This course is an overview of medieval English literature through the lens of medieval and modern theories of authorship. We will be reading classic modern essays on authorship by Eliot, Barthes, Foucault, and Benjamin, along side fascinating fourteenth and fifteenth-century literary works: poetry by Chaucer and Langland, civic plays, trial records, saints' lives, heretical sermons, and chronicles of revolt. The goal of the course is to explore the ways that modern notions of authorship and authority have developed from medieval notions of the scribe, the patron, the actor, the commentator, the translator, the plaintiff and the mystic. No knowledge of medieval literature or Middle English is required. Assignments will include an oral report, weekly responses, and a 15-page final paper.