||Conversation in Western culture is built on stories. Everybody knows the stories even though the stories are very old, or rather everybody knows them because they are very old stories. This course introduces students to central thematic and cultural ideas in the major writers of the early modern period, Chaucer and Shakespeare. Read closely by the major writers of later periods, these works are the foundation of modern English literature and western thought. They also provide essential background knowledge for any graduate study of western culture in general.