ENGLISH 3NN3 Medieval Literature & Culture (C01)
Academic Year: Fall 2019
Instructor: Dr. Anne Savage
Office: Chester New Hall 326
Phone: 905-525-9140 x 23729
Office Hours: Thursdays 12:30-1;30PM
- Course Objectives
- Textbooks, Materials & Fees
- Method of Assessment
- Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties
- Additional Policies and Statements
- Topics and Readings
This course introduces you to the medieval romance, a kind of narrative which spread from the 12thc on from France across Europe in its different vernacular languages; this was the primary form of literary entertainment accessible by all speakers of that language, distinguishing it from the majority of texts written in Latin, accessible only as a second language (primarily by professional religious readers). Unlike much of what was written in Latin, romances deal with secular life (even where religion plays a part), supporting questions about love, sex, marriage and gender which rarely or never arose positively in the Latin religious literature, where the perspective originated in vows of celibacy, poverty and obedience to a religious superior. Since England after the Norman Conquest in 1066 became a country in which French was a native language for many in the aristocracy at least, both the Norman and Central French dialects are known as ‘the French of England,’ and we begin with three romances translated from French, then move towards the end of the 14thc – although the romance continued and gave rise to other kinds of fiction.
Our focus will be double: first, on the texts of the romances and their social contexts, their references to history and contemporary social institutions like marriage and gender roles, sex and wealth; second, on how these differ or are similar to our current institutions, and what medieval concerns have been addressed, or the ways in which they’re addressed at the current moment. Both these dimensions are equally important to understanding the medieval romance. By the end of the course you should have a sense of the medieval period in England, the kinds of ethical and social concerns people had, ironic and satirical portrayals of the aristocracy, and some pretty surprising gender theory; you’ll also have an understanding of how different the English language was over these centuries from its current incarnation.
The French of England:
Marie de France (12thc)
Bisclavret, Lai le Fresne
Heldris of Cornwall (13thc)
Le Roman de Silence
Sir Orfeo (early 14thc)
Emaré (late 14thc)
The Pearl/Gawain poet:
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (late 14thc)
The Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale (late 14thc)
Textbooks, Materials & Fees:
Method of Assessment:
ASSIGNMENTS AND EVALUATION:
Five in-class participation exercises written in class on specified dates (3% each) 15%
Two short essays (1000-1200 words,15% each) 30%
Due dates: September 23rd, October 24th
Long paper (2500-3000 words) 25%
Due date: December 2nd
Final examination 30%
See further descriptions and directions on our Avenue to Learn Site.
Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:
Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:
You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.
Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.
It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at www.mcmaster.ca/academicintegrity
The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:
- Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
- Improper collaboration in group work.
- Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.
Email correspondence policy
It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student. Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.
Modification of course outlines
The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.
McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)
In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at mcmaster.ca/msaf/. If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.
Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities
Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail email@example.com. For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.
Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances
Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.
Topics and Readings:
SCHEDULE - Watch for updates on Avenue
5 Introduction to course materials and expectations. See the two short poems on Avenue for this date.
16 Lai le Fresne
19 Lai le Fresne
23 Le Roman de Silence
26 Le Roman de Silence
30 Le Roman de Silence
3 Le Roman de Silence
7 Sir Orfeo
10 Sir Orfeo
28 Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
31 Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
4 Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
7 Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
11 The Wife of Bath’s Prologue
14 The Wife of Bath’s Prologue
18 The Wife of Bath’s Tale
21 The Wife of Bath’s Tale
25 Comparisons, parallels, issues raised by these romances.
28 Overview, continued.
December 2: exam review