Mid-term paper


Form: a close-reading critical commentary on one passage from one of the texts read in class thus far this term. On commentary, see:

Passages have been selected from each of the texts we will have read in class between the start and the end of week 7 (before the break).

Please choose ONE (and only one) of the following as the subject of your commentary:

  • Guillaume de Lorris & Jean de Meun, The Romance of the Rose
    1. 90 (from 5809) – 91 (to 5891)
    2. 162 (the paragraph that starts at 10535)
    3. 235 (“Moreover, honourable ladies…”) – 236 (top of the page, end of that paragraph)
    4. 252 (paragraph starting at 16283)
    5. 302 (paragraph starting at 19599)
  • Renard the Fox
    1. 78 (780-802)
    2. 97 (117-33)
    3. 125 (1098-1128)
    4. 129 (1213-1237)
  • Christine de Pisan, The Book of the City of Ladies
    1. 93: II.2, About the sibyl Erythrea
    2. 112-13: II.15, About the Empress Triaria
    3. 131-32: II.31, About Judith, the noble widow

This is a completely free choice: each of the passages has its interests, attractions, merits, and trickinesses; none is necessarily and essentially any harder or easier than any other. It is strongly recommended that you read through all the passages above before making your decision. You may find that the easiest passages to commentate on are those that incite love or loathing; and especially the latter emotion…



      • 4-5 pages
      • that is: minimum 1200 words, absolute maximum 2000 words
      • NOT including cited passages and other citations from them, woven into your own work. As this is a commentary, I would expect/hope that there will be quite a lot of cited material from the rest of the text concerned (the Rose / Reynard /the City).


      • 11-12 size font
      • single- or 1.5-spaced
      • typed up in a legible font (no Comic Sans, no handwriting script ones)
      • please include your name
      • and indicate which passage you are commentating on
      • (it’s often a good idea to start out your commentary with the whole passage in question)


DUE DATE: THURSDAY 1 MARCH (week 8): either handed in to me in class, or emailed to me by the end of that day (= midnight).


      • Grading Guidelines for Content-Based Courses (Department of French, Hispanic and Italian Studies, UBC)
      • Commentary/critical analysis: grading criteria (O’Brien).
        • The same principles (especially for differentiating one grade from another) will be used for other assessed work in different forms of writing: shorter commentary on the blog, the final paper, and the comparative essay on the final exam.
      • As this is a literature/culture course, most of your grade is for
        • content (your own idea and interpretation) and
        • structure (good choice of examples, relevance, an intelligent reading, well-reasoned, solid argument, acceptable conclusions with regard to all of the above)
        • bear in mind that this is an exercise in EXPLANATION which will be assisted by clear EXPRESSION: while they are not as important to the asessment of your work: style, syntax, grammar, and spelling will contribute to the grade, insofar as they contribute to the communication of content and structure.
      • See also: ASSESSMENT and model commentaries (the latter is password-protected, course participants only)



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