ENGL 356 British Literature I: Presentation Assignments

F 9 – Marlowe—Group 1
W 14 – Shakespeare—Group 2
F 30 – Donne—Group 3
F 6 – Lanyer—Group 4
M 9 – Jonson—Group 5
F 13 – Milton—Group 6
F 20 – Dryden—Group 7
M 23 – Rochester & Behn—Group 8
W 25 – Congreve—Group 9
M 30 – Swift—Group 10
M 7 – Pope—Group 11
W 9 – Gray—Group 12
F 11 – Johnson—Group 13


Part I: Your group must prepare a 10-minute presentation on the author(s) for that day. In your presentation, you should aim to familiarize the class with the relevant information that will help us better understand the author and the work by situating them in the specific historical context (in literary criticism, this is called historicization). To that end, you should present to the class any relevant (or interesting) biographical information, historical events, or specific features of the work under discussion. It goes without saying that you will also need to read the work to complete this assignment.

As sources for your presentation, you should use the headnotes for the author and the work from the Norton Anthology of English Literature, as well as the introduction to the literary period for that unit (The Sixteenth Century, The Early Seventeenth Century, The Restoration and Eighteenth Century). Please note that this is not a library or research project, but a presentation. No outside sources are required, and per the syllabus are not acceptable without my permission.

Part II: One week after your presentation, a 500-750 word written essay is due at the beginning of class. This paper will be analytic, and take for its subject some aspect of the literary work that requires the historical and biographical information from your presentation and the class discussion to understand. Use this background information to situate the work in its historical context. Given the brevity of this paper, you should be analyzing a relatively short but significant section of text. Your paper should examine this segment of text carefully in comparison with the background, and arrive at a conclusion—no plot summary, no vague statements, just a specific thesis, informative and relevant historical material, and a careful, logical argument.

This is a short paper, but it must still follow all of the Guidelines for Papers on the syllabus.