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EH 451/551: Arthurian Romance


In Arthurian Romance, we will examine the early writings of the Arthur legend in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s twelfth-century Latin
History of the Kings of Britain and Chretien de Troyes’ Old French Yvain: The Knight of the Lion before moving forward to the Gawain romances of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. We will culminate our class with an examination of the most famous Arthurian text of the Middle Ages, Thomas Malory’s Le Morte Darthur, one of the earliest print publications in the English language. Along the way we will consider “romance” as a literary genre, we will ponder “chivalry” as a motivating cultural context, and we will examine these texts for their confrontations with medieval theories of sovereignty and territory. Is Arthur always a hero? How do fate, divine right (an early modern concept), imperialism, and sovereign servitude become entangled in these many Arthurian texts in ways that we might not have expected from our modern understandings of King Arthur? What is the role of this most-unhistorical of kings in the political and cultural history of northwestern Europe?



Syllabus

Assignments

Writing the Seminar Paper



Helpful Links:
        Middle English Dictionary
        
ORB: Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies
        TEAMS Middle English Texts Series
        Medievalist.net
        Internet Medieval Sourcebook
        In the Middle (medievalist blog)
        Art of Courtly Love
        Cotton Nero A.x (University of Calgary)
        Verbs of Attribution
        MLA Documentation


Calendar (tentative)


Aug 21 Introductions, Syllabus

HW (Homework): Read Geoffrey of Monmouth, History of the Kings of Britain pp. 212-61

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Aug 26 Geoffrey of Monmouth’s History of the Kings of Britain

HW: Read Gaunt “Romance and Other Genres,” Keuper, “The societal role of chivalry in romance: northwestern Europe” (on ANGEL)


Aug 28 “Romance” as a genre

HW: Read Yvain 1-1942

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Sept 2 Yvain

HW: Read Yvain 1943-3130


Sept 4 Yvain

HW: Read Yvain 3131-5346

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Sept 9 Yvain

HW: Read Yvain 5347-end


Sept 11 Yvain

Read Elshtain, Sovereignty: God, State, and Self, pp. 1-55 (handout); Kantorowicz, from The King’s Two Bodies (pp. 24-41) (ANGEL)

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Sept 16  Medieval Theories of Sovereignty

HW: Read Middle English material


Sept 18  Introduction to Middle English

HW: Read Sir Orfeo, Freud, “The Uncanny” (both on ANGEL)

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Sept 23 ; Sir Orfeo and the Auchinleck MS

HW: Read Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Parts I


Sept 25 Reading Response Paper Due; Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

HW: Read Sir Gawain and the Green Knight  Parts II and III

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Sept 30 Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

HW: Read Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Part IV


Oct 2 Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

HW: Finish Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

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Oct. 7 Sir Gawain and the Green Knight


Oct 9 Fall Break

HW: Read Knight, “All Dressed Up…” (ANGEL)

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Oct 14 Literary Research and Writing; discuss Knight article

HW: Read Sir Gawain and the Carle of Carlisle


Oct 16 Sir Gawain and the Carle of Carlisle

HW: Read The Wedding of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnelle

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Oct 21 Close Reading Papers Due; The Wedding of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnelle

HW:Read The Awntyrs off Arthur


Oct 23 The Awntyrs off Arthur

HW: Read The Avowing of Arthur

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Oct 28 The Avowing of Arthur

HW: Finish The Avowing or begin Malory


Oct 30 The Avowing of Arthur

HW: Read Malory Le Morte Darthur, pp. 1-39, “Kynge Uther” and “How Uther Pendragon Gate the Noble Conqueror Kyng Arthur”

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Nov 4 Uther-Arthur/ Arthur-Uther

HW: Read Malory Le Morte Darthur, pp. 40-61, “The Tale of Balyn and Balan”


Nov 6 Balyn and Balan

HW: Malory Le Morte Darthur, pp. 78-112, “Aftire thes Questis”

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Nov 11 Abstracts and Annotated Bibliographies Due; Arthur’s conquests

HW: Read Malory Le Morte Darthur, pp. 113-51, “The Noble Tale Betwyxt Kynge Arthure and Lucius The Emperour of Rome”


Nov 13 Arthur and Rome

HW: Read Malory Le Morte Darthur, pp. 151-76, “A Noble Tale of Sir Launcelot Du Lake”; begin pp. 496-587 “The Noble Tale of the Sankgreal”

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Nov 18 Sir Launcelot Du Lake

HW: Finish Malory Le Morte Darthur, pp. 496-587 “The Noble Tale of the Sankgreal”


Nov 20 The Noble Tale of the Sankgreal

HW: Malory Le Morte Darthur, pp. 588-645, “The Tale of Sir Launcelot and Quene Gwenyvere”

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Nov 25 Lancelot and Guinevere

HW: Malory Le Morte Darthur, pp. 646-698, “The Death of Arthur”


Nov 27  Thanksgiving Day

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Dec 2 The Death of Arthur

HW: Complete Final Essays


Final Essays Due Dec. 5

Final Exam: Take Home Due Tuesday Dec. 9 by 5pm