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

Undergraduate Course: Death and Dying in Late Medieval Literature (ENLI10387)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryWhat is death? Who am I when I am dead? Death is an experience of central importance both to individuals and the cultures in which they live. This course examines some of the key ways in which late medieval writing depicted and explored the nature of dying
Course description There is a large quantity of writing on medieval death, ranging from practical ars moriendi (the art of dying) texts to more 'literary' interpretations. This course will allow students to explore a variety of ways in which medieval writers and readers thought about death, dying and the place of the dead in the culture of the living. It will ask them to read and analyse a range of texts of the late-medieval period, covering a range of key areas: the personification of death; visual representations of death; grief, bereavement and consolation; the afterlife; the performance of death; the art of dying.

Using the analytical training gained from previous courses, students will practise and develop their independent and collaborative critical reading of literary and critical texts. On the basis of students' preparatory reading of the set literary texts and other writing drawn from medieval and modern theory, seminars will be used to discuss the literary, cultural, historical, theological and social implications of writing about death and dying.

Students will be asked to prepare for seminar discussions by meeting in advance in smaller 'autonomous learning groups' to produce material which will be presented to the class in a variety of forms (class presentation, written reports posted to the course VLE, informal contributions to class discussions).

The course is assessed by a summative course essay and by a final essay and marking task. Co-assessment forms a part of the final essay, in which students are required to mark their own essay and write a justification of the mark given using the marking criteria. If the student¿s mark is within 5% of the mark awarded by the tutor, then the higher of the two marks will be awarded. To support this element of the assessment, a formative piece of work (required but not graded) will require students to mark their term essay and meet with the tutor to discuss this work. Student will also be supported through regular group marking tasks that form part of either their ALG preparation and/or in-class activities.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: ( Literary Studies 1A (ENLI08020) AND Literary Studies 1B (ENLI08021) AND Literary Studies 2A: English Literature in the World, 1380-1788 (ENLI08024) AND Literary Studies 2B: English Literature in the World, post-1789 (ENLI08025)) OR ( English Literature 1 (ENLI08001) OR Scottish Literature 1 (ENLI08016) AND English Literature 2 (ENLI08003) OR Scottish Literature 2 (ENLI08004))
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  15
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 196 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Formative marking task (required but not weighted),
Course Essay 30%
Final Essay and Marking Task 70%
Feedback Students will receive detailed written feedback on both essays and their class participation. Optional follow-up sessions will be available for face-to-face consultation to help students understand the implications of this feedback, and to further explore ways in which future work might be enhanced.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Independently analyse and respond critically to a variety of medieval texts and genres
  2. Construct clear, coherent arguments about medieval literature¿s representations of death within its wider contemporary cultural and historical contexts
  3. Evaluate and assess ideas from a range of literary and non-literary sources to substantiate those arguments
  4. Present the results of research undertaken individually and as part of a small group in both written and oral formats, respond judiciously to research undertaken by others, and critically evaluate the importance of such material for an understanding of the chief aims of the course
  5. Students will, in addition, further improve their abilities in areas fundamental to the study of English literature at Honours level: essay writing, independent reading, critical thinking, class discussion, oral presentation of information, and the ability to learn autonomously in small groups
Reading List
Topics covered:
Remember you will die: Henryson,The Thre Deid Pollis & short lyrics

Disease, Contagion, Dying: Henryson, Ane Prayer for the Pest & Some Practysis of Medecyne¿; extracts from Bower, Scotichronicon

Disease, Dying, and Self-Reflection: Henryson, The Testament of Cresseid; The Last Epistle of Creseyd to Troyalus

The body, the soul, and making a good death: In a thresti stude Y stode; Duncane Laideus Testament

Visions of the Afterlife: Dunbar, Fasternis Evin in Hell; The Awntyrs off Arthure

Love and Loss: Chaucer, The Book of the Duchess

Death and the Law (Saints and Sinners): Chaucer, Second Nun's Prologue and Tale; Hary, extracts from The Wallace; The Execution of Sir Simon Fraser

Death and the Law (Self Killing): Gower, The Tale of Iphis and Araxarathen; Chaucer 'The Legend of Thisbe'

Waking the Dead: Lord Fergus Gaist

Lamenting and Commemorating Death? Complaint for the Death of Margaret, Princess of Scotland; Dunbar, Dumbaris Dirige to the King
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills As an outcome of having studied this course, students will benefit from having developed a range of personal and professional skills commensurate with the range of SCQF Level 10 characteristics:
Knowledge and Understanding: students will have the opportunity to develop their critical understanding of a range of the principal theories and concepts of literary analysis in relation to their reading and discussion of the course material;
Applied Knowledge, Skills and Understanding: in their work for class discussion, presentations and formal assessment tasks, students will have been able to practice the application of these theories and concepts in their construction of arguments about the course material;
Generic Cognitive Skills: in completing assessed essays and class presentations, students will have practised identifying, defining, conceptualising and analysing complex problems and issues germane to the discipline;
Communication: through participating in these tasks students will also have demonstrated the ability to communicate ideas and information about specialised topics in the discipline to an informed audience of their peers and subject specialists;
Autonomy and Working With Others: students will also have shown the capacity to work autonomously and in small groups on designated tasks, develop new thinking with their peers, and take responsibility for the reporting, analysis and defence of these ideas to a larger group.
KeywordsDeath and dying,mourning,commemoration,medieval literature
Course organiserDr Kate Ash-Irisarri
Tel: (0131 6)50 8930
Course secretaryMiss Hope Hamilton
Tel: (0131 6)50 4167
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