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English Romance and Its Afterlife

ENGL 022.601
instructor(s):
TR 6-7:30
fulfills requirements:
Sector 2: Difference and Diaspora of the Standard Major
Sector 3: Early Literature to 1660 of the Standard Major

Romance was one of the most popular narrative forms of the middle ages.  Often ridiculed or belittled, the romance was nevertheless the genre that was most productive of new matter and, even according to its critics, of pleasure. In this class, we will begin with the work that produces the matter of romance—Geoffrey of Monmouth's History of the Kings of Britain. We then read two English romances, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Le Morte d'Arthur.  We close our reading of medieval romance by looking to Chaucer's responses to the romance genre in The General Prologue, The Wife of Bath's Tale, The Knight's Tale, and Sir Thopas.   We will then study early modern versions of romance, Spenser's Faerie Queen and an English translation of Cervantes' Don Quijote.   Finally, we will watch or read more modern versions or even spoofs of romance.