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Fiche de cours

Gawain on Location: Medieval Literature in the British North West and the Alps

Faculté de gestion: Faculté des lettres

Responsable(s): Denis Renevey
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


Learning Outcomes
Subject Specific:
On successful completion of this module, students will be able to
- Demonstrate detailed knowledge and understanding of the module's core text Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
- Critically analyse the relationships between writing, space and place, with particular reference to locating texts in different environments from the UK's north west to the Swiss Alps
- Identify, compare and assess medieval and modern adaptations and translations of the Gawain narrative, with an awareness of the role that different media can play in this process
- Demonstrate a theoretically informed understanding of the ways in which medieval literature engaged with natural and built environments
- Explore the ways in which literature can influence human appreciation and understanding of particular locations

On successful completion of this module, students will be able to
- Utilize skills of close reading and analysis
- Apply theoretically informed understandings of space and place to literatures of different time periods and genres
- Critically analyse the processes of adaptation and translation
- Appreciate the significant roles that literature can play in understanding the natural and build environment
- Demonstrate research skills including using a range of different media, including digital resources


This module will provide students with a unique opportunity to study one of the most evocative poems in medieval literature, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, not only in the locations that produced it, but also in the kinds of medieval landscapes that make up the text's spatial imaginary. Produced by an anonymous poet from the north west of England during the last quarter of the fourteenth century, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight charts the journey of one of Arthur's knights, Sir Gawain, through the wilderness of the Wirral to meet his fate at the mysterious Green Chapel, home of the axe-wielding Green Knight. The text features other significant locations, such as Arthur's Court and the interiors of Castle Hautdesert, as well as exploring location from a more ideological perspective. It stresses the importance of interior and exterior spaces, as well as the production of sound within these spaces. The aim of this seminar is to explore these on location. The module will also introduce students to modern textual and digital reimaginings of this iconic text to explore how text can enhance our understanding of place. Students will be invited to participate actively and will be assessed by means of the submission of an essay.
After introductory sessions taught at Lausanne, this module will explore the natural world and built locations of Gawain on a field trip around the north west of England (20-25 October 2019). We will also explore Lancaster Castle and visit the Royal Armouries Museum at Leeds. The second trip (10-15 November 2019) will explore the text in relation to parallel medieval spaces in the Swiss Alps and the Jura; this will involve a stay in the medieval village of Romainmôtier and Les Diablerets.

Part 1: Classes at UNIL
Week 1: Introduction to Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Week 2: Medieval and Modern Adaptations of the Gawain Narrative
Week 3: Space, Place and Environment in Gawain
Week 4: Gawain on Location

Part 2: North West Trip
Day 1: The Wirral - Wilderness
Day 2: The Green Knight's Chapel (Peak District) - Natural Spaces
Day 3: Castle Hautdesert (Lancaster Castle/Levens Hall/similar) -
Built Spaces
Day 4: Arthur's Hall and Armour - Leeds Armoury

Part 3: Monastic Setting (Romainmotier) and the Alps (Les Diablerets)
Day 1: Medieval Monastic Spaces: Romainmotier
Day 2: Indoor/outdoor: Soundscapes
Day 3: Castle Hautdesert (Chillon Castle or similar?) - Built Spaces
Day 4: Wilderness and Hunting


Active participation and 4000-word essay.

Informations supplémentaires


Canton de Vaud
Swiss University
Unicentre  -  CH-1015 Lausanne  -  Suisse  -  Tél. +41 21 692 11 11  -  Fax  +41 21 692 26 15