This course takes as its premise the idea that late medieval literature is, in very specific ways, a literature of performance, and, as such, it depends upon a number of generic and cultural categories - law, revelation, sacramentality, confession, allegory, miracle, pilgrimage - with which we might gain greater insight both into medieval culture and modern performance theory. With this idea in mind, we will read representational essays from twentieth-century dramatic and linguistic theory alongside a wide variety of medieval texts written and performed in England between about 1200 and 1500. Examples include a number of pageants from the Corpus Christi cycle plays; miracle plays such as the Croxton Play of the Sacrament; selections from penitential and preaching handbooks; miracle tales; trial records; and selections from contemporary non-dramatic poetry such as Chaucer's Prioress's Tale and Pardoner's Tale and Piers Plowman. Participants will be asked to prepare one or two class presentations and write a final paper.
Fulfills 1 & 5 requirements.