ENGLISH 4270: MEDIEVAL ENGLISH LITERATURE
F. GRADY 63
455 LUCAS MW
email@example.com/516-5592 (sec. E01, #51276)
M 2:30-4:30,W 2-4,
and by appointment
course we will read widely in the poetry and prose of later medieval
The literature of the middle ages has the often annoying quality of seeming simultaneously foreign and familiar, since in the period the basic structures (and basic problems) of contemporary Western culture were in the making; appreciating and understanding medieval texts thus requires some intellectual agility and an open mind. Think about the reading and be prepared to discuss it: what happens in it (and to whom), what it assumes that you know (about the world, about how people ought to behave, and about how they actually do), what it thinks is important and interesting and why (I strongly recommend a reading or rereading of the Old Testament Book of Genesis and one or two of the New Testament Gospels--Matthew or Luke, and John--as background to some of the religious texts we’ll be studying).
Requirements: two 4-5 page papers (20% each), midterm (20%), final (20%), class grade (quizzes, participation in discussion, attendance, and one or two brief oral presentations, 20%). Perfect attendance and timely submission of assignments is of course expected; missed quizzes may not be made up and more than five absences will certainly have an adverse effect on your grade. (I will attempt to use the new Early Alert System when appropriate.)
You will have multiple opportunities to submit the two papers, and I will make available a (non-exhaustive) list of possible topics several days in advance of each due date. (Note: you must submit an essay by the second due date, 10/27.) Undergraduate students are not required to employ secondary sources, nor are they prohibited from doing so; bear in mind that the most convenient resource regarding the essays is generally standing at the front of the classroom . Be advised also that I take the issue of academic dishonesty very seriously; plagiarism on papers will generally mean an instant F for the assignment and likely disciplinary action by the university. Please refer to the English Department’s plagiarism handout for further details, and please please please ask me if you have any questions.
Course documents and assignments will be posted on mygateway.umsl.edu, but the main course page will be located at www.umsl.edu/~gradyf/4270f06syll.htm, which can also be reached through my home page (www.umsl.edu/~gradyf).
Kempe, M. The Book of Margery Kempe. Trans. Lynne Staley. Norton Critical Edition. W.W. Norton, 2001.
Langland, W. Piers Plowman. Trans. E. Talbot Donaldson. W.W. Norton, 1990.
Malory, Sir Thomas. Le Morte D'Arthur. Ed. Janet Cowen. 2 vols. Penguin, 1986.
Mandeville, Sir John. The Travels of Sir John Mandeville. Trans. C.W.R.D. Moseley. Penguin,1983.
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Patience, Pearl. Trans. Marie Borroff. W.W. Norton, 2001.
Some useful readings will also be placed on reserve in the library.
M AUG 21 Introduction; thinking about the middle ages
W AUG 23 The Travels of Sir John Mandeville: Pilgrimage (chs. 1-14, pp. 43-104)
M AUG 28 Mandeville’s Travels: Here Be Monsters (chs. 15-26, pp. 104-60)
W AUG 30 Mandeville’s Travels: Geotheologicopolitics (chs. 27-34, pp. 160-90)
M SEP 4 LABOR DAY—NO CLASS
W SEP 6 Malory, Le Morte D’Arthur: Foundations (Preface, Books 1 & 3 [I. 3-59, 92-116])
M SEP 11 Malory: The Tale of Gareth (Book 7 [I. 231-302])
W SEP 13 Malory: The Grail Quest I (Books 11, 13, 15 [II. 188-214, 238-74, 291-300]
M SEP 18 Malory: The Grail Quest II (Books 16 & 17 [II. 301-72])
W SEP 20 Malory: Lancelot and Guenevere: Lusty Deeds (Book 18 [II.373-426])
M SEP 25 Malory: Lancelot and Guenevere: Tears (Book 19 [II. 427-55])
W SEP 27 Malory: The Beginning of the End (Book 20 [II.456-504])
F SEP 29 First essay due date
M OCT 2 Malory: Everybody Dies, Maybe (Book 21 [II. 505-532])
W OCT 4 Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: “in their first age…still”
M OCT 9 SGGK (cont.)
W OCT 11
M OCT 16 MIDTERM
W OCT 18 Pearl: Flawless
M OCT 23 Pearl (cont.); Langland, Piers Plowman, Prologue and Passus 1 (pp. 1-14)
W OCT 25 Piers Plowman: Money Makes the World Go ‘Round (Passus 2-4, pp. 15-39)
F OCT 27 Second essay due date
M OCT 30 Piers Plowman: The Seven Deadly Sins (Passus 5 & 6, pp. 39-70)
W NOV 1 Piers Plowman: The Tearing of the Pardon (Passus 7-9, pp. 70-87)
M NOV 6 Piers Plowman: The Inner Journey (Passus 11-14, pp. 104-58)
W NOV 8 St. Erkenwald: The Salvation of the Heathen (xerox)
M NOV 13 Piers Plowman: Antichrist (Passus 18-20, pp. 200-241)
W NOV 15 Piers Plowman (concl.)
F NOV 17 Third essay due date
a brief guide to quoting from the text
M NOV 20 / W NOV 23 Thanksgiving Break: No Class
M NOV 27 The Book Of Margery Kempe: Prologue and chs. 1-25 (pp. 3-44)
W NOV 29 The Book Of Margery Kempe: Chs. 26-43 (pp. 44-76)
M DEC 4 The Book Of Margery Kempe: Chs. 44-55 (pp.76-101), 58-59 (105-08), 61-63 (109-115), 75-81 (130-44)
W DEC 6 Conclusion, or “many marvels that I have not spoken of”
F DEC 8 Fourth essay due date
M DEC 11 Final Exam 5:30-7:30 PM
Students with disabilities who believe that they may need accommodations in this class are encouraged to contact the Disability Access Services Office in 144 Millennium Student Center at 516-6554 as soon as possible to ensure that such accommodations are arranged in a timely fashion.