N.B.: Participation involves more than responding in class. I will take into account all of the ways you participate in this course: coming to class (on time), being prepared, turning in work on time, showing up for appointments, etc.
Week 1 (beginning 16 January): Discussion of the Anglo-Saxon heroic ideal and Old English verse form. Read: Battle of Maldon (handout). Note: the introductions are always part of the reading assignment. Week 2 (beginning 23 January): Tuesday: Something like a lecture on the Norman Conquest, the reasons for the death of Old English, the effects on verse form and diction in English, reasons for the dearth of fine poetry in the English in the early Middle English period. I will expect you to help me out with whatever you know about these matters; you might want to look over old notes (HEL? BritLitI?) and/or the introductions in the Norton Anthology. Read: Introduction to Dunn & Byrnes Lawman (compare the ME with the translation) Begin Sir Orfeo Thursday: Romance is a narrative form born in France (a Romance, rather than a Germanic land). Look "romance" up in a dictionary of literary terms--and be sure to bone up on the story of Orpheus and Eurydice (any mythology book will have it). [Boethius freaks: check Book 3, poem 12] Read: Sir Orfeo Week 3 (beginning 30 January): Alliterative Morte Arthure (Dunn & Byrnes + handout) Week 4 (beginning 6 February): Stanzaic Morte Arthur (handout) Week 5 (beginning 13 February): We may need to play catch-up on Tuesday. If not: Read: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.The language is difficult. It is worth every bit of struggle. It is one of the great poems of the English language. Keep both Maldon and Sir Orfeo in the back of your mind as you read.Week 6 (beginning 20 February): Sir Gawain Week 7 (beginning 27 February): Tuesday: Sir Gawain Thursday: Malory (handout) Week 8 (beginning 6 March): Tuesday: Malory Thursday: 50-minute test
SPRING BREAKWeek 9 (beginning 20 March): Tuesday: The origins of medieval drama. Read: A Christmas Mumming The Quem Quaeritis Trope A Pantomime for Easter Day Thursday: The cycle plays. (Plays! not poetry, not stories, but plays!) Read: Bevington, "The Corpus Christi Cycle" The Creation Noah (Chester and Townley) Think about the differences and possible reasons for them before you come to class. Week 10 (beginning 27 March):
Read: Abraham and Isaac (both versions) Ditto the above. Moses Joseph The Shepherds' Plays The Shearmen and Tailors' Play Week 11 (beginning 3 April): Read: Lazarus The Last Supper The Betrayal The Crucifixion The Resurrection Judgement DayN.B.: Friday evening: Performance of the Wakefield Noah at Penn State. Attendance required.Week 12 (beginning 10 April): Read: The (Croxton) Play of the Sacrament Thursday: No class.
Week 13 (beginning 17 April): Read: Mankind The Play of the Weather Week 14 (beginning 24 April): Read: Ralph Roister Doister Gammar Gurton's Needle Thursday: 2000-word paper due Week 15 (beginning 1 May): There is no way we will run out of material. Nice to think there may be some elbow-room, though.
REVISED SYLLABUSWeek 9 (beginning 20 March): Malory 10.5-15; 22; 26-28; 52; 70-71; 86-88; 23.25-end Week 10 (beginning 27 March): Tuesday Report: Latin liturgical drama Read: A Christmas Mumming The Quem Quaeritis Trope A Pantomime for Easter Day Thursday Report: Cycle plays Read: Bevington, "The Corpus Christi Cycle" The Creation Noah (Chester and Townley)Think about the differences and possible reasons for them before you come to class.Week 11 (beginning 3 April): Read: Abraham and Isaac (both versions) Ditto the above. Moses Joseph The Shepherds' Plays The Shearmen and Tailors' Play Week 12 (beginning 10 April): Read: Lazarus The Betrayal The Crucifixion The Resurrection Judgement Day Thursday: No class. Week 13 (beginning 17 April): Tuesday Report: Saints plays/Miracle plays Read: The (Croxton) Play of the Sacrament Thursday Report: Morality plays (Aaron) Read: Mankind 2000-word paper due Week 14 (beginning 24 April): Tuesday Report: Interludes Read: The Play of the Weather Thursday Report: Tudor comedies Read: Ralph Roister Doister Week 15 (beginning 1 May): Read: Gammar Gurton's Needle Thursday: No class
Each question has two forms (A and B). Come to the final exam prepared to write five short essays (A form) and one long essay (B form). Number your answers. Be sure you answer the question; irrelevant information is worth zero/zip/nil. (A topic sentence makes a fine beginning.) BE SPECIFIC, and refer to texts as frequently as possible.
Your answers should be as well written as you can make them. When you are finished, read over your answer and correct it before you turn it in.
1A. Discuss the closely-related ideas of justice and mercy in The Last Judgment.
1B. Add Mankind and The Play of the Sacrament.
2A. Discuss the treatment of common people and their concerns in The Second Shepherd's Play. (Why are they there?)
2B. Contrast the treatment of common people and their concerns in The Play of the Weather and The Second Shepherds' Play.
3A. Discuss the stereotypes of women as portrayed in the Noah plays.
3B. Compare the roles of women as portrayed in the Creation, Joseph, and the Resurrection.
4A. Discuss the significance of the term "cuckold" and how it pertains to the negative portrayal of Joseph in his play.
4B. Compare the two wives in the Noah plays. What do their differences tell us about the common theme of obedience?
5A. Discuss the role of the comedic elements in the Noah plays.
5B. Discuss the role of the comedic elements in the Noah plays and the Play of the Sacrament.
6A. Discuss the theatrical uses of the soldiers in the Crucifixion play. (I refer to the effect on the audience and how it is evoked.)
6B. Discuss the theatrical effects in The Play of the Sacrament. (How do they function in the play? Are they necessary? Why?)
7A. Discuss the character Mercy in Mankind. What does he teach us about the medieval conception of penance?
7B. Compare the role of Jupiter in the Play of the Weather with that of God from any of the cycle plays. How are they alike or different?
8A. How does the Tudor drama, so heavily influenced by Roman drama, still resemble the other "English" work we have read?
8B. In what ways is the Tudor drama similar and different from the other "English" works we have read?
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