Module Information

Module Identifier
EN31220
Module Title
Society,Sexuality and Subversion in the Middle Ages
Academic Year
2016/2017
Co-ordinator
Semester
Semester 2
External Examiners
  • Dr Isabel Davis (Senior Lecturer - Birkbeck College, University of London)
 
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminar 10 x 2 Hour Seminars
 

Assessment

Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 2 essays (2,500 words each)  Continuous Assessment:  100%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmit any failed elements and/or make good any missing elements. Where this involves re-submission of work, a new topic must be selected. 

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module students should typically be able to:

1. demonstrate an understanding of a range of late medieval texts in English;

2. describe and analyse a range of late medieval literary forms and genres;

3. demonstrate an understanding of late medieval English culture and history;

4. analyse a range of late medieval texts in English in relation to current critical and theoretical debates;

5. demonstrate an understanding of late medieval literary English.

Brief description

Focusing on works by Chaucer, Langland and the Gawain-poet, this module will challenge the myth that medieval literature was much more straightforward than modern literature by looking at the way in which society, orthodoxy, gender and sexuality are constructed within the set texts and by considering the extent to which certain of these texts are socially subversive, sexually transgressive or potentially heretical.

This module is accessible to anyone interested in reading medieval texts and in locating the literature of the time in its social and historical context. It will also introduce a range of approaches to Medieval English poetry from more traditional criticism to Marxist, deconstructionist, feminist and postmodern readings. Such readings illustrate that medieval literature remains of relevance in the 21st century.

Content

_SEMINAR PROGRAMME

_PART ONE: SOCIETY

_Seminar 1: Society in Transition
  • The General Prologue to The Canterbury Tales
_Seminars 2 & 3: Society in Decline
  • The Prologue, and Passus i-vii, xviii and xx of Langland's Piers Plowman
_PART TWO: MARGINALITY AND PERSECUTION

_Seminars 4 & 5: Anti-semitism and Conflicts of Faith
  • The Prioress's Tale; and Patience
_Seminars 6 & 7: Sodomy and Crises of Faith
  • The Pardoner's Tale; and Purity
_PART THREE: SOCIAL SUBVERSION AND THE LIMITS OF GENDER

_Seminar 8: The Incestuous Family Romance
  • The Man of Law's Tale
_Seminar 9: Paying One's Debts
  • The Reeve's Tale; and Chaucer's Fabliaux
_Seminar 10: The Limits of Genre
  • The Merchant's Tale

Notes

This module is at CQFW Level 6