ENGLISH 140 - First-Year Seminar on English Language and Literature
Fall 2023, Section 005 - Quests and Questions in Medieval English Romances
Instruction Mode: Section 005 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
See additional student enrollment and course instructor information to guide you in your decision making.


Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
Advisory Prerequisites:
Enrollment restricted to first-year students, including those with sophomore standing.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:
Start/End Date:
Full Term 8/28/23 - 12/6/23 (see other Sections below)
NOTE: Drop/Add deadlines are dependent on the class meeting dates and will differ for full term versus partial term offerings.
For information on drop/add deadlines, see the Office of the Registrar and search Registration Deadlines.


This course offers an introduction to the most important genre of imaginative literature in medieval England, the stories of adventure we call “romance.” Widely recognized as entertaining (and still a source of contemporary pop culture in the form of movies, series, video games, children’s literature, etc), medieval English romance has recently been recognized by scholars for its surprisingly serious exploration of questions such as: “what do we owe our friends?,” “does intention change the ethics of an action?” “what accounts for the different ways people experience time?,” and (literally), “what do women want'?” We will analyze how the quest narrative of romance is structured by such questions, and we’ll turn to some modern narratives influenced by romance to analyze what kind of questions they opt to explore through medieval romance. This class will introduce you to the thought-world of premodern England; it will expand your understanding of critical approaches to narrative; and it will give you tools for understanding the ongoing influence of medieval literature on contemporary culture.

Course Requirements:

This course requires regular preparation for and participation in class discussion, as well as informal and formal writing assignments. Some readings will be in medieval English (others will be in modern English translation): there will be required exercises to facilitate your ability to read and translate English as it was written in the late Middle Ages. Writing assignments will include discussion posts, abstracts of scholarly essays, and two formal papers.

Intended Audience:

No prior knowledge of medieval literature required!


ENGLISH 140 - First-Year Seminar on English Language and Literature
Schedule Listing
005 (SEM)
 In Person
4Enrollment Management
MW 10:00AM - 11:30AM
8/28/23 - 12/6/23

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