2023-2024 Catalog 
    Jul 20, 2024  
2023-2024 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

ENG 177 - The Hero(ine) Sets Forth: Medieval Quest Narratives


“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door.
You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet,
there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to”
– J. R. R. Tolkien
Study of a range of medieval ‘quest’ narratives, stories in which heroes and heroines set forth on challenging journeys of self discovery. We’ll explore the ways in which “leaving home” provides the questing hero/ine opportunities to (re)define the self, experience passionate love, reconfigure relationships to friends and family, and prove oneself in challenges both martial and mental. While many of these tales express an optimistic belief that trials can be overcome regardless of what troubles us – the loss of a loved one, the betrayal of a friend, or
tragic errors of judgment – the “return home” of several quest narratives is complicated by darker notes of tragedy. The medieval quest narrative has exercised a profound impact on subsequent literature and films, and to enrich our understanding of our continued fascination with this genre, we’ll also view a few modern films. No prerequisites. Fall. Group III: Humanities.