ENGLISH 397 - Honors Junior Seminar
Section: 001 Poetry before Print: Medieval and Early Tudor Lyric Poetry
Term: WN 2014
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of department.
Advisory Prerequisites:
Junior or senior standing, and permission of instructor.
May be repeated for a maximum of 9 credit(s).
Primary Instructor:

This class explores the tradition of lyric verse in England up to and including the first printed collection of poetry, Tottel’s Miscellany (1557), the watershed volume that established the Elizabethan sonnet form. We will read widely in medieval and early Tudor poetic forms (in the original language, which we’ll learn to read). We will start by exploring how the material context of medieval poetry — the manuscripts in which it was written down — shape English lyric in its early forms. How are ideas about selfhood, voice, and poetic form influenced by the medium of the manuscript? How do the contents of manuscripts, which are usually miscellaneous, influence the meaning of particular poems and the cultural work of poetry itself? Basic introductions to medieval paleography (handwriting) and codicology (the study of manuscripts as objects) will allow us to think about these questions using digital facsimiles of medieval manuscripts. At the end of the term, we’ll consider how the technology of print changes poetic tradition by reshaping ideas about the poet, the reading of poetry, and poetry’s status as literature.

Required texts: Michael Alexander, Earliest English Poems (Penguin); M. Luria and R. Hoffman, eds., Middle English Lyrics (Norton); A. Holton and T Macfaul, eds., Tottel’s Miscellany (Penguin).

Course Requirements:

Assignments will include two short essays of close reading (3 pp.), an abstract of a scholarly essay (3 pp.), an in-class midterm essay; a class presentation; and a final paper (8-10 pp).

Intended Audience:

No prior experience in medieval or Early Modern literature is required. Interested non-Honors students may petition the instructor for permission to enroll.

Class Format:

This class has a mixed format of discussion and lecture; informed and engaged participation in class discussion will play a significant role in assessment.

ENGLISH 397 - Honors Junior Seminar
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
TuTh 11:30AM - 1:00PM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.

ISBN: 0393093387
Middle English lyrics : authoritative texts, critical and historical backgrounds perspectives on six poems, Author: sel. and ed. by Maxwell S. Luria, Richard L. Hoffman., Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company [1st ed.] 1974
ISBN: 0141192046
Tottel's miscellany : songs and sonnets of Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, Sir Thomas Wyatt and others, Author: edited with an introduction and notes by Amanda Holton and Tom MacFaul., Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 0140445943
The Earliest English poems, Author: translated and introduced by Michael Alexander., Publisher: Penguin Books 3rd ed., r 1991
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