Undergraduate English Courses
358:309 The Medieval Outlaw
02 TTH5 CAC 17395 DEANGELO SC-104
One of the most enduring images of the Middle Ages is the revelry of Robin Rood and his Merry Men. However, the Robin Hood we know and love only appeared in English literature in the Late Middle Ages and his familiar story was not established until the Renaissance. Robin of Loxley is only the final product of a tradition that is centuries old and derived from several different cultures. This course traces the development of the outlaw figure in medieval literature through its early depiction of the exile in Anglo-Saxon poetry, to the alliance of saint and sinner in Irish literature, to the tragedy engendered from outlawry in the Icelandic sagas, and finally to the opportunistic raiders who arose in the wake of the Norman Invasion who were later identified as resistance fighters. Through studying these disparate figures, the course examines the outlaw from several theoretical standpoints, including the postcolonial, anthropological, ecocritical, and gender studies perspectives. Most importantly, we will consider the effect of the North Sea geography on the depiction of the outlaw, and how it represents a synthesis of multiple cultures both connected and divided by the ocean that lay between the islands of the North Atlantic archipelago. All readings are either in Middle English or in Modern English translation.
Requirements: frequent informal writing responses and two papers 5-8 pages in length.