MVST-043 Knights of Old & Harry Potter
Fall for 2013-2014
This course explores the medievalism of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels. To do this we go back to medieval antecedents from the 12th-15th centuries, which allow us to contrast and compare the old and the new. You will read masterpieces of imaginative storytelling from French, English, and Latin medieval literature as well as selected volumes of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels and her associated smaller works. The old and the new are linked thematically in that they are all narratives about growing up and finding one’s identity: a complex, mysterious, and sometimes arduous process that the hero experiences as a magical world where the natural laws governing human existence are suspended, the unexpected is bound to occur, and marvels are reserved for the chosen few. The choices to be made, dangers to be faced, and discoveries to be made, all help the hero to relate to his own world and the public world outside. Friendship, love, good and evil, authority and power, success and failure, responsibility, belief and knowledge, self-knowledge and inexplicable mystery—these are essential experiences that structure and develop identity, in real life and in literature, today as well as yesteryear. All readings and discussion are in English.
The course fulfills the Humanities & Writing II requirement. It also counts toward the Medieval Studies Major and Minor, and the SFS Certificate in Medieval Studies. The course is also offered as FREN-040-01.
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