ENGLISH 340 - Studies in Poetry
Fall 2020, Section 001 - Poetry Before Print: Medieval Poetry and Manuscript Culture
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is   Hybrid (see other Sections below)
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
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Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:


This class explores the tradition of lyric poetry in England up to and including the first printed collection of poetry, Tottel’s Miscellany (1557). We will read a wide range of poems on love, desire, death, and religious devotion, and we will investigate how their medium—the manuscripts in which they were handwritten—shape them and their social use. How are ideas about selfhood, voice, and poetic form influenced by the medium of the manuscript? We will use digital facsimiles of medieval manuscripts (and look at some actual manuscript pages) to help us think about how poetry looked, how it was read, and what social functions it served before the invention of print. At the end of the term, we’ll explore how the print revolution changes poetic tradition by reshaping ideas about the poet, the reading of poetry, and poetry’s status as literature. Looking at the past may help us ask questions about how the digital revolution is reshaping poetry now.

Course texts: Medieval English Lyrics and Carols, ed. Duncan (D.S. Brewer, 2013)); Tottel’s Miscellany, ed. Holton and MacFaul (Penguin Classics, rpt, 2012).

Course Requirements:

Active participation in class discussion; two short papers (5 pp.), a presentation, and a ten-page essay.

Intended Audience:

No prerequisites. Non-majors with an interest in poetry and/or medieval culture welcome!

Online-only students are welcome!

Class Format:

Exams: Asynchronous and Online

Lectures: Synchronous/Asynchronous and Online/In-Person

Class Discussions: Synchronous/Asynchronous and Online/In-Person


ENGLISH 340 - Studies in Poetry
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
MW 10:00AM - 11:30AM
002 (SEM)
MW 2:30PM - 4:00PM

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