Charles Explorer logo

English Literature 5: Medieval

Class at Faculty of Arts |

This text is not available in the current language. Showing version "cs".Syllabus

1. Introduction.

2. "Swutol sang scopes": heroic poetry and the Anglo-Saxon culture before the conversion The Battle of Finnsburh, Waldere A, Widsi? (selected passages)

3. Old tongues, new songs: the coming of Christianity a) The Battle of Maldon, Beowulf, the Wanderer (selected passages) b) Andreas (selected passages) c) Caedmon's Hymn, Bede: Historia Ecclesiastica (selected passages)

4. Old English poetry: chronological and generic overview a) religious poetry: Christ I, II, Juliana (selected passages) b) miscellany: Deor, Riddle 35, Wulf and Eadwacer, Charm Against a Sudden Stitch

5. Old English prose: development The Laws of Wihtred, Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Alfred: Preface to Pastoral Care, Aelfric: Life of St. Oswald, Wulfstan: Sermo Lupi ad Anglos

6. From Old English to Middle English literature The Dream of the Rood, Ancrene Wisse (selected passages)

7. Middle English lyrics The European context. Popular, courtly and religious varieties

8. "Courtly literature": romances The European context. Expanding the limits of the genre King Horn, The Weddynge of Sir Gawen and Dame Ragnell, Chaucer: The Tale of Sir Thopas, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (selected passages)

9. Middle English literature: chronological and generic overview Chaucer: Franklin's Tale, Miller's Tale; Dame Sirith; The Fox and the Wolf (selected passages)


1 Literature of the Middle Ages. Through a series of miniature textual analyses, this survey course seeks to explore the literature as a product of the medieval mind. The selected texts will be distributed in original with a glossary and, especially in case of Old English literature, in translation. During the reading, we will focus on the central issues of medieval literature:

1. the status of a (literary) text in Early and High Middle Ages;

2. the interaction of oral (native) and learned (Latinate) traditions;

3. the concept of genre; the developments of and interactions between genres;

4. the European context of medieval English literature.