SoSe 16: PS-Medieval English Literatures II: Dream Visions in Medieval Literature
The best-known medieval dream visions are those of the late Middle Ages, when the French Roman de la Rose and Geoffrey Chaucer’s ‘The Book of the Duchess’, ‘The Parliament of Fowls’ and ‘The House of ... Lesen Sie weiter
The best-known medieval dream visions are those of the late Middle Ages, when the French Roman de la Rose and Geoffrey Chaucer’s ‘The Book of the Duchess’, ‘The Parliament of Fowls’ and ‘The House of Fame’ established the form as a central part of contemporary courtly literature. However, the tradition of incorporating dream sequences into literary, religious and even philosophical works can be traced back to Classical times and beyond. This close-reading seminar considers the development of the dream poem genre from the tenth to the fifteenth century, taking into account the influence of Classical, Biblical and French source texts on English dream visions in order to explore the ways in which the form was repurposed and reinterpreted by poets from different periods.
We will read the Old English Dream of the Rood in Old English alongside modern English translations and discuss the ways in which the Old English poet combines the conventions of Old English alliterative verse with Biblical and Classical imagery. We will then go on to explore how later medieval dream visions became a staple of a courtly literary tradition, exemplified by Geoffrey Chaucer’s ‘The Book of the Duchess’ and the later medieval dream-poetry of the so-called Chaucerians. Finally, we will read John Skelton’s ‘The Bowge of Court’ as a starting point for considering the shifting medieval representations of interiority and the use of dream poetry conventions as a means of conceptualizing the nature of fiction.
Reading the texts in their original language will sharpen our awareness of the structural and semantic changes by which Middle English evolved out of Old English and was in turn influenced by French linguistic and cultural mores.
The course will have a strong focus on developing and presenting independent theses in a series of short, unmarked essays throughout the semester and will require students to lead and actively shape class discussion. Key primary texts are the Old English ‘The Dream of the Rood’, in Old and Middle English: An Anthology, ed. by Elaine Treharne (Oxford: Blackwell, 2000), Geoffrey Chaucer’s ‘The Book of the Duchess’, in The Riverside Chaucer, ed. by Larry D. Benson, 3rd edition (Oxford: OUP, 1988, re-issued 2008) and John Skelton’s ‘The Bowge of Court’, in The Complete English Poems of John Skelton, ed. by John Scattergood (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1983). As we will be reading the latter two texts in Middle English only, students would be well-advised to read these over the vacation or be prepared to invest extra reading time during the semester. Key secondary texts are A.C. Spearing’s Medieval Dream Poetry (Cambridge: CUP, 1976) and Barry Windeatt’s Chaucer’s Dream Poems: Sources and Analogues (Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 1982). Schließen