Medieval Literature in England

Tentative Syllabus

ENGL 5110.01

HUM 225

MW 3:30-4:45

Instructor: Dr Micheal Crafton

Office hours: MW 9-11

Office location: TLC 2-225; Bonner House

Course description: An in-depth study of medieval English literature in its various aspects, considering texts in their historical context.


Required Texts and other readings/materials:

Trapp, J.B, Douglas Gray and Julia Boffey, eds.Medieval English Literature.†† 2nd ed.Oxford: Oxford UP, 2002.

Marie de France.The Lays of Marie de France.†† Trans. Glyn S. burgess and Keith Busby.London: Penguin, 1986.††††


ENGL 5000-Level

Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to demonstrate an in-depth understanding of selected texts from the Anglo-Saxon, Anglo-Norman, and Middle English periods of British literary history.

Students will show comprehension and an application of theoretical and critical foundations for the interpretation of literature from the Anglo-Saxon, Anglo-Norman, and Middle English periods, including an annotated bibliography and/or oral presentation of 10-12 secondary sources.

Students will reveal in both oral and written work a discipline-specific critical facility through convincing and well-supported analysis of course-related material.

Students will display their command of academic English and of the tenets of sound composition by means of thesis-driven analytical prose, including at least 12-15 pages of research-based writing.

Students will be capable of conducting independent and meaningful course-related research and of synthesizing it in the form of a correctly documented research paper.

Relationship to Program Goals

This course prepares students to complete successfully the comprehensiv3e oral examination that is required for all M.A. degree candidates.

This course provides students with literary, historical, and critical contexts related to texts on the department's required reading list.

Oral presentations in the course strengthen students' presentation skills and prepare them further for the oral comprehensive examination, which is required for the M.A. degree.

Gaining further knowledge of texts in this area strengthens students' content area knowledge, prepares them for taking nationally recognized standardized examinations, such as the advanced GRE subject examination in English, and further prepares them for careers in teaching, writing, and business or advanced graduate-level study.



Tests and other assessment activities:

1. Mid-Term Exam= 20 %

2. Final Exam = 25 %

3. Two Response Papers = 20 %

4. Participation = 5 %

5. Research Essay = 30 %

Class Project

1. A standard graduate level research paper (15 pages long, 10-15 references) on one of the primary texts of the course, which provides a reading of the text or supports a reading of the text by means of historical context.

Class Policies:

Attendance: Since this class meets only twice a week, attendance is all the more important. Attendance should be understood as more than merely occupying space in a passive manner; rather, it should be understand as a productive act. In fact, it should be considered a production in the way that creating a paper or report is considered as a production. In order to get full credit, your presence must be known, and it must be known as that of a prepared student working to make the class an event of learning, of intellectual and artistic exchange.

Late Work: Generally, my policy for unexcused late work is that it loses a letter grade for every day it is late. There are, of course, extenuating circumstances, but these need to be made and made well.

Plagiarism: Intentional plagiarism, that is, the conscious adoption of someone else's writing or ideas as your own is a profanation to everything I hold important. If a student is clearly guilty of this, the result will be an F for the class and a report to the disciplinary officials of the University.

Daily Assignments:

All chapter references and page number references are to the texts listed above.

Week 1: Anglo-Saxon Literature

M 19Introduction to course and Anglo-Saxon history

W 21 Caedmon's Hymn and AS Prosody (30 min of film)


Week 2: Anglo-Saxon Literature

M 26Elegies (Rest of film)

W 28 Judith, Enigmas and Wisdom, Riddles, Genesis, Dream of the Rood


Week 3: Anglo-Saxon Literature

M 2 Beowulf

W 4 Beowulf


Week 4: Anglo-Saxon Literature

M 9 Beowulf(Paper # 1 due)

W 11 Beowulf and Battle of Maldon


Week 5: Anglo-Norman Literature and the Romance

M 16 Introduction of Anglo-Norman history (tour of Bayeaux Tapestry)

W 18 Marie de France


Week 6: Anglo-Norman Literature and the Romance

M 23 Marie de France

W 25 Marie de France


Week 7: Middle English Period (Romance)

M 30††† Thomas the Rhymer

W 2 ††† Land of Cockayne


Week 8: Middle English Period (Romance)

M 7 †††† Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

W 9†††† Sir Gawain and the Green Knight


Week 9: Middle English Period (Allegory)

M 14 †† Piers Plowman

W 16 Piers Plowman


Week 10: Middle English Period (Womenís Literature)

M 21 †† Selections

W 23 Selections


Week 11: Middle English Period (Chaucer)

M 28 †† Legend of Good Women

W 30 Troilus and Criseyde


Week 12: Middle English Period (Chaucer)

M 4 †††† Canterbury Tales: General Prologue

W 6 ††† Canterbury Tales: Franklinís Tale


Week 13: Middle English Period (Chaucer)

M 11 Canterbury Tales: Millerís Tale

W 13 Canterbury Tales: Wife of Bathís Prologue and Tale


Week 14: Middle English Period (Theater)

M 18 †† Second Shepherdís Play

W 20 Play of Noah


Week 15: Middle English Period (Theater)

M 25 †† Production

W 27 Thanksgiving Holidays


Week 15: Final Things

M 2 †††† More Productions

W 4 ††† Last Day of Classes: Course Evaluation, Review for Final: Last Production (if necessary)


Final ExamMonday Dec. 9th, 2:00-4:00