English 150

Senior Seminar: 14th-Century Alliterative Traditions

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
2 Fall 2004 Middleton, Anne
Middleton, Anne
MW 10-12 204 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

"BOOKS REQUIRED (all in paperback) (E = early in course; M = middle; L = late)

M - Piers Plowman: An Edition of the C-Text, ed. Derek Pearsall. University of Exeter [England] Press (distributed in US by Northwestern U Press), 1994. 0-85989-429-0 [$16.95]

E - Poems of the Pearl Manuscript, ed. M. Andrew and R. Waldron. University of Exeter [England] Press (distributed in US by Northwestern U Press), 1997. 0-85989-514-9 [$19.95]

E - Wynnere and Wastoure and the Parlement of the Thre Ages, ed. Warren Ginsberg. Medieval Institute Publications, 1992. 1-879288-26-5 [$7.00]

M - The Piers Plowman Tradition, ed. Helen Barr. J. M. Dent, 1993. 0-460-87050-5 [$8.95]

L - King Arthur's Death: The Middle English The Stanzaic Morte Arthur and The Alliterative Morte Arthure, Ed. Larry D. Benson and Edward E. Foster. Medieval Institute Publications, 1994. 1-879288-38-9 [$13.] "


"This seminar will read a substantial selection of the best alliterative poetry of the later 14C in England. These works represent an intensive cultivation, during a few decades, of a metrical preference with much deeper roots in earlier English verse, and a short ""afterlife."" We will examine the literary and cultural significance of this brief flourishing of alliterative verse--and the relations of the ""masterpieces"" of the form to antecedent and subsequent writings in this form--as it offers an unusual medieval case of the self-conscious clustering of explicit literary values and ideologies around a formal practice, and the nuanced articulation of relations between forms and cultural meanings.

Students will write a long (~15-18 pp) final research paper, reporting more briefly throughout the term on each of several steps in research and writing. There will also be a library reserve list, and a selection of photocopied material in a reader. "

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