Convenor: Dr Sarah Wood
This module will study a number of works of medieval and renaissance literature in the context of contemporary beliefs and historical and social developments. The module will be taught by means of reading classes (first term only) to develop the skills necessary to approach texts written in earlier forms of English; lectures on the historical, cultural and critical context; and seminars to discuss particular texts.
Works studied will include:
- Chaucer, selected Canterbury Tales
- Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
- William Langland, Piers Plowman (selections)
- Medieval drama
- Renaissance translation theory
- Thomas More's Utopia
- Renaissance sonnets and lyrics by Wyatt, Sidney, and Shakespeare.
- Spenser, The Faerie Queene, book 1
Books to buy
- The Riverside Chaucer, ed. L. Benson et al, 3rd edn (Oxford, 2008)
- Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, in Poems Of The Pearl Manuscript: Pearl, Cleanness, Patience, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, ed. by M. Andrew and R. Waldron, 5th edn (Exeter, 2007), ISBN978-0-859-89790-7.
*PLEASE ENSURE THAT YOU BUY THIS EDITION AND NOT ANY OTHER. You should NOT purchase The Poems of the Pearl Manuscript in Modern English Prose Translation by the same editors and publisher, as this does not include the original Middle English text that we will be studying.**
- The Norton Anthology of English Literature: Volume B: The Sixteenth Century The Early Seventeenth Century, ed. by Stephen Greenblatt et al, 10th edition (2018)
- Other course texts will be provided in a course pack in each of terms 1 and 2.
Suggested summer background reading:
- In term 1, we will be reading Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, in Poems Of The Pearl Manuscript: Pearl, Cleanness, Patience, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, ed. by M. Andrew and R. Waldron, 5th edn (Exeter, 2007). We will be studying the text in the original Middle English, but you are encouraged to read the translation that comes with this book over the summer. Your copy will contain a code giving you access to the translation online.
- Maurice Keen, English Society in the Later Middle Ages 1348-1500 (Penguin, 1990)
- J.A. Burrow, Medieval Writers and their Work, 2nd edn. (Oxford, 2008)