This upper-division course is usually taken by juniors and seniors with some experience in literary and historical analysis. The course explores a breadth of medieval literary genres and writers in a historical context. Thus, this course situates the production of literature in a manuscript culture, asking students to explore the politics of literacy, writing, and audience. This course necessarily negotiates the idea of shifting epistemologies and cultural values. Cultural constructs explored include the idea of courtly love, individualism, gender, authorship, mystical experience, and the conflicting world views of paganism and Christianity. Students are asked to engage these issues in seminar discussion, direct discussion, write abstracts, produce a contextual study on the writer of their choice (a proposal, a selective bibliography, a 7-10 page historical essay, and a 15-20 page interpretive study of the writer and work in context).
Prerequisites: ENGL 221