State of the Art II: King Arthur

Course Name

State of the Art II: King Arthur, a medieval legend at the borders of English literature





Course date

semester 2 (2017 - 2018)

Registration open until

- 07/01/2018




Thijs Porck (UL), Marcelle Cole (UU), Marjolein Hogenbirk (UvA), Krista Murchison (UL), Natalia Petrovskaia (UU)

E-mail Contact

Thijs Porck

Course objectives

This course is suitable for students with an interest in Middle English literature and medieval studies. A good working knowledge of Middle English language and literature is highly recommended; students who have not followed a course in Middle English must contact the course coordinator some weeks before the course starts for an alternative, online means to grasp the basics of Middle English.

Completing the course successfully, the student will know what kinds of research are currently being conducted in the field of medieval English Literature, specifically with regard to Arthurian literature, at Dutch universities and beyond.

The student will know about the conditions of that research (state of the art, the individuals active in the field), and will be familiar with a number of sources that need to be consulted to conduct that research.

The student will have the experience needed to identify a research problem, to formulate this in speech and on paper, and to conduct individual explorations.

The student will be in an ideal position to prepare and write an MA paper worthy of the epithet ‘State of the Art’.

Course content

This course will consider various elements of the Arthurian Legend. Topics that will be discussed include the earliest Arthurian literature; Arthurian chronicles and romances written in medieval England; the insular and continental influences on this literature; and modern adaptations of Arthurian stories in literature and film.

This course enables ambitious MA students to explore in depth an area in the field of medieval English Studies that may play a vital role in their future careers, as teachers, writers, translators, or researchers. Engaging for 12 weeks with medievalists from four universities across the country to discuss the research these academics produce, study the theoretical considerations that lie at its basis, and explore the instruments of this research (including the library and internet resources), students will develop insight into the field of English Studies at large, as well as the state of the art in their future professions. This course also helps students develop their own research ideas, their abilities to move beyond literary sources, and to write convincingly about their findings.

Work formats

Lecture, seminar, individual research


10 EC: 5 research assignments (40%) + individual research project, resulting in a piece of writing of c. 3500-4000 words (60%)

5 EC: 5 research assignments (80%) + individual research project, resulting in a piece of writing of c. 1000 words (20%)

Study load

10 ECTS (= 280 hours)

Seminars: 12 x 3 = 36 hrs

Preparation and work per week 12 x 5 = 60 hrs

5 Research assignments 5 x 8 = 40 hrs

Individual research project = 143 hrs


Background Literature and Course Materials

– Thomas Malory, Le Morte D’Arthur, ed. J. Cowen. 2 volumes (Penguin Classics: 2004)

– J. R. R. Tolkien, The Fall of Arthur, ed. C. Tolkien (HarperCollins: 2013)

Rest to be announced

Further information

Costs: No extra costs for students, aside from buying course materials listed above.

Course dates: 12 three-hour meetings, on Friday afternoon, spread over a full semester.