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EH 451/551: Arthurian Romance

In Arthurian Romance, we will examine the early writings of the Arthur legend in Welsh histories, 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 numerous Gawain romances of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, read in the original Middle English. We will culminate our class with an examination of the most famous Arthurian text of the Middle Ages, Thomas Malory’s Le Morte Darthur, also one of the earliest print publications in the English language. Along the way we will consider “romance” as a literary genre and we will ponder “chivalry” as a motivating cultural context. Furthermore, we will consider the ways that genre and theme capture and confound gender and gender relations in each of these texts, all within the purview of sovereignty, territoriality, and power. What is the role of this most-unhistorical of kings in the political and cultural history of northwestern Europe? Is Arthur always a hero? How do these stories illustrate the complicated place of women within male-dominated regimes? How do Arthurian texts parse out relationships between power and territory? In the Fall 2016, we will look at these questions specifically through the lens of the environmental humanities: ecocriticism, ecofeminism, critical animal studies, and biopolitics. How do these texts re-present relationships among medieval humans and other animals, landscapes and other living things, in larger dramas of love, passion, imperialism and fate?


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)


****Before first class: read Garrard pp.1-32 and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle entry for the year 1087 (http://avalon.law.yale.edu/medieval/ang11.asp)


Aug 17 Introductions, Syllabus

HW (Homework): Read Sir Gawain and the Carl of Carlisle in Hahn (both introduction and poem) and Garrard “Wilderness”


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Aug. 22 Sir Gawain and the Carl of Carlisle [forest vs. wilderness]

HW: Read The Wedding of Dame Ragnelle and Sir Gawain in Hahn (both introduction and poem); Read Alaimo and Hekman “Emerging Models of Materiality” (CANVAS)


Aug. 24 The Wedding of Dame Ragnelle and Sir Gawain

HW: Geoffrey of Monmouth, History of the Kings of Britain pp. 212-61 and Rudd, “Sea and Coast” (CANVAS)


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Aug 29 Geoffrey of Monmouth’s History of the Kings of Britain and Arthurian waterways

HW: Read Gerald of Wales; Rouse “Reading Ruins” (CANVAS)


Aug. 31 Arthur and the ruins of England

HW: Read Yvain 1-3130, Gaunt “Romance and Other Genres,” Keuper, “The societal role of chivalry in romance: northwestern Europe” (on CANVAS)


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Sept. 5 no class


Sept. 7 Yvain; “Romance” as a genre

HW: Read Yvain 3130-5347; Read Steel “Domesticating Beasts” (CANVAS)

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Sept 12 Yvain

HW: Finish Yvain; Garrard “Animals”


Sept 14 Yvain


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Sept 19  Yvain

HW: Read Read Sir Orfeo (CANVAS); Garrard, “Dwelling”


Sept 21  Sir Orfeo and the Auchinleck MS; Reading Response Paper Due (by midnight)

HW: Read Sir Gawain and the Green Knight  Parts I and II; Rudd, “Wilds, Waste, and Wildernesses” (CANVAS)

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Sept 26  Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

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


Sept 28 ; Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

HW: Read Merchant “Nature as Female” and Morton, “Queer Ecology” (CANVAS)

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Oct. 3 Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

HW: Soper “The Discourses of Nature” (CANVAS)


Oct 5 Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

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

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Oct. 10 Literary Research and Writing; discuss Knight article

HW: Complete papers; The Awntyrs off Arthur in Hahn and Garrard “Apocalypse”


Oct 12 The Awntyrs off Arthur

HW: Read Kelly “Lost Geographies” (CANVAS)

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Oct 17 Close Reading Papers Due; The Awntyrs off Arthur and ecological mourning

HW: The Avowing of Arthur in Hahn


Oct 19 The Avowing of Arthur

HW: Read The Knightly Tale of Gologras and Gawain in Hahn

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Oct 24 The Knightly Tale of Gologras and Gawain

HW: Read Morton, “Ecology Without Nature” (CANVAS)


Oct 26  Flex Day

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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Oct 31 Uther-Arthur/ Arthur-Uther

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

Nov 2 Balyn and Balan

HW: Malory Le Morte Darthur, pp. 78-112, “Aftire thes Questis”; pp. 113-51, “The Noble Tale Betwyxt Kynge Arthure and Lucius The Emperor of Rome”

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Nov 7 Abstracts and Annotated Bibliographies Due; Arthur’s conquests

HW: Read Lavezzo, “The Sea and Border Crossings in the Alliterative Morte Arthure” (CANVAS)


Nov 9 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 14 Sir Launcelot Du Lake

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


Nov 16 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 21 Lancelot and Guinevere

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


Nov 23  No class


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Nov 28 The Death of Arthur

HW: Complete Final Essays


Final Essays Due Friday Dec. 2

Final Exam: Take Home Due Wednesday Dec. 7 by 5pm