This course will examine aspects of the epic genre in medieval English literature by looking at classical epic and its reception. We will begin with Virgil's Aeneid and consider how its reception in late antiquity, through Augustine's Confessions and through philosophical commentators, prepared the way for medieval responses to the form. Readings in the medieval tradition will include Beowulf, some early Arthurian writings that stress an imperial theme, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Chaucer's House of Fame and Nun's Priest's Tale, and Malory's Morte Darthur. Some theoretical and historical readings may also be included in the syllabus. Grading will be based on several short papers and one longer writing assignment.