ENG 283 Victorian Medievalism

Nancy Bradbury,Cornelia Pearsall, T Th 1:00 PM-2:20 PM

“I began printing books,” William Morris wrote of his Kelmscott Press in 1895, “with the hope of producing some which would have a definite claim to beauty.”  While the earliest printed books were designed to rival the artistry of the best medieval manuscripts, by Morris’s day industrially produced books could seem pale and shoddy by comparison.  In seeking to recapture the beauty of medieval art as well as the ethics of its individual craftsmanship, Morris was hardly alone: the nineteenth century experienced a major revival of all things medieval, from book arts to the architecture of the new Parliament buildings.

 This newly redesigned course examines the culture of the book in England and its influence on literature in two pivotal eras: the Middle Ages and the Victorian medieval revival.  Authors and artists include Chaucer, Malory, Ruskin, Morris, Burne-Jones, and Tennyson, as well as influential women writers and artists of both periods. Requirements include regular attendance and participation, short response papers, a research project, an oral presentation, and a final examination.  Satisfies the English Department requirement for a course prior to 1800 or prior to 1900 and counts toward the Book Studies Concentration and as a literature course for Medieval Studies.