Readings in Late Medieval Literature and Culture (Pre-1800)

L610 — Spring 2017

Karma Lochrie
Ballantine Hall 321
Days and Times
1:00p-2:15p TR
Course Description

This course is an introduction to the one of the most experimental and cutting-edge works of English literature. A 7000-line dream vision written by William Langland, Piers Plowman is also something on the order of a fourteenth century the Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. A work that challenges on many fronts—aesthetically, poetically, allegorically, and politically—Piers Plowman also intersects in important and vivid ways with the world of late medieval England. Quoted by the rebels in the Rising of 1381, this text seems to have inspired readers of the late fourteenth-century and beyond with its social, political, religious, and legal critiques. This course will take the time to read carefully the B-version of this frequently revised masterpiece, along with the cultural contexts alliterative poetics, and literary forms that it so brilliantly complicates, and the legacy of the poem in the fifteenth century and the Protestant sixteenth-century. We will delve into the manuscript history of the poem in conjunction with a visit to the Lilly Library. We will read a variety of secondary scholarship on this poem by way of defining some of the major theoretical and historical approaches to it. Requirements for the course will include an in-class presentation, a book review, and a conference-length research paper (10-12 pages).

Interested in this course?

The full details of this course are available on the Office of the Registrar website.

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