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Undergraduate Medieval & Post-Medieval Syllabi
Sian Eichard, University of British Columbia, Vancouver

Medieval Literature and Medievalism: The Arthurian Tradition

This is a fourth-year Honours seminar course; it's a one-term course. Students present seminar papers each week. I divide the class (about 14 students) into two groups, in order to have a range of texts available without overloading everyone with everything. There are certain texts which all students read. So an A and B week means a divided list; no A and B means the whole class is reading the work in question.

I use a combination of inexpensive editions and a course packet (copyright duly paid!).

The course meets once a week, for two hours. I've indicated when I spend more than one week on a text. The syllabus, shorn of dates and course requirements, follows.

Introduction; Welsh texts (course package; How Culhwch won Olwen in The Mabinogion)

Geoffrey of Monmouth, History of the Kings of Britain (course package)

Group A: Peredur and The Dream of Rhonabwy (in The Mabinogion)

Group B: Perceval (course package)

Group A: Wolfram von Eschenbach, Parzival

Group B: The Quest of the Holy Grail

Thomas Malory, Morte Darthur: Books I through VII; Books XI through XXI (2 weeks)

Group A: Tennyson, Idylls of the King:


The Coming of Arthur

Gareth and Lynette

Balin and Balan

Merlin and Vivien

Lancelot and Elaine

The Holy Grail

The Last Tournament


The Passing of Arthur

Group B: Victorian poetry in course package (Swinburne and Morris mostly)

T.H. White, The Once and Future King (2 weeks)

Marion Zimmer Bradley, The Mists of Avalon

Guy Gavriel Kay, The Summer Tree, The Wandering Fire, The Darkest Road (2 weeks)

T.S. Eliot, "The Wasteland"; David Lodge, Small World

Course Texts

Course package

Jeffrey Gantz, trans., The Mabinogion (Penguin)

Wolfram von Eschenbach, Parzival (Penguin)

P. Matarasso, trans., The Quest of the Holy Grail (Penguin)

Sir Thomas Malory, Le Morte D'Arthur (Penguin; 2 vols.)

Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Idylls of the King (Penguin)

T.H. White, The Once and Future King (Harper Collins/ Fontana)

Marion Zimmer Bradley, The Mists of Avalon (Ballantine)

Guy Gavriel Kay, The Summer Tree, The Wandering Fire, The Darkest Road (Harper)

David Lodge, Small World (Penguin)

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Last revised: August 5, 2014
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