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Premodern Monstrosities

ENGL 5240.401
also offered as: COML 5240, GSWS 5240
Monday 10:15-1:14 pm

This course offers an exploration of the greatest hits and hidden gems of the premodern English literary tradition through the lens of monstrosity: what makes a monster? How do we depict, define, and interact with the monster's cultural body? From dragons to headless knights to swamp things, how do monsters provide sociocultural windows into a text, its authors, its audiences, and its anxieties around inside and outside, self and other? The course will draw on a wealth of critical theory on gender, sexuality, race, and ability as we approach premodern texts ranging from epic to romance to magic spells, but will also serve as an intensive methodological exercise in the techniques of close reading as an essential skill for scholars of literature working across all periods. M.A. students and submatriculated undergraduate students may enroll in the course without permission. Advanced undergraduates should contact the instructor to request permission, and should submit a permit request when adding the course to their cart.

English Major Requirements
  • Literature Seminar pre-1700 (AEB7)
  • Literature Seminar pre-1900 (AEB9)
  • Sector 2 Difference and Diaspora (AEDD)
  • Sector 3 Medieval/Renaissance (AEMR)
English Concentration Attributes
  • Medieval/Renaissance Concentration (AEMC)
College Attributes
Additional Attributes