Office: 01K Petty Office Phone: 334-3294
Office Hours: TR 4:45-6:00 and by appointment
GENERAL GOALS: In this course, we will investigate a selection of texts written during the middle ages and explore the ways these texts continue to influence our culture. Attention will be paid to the historical, cultural and literary backgrounds of medieval literature, as well as various approaches to these texts. We will also read a selection of modern texts – novels, short stories, poems – that adopt the stories and themes explored in medieval literature while revising them for a more modern audience. Establishing connections among the different works as well as with other media such as film is another important goal. My ultimate aim is to help you develop your analytical skills and also provide you with an opportunity to develop an appreciation of literature.
TEXTS: The Longman Anthology of British Literature: The Middle Ages, 2nd edition
Thomas Malory, Le Morte D’Arthur, Keith Baines, ed.
John Gardner, Grendel
B. Traven, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
Selected texts posted on Blackboard
STUDENT LEARNING GOALS: At the completion of this course, you will be able
• Identify and understand varied characteristics of literature
• Apply techniques of literary analysis to texts
• Use literary study to develop skills in careful reading and clear writing
• Demonstrate understanding of the diverse social and historical contexts in which literary texts have been written and interpreted
ASSESSMENT: Test 1 10% Quizzes/Postings 20%
Test 2 15% Group Presentation 20%
Final Exam 20% Daily Grade 15%
Tests: Tests will be a combination of objective and essay questions that will examine your understanding of individual works, terminology, and general thematic issues. Note: You are responsible for all of the reading assigned.
Exam: Exam will be primarily essay and will ask you to make some connections among the works we’ve read.
Quizzes/Postings: Throughout the semester I will give reading quizzes to see how well you understand the text, as well as to determine who is keeping up with the reading. Each week, you will make weekly postings to a message board I have set up on the Blackboard site. You are required to submit one post each week, but you may make multiple postings if you wish. The purpose of this assignment is to create on-going discussions among the groups about the assigned readings and class discussions. The posts should consist of comments, questions, reflections on the various issues we encounter in the classroom, in addition to how you notice the themes and issues presented in medieval literature working in the world around you. You should respond to the postings of your classmates, so that you have a discussion amongst yourselves, not just a series of random posts. We will talk more about this in class.
Group Presentation: This assignment allows you the experience of researching and putting together a group presentation on a particular aspect of medieval literature that infiltrates modern popular culture.
Daily Grade: This grade is based on your overall classroom performance, especially your class participation and performance on in-class activities. Your daily grade will be determined based on the frequency and quality of your contribution to class discussions, coming to class prepared (assigned materials read, etc.), and your attendance (see below for attendance policy).
- Regular participation is expected and is critical to your success in this course. You are allowed three excused or unexcused absences. For each absence after the third, I will deduct 5% from your daily grade. If you miss more than 6 classes (that’s the equivalent of three weeks of class), you will be dropped from the course. Talk to me in advance if you anticipate missing classes.
- Make-up tests will only be given in the case of a medical or legal situation. Expect to provide documentation.
- Being late to class is disrespectful to the instructor and the rest of the class.
- All of our work is governed by the UNCG Academic Integrity Policy.
Tues. 8/17: Introduction/Expectations
Thurs. 8/19: Introduction to the Middle Ages: Longman Anthology pp. 3-26
Tues. 8/24: Marie de France, from Lais – “Prologue” and “Lanval”: LA pp. 171-185
Thurs 8/26: Posting due; Sir Gawain and the Green Knight parts 1-2: LA pp.187-211
Tues. 8/31: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight parts 3-4: LA pp.211-241
Thurs. 9/2: Posting due; Le Morte D’Arthur: pp. 21-43
Tues. 9/7: Le Morte D’Arthur: pp. 118-136
Thurs. 9/9: Posting due; Vladimir Nabokov, “Lance” (Blackboard)
Tues. 9/14: Le Morte D’Arthur: pp.170-242
Thurs. 9/16: Posting due; Le Morte D’Arthur: pp. 243-307
Tues. 9/21: Le Morte D’Arthur: pp.307-358
Thurs. 9/23: Posting due; John Updike, “Four Sides of One Story” (Blackboard)
Tues. 9/28: Exam 1
Thurs. 9/30: Posting due; Geoffrey Chaucer, from The Canterbury Tales – “General Prologue”: LA pp.294-313
Tues. 10/5: Chaucer, “The Miller’s Tale”: LA pp. 314-329
Thurs. 10/7: Class Canceled
Tues. 10/12: Fall Break, No Class
Thurs. 10/14: Posting due; Chaucer, “The Pardoner’s Prologue and Tale”: LA pp.357-372
Tues. 10/19: Traven, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre pp. 1-52
Thurs. 10/21: Posting due; Treasure pp. 53-103
Tues. 10/26: Group meetings; Treasure pp. 104-154
Thurs. 10/28: Posting due; Treasure pp. 155-211
Tues. 11/2: Treasure pp. 212-257
Thurs. 11/4: Posting due; Treasure pp. 258-308
Tues. 11/9: Exam 2
Thurs. 11/11: Posting due; Beowulf: LA pp.30-94
Tues. 11/16: John Gardner, Grendel: chapters 1-4
Thurs. 11/18: Posting due; Grendel: chapters 5-8
Tues. 11/23: Grendel: chapters 9-12
Thurs. 11/25: Thanksgiving Holiday, No Class
Tues. 11/30: Group Presentations
Thurs. 12/2: Group Presentations
Thurs. 12/14: Final Exam, 3:30-6:30pm