Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York

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FoE I: Texts and Territories in Medieval Britain


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The French of England I: Texts and Territories in Medieval Britain

  Taught by Dr. Thelma Fenster and Dr. Jocelyn Wogan-Browne. Last offered in Fall 2001.

Linguistic, ethnic, territorial and cultural identities in multi-lingual Britain of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries were more complex than is always admitted in modern literary studies' focus on pre-Conquest Anglo-Saxon or late fourteenth-century Middle English literature. This course looks at questions of identity and affiliation in a major vernacular of medieval England, Anglo-Norman French, and will also explore the extent to which modern academic disciplines have shaped the answers to those questions.

The French literature of medieval England is still relatively under-researched, with only a few names such as Marie de France being generally known, but it is a large and rich body of literature and its relations and intersections with medieval English and continental French texts have a great deal still to tell us about medieval literature and literature in Britain. "Ancestral" romances and the "Matter of Britain" will be major concerns in this course, together with attention to the politics of saints' lives and related genres. Basic modern French will be a useful prerequisite: there will be linguistic tuition in Anglo-Norman French (an easier language than modern French in many ways) so that we can read partly in the original as well as in translation.


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