Spring 2011

Autobiography in the Middle Ages and Renaissance

Listed in: English, as ENGL-95

Faculty

Ingrid L. Nelson (Section 04)

Description

Did medieval and early modern people think of themselves as individuals?  What aspects of their personal experience did they record, and why?  This seminar will examine medieval and Renaissance records of private experience, in the genre of autobiography or, to use its medieval name, confession.  Reading writers as varied as Shakespeare, Chaucer, Augustine, and Anne Askew, we will explore the many varieties of  confessional literature and life-writing that were available to and invented by early authors.  As we examine first-person, experiential texts written in the centuries before “autobiography” became a well-defined genre, we will ask: What constitutes confessional literature?  How do these texts bear on the construction of Western ideas of the individual?  How do gender and class inform representations of individual experience?  Texts not in English will be read in translation; Middle English and Renaissance English texts will be read in student-friendly editions with substantial notes. 

Prior knowledge of Middle English helpful, but not required.  Limited to 15 students.  Spring semester.  Professor Nelson.

If Overenrolled: Preference given to senior and junior English majors.

Offerings

2014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 20112014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 20112014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2009, Spring 2011, Fall 20132014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 20112014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 20102014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Fall 20102014-15: Offered in Spring 2015
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 20162014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 20112014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 20102014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 20102014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Spring 2014, Fall 2015