Texting: Approaches to Medieval and Early Modern Literature 1

Course Description: 

Instructors: Floris Bernard, Agnes Drosztmer, David Falvay, Tamas Kiss, Zsuzsanna Reed, Orsolya Rethelyi, Levente Selaf

Course level: MA, PhD; 1 credit

Office hours: by appointment

This is the first part of a two-term literary course (1+2 credits), which is designed to provide a survey of theoretical approaches to medieval literatures through personal exploration, discussion and research practice. It aims to provide students with a hands-on experience of literary theory and its applications to specific texts.

This is an non-traditional course with a focus on individual development, introspection and discovery as well as a pragmatic approach to research, teaching, learning, and everything in between.

The collective expertise of the teaching team extends over an exceptionally wide range of genres, periods, languages and geographical areas, which would be impossible to cover within the framework of a traditional course. Ranging from Byzantine satire to Middle Dutch drama and early modern letter writing, students will have the opportunity to explore general methodological questions, history of scholarship, diachronic developments (literary traditions and genres) and synchronic influences (sociological contexts) under the expert guidance of specialists.

Course structure and formats

In the Fall Term, the course is set up on the basis of a mentor scheme. At the beginning of the term, one plenary session will take place. Students have the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the teaching team and pick the mentors whose field and/or research profile they feel is closest to their own interest.

Throughout the term, they will regularly meet with their mentors in a 1-to-1 setting or in small groups. The mentor will assist in familiarizing the students with broader issues relating to literary and textual methodology. Students will be required to read a selection of primary and secondary readings and reflect on them through short written assignments, inspired by questions given to them by the mentor. Student assignments are public and form the basis of the research blog managed by a dedicated content co-ordinator.

Attendance at the plenary and individual work with the chosen mentors are mandatory.

The course continues with a two-credit course in the Winter Term with a more traditional teaching framework consisting of 6 lectures delivered by the teaching team (mentors) and 6 seminars co-taught by individual mentors and their students. Completing Part 1 in the Fall Term is a prerequisite of Winter Term enrolment in Part 2.

The course constitutes part of the “Methodologies and Medieval Literatures: Integrated Research-Based Learning and Teaching Program” co-ordinated by the Department of Medieval Studies and is supported by the CEU Teaching Development Grant.

Learning Outcomes: 

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

✓    Address broader issues relating to literary and textual methodology through a selection of primary and secondary readings

✓    Become critical readers of sources and scholarship and formulate questions

✓    Reflect on and engage with literary texts in a focused and methodologically informed manner

✓    Gain experience in planning and delivering seminars

✓    Gain research experience and disseminate some of their findings and questions on an informal but academically controlled platform

✓    Participate in debate and discourse about literary texts and scholarship

✓    Gain insight into their mentor’s work and research-based teaching

✓    Participate in a roundtable and be an active part of an experimental teaching project


The Plenary session at the beginning of the year is mandatory to familiarize mentors with their student teams, introduce their topics and fields of interest and advise on mentor selection. All other contact hours in this semester are by individual appointment, depending on the availability of mentors.

Assignments are issued every two weeks and are mandatory. These are 1000-word essays reflecting on questions and issues in secondary literature and source texts prescribed by the chosen mentor.

The end-term assignment is designing a session plan in preparation for the more intensive classroom-based Winter Term course.

Feedback and assessment will be given by the mentor and is based on all written assignments submitted (6 assignments + 1 session plan).



Completing the Fall Term course is a prerequisite of enrolment in Part 2 in the Winter Term.