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Caxton's Preface to Morte Darthur

Final Examination

The final examination will be given Wednesday, 22 May, 8-11 a.m., 308 LeConte Hall (just east of the Campanile).

Definition of "ethos" (from American Heritage Dictionary):

The disposition, character, or attitude peculiar to a specific people, culture, or group that distinguishes it from other peoples or groups; fundamental values or spirit; mores.

Topics for second paper (due Thursday, April 25; must conform to instructions for writing papers)

  1. Try to explain Gawain's anti-feminist outburst in GGK 2407-28: is it consistent with his character and with the apparent moral landscape of the narrative, or does it represent an aberration? (Feel free to make comparisons with Chaucer if you have taken English 45A or its equivalent.)
  2. Analyze gender roles in GGK. Identify the principal male and female characters in the story; then analyze how they do or do not conform to "normative" roles. How do questions of gender impinge on Gawain's character in particular?
  3. Attempt a theological analysis of GGK, assuming that Gawain is involved in a situation implying sin and virtue, not merely in a game of strategy or social convention. Does Gawain sin, or risk sinning, against God? What is the state of his soul before, during, and after the major events of the story?

Medieval Literary Images

Chaucer, from Ellsmere MS, Huntington Library

The Manciple from Cambridge University Library MS

Various images

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Syllabus (subject to change!)

English 112   Middle English Literature    Spring 2002
Mr. Nelson                              TuTh 11:00-12:30

               Tentative Reading Schedule

Week 1
Tu Jan 22  Introduction
Th     24  Lyrics I

Week 2
Tu     29  Lyrics II
Th     31  Lyrics II-III

Week 3
Tu Feb 05  Second Shepherd's Play (Norton Anthology, p. 391)
Th     07  Everyman (Norton Anthology, p. 445), Lyrics IX

Week 4
Tu     12  Piers Plowman, Prologue, Passus I
Th     14  Piers Plowman, Passus II-III

Week 5
Tu     19  Piers Plowman, Passus IV-V
Th     21  Piers Plowman, Passus VI, VII  First Paper Due

Week 6
Tu     26  Midterm Exam
Th     28  Sir Gawain and the Green Knight I

Week 7  
Tu Mar 05  GGK I
Th     07  GGK II

Week 8
Tu     12  GGK II
Th     14  GGK III

Week 9
Tu     19  GGK III-IV
Th     21  GGK IV

Week 10
Tu Apr 02  Lyrics VII-VIII
Th     04  Pearl I-VI

Week 11
Tu     09  Pearl VII-XIII
Th     11  Pearl XIV-XX  Lyrics IX

                     SPRING RECESS 25-29 March
Week 12
Tu     16  Malory, Morte Darthur 7.1-2
Th     18  Malory, Morte Darthur 7.3-5

Week 13
Tu Apr 23  Malory, Morte Darthur 8.1-3
Th     25  Malory, Morte Darthur 8.4

Week 14
Tu     30  Malory, Morte Darthur 8.5
Th May 02  Henryson, Testament of Cresseid Second Paper Due

Week 15
Tu     07  Henryson, Testament of Cresseid
Th     09  Review

Week 16
Tu     14  Review, Exam Preparation

Final Examination: Wednesday, 22 May, 8-11 a.m.


Class participation in this English course is mandatory. More than three unexcused absences will result in a reduction of your final grade by one grade step (e.g., from B to B-) for each excessive absence. (Persistent tardiness will accumulate as unexcused absences.) Do not skip section or class on the day a paper is due for the sake of completing the paper!

Final grades will be calculated as follows (with reductions for excessive absences):

Quiz totals           =  10%
2 papers @ 15% & 20%  =  35%
Midterm exam          =  15%
Final exam            =  30%
TOTAL                 = 100%


Each student is responsible for checking this website at the beginning of the semester, and regularly throughout the semester, for cautionary warnings (for example, concerning plagiarism, instructions on writing papers), changes to the above reading-list, and current announcements.

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