English 250

Research Seminar: The Medieval Lyric

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
6 Fall 2006 Lerer, Seth
M 3-6 104 Dwinelle

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T.B. A.


"This course surveys the forms, traditions, and environments of lyric poetry in the European Middle Ages. It will read closely in examples from Latin and the vernacular languages, but it also hopes to ask some broader theoretical and cultural questions about the nature of genre, the material culture of medieval literacy, and the possibilities for literary criticism of past objects of aesthetic value. The course hopes to be responsive to student interest and expertise, but at the very least it hopes to survey in some detail the Middle English lyric, the work of the Troubadours and Trouveres, the Minnesang, and the ongoing production of Latin verse, from

the Carolngian period to the fifteenth century. In addition to exploring these literary traditions, we will examine ways of writing about them in the work of current literary critics. Finally, I hope to call attention to the manuscript environments of medieval lyric poetry: the anthologies that transmitted the poetry; the multi-lingual culture of medieval England; and the ways in which certain long poems (e.g., Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde) were read, copied, and reworked as assemblies of lyric expression.

Students will be expected to read widely in the assigned texts and

criticism; each student will be expected to deliver a brief oral report during a seminar meeting (in essence, open up the class discussion on a given topic); and each student will be required to write a final research paper keyed to the texts, themes, and concerns of the course. "

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