L306 1957 CLOPPER
Middle English Literature

11:15a-12:30p TR (30) 3 cr.

We will read selected texts--in Middle English and translation--from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The course will not attempt to be a survey; rather, we will read a variety of works in the important genres. Texts will range from the rather difficult to the relatively easy. There are texts of great seriousness as well as some medieval pulp fiction (crusader stuff). Readings may include the following: romances (Sir Orfeo, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Malory's Morte D’Arthur); dream vision (Chaucer's Parlement of Foulys, Langland's Piers Plowman, the Pearl); "mystical" texts (The Book of Margery Kempe, the Shewinges of Julian of Norwich); and drama. We will read the texts for enjoyment, but we will also follow their leads to talk about social, political, religious and other interests.

The course will begin with Chaucer's Parlement to familiarize students who have not read Middle English with the language and also to help students who have read some Middle English to recall the language. Chaucer's Middle English is relatively simple; however, many of the texts we will read are in difficult dialects not as directly related to Modern English as Chaucer's language is. Although we will depend upon translation for large sections of these more difficult works, we will spend some time looking at passages in the original. Students who wish to do more extensive work with the language may do so with me outside of class.

There will be a series of analytical papers, a midterm and a final. There will also be some translation exercises and quizzes.