English 3800 Medieval British Literature
Section 001 CRN 90805
Medieval British Literature 1200-1250 MWF
This course provides a sound and wide-ranging survey of Early English literature from the Old English period to the late Middle Ages. Our study begins with representative texts (in translation) from the Anglo-Saxon period (Wanderer, Seafarer, Dream of the Rood, and Beowulf) and continues through the delightful lyrics, the sublime works of the Pearl Poet (Gawain and the Green Knight and Pearl) and some interesting drama, to conclude with a substantial section on Arthurian literature (Malory's Morte Darthur in particular). This final segment focuses on some of the most influential works of the period with its emphasis on the concepts of chivalry. Because the culture, the philosophy, and the language (Middle English, though we will read the more difficult works in modern English translations) are some distance from those of the students, the course is a challenge, a real test of the intellect. Students will take from the course a firm knowledge of the early stages of the language and of the seminal texts of the period. They will find the works frequently engaging, if not compelling.
Written requirements: 3 papers (approximately 5 pages each), a midterm and a final, and occasional quizzes. (Group 3A)