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EEBO-TCP Based Sample Syllabus

EEBO-TCP Based Sample Syllabus

Now this new World was found, it was not made,
Onely discovered, lying in Time’s shade.
William Newcastle, To the Duchess of Newcastle on Her New Blazing World

Discussion of readings: The readings listed here provide one example of how a course could be constructed with EEBO-TCP documents as integral readings. The instructor can select specific chapters or sections of these texts (or assign the text in its entirety), download the desired material and create an electronic course-pack for students. Students can print out the readings if desired and can easily access these online materials throughout the term. The convenience offered by online accessibility, combined with the easy-to-read quality of the keyed text makes these works useful introductions to primary source materials for undergraduates, and offers the continual ability to compare the keyed text with the original page by clicking the appropriate link.

The following sample syllabus follows a theme of sight as it appears in narratives of discovery in the seventeenth-century. Depending on the secondary sources and the papers assigned this outline could be adapted for a literature or history course, although the sample assignments and exercises listed perhaps lend themselves more readily to literary approaches in their present format. The readings illustrate the range of materials available through EEBO-TCP.


Sample Paper 1

The readings we have done in Unit 1, and those we have started in Unit 2, focus on attempts to describe what the author has “discovered.” These discoveries may take the form of different countries or different people. Choose one such descriptive passage from Avril, Dampier, Haklyut, Raleigh, Castell or Busbecq and analyze the way in which the author approaches his subject. You will need to narrow your selected text from the sections read for class. For instance, you might choose Chapter 4 of Hakluyt’s description of “The Mongals or Tartars” and within that chapter, identify a particularly evocative pasage. Try to locate a moment in the writing that seems to you paradoxical, contradictory, or that raises questions not easily answered. To locate such a moment in the text, you might want to notice if particular words are used frequently or if two words are often used together, for instance. You can make use of EEBO-TCP’s word searching capacity to do this.

Discussion of Paper:This assignment teaches close reading skills to the students. In performing this kind of analysis, they can make use of the unique search features available through TCP to further enhance their consideration of their chosen passages, performing keyword searching and/or proximity searching to identify usage patterns.

Sample Paper 2

The Tempest

Dryden’s version of the play introduces several new characters, and alters existing ones. Choose one of instance of addition or alteration as it appears in one scene. You may select from the examples given below or choose your own examples from the plays. How does the new character change the action? How does the alteration change the scene? How might you account for the differences you find?


Alteration: Dryden has Hippolito say, on page 79, “O brave new World that has such people in’t!” Compare to Shakespeare, who gives Miranda these lines. How does Dryden’s change affect the way we might interpret Hippolito? Miranda?

Concept: How does the concept of “monster” or “monstrous” function in Dryden compared to Shakespeare? Choose one example from Dryden and one from Shakespeare where this concept appears and compare.

Addition: What difference does the addition of Dorinda make for Dryden’s version? How does the presence of a second sister affect the representation of Miranda? Choose one scene in the original and another scene in Dryden where Dorinda’s presence makes a difference. Explain what this difference is and how the additional character’s presence is significant.

EEBO-TCP allows you to search for elements like stage directions or name of speaker through searching by SGML tags. For more information see the search Help menu.

Discussion of assignment: In using EEBO-TCP, students can search within the Dryden play for a particular character or word. They can also search using tags to locate when particular characters speak. Text can be downloaded and annotated by the students, lending itself to easy electronic manipulation for writing exercises and discussion.

Sample Exercise

Unit 2

Choose one of the illustrations from Hariot’s A briefe and true report of the new found land of Virginia. Read the description, then click on “view page image” to see the illustration.

Having done so, list five characteristics found in the illustration: what the illustration is. Next, list what Hariot’s description suggests the image is about. Compare the two lists and try to locate a moment in which your perception/interpretation of what the image is contrasts with, complements, or provides another interesting intersection with what Hariot says the image is about. Write one paragraph discussing this intersection between the two lists. We will devote one class to oral presentations of your findings.

Discussion of exercise: This exercise encourages students to closely read both an image and the related text. To do so they can make use of TCP’s legible text and the “view page” feature allowing them to see the original page and illustration.

Unit 3

Sample Exercise

What role does visibility play in these readings? Choose one text from column A and one from column B and discuss.

Hook Micrographie, “Observ. XVIII, Of the Schematisme or Texture of Cork,and of the Cells and Pores of some other such frothy Bodies.” (p.113) Scot, “This is the way to goe invisible” OR “A knack to know…”
Boyle, “Suspicions About Some Hidden Qualities in the Air” 1-51 OR”Some Additional Experiments Relating to the Suspicions About The Hidden Qualities of the Air,” 1-13. Mather, “Mr. Perkin’s Way for the discovery of witches”
Ross, “The New Planet No Planet,” 1-16 Valentinus, Ch. 6, “The Spirit of Gold,” 94-111.

Each of these texts is interested in proof and evidence; evaluate the passages for the ways in which the authors handle the visible as it pertains to evidence. How important is seeing? What is visibility’s connection to “proof?” To “truth?” What evidence do the authors rely on to convince their readers?

Please download the portion of text you are working with and annotate. Write one paragraph in which you synthesize the annotations, reaching some sort of conclusion about what you have read and compared. Post your annotated text and synthesis paragraph to the course web site. Your responses will inform our class discussion. Write another paragraph in which you reflect on your own choice of evidence. Which sentences or words did you focus on and why? E-mail the reflection paragraph to me.

Discussion of assignment: In using EEBO-TCP, students can search within a text for specific words. The keyed text is easy to read, providing a more accessible introduction to early modern materials for students; at the same time, they can always click on the links to view the original page. Students can easily download and annotate portions of assigned texts (or even the complete work), providing them with personalized access to primary source material, and allowing for inventive uses of this material in teaching. After downloading and annotating, students can easily share their work either in class or outside class through course websites or other online forums established for the course.

Unit 1: Travel, Empire and Nation

Week 1

Week 2

Unit 2: Envisioning New Worlds
Real and imagined encounters with new worlds and people.

Weeks 3-4

Week 5

Week 6Brief and True Reports on Hariot’s Virginia (exercise 1)

Week 7

Weeks 8-9

  • Shakespeare, The Tempest.
  • John Dryden’s 1670 version of The Tempest

Unit 3: Discovering the Supernatural and the Scientific
Seventeenth-century discoveries, descriptions, experiments and suspicions regarding alchemy, witchcraft, and science.

Week 11

Week 12

Week 13


Week 14Discuss Exercise 2; Review for final exam