ENG 370 Studies in Special Topics: Medieval/Modern Literature
Ezra Pound, James Joyce, and T.S. Eliot, arguably the greatest Modernists of 20th century literature in English, drew deep inspiration from the Middle Ages. C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Charles Williams, a literary group known as the Inklings, drew even more directly on the Middle Ages in their rich fantasies. In this course, we'll read and study some medieval texts—Beowulf, Chretien's romance, Yvain, some troubadour poetry—and consider their refractions in one major 20th century text, Personae (Pound), as well as in more popular works, such as Tolkien's The Hobbit and John Gardner's Grendel. In the process, we will examine the literary relations between the medieval world and modernism and the diverse medieval worlds “invented” by several interesting 20th century writers.