Fall 2021 | Half unit of credit | Tuesday and Thursday 12:00 – 1:15 |
Dr. Anna Smol | Email: email@example.com | @AnnaMSmol
Hours: My office hours will be posted closer to September. If you have any questions or concerns for now, please email me.
This course will examine 13th – and 14th -century travel narratives, imaginative geographies, and pilgrimage experiences. From the first Norse contact with Indigenous North Americans recounted in the Vinland Sagas to selected tales by Geoffrey Chaucer’s pilgrims on the road to Canterbury, we will explore movements of people in both fact and fiction. Our readings will include Margery Kempe’s account of her pilgrimages to Europe and Jerusalem; Ibn Battuta’s extensive travels in Africa and Asia; the fantastical quest into the wilderness in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight; and the popular adventures attributed to John Mandeville. These English, French, Norse, and Arabic sources will be read in modern English translations, except for Chaucer’s tales, which we will learn to read in Middle English. Throughout the course, we will examine the racial, religious, and gender boundaries that are either crossed or defended in these various narratives of cultural encounters around the world.
Pre-requisites: Although the minimum requirement for an upper-level seminar course such as this one is successful completion of one unit of literature at the 1000 level, it is strongly recommended that you have some experience in a 2000-level English course before registering in a senior seminar.
Successful completion of this course will accomplish several aims. You will learn about some of the major authors and genres in medieval literature, thus extending your knowledge of the medieval literary tradition and possibly challenging your preconceptions about the society and literature of this time. You will learn to read Chaucer’s work in Middle English, which will also give you an awareness of the history and development of the English language, including a look at the different dialect of the Gawain poet. You will gain experience communicating ideas orally and in writing. While acquiring a knowledge of research conventions and resources, you will be able to investigate topics that interest you.
A list of texts will be available later this summer. Stay tuned!