English 210: Medieval and Early Modern Literature: 400 to 1600
The course will provide a lively and wide-ranging introduction to the literature of the Middle Ages and Early Modern Periods, an introduction which will attempt to place texts remote from the modern age in their social and historical contexts. The course can be completed 100% Asynchronously. All class members who complete the course will receive both "W" credit and VLPA Credit. There will be a full series of recorded lectures and a range of other materials provided online. The production of the recordings will involve the offering of "Live" sessions at a particular time (MTWTh 9:40-11:50), but these are not required, and they will not affect the grade in any way at all (attending or not attending online), and all materials will recorded and made available online, right away, to be consulted at your own pace. There will be an online "Asynchronous Question and Comment" Discussion Board, providing precisely the same opportunities as the Chat medium in the "Live" recording sessions. We will read some of the best-known poems of the Old and Middle English periods (including Beowulf), as well as a selection of lesser-known Old English poems; medieval romance literature, including Sir Gawain and the Green Knight; and Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. The treatment of Early Modern texts will be supported by discussion of the reception of the main course texts by 16th-century authors, from Wyatt to Spenser and Shakespeare. There will be a mid-term, as well as a second exam at the end of Week Four, but, however, there is no Final, as such -- and, indeed, in Summer A-Term, there is no Finals Week. There will be a major term paper, with an emphasis on written work (at the "W" level) leading up to that; and opportunities to produce additional shorter papers (also at the "W" level) for Extra Credit. The two brief (50-minute), Catalyst-based examinations will be offered in two formats, both in a single 50-minute period during one of the "Live" sessions, and in a 100% Asynchronous format that can be opened and completed (again in a 50-minute period) at any point over a period of about four days (Thurs. noon until Sunday midnight).
Hamer, Richard, trans., A Choice of Anglo-Saxon Verse, 2nd ed. (Faber, 2015)
Heaney, Seamus, trans., Beowulf: A New Verse Trans. (dual-lang. ed.) (Norton, 2001)
Armitage, Simon, trans., Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (Norton, 1992)
Beidler, Peter, trans. Chaucer: Canterbury Tales, rev. ed. (Bantam, 2006)
Early Modern Texts of the Sixteenth Century (Handouts)