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Medieval Performances

ENGL 524.301

Medieval literature is, in very peculiar ways, a literature of performance, drawing from a number of performative practices and literary forms, such as sacramentality, liturgy, confession, miracle, inquisition and pilgrimage. In this course, we will read representational essays from modern drama criticism and linguistic and cultural theory alongside a wide variety of medieval texts written and performed in England between 1200 and 1500. Texts will include pageants from the Corpus Christi cycle plays; miracle plays such as the Croxton Play of the Sacrament; saints plays such as the Digby Mary Magdalene; selections from penitential and preaching handbooks; miracle and conversion tales, lyric poetry, and trial records. Students working in other languages and literary periods are encouraged to join the course, and I am happy to add comparative texts to the syllabus where possible. Participants will be asked to prepare one or two class presentations, an annotated bibliography, and a final paper.

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