Faculty Examiners

Bernadette Andrea, Patricia Fumerton, Andrew Griffin, Ken Hiltner, James Kearney

Notes and Resources

It is assumed that students taking the first qualifying examination in the Renaissance will be familiar not only with the following primary texts but also with the principal critical and interpretive issues concerning these texts and the period at large. Students are thus encouraged to read widely in the relevant secondary literature. Selections marked by an asterisk (*) can be found in the seventh edition of the Norton Anthology of English Literature (Volume 1). Those marked with a cross (+) are digitized and available online, consult with the Staff Graduate Adviser.  Questions concerning this list may be directed to any of the faculty members who work in the area.

Reading List

Sir Thomas More, Utopia

Other writers of the early sixteenth century

  • John Skelton*
  • Sir Thomas Wyatt the Elder*
  • Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey*

George Gascoigne

  • The Adventures of Master F.J. +
  • Selected poems*

Other early Elizabethan writing

  • A Mirror for Magistrates , 1559 prefaces and tragedies of Tresilian, Mortimer, Gloucester, Mowbray, and Richard II+
  • Arthur Golding, Preface to Ovid’s Metamophoses+
  • Isabella Whitney, “Will and Testament”+
  • Queen Elizabeth I*

Sir Philip Sidney

  • The Old Arcadia
  • An Apology for Poetry
  • Selected poems*

Edmund Spenser

  • The Shepheardes Calender, all prefatory material and January, April, and October eclogues
  • The Faerie Queene, Books I, II, and III, Book VI, cantos 9-12, the “Mutabilitie Cantos,” and the letter to Raleigh
  • Selections from Amoretti*

Thomas Nashe, The Unfortunate Traveler

Other Elizabethan poets

  • Robert Southwell*
  • Mary ( Sidney) Herbert*
  • Samuel Daniel*
  • Michael Drayton*
  • Thomas Campion*

Christopher Marlowe

  • The Jew of Malta
  • Doctor Faustus
  • “Hero and Leander” and “The Passionate Shepherd to his Love”

William Shakespeare

  • At least eight plays, including A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Merchant of Venice, 1 Henry IV, Hamlet, King Lear, Antony and Cleopatra, and The Tempest
  • Selected poems*

Ben Johnson

  • Volpone
  • Bartholomew Fair
  • Selected poems
  • Masques: Masque of Blackness*, Pleasure Reconciled to Virtue+, and Oberon*+

Other Renaissance drama

  • Nicholas Udall, Ralph Roister Doister+
  • Thomas Norton and Thomas Sackville, Gorboduc+
  • Thomas Kyd, The Spanish Tragedy
  • Anonymous, Arden of Faversham
  • Thomas Dekker, The Shoemaker’s Holiday
  • John Webster, The Duchess of Malfi
  • Elizabeth Cary, The Tragedy of Miriam
  • Thomas Middleton and Thomas Dekker, The Roaring Girl+
  • Philip Massinger, The Renedago
  • John Donne*
  • George Herbert*
  • Henry Vaughan*
  • Richard Crashaw*
  • Robert Herrick*
  • Andrew Marvell*

John Milton

  • Comus
  • Paradise Lost
  • Selected poetry and prose*

Other seventeenth-century poets

  • Thomas Carew*
  • Richard Lovelace*
  • Katharine Philips*

Mary Wroth

  • Pamphilia to Amphilanthus
  • Book 1 of Urania*

Aemilia Lanyer, Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum (including the dedicatory poems and “The Description of Cooke-ham”)

Francis Bacon

  • New Atlantis
  • Selected prose works*

Other seventeenth-century writers

  • King James I, “To My Dearest Sonne and Natural Successor,” “To the Reader Reader,” and Book I of Basilikon Doran+
  • Joseph Swetnam*
  • Rachel Speght*
  • Margaret Cavendish*
  • Lucy Hutchinson*
  • Thomas Hobbes*

Renaissance Literature Reading List Supplementary Readings

  • Nicholas Udall, Ralph Roister Doister (written c. 1553)
  • A Mirror for Magistrates, 1559 and subsequent prefaces and tragedies of Tresilian, Mortimer, Gloucester, Mowbray, and Richard II
  • Thomas Norton and Thomas Sackville, Gorboduc (1561)
  • George Gascoigne, the Adventures of Master F.J. (1573)
  • Arthur Golding, Preface to Ovid’s Metamorphoses (1567)
  • Isabella Whitney, “Will and Testament” (1573)
  • King James, “To My Dearest Sonne and Natural Successor,” “To the Reader Reader,” and Book I of Basilikon Doran (1599)
  • Ben Jonson, Masque of Blackness (1605)
  • Ben Jonson, Oberon (1616)
  • Ben Jonson, Pleasure Reconciled to Virtue (1618)

Revised 6/12