ENGD30: Topics in Medieval Literature

ENGD30: Topics in Medieval Literature




Course Name: Studies in Medieval Literature -- King Arthur in History & Fiction

Instructor: Jonathan Brent

Course Description: King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table have been sites of fascination, fantasy, propaganda, and social critique for over 1,000 years. This course aims to critically analyze Arthurian literature from its earliest appearances in medieval history-writing and romance to its more recent treatment by the likes of Monty Python, Marion Zimmer Bradley, and Kazuo Ishiguro. The course will highlight similarity and difference in the way the idea of King Arthur has been used across time to negotiate social and political issues, from royal authority to gender and race. How did medieval readers and writers use the story of the ancient king to bolster their own claims to power? How has the Arthur story been used to deconstruct idealized, whitewashed, or otherwise distorted representations of history? How does genre affect the presentation of Arthurian material, and how does it affect reception? We will consider questions such as these, among others.


Course Features & Delivery: The course will be delivered online, with synchronous meetings that include lecture and, for the most part, discussion. This counts as a pre-1900 credit. You can explore your specific program requirements in our Programs & Courses section.


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You can also check for specific D-level seminar topics or for Pre-1900 courses.