In this course, we will explore a variety of medieval and Renaissance texts from three key perespectives: theoretical problems (e.g. the nature of language and interpretation), cultural and historical context (e.g. conceptions of gender, religion, and class), and literary traditions (e.g. generic conventions and the material production of texts). To that end, we will look at a range of "literary" texts (plays, poems, prose narratives) as well as other kinds of "non-literary" materials, such as anatomical treatises, legal documents, and engravings. In addition to written work, active class participation and at least one oral presentation will be required.