This course explores the “age” in which the legends of Arthur—and a good many other legends—came into being. In other words, this course is an introduction to medieval literature and the contexts in which that literature was produced. We will read from a variety of medieval genres, including the rules of love and the myriad ways in which those rules are broken. We will also read medieval spiritual works and a number of irreverent and shocking tales. Our major goal is to gather many stories from the Middle Ages and then to piece together an initial understanding of the historical period and culture.
As an introduction to the literature of the Middle Ages set against the backdrop of medieval culture, this course is designed to present a selection of accessible and representative texts from the Middle Ages as well as to offer an introductory window on the Middle Ages to non-literature majors. This is not a comprehensive study in medieval literature, but will hopefully lead to further interest. Students will gain skills in attentive analytical reading and in writing about this literature. Most texts will be read in translation, but a few short works will be presented in Middle English, allowing students to glimpse the beginnings of modern English. Together we will cultivate an appreciation of a culture that is markedly different from ours in some ways, and that in other ways
Arts & Letters (A&L) courses create meaningful opportunities for students to engage actively in the modes of inquiry that define a discipline. Courses are broad in scope and demonstrably liberal in nature (that is, courses that promote open inquiry from a variety of perspectives). Though some courses may focus on specialized subjects or approaches, there will be a substantial course content locating that subject in the broader context of the major issues of the discipline. Qualifying courses will not focus on teaching basic skills but will require the application or engagement of those skills through analysis and interpretation.
Lower-division Elective courses allow students to choose (or “elect”) courses or faculty specific to their own developing interests, enabling them thereby to shape their own educational experience. Major II students can also use one lower-division elective to fulfill the Writing Requirement with ENG 209 The Craft of the Sentence.
English Minor courses offer students centuries of cultural experience and representation in poetry, prose, drama, film, TV, new media, and folk artifacts. The English minor can focus and extend the values of a liberal arts education, while also providing extensive training in writing, speaking, and critical thinking.
Lower-division Elective courses allow students to choose (or “elect”) courses or faculty specific to their own developing interests, enabling them thereby to shape their own educational experience.