Undergraduate Course: The Field Full of Folk (ENLI10267)
|School||School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||Medieval conceptions of the world, and of humanity and its operation in that world, rest on imaginative assumptions which are often very different from those of today. This course will introduce a varied range of fourteenth and fifteenth century literary texts: allegory, romance, dream vision, meditation, lyric and drama. Through these texts it will begin to explore the medieval imaginative models of the physical and metaphysical world, considering issues such as society, the body, gender, God, time, love and death. Visual images and other kinds of writing and commentary will be considered alongside the literary texts, to develop an understanding of the imaginative world which the literature both emerged from and helped to shape.
The dreamer in Langland¿s long 14th century allegorical poem of spiritual pilgrimage, Piers Plowman opens the poem with a vision of the world. He sees the earth poised between the Tower of Truth in the East and the Valley of Death in the West:
A fair feeld ful of folk fond I ther bitwene Of alle
manere of men, the meene and the riche,
Werchynge and wandrynge as the world asketh.
As this image shows, medieval conceptions of the world and of humanity¿s operation in that world, rest on imaginative assumptions which are often very different from those of today. This course will introduce a varied range of fourteenth- and fifteenth-century English and Scottish literary texts: allegory, romance, dream vision, meditation, lyric and drama. Through these texts it will begin to explore the medieval imaginative models of the physical and metaphysical world, considering issues such as society, the body, gender, God, love, and death. Visual images and other kinds of writing and commentary will be considered alongside the literary texts, to develop an understanding of the imaginative world which the literature both emerged from and helped to shape.
Information for Visiting Students
|Pre-requisites||A MINIMUM of 4 college/university level literature courses at grade B or above (should include no more than one introductory level literature course). Related courses such as cross disciplinary, "Freshman Seminars", civilisation or creative writing classes are not considered for admission to this course.
Applicants should also note that, as with other popular courses, meeting the minimum does NOT guarantee admission. In making admissions decisions preference will be given to students who achieve above the minimum requirement with the typical visiting student admitted to this course
having four or more literature classes at grade A.
** as numbers are limited, visiting students should contact the Visiting Student Office directly for admission to this course **
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2022/23, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20,
Other Study Hours 10,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Additional Information (Learning and Teaching)
one hour per week Autonomous Learning Group
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||2500 word coursework essay (40%) submitted in week 9;
plus 3000 word final essay submitted during exam period at end of semester (60%).
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- develop a familiarity with a range of medieval literary forms through close study of particular texts.
- develop an awareness of some of the dominant images which shaped medieval conceptions of the world.
- develop a recognition of how medieval literary texts both draw on and develop these images.
- develop an ability to analyse and interpret critically the active engagement of literary texts with medieval models of the world.
|Texts and Topics|
¿ Introduction: Image, Sign, and Allegory: the World as Book - extracts of texts on Learn
¿ The Body: Geoffrey Chaucer, The Miller¿s Prologue and Tale; Robert Henryson, The Paddock and the Mouse
¿ Society: Geoffrey Chaucer, The General Prologue to The Canterbury Tales; David Lyndsay, Ane Satyre of the Thrie Estaitis (extracts)
¿ God: (Devotion) Julian of Norwich, Revelations; Scottish Passion lyrics; York Crucifixion Play
¿ God: (Mystery) The Cloud of Unknowing; Robert Henryson, The Preiching of the Swallow
¿ 6. Love: Geoffrey Chaucer, The Parliament of Fowls; William Dunbar, The Goldyn Targe; lyrics.
¿ 7. Woman: Geoffrey Chaucer, The Wife of Bath¿s Prologue and Tale; William Dunbar, The Tretis of the Tua Marriit Wemen and the Wedo; Robert Henryson, Garmont of Good Ladies; lyrics
¿ Ideas of Reading: Extracts of texts on Learn
¿ Animals: Sir Isumbras; Robert Henryson, Fables; The Aberdeen Bestiary
¿ Death: Geoffrey Chaucer, The Pardoner¿s Prologue and Tale; Everyman; William Dunbar, ¿Lament for the Makaris¿; Robert Henryson, ¿Ressonyng betuix Dethe and Man¿
Chaucer to Spenser: an Anthology, ed Derek Pearsall (Oxford: Blackwell, 1999). Other texts
are available on-line.
In addition to reading as many of the primary sources as possible, Peter Brown¿s A Companion to Medieval English Literature and Culture (2006) has some excellent introductory essays on a number of the key topics which we will be exploring in the course. This is available online through the library.
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||Numbers are limited to 15, with priority given to students taking degrees involving English or Scottish Literature and Visiting Students placed by the Admissions Office. Students not in these categories need the written approval of the Head of English Literature before enrolling. In the case of excess applications places will be decided by ballot.
|Additional Class Delivery Information
||Seminar: 2 hour(s) per week for 10 week(s); plus attendance at Autonomous Learning Group for one hour each week - time to be arranged
|Course organiser||Dr Kate Ash-Irisarri
Tel: (0131 6)50 8930
|Course secretary||Miss Hope Hamilton
Tel: (0131 6)50 4167