EN 3420: Rethinking Medieval and Renaissance Literature

Week 1 of Class

Tuesday, August 30: Class Introductions, Syllabus Discussion, and course tech overview (WordPress and Canvas workshop); introductory discussion of Intersectionality and Literature. No Posts due this week.

If you haven’t already, please fill out: https://forms.gle/fQvFWNGtSrGciHAY8

Thursday, September 1: “The Wanderer” and “The Wife’s Lament.” [Content Notice (hereafter CN): graphic violence]; continued discussion of Intersectionality and Literature from Tuesday

For today’s PSU census, please fill out: https://forms.gle/7mzZfPJEjXoaC3KB6

For today’s (test) Collaborative post, please fill visit: https://padlet.com/nicholashelms1/britlit91. We’ll add to this as a group in class.

Week 2

Tuesday, September 6: Maria Dahvana Headley’s Beowulf: A New Translation, pp. vii-42 (or Beowulf, Fitts 0-14 (roughly the first third of the poem)); “What’s a Fitt?” you ask? It’s a stanza or chapter in Old English verse narrative.

Today’s Collab on Padlet: https://padlet.com/nicholashelms1/britlit96

(If you’d prefer audio, you can find a complete reading of Headley’s translation here, including performances by Miz Cracker, Neil Gaiman, and Felicia Day.)

Beowulf Pt 1-25 All Readers from Grand Journal on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 8: Headley’s Beowulf: A New Translation, pp. 42-95 (or Beowulf, Fitts 15-31 (roughly the middle third of the poem); Kim’s ‘The Question of Race in Beowulf.” [CN: graphic violence]

Today’s Collab on Padlet: https://padlet.com/nicholashelms1/britlit98

You can find bonus readings on Beowulf here: https://www.brit.lit.nrhelms.plymouthcreate.net/beowulf/

Friday, September 9, BONUS: Advice To The Players’ production of Henry V will be performing in the Elizabeth Cheney Studio Theater at 10am on Friday September 9. The show will be under two hours and include a talk back with the performers–including PSU alums (Garrison Barron, Andrew Codispoti, and Ethan Fifield) and current students (Sara-Ann Bailinson & Abi Burke). This is an extra opportunity for material to write class posts about. One Questions or Reflection post is possible here.

Week 3

Tuesday, September 13: Headley’s Beowulf: A New Translation, pp. 95-136 (or Beowulf, Fitts 32-43 (roughly the last third of the poem)); Cohen’s “Monster Culture (Seven Theses)” [CN: ableism, graphic violence]

Bonus Reading: sample student project on Beowulf


Thursday, September 15: Marie de France’s “Bisclavret“; Medieval Disability Glossary entry on “Lycanthropy“; Hodes’s “Orcs, Britons, and the Martial Race Myth, Part I: A Species Built for Racial Terror” [CN: ableism, graphic violence, racist stereotypes]

Week 4

Tuesday, September 20: Marie de France’s “Lanval“; Hoccleve’s “Complaint.” [CN: ableism, depression, suicidal ideation].

Today’s Collab: https://padlet.com/nicholashelms1/britlit920

Bonus Readings:

What do Medieval Manuscripts Look Like?

What does Middle English look like?

Thursday, September 22: Start watching David Lowery’s The Green Knight (2021) in class (optionally available for purchase on Amazon Prime); read Rambaran-Olm’s “‘Black Death’ Matters: A Modern Take on a Medieval Pandemic.” [CN: pandemic, police brutality, systemic anti-black racism]; read Constance Grady’s “The magic, sex, and violence of the 14th-century poem behind The Green Knight.”

Today’s Collab: https://padlet.com/nicholashelms1/britlit922

Week 5

Tuesday, September 27: Finish The Green Knight (2021) in class; read Hodes’s “Orcs, Britons, and the Martial Race Myth, Part II: They’re Not Human.” [CN: debunking racist stereotypes]

Today’s Collab: https://padlet.com/nicholashelms1/britlit927

Thursday, September 29: Spenser, The Faerie Queene, Book 1, Canto 1; [CN: kidnapping, misogynist and ableist stereotypes, violence]; Prefer audio? Check out Librivox.

Today’s Collab: https://padlet.com/nicholashelms1/britlit929

Week 6

Tuesday, October 4: Spenser, Book 1, Canto 9; the Countess of Pembroke, poems. [CN: depression, suicide]; Prefer audio? Check out Librivox.

Today’s Collab: https://padlet.com/nicholashelms1/britlit104

Thursday, October 6: Spenser, Book 1, Canto 11; Sidney’s Astrophil and Stella, 1, 2, 3, and 7. [CN: graphic violence, racism, sexual coercion]; Prefer audio? Check out Librivox.

Looking for sample projects as you brainstorm? Check out these examples from Fall 2020 posted on the Ellen Reeder, PSU English’s program blog:

Week 7

Tuesday-Thursday, October 11-13: No synchronous class meetings! Instead, book and attend a one-on-one Teams Conferences and a small group Peer Review for our First Projects. No Posts due this week.

First Projects due by the end of the day on Friday, October 14 (11:59 pm).

Week 8

Tuesday, October 18: Shakespeare‘s Othello, act 1; [CN: alcoholism, gaslighting, graphic sexual language, misogyny, racism]; Othello Comic Strip by mrsepps; The Public Theatre NY, “#ToBeBlack“;

Thursday, October 20: Shakespeare‘s Othello, act 2; and A Bit Lit Podcast #46, “Ambereen Dadabhoy on early modern race and the English playhouse.” [CN: graphic sexual language, misogyny, racism]

Week 9

Tuesday, October 25: Shakespeare’s Othello, act 3; Adams’s “The King, and not I: Refusing neutrality —.

Today’s Collab Padlet: https://padlet.com/nicholashelms1/britlit1025

(We’re doing the second PSU census this week, and attendance will be tracked via Padlet participation!)

Thursday, October 27: Shakespeare‘s Othello, acts 4-5; Justin Shaw’s “‘Rub Him About the Temples’: Othello, Disability, and the Failures of Care“; Intersectionality Talks podcast with Justin Shaw from Oct 20, 2020

https://colab.plymouthcreate.net/programs/intersectionality/ (scroll down to 2020-21!)

Week 10

Tuesday, November 1: Keith Hamilton Cobb’s American Moor, Introduction and pp. 1-24. Shakespeare Unlimited Podcast #54, “Keith Hamilton Cobb’s American Moor.” [CN: gaslighting, graphic sexual language, misogyny, murder, racism, suicide]; Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130, “My Mistress’ Eyes.

What Maya Angelou Means When She Says ‘Shakespeare Must Be a Black Girl’, by Karen Swallow Prior

Thursday, November 3: finish reading and discussing Keith Hamilton Cobb’s American Moor (25-48); John Donne’s Holy Sonnet 14, “Batter My Heart.



For more American Moor clips, publicity, and lectures, visit: https://vimeo.com/keithhamiltoncobb

Week 11

Tuesday, November 8: Milton, Book 1 [CN anti-pagan prejudice]; Lady Mary Wroth, all. [CN: damnation, suicidal ideation]

Want to listen? Check out LibriVox: https://librivox.org/paradise-lost-by-john-milton-2/

Looking for a plot summary? Check out Spark Notes: https://www.sparknotes.com/poetry/paradiselost/quick-spark/

Gustave Dore engraving of Satan flying to Earth, 1882

Thursday, November 10: Milton, Book 2, Book 3 lines 1-134 [CN: damnation, incest, rape]; Milton’s “The Passion”; Intersectionality Talks recording with Bellee Jones-Pierce about disability poetics; Details about Intersectionality Talks at https://colab.plymouthcreate.net/programs/intersectionality/

Padlet for today: https://padlet.com/nicholashelms1/britlit1110

Week 12

Tuesday, November 15: Milton, Book 4; Andrew Marvell’s “To His Coy Mistress.” [CN: misogyny, sexual coercion]

Today’s Collab Padlet: https://padlet.com/nicholashelms1/britlit1115

Thursday, November 17: Milton, Book 9, and Book 12, lines 466-649 ; Wollstonecraft‘s Vindication of the Rights of Woman, Chap. II. “The Prevailing Opinion of a Sexual Character Discussed,” para. 1-8. [CN: misogyny]

Also, a three-minute adaptation of Paradise Lost: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6swmTBVI83k (for class discussion).

Today’s Collab Padlet: https://padlet.com/nicholashelms1/britlit1117

Week 13

Tuesday, November 22: No class! Designated catch-up day (which includes catching up on REST.)

Thursday, November 24: No class!

Week 14

Tuesday, November 29: Cavendish’s The Blazing World, 1-30, and “It is Hard to Believe There Are Other Worlds in this World” [CN: colonization]; if you’d like an audio version of The Blazing World, check out LibriVox.

Thursday, December 1: Cavendish’s The Blazing World, 31-59; and “Similizing the Brain to a Garden.” [CN: colonization]

Today’s Collab on Padlet: https://padlet.com/nicholashelms1/brit121

Week 15

Tuesday-Thursday, December 7-9: No synchronous class meetings! Instead, book and attend a one-on-one Conference and a small group Peer Review for our Second Projects. No posts are due this week.

Second Projects due by the end of the day on Monday, December 12 (11:59 PM).

Finals, Week 16

Our final exam period will be Tuesday, Dec 13 11:00 – 1:30 PM.

We’ll be sharing our favorite projects from the semester and reflecting on the arc of the course. Individual reflections will be posted to WordPress, and I’ll ask you to talk through your Reflection during the Final Exam meeting.  This is our final class conversation reflecting on the semester. (Treat each of the options below as Reflections posts; you may complete up to all three of these Reflections posts this week if you so choose. If you’d prefer not to talk during our Final Exam meeting, you can prepare an audio or video recording beforehand and put it in your post (60-90 seconds), or contact me for other presentation options.)

Before class, select one to three of the below. Your post(s) should include either 150-200 words of text or 1-2 minutes of audio, and should link back to the project being discussed or the PSU Habits of Mind page.

#1: Present via a new Weekly Post (can involve audio) your favorite project from the semester that you completed.

#2: Present via a new Weekly Post (can involve audio) your fav project someone ELSE completed this semester

#3: In a new weekly Post, Reflect on the PSU Habit of Mind “Integrated Perspective” and what you’ve learned on that front this semester: what have you learned from class readings, discussions, and assignments about “ the recognition that individual beliefs, ideas, and values are influenced by personal experience as well as multiple contextual factors—cultural, historical political, etc.”?

During our Final Exam period, we’ll go around and bring up one of each person’s post(s) in turn. You can choose to either talk through your post live or to play your prerecorded video.

All finalized posts and projects have a deadline of the end of the day on Thursday, December 14 (11:59 PM).