Medieval literature is replete with monsters of all sorts, including giants, trolls, witches, werewolves, revenants and dragons. This class will examine a variety of works from various traditions which feature monstrous creatures or characters, including Beowulf, Grettir’s Saga, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and other romances and tales. Our analyses of these texts will engage with “monster theory” as delineated by Jeffrey Jerome Cohen and other critics as we investigate the following questions: What constitutes monstrosity? How do monsters draw cultural boundaries? Most works will be read in translation, but some Middle English romances will be read in the original Middle English. Students will receive guidance on reading Middle English.
As this is a seminar, most classes will revolve around discussion of the texts in question.
Assessments will consist of:
- Class participation
- Oral presentation and Report