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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Daniel J Birkholz

Associate Professor Ph.D., 1999, University of Minnesota

Daniel J Birkholz

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Biography

Daniel Birkholz is Associate Professor of English at the University of Texas at Austin. Before coming to UT he taught at Pomona College (Claremont, CA), where in 2002 he received the Wig Distinguished Professorship Award, for excellence in teaching and research. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 1999; his M.A. from the University of Toronto in 1991; and his B.A. from Carleton College (Northfield, MN) in 1990. A 2009-2010 Solmsen Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Institute for Research in the Humanities, Birkholz's previous fellowships include exchanges at Cambridge University (Downing College, Spring 2002) and the Arni Magnusson Manuscript Institute in Reykjavik, Iceland (1994-1995), plus various grants for archival research (Beinecke Library, Newberry Library, British Library, Hill Monastic Manuscript Library, etc).

E 314L • Reading Lit In Context-Hon

35090 • Fall 2014
Meets MWF 1000am-1100am PAR 210
show description

Instructor:  Birkholz, D

Unique #:  35090

Semester:  Fall 2014

Cross-lists:  n/a

Flags:  Writing

Restrictions:  English Honors, Plan I Honors

Prerequisites: E 603A, RHE 306, 306Q, or T C 603A.

Description: This course is designed to prepare students for the English major. We will read, discuss, and write about a collection of texts in several complementary ways: we will consider the text of each work, its literary and historical contexts, and the cultural contests in which it has participated.

When we consider the text of each work, we will examine stylistic and aesthetic elements (e.g., the author's use of character, setting, imagery, language patterns, and even sentence syntax) and how those elements contribute to the work's broader themes and apparent purposes.

In considering each work's relationship to its literary and historical context, we will read a number of historical documents as well as shorter literary works from the period in which the work was written. Some questions we'll ask: what kinds of historical knowledge does the work assume its reader to have? How was the work in question been shaped by—and how did it shape—historically specific events, issues, and literary trends?

Finally, we will consider how each of the central works has fared since its publication—that is, how it has been valued and devalued in various cultural "contests." For whom has it been especially important? When has it been considered "great literature"? By what criteria has it been judged since its first publication? Does the work have any social, intellectual, or aesthetic value at present?

Texts: The Song of Songs; Sappho, Poems and Fragments; Shakespeare, Twelfth Night; Goldsmith, She Stoops to Conquer; Wycherley, The Country Wife; Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest; Conan Doyle, Adventures of Sherlock Holmes; Kipling, Kim; Achebe, Things Fall Apart; Reed, Mumbo Jumbo; Course Packet (selections from Sedgwick, Frye, Eagleton, Bahktin, Said, etc.).

Requirements & Grading: Assignment specifics to be distributed & discussed; percentages approximate and subject to change.

Three 5-7+ pp. papers (plus required drafts for first two; required 1-page prospectus for all three), 25% each; In-Class Performance (writing, discussion, engagement, preparation, peer feedback), 25%; Attendance (repeated absences will affect grade), Required; On-time Completion of Reading & Writing Assignments, Required.

Please Note: All assignments must be completed satisfactorily in order for you to receive any passing grade for the course.

E 379R • Fiction And Medievalism

36015 • Fall 2014
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm CAL 323
show description

 

Instructor:  Birkholz, D

Unique #:  36015

Semester:  Fall 2014

Cross-lists:  n/a

Flags:  Independent Inquiry; Writing; Global Cultures

Computer Instruction:  No

Prerequisites: Six semester hours of upper-division coursework in English.

Description: Umberto Eco has said that every generation produces its own version of the Middle Ages. By examining selected works of fiction (and some literary criticism, poetry, visual arts, and film), this course will explore how the category of ‘the medieval’ has been constructed (and its imagery activated) in post-medieval settings from the eighteenth century onwards. Special attention will be paid to Victorian England and the twentieth century.

Texts (subject to change)

William Morris, The Wood Beyond the World

Walter Scott, Ivanhoe

Matthew Lewis, The Monk

Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

Italo Calvino, The Non-Existent Knight

Barry Unsworth, Morality Play

Jill Paton Walsh, Knowledge of Angels

Norman Cantor, Inventing the Middle Ages

Mark Corrigan, A Short Guide to Writing about Film.

Requirements & Grading: Grading will be determined by performance on two short essays (4 pp. each) and 1major seminar paper (8+ pp; significant research and revision of draft versions required, as per writing flag guidelines) as well as by in-class performance, preparation, discussion, engagement, attendance, reading checks, and peer feedback. Each absence beginning with #4 will reduce in-class portion of grade; no passing grade is possible with 9+ absences. Papers approx. 80%; in-class performance approx. 20%.

* Disability Accommodation: The University of Texas at Austin provides upon request apt academic accommodations for qualified students with disabilities. For more information, contact Services for Students with Disabilities at 471-6259 (voice) or 232-2937 (video phone).

E 326K • Lit Of Middle Ages In Transltn

35930 • Spring 2014
Meets MWF 1000am-1100am PAR 204
show description

Instructor:  Birkholz, D

Unique #:  35930

Semester:  Spring 2014

Cross-lists:  n/a

Prerequisites: Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing.

Description: A survey of outstanding literary texts from medieval Scandinavia and Viking Britain, read in the (shifting) context of their various audiences from composition to the present day. Attention will be given to multiple critical perspectives, as well as to the insights provided by anthropology; social and political history; the visual arts and material culture; manuscript culture; oral and documentary traditions; and to some extent 19th- and 20th-century medievalism (i.e. how the medieval past has been constructed and used, and to what ends). No prior experience with the Middle Ages or literary study expected; however, student engagement and enthusiasm highly desirable.

Texts: Beowulf: A New Verse Translation (Norton; tr. Heaney); Hrafnkel’s Saga & Other Stories (Penguin, tr. Palsson); Laxdaela Saga (Penguin; tr. Magnusson & Palsson); Three Icelandic Outlaw Sagas (Everyman; tr. Faulkes & Johnston); Njal’s Saga (Penguin; tr. Magnusson & Palsson); The Vinland Sagas (Penguin; tr. Magnusson & Palsson); Snorri Sturluson, Edda (Everyman; tr. Faulkes; a.k.a. Prose Edda or Younger Edda); The Poetic Edda (U Texas Press; tr. Hollander; a.k.a. Elder Edda); William Morris, The House of the Wulfings (Inkling); Supplemental Course Packet.

Requirements & Grading: (assignment specifics discussed in class; percentages approximate & subject to change)

Old English Paper (5+ pp.), 25%; Saga Paper (6-8+ pp.), 30%; Medievalism Paper & Presentation (5+ pp.), 25%; In-Class Performance (writing, discussion, engagement, preparation, process work), 20%; On-time Attendance (note: every absence beginning with #4 will reduce grade), Required; On-time Completion of Reading, Writing & Feedback Assignments, Required.

 All assignments must be completed satisfactorily  to receive any passing grade for the course.

E 314L • Reading Lit In Context-Hon

35015 • Fall 2013
Meets MWF 900am-1000am CLA 0.120
show description

Instructor:  Birkholz, D            Areas:  n/a

Unique #:  35015            Flags:  Writing

Semester:  Fall 2013            Restrictions:  English Honors, Plan I Honors

Cross-lists:  n/a            Computer Instruction:  n/a

Prerequisites: E 603A, RHE 306, 306Q, or T C 603A.

Description: This course is designed to prepare students for the English major. We will read, discuss, and write about a collection of texts in several complementary ways: we will consider the text of each work, its literary and historical contexts, and the cultural contests in which it has participated.

When we consider the text of each work, we will examine stylistic and aesthetic elements (e.g., the author's use of character, setting, imagery, language patterns, and even sentence syntax) and how those elements contribute to the work's broader themes and apparent purposes.

In considering each work's relationship to its literary and historical context, we will read a number of historical documents as well as shorter literary works from the period in which the work was written. Some questions we'll ask: what kinds of historical knowledge does the work assume its reader to have? How was the work in question been shaped by—and how did it shape—historically specific events, issues, and literary trends?

Finally, we will consider how each of the central works has fared since its publication—that is, how it has been valued and devalued in various cultural "contests." For whom has it been especially important? When has it been considered "great literature"? By what criteria has it been judged since its first publication? Does the work have any social, intellectual, or aesthetic value at present?

Texts: The Song of Songs; Sappho, Poems and Fragments; Shakespeare, Twelfth Night; Goldsmith, She Stoops to Conquer; Wycherley, The Country Wife; Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest; Conan Doyle, Adventures of Sherlock Holmes; Kipling, Kim; Achebe, Things Fall Apart; Reed, Mumbo Jumbo; Course Packet (selections from Sedgwick, Frye, Eagleton, Bahktin, Said, etc.).

Requirements & Grading: Assignment specifics to be distributed & discussed; percentages approximate and subject to change.

Three 5-7+ pp. papers (plus required drafts for first two; required 1-page prospectus for all three), 25% each; In-Class Performance (writing, discussion, engagement, preparation, peer feedback), 25%; Attendance (repeated absences will affect grade), Required; On-time Completion of Reading & Writing Assignments, Required.

Please Note: All assignments must be completed satisfactorily in order for you to receive any passing grade for the course.

E S350E • Once & Future Middle Ages-Eng

83760 • Summer 2013
Meets
show description

Instructor:  Birkholz, D Areas:  III / D

Unique #:  83760 Flags:  n/a

Semester:  Summer 2013, second session Restrictions:  Oxford Summer Program participants

Cross-lists:  n/a Computer Instruction:  No

Prerequisites: Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing.

Description: Umberto Eco has said that every generation produces its own version of the Middle Ages. The great bulk of such ‘medievalism’ engages directly with the highly-codified concept of chivalry, along with its sexual/spiritual conjoint, courtly love. Using fiction, film, and popular culture, this course will examine how the meanings and conventions of ‘chivalric romance’ have been understood and explored—often challenged or parodied—from the 14th century to the 21st. We will move from exemplars like Chretien de Troyes, Sir Gawain & the Green Knight and Malory's Le Morte Darthur, through William Morris' Arts & Crafts romanticism, to the earnest Oxford fantasists (Tolkien, Lewis), feminist neo-paganists (Bradley's The Mists of Avalon), and beyond (graphic novels like Camelot 3000; a serious look at Monty Python & the Holy Grail?; contemporary role-playing and digital-medieval gaming cultures). Show-stoppers to include Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee at King Arthur's Court, Italo Calvino's The Non-Existent Knight; and rare, unspeakably bawdy medieval fabliaux (“The Knight Who Could Make ****s Talk”; “The Three Ladies Who Found a ****”).

Camelot has become difficult to find, but expect excursions to classic sites such as Ludlow Castle; Hereford Cathedral (with its chained library and map of the world); the Tower of London; and more, from forgotten villages to cobbled town alleys to manuscript archives. Class will probably not be held at The Eagle & Child, the Oxford pub where Tolkien, Lewis & the Inklings met on Mondays between the wars…

Requirements & Grading: “Medieval Encounters” Reading & Critical Reflection Journal, 50%; “Post-Medieval Medievalism” Oral Research Presentation (w/1-p. synopsis), 25%; In-Class Performance (preparation, discussion, engagement, citizenship), 25%; On-time Attendance (every absence beg w/#3 reduces ICP grade; NC at #5), Required.

E 392M • Excl Chaucer: Allit 14th Cen

35855 • Spring 2013
Meets MW 1100am-1230pm MEZ 1.104
show description

Excluding Chaucer: the Alliterative Fourteenth Century

Each year the MLA annual meeting authorizes half-a-dozen paper-sessions (not including ‘special sessions’) on medieval English literature. Half of these treat the work of Geoffrey Chaucer, while the others cluster together under the awkward rubric of “Middle English Literature Excluding Chaucer”. While trying hard to avoid simple-minded, oppositional stances (e.g., metropolitan vs regional; mercantile vs baronial; sophisticated vs parochial), this seminar will survey fourteenth-century literary England’s canonical and semi-canonical alliterative alternatives to Chaucerian hegemony. Key texts will include William Langland’s Piers Plowman and The Poems of the Pearl Manuscript (especially Sir Gawain & the Green Knight & Pearl), supplemented as space permits by less famous alliterative works, as well as relevant literary-historical; critical/methodological; and non-literary materials.

Seminar participants NEED NOT be medieval specialists, or British literature specialists, or even practicing literary historians; cross-period, cross-cultural and interdisciplinary approaches are encouraged, especially as this century is notable (notwithstanding the eventual advent of London/Chaucerian English) for how it hosts multiple language and literary traditions. Research opportunities will be tailored so as to fit, challenge and extend individual scholarly trajectories, within the context of our shared inquiry.

A note on language: Middle English alliterative texts are initially a bit harder to pick up than Chaucer (whose dialect more closely resembles our own), but don’t let anxiety on this front scare you off the course or material, as the linguistic and poetic richness on offer (and your improved ear down the road) will more than compensate for that period of usage, pronunciation and vocabulary adjustment.

REQUIREMENTS: A Seminar Paper, which shall include: project prospectus; substantial outside research; rough draft; active peer-review of colleagues’ work; revision; and professional polishing. Short ‘textual analysis’ and/or ‘critical review’ assignments are also likely, as build-up to the term project/seminar paper. Semi-formal oral presentation duties may occasionally be assigned.

PLEASE ALSO NOTE: A major component of the course will involve the conception, planning, research, drafting, revising, and polishing of the seminar paper, ideally to be put to some professional end. A certain amount of proactive self-direction (especially in terms of research agenda) will be expected of all seminar participants, as will a willingness to meet draft/revision deadlines and peer-feedback obligations.

E 314L • Reading Lit In Context-Hon

34680 • Fall 2012
Meets MWF 1000am-1100am MEZ 2.202
show description

Instructor:  Birkholz, D            Areas:  n/a

Unique #:  34680            Flags:  Writing

Semester:  Fall 2012            Restrictions:  English Honors, Plan I Honors

Cross-lists:  n/a            Computer Instruction:  n/a

Prerequisites: E 603A, RHE 306, 306Q, or T C 603A.

Description: This course is designed to prepare students for the English major. We will read, discuss, and write about a collection of texts in several complementary ways: we will consider the text of each work, its literary and historical contexts, and the cultural contests in which it has participated.

When we consider the text of each work, we will examine stylistic and aesthetic elements (e.g., the author's use of character, setting, imagery, language patterns, and even sentence syntax) and how those elements contribute to the work's broader themes and apparent purposes.

In considering each work's relationship to its literary and historical context, we will read a number of historical documents as well as shorter literary works from the period in which the work was written. Some questions we'll ask: what kinds of historical knowledge does the work assume its reader to have? How was the work in question been shaped by—and how did it shape—historically specific events, issues, and literary trends?

Finally, we will consider how each of the central works has fared since its publication—that is, how it has been valued and devalued in various cultural "contests." For whom has it been especially important? When has it been considered "great literature"? By what criteria has it been judged since its first publication? Does the work have any social, intellectual, or aesthetic value at present?

Texts: The Song of Songs; Sappho, Poems and Fragments; Shakespeare, Twelfth Night; Goldsmith, She Stoops to Conquer; Wycherley, The Country Wife; Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest; Conan Doyle, Adventures of Sherlock Holmes; Kipling, Kim; Achebe, Things Fall Apart; Reed, Mumbo Jumbo; Course Packet (selections from Sedgwick, Frye, Eagleton, Bahktin, Said, etc.).

Requirements & Grading: Assignment specifics to be distributed & discussed; percentages approximate and subject to change.

Three 5-7+ pp. papers (plus required drafts for first two; required 1-page prospectus for all three), 25% each; In-Class Performance (writing, discussion, engagement, preparation, peer feedback), 25%; Attendance (repeated absences will affect grade), Required; On-time Completion of Reading & Writing Assignments, Required.

Please Note: All assignments must be completed satisfactorily in order for you to receive any passing grade for the course.

E 376 • Chaucer

35650 • Fall 2012
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm PAR 308
show description

Instructor:  Birkholz, D            Areas:  I / D

Unique #:  35650            Flags:  Global cultures, Writing

Semester:  Fall 2012            Restrictions:  n/a

Cross-lists:  n/a            Computer Instruction:  No

Prerequisites: Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing.

Description: An introduction to Chaucer’s narrative and poetic art, as shown in a selection from the dream poems, Troilus and Criseyde, and the Canterbury Tales. Three lecture hours a week for one semester. Prerequisite: Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing.

Our selections from the Chaucerian canon will be augmented by other landmark texts, by contemporaries and (as possible) later inheritors. Works will be considered in their social and historical contexts, but also in terms of their evolving critical contexts (that is, from multiple, and sometimes conflicting, theoretical perspectives).

By course’s end, students will have gained a working grasp of late-medieval English literary history and its seminal texts. Just as importantly, students will acquire a set of critical tools (writing, reading, research, and analysis) enabling them to approach classic texts in new and original ways. No prior experience with early literary study is expected, but student engagement, enthusiasm, and self-direction are highly desirable.

Texts:  Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales (ed. Kolve & Olson; Norton); The Gawain Poet: Complete Words (tr. Borroff; Norton); The Canterbury Tales: 15th-Century Continuations and Additions (ed Bowers; TEAMS).

Grading & Requirements: (assignment specifics discussed in class; percentages approximate & subject to change)

Gawain-Poet Paper (4-6+ pp.; prospectus, revision, some research): 30%

Chaucer Research Project (8-10+ pp; prospectus, revision, considerable research): 40%

In-Class Performance (writing, discussion, engagement, recitation, daily process work): 30%

On-time Attendance (every absence beginning w/#4 will reduce grade; NC at #9), Required

On-time Completion of Reading, Writing & Feedback Assignments, Required

All assignments must be completed satisfactorily to receive any passing grade for the course.

E 679HA • Honors Tutorial Course

35505 • Fall 2011
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm CAL 221
show description

Prerequisites: Enrollment in or completion of at least one Honors section of an English course, admission to the English Honors Program, and consent of the honors adviser. Enrollment restricted by department.

Description: According to the Honors Thesis Manual, a thesis is “a sustained examination of a central idea or question, developed in a professional and mature manner under the guidance of a faculty supervisor and a second reader.” That sounds easy enough, but how does one get there from here? This course offers something of a roadmap. Over the course of the term we will examine literary criticism from the “inside out” and hone skills essential to a successful honors thesis.

Along the way, we will address a number of questions, both practical—How do I use the MLA Bibliography? What’s the difference between a footnote and an endnote?—and theoretical—What does it mean to make an argument about literature? Who has authority in an act of interpretation? This course will: first and foremost prepare students to write an honors thesis; interrogate methods of literary and cultural interpretation; consider what it means to make literary arguments and conduct literary research; help students to improve their research, critical thinking, reading, and writing skills.

Texts: Required Core Texts: William Shakespeare, The Tempest, eds. Peter Hulme and William H. Sherman (Norton, 2003) #978-0-393-97819-3; Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, ed. J. Paul Hunter (W.W. Norton, 1996). #978-0393964585.

Required Secondary Texts: Wayne Booth, et al, The Craft of Research (Third Edition) (University Of Chicago Press, 2008). #978-0226065663; Marjorie Garber, A Manifesto for Literary Studies (University of Washington Press, 2003). #978-0295983448; Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, They Say/I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing (Norton, 2005). # 978-0393924091.

Optional Supplemtentary Text: Eviatar Zerubavel, The Clockwork Muse: A Practical Guide to Writing Theses, Dissertations, & Books (Harvard, 1999) #0-674-13586-5

Requirements & Grading: (assignment logistics, rationales, and approaches will be discussed at length during class)

Final Thesis Prospectus (4-6 pp.) & Annotated Bibliography (20-25+ items)            40%

Writing Sample (15-20 pp. section or sections of your actual thesis)            30%

In-Class Performance (quality & consistency of discussion; preparation; engagement;

informal writing; writing-process & bibliography tasks; peer feedback; Symposium)            30%

On-time Attendance (note: every absence beginning with #4 will reduce grade; NC at #9)            Required

On-time Completion of Reading, Writing-Process, Research, & Peer Feedback Assignments            Required

 Plus/minus grades will be assigned for the final grade of the course. The university does not recognize the grade of A+. Evaluation percentages approximate & subject to minor change.

E 392M • From Conquest To Plague

35665 • Fall 2011
Meets MW 930am-1100am CAL 21
(also listed as MDV 392M )
show description

From Conquest to Plague

The focal points of medieval English literary study have traditionally, and for good canonical reason, resided in the Anglo-Saxon period (Beowulf especially) and the late fourteenth century (Chaucer, The Gawain-poet, Langland, et al.). In recent years, however, the fifteenth century has taken on increasing critical importance, with the advent to full canonical status of The Book of Margery Kempe (Gower is also on the rise), along with growing attention to vernacular devotional cultures; book history and reception studies; and hot-button theoretical issues such as nationalism and periodization (still focused obsessively on the question of a medieval/Renaissance “divide” or continuum). One result of the subfield’s general trend toward late-medieval texts and contexts has been that the “lost centuries” of medieval English literary history—the long “barren” period between late tenth- and late fourteenth- century vernacular flowerings—threaten to become even less critically relevant than they already are. It may be we’re due for a “market correction” in which early literary cultures come into prominence; but in any case, the distinct literary cultures of this doubly-marginalized period (literary medievalism’s own dark, abject, and fallow place) offer rich opportunity for groundbreaking work.

Seminar participants NEED NOT be medieval specialists, or British literature specialists, or even practicing literary historians; cross-period, cross-cultural and interdisciplinary approaches are encouraged, ESPECIALLY as these centuries are notable for how they host multiple language and literary traditions. Research opportunities will be tailored so as to fit, challenge and extend individual scholarly trajectories, within the context of our shared inquiry.

COURSE READINGS will cluster around thematic issues such as trilingualism; anthology culture; literary topographies; documentary culture; the medieval “short form”; Anglo-Saxon afterlives & Anglo-Norman attitudes; visual history; and more.

In addition to the works contained in key manuscript anthologies such as Digby 86, Harley 2253, and the Auchinleck Manuscript, our syllabus will include (selections from) the following: Ancrene Wisse & the Katherine-Group; The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle; Layamon’s Brut; Gerald of Wales’ History & Topography of Ireland; The South-English Legendary; Wright, Political Songs of England; Westrem, The Hereford Map; Crone, Early Maps of the British Isles; Orm’s Ormulum; Clanchy, From Memory to Written Record; and selected examples from vernacular lyric; insular romance; fabliaux; debate; and more.

Please Note: A major component of the course will involve the conception, planning, research, drafting, revising, and polishing of the seminar paper, ideally to be put to some professional end. A certain amount of proactive self-direction (especially in terms of research agenda) will be expected of all seminar participants, as will a willingness to meet draft/revision deadlines and peer-feedback obligations.

E 379R • Fiction And Medievalism

35824 • Spring 2011
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm PAR 204
show description

E 379R (Topic: Fiction and Medievalism) and 379S (embedded topic: Fiction and Medievalism) may not both be counted.

Prerequisites: Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing.

Course Description: Umberto Eco has said that every generation produces its own version of the Middle Ages. By examining selected works of fiction (and some literary criticism, poetry, visual arts, and film), this course will explore how the category of ‘the medieval’ has been constructed (and its imagery activated) in post-medieval settings from the eighteenth century onwards. Special attention will be paid to Victorian England and the twentieth century.

 

Texts (subject to change)

William Morris, The Wood Beyond the World

Walter Scott, Ivanhoe

Clara Reeves, The Old English Baron OR Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto

Matthew Lewis, The Monk

Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

Italo Calvino, The Non-Existent Knight

Barry Unsworth, Morality Play

Jill Paton Walsh, Knowledge of Angels

Norman Cantor, Inventing the Middle Ages

Mark Corrigan, A Short Guide to Writing about Film.

Grading: Grading will be determined by performance on two short essays (4-5 pp. each) and 1major seminar paper (8-10+ pp; significant research and revision of draft versions required, as per writing flag guidelines) as well as by in-class performance, preparation, discussion, engagement, attendance, reading checks, and peer feedback. Each absence beginning with #4 will reduce in-class portion of grade; no passing grade is possible with 9+ absences. Papers approx. 80%; in-class performance approx. 20%.

* Disability Accommodation: The University of Texas at Austin provides upon request apt academic accommodations for qualified students with disabilities. For more information, contact Services for Students with Disabilities at 471-6259 (voice) or 232-2937 (video phone).

E 392M • Performing Medieval Culture

35995 • Spring 2011
Meets MW 930am-1100am MEZ 1.104
(also listed as MDV 392M )
show description

Performing Medieval Culture

This seminar will examine early English dramatic practice via an approach that is text-based but also interdisciplinary—not to mention conceptually expansive. This means considering not only medieval ‘plays’ themselves, but also social performance (i.e., occasions of heightened role-playing) in a broader sense: the performance of community and/or identity, of social manners and political standing, of gender, discipline, devotion, and more.

On a first level, we will analyze how and to what ends medieval subjects themselves (performers and audiences alike) make meaning through dramatic activity. But more than simply seeking to recover some supposedly authentic version of the medieval past, we will also ask what exactly it means to ‘perform the medieval’ in a contemporary context. In other words, we shall push beyond the usual activity of scholarly ‘reconstruction’ (however responsible) to consider what is involved in any attempt to ‘get medieval’—in this case to engage with an early English dramatic inheritance. Ultimately, we shall look to produce re-stagings of the medieval that are authoritative in their textual and historical precision, yet open to the creative influences of both past and present.

Seminar participants NEED NOT be medieval/early modern specialists, or drama/performance specialists, or practicing literary scholars; cross-period, cross-cultural and interdisciplinary approaches are encouraged. Research opportunities will be tailored so as to fit, challenge and extend individual scholarly trajectories, within the context of our shared inquiry.

READINGS: [selections/editions subject to change]

Supplemental Packets A & B (Speedway Copying/478-3334)

Bevington (ed.), Medieval Drama [liturgical selections; Croxton Play of the Sacrament; etc]

Cawley (ed.), Medieval Miracle Plays (Everyman)

Bruster & Rasmussen (ed.), Everyman and Mankind (Arden)

Beadle (ed.), Cambridge Companion to Medieval English Theatre

Mandel (ed.), Five Comedies of Medieval France [packet]

Boroff (trans.) Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (Norton)

Windeatt (ed.) The Book of Margery Kempe (Penguin)

Unsworth, Morality Play [a novel] (Norton)

John Russell, The Boke of Nurture [packet]

plus one or more of Shakespeare’s ‘Medieval’ Plays

REQUIREMENTS: A Seminar Paper, which shall include: project prospectus; substantial outside research; rough draft; active peer-review of colleagues’ work; revision; and professional polishing. Short ‘article analysis’ and/or ‘literature review’ assignments are also likely, as build-up to the term project/seminar paper. Semi-formal oral presentation duties may occasionally be assigned.

PLEASE ALSO NOTE: A major component of the course will involve the conception, planning, research, drafting, revising, and polishing of the seminar paper, ideally to be put to some professional end. A certain amount of proactive self-direction (especially in terms of research agenda) will be expected of all seminar participants, as will a willingness to meet draft/revision deadlines and peer-feedback obligations.

E 336E • British Lit: Begin-Renaissance

34579 • Fall 2010
Meets MWF 1000am-1100am PAR 103
show description

E 379N (Topic: British Literature: Beginnings to Renaissance) may not also be counted.

 

Course Description: A survey of outstanding literary texts from Anglo-Saxon, Medieval, Renaissance, and early 17th-century England. Works will be considered in their social and historical contexts, but also in terms of their evolving critical contexts (that is, from multiple, and sometimes conflicting, theoretical perspectives). Major texts will likely include: Seamus Heaney’s Beowulf; Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales; Sir Gawain & the Green Knight; The Book of Margery Kempe; Shakespeare’s Hamlet & King Henry IV pt. I; some of Milton’s Paradise Lost; and short selections by Wyatt, Surrey, Marlowe, Raleigh, Herrick, Donne, Marvell, Amelia Lanyer and Queen Elizabeth I, among others. Upon completion of the course, students will have gained a solid grasp of early English literary history and its seminal texts. Just as importantly, students will acquire a set of critical tools (writing, reading, research, and analytical skills) which will enable them to approach classic texts in new and original ways. No prior experience with early literary study is expected, but student engagement, enthusiasm, and self-direction are highly desirable.

Texts: The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Volume 1 (8th edition); Shakespeare, Hamlet and King Henry IV, part one; Supplemental Course Packet.

Grading: Old English Paper (4-6 pp.; some research), 25%; Middle English Paper (6-7 pp; considerable research), 30%; Shakespeare Group Production Paper (approx 5 pages per student), 25%; In-Class Performance (writing, discussion, engagement, preparation, process work), 20%; On-time Attendance (every absence beginning w/#4 will reduce grade; NC at #9), Required; On-time Completion of Reading, Writing & Feedback Assignments, Required.

All assignments must be completed satisfactorily to receive any passing grade for the course.

Prerequisites: Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing. 

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