English 190

Research Seminar: Carnal Knowledge in Medieval and Early Modern Literature


Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
6 Spring 2019 Miller, Jasmin
TTh 9:30-11 122 Wheeler

Book List

Augustine of Hippo: Confessions; Borroff, Marie, ed.: Pearl; Chaucer, Geoffrey: The Canterbury Tales (eds. Kolve and Olson); Julian of Norwich: Revelations of Love (ed. Windeatt); Shakespeare, William: Hamlet (eds. Greenblatt, et al.)

Other Readings and Media

The following texts will be made availabe via bCourses:

"Soul and Body I" (Shippey, Poems of Wisdom)

"The Dream of the Rood" (Treharne, Old and Middle English English)

Seinte Margarete (Millett and Wogan-Brown, Medieval English Prose for Women)

Ancrene Wisse, selection (Millett and Wogan-Brown, Medieval English Prose for Women)

John Donne, selection (Dickson, John Donne's Poetry)

Description

Medieval feminist scholar Carolyn Dinshaw has argued that the body is "a field on which issues of representation and interpretation are literally and metaphorically played out" ("Eunuch Hermeneutics," 27). This research seminar seeks to account for acts of bodily exploration and violation as forays into such a hermeneutic field. The works that we weill read include diverse modes of carnal apprehension in the Middle Ages and Early Modern period–from a poem voiced by a bloody Anglo-Saxon cross to Hamlet's bloody thoughts, from texts about dead virgin bodies to violated/-latable ones, in which female speakers present their bodily trauma as a privileged form of knowledge about class and gender inequalities. In these and other texts, how is knowledge of the body newly grasped through (for instance) intimate observation, suffering, or intrusion? How are these processes implicated in the knowledge-work of texts and textual genres? How are medieval and early modern thinkers' bodies implicated in the knowledge they produce?

A selection of secondary source texts will provide critical context and starting points for our class conversations. Students will be required to write a research paper and to give an oral presentation on one of the assigned readings. An annotated bibliography and prospectus worksheet will be required steps to the writing process. There will be no midterm or final. 

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

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.

Please click here for more information about enrollment in English 190.

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