Teaching Medieval Literature Off the Grid

An issue of: Pedagogy

Teaching Medieval Literature Off the Grid
Journal Issue Pages: 216 Volume 13, Number 2 Published: Spring 2013 An issue of Pedagogy
Special Issue Editor(s): Gina Brandolino, Nathanial B. Smith
The nine essays collected in “Teaching Medieval Literature off the Grid” make the case for incorporating noncanonical medieval texts in a range of literature courses and offer practical ways to look beyond conventional literary, ideological, and canonical boundaries. As these essays demonstrate, noncanonical texts can shed light on perspectives different from those represented by the culturally authoritative texts of the canon, often can serve the useful purpose of defamiliarizing traditional readings, and may even engage students in ways canonical literary texts simply cannot. The essays in this collection offer models, strategies, and lesson plans that teachers, both medievalists and generalists alike, can use to incorporate lesser-known medieval texts into a range of literature courses—from courses focused exclusively on medieval literature, to the early British literature survey, to a wide range of special topics courses.


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A Note from the Editors - Jennifer L. Holberg and Marcy Taylor

Guest Editors’ Introduction: Teaching Medieval Literature off the Grid - Nathanial B. Smith and Gina Brandolino


Studying Audiences off the Grid

Medieval Prime Time: Entertaining the Family in Fifteenth-Century England—and Educating Students in Twenty-First-Century America - Myra J. Seaman

Drinking Feasts and Insult Battles: Bringing Anglo-Saxon Pedagogy into the Contemporary Classroom - Harold C. Zimmerman

Critical Pleasure, Visceral Literacy, and the Prik of Conscience - Moira Fitzgibbons

Teaching Innocent’s Legacy: Middle English Texts for Commoners - Gina Brandolino

Off-the-Grid Authors and Traditions

Loading Jewry into the Medieval Canon - Theodore L. Steinberg

The Languages of British Literature and the Stakes of Anthologies - Matthieu Boyd

Teaching off the Literary Grid with Hildegard of Bingen’s Physica - Andreea Boboc

Thomas Hoccleve’s Particular Appeal - David Watt

Off the Grid for Forty Years: Bringing John Gower into the Classroom - R. F. Yeager


Re-forming Our Early English Curricula - Katherine Steele Brokaw

Form and Reform: Reading across the Fifteenth Century. Edited by Shannon Gayk and Kathleen Tonry. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2011.

Teaching Pilgrimage through Primary Texts - Damian Fleming

Pilgrimage in the Middle Ages: A Reader. Edited by Brett Edward Whalen. Readings in Medieval Civilizations and Cultures 16. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011.

More Than Something on the Side: Teaching Medieval Romance - Alex Mueller

A Companion to Medieval Popular Romance. Edited by Raluca L. Radulescu and Cory James Rushton. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2009.

“We therefore ben tawht of that was write tho”: Teaching Gower in the Classroom - Conrad van Dijk

Approaches to Teaching the Poetry of John Gower. Edited by R. F. Yeager and Brian W. Gastle. New York: Modern Language Association, 2011.

Teachable Henryson, Accessible Middle Scots - Julie Orlemanski

Robert Henryson: The Complete Works. Edited by David J. Parkinson. TEAMS Middle English Texts Series. Kalamazoo, MI: Medieval Institute Publications,2010.

De-centering Chaucer, Emphasizing His Contemporaries - Nathanial B. Smith

A Companion to Chaucer and His Contemporaries: Texts and Contexts. Edited by Laurel Amtower and Jacqueline Vanhoutte. Peterborough, ON: Broadview Press, 2009.

John Lydgate’s “Noble Devices” - Corey Sparks

John Lydgate: Mummings and Entertainments. Edited by Claire Sponsler. TEAMS Middle English Text Series. Kalamazoo, MI: Medieval Institute Publications, 2010.

Interlocking Genres: A New Approach to Surveys of Anglo-Saxon Literature - Eric R. Carlson

The Cambridge Introduction to Anglo-Saxon Literature. By Hugh Magennis.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011.

Handling Medieval Literature - Thomas H. Crofts

The Oxford Handbook of Medieval Literature in English. Edited by Elaine Treharne and Greg Walker. Oxford: Oxford


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