Undergraduate Course: Medieval Bodies: Integrity, Rupture and Metamorphosis (Ordinary) (ELCF09036)
|School||School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 9 (Year 3 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||This course focuses on the body in the Middle Ages as a site where different discourses were played out, a symbolic space that could be figured as either whole and integral, or unstable and unpredictable. The image of the body in medieval European cultures was open to the influence of ideology, politics, religion, and gender hierarchies, and while often presented in terms of oppositions: human and animal, body and spirit, male and female,
Academic Description: The course aims to enrich students' awareness of the diversity of medieval French texts and how these explore issues that are still extremely pertinent today, such as how we define 'human', how our notion of gender is culturally constructed, and how human consciousness and the human sense of subjectivity and identity relate to the body. In order to achieve this, the course introduces students to medieval French texts from different genres, and which date from the 11th to the 14th century. Through the study of these texts, the perception and depiction of the body will be explored, considering the importance of genre, social and historical context, patronage and audience. Texts studied: the Roman de Silence presents a strikingly modern take on the idea of gender as a cultural construct; the fabliaux (short comic tales) play, quite literally, with the idea of the fragmented body, as body parts become detached from their owners, proliferate, and even speak; human/animal metamorphosis reveals the anxiety (or lack thereof) displayed in texts that destabilise the boundaries of the human; and spirituality and madness are seen as two very different ways of separating the human body from human identity. The reading and interpretation of the body in these texts will be considered in the light of contemporary philosophical and religious beliefs and theories, and will be related to modern-day critical and gender theory. This will enable students to engage with, and appreciate, the relationship between the body, subjectivity and notions of identity, and how this is shaped by culture and society. They will also be able to evaluate the evolution or continuity of these ideas across time. The course will pay specific attention to the study of the roles played by different images of the body in medieval texts, and will question what shapes our physical, symbolic and subjective identity, and how the notion of 'being human' is constituted within its cultural framework. Syllabus/Outline Content: The course will cover selected medieval French texts from various genres (romance, lai, hagiography, fabliaux) in order to present a range of different depictions of the body in different contexts. This will allow for the exploration of inter-connected questions relating to gender as a cultural construct, the boundaries and definition of the human (as opposed to the animal), the construction of identity, and the mind/body relation. The course will introduce relevant critical and theoretical studies in the field of medieval literature and culture in order to open out the study of the medieval texts and relate this study to issues in modern society. Student Learning Experience Information: The course consists of ten two-hour seminars, one each week of the semester. At the beginning of the course and at the beginning of those seminars in which a new text is being introduced, a short lecture-style introduction will be given in order to situate the course and text in context. Students will be required to read and prepare sections of the primary set text and selected critical reading before each seminar. Students will work in small autonomous learning groups and will take turns to prepare short presentations on the scheduled reading for each seminar. Students will have the opportunity to demonstrate their achievement of the intended learning outcomes through participation in the interactive discussions, assessed written work, and the examination.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
|| Students MUST have passed:
French 2 Literature and Culture (ELCF08012) AND
French 2 Language (ELCF08013)
||Other requirements|| Ordinary Students and Visiting Students only
|Additional Costs|| Students may purchase copies of the Lettres Gothiques (Livre de Poche) editions of the set texts if they wish, but some copies will be available in the library.
Information for Visiting Students
|Pre-requisites||In order to be eligible to take 4th Year Options, Visiting Students should have the equivalent of at least two years of study at University level of the appropriate language(s) and culture(s).
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2020/21, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Lecture Hours 22,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||Assessment structure 100% coursework
60%: essay (1500 words) - at end of the course.
10%: participation in discussion boards [seminar question threads each week].
10%: one summary of a critical article (400-500 words) - uploaded for discussion, and students invited to respond as well.
20%: (in groups of 2-3) oral presentation: either in situ or PP+ 5/10mins audio recording (embedded in PP or separate file).
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- demonstrate knowledge and understanding of attitudes towards the body in its socio-historical and cultural context.
- select and apply theoretical and methodological approaches in their critical evaluation of literary texts and their exploration of the body as a construct.
- critically analyse, interpret and review primary and secondary sources on the course bibliographies, and demonstrate an ability to synthesise ideas, concepts and issue
- construct coherent arguments which engage effectively with the sources and their contexts and to present them clearly in both oral and written form.
- work autonomously and take initiative in their activities, carry out independent research under the guidance of the tutor, and to show awareness of their own and others¿ roles and responsibilities as part of a team
|Set Texts: Heldris de Cornua¿lle, Le Roman de Silence. Published as: Silence: A Thirteenth-Century Romance, ed. and trans. By Sarah Roche-Mahdi (East Lansing: Colleagues Press, 1992). A selection of Old French fabliaux, in Fabliaux Érotiques, ed. and trans. by Luciano Rossi, Lettres Gothiques (Paris: Livre de Poche, 1992). Jean d¿Arras, Mélusine, ou La Noble Histoire de Lusignan, ed. and trans. by Jean-Jacques Vinncensini, Lettres Gothiques (Paris: Livre de Poche, 2003). Lais de Marie de France: ¿Bisclavret¿ and ¿Yonec¿, in Lais de Marie de France, ed. by Karl Warnke and trans. by Laurence Harf-Lancner, Lettres Gothiques (Paris: Livre de Poche, 1990). Clemence of Barking, La Vie de Sainte Cathérine The Life of Saint Catherine, ed. by William McBain, ANTS (Oxford: Blackwell, 1964). (Anglo-Norman French version). In Virgin Lives and Holy Deaths: Two Exemplary Biographies for Anglo-Norman Women, trans. by Jocelyn Wogan-Browne and Glyn S. Burgess (London: Dent, 1996). (English translation). La Folie Tristan d¿Oxford, in Tristan et Iseut, ed. and trans. by Daniel Lacroix and Philippe Walter, Lettres Gothiques (Paris: Livre de Poche, 1989). Secondary Reading: Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (New York and London: Routledge, 1990) E. Jane Burns, Bodytalk: When Women Speak in Old French Literature (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1993). Chapter 1: ¿A Close Look at Female Orifices in Farce and Fabliau¿. Caroline Walker Bynum, Fragmentation and Redemption: Essays on Gender and the Human Body in Medieval Religion (New York: Zone Books, 1992) -- Metamorphosis and Identity (New York: Zone Books, 2001) Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, Of Giants: Sex, Monsters, and the Middle Ages (University of Minnesota Press, 1999) -- Medieval Identity Machines (University of Minnesota Press, 2003) Leslie Dunton-Downer, ¿Wolf Man¿, in Jeffrey Jerome Cohen and Bonnie Wheeler (eds), Becoming Male in the Middle Ages (New York and London: Garland, 1997), pp. 203-18. Michel Feher, Ramona Naddaff, and Nadia Tazi (eds), Fragments for a history of the human body, 3 vols. (New York: Zone Books, 1989) (Selected chapters). Simon Gaunt, Gender and Genre in Medieval French Literature (CUP, 1995). Chapters 4: ¿Saints, sex and community: hagiography¿, and 5: ¿Genitals, gender and mobility: the fabliaux¿. Sylvia Huot, Madness in Medieval French Literature: Identities Found and Lost (OUP, 2003) Luce Irigaray, Speculum de l¿autre femme (Paris: Éditions de Minuit, 1974) Sarah Kay and Miri Rubin, Framing Medieval Bodies (Manchester University Press, 1996) Julia Kristeva, Pouvoirs de l'horreur : essai sur l'abjection (Paris : Seuil, 1983) Linda Lomperis and Sarah Stanbury (eds), Feminist Approaches to the Body in Medieval Literature (Philadelphia, 1993)|
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||By the end of the course, students will have further developed their skills in the areas of research and enquiry, personal and intellectual autonomy, communication, and personal effectiveness. For further specification of these skills see the university's graduate and employability skills framework at www.employability.ed.ac.uk/documents/GAFramework+Interpretation.pdf
|Course organiser||Dr Fionnuala Sinclair
Tel: (0131 6)50 8423
|Course secretary||Mrs Elsie Gach
Tel: (0131 6)50 8421