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Selected Graduate Courses

Medieval Welsh Literature in Translation

While this course focuses on the “Four Branches” of The Mabinogi and the other narratives published with them in The Mabinogion (Jones and Jones translation), the readings also include the poetry of Taliesin, Dafydd ap Gwilym, and Llywarch Hen, and the non-fiction Laws of Hwyel Dda.

Northern European Mythology

The first third of the course focuses on Scandinavian myth and legend, the second third on Welsh and Irish Celtic myth and legend, and the last third on literatures influenced by them from Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Shakespeare’s Macbeth to Alan Garner’s The Owl Service, and Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon.


Medieval Literature

This course focuses less on the Mediterranean literatures making inroads into British culture and more on the native literatures of the time.  Texts will include: The Mabinogion (Jones and Jones translation), Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (Tolkien edition), The Pearl (Tolkien edition), Cuchulainn of Muirthemne (Lady Gregory’s version), Malory’s Morte d’Arthur, and The Second Shepherd’s Play.


Macbeth in Context

The semester includes a close reading of the Scottish play itself and viewing several films based on it supplemented by lengthy student reports on specific topics pertinent to Shakespeare’s time, for example: “Women in Elizabethan England,” “16th-17th Century Belief in Witchcraft,” and “English Drama After Shakespeare.”

Modern Arthurian Literature and Film

Arthurian literature has flourished in the 19th and 20th centuries.  Texts include: selections from Tennyson’s The Idylls of the King, White’s Once and Future King, William’s War in Heaven, and Sutcliff’s Sword at Sunset; films will include Boorman’s Excalibur, Lerner and Lowe’s Camelot, and Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Modern Fantasy Literature

This historical and typological course begins with LeGuin’s A Wizard of Earthsea as an excellent example of High Fantay and then traces the development of fantasy literature from Burroughs’ Tarzan (Heroic), through Lewis’ The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe (religious), King’s Misery (horror), and others to a book or two published recently.

Science Fiction Literature

This historical and typological course begins with Burroughs’ A Princess of Mars, looks at science fiction up to the 1940s in “The Formative Years,” science fiction from the 1940s through the 1950s/1960s in “The Golden Age,” and science fiction and science fantasy from the mid-1960s on as “Modern Science Fiction.”

Note: These graduate courses can be modified and taught at the undergraduate level, and some of them can be modified to focus on children’s and YA literature.  For example: “Northern European Mythology” can become “Scandinavian and Celtic Myth and Legend in Children’s and Young Adult Literature” and “Modern Fantasy” can become “The Fantastic in Children’s Literature.” Contact me for more information.

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