introduces you to the literature of the Middle Ages. The course is intended to give you a good grounding in the primary texts. You will read texts useful for undergraduate and graduate study or for secondary school teaching in Massachusetts. We will discuss genre, form, style, and the social and ethical dimensions of narrative. Readings include Boethius, the Pearl-Poet (Pearl and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight), lyrics, the Owl and the Nightingale, Piers Plowman, Tristan, the Nibelungenlied, and Dante's Vita Nuova. A number of quizzes, a midterm paper, and a final paper or project.
We meet MWF 11:15 – 12:05 in Bartlett 125
1) Boethius, Consolation of Philosophy. ISBN 0393930718 [Free e-book via UMass]
2 Dante, Vita Nuova. ISBN 0199540659 [Free e-book via UMass]
3) Black, Joseph, Broadview Anthology of British Literature, 3rd ed., Vol. 1. ISBN 155481202X
4) Vaughan, Piers Plowman: The A Version. ISBN 1421401401 [Free version of the B-text via UMass] [Download all three versions (A,B,C) by Skeat]
5) Beroul, The Romance of Tristan. ISBN 0140442308
[In French at Google Books]
6) Hatto, The Nibelungenlied. ISBN 0140441379 [Free e-book via UMass, Raffel translation] [Free e-book via UMass, Edwards trans.] [In German translation via Google, 1880]
7) Pearl, trans. Jane Draycott, free via UMass (also in Black, Broadview).
All of the texts that we will read are available in hundreds of different editions in the library and on-line. As a UMass student, you can take books out of any of the Five-College libraries. If you are assiduous, you can find them all for free or follow the links provided and buy them cheaply; for good used copies, I recommend Grey Matter Books in Hadley and downstairs at Amherst Books.
The general objectives of
this course are three: 1) to give you a firm grounding in primary texts,
2) to give you some sense of the history, and 3) to make you reasonably
proficient in medieval reading techniques.
You will be tested on
your knowledge of primary texts.
This entails keeping careful notes on plot, characters, and themes
of each reading; asking questions when you don't understand; and taking
advantage of the insanely vast number of resources available to you.
You are also expected to
complete your readings prior to each class--the readings average about
20 to 40 pages per class. If you're not going to do the reading, then this class
will be a waste of your time.
Attendence is required. Lectures and discussions provide much of the material
for which you are responsible. I will not repeat a lecture, summarize
a lecture, or provide anyone with my lecture notes. My lectures are
copyrighted material. Any use of them in written, electronic, or recorded
my prior consent is insanely illegal.
Attendance Policy here.
There is a midterm
paper, a final paper, and a worksheet to accompany each reading.
GRADING: The breakdown
of your grade is as follows:
- Midterm paper 30%
- Final Paper 40%
- Worksheets 20% [after every new reading]
- Attendance and participation 10%
Update (1/20/15): Updates to the syllabus will be posted here. Please check back weekly.
- Papers must
be handed in at the beginning of class on the date due. Late papers
will not be accepted.
- All missed assignments
get an "F." If you foresee being absent, please let me know well
- Plagiarism gets
an "F." This may be for the paper or for the course, at my discretion.
Please check your student handbook and university or college guidelines
for more on plagiarism.
- All papers must
be typed or word-processed.
Everyone is encouraged
to meet with me at least once during the semester, if only to verify that
the grades you have correspond to the ones in my gradebook. Please make an appointment
to meet with me at a time convenient to you and I will try to oblige.
Each author's ideas,
words, and phrasing are his or her own. If you reproduce them without
due recognition, then you have committed plagiarism. Plagiarism earns
the harshest punishment our university can offer. If you have any question
whatsoever about whether you might be committing plagiarism, please consult
me immediately. On the whole, the university expects you to act and write
with the highest degree of integrity. For more information, consult your
handbook or the official UMass statement.
NOTE 1: Please make and keep a copy of all your assignments. That copy may be
a disc copy. In case any difficulties arise with respect to misplaced
assignments or with respect to discrepancies between your records and
my own, I will accept the evidence of your computer system's dating function.
For your own peace of mind, I suggest that you lock any document on the
day it is due. That will prevent your computer's operating system from
associating your document with a later date.
NOTE 2: The
course schedule is subject to change. It is not to be construed as a substitute
for your attendance or as a catalogue of all the information for which
you are responsible. All changes will be announced with a reasonable lead
time. This syllabus constitutes a binding contract between the student
and the professor. If you do not agree with any of the provisions set
herein or if you foresee disagreeing with any of the provisions which
may be reasonably added during the course of the term, then you are free
to drop this class within the time allotted by the university.
material pertaining to this course--namely handouts, quizzes, exams, tests,
maps, graphs, charts, printed matter, recorded matter, electronic matter
including but not limited to this syllabus and associated electronic documents--is
copyrighted material and is subject to international and US laws of copyright.
Enrollment in this course constitutes tacit acceptance of this agreement
and of the copyright claims made therein. Any breach of this agreement
or use of copyrighted material by any member of the university or the
public without prior consent will be met with legal action. I will not pursue fair use.