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    An introduction to medieval literature including Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Dante’s Inferno, Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur, Norse stories of Thor and Loki, The Arabian Nights. With hands-on quill making, calligraphy, and bookmaking.

    An introduction to medieval literature: Chaucer's 'Canterbury Tales,' Dante's 'Inferno,' Malory's 'Le Morte D'Arthur', Norse stories of Thor and Loki, 'The Arabian Nights.' The paper includes hands-on quill making, medieval calligraphy, and bookmaking.There will be opportunities to use medieval manuscripts from the University's Library Collection.

    About this paper

    Paper title Magic and Treachery in Medieval Literature
    Subject English
    EFTS 0.15
    Points 18 points
    Teaching period Not offered in 2024 (Distance learning)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $981.75
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    One 100-level ENGL paper (excluding ENGL 126) or 36 points
    Schedule C
    Arts and Music

    Teaching staff

    Professor Simone Marshall

    Paper Structure

    The paper is structured around a series of key topics in medieval literature:

    Medieval Love and Sex: read about love, sex, and humour in Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales

    A Vision of Hell: Dante's journey through Hell in The Inferno is a quest to understand human nature

    King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table: learn about the characters of the round table, their journeys, tribulations, and downfall in Le Morte D'Arthur.

    Making the Medieval Book: learn to read medieval manuscripts, write with a quill pen, and make a medieval book (all materials will be provided)

    Adventures with Thor and Loki: Read the Prose Edda to learn about the mischief-making of Thor and Loki, and their treachery and sabotage.

    Genie, Magic, and Demons in Arabia: the Arabian Nights introduces you to magic genie and demons, who interact and interfere with human life.

    Medieval Performance: read and perform some medieval plays, that have humour and laughter at their core.

    Teaching Arrangements

    The Distance Learning offering of this paper is a combination of remote and in-person teaching.

    This paper is taught in two x two-hour lectures, and one x one-hour tutorial each week.
    The classes will be very conversational and collaborative.
    The paper is taught on campus and by distance. Distance students, please be aware you will need to be present on campus for the week of Making the Medieval Book.

    The assessment for this paper comprises:

    • Transcription and Analysis of a medieval Manuscript (20%)
    • Making a Book (30%)
    • 2500-word Research Essay (50%)

    All of the following texts will be provided on Blackboard:

    • 'The Canterbury Tales' - Geoffrey Chaucer
    • 'The Inferno' - Dante
    • 'Le Morte D'Arthur' - Thomas Malory
    • 'The Prose Edda'
    • 'Arabian Nights'
    • Medieval Mystery Plays
    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Information literacy.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes

    At the end of this paper students will have achieved the following outcomes:


    1. Students will be able to explain and summarise the range of texts examined in this paper.
    2. Students will be able to interpret diverse media (texts, maps, paintings, artefacts) and explain their connections.


    1. Students will be able to compare and contrast texts from divergent cultures, identifying bias and assumptions found in how concepts are conveyed over time.


    1. Students will be able to appraise and evaluate concepts within the texts, particularly in relation to contemporary events.


    1. Students will be able to demonstrate their ability to synthesise concepts found in texts, and hypothesise about and speculate about the circumstances that led to the texts' creation.


    Not offered in 2024

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught through Distance Learning
    Learning management system
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