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2020/21 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

ENGL5217M Arthurian Legend: Medieval to Modern

30 credits

Module manager: Dr Catherine Batt

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2020/21

Pre-requisite qualifications

As for MA programme

This module is not approved as an Elective


On completion of this module, students should have gained an overview of and be able to determine relations between some key medieval and modern texts in the Arthurian corpus, engaging with questions of cultural perspectives, narrative structure, form and genre, chivalric ethics, masculinities, national identity, gender, sexual politics, the applicability of modern literary theory to medieval and post-medieval texts, and translation.

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

Skills outcomes
Competence in reading Middle English.

Masters (Taught), Postgraduate Diploma & Postgraduate Certificate students will have had the opportunity to acquire the following abilities as defined in the modules specified for the programme:
- the skills necessary to undertake a higher research degree and/or for employment in a higher capacity;
- evaluating their own achievement and that of others;
- self direction and effective decision making;
- independent learning and the ability to work in a way which ensures continuing professional development;
- to engage critically in the development of professional/disciplinary boundaries and norms.


The thirteenth-century English writer Layamon acknowledges that what poets say is not all true, nor yet all false, but he declares it a fact that never was there as valiant a king as Arthur. In this module, we consider how the figure of Arthur, his queen, his court, and the heroes he gathered around him, fired the medieval imagination to produce a wealth of narratives which celebrate, but also interrogate, knightly quest (including that for the Grail), masculinity, chivalric ethics, personal loyalties, sexuality and politics, and national identity. Over the centuries, Arthurian glamour does not lose its appeal, but takes on both familiar and new guises, in response to different and continuing cultural tastes and appropriations. This module offers the opportunity to explore the immense range of Arthurian legend, and to reflect on the nature of its appeal, in works of the imagination including chronicle, romance, novels, children’s literature, satire, poetry and film, from Geoffrey of Monmouth’s history of Britain to Arthur at the movies. There will be space for individuals to research their own areas of special interest in the field.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours280.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

- Reading
- Seminar preparation (independently and with others)
- Independent researching of chosen topics
- Essay writing.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

- Ensuring full participation in seminars
- Provision of advice during preparation of written assignments.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay2000 words (week 8)33.30
Written Work3000 word conference paper and up to six powerpoint slides66.70
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

1. One 2,000-word essay, due in Week 8 of the semester. This counts for one-third of the assessment. 2. One 3,000-word conference paper, accompanied by up to six powerpoint slides. It is due by 12 noon on the first day of the semester’s examination period. This counts for two-thirds of the assessment.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 11/08/2020 11:44:16


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