Masterpieces of Western Literature I
I. Course Prefix/Number: EGL 241
Course Name: Masterpieces of Western Literature I
Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)
III. Course (Catalog) Description
IV. Learning Objectives
The student will be able to:
- Identify some of the major works and periods of the Western literary tradition from Ancient times through the Renaissance (1650).
- Explain some of the distinctive characteristics and development of literary forms and conventions such as: as the epic, pastoral, comedy and tragedy.
- Delineate the social, intellectual, cultural, and historical influences specific to each author and region.
- Interpret the formal elements of these works, using appropriate terminology, such as: theme, conflict, figurative language, etc.
- Analyze works in the context of their literary, cultural, and historical backgrounds.
- Synthesize knowledge of genre, formal elements, and background material.
- Incorporate secondary sources in the analysis and interpretation of literary texts.
V. Academic Integrity and Student Conduct
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.
There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.
Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at
VI. Sequence of Topics
Weeks 1‑2: Introduction to Literary Analysis Texts will be drawn from the earliest periods or will illustrate themes or literary principles appropriate to developing skills of literary analysis.
Weeks 3‑9: The Greeks. Texts to be drawn from Homer, Sophocles, Aeschylus, Euripides, Sappho, Plato, Aristotle, and other classical dramatists, poets and philosophers.
Weeks 10-11: The Roman and early Christian writers: Texts to be drawn from Virgil, Ovid, Catullus, Augustine, Aquinas.
Weeks 12‑14: The Middle Ages: Texts to be drawn from such as Chanson de Roland, Dante, Chaucer, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the Bible and the Koran.
Weeks 15-16: The Renaissance: Texts to be drawn from Shakespeare, Petrarch, Boccaccio, Marguerite de Navarre, Rabelais, Cervantes, Montaigne, Spenser, Sidney, Milton.
VII. Methods of Instruction
Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.
VIII. Course Practices Required
Course may be taught as a face-to-face, hybrid or online course.
Reading, writing and testing; possibly oral presentations. Out of class writing including short essays and research papers to total a minimum of 20 pages.
IX. Instructional Materials
Textbooks might be drawn from:
MacMillan Literature of the Western World
Norton Anthology of World Literature
X. Methods of Evaluating Student Progress
XI. Other Course Information
If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.
Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.
Resources and support for
- pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
- victims of sexual misconduct
Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at www.oakton.edu/lgbtq.