Eng 101, Summer 2015

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: 4.7 of 5 (♣♣♣♣♣ Excellent; ♣♣♣♣ Very Good; ♣♣♣ Good; ♣♣ Fair; ♣ Poor)

♣♣♣♣♣ In a course that could easily overlook issues such as gender and environmental issues, Hiltner manages to give an analysis of these areas and how they are still relevant to contemporary society. I honestly wish the class had been longer. What a wonderful teacher.

♣♣♣♣♣ I think this is an important class to take. Enjoyable.

♣♣♣♣♣ Very nice man. He goes out of his way for his students (meeting with them, reading papers, etc.) Makes class easy and enjoyable. I would definitely recommend taking a course with him. 🙂

♣♣♣♣♣ I enjoyed the discussion groups the most. As a shy guy, it helped me actually get participation points.

♣♣♣♣♣ Instructions were very thorough and clear. I understood readings and themes after they were explained.

♣♣♣♣♣ Interesting readings and great study guides. The work is very inclusive and we delve deep into the readings which is fantastic! Ken is very approachable!

♣♣♣♣♣ Great class, great Professor. Thanks for making Medieval poetry interesting, Ken! You’re the best!

♣♣♣♣♣ Excellent professor!

♣♣♣♣ Great take on the texts in terms of interpreting them for their environmental importance. Although, I do wish we could have analyzed texts a bit more closely and dial back just a tad on the historical context.

♣♣♣♣ Ken is a great professor and really loves the topics he teaches. He makes a somewhat dull topic very interesting!

♣♣♣♣ Prof. Hiltner is very helpful. He is very clear about his expectations and tells you how to succeed.