Eng 101, Winter 2008

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 fromSir 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)

♣♣♣♣♣ Encouraged a variety of opinions, not pedantic.

♣♣♣♣♣ A patient, down to earth, likeable, educated professor. A pleasure.

♣♣♣♣♣ Great professor! Very, very smart.

♣♣♣♣♣ I really enjoyed this class. The professor was so cool and nice and made lecture much more interesting than I expected. Made class really fun and I actually liked all the group discussions.

♣♣♣♣♣ Great class, learned a lot.

♣♣♣♣♣ Great knowledge of material. Always available to help us out and really enthusiastic.

♣♣♣♣♣ One of the best professors I’ve ever had at UCSB. Cares so much about his students.

♣♣♣♣♣ Really great class with great instruction. Maybe too many poems per author. Otherwise a really class.

♣♣♣♣♣ I enjoyed the variety of readings presented and the different approaches (nature, feminism) used in examining the readings. He was available for questions and continually updated the syllabus. I enjoyed this class, but I wish it were later in the day.

♣♣♣♣♣ Very encouraging and helpful.

♣♣♣♣♣ Loved class, loved the teacher. Got to the point of the matter, always interesting. Discussion groups crucial to my own understanding through talking with others.

♣♣♣♣♣ Excellent professor with great knowledge and insight who is also extremely approachable and helpful. Thanks!

♣♣♣♣♣ Awesome, awesome professor. He doesn’t try to trick us, we just have to know the material. Perfect class in every way!

♣♣♣♣♣ Great teacher, hope he stays here! Very interesting take on nature and literature, unlike any class I’ve taken at UCSB – much more labor intensive – but always more rewarding.

♣♣♣♣♣ Awesome tests. Easy going guy!

♣♣♣♣♣ Professor Hiltner is one of the best professors I have had at UCSB. Not only is he a nice person who is very approachable with any question, but he is also very knowledgeable in the material! Great class!

♣♣♣♣♣ I can’t wait to take more classes with this professor!

♣♣♣♣♣ An extremely good professor. An asset to the English department.

♣♣♣♣♣ Interesting readings, informative lectures and professor really seems interested in students. It was nice to have a professor take the time to get to know students. Great class, I really enjoyed it!

♣♣♣♣♣ Great professor! Engaging, challenging, but fair.

♣♣♣♣♣ Thanks for a very informative and interesting class! It was nice to get to know you at the beginning of your office (which is extremely tastefully decorated) since it’s difficult to get to know professors, especially in large classes. Wonderful job!

♣♣♣♣♣ Ken was great! I would definitely take another class from him. He is very helpful, makes an effort to get to know his students, and knows how to lead a good discussion for class.

♣♣♣♣♣ Professor Hiltner is a great instructor; he makes all of the readings easy to understand; his lectures are easy to follow, but not so simplistic as to make the class feel as though they are being spoken to as children. He is, overall, an excellent professor and I would happily take another one of his classes!

♣♣♣♣♣ Professor Hiltner was fantastic. Not only was he really intelligent, but the style in which he prepared us for the tests, etc. was super helpful. I would definitely take another one of his classes. This feeling is mutual with the other students who have taken him and recommend him!

♣♣♣♣♣ I enjoyed the class and felt I learned a lot. I will be taking another class with Professor Hiltner if possible.

♣♣♣♣♣ One of the best teachers I have had in the English department. He’s very nice and teaches great! I felt I learned a lot. He was always willing to meet his students outside of class. He also would answer all our questions would encourage discussion. Although, the readings were difficult he explained them very well.

♣♣♣♣♣ I’ve had so few professors who actually cared about my academic future so I was so pleased to see that professor Hiltner actually took an interest in the future of his students. He was always available for consultation, managed people’s names and gave me great advice about grad schools. He is an amazing professor and I’m so glad I took his class. Thank you, professor Hiltner!

♣♣♣♣♣ Professor Hiltner is really great. He interacts well with the students and makes an effort to communicate with all of us. He is always well prepared and makes the classes very interesting. He is an excellent professor!

♣♣♣♣♣ I really enjoyed being in this class. I feel I was able to gain a thorough understanding of the text because you gave us a lot of historical information regarding the text and authors. Also, thank you for making yourself available outside of class as it was very helpful.

♣♣♣♣♣ The instructor is great at keeping students interesting during class. He makes you feel welcome when asking questions or going to office hours. The tests are fair for what we learn in class.

♣♣♣♣♣ Wonderful teacher!

♣♣♣♣ The professor’s teaching style was alright. Lecturing in class and the tests was fair because he focused on main points and checking if we read, not obscure questions. However, doing questions with groups was annoying when group members hadn’t read the material, so doing study questions every week that way got old. Also the professor tried to cover way too wide a span of time and material. 4 poets in one class period is way too much. It’s hard to remember them and not get them mixed up with them all crammed together. Also, though this was Medieval Lit. we did Milton and Donne like in English 102 and even did a bit of Shakespeare which is English 15 or English 105. I would rather focus on a few medieval works like Chaucer in depth than go over 16th century or 14th century material that other classes cover.

♣♣♣♣ I liked the course. I thought Ken was a really fair professor. He didn’t design the tests to confuse, but just to make sure we read. I liked the group discussions.