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14 votes
ALISON Free English & Literature Course Type: diploma Free to Access Mime Type - Scorm 1.2

The Diploma in English Language and Literature gives you the opportunity to gain comprehensive knowledge and understanding of important aspects of English language and literature. It is ideal for people who have always wanted to study English language and literature in greater detail, as well as learners who are studying English as a second language.<br /><br />The English language modules cover the fundamentals of grammar, effective speaking, and writing skills.<br /><br />The English literature modules analyze literature with an emphasis on renowned authors and poets, such as Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Arthur Miller and William Shakespeare.<br /><br />A qualification in this free online diploma course is the ideal way of demonstrating your proficiency in the English language.<br />

Starts : 2003-02-01
11 votes
MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) Free English & Literature Literature MIT OpenCourseWare Undergraduate

When John Locke declared (in the 1690 Essay Concerning Human Understanding) that knowledge was derived solely from experience, he raised the possibility that human understanding and identity were not the products of God's will or of immutable laws of nature so much as of one's personal history and background. If on the one hand Locke's theory led some to pronounce that individuals could determine the course of their own lives, however, the idea that we are the products of our experience just as readily supported the conviction that we are nothing more than machines acting out lives whose destinies we do not control. This course will track the formulation of that problem, and a variety of responses to it, in the literature of the "long eighteenth century." Readings will range widely across genre, from lyric poetry and the novel to diary entries, philosophical prose, and political essays, including texts by Alexander Pope, Jonathan Swift, Mary Astell, David Hume, Laurence Sterne, Olaudah Equiano, Mary Hays, and Mary Shelley. Topics to be discussed include the construction of gender identities; the individual in society; imagination and the poet's work. There will be two essays, one 5-6 pages and one 8-10 pages in length, and required presentations.

Starts : 2002-02-01
9 votes
MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) Free English & Literature Literature MIT OpenCourseWare Undergraduate

This subject offers a broad survey of texts (both literary and philosophical) drawn from the Western tradition and selected to trace the growth of ideas about nature and the natural environment of mankind. The term nature in this context has to do with the varying ways in which the physical world has been conceived as the habitation of mankind, a source of imperatives for the collective organization and conduct of human life. In this sense, nature is less the object of complex scientific investigation than the object of individual experience and direct observation. Using the term "nature" in this sense, we can say that modern reference to "the environment" owes much to three ideas about the relation of mankind to nature. In the first of these, which harks back to ancient medical theories and notions about weather, geographical nature was seen as a neutral agency affecting or transforming agent of mankind's character and institutions. In the second, which derives from religious and classical sources in the Western tradition, the earth was designed as a fit environment for mankind or, at the least, as adequately suited for its abode, and civic or political life was taken to be consonant with the natural world. In the third, which also makes its appearance in the ancient world but becomes important only much later, nature and mankind are regarded as antagonists, and one must conquer the other or be subjugated by it.

5 votes
Saylor.org Free Closed [?] English & Literature English Literature

Effective writing skills are important for you to succeed in your studies at the collegiate level, as well as for your future career. This course is designed to improve your writing ability, which is necessary for entrance into English Composition 1, as well as for your ongoing success in other academic subjects. Pre-College English coursework focuses on active reading and analytic writing, with emphasis on organization, unity, coherence, and adequate development; an introduction to the expository essay; and a review of the rules and conventions of standard written English. In Unit 1, you will learn the basics of active reading and how active reading is paramount in your success as a student and beyond. You will also learn how to identify the main idea in a piece of literature, and how to create a topic sentence that conveys the main idea in your own writing. You will discover the benefits of prewriting, and will learn prewriting techniques that can be used at the onset of any writing project. In Unit 2, you…

8 votes
Saylor.org Free Closed [?] English & Literature Education English English Composition English Language English Literature Humanities

No matter what career you pursue, you must be able to communicate effectively and clearly if you want to be successful.  This course will enhance your ability to do so by sharpening your critical thinking and writing skills.  We will begin with a unit designed to change the way in which you think about writing.  First, you will learn to think of writing not as a solitary act but as a conversation between yourself and an audience.  In this light, writing becomes a dynamic, interactive, and creative rather than a rote practice.  You will also begin to value writing as a process an admittedly difficult one  rather than a product.  You will come to see that writing is an act of discovery rather than a recitation of prefabricated ideas. Because this course is designed specifically for students in a university setting, the second unit will focus on academic writing.  We will learn how to respond to an assignment or test question by using the “PWR-Writing” or “Power-Writing” Method (PWR: Pre-write…

3 votes
Saylor.org Free Closed [?] English & Literature College Writing Education English English Composition English Language English Literature

The ability to research topics and incorporate information from your sources into your work is an important skill both in college and on the job.  This course will reinforce the concepts you practiced in English Composition I by introducing you to basic research concepts and techniques.  It will also give you a chance to put these new concepts and techniques to work as you develop a final research paper.  We will begin by looking at how to build research into an effective writing process.  First, you will learn to think of researching not as a requirement for getting a good grade on a paper but as a valuable tool that can make your writing more powerful and convincing.  You will learn how to build research into your writing process so that you can add persuasive power to your finished work.  Through rigorous practice of the fundamental techniques, you will come to see that, like writing itself, research is an act of discovery rather than a search for prefabricated ideas. The intent of this course is t…

4 votes
Saylor.org Free Closed [?] English & Literature English Literature

This course will introduce you to the history and practice of English as a scholarly discipline with the goal of preparing you for your future endeavors as an English major. It has been designed to familiarize you with the various tools that scholars have devised in order to facilitate the study of literary expression in English, from critical frameworks to close reading techniques. After an introductory unit outlining basic approaches to literary analysis, we will embark upon a genre study, devoting each of the four remaining units to a different genre of writing: poetry, the novel, drama, the rhetorical essay, and the critical essay. In each of these units, we will review a general history of the genre, read a representative sample or set of samples, learn genre-specific critical terms and theories, and apply what you have learned to essays of your own. By the end of this course, you will have developed strategies that will enable you to understand, analyze, and critically respond to works in any genre at a…

6 votes
Saylor.org Free Closed [?] English & Literature English Literature

The medieval period, or the Middle Ages, spans about a thousand years between the fall of the Roman Empire, which occurred around 500 CE, and the beginning of the European Renaissance, which was a bit later in England around 1500 CE. The idea of a period called the Middle Ages was a product of later thinkers who contrasted the explosive creativity and cultural transformation of the Renaissance with the seemingly subdued work of earlier centuries. Many saw this earlier period as less intellectually and culturally valuable. It is worth noting that contemporary historians often refer to the Renaissance as the Early Modern. The ideas, values, and tastes of this period are more in alignment with our own, and it is easy to appreciate and identify with them more than with those of earlier times. Nonetheless, the Middle Ages produced artistic works that not only reveal the culture and thought of that age, but also link strongly with artistic representations from later ages, including our own. Many fundamental ideas…

2 votes
Saylor.org Free Closed [?] English & Literature English Literature

At the outset of the 16th century, Europeans tended to dismiss English literature as inferior to continental literary traditions; the educated Englishman was obliged to travel to the continent and speak in other languages in order to “culture” himself.  By the end of the Renaissance, however, some of the greatest works in the English languagefrom Shakespeare’s dramas to Thomas More’s Utopiahad been written.  In this course, we will read and examine these works, situating them within their socio-historical and literary contexts, while attempting to determine how the art of English language and letters came into its own during this dynamic period. We will begin with an overview of European history during the centuries leading up to the Renaissance in order to acquaint ourselves with the profound cultural and social changes brought about by the Italian Renaissance, the Protestant Reformation, nationalism/colonialism, and the growing power of the middle class.  We will then embark upon a genre study,…

5 votes
Saylor.org Free Closed [?] English & Literature English Literature

Scholars tend to label the period between the Renaissance and the modern era as the long 18th and 19th centuries, meaning that they span from around 1680 - 1830 and 1775 - 1910, respectively, and that so many literary movements and cultural changes took place during these interim years that a narrower title is difficult to come by. In this course, we will examine these formative cultural and literary developments chronologically, dividing the course into four roughly sequential periods: The Enlightenment and Restoration Literature; The Rise of the Novel; Romanticism; and the Victorian Period. We will identify and contextualize the principal characteristics of each of these movements/periods, reading representative texts and examining their relationship to those texts that preceded or were contemporaneous with them. As such, this course foregrounds the movement, the changes, and the continuities from the neoclassicism of authors such as John Dryden and Alexander Pope through the emergence of the novel in th…

5 votes
Saylor.org Free Closed [?] English & Literature English Literature

From Friedrich Nietzsche’s shocking pronouncement in the late 1800s that “God is dead” and that “we have killed him” to Vladimir Nabokov’s convention-challenging fiction, the Modern periodspanning roughly the end of the 19th century to the presentoffered a range of provocative and often cynical cultural and literary productions.  In this course, we will work to develop a more nuanced understanding of the scope of cultural and literary expression in the late 19th and the first half of the 20th centuries and a working definition of what the vacuous-sounding term “modernism” might mean.  We will attend to broad socio-historical happenings, from the birth of modernism in the late 19th century to the radical violence of the World Wars and the tragedy of the Holocaust and arrive at the post-modern moment, our post-colonial and technologically and economically globalized village.  While offering this historical context, the course focuses on the cultural and literary movements from the “art for…

3 votes
Saylor.org Free Closed [?] English & Literature English Literature

This course will introduce you to the field of literary theory, a central component of contemporary studies in English and world literature. As you progress through this course, you will gain knowledge of the various premises and methods available to you as a critical reader of literature. You will identify and engage with key questions that have animated - and continue to animate - theoretical discussions among literary scholars and critics, including issues pertaining to ideology, cultural value, the patriarchal and colonial biases of Western culture and literature, and more. The structure of this course is historically based, arranged as a genealogy of theoretical paradigms, beginning in the early 20th century - when literary theory first developed as a formal discipline - and following the evolution of literary theory into the present day. From text-centric Russian formalism to contemporary gynocriticism and trauma theory, you will explore the basic principles and preeminent texts that have defined many o…

2 votes
Saylor.org Free Closed [?] English & Literature English Literature

Many consider William Shakespeare the greatest dramatisteven the greatest writerof all time.  His impact on Western culture and language is unmistakable, but his works have also been continuously read and performed around the world, illustrating his global significance.  Over the course of this semester, we will attempt to determine why his works have become so widely revered, or why they seem, to quote Ben Jonson, “not for an age, but for all time.” We will begin by familiarizing ourselves with Elizabethan theatre, language, and culturethe world in which Shakespeare lived and breathed.  We will then conduct close readings of a number of Shakespeare’s most acclaimed plays, progressing through his dramatic works by categorizing them in three groups: comedies, tragedies, and histories.  Finally, we will turn to some of his poetry, which Shakespeare (perhaps surprisingly) considered superior to his plays.  By the end of this course, you will have developed a strong understanding of Shakespeare’s w…

4 votes
Saylor.org Free Closed [?] English & Literature English Literature

In this course, we will study the poetry of John Milton, focusing not only on the texts themselves, but also on the various contexts that are relevant to Milton’s oeuvre, from the tumultuous political and religious period in which Milton lived to the literary network with which his texts interact. We will also take a close look at the man behind Paradise Lost, a man who brazenly announced, relatively early in his poetic career, that he would pen a great epic in the classical tradition. Who was John Milton, and how did he manage to accomplish this goal? Though Milton has gone in and out of literary favor since his death in 1674 (Romantic poets greatly valued his formal techniques as well as his figuration of Hell, while Modernists like T.S. Eliot scowled at his bookish, Puritan austerity), there is no question that Milton’s works shaped the face and the future of English poetry, as well as contemporary books, film, and culture. By the end of this course, you will possess a comprehensive understanding of Mi…

3 votes
Saylor.org Free Closed [?] English & Literature English Literature

What makes a novel “Gothic”?  Scholars have debated this question for decades: some consider “the Gothic” a literary time period, spanning from the 1760s to 1820; others view it as a set of thematic concerns; still others understand it as a literary mode, in which contemporary authors like Stephen King continue to write.  In this course, you will explore these and other definitions as you read a number of novels (and have the option to screen a film), attempting to define for yourself the term “Gothic.”  You will supplement your studies with critical literature on the Gothic novel and literary mode, critiquing and adapting the approaches and theories as you see fit. You will begin the course with an overview of approaches to the literary Gothic and an outline of its stereotypical characteristics and elements.  You will then progress through the course by examining Gothic novels (and an optional film) in three thematic categories (which, as you will see, often overlap): Gothic Spaces, the Monst…

2 votes
Saylor.org Free Closed [?] English & Literature English Literature

The Romantic Period in England spans the decades of the 1780’s through the 1830’s. It was the age of revolutions - a span of time that saw not only the rapid industrialization of Europe but two significant national revolutions - one in France and one in America. This revolutionary spirit in many ways fed and sustained the Romantic Movement in English literature; its chief practitioners believed that poetry could literally transform the world and the way in which we understand it. In this course, we will examine this revolutionary energy alongside a number of other English Romantic characteristics, including a fascination with nature and the natural world; a desire to boldly experiment, explore, and renew literature; and a focus on the individual’s capacity for imagination and vision. First, we will discuss the broader socio-historical and literary context in which English Romantic poetry thrived. Second, we will examine the three main concerns of English Romantic poets, which have been roughly divided a…

4 votes
Saylor.org Free Closed [?] English & Literature English Literature

As most famously defined by F. O. Matthiessen in his groundbreaking book, The American Renaissance: Art and Expression in the Age of Emerson and Whitman (1941), the “American Renaissance” demarcates a period of tremendous literary activity between the 1830s and 1860s that marked the cultivation, for the first time, of a distinctively American literature.  For Matthiessen and many other critics, its key figuresRalph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Walt Whitman, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Herman Melvillesought to define and explore the new American identity, carving out new modes of expression and self-identification.  In the years since Matthiessen’s important work and especially in the past several decades, this characterization of the literary period has been challenged on several fronts, for overstating the innovations of these few authors, for the exclusion of women, African-American, and more popular authors from its account of the United States during a period of social and cultural upheaval an…

4 votes
Saylor.org Free Closed [?] English & Literature English Literature

Many consider James Joyce the most influential author of the 20th century.  His innovations in narrative strategy in particular continue to shape and inspire literature today.  In this course, we will examine Joyce’s aesthetic and artistic sensibilities through close readings of the major works in his oeuvre, placing special emphasis on Ulysses, whose expansive length and nearly infinite depths has sustained scholarship for decades. Before we embark upon our journey through Joyce’s canon, we will take a look at the life and times of James Joyce, situating the literary giant within a number of contexts: the fight for Irish home rule, Modernism, the World Wars, and the Irish Literary Revival.  We will then progress through his works chronologically, by date of publication: from the sober, artful short fiction of the Dubliners to the avant-garde wordplay of Finnegans Wake.  By the end of this course, you will not only have read and thought critically about a number of the most celebrated works of the l…

3 votes
Saylor.org Free Closed [?] English & Literature English Literature

Scholarship on medieval women writers is a somewhat recent phenomenon, in part because we know relatively little about men of the Middle Agesand what we know about women from the period is even more limited.  In this course, we will engage this new frontier in literary studies by examining the writings of a diverse group of medieval womenfrom reclusive anchoresses to aristocratic women of the courtand analyzing the perceptions of reality, both secular and religious, that they present.  We will also read and respond to a number of critical essays concerning medieval women and the various debates that have emerged in the study of their works. We will begin the course with a unit on context, acquainting ourselves with the major socio-historical developments that shaped the period as well as the little that is known about medieval women and their roles in society.  We will then take a look at some major feminist and gender/sex-related approaches to literature, making their various methods and beliefs availab…

4 votes
Saylor.org Free Closed [?] English & Literature English Literature

The decades between roughly 1890 and 1960 witnessed unprecedented efforts to create new art, new values, and a new culture in Europe and the United States to distance itself from the more socially acceptable works of late Victorian poets and artists. During this time, Western writers, artists, and intellectuals questioned the accepted aesthetic norms and produced radically experimental works of art and new understandings of what it means to live in modern times. The first half of the 20th century also witnessed the most devastating conflicts in Western history the two World Wars and the Holocaust and these events accelerated and profoundly influenced cultural changes. Modernist poetry one of the most interesting cultural developments emerged during this time. While it is true that modernist poetic developments sprang up in unlikely and seemingly spontaneous ways, we will attempt to progress through this course in a roughly chronological manner. This is because, in many ways, even modern poetry retains a…

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