English Medieval Literature


Days of great glory in the kingdom of earth are gone forever; kings and kaisers and gold-giving lords are no longer as they were when they wrought deeds of greatest glory and lived in the most lordly splendour; this host has perished, joys have passed away, weaklings thrive and hold sway in the world ... --The Seafarer (K. Crossley-Holland)

This course offers a selective survey of Medieval English Literature from a variety of texts and genres. We’ll begin with a brief survey of the essential themes in Old English Literature, especially secular heroism, and then move to the Middle English period for the rest of the term. There you’ll meet your questing knights and damsels in distress. We’ll also study something of the literature of the lower classes, who delight in the parody of courtly rituals.




Weekly Lecture Outlines:

1.Anglo-Saxon England

2. Bede & Caedmon's Hymn

3.Old English Heroic Poems

4. Elegies and Appropriation

5. Old English Christian Poems

6. Most Eager for Fame: Beowulf

7. Conquest and Courtesy: 1066

8. Middle English Lit. and Lang.

9. Middle English Lyrics: Spring

10. Middle English Lyrics: Love

11. Gawain and the Green Knight

12. Chaucer, General Prologue

13. Chaucer, The Miller's Tale