Cynthia A. Rogers


Teaching Videos:


These are unusual classes, deliberately containing more novelty and lecture than my class usually do. However, both were designed to whet students’ enthusiasm for medieval texts that they might at first find daunting. I find that introducing a sequence of texts by providing a bit of historical context as well as visual and auditory experiences, help students “invest” in these texts.

Early Drama

I taught a series of seven medieval dramas as part of an undergraduate early British literature course in Fall 2013. This field trip to a nearby neo-gothic church introduced the students to the way medieval drama has a certain trajectory that begins as liturgical drama but later moves out onto the street, still using the church as a backdrop. By understanding the underpinnings of the tradition, my students were able to appreciate and discuss how medieval drama, particularly the mystery plays and household dramas, continuously “breaks the fourth wall”­—how the plays include the audience as necessary and active participants. Although this class was at the beginning of the semester many students referred to it enthusiastically on their end of course evaluations.

Texts covered:
Quem Quaeritis an Easter morning liturgical drama
Play of Adam an early vernacular biblical drama staged in front of the church

1. Introduction to Architecture

2. Background to Quem Quaeritis

3. Chant Lesson for Sung Version of Quem Quaeritis

4. Walk-through of Liturgical Drama Version of Quem Quaeritis

5. Biblical Drama Outside the Church

6. Play of Adam in Front of the Church Porch


Introducing a Unit on Spiritual and Philosophical Poetry: Old English Poetry

This 24 minute clip is of an undergraduate introduction to poetry class, which I taught in Spring 2015.  Since the class was specifically for non-English majors and spans medieval through modern poetry, my goals for the course were to teach them to read and analyze poems, but equally importantly, to help them enjoy poetry and form a connection with it. My schedule began with a unit on love poetry, a genre with which the students already had connections via modern love songs. I get enormous “buy in” from the students in this initial unit, and am cognizant of the need to “sell” the second unit, which is on spiritual and philosophical poetry. Knowing that students may have difficulty in finding elements of interest in the poetry, I broke up the beginning of the class into small “chunks” of time. My goals were to give them a simplified understanding of the historical events that lead to the formation of modern English, and also to retain the momentum of the course into this new unit. (A few technical notes. The room is tiny, so I am sitting to avoid forcing the front row of students to crane their necks up at me. Also, the students only read prose translations, hence a metrics discussion would have been beyond the scope of this class.)

Texts covered:
“Caedmon’s Hymn”  (Sung with Anglo-Saxon lyre)
“Soul and Body” 

1. Introduction to Old English Poetry: Caedmon's Hymn



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