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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : English Literature

Postgraduate Course: Medieval Dream Literature (ENLI11192)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Course typeStandard AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) Credits20
Home subject areaEnglish Literature Other subject areaNone
Course website None Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionThe dream vision is a central genre of the late medieval period. Medieval interest in dreaming allows for a flexible and provocative frame for poets to create fascinating narratives that move between naturalism and fantasy to explore a wide range of issues and experiences. The often enigmatic frame of a dream vision opens up debate as to the precise significance of its subject matter, encouraging active engagement with the text. Medieval debate about dream as a phenomenon, and comparisons with modern theories of dreaming, offer a context through which to approach the poems.

The course will consider some of the most striking texts of the middle ages: Chaucer┐s dream visions, the richly complex and moving Pearl, the feminist engagement of Christine de Pisan┐s City of Ladies and the political, social and spiritual vision of Langland┐s Piers Plowman. These works use the dream frame to address ideas about the nature of literature and the writer┐s authority, spiritual and philosophical consolation for loss, the nature and experience of love, gender and social organisation. The dream frame allows both for engagement with tradition, and for experimentation. The course will provide an introduction to the thought and literature of the middle ages, through concentration on this especially various genre.

*This course is taught jointly with undergraduate students and consequently postgraduate places are limited
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
* a familiarity with a range of medieval dream-vision literature
* an ability to assess the formal traditions of dream-vision poetry of the period and the variety of uses to which they are put
* an understanding of how the medieval dream form engages with questions of literary authority, truth and fiction, and the exploration of religious, political and social issues
* an awareness of the critical discussion, medieval and modern, relating to the genre
Assessment Information
One essay of 4,000 words (100%)
Special Arrangements
PG Version
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered
Syllabus 1. Introduction: Dreams and dream theory
2. Chaucer: The Book of the Duchess
3. Chaucer: The House of Fame
4. Chaucer: The Parliament of Fowls
5. Pearl
6. Innovative Learning week
7. Pearl
8. de Pisan: The Book of the City of Ladies
9. Essay consultation week
10. Chaucer: The Legend of Good Women
11. Langland: Piers Plowman
12. Langland: Piers Plowman
Transferable skills Not entered
Reading list Course Texts:
Geoffrey Chaucer, Dream Visions and Other Poems, edited by Kathryn L. Lynch (New York and London: Norton, 2007)
The Poems of the Pearl Manuscript, ed. M. Andrew and R. Waldron, 4th edition (Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 2002)
Langland, William, The Vision of Piers Plowman : A Critical Edition of the B-Text, ed. A. V. C. Schmidt. Everyman Library. 2nd ed. London: Dent, 1995.
Christine de Pisan, The Book of the City of Ladies. London: Penguin, 2004.

Preliminary further reading:
Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy (Penguin, 1969)
Peter Brown (ed.), Reading Dreams: the Interpretation of Dreams from Chaucer to Shakespeare (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999)
S. F. Kruger, Dreaming in the Middle Ages (Cambridge University Press, 1992)
A.C. Spearing, Medieval Dream Poetry (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1976)
W. H. Stahl (ed.), Macrobius: Commentary on the Dream of Scipio, 2nd edition (New York: Columbia University Press, 1990)
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern One two-hour seminar per week for 10 weeks. Individual consultation/supervision session towards essay.
Course organiserDr Sarah Carpenter
Tel: (0131 6)50 3608
Course secretaryMiss Natalie Carthy
Tel: (0131 6)50 6536
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