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Medieval Literature: Literature of the Crusades

ENG 316

Medieval Literature: Literature of the Crusades

  • Course ID:ENG 316
  • Semesters:1
  • Department:English
  • Teachers:Chris Breslin

Description and Objectives

The true history of the Crusades has been marred, obscured and virtually lost to the modern student by conscious and unconscious misrepresentation in academia,  lore and mass media, especially in light the the events that followed the terrorist attack on 11 September 2001. That a literature developed both during and after the Crusades that presents a far different perspective than that currently presented in popular culture about the Crusades is virtually unknown to the modern student. This course intends to capture the spirit of those men who launched on this defensive military pilgrimage known to history as the First Crusade by reading accounts written by participants and by later, creative efforts in poetic, epic form, with the goal of enlightening, deepening and broadening the student’s understanding of this civilization-changing epoch.

Unrelated to the Crusades, the course will require the student to read Shakespeare’s Hamlet to widen the span of his cultural literacy and acumen. All juniors and seniors enrolled in a first-semester English elective will read this play, regardless of the actual course title.


Hamlet                                              William Shakespeare

Chronicles of the First Crusade.    Various authors, Penguin Classics

The Liberation of Jerusalem.           Torquato Tasso

The Siege of Sziget                            Miklos Zrinyi

Course Requirements

Weekly quizzes on assigned reading.

A test after completion of each work.

Essays, both in and out of class, to express understanding of the overarching ideas in the works read.

One oral presentation on an assigned aspect of the literature of the Crusades.

Successful Students

Keep up with the reading assignments.

Take good notes.

Demonstrate mastery of material by excellent performance on quizzes, tests and essays.

Participate in classroom discussion.