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Spring 2018-2019
ENG 511   No Pass/D/Fail

Special Studies in Medieval Literature - The Medieval Poem as Love Object

Donald Vance Smith

What do we love when we love a poem? We will explore formal and philosophical questions of form that medieval poems raise: what constitutes a poem? Is there a crucial difference between forma as beauty and forma as form? How does forma depend upon matter/materia? Aristotle says that matter desires form "the way the female desires the male": how is form the object of desire, and why (and how) is it a gendered desire? Apart from the poems below, we read theories of form and love from Aristotle to Aquinas to Judith Butler and Giorgio Agamben.

Sample reading list:
William Langland, Piers Plowman
Geoffrey Chaucer, The Legend of Good Women
Geoffrey Chaucer, The Book of the Duchess
Thomas Hoccleve, The Series
Robert Grosseteste, On Light, or the Beginning of Forms
The Pearl-Poet, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Pearl

Requirements/Grading:
Other (See Instructor) - 100%

Other Requirements:
Open to Graduate Students Only.

Other information:
Other readings will include several important Middle English romances and lyrics, and theoretical and philosophical work by Immanuel Kant, Paul de Man, Fredric Jameson, Theodore Adorno, Maurice Blanchot, and Gillian Rose.

Schedule/Classroom assignment:

Class numberSectionTimeDaysRoomEnrollmentStatus
41669 S01 09:00:00 am - 11:50:00 am M        Enrolled:0 Limit:12