English 514: Middle English Literature: The Invention of Subjectivity


317 Rayzor Hall

9:25-10:40 TTH Dr. Jane Chance

A survey of Middle English lyrics, romances, dream visions, debate poems, mystery and morality plays, and other philosophical and biographical treatises, from 1250-1500. Focusing on the "invention of subjectivity" at a time when the vernacular came to flourish, this graduate seminar will trace the development of various genres by investigating the intersection of the literary with the philosophical and humanist. A hypertext edition of Chaucer's Book of the Duchess will allow students to compare different manuscript versions of the poem and to examine its sources for influence.


(All prices according to amazon.com; the books--ordered 10/21/99--are not all in at the Rice Campus Store as of 1/14/00, including the first two required readings, and won't be before Tuesday, first day of class; please read them at the Reserve Room or contact Dr. Chance ASAP)

Week 1. Introduction to Middle English Literature: The Invention of Subjectivity

Jan. 18 & 20

Michael Zink, The Invention of Literary Subjectivity (Johns Hopkins Press, 1999), $28

Week 2. Introduction: Reading Middle English Poems in Manuscript

Jan. 25 & 27

Texts: Geoffrey Chaucer's The Book of the Duchess: A Hypertext Edition, ed. Murray McGillivray (Michigan State University Press, 1998), cd-rom, TEMPORARILY OUT OF PRINT; see the Internet site for Chaucer's Book of the Duchess ; $25.00 (ISBN 1552380025)

Week 3. The Middle English Lyric

Feb. 1 Love Lyrics ("Ichot a byrde in boure bryght," "So longe Ich have, lady," "Foueles in the frith," "Bitwene March and Averil," "Lenten ys come with love to toune," "To Rosemounde"), pp. 3-46

Penitential and Moral Lyrics ("Miri it is while sumer I-last," "Erthe tok of erthe," "Gentilesse"), pp. 47-92

Feb. 3 Devotional lyrics ("I syng of a mayden," "Now goth sonne under wode," "Adam lay y-bownden"), pp. 93-146

Miscellaneous Lyrics ("Somer is y-comen in," "Man in the moone," "Maiden in the more lay"), pp. 147-180

Texts: Medieval English Lyrics, 1200-1400, ed. Thomas Duncan (Penguin, 1996), pb, $13.95 (ISBN 0140434437)

Week 4-6: The Pearl Poet

Feb. 8 & 10 Pearl

Feb. 15 & 17 Cleanness (Purity)

Feb. 22 & 24 Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Texts: The Poems of the Pearl Manuscript, ed. Malcolm Andrew and Ronald Waldron (University of Exeter Press, 1997), 3rd ed., pb; $21.95 (ISBN 0859895149)

A Companion to the Gawain-Poet, ed. Derek Brewer and Jonathan Gibson (Boydell & Brewer, 1997), pb., $35 (ISBN 0859915298)

Weeks 7-9: Piers Plowman (C-Text)

Feb. 29 & Mar. 2 Visio (Passus 1-7)

Mar. 7 & 9 (Midterm Break)

Mar. 14 & 16 Dowel, Dobet (Passus 8-)

Mar. 21 Dobest (Passus )

Texts: William Langland, Piers Plowman: The C-Version, A Verse Translation, ed. George Economou, (University of Pennsylvania, 1997), pb; $17.95 (ISBN 0812215613)

A Companion to Piers Plowman, ed. John A. Alford (University of California Press, 1988, rpt. 1990), pb., $18.95 (ISBN 0520060075)

Weeks 9-11: Alliterative and Debate Poems

Mar. 23 The Grave, The Soul's Address to the Body. A Dialogue between the Body abd the Soul, A Debate between the Body and the Soul (Conlee, pp. 3-62)

Mar. 28 Winner and Waster, Parlement of the Thre Ages, Death and Life (Conlee, pp. 63-166)

Mar. 30 Spring Recess

Apr. 4 A Disputation between a Christian and A Jew; A Dialogue between the Part Sensitive and the Part Intellective, The Thrush and the Nightingale, The Cuckoo and the Nightingale (Conlee, pp. 178-199, 237-265)

Texts: Middle English Debate Poetry, ed. John Conlee (Colleagues Press, 1991), pb; $16.95 (ISBN 093719123x)

Weeks 11- 12: The Late Medieval Dream Vision

Apr. 6 The Floure and the Leafe, The Assembly of Ladies

Apr. 11 The Assembly of Gods

Texts: The Floure and the Leafe, The Isle of Ladies, and the Assembly of Ladies, edited by Derek Pearsall (TEAMS, 1990), pb, $7.00 (ISBN 0918720435)

The Assembly of Gods, edited by Jane Chance (TEAMS, 1999), pb (ISBN 1-58044-022-3)

Weeks 12-13: Women Mystics

Apr. 13 Julian of Norwich

Apr. 18 Margery Kempe

Apr. 20 Chris Newby's Anchoress

Texts: Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love, trans. Elizabeth Spearing (Penguin, 1966), pb., $9.56 (ISBN 0140446737)

Margery Kempe, Book, trans. Barry Windeatt (Penguin, 1986), pb., $10.36 (ISBN 0140432515)

Week 14: Medieval Drama

Apr. 25 The Creation, and the Fall of Lucifer (York), The Creation of Adam and Eve (York), The Fall of Man (York), Cain and Abel (York), Noah's Flood (Chester), Abraham and Isaac (Brome), The Annunciation (Coventry), The Second Shepherd's Play (Wakefield), pp. 1-108

Apr. 27 Herod the Great (Wakefield), Woman Taken in Adultery (N. town), The Crucifixion (York), The Harrowing of Hell (Chester), The Resurrection (York), The Judgment (York), Everyman, The Death of Pilate (Cornish), pp. 109-263

Texts: Everyman and Medieval Miracle Plays, ed. A. C. Cawley (Penguin,1956; rpt. 1990), pb., $4.76 (ISBN 046087280x)

Requirements: 3 Exams, or 3-8 Short Papers (3 papers, 5-8 pp. each, or 8 notes, 2-3 pp. each), or 1 Seminar Paper (15-25 pp.), your choice; and book report (3-5 pp.) on Women's Writing in English. You decide how you can best use your time and the course to best advantage, given your own schedules, needs, and desires.

Background Reading for Book Report: Laurie Finke, Women's Writing in English, Medieval England (Longmans, 1999), pb; $27.95 (ISBN 0582259401)

Office Hours:

2:30-4 TTH 301 Rayzor and by appointment

E-mail: jchance@rice.edu

Office Phone: 713-348-2625; 713-348-4840 Messages/Secretary

Web-page: http://www.ruf.rice.edu/~jchance/me.htm

©Copyright 1999, 2000, all rights reserved.
Updated Jan. 17, 2000

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