Professor Richard Moll
Full Year Course.
The story of Troy gives us Troilus and Criseyde, one of the major achievements of Middle English literature, yet Chaucer’s masterpiece is rarely studied within the context of the traditions of Trojan history. This course, therefore, will seek to understand the nature of the Trojan war as it was conceptualized in the late Middle English period. To that end we will look at versions of the Troy story found in Lydgate’s Troy Book, the alliterative Destruction of Troy and the chronicle tradition. These texts will be read against the classic traditions of Troy, as they were known in the Middle Ages in texts such as the pseudo-histories of Dares and Dictys and the medieval versions of Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Once this imaginative space is understood, we will turn to Middle English texts which use the narrative of Troy as a means of assessing nobilty (eg. heraldic tracts), as a standard of justice and sancitiy (St. Erkenwald) or as a backdrop to a tale of tragic love (Troilus and Criseyde).
View the syllabus here: English 9091.