Introduction to Middle English Literature
Course infoSchedule
Course moduleLET-ETCENB206
Credits (ECTS)5
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byRadboud University; Faculty of Arts; English Language and Culture;
dr. L.S. Chardonnens
Other course modules lecturer
dr. L.S. Chardonnens
Other course modules lecturer
Contactperson for the course
dr. L.S. Chardonnens
Other course modules lecturer
dr. L.S. Chardonnens
Other course modules lecturer
Academic year2023
PER 1-PER 2  (04/09/2023 to 28/01/2024)
Starting block
Course mode
RemarksMajor aanschuifonderwijs
Registration using OSIRISYes
Course open to students from other facultiesYes
Waiting listNo
Placement procedure-
At the end of the course, the student
• has acquired a literary and historical overview of the Middle English period;
• has been introduced to a representative selection of authors and types of writings in the original Middle English;
• is able to recognise and analyse a range of genres, topics and ways of creating meaning prevalent in late medieval literary culture;
• is able to place Middle English writings in their cultural, historical, and material settings. 

In addition to political, cultural and societal changes, the Conquest of England by the Normans in 1066 had a number of unforeseen effects in literary culture and linguistics, including the introduction of new literary genres up to then practically unknown to the English, and a brand new stage of the language, that is, Middle English. Through weekly readings, you will familiarise yourself with a broad range of writings from the beginning to the end of the Middle English period (ca. 1170­-ca. 1500). These texts are written in different mediums (prose/verse), modes (narrative/chronicle/history), genres (fabliau/allegory/lay/exemplum/romance), by different authors (anonymous/known/attributed). But whatever the texts may be, they have been written for two main purposes: sentence and solace, as Geoffrey Chaucer put it. Sentence means significance, more specifically the deeper meaning that is instilled in all human expression, and indeed in Creation at large. Solace means pleasure and refers to the enjoyment a narrative may give the listener or reader. Sentence and solace go hand in hand, though not usually in equal measure. 

Presumed foreknowledge

Test information
The final grade is the average mark of two written exams that each need to be passed with a 5.5 minimum. The written exams cover the lectures, the seminars, and the primary and secondary sources read for the course.
Required materials
Title:Medieval Writers and Their Work: Middle English Literature 1100–1500. (2nd ed)
Author:Burrow, J. A.
Publisher:Oxford: Oxford UP, 2008
Title:Old and Middle English c. 890–c. 1450: An Anthology. (3rd ed)
Author:Treharne, Elaine, ed. and trans.
Publisher:Oxford: Blackwell, 2010
Title:A reader with questions and additional reading materials will be distributed during the course.

Instructional modes


Exam 1
Test weight50
Test typeWritten exam
OpportunitiesBlock PER 1, Block PER 2

Minimum grade

Exam 2
Test weight50
Test typeWritten exam
OpportunitiesBlock PER 2, Block PER 3

Minimum grade