Arthur through the Ages
This module examines the roots and various permutations of the Arthurian legends from historical, mythical, and socio-political vantage points as they have manifested themselves through various periods of English literature and art. This unit uses literature from the earliest medieval texts to Arthur's presentation in twentieth-century texts, films, and art.
Anhaga - The Exile as a Recurring Character
This module considers the Exile as a pervasive character in medieval literature, looking first to the actions and situations of the Exile, and then to the varied manifestations of these. The early English texts used include Beowulf, The Wanderer, and several texts involving women exiles, most notably The Wife's Lament, Juliana, and Chaucer's Man of Law's Tale. The final section of this module explores the Exile in the context of nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature.
This module will provide an overview of the complexities of the Crusades as a historical, religious, and cultural phenomenon. This end will be achieved through an examination of the major cultures involved, the strong personalities that dominate the existing records, the role of women, and the legacy of the Crusades.
Damnation - Medieval and Modern: Dante's Inferno and Sartre's No Exit
This module explores the hierarchy of justice and moral goodness from the medieval perspective provided in the Inferno, and then transposes the emergent theme of free will to a twentieth-century existentialist understanding of damnation articulated in Sartre's play, No Exit, through the vehicles of moral relativism and absolutism.
The Damnation of Passion in Dante's Inferno and Sam Shepard's Fool for Love
This module is designed to explore the transition from reason to passion and the problems that arise therefrom. The readings of this module carefully focus on Canto 5 of the Inferno, both in Italian and in several English translations, and on a comparison of elements in that Canto to the drama of Shepard's play, Fool for Love.
English: Older Than You Ever Knew
This module will examine the deep history of the English language through a study of literature and linguistics, highlighting the Germanic roots of the language and its Latinate foliage. Through a comparative study of Old, Middle, and Modern English, students will see just how much has changed and what has remained the same in our common language.
This module combines the disciplines of art, history, and literature in an effort to introduce students to the exciting world of medieval manuscript production. It provides a brief overview of the major scripts employed in scriptoria across Europe, an examination of the process used to make and prepare parchment, and in-class exercises on techniques of deciphering and transcribing medieval texts.
Medievalism and the Creation of The Lord of the Rings
This module introduces students to the study of medieval literature and history through the vehicle of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. This is achieved through an in-depth examination of portions of the text, emphasizing the creative appropriation of medieval sources within the context of post-World War I Europe.
Reflections of Medieval Monsters and Men
This module will trace the literary depictions of the monstrous, placing particular emphasis upon the reflective relationship between mankind and the "other." The key readings of this unit will include Beowulf, Marie de France's Bisclavret, Chrétien de Troyes's Yvain, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.
The Tools and Techniques of Medieval Astronomy
For many, the medieval era seems to have been a dark period for the natural sciences, demon-haunted and dominated by superstition. In contrast to this popular view, many of the most influential thinkers in the Middle Ages were acutely aware of the natural world and helped to provide the foundation for the scientific discoveries of the Renaissance. Using multimedia, this module examines the practical application of astronomy in the works of Bede and the Anglo-Saxon Byrhtferth, the innovations of Arabic scientists, and the transmission of scientic thought in the works of Chaucer and Roger Bacon.