Heroes and Villains: Introduction to Medieval Literature
Run by School of Arts, Culture and Language
20.000 Credits or 10.000 ECTS Credits
Organiser: Prof Sue Niebrzydowski
Overall aims and purpose
To introduce students to a range of texts from the Old English and Middle English periods.
To study the relationship of these texts to their historical and cultural contexts.
To analyse medieval texts of different genres.
To provide some introduction to the linguistic complexities of the Middle English period.
To introduce students to a range of critical opinion regarding the literature of this period.
Introduction to Medieval Literature offers students the opportunity to study a variety of Old English literature that is evocative of the intricate decoration on the Staffordshire Anglo-Saxon hoard; riddles, Old English battle poetry and The Dream of The Rood (taught in translation). In the second part of the module students will encounter Middle English drama, romance poetry and Chaucerian verse in its original language. The transition between the Old to the Middle English period will be analysed in terms of specific themes and motifs, such as the development from pagan Germanic heroism to Christian values. Chivalry, the comic and bawdy, and piety will be the main foci in the Middle English part of the course, explored through a range of poetry, prose, and drama. This module is an ideal ‘taster’ for the medieval literature modules available at levels two and three.
Typically, work graded D- to D+ (or 40 to 49) will show many of the following qualities: • Unsure and lacking in confidence when discussing ideas • Referring to the subject in question in a superficial manner • Making an effort to provide fairly balanced answers • Some points in the argument irrelevant to the topic • Little evidence of background reading • Some uncertainty over language and syntax • Strengths and weaknesses fairly balanced; occasionally clumsy and unimaginative • In creative work: superficial • Not succeeding in mastering the requirements of the medium
Typically, work graded B- to B+ (or 60 to 69) will show many of the following qualities: • Discusses ideas adeptly • Most of the arguments about a specific field are well-aired • Displays knowledge of the subject in question; the answer is relevant • Shows analytical and clear thought • Gives evidence of relevant reading • Shows accuracy in expression with mastery over language. • A few minor errors here and there. • Signs of creative thought deserve a higher position within the class • In creative work: shows signs of originality, having understood the requirements of the medium • Plans of well-balanced and full answers, despite some gaps
Typically, work graded A- to A** (or 70 to 100) will show many of the following qualities:
• Discusses ideas with confidence and precision • Demonstrates maturity and sophistication • Displays deep knowledge of the subject in question; the answer is totally relevant • Shows independent, analytical and clear thought • Gives evidence of substantial and relevant reading • Shows great accuracy in expression, displaying total mastery over all aspects of the language • Shows occasional signs of brilliance and originality of thought • In creative work: displays considerable originality • Command over medium; may have potential for publication/production
Critically analyse literature from unfamiliar eras.
Relate Old and Middle English literature to its historic and cultural contexts.
Possess a basic knowledge of Middle English grammar and vocabulary.
Demonstrate basic skills in translating Middle English.
Write persuasively and concisely on a topic related to the module, in both assessed essay and exam contexts.
A 1500 word essay on the Old English texts studied in translation on the module.
This is a closed book, pre-released exam based on the Middle English texts studied on the module. Students are required to answer two questions in two hours.
Teaching and Learning Strategy
Students are expected to read primary texts and secondary critical works relating to these in their private study.
The teaching programme consists of 12 weeks of 1-hour seminars.
- Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
- Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
- Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
- Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
- Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
- Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
- Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
- Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
- Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
- Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
- Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others
Subject specific skills
- Awareness of how different social and cultural contexts affect the nature of language and meaning (English Benchmark Statement 2.1; 2.2; 3.1.3; 3.1.7; 3.1.11; 3.2.8).
- Command of a broad range of vocabulary and an appropriate critical terminology (English Benchmark Statement 3.1.9; 3.2.6).
- Broad knowledge of literature and the distinctive characters of texts written in the principal literary genres of fiction, poetry and drama, and of other kinds of writing and communication (English Benchmark Statement 1.3.1; 3.1.1; 3.1.2).
- Critical Skills in the close reading, description, reasoning and analysis and the ability to acquire substantial quantities of complex information of diverse kinds in a structured and systematic way involving the use of the distinctive interpretative skills of the subject (English Benchmark Statement 1.3.2; 1.3.6; 1.3.9; 2.1; 2.3; 3.2.1; 3.3.1; 3.3.3; 3.3.5; 3.3.8; 3.3.12; 3.3.13).
- Information technology and time management and organization skills, as shown by the ability to plan and present conclusions effectively (English Benchmark Statement 1.3.9; 3.3.14; 3.3.15).
- Sensitivity to generic conventions and to the shaping effects upon communication of circumstances, authorship, textual production and intended audience (English Benchmark Statement 1.3.8; 2.3.; 3.1.2; 3.2.3).
- The capacity for independent thought and judgement; the ability to articulate knowledge and understanding of texts, concepts and theories and to interrogate and apply a variety of theoretical positions and weigh the importance of alternative perspectives (English Benchmark Statement 1.3.9; 2.1; 2.3; 3.1.10; 3.2.2; 3.3.1; 3.3.7; 3.3.11).
- Critical Skills in the close reading, description, reasoning and analysis of texts (English Benchmark Statement 1.3.6; 1.3.9; 2.1; 2.3; 3.2.1; 3.3.1; 3.2.1; 3.3.8; 3.3.12).
- Competence in the planning and execution of essays, presentations and other writing and project work (English Benchmark Statement 3.3.6).
- Study skills in researching concepts and contexts by directed reading. (English Benchmark Statement 3.3.22; 3.3.23).
- The ability to express ideas clearly in discussion and in organised written form. (English Benchmark Statement 3.2.5; 3.2.7; 3.3.11; 3.3.15; 3.3.16; 3.3.21; 3.3.24).
- The ability to analyse texts, using appropriate critical terminology. ( English Benchmark Statement 3.1.8; 3.2.1; 3.2.6; 3.3.12).
- Translation skills (Middle English).
- Competence in the planning and execution of essays, presentations and other writing and project work; bibliographic skills, including accurate citation of sources and consistent use of conventions in the presentation of scholarly work and the ability to engage in processes of drafting and redrafting texts to achieve clarity of expression and an appropriate style; making use, as appropriate, of a problem-solving approach (English Benchmark Statement 3.2.7; 3.3.4; 3.3.6; Communication, Media, Film and Cultural Studies benchmark 6.1.7).
- Broad knowledge of a range of texts, genres, aesthetic forms and cultural practices, and the ability to produce close analysis of these and of the uses and implications of these approaches; an understanding of particular media forms and genres, and the way in which they organize understandings, meanings and affects (English Benchmark Statement 1.3.1; 3.1.1; 3.1.2; Communication, Media, Film and Cultural Studies benchmarks 4.1.5; 8.2.5).
Talis Reading listhttp://readinglists.bangor.ac.uk/modules/qxe-1003.html
Courses including this module
Optional in courses:
- 3Q5Q: BA Cymraeg and English Literature year 1 (BA/CEL)
- W890: BA Creative&Professional Writing year 1 (BA/CPW)
- W89P: BA Creative and Professional Writing with Placement Year year 1 (BA/CPWP)
- W899: BA Creative & Professional Writing with International Exp year 1 (BA/CRIE)
- 2P78: BA English Lit with Creative Writing with International Exp year 1 (BA/ECI)
- Q310: BA Eng Lit with Eng Lang year 1 (BA/ELEL)
- 3QV1: BA History and English Literature year 1 (BA/ELH)
- 09V3: BA English Literature and Italian year 1 (BA/ELI)
- 3YT5: BA English Literature and Spanish year 1 (BA/ELIS)
- 065C: BA English Literature with Journalism year 1 (BA/ELJ)
- 1Q3Q: BA Linguistics and English Literature year 1 (BA/ELL)
- QQC3: BA English Lang and Lit year 1 (BA/ELLIT)
- QQCF: BA English Language & English Lit [with Foundation Year] year 1 (BA/ELLITF)
- 32N6: BA English Literature and Music year 1 (BA/ELM)
- 32N7: BA English Literature & Music with International Experience year 1 (BA/ELMIE)
- 32M8: BA English Literature with Theatre and Performance year 1 (BA/ELTP)
- M3Q9: BA English Literature and Criminology and Criminal Justice year 1 (BA/ENC)
- 2P17: BA English Literature and Creative Writing year 1 (BA/ENCW)
- 2P1P: BA English Literature and Creative Writing with Place Yr year 1 (BA/ENCWP)
- Q3Q2: BA English Language w English Lit year 1 (BA/ENGEL)
- 8H25: BA English Literature year 1 (BA/ENGL)
- 2D13: BA English Literature with Creative Writing year 1 (BA/ENGLC)
- 8H2P: BA English Literature with Placement Year year 1 (BA/ENGLP)
- 8H26: BA English Literature (with International Experience) year 1 (BA/ENIE)
- 06CD: BA French and English Literature year 1 (BA/FEL)
- 3P3Q: BA Film Studies and English Literature year 1 (BA/FSEL)
- 3N7S: BA German and English Literature year 1 (BA/GEL)
- Q1Q3: BA Ling with Eng Lit year 1 (BA/LEL)
- T124: BA English Literature & Chinese year 1 (BA/LITCH)
- 3HPQ: BA Media Studies and English Literature year 1 (BA/MEN)
- 3VQV: BA Philosophy and Religion and English Literature year 1 (BA/PREN)
- 3L3Q: BA Sociology and English Literature year 1 (BA/SEL)
- M115: LLB Law with English Literature (International Experience) year 1 (LLB/ILEL)
- M1QK: LLB Law with English Literature year 1 (LLB/LWEL)
- Q2W9: MArts English Literature with Creative Writing year 1 (MARTS/ELCW)
- Q321: MArts English Literature with International Experience year 1 (MARTS/ELIE)
- Q320: MArts English Literature year 1 (MARTS/ELIT)