|Module Title||ENGLISH EPIC AND ENGLISH ROMANCE:700-1700|
|Co-ordinator||Mr Michael J Smith|
|Semester||Intended for use in future years|
|Next year offered||N/A|
|Next semester offered||N/A|
|Course delivery||Seminars / Tutorials||20 Hours Seminar. (10 x 2 hr seminar workshops)|
1. to develop the student's knowledge and understanding of two major traditions within English literary history;
2. to provide students with a knowledge and understanding of the continuing history of debates about the genres of epic and romance.
We will begin by an investigation of the late Anglo-Saxon heroic poem Beowulf (which we will study principally in the recent and much acclaimed translation by Seamus Heaney). The module will continue with an exploration of medieval English narratives of knightly quest and crusading chivalry (building on the work done on romance in EN10420), and will then turn to a consideration of the Elizabethan poet Edmund Spenser's Faerie Queene, a reworking of the materials of knightly romance through the medium of allegory into a national epic, which engages with important religious and political conflicts of the late sixteenth-century English state. The module will conclude with an extended study of John Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost, which we will consider both as a deliberate and self-conscious reworking of established traditions of heroic poetry, and as a 'working out' in narrative form of the political, social and religious tensions of one of the most exciting and challenging periods of British history, the Civil War and its aftermath.
Since the traditions of epic and romance in our extended period are truly international ones, there will be, in addition, several opportunities to sample (in translation) relevant works from other European literatures: we will, for instance, study both Beowulf and The Siege of Milan alongside extracts (provided) from the Old French chanson de geste The Song of Roland; and we will compare Spenser's handling of romance narrative with episodes from the sixteenth-century Italian romantic epics Orlando Furioso (by Ariosto) and Gierusalemme Liberata (by Tasso).
Some of the principal recurrent questions we will address include:
Teaching will be by ten two-hour seminars. Students will regularly be asked to prepare brief presentations, usually in teams of three or four.
Seminars 1 & 2: Anglo-Saxon Heroic Poetry
Seminars 3 & 4: Medieval Romance
Seminars 5 & 6: Elizabethan Romantic Epic
Seminars 7 & 10: Revolutions in Seventeenth-Century Epic
This module is at CQFW Level 6