English | Middle English Literature
L306 | 28218 | Shannon Gayk

Shannon Gayk

28218 - 11:15a-12:30p TR (30 students) 3 cr., A&H

TOPIC:  "Medieval Appetites"

From feasting to fasting, eating books to eating bodies, appetite is
an important motif in medieval literature.  In this course we will
read widely in early English literature, considering allegorical
pilgrimages, Arthurian legends, saintsí lives, medieval dietaries,
recipes, and advice books, and religious lyrics.  In our discussions
of these readings, we will focus on discourses of desire, appetite,
and consumption and ask some of the following questions: What does
food mean in medieval literature?  What did people eat, and how did
they understand and represent their relation to food? What does food
have to do with sex?  With religion? What does the hungry body have
to do with the hungry soul?  What social and ethical issues are
bound up with the production and distribution of food in late
medieval England?  Over the course of semester we will consider
representations of: feasting, fasting, cannibalism, Eucharistic
consumption, eating books, medieval ideas about health, and the
ethics of eating.  Required Texts include: The Complete Works of the
Pearl Poet, Piers Plowman, and a course packet containing all
additional readings.  Course requirements include daily attendance
and active participation in discussion, several short writing
assignments, a researched project, and midterm and final exams.