Arthur on the Wheel of Fortune, The British Library
Professor Talarico: Office hours for Spring 2003: Monday/Wednesday 12:30-1:30 and by appointment
Telephone/Voice Mail: 718-982-3701; Department Office: 718-982-3700
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Home Page: http://www.library.csi.cuny.edu/~talarico ">
NOTE: There is no excuse for saying that you can't get in touch with me!
You can click on the rubrics below to go to any section of the page. Click your browser's Back button to return to
this section of the page:
This course is intended for the student who has little or no background in reading medieval literature. We will examine the medieval literary and historical origins of King Arthur, who was one of the most popular figures in medieval European literature and whose popularity continues down to our own day. One of the central questions in our study of the Arthurian Legends will be how this material has evolved over the centuries; how the obscure hero of the battle of Mount Badon emerged as one of the most enduring figures of medieval literature.
The course begins with the earliest sources of the legend in Latin and the "historical" tradition of Geoffrey of Monmouth and Wace. We then focus on the development of the Arthurian romance tradition through a reading of such literary masterpieces as Chrétien de Troyes's romances Lancelot and Yvain; the Prose Lancelot and selections from the Vulgate Cycle including The Quest of the Holy Grail and The Death of King Arthur; the English tradition represented by Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.
A close reading of these and other texts (see below) will enable students to examine many of the larger questions of the development of medieval literature and culture, such as the conception of history, the rise of the romance genre, the oral and written traditions, the themes of courtly love, the chivalric codes and the philosophical and theological questions related to this vast corpus of material.
All texts have been ordered from the Bookstore. Note: No substitutions of the editions/translations listed will be permitted. We are dealing with translations from the original, and serious misreadings can occur when a poor or outdated translation is used. All texts are also on reserve at the library.
Geoffrey of Monmouth, History of the Kings of Britain,trans. L. Thorpe (Penguin)
Wace, Roman de Brut in The Life of King Arthur: Wace and Lawman, trans. Judith Weiss (Everyman) (Xerox to be distributed)
Chrétien de Troyes, Arthurian Romances, trans. W. Kibler, (Penguin)
Lancelot of the Lake, trans. Corin Corley (Oxford World's Classics)
The Quest of the Holy Grail, trans. P. Matarasso (Penguin)
The Death of King Arthur, trans. J. Cable (Penguin)
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, trans. B. Stone (Penguin) Note: This is the Modern English version of the poem.
Recommended: Diana Hacker. A Pocket Style Manual (Second edition)
You will need to consult the following two pages that will help to guide you through your reading: the Journal Page which contains general information about keeping a reading journal; and the Tips for Reading. Students have actually found this information useful! In addition, there will be a Discussion Board assignment about these tips at the beginning of the semester.
Part of your work this semester will take place on-line, on the Discussion Board created for this class. The Discussion Board is open only to students registered in this course. You will have an orientation session in the lab to introduce you to the Discussion Board, to set up your password and ID's, etc., during the first weeks of the semester.
While the Discussion Board allows us all to discuss subjects that we can't cover in class, to clarify points, to ask questions and to react to texts, characters (and sometimes to life in general!), there will be a set series of assignments directly related to our readings.
Discussion Board Assignments:
The URL for the Discussion Board is http://classweb.csi.cuny.edu. This is a site accessible only to students registered for the course.
The due dates for the various specific Discussion Board assignments are outlined on the Reading and Writing Assignments calendar page. Below is a description of the types of activities that you will participate in via the discussion board:
Grading for the Course:
25% Attendance and Participation: Your active participation (based on your journal questions) will be an important part of your grade. You should get the phone numbers of at least two other members of the class so that you know what went on in the event of your absence. Absence does not excuse you from being prepared for class or knowing what went on!
25% Mid-term exam: One-hour in-class written exam; one question will be distributed ahead of time to be handed in at the mid-term exam.
25% Discussion Board, Webwork, and Multi-Media Materials.
25% Final Exam and Research Paper: The final examination is a take-home exam. It will be handed in on the final exam
date, at the latest (see the Reading and Writing calendar for all due dates. The research paper, also to be discussed in class and on the Discussion Board in your individual groups, will have the theme: Aha! So That's Where XXXXXX Comes From" You will fill in the "XXXXXX" in consultation with me. There is wide latitude in the choice of topics and approaches. We will discuss them together before you go off into your small groups on the web. No topics will be accepted unless approved by me ahead of time and drafts handed in. The paper will be 8-10 pages in length and will include a bibliography of secondary sources used. If any electronic sources are used, they must conform to the rules set out for "Electronic Citations," below. Bibliographical information appears on this syllabus as well. All information must follow MLA guidelines for research. No exceptions will be made-and plagiarism is a serious offense! Final versions submitted without a draft will be returned with a grade of F.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, but the sites listed below will lead you to wonderful things.
The Labyrinth. The Labyrinth at Georgetown University is one of the first and most comprehensive sites for all things medieval. There are links to on-line journals; bibliographical information; international resources and libraries (including Scandinavian resources!); teaching resources; manuscript editions; images; complete listings of Arthurian materials; maps, etc.. You can also connect to the various Dante projects through this page. There is a very good search engine to help you navigate this large and complex site.
The Medieval Internet. This site is part of my set of pages. It is constantly being updated and receives lots of input from my students as well.
The Camelot Project. The Camelot Project at Rochester University is, as the home page states, "designed to make available in electronic format a database of Arthurian texts, images, bibliographies, and basic information." This is an extremely useful site--complete with search engines--for reliable Arthurian information and texts. The bibliography pages are especially useful.The ORB: On-Line Reference Book. An enormous compendium of primary and secondary materials--some available only on the web. This is an invaluable site for reference material for just about any aspect of medieval culture--and it has an excellent search engine.
The King Arthur Site of Britannia Internet Magazine contains the Timeline, indicated below, as well as information about the geographical sites in England which form "Arthurian Britain."
Dark-Age On-Line Sources. Despite the "Dark Ages" in the title, this is an excellent source for the complete texts of many Arthurian and Early British stories. One excellent feature is the Arthurian A to Z site which is, literally, an alphabetical listing of just about everything you could possibly want to know about matters Arthurian. It is well worth a very long browse of the materials here.
Part II of the Recommended Websites is for those of you who need some basic information about the Internet as well as Style Sheets to help you in citing electronic sources. You are required to become familiar with the information contained at these sites. Failure to do so could result in serious questions about plagiarism.
CSI Library. There is lots of information on-line and access to various databases, catalogues, and information about research techniques.
Web Works is one of the most complete and simple-to-use web guides available. You learn about how to do citations of web materials; using e-mail; what some of the terminology means, etc.. A complete version of this very handy guide is available in print: Martin Irvine, Web Works, (New York: WW Norton, 1997) ISBN 0-39331520-7.
For information on How to Cite Electronic Sources, go to the MLA-Style Citations of Electronic Sources page created at Columbia University.
Another good source for tips on writing style as well as general citation format information can be found in the Stylesheet for Humanities Papers, created by Professor Paul Halsall. This is part of his enormous Medieval Sourcebook which you can link to from my Medieval Internet page. Prof. Halsall also has a link to another MLA Stylesheet for even more information about citing electronic sources appropriately.
General Bibliographical Sources:
The Arthuriana/Camelot Project Bibliography pages on the Web are a good starting point, with many references to general encyclopedias, books, on-line references, and the like.
The official journal of the North American Branch of the International Arthurian Society, ArthurianaBibliographical Bulletin of the International Arthurian Society. Annual publication with critical articles included.
Lacy, Norris, ed. The New Arthurian Encyclopedia. New York: Garland, 1991, 1996.
Lacy, Norris J., and Geoffrey Ashe. The Arthurian Handbook. New York: Garland, 1988; rev. ed. (with Debra Mancoff), 1997.
_______, ed. Medieval Arthurian Literature: A Guide to Recent Research. New York: Garland, 1996.
Bruce, Christopher W. The Arthurian Name Dictionary. New York: Garland, 1999.
Specific Arthurian and Romance Studies:
Barber, Richard. King Arthur: Hero and Legend. New York: St. Martin, 1986.Bouchard, Constance. Strong of Body, Brave and Noble: Chivalry and Society in Medieval France. NY: Cornell U. Press, 1998.
Coghlan, Ronan. The Encyclopaedia of Arthurian Legends. Rockport, MA: Element, 1991.
Dunning, R.W. Arthur the King in the West. New York: St. Martin, 1988.
Jenkins, Elizabeth. The Mystery of King Arthur. New York: Coward, McCann and Geoghegan, 1975.Lacy, Norris, gen. ed. The Old French Vulgate and Post-Vulgate in Translation. 5 vols. NY: Garland, 1992-1995.
Loomis, Roger Sherman, ed. Arthurian Literature in the Middle Ages: A Collaborative History. Oxford: Clarendon, 1959.
__________. The Development of Arthurian Romance. New York: Harper and Row, 1963.
Luttrell, Claude. The Creation of the First Arthurian Romance. Edinburgh: Edward Arnold, 1974.Moore, John C. Love in Twelfth-Century France. Philadelphia: Univ. Pennsylvania Press, 1972.
Morris, Rosemary. The Character of King Arthur in Medieval Literature, in Arthurian Studies IV. London: D.S. Brewer, 1982.
Southern, Richard. The Making of the Middle Ages. New Haven: Yale U. Press, 1953.
Vinaver, Eugène. The Rise of Romance. Oxford: Clarendon, 1971.
Bouchard, Constance. Strong of Body, Brave and Noble
Higham, N.J. English Conquest: Gildas and Britain.
__________. King Arthur: Mythmaking and History.
Kibler, W., ed. Lancelot-Grail: Text and Interpretations.
Lacy, Norris and Geoffrey Ashe, eds. The Arthurian Encyclopedia (in the Reference Section) Lacy, N., general ed. The Old French Arthurian Vulgate and Post-Vulgate in Translation. This is a five-volume collection of the entire Vulgate Cycle, including Volume 5, the Index. (in the Reference Section)
Loomis, R.S. Arthurian Literature in the Middle Ages.
__________. The Development of Arthurian Romance.
Southern, R. The Making of the Middle Ages.
Back to Prof. Talarico's Home Page