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Spring 2015-2016
ENG 422 / MED 422 (LA)   No Pass/D/Fail

Loss and Longing in the Anglo-Saxon Era: Elegy & Elegaic

Sarah M. Anderson

The "art of losing isn't hard to master," claims modern poet Elizabeth Bishop. Yet the genre of elegy in English isn't easy to master or account for. We write elegies because we are shredded by loss. But of what does the art of representing what we lose consist? We will consider the searing witnesses to yearning and regret in texts of the Anglo-Saxon period to learn what could be mourned, who could grieve, and how one could be consoled. By methods comparative and critical, we will read how these millenium-old speakers comprehended, and perhaps even mastered, their losses.

Sample reading list:
Anonymous, The Seafarer
Anonymous, The Wife's Lament
Anonymous, The Ruin
Alfred, Lord Tennyson, In Memoriam
Gray, Thomas, Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard
Keats, John, Bright Star
See instructor for complete list

Reading/Writing assignments:
Although Old English elegies will be the focus of this seminar, we will also examine elegies and elegaic writing in Latin, Old Icelandic, and Modern English, as we sort out the persistent themes of elegy. Five short informal responses to topics and texts discussed in this seminar, a long paper or project, and a take-home open-source final exam are required. The student should be prepared for robust weekly discussions.

Paper in lieu of Final - 20%
Papers - 40%
Class/Precept Participation - 30%
Other (See Instructor) - 10%

Other Requirements:
Not Open to Freshmen.

Prerequisites and Restrictions:
A knowledge of medieval literature and of Old English would help, but are not assumed. All texts in languages other than Modern English will be available in translation. Supplementary reading gladly supplied by the instructor..

Other information:
Distribution Requirement: British Foundation

Schedule/Classroom assignment:

Class numberSectionTimeDaysRoomEnrollmentStatus
41283 S01 01:30:00 pm - 04:20:00 pm W        Enrolled:0 Limit:0 Canceled
43880 S02 07:30:00 pm - 10:20:00 pm T   McCosh Hall   48   Enrolled:7 Limit:16