Romancing the Medieval

Subject ENGL30046 (2013)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2013.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2013.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 1.5-hour lecture and a 1-hour tutorial per week and occasional film screenings.
Total Time Commitment:

Total expected time commitment is 102-hours across the semester, including class time.





Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:

106-330 Romancing the Medieval

Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry. The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Prof Stephanie Trigg

Subject Overview:

This subject works along two fronts. It introduces some of the main genres of medieval literature (romance, fabliau, chivalric quest, and confessional narrative), with a special focus on the representation of love, sex and death in the Middle Ages, and on the works of Geoffrey Chaucer. It also examines the phenomenon of reviving or re-creating medieval culture in fiction, poetry and film, from the 16th century to the present, including works by Spenser, Tennyson and Tolkien, and the post-medieval traditions of fairy-tales. Extracts from Chaucer, and one or two other texts will be read in Middle English. Others will be read in modern translation.


On completion of the subject students should have:

  • familiarity with some of the main genres of medieval literature;
  • a reading knowledge of Chaucerian English;
  • an understanding of the main trends in medievalism;
  • some familiarity with the critical traditions of reading medieval and medievalist literature.

One essay of 1500 words (40%), due mid-semester, and an essay of 2500 words (60%), due in the examination period. This subject has a minimum hurdle requirement of 75% attendance and regular participation in tutorials. Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader with extracts from other medieval and medievalist texts will be available.

  • Chaucer The Canterbury Tales (Norton Critical Editions)
  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, trans. William Vantuono (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press)
  • Malory Le Morte D'Arthur: The Winchester Manuscript, ed. Helen Cooper (Oxford Worlds Classics)
  • Book of Margery Kempe, trans. Barry Windeatt (Penguin)
  • Maria Tatar The Classic Fairy Tales: Texts, Criticism, (Norton Critical Editions)
  • J R R Tolkien The Fellowship of the Rings

Films may include:

  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings, (dir. Peter Jackson)
Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Students who successfully complete this subject will:

  • have the ability to develop critical self-awareness and the capacity to shape persuasive arguments;
  • have the ability to apply research skills (especially in library and on-line resources) and critical methods to a tradition and an emerging field of inquiry;
  • have improved their capacity to communicate arguments and ideas effectively and articulately, both in writing and in class discussions;
  • have developed skills in readings texts in different genres;
  • have the ability to think critically about the relations between academic and popular forms of knowledge about the past.

Students who have completed 106-038/670-324 Medievalism in Contemporary Culture and/or 106-053/670-329 Chaucer and the Birth of the Author are not eligible to enrol in this subject.

Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Ancient, Medieval and Early Modern Studies Major
English Literary Studies Major
English and Theatre Studies
English and Theatre Studies

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