English 190

Research Seminar: Poetry and Poetics in the Middle Ages

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
11 Fall 2015 T. B. A. TTh 2-3:30 305 Wheeler Pre-1800 Requirement
Old English
Middle English
Research Seminars

Book List

Chaucer, Geoffrey: Dream Visions and Other Poems; Delanty, Greg and Michael Matto, eds.: The Word Exchange: Anglo-Saxon Poems in Translation; Hoffman, Richard L. and Maxwell S. Luria, eds.: Middle English Lyrics; Lydgate, John: Mummings and Entertainments; Reames, Sherry, ed.: Middle English Legends of Women Saints; Shuffleton, George, ed.: Codez Ashmole 61: A Compilation of Popular Middle English Verse; Stanbury, Sarah, ed.: Pearl

Other Readings and Media

Online Course Packet including additional selections from: (primary works) Horace, Quintilian, Augustine, Jerome, Isidore of Seville, Judith, Guthlac A, Dream of the Rood, Aldhelm, Bede, Asser, William of Malmesbury, Conrad of Hirsau, Geoffrey of Vinsauf, Thomas Aquinas, Dante, Boccaccio, Prik of Conscience, Gower, Lydgate, Henryson, Hoccleve; and (secondary works) Eric Auerbach, Paul Zumthor, Eleanor Johnson, Martin Irvine, Rita Copeland, Peter Dronke, A.J. Minnis, Maura Nolan, Christopher Cannon, Fredric Jameson, Northrop Frye, Fred Robinson, John Miles Foley, Robert Bjork, Renee Trilling, and Emily Thornbury.


This class will explore early England's shifting literary landscape in order to better understand what poetry was and what it was for in the Middle Ages. Juxtaposing our close analyses of individual poems and groups of poems with medieval theories of poetry and metapoetic discourse, we will hypothesize the values (aesthetic, social, intellectual, spiritual) medieval cultures assigned poetry and try to articulate the various functions poetry could serve in those cultures. We will ask how medieval thinkers defined poetry; how they aligned it with other artistic and intellectual pursuits; how the actual poetry produced followed, generated, strayed from, or contradicted the prescriptions of medieval literary theorists; and how medieval poets conceived of and navigated tradition and innovation. Drawing on our findings, we will try to account for the emergence, endurance, dominance, and/or disappearance of certain poetic genres, modes, and forms in the English Middle Ages, while tracing their development and divergence from earlier literature, and examining their afterlives in later periods. A major goal will be to gain familiarity with the Middle Ages' many poetic forms and kinds (and their history), but we will also pay sustained attention to the ways medieval verse helped its makers and audiences conceptualize authority, identity, history, religion, invention, emotion, and community.

Please read the paragraph about English 190 on page 2 of the instructions area of this Announcement of Classes for more details about enrolling in or wait-listing for this course.

This section of English 190 satisfies the pre-1800 requirement for the English major.

Other Recent Sections of This Course

Spring, 2018
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
190/1 Research Seminar: Trials of Literature: Romanticism, Justice, and the Law Langan, Celeste
190/2 Research Seminar: James Joyce Flynn, Catherine
190/3 Research Seminar: Hawthorne & Melville Tamarkin, Elisa
190/4 Research Seminar: Reading Walden Carefully Breitwieser, Mitchell
190/5 Research Seminar: Harlem Renaissance Wagner, Bryan
190/6 Research Seminar: Sixty Years Since: The Historical Novel Kolb, Margaret
190/7 Research Seminar: Contemporary Historical Fiction Yoon, Irene
190/8 Research Seminar: Literary Theory and Its Objects Creasy, CFS
190/9 Research Seminar: The Faerie Queene: The Ethics of Imagination Landreth, David
190/10 Research Seminar: Pagan Fictions in Christian Literature Hobson, Jacob
190/11 Research Seminar: Andrew Marvell Picciotto, Joanna M
190/12 Research Seminar: California Books and Movies Since World War I Starr, George A.
190/13 Research Seminar: Alfred Hitchcock Bader, Julia
Fall, 2017
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
190/1 Research Seminar: Britain in the ‘60s Gang, Joshua
190/2 Research Seminar: The Historical Novel Puckett, Kent
190/3 Research Seminar: Another Day in Purgatory: Irish Literature and the Afterlife Creasy, CFS
190/6 Research Seminar: Literature and Revolution Lee, Steven S.
190/7 Research Seminar: Monsters, Exiles, and Outlaws in Medieval Literature Hobson, Jacob
190/8 Research Seminar: George Eliot and the Realist Novel Kolb, Margaret
190/9 Research Seminar: Historiography and Narrative: Literature and the Interstices of History Jones, Donna V.
190/10 Research Seminar: Suspicious Mind Best, Stephen M.
190/11 Research Seminar: Nonsense Hanson, Kristin
190/12 Research Seminar: Making Memories Yoon, Irene
Spring, 2017
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
190/1 Research Seminar: The Urban Postcolonial Ellis, Nadia
190/2 Research Seminar: Harlem Renaissance Wagner, Bryan
190/3 Research Seminar: Literature and the Linguistic Turn Blevins, Jeffrey
190/4 Research Seminar: Jane Austen and the Theory of the Novel Miller, D.A.
190/5 Research Seminar: Writing a World in Crisis: Medieval and Modern Perry, R. D.
190/6 Research Seminar: Shakespeare: From the Globe to the Global Bahr, Stephanie M
190/7 Research Seminar: Place-Love: Fiction and the Melancholy of Form Xin, Wendy Veronica
190/8 Research Seminar: Literatures of the Ocean Sorensen, Janet
190/9 Research Seminar: Beowulf Thornbury, Emily V.
190/10 Research Seminar: Hollywood in the 1930s Knapp, Jeffrey
190/11 Research Seminar: The Literature of Immortality Jones, Donna V.
190/13 Research Seminar: California Literature & Film Since WWI Starr, George A.
Fall, 2016
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
190/1 Research Seminar: Emily Dickinson Shoptaw, John
190/2 Research Seminar: Slow Seeing / Slow Reading Hejinian, Lyn
190/3 Research Seminar: Moby-Dick, and More Otter, Samuel
190/4 Research Seminar: U.S. Modernism Goble, Mark
190/5 Research Seminar: Alfred Hitchcock Bader, Julia
190/6 Research Seminar: The Medium Is the Message: Reading Poetry in Manuscript & Print, 1300-1600 Bahr, Stephanie M
190/7 Research Seminar: Note new topic: Troy and Tragedy Perry, R. D.
190/8 Research Seminar: James / Baldwin Best, Stephen M.
190/9 Research Seminar: On Style Xin, Wendy Veronica
190/10 Research Seminar: Do I Dare? Indecision and Modernist Literature Blevins, Jeffrey
190/11 Research Seminar: Modern California Literature and Film Starr, George A.
190/12 Research Seminar: Modern Utopian and Dystopian Literature and Film Starr, George A.
Spring, 2016
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
190/1 Research Seminar: The Sixties Goble, Mark
190/2 Research Seminar: Through a Future Darkly: Global Crisis and the Triumph of Dystopia Danner, Mark
190/3 Research Seminar: Late Henry James Breitwieser, Mitchell
190/4 Research Seminar: The Urban Postcolonial Ellis, Nadia
190/5 Research Seminar: Contemporary British Literature and Culture Falci, Eric
190/6 Research Seminar: Classical and Renaissance Drama Knapp, Jeffrey
190/7 Research Seminar: Materiality: How the Physical World Is Made to Mean Flynn, Catherine
190/8 Research Seminar: Vital Texts: Literature and the Discourse of Life Gaydos, Rebecca
190/9 Research Seminar: Medieval and Renaissance Lyric Crosson, Chad Gregory
190/10 Research Seminar: Purcell and Handel: Their Art in Setting English Texts to Music Hanson, Kristin
190/11 Research Seminar Lee, Steven S.
190/12 Research Seminar: Daniel Defoe and the Rise of the 18th-Century Novel Starr, George A.
190/13 Research Seminar: Keats and Literary Tradition Francois, Anne-Lise

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