Thursday, December 27, 2012


One of my projects this break is to go through some old papers and put them into recycling.  I was at it today, and found a syllabus I made up for some class.  I don't remember it, but the basic idea isn't half bad.  It looks like it was for a class I taught as an adjuct (on the quarter system).

It was titled: Fantastic People/Fantastic Places: Marvelous Geographies in Earlier English Literature.

And it included texts from Beowulf to Gulliver's Travels.

I think I may recycle it, and rework it for an early Brit lit lower level course next year.

Of course, the amusing thing is that the whole syllabus takes up one double-sided piece of paper, and half of one side is taken up with a picture of a pict (I'm guessing I used one of the illustrations from Emily Bartel's Spectacles of Strangeness.

Anyway, here's what the reading list looked like.  What should I change as I revise it for a semester long course?

Gawain and the Green Knight
"The Description of Cooke-ham"
"To Penshurst"
The Tempest
Paradise Lost (Book 1 only)
Gulliver's Travels


  1. I would add Pilgrim's Progress; Also maybe Raleigh's Discovery of Guiana, and Henry Neville's Isle of Pines. Sounds like a fun course!

  2. Marie de France might be fun. Students seem to respond pretty well to "Lanval," and I think there are a couple of others in the latest edition of the Norton (if that's what you're using).

    Also, Midsummer?

  3. The Travels of Sir John Mandeville!! (one of my favorite medieval texts.) A sort of crazy English Marco Polo/the travels of St. Brendan all jumbled together.

  4. You could also do one of Gerald of Wales' works, either the topography of Wales or (better, I think), the History and Topography of Ireland.

    I'd look at Mary Campbell's "The Witness and the Other World" for further inspiration.

    Happy Holidays! Jennifer and I are no longer doing the Oxford program, but if you find yourself in western Massachusetts, drop me a line.

  5. Ooo, these are great ideas, thank you!

    Brian, I'm sorry you're not doing the Oxford program; I so enjoyed that personal tour! But I'd love to visit again, and if for some reason you come out to flyover country, please do let me know!