The French of England I: Texts and Territories in Medieval Britain


  • Judith Weiss, tr. The Birth of Romance: An Anthology. Everyman, 1992
  • Wace, The Roman de Brut: English and Old French, Judith Weiss, ed. and trans. Exeter: University of Exeter Press
  • Chrétien de Troyes, Arthurian Romances, tr. William W. Kibler. Penguin
  • Jocelyn Wogan-Browne and Glyn S. Burgess, trs. Virgin Lives and Holy Deaths: Two Exemplary Biographies for Anglo-Norman Women. London: Dent, 1996
  • Marie de France, The Lais of Marie de France, tr. Glyn S. Burgess and Keith Busby. New York: Penguin, 1986
  • E. Einhorn. Old French: A Concise Handbook. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press


  • a written explication de texte (close reading), due October 23
  • a class presentation: a paper of approximately 5 pages
  • a final paper of 15-20 pages, due Friday, December 14


1. September 4 Old French and its Dialects: English and its Linguistic Cultures

  • Lodge, French: From Dialect to Standard, “The Latinisation of Gaul,” pp. 39-53; “Selection of Norms,” pp. 85-117
  • Suzanne Romaine, Bilingualism, “The Sociolinguistic Composition of Multilingual Countries,” pp. 25-37
  • The Cambridge History of Medieval English Literature, ed. David Wallace. Susan Crane, “Anglo-Norman Cultures in Medieval England, 1066-1460,” pp. 35-60; Christopher Baswell, “Latinitas,” pp. 122-151
2. September 11 Prologues
3. September 18 Courtly Places, Courtly Identities

  • Marie de France, Lanval
  • selections from Middle English Sir Launfal
4. September 25 Identities and the Arthurian Ideal

Chrétien de Troyes, Erec et Enide; selections from Cligès

5. October 2. Translation Without Boundaries?

  • Romain du Cor
  • Lai d’Haveloc
6. October 9 No Class
7. October 16 Identities and the Arthurian Ideal Nationalizing Narratives I
La Chanson de Roland
Visiting lecturer: Prof. Robert Stein, SUNY Purchase and Columbia
8. October 23 Nationalizing Narratives II

  • Wace, Roman de Brut
  • Prologue and frame of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
9. October 30 Foundations and Foundresses

  • Extract from La Lumere as Lais
  • Vie de St. Osith
  • Des Granz Geanz
  • Virgil, The Aeneid, Book IV
  • Roman d’Eneas
  • Christine de Pizan, Le Livre de la Cité des Dames
  • Chaucer, House of Fame, book 1; Legend of Good Women
10. November 6 Rules, Rituals, and Identities

  • Manières de Langage
  • La Folie Tristan

Visiting lecturer: Prof. Susan Crane, Rutgers University

11. November 13 Dying for Love: Court and Community

  • Clemence of Barking, La Vie de Ste. Catherine
  • The “Eructavit” for Marie de Champagne
12. November 20 Constructing Family Lineages

  • Matthew Paris, Estoire de seint Aedward le rei
  • Anonymous Nun of Barking, Vie de saint Edouard
  • Fouke le Fitz Waryn
  • Chrétien de Troyes, Guillaume de’Angleterre
  • Guillaume le Clerc, Fergus de Galeweie
13. November 27 Constructing the Christian Nation

  • La Venjance Nostre Seignur (MS Egerton 613)
  • Matthew Paris, La Vie de St. Auban
  • R.I. Moore, The Formation of a Persecuting Society
14. December 4 The Hundred Years’ War and National Identity

Selections from: Charles d’Orléans, Christine de Pizan, Froissart, Hoccleve, Lydgate, anonymous Middle English lyrics, Le Débat des hérauts d’armes de France et d’Angleterre