English 210 - Spring, 2015

Readings in English & American Literature

Class Information

Instructor: Vernon, Matthew
CRN: 52856
Time: T 12:10-3:00
Location: 120 Voorhies
Breadth: Earlier British
Focus: Interdiscipline

Description

    Possessing the Past: Medieval Foundational Fictions
    This class will focus on the ways in which medieval texts have functioned as “foundational fictions,” narratives that shape dynamics of power, the construction of race, and the formation of nations through their adoption and promulgation in subsequent centuries. We will examine various Anglo-Saxon and Middle English texts that meditate on the problem of constructing and maintaining coherent social bodies. Alongside these texts we will read various critical and historical materials that reuse medieval material –work by Christopher Columbus, Bartolome De Las Casas, Edmund Burke, Thomas Jefferson, Frederick Douglass, Mark Twain, Michel Foucault and Amiri Baraka– to understand how medieval texts are “discovered,” read, misread, revised, adapted, and rejected for the purposes of consolidating identity and advancing political projects.

Texts

    Beowulf
    The History of the Kings of Britain
    The History and Topography of Ireland
    Macbeth
    The System of Dante's Hell
    Mandeville's Travels
    A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
    Old English Exodus
    Egil's Saga