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Medieval : Bad Romance

Faculté de gestion: Faculté des lettres

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

Période de validité: 2022 -> 2022

Pas d'horaire défini.


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

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


To introduce students to the rich, cross-Channel tradition of medieval vernacular fantasy writing and to consider some of the recurrent topics it addresses (e.g. composition of the family and relationships between men and women). 

To enhance students' reading facility in Middle English. The goal is that students will more easily be able to access Middle English texts in student editions.


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. Fantastical elements - a werewolf, a fairy lady, a devil-baby - rub shoulders with a range of recognizably human motives in these works: envy, jealousy, sexual desire, and pride. Texts belonging to this type were popular in England throughout the Middle Ages, where they were written in French and in English: we will be reading examples of the genre both in Middle English and (in translation) Old French. This class will appeal to students whose interests cover (among other topics) gender studies, fantasy literature, and translation studies.


1) A midterm exam (60 minutes) which takes place during class time, usually in week 7. The exam is 60 minutes long. In it, students are asked to write commentaries on extracts from one of the texts studied. Passages that might be set for commentary will be announced in advance. This is a closed-book exam: students are only permitted to bring an English-English dictionary with them. 

2) A final exam (90 minutes) which takes place during class time, usually in week 13. In it, students are asked to write one essay from a minimum of two possible prompts. This is an open-book exam: students are allowed copies of their set texts and some loose notes (but no pre-written essays). Students may bring an English-English dictionary with them. 

The midterm counts for 30% of the final grade awarded; the final counts for 70%. 


Primary texts will be uploaded to Moodle.

Exigences du cursus d'études

Introduction to Medieval English (first-year lecture and workshop)

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