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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.
G. R. Lomer, ed. The Student’s Course in Literature.

A College Curriculum in Literature: English Literature

By Gerhard Richard Lomer (1882–1970)

(Read Lectures on the World’s Best Literature: English Literature)

76. Introduction to English Literature

For one who wishes to begin a brief study of English literature, this course serves as an introduction to the great names with which every one should be familiar. Its aim is to make the student know a few personalities and know them well. To this end he will study their lives and become familiar with their writings. These he should “read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest.” In this way the beginner will be well prepared to approach the more detailed courses which follow.

Reading:Chaucer; Malory; Spenser; Shakespeare; Milton; Dryden; Pope; Wordsworth; Byron; Shelley; Keats; Carlyle; Ruskin; Tennyson; Browning; Arnold; Swinburne; Stevenson; Meredith.

77. General Survey of English Literature

The purpose of this course is two-fold: (1) To give the student a general idea of the whole course of English literature from the earliest times down to the present, from the historical point of view. (2) To give him some conception of the richness and variety of the content of English literature which will suggest to him where he can read more widely with interest and profit, according to his tastes. For a more detailed treatment of English literature the student should proceed to the special courses which follow.

Reading:Anglo-Saxon Literature; Chaucer; Gower; The Ballad; The Arthurian Legend; Malory; Wyatt; Ascham; Sidney; Hakluyt; Raleigh; Spenser; Marlowe; Beaumont and Fletcher; Ben Jonson; Donne; Herrick; Wither; Herbert; Marvell; Bacon; Sir Thomas Browne; Walton; Jeremy Taylor; Bunyan; Milton; Dryden; Defoe; Swift; Steele; Addison; Pope; Thomson; Young; Gay; Akenside; Collins; Chatterton; Gray; Johnson; Boswell; Burke; Gibbon; Goldsmith; Cowper; Crabbe; Blake; Burns; Wordsworth; Coleridge; Lamb; Scott; Byron; Shelley; Keats; Southey; Landor; Campbell; Moore; Hunt; Peacock; Keble; Hood; Fitzgerald; E. B. Browning; Thackeray; Dickens; Clough; Patmore; C. G. Rossetti; D. G. Rossetti; Dobson; Thomson; De Quincey; Macaulay; Newman; Carlyle; Ruskin; Tennyson; R. Browning; Morris; Swinburne; Pater; Stevenson; Meredith.

78. Anglo-Saxon Literature

A knowledge of Anglo-Saxon literature is valuable to the student who would understand the subsequent progress of English literature from its remote beginnings. The student will read in translation some of the best that has been preserved and he will at the same time gain a clear conception of the life and outlook of the Anglo-Saxons from the time of the legendary Beowulf down to the reign of King Alfred.

Reading:Anglo-Saxon Literature; Judith; Cædmon; Alcuin; Bede; Alfred the Great; Anglo-Saxon Chronicle; Beowulf; The Fight at Maldon; The Wanderer; Deor’s Lament; The Seafarer; The Fortunes of Men.

79. Mediæval Romance

The dominant form of writing in the Middle Ages in Europe was the Romance. This course aims to give the student an appreciation of the contents and form of this characteristic type of literature, to acquaint him with its masterpieces in English, and to introduce him to the comparative study of a kind of writing that is found equally developed in France and Germany.

Reading:The Arthurian Legends; Sir Thomas Malory; Legend of the Holy Grail; The Mabinogion.

80. English Literature before Shakespeare

The beginnings of things are always interesting, and the early history of English literature is full of attraction and of fascination. The student will start with Anglo-Saxon before it can be called English at all, and will pass from the fragments that remain to the ballad and the romance of Mediæval England. He will then briefly trace the development of the drama and the history of the English Bible. Then he will read Chaucer, the father of English poetry, and Spenser, the poet’s poet, and on the basis of this study he will be ready to approach the greatest of all English writers, Shakespeare.

Reading:Anglo-Saxon Literature; The Arthurian Legends; Geoffrey of Monmouth; The Ballad; The Folk-Song; Sir Thomas Malory; The Holy Grail; The Mabinogion; Celtic Literature; Gesta Romanorum; The Old Testament; The New Testament; Wycliffe’s Bible; Chaucer; Gower; Dunbar; Sir Thomas More; Wyatt; Sidney.

81. The Age of Shakespeare

The Elizabethan period is perhaps the richest in English literature. It is called the Age of Shakespeare, and with him and his fellow-dramatists and poets this course is chiefly concerned. The attention of the student is also turned to the prose writers of the age who are beginning to experiment with the possibilities of this medium of expression.

Reading:Shakespeare; Hakluyt; Raleigh; Bacon; Peele; Lodge; Chapman; Greene; Marlowe; Dekker; Heywood; Jonson; Massinger; Beaumont and Fletcher; Ford; Webster; Holinshed; Spenser; Sidney; Jonson.

82. The Beginnings of the English Drama

The remarkable development of the English drama in the age of Elizabeth is comparable only to the corresponding outburst of Athenian drama in the age of Pericles. In this course the student will study the chief contemporaries of Shakespeare as an introduction to the work of the greatest of the Elizabethans.

Reading:Peele; Greene; Marlowe; Jonson; Massinger; Beaumont; Ford.

83. Shakespeare

This course is planned to give the student an idea of the sources which the great English dramatist used and of his unsurpassed achievement on the stage. The reading involved, though it seems to take the student far afield, is necessary if one is to form a proper and well-founded estimate of the work of the greatest of English playwrights.

Reading:Shakespeare; R. G. White: Bacon–Shakespeare Craze; E. Dowden: The Humor of Shakespeare; E. Dowden: Shakespeare’s Portraiture of Women; J. Weiss: The Court Fool; F. von Schlegel: Of Romance (Spenser and Shakespeare); Ben Jonson: On Shakespeare; Ben Jonson: To the Memory of my Beloved master, William Shakespeare; John Milton: On Shakespeare; Goethe: Wilhelm Meister’s Introduction to Shakespeare; Goethe: Wilhelm Meister’s Analysis of Hamlet; F. Guizot: The Example of Shakespeare; Sir Thomas North: Translation of ‘Plutarch’s Lives,’; R. Holinshed: Chronicles.

84. The Age of Milton

This is the period of the waning of the Elizabethan outburst, of the ascendency of the Puritan, and the beginning of the age of great English prose. Its outstanding figure is Milton, writer of the great English epic on the Fall of Man; but there are numerous minor figures and other interests to make this a profitable period for the student. Milton’s prose and minor poetry will receive consideration as well as ‘Paradise Lost,’ and then the student will proceed to the study of other writers of the day.

Reading:Milton; Drayton; Donne; Drummond of Hawthornden; Wither; Browne; Herrick; Herbert; Carew; Waller; Suckling; Cowley; Marvell; Vaughan; Hobbes; Burton; Walton; Browne; Fuller; Masques (E. Rhys); Taylor; Bunyan.

85. The Age of Dryden and Pope

The seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in English literature can almost be summarized in the work of Dryden and Pope, but there is a host of other writers almost as important and often quite as interesting. This is the age of keen wit and cutting satire. It is an age of fashion, elegance, and polish. The technique of English writing takes enormous strides forward. Satire reigns, with “occasional verse” in poetry. The Restoration Drama with its knowledge of the world shows us the very heart of a shallow age. The English novel suddenly establishes itself. Classics like ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’ and ‘Robinson Crusoe’ make their appearance. The immortal ‘Spectator’ of Steele and Addison begins the long history of English journalism.

Reading:Bunyan; Butler; Evelyn; Marvell; Dryden; Locke; Pepys; Newton; Prior; Young; Gay; Pope; Thomson; Shenstone; Akenside.

86. The Restoration Drama

The student will follow in this course the main outlines of the development of English drama after the age of Shakespeare. Not all the dramatic writing of the eighteenth century belongs to the world’s best literature, and the reading here recommended is intended to show the dramatists of the day at their best.

Reading:Congreve; Webster; Foote; Colman; Sheridan; Goldsmith.

87. Naturalism: A Period of Transition

After the arid prose of the eighteenth century and a surfeit of sophisticated town life, poets began to look to the simple pleasures of the country for solace and inspiration. They continued the stilted form of the town poets but they began to infuse into their work some of the freshness of the countryside and some of the simple delight in the beauty of nature which was to be the keynote of the early romantic poets such as Wordsworth.

Reading:Ramsay; Gray; Collins; Cowper; Macpherson; Chatterton; Crabbe; Blake; Burns.

88. The Romantic Movement

Not since the Elizabethan Age had there been such an outburst of poetry as followed the publication of the ‘Lyrical Ballads’ in England. After the lethargy of the prosaic eighteenth century came the renascence of English poetry. Wordsworth showed the significance of nature and simple life; Coleridge rediscovered the supernatural; Shelley sought a high ideal; Keats found pleasure in the sensuous beauty of life; and Byron used his facile pen to proclaim the charm of the greatness of Rome and of personal adventure.

Reading:Wordsworth; Coleridge; Shelley; Keats; Byron.

89. Major Poets of the Victorian Era

The poetry of the Victorian era carries on the search for beauty and the belief in the significance of the experience of the individual soul which had characterized the Romantic Movement, but it also reflects in a striking way the new tendencies of the age—the increasing attention to social movements, the reconstruction of belief as a result of new scientific theory, and a new interest in the psychology of individual experience. The student who wishes to see the culmination of the Romantic Movement or to understand the poetry of the present day will find such a course as this indispensable. It is also one of the most valuable in the expansion of the spiritual interests of the individual student.

Reading:E. B. Browning; Robert Browning; Tennyson; Arnold; Meredith; D. G. Rossetti; Morris; Swinburne.

90. Minor Poets of the Victorian Era

The fame of the greater Victorian poets and the large number of books coming from the presses have overshadowed many minor poets of unusual merit. Much sincere poetry, fine description, and genuine emotion are to be found in the less-known lyrics of the nineteenth century, and many a poem of enduring worth.

Reading:Hood; Barnes; Macaulay; Newman; Praed; Horne; Turner; Fitzgerald; Thackeray; Bailey; Clough; Kingsley; Locker-Lampson; Patmore; Dobell; C. G. Rossetti; Ingelow; Calverley; Lord Lytton; Edwin Arnold; Carroll; Butler; Gilbert; Dobson; Symonds; Carpenter; Lang; Blind; Gosse; Henley; Stevenson.

91. Major Prose Writers of the Victorian Era

The Victorian Era is an age of prophets in prose, of earnest scientific searchers after truth, of theologians eager for the light, of historians of unusual ability, and of delightful essayists. All phases of the manifold life of a complex age are reflected in its literature, and the student will find here reading that will give him food for solid thought for many an hour. The present condition of England cannot be understood without a knowledge of the great movements of the nineteenth century, all of which were reflected in the prose of the period.

Reading:Dickens; Thackeray; Carlyle; Ruskin; Macaulay; Arnold; Newman; Stevenson.

92. The Development of English Prose

This course groups those miscellaneous writers whose chief attainment consisted of perfecting English prose as an instrument of expression. The student will read selected authors from the time of Malory down to the period of Romanticism, and should supplement this course by a study of the development of the English essay.

Reading:Malory; Holinshed; New Testament; Raleigh; Selden; Fuller; Evelyn; Pepys; Hamilton; Arbuthnot; Montagu; Chesterfield; Walpole; Burke; Gibbon; Boswell; Young.

93. The Development of the English Essay

The purpose of this course is to trace in its broad outlines the history of the development of the English essay from the age of Elizabeth to that of Victoria. The student has thus the advantage of familiarizing himself with the growth of a definite form of prose writing from its earliest stages up to a state of excellence, variety, and polish.

Reading:Ascham; Bacon; Burton; Drummond; Hobbes; Walton; Browne; Milton; Clarendon; Cowley; Defoe; Steele; Addison; Berkeley; Chesterfield; Johnson; Barbauld; Bentham; Wollstonecraft.

94. The Essay Writers of the Nineteenth Century

This course involves a detailed study of the modern English writers of the essay and of the technique of this literary form. It supplements the preceding historical sketch of the development of the English essay. The writers are, however, also to be studied for their content, since much of the best critical and philosophical writing of modern times has assumed this form of expression.

Reading:Lamb; Landor; Hazlitt; Hunt; de Quincey; Carlyle; Newman; Lewes; Buckle; Burton; Arnold; Patmore; Bagehot; Harrison; Stephen; Baring-Gould; Hamerton; Lubbock; Green; Morley; Bryce; Besant; Pater; Symonds; Dowden; Lang; Balfour; Jefferies; Mallock; Stevenson; Birrell; Wilde; Le Gallienne; Chesterton.

95. The Essay in the Early Twentieth Century

This course is a continuation of the preceding. The student is required to study the lecture on “The Early Twentieth-Century Essay” in The Student’s Course, and to do the reading recommended listed there.

96. English Discoverers and Travelers

The Anglo-Saxons have always been an adventurous and a roving race. In this course the student will follow the early explorers of the New World and those who penetrated to the remoter parts of Africa and the East. He will also see Europe through the eyes of the experienced traveler, and will develop a taste for one of the most fascinating branches of writing—the descriptive sketch.

Reading:Mandeville; Raleigh; Hakluyt; Young; Borrow; Kinglake; Story; Ruskin; Burton; Baker; Wallace; Prime; Palgrave; Norton; Jackson; Ritchie; Hearn.

97. English Scientists and Naturalists

English prose is particularly fortunate in including scientific thinkers who write well. The purpose of this course is to familiarize the student with some of the chief names in the history of English science and to introduce him to some of the ideas which have been potent factors in the intellectual progress of the world.

Reading:Newton; White; Wilson; Darwin; Wallace; Ruskin; Tyndall; Spencer; Galton; Huxley; Buckland; Lubbock; Myers.

98. English Historical Writers

The student who is interested in the history of England or in general historical writing will find this course particularly adapted to his tastes. After studying the accounts of the great Elizabethan voyagers, he will proceed to a survey of classical history in the works of Gibbon and Grote, and will then undertake a more extensive study of some of the greatest names among modern historical writers.

Reading:Hakluyt; Holinshed; Raleigh; Gibbon; Hallam; Grote; Carlyle; Macaulay; Kinglake; Gladstone; Froude; Buckle; Maine; Freeman; Smith; Stubbs; McCarthy; Green; Bryce; Lecky; Mahaffy; Symonds; Lockhart; Maurice; Bright; Ritchie; Moore; George.

99. English Philosophers

English prose has always had a liking for philosophy and some of its masters have been among the great thinkers of modern Europe. This course introduces the student to the foremost of English philosophical writers, but omits those whose interests are chiefly theological or controversial. The reading here required should be supplemented by corresponding courses in American, French, and German philosophy.

Reading:Taylor; Locke; Hume; Smith; Mill; Robertson; Spencer; Martineau; Carlyle.

100. The Beginnings of the English Novel

Though the writing of fiction did not definitely assume the form of the novel until the time of Richardson, there are several writers whose work approximates this method of writing and who are important as preparing the way for the future development of the art of writing fiction.

Reading:More; Sidney; Bunyan; Defoe; Swift.

101. The English Novel in the Eighteenth Century

The chief prose form in which the English writers of the eighteenth century excelled was the novel. In this course the student becomes acquainted with the distinctive characteristics of this work and with the personalities of the most important writers. A knowledge of the eighteenth-century novel is essential to an intelligent appreciation of the fiction of the Victorian Era.

Reading:Richardson; Fielding; Sterne; Smollett; Goldsmith.

102. The English Novel in the Nineteenth Century

This course continues the study of the development of the English novel after the eighteenth century. Most of the characteristics and tendencies of contemporary life are reflected in the fiction of the Victorian Era. A large amount of reading is required in this course.

Reading:Burney; Beckford; Austen; Morier; Peacock; Mitford; Hook; Marryat; Jerrold; Griffin; Bulwer-Lytton; Borrow; Beaconsfield; Ainsworth; Fitzgerald; Gaskell; Thackeray; Dickens; Reade; Trollope; Brontë; Eliot; Hughes; Collins; MacDonald; Blackmore; Palgrave; Craik; Oliphant.

103. The English Novel in the Early Twentieth Century

This course is similar in method and aim to that on the English novel in the nineteenth century. The student is required to study carefully the article, ‘Fiction in the Early Twentieth Century’ and the lecture on ‘Early Twentieth-Century Fiction’ and to do the following extensive reading in the authors of the period.

Reading:Meredith; Carroll; du Maurier; Shorthouse; Braddon; Pater; De Morgan; Hardy; Ouida; Black; Russell; Norris; Ward; Caine; Conrad; Gissing; Maartens; Doyle; Woods; Barrie; Quiller-Couch; Kipling; Wells; Bennett; Galsworthy.

104. Modern English Poetry

This course is a continuation of those on Victorian poetry. The student should read carefully the article on ‘Poetry of the Early Twentieth Century’ and study the lecture on ‘Early Twentieth-Century Poetry.’

Reading:Bridges; Watson; Robinson; Thompson; Kipling; Chesterton; Masefield; Gibson; Noyes.

105. Modern English Drama

This course continues the readings in the Restoration Drama and introduces the student to some of the leading figures in the English drama of the nineteenth century and the present day.

Reading:Taylor; Wilde; Shaw; Phillips.

106. English Literary Criticism

One of the chief divisions of English prose consists of criticism. Even the poets have used verse to express their theories of literature. The reader will begin with early examples of English literary criticism and follow its historical development down to the present day. Many of the ideas that will be considered apply as much to any other literature as they do to English, and one of the student’s aims should be to organize his ideas on literature in general, while at the same time acquiring a knowledge of the outlines of English literary criticism.

Reading:Pope; Arnold; Pater; Carlyle; Balfour; Harrison; Birrell; Bagehot; Dowden; Green.

107. Modern Realistic Fiction in English

This course emphasizes one phase of the history and technique of the novel. The student may pursue this study and reading independently or in conjunction with other related courses on the history of fiction.

Reading:Eliot; Hardy; Ward; Howells; Meredith; Tolstoy; Zola; Frenssen; Barrie; Fogazzaro.

108. The Short Story in England and America

This course is planned to give the student a general idea of the course of historical and technical development through which the short story has passed. It provides a sound and broad basis for the judgment and appreciation of the modern magazine short story, and is an essential part of the equipment of anyone who intends to write this form of fiction.

Reading:Dickens; Bret Harte; Henry James; Page; Cable; Stockton; Freeman; Hardy; Doyle; Stevenson; Kipling; Irving; Hawthorne; Cooper; Poe.

109. Celtic Literature

The literature of the Celts has in it much to interest the modern reader. Those who are interested in the remote, in folk-lore and legend, will find it a fascinating study. Much of modern literature has been a direct outgrowth from this earlier writing. In order to obtain perspective as well as detail the student will read the following:

Reading:Myths and Folk-lore of the Aryan Peoples; Celtic Literature; The Mabinogion; Ossian and Ossianic Poetry; The Irish Literary Renascence.

110. The Poets of Scotland

The land of Scott and Burns has been prolific in writers of all sorts. This course will give the student a survey of Scotch poetry from mediæval times down to the notable poets of recent years. As an introduction the student will read the exposition of Scottish literature by the British authorities, William Sharp and Ernest Rhys and will then proceed to a more detailed consideration of individual writers.

Reading:Dunbar; R. Ayton; Ramsay; Burns; Baillie; Lady Nairne; Hogg; Motherwell; W. E. Aytoun; Thomson.

111. The Prose Writers of Scotland

Scotland numbers among its writers some of the foremost writers of prose and some keen critics and philosophical writers of prose who are of interest to a modern reader. The student will first consider the early Celtic literature of Scotland as a background, and will then study the lives and writings of more modern authors.

Reading:Scott; Carlyle; Ferrier; Wilson; Brown; Macleod; Cupples; Watson; Drummond; Crockett; Barrie.

112. An Introduction to Irish Prose Literature

The contribution of the Irish to English literature, though not as extensive as that of the Scotch, is nevertheless of interest and importance from the point of view of both student and general reader. This course gives a general view of the more important names in Irish prose literature.

Reading:Grattan; Edgeworth; Croly; J. & M. Banim; Lever; Tyndall; Moore; Synge.

113. An Introduction to Irish Poetry

The Irish have always been an imaginative and humorous people. These two characteristics are well illustrated in their poetry, to which the student is introduced in this course. After a study of the writings of the earlier poets he will bring his survey down to the present by a consideration of the recent Irish literary renascence and Yeats, one of its chief exponents.

Reading:Moore; Maginn; Lover; Mangan; Mahony (Father Prout); Allingham; O’Brien; O’Reilly; Barlow; Yeats.

114. The Irish Literary Renascence

One of the most significant and interesting of modern literary phenomena is the revival of writing in Ireland. The romance, the dramatic inspiration, and the poetry produced by this movement are all worthy of the study of the modern reader not only for their historic interest but because of their intrinsic value as a revelation of the spirit of a race.

Reading:The Irish Literary Renascence; Yeats; Synge.