Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York

The French of England: Texts, Territories, Contexts

Syllabus and Class Description

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  This outline lists the principal texts (not the selected secondary reading) for each week’s seminar: detailed plans, information and discussion topics with further bibliography will be issued in advance for each week (click on weekly seminar titles to see plans).

The seminars will be 2 hours (with a break when we need one): the weekly linguistic practicum (a third hour each week) will as far as is possible use examples from the seminar reading.  The schedule here enables you to plan your own primary reading: however if I have set too much or too little, we may, in discussion, decide on some minor modifications.

Preliminary reading suggestions for works other than the primary texts are to be found under ‘Background Reading’ Section C of the accompanying booklist.   The best way to get a sense of insular literary and documentary production is to read Michael Clanchy’s classic study From Memory to Written Record listed there.  Salter’s classic work, English and International has just been re-issued in paperback and is still one of the best accounts of multilingual literary culture in England.  The introduction to Wogan-Browne et al, eds, Language and Culture in Medieval Britain: The French of England, also listed under C, will tell you about the history of the field of FoE, and reading some of the chapters, especially in Section I and Section II, is also helpful preparation.   Please also be sure to obtain the texts for at least the first few seminars so you can get ahead with your reading preparation.

Assessment will be by:
  1. class attendance and contribution, including short (c. 5 minutes) presentations to open up discussion of a topic
  2. linguistic exercises/quizzes done in or for the practicum
  3. a formal explication de texte on a short set passage, combining linguistic and literary analysis (done to a deadline in your own time, not as an exam, due after Spring Break).
  4. a substantial project: this may take various forms (to be decided in consultation), including a conventional long essay.  Depending on your choice of topic and theme, other activities such as editing and translating may form part of your project.  Due at the end of the course.

Seminar 1 Introduction: Anglo-Norman the French of England
  Linguistic definitions and discussions, sociolinguistic and manuscript contexts. Insular lexis.
Hearing Anglo-Norman: seeing Anglo-Norman spelling (examples will be supplied in photocopy/powerpoint at the seminar: notice of a few short items of specific background reading will be emailed in advance.  It will be assumed that all have read some or most of Clanchy  (see Section C on book list) for this seminar.
Seminar 2 Poetry, patronage, courts
  Marie de France, Lanval; Benedeit, The Voyage of St Brendan, Matthew Paris, The History  of St Edward the King
Seminar 3 Lordship
  Marie de France, Fables, Grosseteste, Chasteau d’Amour, Robert Grosseteste’s Reules for the Countess of Lincoln
Seminar 4 Constructing national and regional territories, then and now
  Gaimar, L’Estoire des Engleis (extracts): Chanson de Roland
Seminar 5 Land, law, lineage (i): the English-Norman past
  Wace, Brut; Fouke le Fitz Waryn (tr Burgess, Two Medieval Outlaws)
Seminar 6 Land, law, lineage (ii): foundresses in Britain
  Albina, foundress of Albion (Des grantz geanz in translation) The Life of St Osith; Lady Joan de Mohun’s chronicle, Prologue, petitions and law code extracts
Seminar 7 Romance or chanson de geste ? literary territories
  Horn and Boeve de Hamtoun
Seminar 8 England into Europe/Europe into England
  Gui de Warewic; the Anglo-Norman Destruction de Rome; selected medieval maps
Spring Recess  
Seminar 9 Civic Cultures
  The Puy de Londres, extracts from Gower, Mirrour de l’omme, city governance and the Mirror de Justices
Seminar 10 Models for living? Anchoresses, martyrs, hermits
  The Life of St George by Simund de Freine, The Life of St Faith by Simon of Walsingham, The Life of Mary Magdalen by Guillaume le Clerc
Seminar 11 Piety and passion (i)
  ‘Cher alme’;  Clemence of Barking, Life of St Catherine, Tristan (extracts)
Seminar 12 Piety and passion (ii)
  The active and the devotional life of Henry, Duke of  Lancaster   The Débat des Herauts
Seminars 13 & 14  
Presentation and discussion of individual final projects

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