EL 201: Medieval English Literature

Location: TBA

Time: Wed 11-1 pm, Fri 3-4 pm

Course Description

This course will introduce students to a wide range of medieval literary, medical, and natural philosophical texts, with Geoffrey Chaucer our primary focus. In addition to recognizing and appreciating medieval (Middle English) forms and genres, literary conventions and strategies, themes, plots, and characters, we will read a number of texts focused on an often-confusing medieval “style of thought.” Throughout, we will draw our attention to various aspects of English life in the Middle Ages, including feudal structures and courtly culture, the diversity of religious experience and the development of a standard English vernacular. This background information will offer students a fuller understanding of Chaucer’s legacy as well as help students recognize and appreciate medieval sensibilities, which began to change during and after the renaissance.


The course packet will be available at the Boğaziçi Üniversitesi library copy shop.

Course Requirements

Your final course grade will be based on the following percentage distribution:

*Participation and Attendance: 10%

This is a lecture and discussion-based class. Everyone is encouraged to join actively in the conversations and debates. In order to participate, you need to be present; therefore, full attendance is expected. Those who do not attend 75% of the class will not be allowed to take the final exam.

*Quizzes and Assignments: 25%

*Midterm: 30%

*Final Exam: 35%

Semester Schedule

Week 1

Wed, Sept. 30thIntroduction

Fri, Oct. 2ndcont.

Week 2Philosophy andAllegory

Wed, Oct. 7thBoethius, The Consolation of Philosophy (Book II) (6th c.)

Fri, Oct. 9thcont.

Week 3Body, Allegory, Natural Philosophy, Gender

Wed, Oct. 14thAnonymous, Physiologus (2nd- 12th c.)

Fri, Oct. 16thMarie de France, Chevrefoil (12th c.)

Week 4Body, Allegory, Natural Philosophy

Wed, Oct. 21stAnonymous, The Regimen Sanitatis Salernitanum (12th c.)

Fri, Oct. 23rdcont.

Week 5

Wed, Oct. 28thCumhuriyet Bayramı (Resmi Tatil)

Fri, Oct. 30thTBA

Week 6Breton Lays, Romance

Wed, Nov. 4thAnonymous, Sir Orfeo (14th c.)

Fri, Nov. 6thcont.

--- MIDTERM ---

Week 7Medieval Drama

Wed, Nov.11thAnonymous, Everyman (15th c.)

Fri, Nov. 13thcont.

Week 8Ecstatic Visions

Wed, Nov. 18thHildegard von Bingen, Liber Divinorum Operum (Book I) (12th c.)

Fri, Nov. 20thMargery Kempe, The Book of Margerie Kempe (Book I) (15th c.)

Week 9Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales (15th c.)

Wed, Nov. 25th“Prologue”

Fri, Nov. 27thcont.

Week 10

Wed, Dec. 2nd“The Miller’s Tale”

Fri, Dec. 4thcont.

Week 11

Wed, Dec. 9th“The Wife of Bath’s Tale”

Fri, Dec. 11thcont.

Week 12

Wed, Dec. 16th“The Pardoner’s Tale”

Fri, Dec. 18thcont.

Week 13

Wed, Dec. 23rd“The Nun’s Priest’s Tale” and/or “The Prioress’ Tale”

Fri, Dec. 25thcont.