About this course

What does it mean to be a man or a woman in medieval English literature? This course offers the opportunity to explore gendered identities in the Middle Ages, investigating the construction and contesting of conventional gender roles across a range of texts. Chaucer's works form the centerpiece of the seminar; described in the sixteenth century as 'evir ... all wommanis frend', he is famous for his interest in women and their voices, with the voluble and controversial Wife of Bath still as intriguing a figure now as she clearly was to Chaucer's early readers. The Canterbury Tales also forms a good starting point for an examination of masculine identity via male competition, 'maistrie', and sexual violence. Queer identity and homophobic assault will also be explored, taking as a starting point Chaucer's Pardoner and the Canterbury Interlude, a fifteenth-century continuation of the Canterbury Tales. Other texts will include Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, a selection of religious and secular lyrics, the Book of Margery Kempe, and Malory's Morte d'Arthur.

Check with your home institution for specific information on fulfillment of major / course requirements.