Course Description

This high school course explores the rich tradition of British literature, focusing on key works from the Anglo-Saxon period through the modern era. Students will study influential authors such as Chaucer, Shakespeare, Austen, and Orwell, examining their texts’ themes, cultural contexts, and literary techniques. The course emphasizes rhetoric and critical analysis, teaching students how to dissect texts, identify persuasive elements, and craft compelling arguments.

Through a combination of reading, writing, and discussion, students will develop a deep understanding of British literary history and its enduring impact. They will engage in class debates, write analytical essays, and complete creative projects that encourage them to apply rhetorical techniques. This course is ideal for students who enjoy literature, wish to improve their writing and analytical skills, and seek to explore the broader connections between British literature and contemporary thought.

Course Details

British Literature

Tenth Grade

Course Objectives

  • Develop a comprehensive understanding of British literary history.
  • Analyze major works from various literary periods.
  • Explore the use of rhetoric in British literature and its application in modern contexts.
  • Improve skills in literary analysis, critical thinking, and written and oral communication.
  • Engage in class debates and collaborative projects to enhance understanding of literary themes.

Course Outline

Unit 1: Introduction to British Literature and Rhetoric

  • Overview of British Literary History
    • Major literary periods from Anglo-Saxon to modern times.
    • Introduction to key themes and authors.
  • Fundamentals of Rhetoric and Literary Analysis
    • Understanding rhetoric: ethos, pathos, logos.
    • Techniques for analyzing literary texts.

Unit 2: Early British Literature

  • The Anglo-Saxon Period
    • Exploration of “Beowulf” and its significance.
    • Analysis of early British themes and storytelling styles.
  • The Middle Ages
    • Study of Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales.”
    • Discussion of medieval society and its reflection in literature.
  • Early Modern English Literature
    • Examination of Shakespeare’s works (plays and sonnets).
    • Thematic analysis and rhetorical techniques in Shakespeare.

Unit 3: The Renaissance to the Romantic Period

  • The English Renaissance
    • Exploration of works by Marlowe and other Renaissance writers.
    • The impact of the Renaissance on English literature.
  • The Age of Enlightenment
    • Overview of major Enlightenment writers (e.g., Swift, Pope).
    • Analysis of satire and rhetoric in Enlightenment literature.
  • The Romantic Period
    • Study of Romantic poets and authors (e.g., Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats).
    • Discussion of the Romantic themes and their connection to the era’s ideals.

Unit 4: Victorian Literature

  • Overview of the Victorian Era
    • The characteristics of Victorian literature.
    • Introduction to major Victorian authors (e.g., Dickens, Brontë, Eliot).
  • The Role of Rhetoric in Victorian Literature
    • Exploration of themes such as social class, morality, and industrialization.
    • Analysis of rhetorical techniques in Victorian works.
  • Victorian Literature and Social Critique
    • Examination of Dickens’ social commentary.
    • Analysis of other Victorian authors who critiqued society.

Unit 5: Modern British Literature

  • The Modernist Period
    • Introduction to Modernist writers (e.g., Woolf, Joyce, Eliot).
    • Exploration of Modernist themes and experimental writing styles.
  • British Literature in the 20th Century
    • Study of significant 20th-century authors (e.g., Orwell, Huxley).
    • Discussion of dystopian and futuristic themes.
  • The Impact of British Literature on Contemporary Thought
    • How British literature has influenced global culture.
    • Connections between British literary themes and modern issues.

Unit 6: Rhetoric, Writing, and Communication

  • Crafting Compelling Arguments
    • Developing persuasive writing and speaking skills.
    • Techniques for effective communication.
  • Class Debates and Collaborative Projects
    • Engaging in class debates on literary and rhetorical themes.
    • Completing group projects to analyze and present on British literature topics.
  • Final Project 
    • Creating a final project that showcases understanding of British literature and rhetoric.

Teaching Methods and Assessment

  • Teaching methods include lectures, class discussions, group projects, debates, and writing assignments.
  • Assessment methods include quizzes, analytical essays, presentations, class participation, and final projects.

Expected Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will have a comprehensive understanding of British literary history and its impact on contemporary thought. They will be skilled in analyzing and interpreting literary texts, using rhetoric to craft persuasive arguments, and presenting their ideas effectively. The course aims to foster a deeper appreciation of British literature and equip students with skills applicable to further studies in literature, writing, and communication.

Coming soon.

Coming soon. 

Dr. Michael Murdock

Michael Murdock holds  a PhD in Modern Chinese history from the University of Michigan. For 30 years he taught history, international relations, and political science courses at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, Bowling Green State, Brigham Young University-Provo, and Brigham Young University-Hawaii. His primary expertise lies in the history and contemporary developments of Asia, but he also enjoys European and North American history and politics. Raised by educator parents, Michael saw examples of exceptional teaching from his youth. He believes that good teaching is an act of Christ-like love. He loves using models and examples from history to explain conditions today.