ENGLISH 335: Medieval Life and Literature.
Fall Semester, 2001

 

David Mycoff
Office: Jensen 208
Office Phone: 771-3127
Home Phone: 296-1142
Email: dmycoff@warren-wilson.edu
Website: http://www.warren-wilson.edu/~dmycoff/

URL FOR THE WEB-SYLLABUS: http://www.warren-wilson.edu/~dmycoff/MLL01.htm


Go to OVERVIEW OF COURSE: Required Texts, Basic Course Requirements, Formal Writing Requirements, Alternative Assignment, Grading, Weights of Assignments

Go to Syllabus of Daily Assignments


Required Texts

         Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy. Oxford and NY: Oxford University Press.

         Song of Roland. Translated from the Old French by Robert Harrison. NAL/Dutton.

         Beowulf. Translated from the Anglo-Saxon by Seamus Heaney. NY: WW Norton.

         Petrarch, Selections from the Canzoniere. Translated from the Italian by Mark Musa.

         Dante Alighieri, La vita nuova. Translated from the Italian by Mark Musa.

         Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy: Inferno. Translated from the Italian by Allen Mandelbaum. Bantam.

         Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy: Purgatorio. Translated from the Italian by Allen Mandelbaum. Bantam.

         Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy: Paradiso. Translated from the Italian by Allen Mandelbaum. Bantam.

         Gottfried von Strassburg, Tristan. Translated from the Middle High German by A.T. Hatto. Penguin.

         Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Edited by Brian Stone. Penguin.

         Sir Thomas Malory, Le Morte Darthure. NY and Oxford: Oxford University Press.

         Julian of Norwich, The Shewings of Julian of Norwich. Kalamazoo, MI: Medieval Institute Publications.

Basic Course Requirements

         Faithful attendance

         Punctual completion of assignments

         Midterm and Final Exam

         Formal papers (see below)

         Miscellaneous informal writing assignments. Each week everyone will write one 1-2 page informal response to the week's reading, due on the last class meeting of each week.

Formal Writing Requirements

Students will submit a total of twenty pages of FINISHED formal writing, either independent research, or literary-critical analysis, or some combination thereof. These twenty pages will be distributed in one of the two following ways:

1 twenty-page paper OR

2 ten-page papers


Students will inform me which of these three options they will select before the end of the THIRD week of class.
Students will set their own deadlines for these papers within the following guidelines:

         The twenty-page paper must be submitted on or before Friday of the fourteenth week.

         One of the ten-page papers must be submitted on or before the Friday of the seventh week and the other on or before Friday of the fourteenth week.

         Students will inform me in writing of their self-set deadlines at the time when they inform me of the writing option they have selected.

Grading

I use numerical grades and a weighted arithmetic mean.

The following are letter and numerical grade equivalents: 90-100 = A; 80-89 = B; 70-79 = C; 60-69 = D; below 60 = F.

Weights of Assignments

         Midterm 1

         Final 1

         Formal Writing Assignments (total) 8
Distributed as follows
Twenty-page paper 8
Ten-page papers 4 each

         Failure to submit weekly informal writing or to fulfill other miscellaneous assignments not covered in the weight distributions will result in subtraction of 5 points from the final course grade for each assignment not fulfilled.

Please note: I am happy to work through drafts of formal papers with you, IF you request such work a reasonable time in advance, certainly, at least a week in advance.


Syllabus of daily assignments.

NOTE: this on-line version of the syllabus for Medieval Life and Literature has live links to internet materials (brief readings, texts not otherwise easily accessible, architectural photographs, virtual tours of medieval sites, manuscript images, and the like). It is important to use a computer that delivers good quality graphics. Notice that these internet materials are NOT optional unless so noted.

NOTE: ALTHOUGH I TRY TO KEEP MY LINKS CURRENT, INTERNET SITES ARE CONSTANTLY MOVING OR BEING TAKEN DOWN. IF YOU FIND THAT A LINK HAS "BROKEN," PLEASE LET ME KNOW. FROM TIME TO TIME, I MIGHT CHANGE THE INTERNET MATERIALS SPECIFIED FOR LATER CLASS MEETINGS, SO BE SURE TO CHECK THE ASSIGNMENT A DAY OR TWO BEFORE THE CLASS MEETING TO BE SURE THAT YOU KNOW WHAT THE CURRENT ASSIGNMENT IS.

The course is divided into two large units, the first designated "Warrior and Court Cultures," dealing with epic, chanson d'aventure, romance, and other court or "chivalric" works, including Arthurian materials; and the second, designated "Poets, Intellectuals, Monks, and Citizens," dealing with a wide variety of works informed by medieval philosophy, theology, political theory, and aesthetic theory and practice, including, most prominently, the major poetry of Dante Alighieri.

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UNIT ONE: WARRIOR AND COURT CULTURES

WEEK ONE

Aug. 27 M. Introduction to the course.

W 29. Heaney's introducton to Beowulf, pp. ix-xxx; Beowulf, ll. 1-2199 (pp. 2-149).

F 31. Beowulf, ll. 2200-3182 (pp. 145-213).

WEEK TWO

Sept. 3 M. Song of Roland, Laisse 1-179. Read the short account of the Battle of Poitiers by an anonymous Arab and the three accounts from different sources of the same battle. Read the page or so of extracts from Einhard's Life of Charlemagne (the full text is optional for those who get interested). Also read the translations from the General Capitulary of the Missi (802). These were issued by Charlemagne in the first year of his reign as emperor and outline the duties of his "missi"--officials sent out rather like circuit riding judges to represent the emperor in scattered areas. The capitularies also underscore some of the obligations of subjects to the emperor and his representatives. And read the brief summons to the army. View the following images.(1) Muslim and Christian knights in battle; (2) A Muslim army besieges a Christian city; (3) Muslim warriors from an Islamic manuscript.; (4) a manuscript page (c. 1370) depicting four battle scenes; (5) Saracens disguised as devils. And explore the Bayeux Tapestry. These are large images, so use your direction arrows to view them in full.

W 5. Song of Roland, Laisse 180-291. Take the virtual tour of Durham Castle. Follow the point and click instructions. Also view the following. (1)Bodiam Castle, East Sussex, England; (2) Another view of Bodiam; (3) Bodiam Gatehouse; (4) Chapel Window at Bodiam; (5) Great Hall at Bodiam; (6) Arundel Castle, West Sussex ; (7) Keep at Arundel; (8) Inner Courtyard at Arudel; (9) Arundel Gatehouse; (10) Arundel Battlements and Keep; (11) Arundel Curtain Wall. Also view the following illustrations from a fifteenth-century manuscript of the Great Chronicle of France: (1) Coronation of Charlemagne; (2) Charlemagne enthroned ; (3) Charlemagne's dream; (4) Charlemagne Killing a Saracen; (5) Charlemagne and Agolant; (6) Retreat of the Saracens ; (7) Roland and Ferragut; (8) Battle of Roncevalles; (9) Death of Roland; (10) Turpin's Vision ; (11) Ganelon and Thierry; (12) Torture of Ganelon.

WEEK THREE

M 10. In-class video on medieval music.

Read ahead in Friday's LONG assignment.

W 12. Selections of medieval music in class. Read "What is Early Music?. In order to get a sense of the spaces in which some of this music would be performed, select at least one of the following virtual tours. Follow instructions at the site selected. (1) Durham Cathedral; (2)York Minster; (3) Canterbury Cathedral. Note that the first "click-on item" that you encounter on the Canterbury site is not part of the cathedral tour: it's "Pilgrimage 2000-Virtual Pilgrimage." Though well-worth a browse, it is not a required part of this assignment.
View the following images. (1) Page from Gaffurius, Practica Musica, c. 1492; (2)Lute player at a bath house; (3) Hans Memling's Angel playing lute (.c 1470; (4)King David as Harper; (5) Same subject; (6) Musicians at a funeral ("Burial custons of the East". What do these images suggest about medieval attitudes and perceptions concerning musicians and music?
Read ahead in Friday's LONG assignment.

F 14. Gottfried von Strassburg, Tristan, pp. 41-228. View the following images. (1) Queen Elinor of Aquitaine presides over courtly entertainments and arts; (2) Page from Christine de Pisan's Book of the City of Ladies, c. 1405. Also view the following images from Gaston Phoebus, Book of Hunting. What do these images suggest about the role of hunting in masculine court culture? (1)Gaston Phoebus, Hunters, and Hounds; (2) Bears; (3) Otters; (4) Veterinarians Treating Dogs; (5) Kennel; (6) Preparation for a hunt; (7) Preparing traps for a hunt; (8) Dog scenting a trail; (9) Dog scenting a stag; (10) Hunter listening to a stag's call; (11) Pause for lunch; (12) Stag hunt; (13) Cutting up the stag; (14) Fleshing the hounds; (15) Cutting up a boar and fleshing the hounds; (16) Traps and snares; (17) Boar trap; (18) Bear trap; (19) Boar trap in orchard; (20) Boar hunt; (21) Stag hunt; (22) Hunter behind decoy.

WEEK FOUR

M 17. Tristan, pp. 229-297. Thomas of England, Tristran, pp. 301-353.

W 19. In-class video: King Arthur: His Life and Legends. Read the short excerpts from Andreas Capellanus, The Art of Courtly Love.


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WEEK FIVE

M 24. Sir Gawain and the Grene Knight (all). Introduction to Malory, pp. vii-xxxvi. Malory, Le Morte Darthur, pp. 2-57. View the illustration of a Feast of the Order of the Star.

W 26. Sir Gawain, discussion continued. Malory, pp. 58-94.

F 28. Malory, pp. 95-168.

WEEK SIX

M Oct. 1. Malory, pp. 169-280.

W 3. Malory, pp. 281-334.

WEEK SEVEN

M 8. Malory, pp. 335-467.

M 10. Malory, pp. 467-527.

F 12. MIDTERM EXAM

UNIT TWO: POETS, INTELLECTUALS, MONKS, AND CITIZENS

WEEK EIGHT

M 15. Introduction to Boethius, pp. xi-lii. Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy, Books 1-2. View some medieval images of the world: view the Beatus Psalter map of the world, the Hereford Mappamundi,and the Ebstorf Mappamundi, making sure to read the "monograph" that you access at the very bottom of the page (monographs for the other two maps are interesting but optional). Also be sure to view the color reproduction and the detail-views of Eden and Gog-Magog. Also view the following images from Bartholomeus Anglicanus, On the Properties of Things: (1) The Human Body; (2) Body and Soul; (3) Elements and Humors of the Human Body; (4) Zodiac and the Elements; (5) On Form and Matter; (6) Birds. Also view another image of (4) human anatomy from a different medieval source. Read the following brief background pieces on Theodoric the Ostrogoth, the emperor who condemned Boethius to death. (1) Jordane's brief sketch; (2) Extracts from Theodoric's letters; and also (3) my material on Platonism.

W 17. Boethius, Books 3-5. View the following images. (1) Page from a 13th century copy of The Consolation of Philosophy; (2) Binding of a 15th century copy of The Consolation of Philosophy.

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OCT. 20-28, FALL BREAK.

WEEK NINE

M 29. In-class video: Medieval Art. Read ahead in this week's assignments.

W 31. Introduction to Petrarch, pp. ix-xix. Petrarch, The Ascent of Mount Ventoux, pp. 11-19. Selections from the Canzoniere, pp. 21-77.

F Nov. 2. Dante Alighieri, Vita Nuova, Section 1-21 (pp. 3-42).

WEEK TEN

M 5. Vita Nuova, Section 22-42 (pp. 43-84).

W 7. Dante, Commedia: Inferno, Canto 1-2. . Read Teolinda Barolini, "Dante and the Lyric Past," in The Cambridge Companion to Dante, Chp. 2. [Scroll down the menu in the left column to "Scholar's Works," click "Cambridge Companion." At the next display, scroll down to Chp. 2, and click. Divine Comedy, Inferno, Cantos 1-2.
View Bartolomeo's map of Dante's hell at the "Digital Dante" site. Be sure to click your "maximize" button to get the full image. . Also view Dore's illustrationsfor Cantos 1 and 2. Also view Botticellli's illustrations of the map of hell and "The Dark Wood" of Canto 1. And also Alberto Sughi's "Virgil Conducts Dante into Hell"; Blake's "Dante and Virgil at the Gates of Hell; and the exhibition of Rodin's "The Gates of Hell".

WEEK ELEVEN

M 12. Inferno, Canto 3-12. View Botticelli's illustrations for the cantos we are discussing today.
The story of Paolo and Francesca in Canto 5 has appealed to the imaginations of many artists, inspiring many pieces of music and many works of visual art. View the following examples of visual representations of this pair of lovers. (1) Illustrations by Cassioli, Dore, Feuerbach, Ingres, and Scheffer at the Digital Dante site; (2) Blake's illustration; (3)Kokocinski's illustration. What might we hypothesize about the history of reception-response to the story from this little sampling?

W 14. Inferno, Canto 13-24. View Botticelli's illustrations for the cantos we are discussing today and Blake's "Old Man of Crete (Canto 14).

F. 16. Inferno, Canto 24-34. View Botticelli's illustrations for the cantos we are discussing today. Also view the following two illustrations by Robert Rauschenberg, and see if you can decide what part of Inferno they illustrate: First Image; Second Image. And view Jennifer Stranges's exhibition of Dante-inspired pieces.

WEEK TWELVE:

M 19. Dante, Commedia: Purgatorio, Canto 1-11. View two maps of Dante's Purgatory, the 15th century Florentine map and the mid-15th century map. Be sure to click your "maximize" button to the full image. View Botticelli's illustrations for the cantos we are discussing today.

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NOV. 21-25, THANKSGIVING BREAK

WEEK THIRTEEN

M 26. Purgatorio, Canto 12-24. View Botticelli's illustrations for the cantos we are discussing today.

W 28. Purgatorio, Canto 25-33. View Botticelli's illustrations for the cantos we are discussing today . Read John Hollander's "Dante's Virgil: A Light That Failed".

F 30. Dante, Commedia: Paradiso, Canto 1-12. In the discussion of conflict between Franciscans and Dominicans, St. Bonaventure's great predecessor, St. Francis is mentioned. View Giotto's frescoes of scenes from the life of St. Francis. Note that there are TWO sites to visit here. Scroll through the sites, clicking for the small, medium, or large image as you chose. (1) Scenes from Giotto's St. Francis series 1; (2) Scenes from Giotto's St. Francis series 2. View Botticelli's illustrations for the cantos we are discussing today. View two maps of Dante's Paradise, the 15th century Florentine map and the first mid-15th century map. Be sure to click your maximize button to get the full image.

WEEK FOURTEEN

M Dec. 3. Paradiso, Canto 13-24. View Botticelli's illustrations for the cantos we are discussing today.

W 5. Paradiso, Canto 25-33. View Botticelli's illustrations for the cantos we are discussing today and Salvador Dali's. illustrations of the Divine Comedy. You need to click through two pages before you get to the real beginning of the exhibit. For most of the Dali pieces, you can double-click on the image to get a larger display.

WEEK FIFTEEN

M 10. Dante, continued. Joan Ferrante, Dante's Beatrice: Priest of an Androgynous God (reserve).

W 12. Introduction to Julian of Norwich, pp. 1-23. Julian, Shewings, pp. 37-87. One of Julian's great predecessors in the tradition of women's contemplative spirituality was the abbess, writer, artist, musician, and visionary, Hildegard of Bingen. View the following reproductions of some of Hildegard's art work (follow instructions at the site for viewing the images): "The Cosmic Egg"; The Human Soul"; "Light Stars, Dark Stars" (The Fall of Angels); "Mandala" (The Heavenly Choirs); "The Tent"; "Wisdom"; "Tree of Life"; "Three Wings" (Probably an image of God and The Kingdom); "The Human Universals," aka Adam.


F 14. Shewings, pp. 88-125.

WEEK SIXTEEN

M 17. Shewings, pp. 125-155.

W 19. FINAL EXAM

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