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2011/12 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ENGL3207 Shieldmaidens, Matriarchs and Monsters: Women in Medieval Scandinavian Literature

20 creditsClass Size: 10

English

Module manager: Dr Alaric Hall
Email: a.t.p.hall@leeds.ac.uk

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2011/12

Pre-requisite qualifications

Please note: this module is restricted to Level 2 and 3 students.

This module is approved as an Elective

Module summary

Medieval Scandinavian literature affords one of the richest and most diverse range of portayals of women in medieval Europe. This module is an opportunity to explore the place of women in medieval society and literature, to work with a wide range of genres, and to begin learning to read Old Icelandic texts in the original. We will consider the audiences of the romance-saga of Sigrgard, a hero who is constantly outwitted and humiliated by the maiden king whom he seeks to woo.We will study the strong-willed women who - saga writers soberly tell us - settled Iceland but who are curiously reminiscent of the warrior-maidens of legendary poetry. - Did women's lives imitate poets' art, did art imitate life, or is this entirely a world of fantasy? - Why were pagan myths of grumpy goddesses and giantesses still retold centuries after Scandinavians converted to Christianity? - And how did Scandinavians respond to Christian ideas of womanhood? We'll learn to engage with the texts in the original language (Old Icelandic), by reading the poem "Prymskvioa" week-by-week in a carefully glossed edition. Other texts will be provided in translation, with the original on facing pages for easy comparison.

Objectives

- To learn to engage with medieval Icelandic sources in the original language
- To develop understandings of the roles of literature in the construction of gender
- To explore the gender structure of a society very different from our own.

Learning outcomes
Students will have developed:
- the ability to use written and oral communication effectively;
- the capacity to analyse and critically examine diverse forms of discourse;
- the ability to manage quantities of complex information in a structured and systematic way;
- the capacity for independent thought and judgement;
- critical reasoning;
- research skills, including the retrieval of information, the organisation of material and the evaluation of its importance;
- IT skills;
- efficient time management and organisation skills;
- the ability to learn independently.

Skills outcomes
- Skills for effective communication, oral and written.
- Capacity to analyse and critically examine diverse forms of discourse.
- Ability to acquire quantities of complex information of diverse kinds in a structured and systematic way.
- Capacity for independent thought and judgement.
- Critical reasoning.
- Research skills, including information retrieval skills, the organisation of material, and the evaluation of its importance.
- IT skills.
- Time management and organisational skills.
Independent learning.


Syllabus

Medieval Europe was a patriarchal place, but medieval Scandinavians loved reading about powerful women.

On this module, we'll ask why - and at the same time use the theme as a platform to explore a range of different types of medieval literature.
- Why were Marie de France's 'lais' among the first texts to be translated into Norwegian, and how were they received?
- Who listened to romances like that of Sigrgard, a hero who is constantly outwitted and humiliated by the maiden king whom he seeks to woo?

The strong-willed women who - saga writers soberly tell us - settled Iceland are curiously reminiscent of the warrior-maidens of legendary poetry.

- Did women's lives imitate poets' art, did art imitate life, or is this entirely a world of fantasy?
- Why were myths of grumpy goddesses and giantesses still retold centuries after Scandinavians converted to Christianity?
- And how did Scandinavians respond to Christian ideas of womanhood?

We'll learn to engage with the texts in the original language (Old Icelandic), by reading the poem "Prymskioa" week-by-week in a carefully glossed edition. Other texts will be provided in translation, with the original on facing pages for easy comparison.

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Workshop51.005.00
Seminar101.0010.00
Private study hours185.00
Total Contact hours15.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Reading, preparation for seminars, essay writing and take-home translation exam.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

- Seminar contribution
- 1st assessed essay.

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information


Coursework
Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay2,250 words50.00
Essay2,250 words50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 03/08/2012

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