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Survey of British Literature: ENGL 311

Below is the Departmental list of authors and works which should be covered in the 311 survey of British literature. Where no specific works are listed, it is assumed that students will be given a general knowledge of appropriate works in the canon. The course is not limited to the authors and works listed; works by women will be included in the list of supplemental works. In addition to essay tests and quizzes, students will be required to write at least one formal, critical essay (1,500-word computer drafted minimum).

Essential skills and/or outcomes to be acquired through the course include:

  1. an ability to render close textual analysis and close reading of works of British literature;
  2. an ability to synthesize information from multiple texts;
  3. an ability to express clear, cogent ideas;
  4. an ability to render thoughtful and well-written essays, with thesis, textual support, and analysis;
  5. the cultivation of aesthetic and critical judgments about literature;
  6. an understanding of the philosophic, critical, and cultural ideas from which the literature of Britain evolved;
  7. an understanding of relevant literary periods.

Required texts and materials

Norton Anthology of British Literature (major authors edition). Paperback volumes may be supplemented where appropriate. Student computer account.

The University Writing Center

To receive individual instruction and feedback on writing in progress, students should be encouraged to visit The Academic Support Services Center in the basement of Scarborough Library. Visits are by appointment (via the online schedule found at or through ShepOwl at

Restoration and Eighteenth Century Literature

Dryden: Selected prose and poetry

Defoe: Robinson Crusoe

Congreve: The Way of the World

Swift: Gulliver’s Travel s, Books I & 4, ” Modest Proposal”

Pope: “An Essay on Criticism” or “Essay on Man”

Johnson: Rassalas , Dictionary selections, Rambler no. 4, Selections from Lives

Austen: Sense and Sensibility

Romantic Period

Blake: Selections from Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience

Wordsworth: Preface to 1800 edition of Lyrical Ballads , “Tintern Abbey” or “Intimations of Immortality,” selections from The Prelude and selected sonnets

Coleridge: “Kubla Khan,” “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” selections from Biographic Literaria

Byron: Don Juan, Canto I

M. Shelley: Frankenstein

P. Shelley: From A Defence of Poetry , “Ode to the West Wind,” Selected poems

Keats: Letters, Selection from the odes and other poems

Victorian Literature

Tennyson: Selections from In Memoriam, “Ulysses,” “Tithonus”

Barrett Browning: Selections from Aurora Leigh

Robert Browning: Selected poems

Dickens: Hard Times

Christina Rossetti: Selected Poems

Arnold : “The Study of Poetry,” “The Function of Criticism,” selected poems

Hopkins : “God’s Grandeur,” “Windhover,” selections from Terrible Sonnets

Revision approved Spring 2008