Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York

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FoE: Texts, Territories, Contexts


The French of England: Texts, Territories, Contexts

Taught by Dr. Jocelyn Wogan-Browne, Spring 2011
  For four centuries French was a major language of literature in medieval Britain, as well as an important language of record, law, government, administration and various occupations. This literature (nearly a thousand texts) remains understudied and under-researched because nationalising literary histories have often allowed it to fall between continental French and English scholarship.  Yet, beyond a few well-known works famously kidnapped for French national literary history (the Chanson de Roland, the lais of Marie de France), there is a wealth of post-Conquest historiography, epic, romance, saints’ lives, lyric, devotional and other works in the French of England, from the twelfth to the fifteenth centuries.  Attention to this corpus involves re-thinking the literary and linguistic assumptions of British medieval literary history in the light of multilingual cultural paradigms.

It is possible to take this course in translation. But Old French is indispensable both for pleasure in texts and for continuing research on the edited and unedited sources in the French of England.  In addition to the weekly seminar, a linguistic practicum will be offered, using examples from the texts discussed in seminars.  Course members without French are encouraged to take modern French for Reading in advance if possible.

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