The medieval period (1100–1500) was a time of remarkable innovation and transformation, with a legacy that endures to this day. Successive waves of immigration created a melting pot of peoples and languages in Britain. At the same time, individuals wrestled with the discovery of new worlds, both externally and within themselves. Travel, the crusades, and territorial conquest brought men and women into contact with strange and distant cultures. Advances in learning raised new questions about the nature of the self, man's relationship to the natural world, and the human capacity for love. The creative response to this dizzying series of developments is one of the most captivating, shocking, and exciting episodes in the history of English literature. Medieval authors drew deeply on the multicultural legacy of the Anglo-Saxon past and blended this with new literary, spiritual, and scientific ideas from elsewhere in Europe and beyond. Ancient texts were rediscovered and radical aesthetic experiments attempted. This module invites you to share in the shock of the new by reading a selection of major texts from the period, including romance, natural history, mystical visions, some of the earliest works of fiction, and even a medieval detective story. Along the way, you will encounter a cast of unforgettable characters, not least the legendary King Arthur, several werewolves, a runaway mystic, and a parliament of birds debating the meaning of love. The module includes visits to sites in the centre of York, one of the best-preserved medieval cities in Britain, where you will be encouraged to reflect creatively on the relationship between medieval literature and the built environment.
|A||Autumn Term 2019-20|
This module will introduce students to literature composed in Britain during the Middle Ages (c.1100–1500), a vibrant epoch that had a profound influence on later periods, extending up to the present day. Students will form an appreciation of the linguistic diversity, internationalism, and creativity of medieval literature.
On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:
Demonstrate an informed understanding of and engagement with a range of texts and genres from the Middle Ages (c.1100–1500).
Demonstrate an informed understanding of and engagement with some of the main innovations in literary culture across the medieval period, and the multilingual and international character of medieval literature.
Examine key debates and critical contexts, demonstrating linguistic and critical skills in the close reading of medieval texts, both in Middle English and in translation.
Develop oral and written arguments which demonstrate a proficiency in critical thinking and research skills.
|Task||Length||% of module mark|
|Departmental - attendance requirement
1000 word research / analysis task
2500 word Essay
|Task||Length||% of module mark|
Reassessment: 3000 word essay
Seminar participation mark
You will receive feedback on all assessed work within the University deadline, and will often receive it more quickly. The purpose of feedback is to inform your future work; it is designed to help you to improve your work, and the Department also offers you help in learning from your feedback. If you do not understand your feedback or want to talk about your ideas further you can discuss it with your tutor or your supervisor, during their Open Office Hours https://www.york.ac.uk/english/students/
Key texts for this module may include:
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