Acting Medieval Literature


In this course students read, discuss, and then perform in class major works of medieval literature – works that were originally intended for live, semi-dramatic performance. Focus is on narrative rather than dramatic works. The works explored vary from year to year, but always include epic, romance, tales of various kinds, and a range of narrative genres, from different countries and traditions. Students work particularly on the skills required for the performance of different kinds of narrative – including the ability to impersonate of all kinds of characters; rapid shifts from character to character, voice to voice; and effective use of body language, Most performances are done solo, but there is also some teamwork—performances in small groups. Students who can sing, dance, play an instrument, or have other performance skills are very welcome, but such skills are not necessary. Work for the course consists of reading and classroom discussion; several short performances over the course of the semester; a final performance (often done in a group); short written responses to readings and “imaginary performances”; a final oral exam. Note: This is a course where faithful attendance is an absolute must. Students who are not comfortable performing are strongly advised not to sign up for this course. This course is conducted in English. SAME AS FREN-UA 868

This course presents medieval literature as a set of springboards to performance rather than as a series of ?books? to be read. In this strongly performance-oriented course, students approach this ?literature? as works that were acted out, sung, and narrated from memory as part of a storytelling tradition. Students are invited to draw on their dramatic and musical skills and interests, and stage medieval works. For their final project, students participate in staging and putting on a play; perform a substantial piece of narrative poetry; or sing or play a body of medieval songs; etc. Works studied/performed include songs of the troubadours and trouv?res; The Song of Roland; Chr?tien de Troyes?s romance, Yvain; French fabliaux; Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

Course Information



4 Points

Term Section Instructor Schedule Location

Spring 2018

Evelyn Birge Vitz
R: 9:30 AM - 12:15 PM SILV 507