Spring 2022 Undergraduate English Courses

358:307 Medieval Women Writers

01  MTH2  10:20-11:40  CAC  08245  NOVACICH  HH-A6

This course considers a number of texts composed by women in medieval England and France (Marie de France, Christine de Pizan, Julian of Norwich, Margery Kempe). We will investigate constructions of gender and authorship; the relationship between women and different kinds of textual communities; and the various public and private roles permitted to or otherwise taken up by women in the twelfth through fifteenth centuries. We also will consider how these roles participated in different kinds of literary activity: the re-imagining of worlds; the clarification and redefining of religious practices; and the contemplation of possible futures. Although works mostly will be read in translation, by the end of the semester you will have a better sense of the languages, forms, and practices of literary production in medieval England and France. You also will develop a sense of the religious and cultural atmosphere in the later Middle Ages and the ways in which literature by women perpetuated, transformed, and protested against some of those traditions. From time to time, we will consider excerpts of works composed by women beyond the confines of medieval Europe – in other languages, geographies, and time periods – to see how these questions and subjects were taken up differently. Assignments will include a number of short papers, a take home midterm, and robust in class participation.