ENGL3601 Reading the Middle Ages

6 points
Not available in 2020UWA (Perth)Face to face
Not available in 2020AlbanyFace to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 3 option in the English and Literary Studies major sequence
  • The area of knowledge for this unit is Society and Culture
  • Category B broadening unit for students
  • Level 3 elective
This unit extends students' knowledge of research practices and technical knowledge, and broadens their reading in medieval literature. A selection of later medieval/pre-modern English texts from different literary and non-literary genres diversifies students' experience of later medieval English writing and its various contexts. Texts are read in the original language and are selected from a range of dialects, thus developing students' language learning. The unit offers more detailed research tasks through historical reference and develops more extensive technical skills by locating texts in their manuscript contexts. Key questions investigated through a range of theoretical approaches current in medieval cultural studies include the connections between an increasingly vernacular culture and the practices of reading and writing; the scripting of public and private selves through writing; the processes of transmission and the meanings of preserving the past.

As a Level 3 unit, this unit aims to further develop students' skills in research, critical analysis and oral and written communication through more focused engagements with specific texts and theories, and through a greater emphasis on independent learning through strategies such as targeted research tasks, small group projects, and the opportunity to develop individual essay topics, thus preparing them for future studies, or as innovative and productive researchers and communicators in their chosen professions.
Students are able to (1) develop knowledge of later medieval literary and written genres, and are capable of detailed and informed analysis of their characteristics; (2) develop an understanding of the relation of medieval English writing to the historical contexts of its production and utterance; (3) gain knowledge of some of the major modern theoretical reflections on understanding the literature and culture of the medieval past; (4) gain a sound knowledge of how to read Middle English texts in the original in a variety of dialects; (5) understand the significance of manuscript and early print culture for the creation, dissemination and reception of medieval writing; (6) be aware of the growth of a vernacular English language culture in the medieval period and its relation to Latin- and French-based culture; (7) express original arguments, together with research methodologies, approaches and findings, coherently and logically in oral and written formats; (8) undertake and present research in groups efficiently and creatively, and to offer and respond to feedback appropriately; (9) demonstrate an awareness of the importance of informing and challenging one's independent analyses and ideas with discriminating reading of imaginative, critical and theoretical texts; (10) apply, knowingly and appropriately, highly developed skills of textual analysis, critical reasoning, interpretation and research; (11) interpret texts from a range of cultural genres independently, confidently and appropriately through developed modes of close reading and writing that encourage personal and critically informed engagement and expression; and (12) apply developed skills in independent enquiry-based research, sophisticated skills in oral and written communication, and an informed understanding of, and ethical sensitivity towards, our diverse and globalised world in the context of advanced further studies and/or future career paths.
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.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 overall and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Professor Andrew Lynch
Unit rules
any Level 2 unit in English and Cultural Studies
MEMS2001 Classical Traditions and Transformations in Medieval and Early Modern Europe
Contact hours
3 hours per teaching 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.
  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available via the Booktopia Textbook Finder, which has the functionality to search by course code, course, ISBN and title, and may also be posted or available at the appropriate school's administrative offices. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.