This course introduces selected works from the Pacific, Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas from their literary beginnings through the seventeenth century. Emphasis is placed on historical background, cultural context, and literary analysis of selected prose, poetry, and drama. Upon completion, students should be able to interpret, analyze, and respond to selected works.


This course is intended to provide an overview of world literature, selecting works from the Pacific, Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas from their literary beginnings through the seventeenth century. Emphasis is placed on historical background, cultural context, and literary analysis of selected prose, poetry, and drama. Upon completion, students should be able to interpret, analyze, and respond to selected works.

Completion of ENGL 111 or consent of instructor.

Maas, David F.

Adjunct Professor in English
Part Time
B.A. (1993), Ambassador University; B.A. (1966), M.A. (1967), Ed. Specialist (1972), Minnesota State University-Mankato; Ed.D. (1977), Texas A&M University-Commerce
Subject Matter: 

Dr. Maas holds an Ed.D. from Texas A&M University at Commerce and is a graduate of Minnesota State University at Mankato, as well as Ambassador University. He taught as a Professor of English at Wiley College from 2001-2013. For six years he served as Vice President for Education for the International Society for General Semantics, and as the Education Editor and regular contributor for the ETC. Journal.

Course Credit: 
Three (3) semester hours
Instructional Objectives: 

As a result of participating in ENGL 261, students will be able:

  1. To develop a broad knowledge of significant works of world literature.
  2. To develop a specific understanding of selected representative works of major authors within the various times and places studied.
  3. To develop a general understanding of historical, philosophical and cultural contexts of the assigned works.
  4. To analyze specific literary texts, presenting thoughtfully developed ideas in writing.
Required Texts: 

I have used online versions of many of the works in the public domain, having embedded questions within the text for class assignments. Also, I have provided links to videos and movies dramatizing many of the works. Although, it is theoretically possible to take this course without having need of a text, I recommend the student purchase the shorter third edition, in paperback. To save money, the student might want to purchase the two-volume set containing the works for both ENGL261 and ENGL262.

  • The Norton Anthology of World Literature, Volume 1, Shorter 3rd ed. Paperback. ISBN: 9780393919608
  • The Norton Anthology of World Literature, Two-Volume Set, Shorter 3rd ed. Paperback [This is the two-volume set which contains the texts for ENGL 261 and ENGL262]. ISBN: 9780393919622
Additional Readings: 

Additional readings will be posted on the website to provide background material for the individual units. Appropriate web links will be designated on the course website, and may also include other secular sources. 

NOTE: Required texts and other outside readings have been chosen because of their "overall" value and relation to the course. Students should keep in mind that these sources are "secular" and although very good in many ways, not all the ideas shared by the authors are biblically accurate or even acceptable in God’s Church. The instructor will attempt to point out major errors, but ultimately the student must "sift" through the material gleaning the wise and godly elements, and dismissing the inappropriate.


Course lectures will take the format of both video and audio. PowerPoint slides will accompany lectures and videos will also periodically be available for download with some lectures. See the course website for details.

Course Calendar: 
Lesson Topics
1 Introduction to the Bible
The Book of Job
2 Ancient Mesopotamian Literature
The Gilgamesh Epic
3 The Homeric Epic
Homer's Odyssey
4 Classical Greece
Sophocles' Oedipus the King
5 Medieval Period I - Alighieri Dante
Dante's Inferno
6 Medieval Period II - Geoffrey Chaucer
Chaucer's Canterbury Tales
7 Elizabethan Literature - William Shakespeare
Shakespeare's Hamlet
Course Requirements: 

1. Submit assignments on or before the date due. No late or make-up assignments will be allowed except for extreme circumstances (permission of instructor is necessary). Students must complete the course by the last official day of instruction as set forth in the academic calendar.

2. Students will be responsible for the assigned readings that correspond with each class lesson. Please read the assigned literary work and any other assigned reading prior to viewing the lectures and completing the unit assignments.

3. Icebreaker. All students are required to post a brief biography to the Icebreaker forum by Sunday of the first week of class. Do not create a new discussion. Please use the following questions to guide your biography: 

a. Your name and the Church area that you attend.
b. How long you have been part of/attending the church.
c. Why you are taking this particular course and what you hope to learn.
d. Whether or not you have taken any other Living University courses.
e. Where you intend to attend the Feast of Tabernacles this year (if you are able to attend).

4. Discussion Forums: Students are expected to participate in class discussions by posting comments on the discussion forum thread provided for each lesson (see the link on the course website). Each lesson there will be one or two questions posted on the webpage that relate to that unit’s lectures and readings. Also, make sure that your comments are more than merely personal opinion. Your comments should be grounded in your readings, lecture notes, and based on scripture. These lesson discussions are very important and are designed to reinforce the course content in a unique way, so it is important to participate in the discussions.

Minimal participation requires one posting per forum question. Students should also take time at the end of each week to read/review comments from their classmates. Re-posts and additional comments or questions are also encouraged. You should comment or reply to at least two other classmates’ comments in order to get full credit for the assignment. Be sure to keep the discussions positive and helpful. Involvement in the discussion forum will add to your overall class experience as you discuss the various topics with your classmates. It will also give you the opportunity to get to know your classmates better.

5. Study Questions: These questions pwill be provided to assess your comprehension of the assigned literature and will serve as homework assignments for each lesson or portion of a lesson. These questions will be used to construct the seven unit tests.

6. Seven Unit Tests will be given throughout the semester. There are seven practice tests which allow for several retakes in preparation for each unit test. All tests will be comprised of multiple choice, matching, and short answer questions. The tests will last approximately 1 to 1 ½ hours. All tests are to be taken CLOSED BOOK and CLOSED NOTES. No proctor is required.

Summary of Course Requirements Point Value   Letter Grade Total Points
Icebreaker 10   A 900 points or above 
Discussion Forum Posts 80   B 800-899 points 
Study Questions 498   C 700-799 points
Unit Tests and Practice Tests 405   D 600-699 points 
Course Evaluation 7   F 599 points or below
Total 1000      

Students With Disabilities
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities have a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. Students having a disability requiring an accommodation should inform the instructor by email (on the “Course Info” page click on the instructor’s name and then select “Send Email”).

Technology Access
This course requires web access and the student has to have an established e-mail account. The Adobe Acrobat Reader is necessary to view documents that are PDF files. One can download the reader free at

Course Evaluation
Student input is welcome for improving this course. Making suggestions by e-mail is helpful. Our goal in this course is to facilitate the successful achievement of all instructional objectives by all students. At the end of the course students have the opportunity of assessing the course. We want to make e-learning courses as effective as we can. We may also ask some other questions concerning a student’s experience in distance learning to help us improve our program. We appreciate students letting us know how we can improve our products and services for them and other distance learners.

Withdrawing From or Dropping This Course
It is the responsibility of a student to drop a course if he or she cannot meet the requirements of the course. Any student who stops attending a course without officially withdrawing from it risks receiving a punitive grade for that course. Withdrawal requests may be conveyed in any manner to the course professor, Registrar, or Vice President of Academic Affairs. This action is sufficient for ensuring any refund owed you. Please note the following: If a student drops a course on or before the “Last day to withdraw from a course without a grade penalty” as published in the University Academic Calendar, even if his or her work is not of a passing grade, then a “W” is recorded. If a course is dropped after that date, but before the last 21 calendar days of the semester, then the instructor determines the grade. The faculty member will at this time record a grade of “W” if passing (not computed in GPA) or “WF” if failing (computed in GPA). Students who drop a course, yet remain in one or more other courses during the last 18 calendar days of the semester, will receive a grade of “WF.” Students who completely withdraw from the University at any time during the semester may be given a grade of “W” on all courses. If students do not initiate the withdrawal process, the instructor is required to initiate the administrative process and to record a grade of “W” or “WF” for the course depending on the date the faculty member drops the student from the course. Students who register for a course as an audit, but then withdraw will be assigned a grade of “W” for the course.