University of South Carolina

Medieval Maymester

Students have a medieval Maymester experience


For two weeks in May, fourteen Honors College students will travel to Britain and trek through the Middle Ages with their English professor. The group isn't wearing tights under their tunics, but they are traveling in the footsteps of King Arthur.

"We're looking into the Arthurian legend and the places associated with it," said Scott Gwara, who is teaching "King Arthur in Medieval Britain," an Honors College May session course.

Scott Gwara
Scott Gwara

"The course is meant to take the students to the primary locations associated with medieval Arthur legends," he said. "It's also a cultural experience. Many of these locations are associated with what are now large cities, like London, or charming towns, like Winchester and Salisbury.

"We'll also travel into the British countryside and more provincial places, like Glastonbury, which in the twelfth century was where the tomb of King Arthur and Guinevere was found.

"In Tintagel, a village on the north coast of Cornwall, we'll visit the site of Arthur's birthplace. It is a magical place, with the ruins of an old castle and a rocky precipice that is very cold and very Cornish.

"We're also doing a walk through the beautiful fields of Staffordshire, where Gawain and the Green Knight was likely composed, in a place called Lud's church. We'll get to see the North Country a little. A lot of the course will focus on the intersections of text and landscape."

Gwara has written five books and more than thirty articles on medieval subjects. He has taught numerous King Arthur courses through the English department but this is the first time for "King Arthur in Medieval Britain."

The class will be in Britain from May 8 to May 21, but the course actually began in April with three Saturday seminars.

"There is very significant content to this course," Gwara said. "We're not just going to hang out at the British Museum; we're also going to understand what museum artifacts mean for the Arthurian legend."

As part of the course, everyone has a related novel to read.

"Students can read when they are on the plane, or in a pub," Gwara said. "We'll have traditional fun and serious fun, too."

By Web Communications

Posted: 04/27/10 @ 12:00 AM | Updated: 05/26/10 @ 10:09 AM | Permalink



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