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Exploration : Bad Romance : The Breton Lay in Medieval English

Faculté de gestion: Faculté des lettres

Responsable(s): Rory Critten
Intervenant(s): -

Période de validité: 2017 -> 2017

Pas d'horaire défini.


Semestre d'automne
2 heures par semaine
28 heures par semestre

Langue(s) d'enseignement: anglais
Public: Oui
Crédits: 0


If, as Nicola McDonald has written, 'romance [...] is the pre-eminent imaginary space in medieval English literature in which the transgression of cultural boundaries is both embodied and explored', then the Breton lay offers a particularly intense experience of this dynamic genre. The Breton lay is a subgenre of romance, defined primarily by its brevity and by its self-presentation (whether fictional or not) as a remnant of celtic oral culture. Texts belonging to this type were popular in England throughout the Middle Ages, where they were written in French and in English. Fantastical elements - a werewolf, a fairy lady, a devil-baby - rub shoulders with a range of recognizably human motives in these brief works: envy, jealousy, sexual desire, and pride. We will begin by reading in modern English translation a selection of lays originally written in the French of England; the largest part of the class will then be given over to reading contributions to the genre in Middle English (an introduction to reading texts in Middle English will be offered). The class will appeal to students whose interests cover (among other topics) gender studies, historical fantasy literature, multilingualism, translation studies, and Celtic studies.


There are two stages in the evaluation of this class:

1) A midterm exam (week 7), 30%: students identify a passage from one of the set texts discussed in class and write a critical commentary on it. A list of extracts that might appear on the exam will be circulated beforehand.

2) A final exam (week 13 or 14), 70%: choosing one from two essay questions, students write an extended response to a prompt set by the instructor.

Exigences du cursus d'études

Discovery: Medieval English

Informations supplémentaires


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