A study of central genres of Old English, Middle English, and Early Modern literature in tandem with the development of ideas of nation and community, with a special emphasis on poetic narratives. Key texts include Beowulf, The Canterbury Tales, The Faerie Queene, Paradise Lost, and The Pilgrim’s Progress.
Investigates the use of vernacular poetry as a vehicle for religious thought 1200-1500, with forays into later periods. How does poetry think, feel, convey, incarnate belief, devotion, skepticism? Is didactic poetry still poetry or only ’verse’ and what would be the difference? Texts: French and English lyrics; Grosseteste’s Chateau d’amour; Pearl, Cleanness, Patience; Langland’s Piers Plowman; Hoccleve’s Series.