Arthuriana

Undergraduate Exam Study Guides - Alan Baragona, VMI

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At the beginning of the semester, I give my students a study sheet like the one below for their final exam. Although the course treats only medieval literature, the outside reading and the movies give them an opportunity to apply what they've learned to works they haven't discussed in class. I offer here two versions of Part II as an example of the choices I can give them from semester to semester.

Final Exam Study Sheet

The final exam will consist of two parts, a comprehensive objective section and an essay, each worth 50%.

I. The objective section will cover all information from the reading assignments in Lacy and Ashe's Arthurian Handbook, from class lectures, discussion and handouts, and from the introductions to the four sections of Alan Lupack's Modern Arthurian Literature (pp. 2-11, 134-144, 294-306, and 432-440). You should be familiar with 1) the historical development of Arthurian tradition from the Gododdin to the present time (with emphasis on the medieval, up to Malory), 2) the political, social, biographical and literary backgrounds of Geoffrey, Chrétien, and Malory, and 3) the plots and most important characters of all six works you have read for class. The number of questions you will be required to answer will probably be between 33 and 50. They will include fill in the blanks, multiple choice, matching, and short answer (a few sentences).

II. For the essay, in addition to reading the introductions to the four sections of Alan Lupack's Modern Arthurian Literature (44 pages), read the following passages (41 pages):

from "The Renaissance to the Nineteenth Century"--"The Marriage of Sir Gawaine"* 108-118

from "The Victorians"--William Morris's "The Defence of Guenevere" 159-168

from "America"-- Howard Pyle's The Story of King Arthur and His Knights 342-358

from "The Modern Period"--John Ciardi's "Launcelot in Hell" 457-459

*(If you are asked to write about "The Marriage of Sir Gawaine," pleased do not be confused about its authorship. Bishop Percy collected it in his anthology of folktales and ballads Reliques of Ancient English Poetry; he did not write it. It's anonymous.)

I will give you ONE of these works, and, using Lupack's introductions and your own critical intelligence, you will write an essay comparing this "modern" work to BOTH Chrétien and Malory in terms of treatment of character and theme, pointing out both similarities and differences. Include any connections you can make to Excalibur and Monty Python and the Holy Grail, but focus on the literary texts.

OR

II. For the essay, in addition to reading the introductions to the four sections of Alan Lupack's Modern Arthurian Literature (44 pages), read the following passages (46 pages):

from "The Renaissance to the Nineteenth Century"--Henry Fielding's Tom Thumb 85-107

from "The Victorians"--William Morris's "The Defence of Guenevere" 159-168

from "America"-- Katrina Trask's "Kathanal" 332-341

from "The Modern Period"--John Ciardi's "Launcelot in Hell" 457-459

I will give you ONE of these works, and, using Lupack's introductions and your own critical intelligence, you will write an essay comparing this "post-medieval" work to BOTH Chrétien and Malory in terms of treatment of character and theme, pointing out both similarities and differences. Include any connections you can make to Excalibur and Monty Python and the Holy Grail, but focus on the literary texts.


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Site Administrator: Alan Baragona BaragonaA@vmi.edu
Last revised: August 5, 2014
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