Translation, transformation, magical mid-points, and other werewolves


In the “Animal Reading” lecture this week, we had a backdrop of changing forest scenery while attempting werewolfish reading; today is under the sign of the dog, wolf, and werewolf.

References are to the Penguin Classics editions (Marie trans. Burgess, Montaigne trans. Screech), as this course is taught through English and using translations—with occasional reference, today for example, to the original—in readily-available cheap paperback, that can be obtained second-hand for little, as a compromise between keeping student costs down and retaining content and quality. ‪And having complete books—not dismembered extracts—out of ecosystemic respect.‬

From the syllabus:


  • TOPIC:
    Animals communicating with humans and reading them, anthropomorphic animals, and metamorphosing humans
    • Marie de France: Bisclavret, Yonec
    • Montaigne: I. 8, 11, 14, 36, 48 – II. 11, 27, 30
    • (+ II. 12 excerpts)


Frogs splashing and hopping around: RMST 221B notes, Week 2, Thursday

Preamble or postscript: some more Kermit the Frog … (more…)

Reading frogsong

Lecture notes from RMST 221B, WEEK 2 (as image files crashed on Canvas and UBC Blogs site)

  • TOPIC:
    Introduction: starting small with a frog in a poem

    • context: a bigger picture, whole book, intertextual network of books and other knowledge, and ecosystem
    • reading ecosystemically
    Prologues, prefaces, and bodies of knowledge:

    • Marie de France Lais (+ Fables) prologues
    • Michel de Montaigne “To the reader”
    • + (guided reading in Thursday class) I.1, II.18, III. 2 & 8
    • + (online meanderings) bestiaries and other Big Books Of All Knowledge
  • TUESDAY: Introduction to the Marie & Montaigne introductions (Marie, “Prologue”; Montaigne, “To the reader”) and to this world; via frogs
  • THURSDAY: mainly Marie Lais “Prologue” + Montaigne “To the reader,” plus I.1 + excerpts from II.18, III.2, III.8 on what he’s doing and why; keeping frogs and their small stoical wisdom in mind
    • read Marie Lais prologue
    • read Montaigne “To the reader”
    • read Montaigne book I essay 1 and imagine that we are discussing frogs rather than humans
  • TO DO for next week: reading commentary on Canvas (commenting about this week’s Marie and Montaigne readings; one of the bonus readings at the end, an excerpt from the Pancatantra, provides an example of commenting on and discussing reading; there is also more information on Canvas)



Syllabus (1): 200-level Romance Studies, medieval to early modern, “Animal Reading”

Here’s another syllabus, again in the interests of sharing resources, in case it helps others elsewhere and as this is a public university in a part of the world (BC, Canada) that’s keen on open education. This one is for UBC RMST 221B. There’s a publicly-accessible version at UBC Blogs (this is just a copy from there). That site also has other materials for students (there will be more next week), and more on UBC’s “Learning Management System” (yes, I know, sorry). These are just for my students (sorry). I have once again over-complicated my own life, and perhaps that of others, by including not one but TWO kinds of weekly discussion (on that LMS, Canvas). And by integrating peer assessment and self-assessment. And by trying to figure out a Cunning Plan for reading Montaigne’s Essays in one term. And it’s not the only reading. The Cunning Plan hinges on different kinds of reading, and on collaborative reading in a way that, I hope, will create a community of learning and knowledge in the class. (Famous last words, ask me again in December. Or in two weeks.) There will be a Public Knowledge contribution: “Humanimals Reading: A Local Bestiary.” More on that in December.

I am very excited about all of this.


Sneak preview: #RMST221B – “Animal Reading” course design work in progress