Mesa Grande Academy

English 12

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Welcome to the wonderful world of British Literature.  You will be traveling to the United Kingdom via a time capsule that will take you back to the Medieval Period.  At first you'll arrive in a miry bog and come face to face with the hideous monster Grendel, but  fear not…Beowulf the Mighty will protect you. Then in the 1300's you will meet Geoffrey Chaucer who will introduce you to a medieval friar, a nun, a miller and even a Knight in Shining Armour!  You will learn, through their own words, how they viewed life.  Fascinating!  An old Seafarer will tell you of medieval life on the sea.  You will witness the ravages of the Black Plague, which reduced England's population by half. 

Then we'll move on to the Renaissance when DaVinci and Michelangelo were painting, Elizabeth was in her "golden reign," and Shakespeare was creating words…literally. (William Shakespeare made up approximately 1,700 of the words we use today!  Those words that were so new and inventive then, such as "magnificent," "lonely," "fixture," "torture," etc., are common to us today.) 

From the Renaissance we progress to the restless sixteen and seventeen hundreds when men wrote passionately of rights, of faith, and of doubts.  This period culminated in the wars for independence, our own in 1776 and that of France in 1789.  The rest of the world took note of these rebellious ideas either in fear or in admiration.

Next we will cross a literary bridge from the late 1700's to the early 1800's called the Romantic Period.  Who would not be improved by an encounter with Burns, Blake, Shelley, Wordsworth, Austin, Byron and Keats??! 

You will be there when Queen Victoria takes the throne in 1837 to meet the great writers of the Victorian Era including Charles Dickens, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Robert Browning, the Bronte sisters and Rudyard Kipling. 

We will end our voyage by taking a brief look at some of the key British authors of the 1900's. 

In order to cover 700 years in such a short time we will only be able to look at the highlights.  If you discover a period or an author that delights you, remember it for your future reading pleasure. 

Now, for a sneak preview of second semester:  Once we return to the 2000's, during second semester, our task becomes more contemporary.  To help you progress in today's world you will be learning to address yourself to an audience.  Those of you, who have phonophobia, don't panic!  You won't be expected to give the State of the Union Address quite yet!  We will be doing a few simple presentations in our class, however, more on that second semester!