become a better reader and writer. Please do not stop teaching this course, it should always be considered relevant.

♣♣♣♣♣ The discussion aspect of this class was awesome and allowed for much more analysis of the text. Most of the material was interesting to read – Paradise Regained 🙁 – and the exams/papers were more than fair. Amazing class and professor!

♣♣♣♣♣ Professor Hiltner is one of the best professors at UCSB. This class is well structured and allows for engaging class discussion. Milton can be dense, but you will leave the class with at least an appreciation of his work. Great quarter!

♣♣♣♣♣ Milton is definitely a very difficult class because of content. Ken Hiltner was a great down-to-earth professor who made it easier to understand. He tries to get to know the students through interviews, which made me feel like I was his student rather than just part of his class. I really enjoyed his sense of humor – very sarcastic, but in a good way. He is also good at engaging discussion – I love how he starts off “You’re absolutely right .” It makes me feel like he really value student’s opinion. Pick Milton 162! 🙂

♣♣♣♣♣ One of the best classes I’ve ever taken at UCSB. As a non-English major, I was timid about participating due to my relative lack of knowledge in this field, but the professor was very welcome to all opinions. Very good class discussions that taught me a lot about Milton, but also brought in so much extra academic discussion that was very intellectually stimulating.

♣♣♣♣♣ Second course with Hiltner, even better than the first! Milton was thoroughly looked at, analyzed, and observed in a great fashion. Paradise Lost was shown to me to be the best work ever written in the English language. Hiltner is a magnificently intelligent lecturer.

♣♣♣♣♣ Professor Hiltner provided everything I could possibly want from an English professor: he is passionate about the subject, incredibly knowledgeable, and has an excellent attitude. This course was rigorous and with depth, while fostering quality discussions throughout.

♣♣♣♣♣ Professor Hiltner is by far my favorite professor at UC SB. He truly wants to see his students succeed and to get involved in the class. His helpfulness and fondness towards the students does not go unnoticed and he knows how to make everyone feel comfortable in the class by considering every point and explaining my confusion. Thank you for another great quarter Professor Hiltner!!

♣♣♣♣♣ Professor Hiltner is one of the best professors I have had in my college career. He is extremely knowledgeable in both the subject and interdisciplinary arguments. He has an easy lecture form that welcomes open discussion and he makes you think about topics instead of telling you how to think. This test’s were very fair and straightforward. Highly recommended class/professor. Ken’s amazing 🙂

♣♣♣♣♣ Hiltner is an expert on Milton and really does an excellent job leading discussions of this works. Over the quarter I definitely gained an understanding of many of the major themes this man explored in his writing. 10/10 – would take you again in the next life.

♣♣♣♣♣ Professor Hiltner is respectful, genuine, and passionate about the literature he teaches. He’s also incredibly knowledgeable and so not only facilitates discussion effectively but enriches comments with more information. I like it when he asked follow-up questions to draw the class out.

♣♣♣♣♣ I absolutely love this class. Hiltner does an amazing job engaging the entire class and really getting you to individually think about Paradise Lost…and about life in general.

♣♣♣♣♣ Wonderful! A great man listen to.

♣♣♣♣♣ I loved the structure of the class. Normally, I hate group work, but since we were given a worksheet to discuss it, it made the class much more fun and interactive.

♣♣♣♣♣ This was a great class. Professor Hiltner is great. The material was challenging and interesting.

♣♣♣♣♣ Brilliantly taught with very insightful discussions.

♣♣♣♣♣ Awesome class, well-instructed, very funny and engaging professor.

♣♣♣♣♣ You freaking blew my mind with your knowledge. Much respect. So intellectual. Such English. Wow. Truly the best class I took all senior year.

♣♣♣♣♣ Always a pleasure to listen to, fair in choosing who to call on and offers constructive advice.

♣♣♣♣♣ Phenomenal class. Most excellent at gaining the somewhat esoteric Milton-ian spin on schooling your philosophy-major friends in theological debates pertaining to the broad spectrum of philosophical topics written by Milton. Also the professor is fucking awesome – point blank.

♣♣♣♣♣ I took this class on a whim and had no idea who Milton was, or that Paradise Lost is one ridiculously huge pole. I came out of the class with more impact than I ever wish I had thought. It was definitely a good decision.

♣♣♣♣ Small-group discussions were great, but it’s a fight to get Ken to share his personal opinion.

♣♣♣♣ Ken is obviously an expert on the subject, but I wish the lectures/discussions focused more critically on the text itself rather than broad ideas regarding themes.