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Fall 2017-2018
ENG 511   No Pass/D/Fail

Special Studies in Medieval Literature - Instituting Literature

Donald Vance Smith

What is it that sets "literature" apart from vernacular writing in general in medieval England? We examine the concept of "institution" in political theory, the philosophy of language, the creation of literary value, and the historiography of secularization and rupture. We discuss texts in which the shaping of institutions is a mode of literary self-constitution, and institutions that contribute to the shaping of texts, including mortuary guilds, mendicant and monastic orders, affinities and "bastard" feudalism, chantry chapels.

Sample reading list:
Michel Serres, Rome: The Book of Foundations
Barbara Hernsteinn Smith, Contingencies of Value
Pierre Bourdieu, The Logic of Practice
Giorgio Agamben, The End of the Poem
Cornelius Castoriadis, The Imaginary Institution of Society

Other Requirements:
Open to Graduate Students Only.

Other information:
Medieval literary texts will include Winner and Waster, The House of Fame, Piers Plowman, Thomas Hoccleve's Series, The Alliterative Morte Arthure.

Schedule/Classroom assignment:

Class numberSectionTimeDaysRoomEnrollmentStatus
22948 S01 7:00 pm - 9:50 pm W        Enrolled:0 Limit:15