Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

Click on an offering mode for more details.

Unit Overview

This unit introduces medieval English narratives in the context of the changing societies, ideologies and cultures in which they were written and read. The varieties of narratives studied include epic (Beowulf), romance (Sir Gawain and the Green Knight), saints' lives, autobiography, dream vision and travel stories. The unit is taught both in translation and through helpful editions and has an introductory language-learning component in relation to selected texts. It aims at developing research skills and in-depth critical understanding of medieval literature within its historicial context.
6 points
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 elective

Students are able to (1) gain familiarity with a range of medieval narrative forms, and their major generic and formal characteristics; (2) have a critical understanding of the function and significance of select medieval English narratives within the society and culture which produced them; (3) gain an initial knowledge of how to read Middle English texts (SE Midlands dialect) in the original language; (4) understand the relation of medieval narratives to significant ideologies of the period, in areas such as gender, class, warfare and religion; (5) express ideas, information and argument coherently and logically in written and oral forms; (6) learn to work effectively as members of a collaborative group in a tutorial context; (7) gain enhanced research skills in locating and assessing critical writing in traditional and/or digital media; (8) gain a critical understanding of the role played by ideologies of race, gender, and class in literary and cultural contexts; (9) refine and demonstrate highly developed, university-level skills of textual analysis and critical reasoning; (10) acquire an historicised understanding of fundamental critical concepts that allow them to recognise and discuss the relationship between the formal, thematic and functional aspects of any text studied; and (11) further develop and practise enquiry-based learning and research and communication acquired at Level 2 into Level 3 units in English and Cultural Studies, with applications across a broader field of study at UWA.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) tutorial participation; (2) critical exercise; and (3) research essay. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Professor Andrew Lynch and Winthrop Professor Bob White
Unit rules
any Level 1 ENGL unit
or MEMS1001 Life, Thought and Culture in Pre-modern Europe
Contact hours
3 hours per week
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.