01:30 PM to 02:45 PM MW
Nguyen Engineering Building 1108
Section Information for Spring 2023
Brave knights, fair maidens, and… goat-bird-human hybrids? In this course, we’ll move beyond the Hollywood tropes and delve into the richly imaginative world of Middle English literature. In particular, we’ll focus on medieval ideas about heroism and monstrosity. Both heroes and monsters are, in some sense, super-human. So how do medieval writers distinguish between the two? Why are some types of exceptionalism considered admirable, and others terrifying or even dangerous? By sampling a wide range of medieval genres, from adventure stories to political satire, we’ll consider how medieval writers use heroic and monstrous figures to explore what it means to be human.
No prior knowledge of Middle English is expected—we’ll devote ample time to learning how to read this fascinating literature in its original language. Come one, come all!