Undergraduate English Courses

358:305 Medieval Romance

01   MTH3  CAC  18078  NOVACICH  MU-208

When people think of medieval romance, they often think of King Arthur and the Round Table, women described as matchlessly beautiful, knights who go on impossible quests, or giants and dragons threatening kingdoms. They’re not wrong. This course will consider all of these categories, as well as magical landscapes, political identities, the importance of genealogy, representations of gender and hierarchies of authority, the relationship between devotion and enchantment, cultural differences, and the uses and dangers of prophecy. The class surveys the great medieval works traditionally grouped within the genre of romance in order to delineate a set of characteristics for that genre and to investigate the questions – regarding the self, the family, and political and cultural identities – it so frequently ponders. Texts will include works by Chaucer, Chrétien de Troyes, Marie de France, the Pearl Poet, and other anonymous writers. There will be three papers, one exam, and a series of short, unannounced reading quizzes