E 395N • Middle English
12:30 PM-2:00 PM
The first part of the course will be a straightforward description of the phonological, morphological, and syntactic features of the dialects of Middle English. Then we will consider several problems that have stirred recent scholarly debate, including the borderline between poetry and prose, Middle English poetics, and the fourteenth-century roots of the rise of Standard English. A packet of classic and recent articles about the language will guide us in thinking about the Middle English texts and in finding projects for future research.
Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales (The Pardoner's Tale)
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
William Langland, Piers Plowman
The alliterative Morte Arthure
John Barbour, The Bruce
The Travels of Sir John Mandeville
Lawman, The Brut
Nun's Guide (Ancrene Wisse)
The Owl and the Nightingale
Lyrics: "Sing, cuckoo," "Sunset on Calvary," "When the nightingale sings," etc.
Text: F. Mossé, A Handbook of Middle English