Fall 2003
ENGL 517
M 7-10 PM

Professor Myra Seaman
Office:      74 George St. , Room 101
Hours:     M 1:30-4; W 1-2:30; & by appt
Phone:     953-5760
E-mail:     seamanm@cofc.edu

England’s Romance with Arthur: Genre, History, Nationhood


Policies and Expectations:

Class meets once a week, so attendance is very important. Preparation is equally important – all reading should be done, reports written, papers typed, questions raised, ideas ready, by the beginning of class. At each class meeting we will read and talk for about 75 minutes, then take a 10-minute break, then regroup to read and talk some more.

Each week’s assignment includes a ‘key question’ which embraces both evidence and theory, problems and provocations; usually no definitive answer is meant to be found, but your response (a written reply of 500 words or more) should offer at least one possible position on the issues implicit in the question. You will be expected to turn in answers to eight of these over the course of the semester. Key question responses are due in class on the scheduled day, or they may be handed in via e-mail before class begins; they will not be accepted late.

Everyone is expected to do all of the primary and most of the secondary reading on the syllabus for each week. In addition, the primary readings will be divided up so that each of you will be responsible for presenting a text to the class and then writing your researched argument centered on this text. You will give a 10-minute presentation and submit an annotated bibliography that surveys, summarizes and evaluates representative interpretations (including at least ten articles or book chapters) of that text and/or issues surrounding it. In your individual annotations you should include a summary of the major points of each item you’re including, and an evaluation of the validity and use of the critical materials. As an introduction to the bibliography (and as part of your presentation) you should provide an overview of the different types of critical readings of the work that have developed.  The bibliography is due at the end of your presentation. You will sign up for these presentations on the first day of class.

You will then write a 15-page researched argument, due at the end of the semester, based upon this research. The researched argument is a focused, specific, careful and perceptive treatment of some issue or “problem” surrounding the primary text. Although your paper may draw on class discussion, it should go well beyond what has been covered in class or by the critics we have discussed. You should read as widely as possible in the secondary literature and incorporate all relevant sources into your paper. Failure to document properly someone else’s ideas is considered plagiarism regardless of the intent.

Your engagement with the course will be examined in a final exam.

Your final grade is based on an average of all written work and class participation:

Key question responses    25%
Final exam    25%
Researched argument    30%
Presentation and bibliography    20%

Required Texts:

The following texts have been ordered for the class and can be purchased at the College Bookstore on Calhoun or at University Books on King St. between Calhoun and George Street. They are also available from various online booksellers, such as amazon and bn.com.  You may find CampusBooks4Less useful; it searches for the best used and new books for you. The first two texts on the list will be needed within the first three weeks of class.

Norbert J. Lacy, Geoffrey Ashe and Debra Mancuff. The Arthurian Handbook. 2nd edition (Garland/Taylor & Francis1997)  [ISBN: 0815320817]

Geoffrey of Monmouth, History of the Kings of Britain, Trans. and ed Lewis Thorpe. Penguin Classics (NY: Penguin, 1966) [ISBN 0140441700]

Arthurian Chronicles: Wace and Layamon. Trans. Eugene Mason. Medieval Academy Reprints for Teaching 35 (Univ of Toronto Pr; Reprint edition 1996) [ISBN: 0802071767]

Marie de France. Lais of Marie de France. Ed Robert W. Hanning and trans. Joan M. Ferrante. (Baker Books, 1995). [ISBN: 080102031X]

Chrétien de Troyes, Lancelot, or, the Knight of the Cart. Trans. Ruth Cline (Athens: U of GA, 1990) [ISBN: 0820312134]

Sir Perceval of Galles and Ywain and Gawain, ed. Mary Flowers Braswell
(Kalamazoo, Michigan: Western Michigan University for TEAMS, 1995) [ISBN: 1879288605]

King Arthur's Death, ed. Larry Benson, rev. Edward E. Foster.  (Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute Pub., 2000). [ISBN: 1879288389]

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: Middle English Text with Facing Translation. Trans. James Winney.  (Ontario: Broadview, 1996). [ISBN: 0921149921]

Malory, Le Morte Darthur, ed. Helen Cooper (Oxford UP, 1998) [ISBN 0192824201]

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