Sin and Redemption in Medieval Literature

Module code: EN2040

The 13th, 14th and 15th centuries are among the most fascinating in the development of English writing. Although marked by turbulence and bloodshed, from the Barons Wars to the Wars of the Roses, they also saw the development of a vibrant religious culture, one still visible in the cathedrals and other physical expressions it produced. The literature of the period remains, however, its most important monument. This module will introduce you to some of the most remarkable products of medieval literary culture, showcasing the power and complexity of the written word in the period. Texts will range from the handbook for mystics Ancrene Wisse to the elaborate and fantastical quest-narrative Gawain and the Green Knight, and from the sophisticated bawdiness of the urban dramas to Thomas Malory's colossal compendium of Arthurian legend, Le Morte Darthur. Through your reading, you will be introduced to the full variety of this deeply complex culture and you will come to appreciate its worldview, and its conflicts and contradictions, in both depth and detail.

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