Miceal F Vaughan
Survey of current issues confronting literary critics today, based on revolving themes and topics. Focuses on debates and developments affecting English language and literatures, including questions about: the relationship of culture and history; the effect of emergent technologies on literary study; the rise of interdisciplinary approaches in the humanities.
This seminar will examine topics associated with the move from medieval, pre-Gutenbergian manuscript (hand-written) texts to their presentation in our contemporary, post-Gutenbergian technologies (facsimiles and digital editions). Our attention will focus on a few medieval English works and their material survivals; on the editorial principles affecting scholarly decisions about what form an individual text takes, or should take; and the challenges and opportunities offered by modern technologies of textual representation.
Student learning goals
to develop some familiarity with medieval scribal texts
to evaluate modes of representing these texts via digital media
to become accustomed to earlier forms of spelling, punctuation, textual presentation
to gain a facility with reading medieval English
to gain some preliminary competence with (online) research tools for medieval English studies
General method of instruction
Seminar discussion of topics presented by professor and by students.
Some familiarity with medieval English language and with a variety digital texts would be useful.
Class assignments and grading
Students will prepare short weekly papers deal with specific texts/technologies. These will provide the subjects for many of our seminar discussions. Groups of students will work together to do a more substantive research project and lead discussion of it during a seminar meeting later in the quarter. Each student will prepare a term-paper or term-project for presentation (in written or virtual form) to all members of the seminar.
Grades will be based on a (weighted) assessment of students': 1) weekly response papers; 2) small-group research presentation; 3)term-paper (-project); and 4) contributions to seminar discussion.