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Exploration : Medieval Pulp Fictions: Popular Romance in the Auchinleck Manuscript

Faculté de gestion: Faculté des lettres

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

Période de validité: 2019 -> 2019

Pas d'horaire défini.


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

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


Produced in London c. 1340, the Auchinleck Manuscript transmits a generous selection of romances that modern criticism calls "popular." This designation is double-edged, registering both the broad currency of these texts-they survive in multiple copies-and the perception that they lack the sophistication of elite cultural products. The Auchinleck popular romances are unashamedly bent on entertaining their readers. They are fast paced and outrageous, having an almost obsessive concern with taboo themes that range from extra-marital sex to suicide, incest, rape, and cannibalism. Their deviations from the norm allow for a re-charting of the medieval ideologies relating to gender and race; in combination they provide a fascinating insight into the kinds of fiction that were available in Middle English before Chaucer began writing (probably at the end of the 1360s). In this class we will read a selection of the Auchinleck popular romances. As a means of contextualizing these works we will also read some of the other texts transmitted in the Auchinleck book. At the same time as it introduces students to the pre-eminent secular genre in Middle English, the course will accordingly broach the matter of manuscript compilation: what company did medieval texts keep in the books that preserve them and how can a consideration of a text's manuscript companions enrich our understanding of medieval readers tastes and priorities?


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), 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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