MEDIEVAL TO RENAISSANCE ENGLISH LITERATURE 2009-10
Module Convenor: Professor Peter Mack (room H509)
By the end of this module you should have:
1. Acquired skill in reading Middle English and some understanding of the structure and history of the English language.
2. Acquired some knowledge of Medieval English literature (especially the work of Chaucer and his contemporaries), society and culture. 3. Become aware of the forms and metres of English poetry in preparation for future modules. 4. Obtained some knowledge of sixteenth-century English poetry and its intellectual and social context. 5. Acquired some knowledge of the Christian, classical and continental literary background of English renaissance literature.
6. Improved your skills in textual analysis and essay-writing.
Texts to buy:
L. D. Benson (ed.) The Riverside Chaucer (Oxford)
J. Burrow (ed.) Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (Penguin)
Stephen Greenblatt et al. (ed.) The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 8th Edition. Volume B. The Sixteenth Century. The Early Seventeenth Century. (Norton, 2006) Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene (ed.) A. Hamilton (Longmans)
1. Translation Classes (weekly, term 1 only)
2. Lectures (weekly, Tuesdays 12 noon, Arts Centre Conference Room) 3. Seminars (weekly, tutors’ rooms)
4. Essays (two essays and two commentary exercises); approximate deadlines are indicated in the course outline below (seminar tutors will specify precise deadlines). Further information on the submission of essays is available in the Student Handbook.
Sections of the Module:
1. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (weeks 2-5)
2. Chaucer, selected Canterbury Tales (weeks 7-10)
3. Elizabethan Poetic Form, Court Poetry, Sonnets (weeks 11-15) 4. Spenser’s Faerie Queene Bks. 1 & 3 (weeks 17-20)
5. Epyllia and John Donne (weeks 21-3)
1. Attend lectures, seminars and textual classes, having prepared material as directed by your tutor. and (for first-year students):
2. Submit two unassessed commentaries (halfway through terms 1 & 2), and two unassessed essays (at the ends of terms 1 & 2). 3. Write final examination of three hours (100% examined)
(for second-year students):
2. Submit two assessed essays of 3,000 words each (60%) and two unassessed commentaries. (Second-year students will choose two unassessed essay topics to do in assessed form; they will submit essays at the time specified by their tutor for that unassessed essay). 3. Write final examination of 11/2 hours (40%)
Examination: 2 translations from Chaucer and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight 4 commentaries (2 medieval, 2 renaissance) 1 essay (choice of 5-7 titles)
Useful Background Reading: Chaucer, General Prologue to The Canterbury Tales, Maurice Keen, English Society in the Later Middle Ages 1348-1500 (Penguin, 1990), J. Guy, Tudor England (Oxford, 1988), S. T. Bindoff, Tudor England (Penguin, 1991).
Plan of the Module
This outline aims to show what primary reading is required. Tutors will give direction on which particular lines or poems need to be read. The module bibliography provides a list of secondary materials from which you can select further reading.
Autumn Term 2009
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Fitt 1
Assignment: passages for comment from Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. To be handed in Week 5.
The Knight’s Tale from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales Week 8
Miller’s Tale and Reeve’s Tale
Wife of Bath’s Tale and Merchant’s Tale
Franklin’s Tale and Nun’s Priest’s Tale
Essay of around 2000 words on Canterbury Tales and/or Sir Gawain and the Green Knight to be handed in Week 10 of Term 1.
Spring Term 2010
Middle English Translation Test: MONDAY 12-1pm, TBA
An introduction to Renaissance Poetry....
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