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LITERATURE

LIT-434
Advanced Studies in Medieval and Early Modern Literature (3)

Course Level: Undergraduate

Topics vary by section, may be repeated for credit with different topic. Some of the greatest art, poetry, and drama in the Western tradition flourished amidst the religious and political tumult of the Medieval and Early Modern eras. Rotating topics include medieval romance, Arthurian literature, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Renaissance drama, and Renaissance poetry, with emphasis on research. Meets with LIT-634. Usually offered every year.

LIT-434
001
LITERATURE
FALL 2014

Course Level: Undergraduate

Advanced Studies in Medieval and Early Modern Literature (3)

Revenge Drama and City Comedy: Shakespeare's Contemporaries

Starting with Thomas Kyd's The Spanish Tragedy, the course examines classics of revenge drama as well as favorite city comedies by playwrights as diverse as Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Dekker, Ben Jonson, Thomas Middleton, and others. Meets with LIT-634 001.

LIT-434
002
LITERATURE
FALL 2014

Course Level: Undergraduate

Advanced Studies in Medieval and Early Modern Literature (3)

Thought Crimes

The concept of criminal intent is a relatively new legal innovation, dating from the Middle Ages. This course examines the law, philosophy, history, and poetry of the late medieval period as it imagines and responds to thought crimes, as well as questions such as, why did jurists and philosophers begin to recognize the mind, and specifically intent, as an important site of transgression; how did this revolution in theories of morality shift the focus away from action in order to promote theories of innocence or guilt based on intent; and to what extent we still struggle with idea of a thought crime today. Modern legal cases, philosophy, and neuroscience offer additional theoretical lenses for analyzing readings. Meets with LIT-634 002.

LIT-434
001
LITERATURE
SPRING 2015

Course Level: Undergraduate

Advanced Studies in Medieval and Early Modern Literature (3)

Dante

The simple but ambitious goal of this course is to become conversant with one of the most influential and extraordinary literary texts in world literature: Dante's Commedia. Students read all of Inferno and Purgatorio, and most of Paradiso, in Mandelbaum's translation; for comparison, students also read Mary Jo Bang's translation of Inferno. The course is mostly devoted to discussion of the poem and its meaning for later literary traditions, but also surveys the commentary tradition and critical literature. Students are encouraged to incorporate their own related interests into the framework of the seminar, through presentations, readings and written work. Meets with LIT-634 001.

LIT-434
002
LITERATURE
SPRING 2015

Course Level: Undergraduate

Advanced Studies in Medieval and Early Modern Literature (3)

Plague and Rebellion

The Rising of 1381 marked one of the largest mass movements in European history, with 100,000 peasants, artisans, and middle-class workers marching on London to protest oppressive legislation and an antiquated system of feudalism. But the Rising's place in the history books is fraught with problems including how the documents of the rebellion are understood and how medieval chroniclers and poets depicted the chaotic events of 1381 into narrative form. In this multi-disciplinary course, a careful examination of letters, legislation, chronicles and poetry raises larger questions about rebellion and revolution and how they are remembered and written about. Students apply and challenge modern theories of revolution and rebellion and engage in larger questions about the nature of revolution and rebellion, such as how protesters represent themselves or create a narrative of collective dissent; what is revolution and how is that different from a rebellion or mass movement; how do rebellions or protests use, affect, and transform collective narratives of nationhood; how do the stories of individuals figure into the story of a nation, group, or an era; how do protests effectively use the historical past to make assertions about the present; and what is the role of fiction in political dissent. Meets with LIT-634 002.