Another school year begins

I started teaching a new class at a new university yesterday. For the next four months, I have the pleasure of teaching English 214: Medieval Poetry of the Fantastic at Wilfrid Laurier University’s Brantford campus. We started with the Norse creation myths and Ragnarok yesterday and we move on to Beowulf and selections from the Kalevala next. I’m very much looking forward to exploring these texts with an engaged group of students. (And cheers to them for being lively for three hours starting at 7.00 PM!)

Here is the course description:

This course invites students to explore the fantastic worlds of medieval poetry. Our reading will take us from the glaciers and volcanoes of thirteen-century Iceland to the Celtic underworld, from the glorious courts of the High Middle Ages to the dark forests of ancient Karelia, and from earthly paradises to heavenly cities. We will encounter questing knights, powerful elf queens, chanting sorcerers, and poetic dreamers. Most of the texts will be studied in modern translations from Old Norse, Middle Welsh, Old French, and Finnish, as well as Old and Middle English. One of the goals of this class is to introduce students to Middle English language. (It’s not as hard as it looks!) Beginning with an hour-long introductory session in Week Seven, we will practice reading the London dialect of Middle English in each class. By Week Twelve, students will have sufficient experience with the language to work through one of Chaucer’s early dream visions.


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