I. How literature Happens: http://127shores.web.unc.edu/syllabus-2/
Unit 1 begins with the oldest story of human record, Gilgamesh, and introduces issues of textual materiality and technology. Looking at different editions and translations, we will also undertake the primary thematic strand of this course: what is the job of the translator and editor? We will look also at the Beowulf manuscript online and read all of the stories of the codex containing one of the oldest works in English. Studying the Beowulf manuscript and the Gilgamesh tablets, we will find that collecting and editing is an age-old process, not one employed only by modern scholars. With this in mind, we will end Unit 1 by “reading” the Bayeux Tapestry online.
Unit 2 consists of three medieval texts: the Germanic Nibelungenlied, its contemporary, Old French Quest of the Holy Grail, and the Italian Inferno. I’ve chosen works that are not directly related to one another, but connected through theme and, in some complicated cases, genre. The Nibelungenlied might remind you of bits from Beowulf and should certainly be remembered when we read the first edition of Grimms’ Tales in Unit 3. The Grail text is one of many in a complex and mystifying tradition of Arthurian literature. Dante, of course, creates an entire world of figures from the past—historical, religious, literary, and otherwise.
Unit 3 brings us into more contemporary works of collection and adaptation. The Grimm brothers collected folk stories whose origins reach beyond our written records. However, this particular edition is important because it preserves their initial writings before they were made “softer” by their publishers. We will then read The Original Frankenstein and compare Mary Shelley’s writing with that of her husband, since the text is as hybrid as the monster itself.
II. Writing across the Disciplines: Food Genres: https://foodgenres.wordpress.com/assignment-sequences/