English Literature I From the Anglo Saxons to 1800

I.     Course Prefix/Number: EGL 231

       Course Name: English Literature I From the Anglo Saxons to 1800

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite

EGL 101 or placement into 101

III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course traces the development of British Literature from the Anglo-Saxon period to 1800. Content includes major writers, literary genres, and cultural attitudes of the Anglo-Saxon, Medieval, Elizabethan, Restoration, and Augustan periods, as well as terminology and methods of literary analysis and evaluation.

IV.   Learning Objectives

The student will be able to:

  1. Identify the distinctive characteristics of various genres (e.g. poetry, non-fiction essay fiction, drama) in the Anglo-Saxon, Medieval, Elizabethan, Restoration, and Augustan eras.
  2. Explain the conventions of poetic works such as: as lyric, epic, ballad, sonnet, elegy, free verse, and dramatic monologue, etc.
  3. Interpret the formal elements of these works using appropriate terminology, such as: speaker, metaphor, symbolism, irony, tone, meter, rhyme, simile, personification, etc.
  4. Analyze works in the context of their literary, cultural, and historical backgrounds.
  5. Synthesize knowledge of genre, formal elements, and background material.
  6. Incorporate secondary sources in the analysis and interpretation of literary texts.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• 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 - 3 Anglo Saxon and Medieval Literature
Selections will be chosen from Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the Morte D'Arthur, Chaucer, Everyman, The Second Shepherds Play.
Weeks 4 - 8 The Renaissance
Sections will be chosen from the works of Sir Thomas More, Wyatt, Surrey, Sidney, Spenser, Marlowe, Campion, Shakespeare, Bacon and Jonson.
Weeks 9 - 11 The Seventeenth Century
Selections will be chosen from the works of Donne, Herbert, Vaughan, Burton, Walton, Herrick, Suckling, Carew, Waller, Marvell, Lovelace, Milton and Bunyan.
Weeks 12 - 16 The Restoration and Eighteenth Century
Selections will be chosen from Dryden, Wycherley, Congreve, Gay, Sheridan, Swift, Defoe, Pope, Pepys, Johnson, Fielding, Smollet, Sterne, Addison, Gray, Collins, Goldsmith, Cowper, Richardson, Burney, Godwin.

VII.  Methods of Instruction

The course will be conducted through lectures, discussion, readings, and the supplementary use of other appropriate media such as films, records, etc.
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, oral presentations, and testing.  A minimum of three critical essays of at least 750 words each.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

The instructor will choose readings or an anthology of English literature; for a more detailed selection, please see the full course outline.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

Evaluation methods include grading of student essays, quizzes, hour exams and final exams, oral reports, and class participation.

Required written work:

A minimum of three critical essays of at least 750 words each, written outside of class.

XI.   Other Course Information

Attendance policy

For whatever information/procedures the instructor holds the student accountable.

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
can be found at www.oakton.edu/title9/.

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at www.oakton.edu/lgbtq.