Dr. Jeanne Provost teaches and writes on late medieval literature, with a special interest in ecocriticism and animal theory. She received her B.A. in English from Carleton College, where she discovered a lasting enthusiasm for liberal arts education. She earned her Ph.D. at the University of California, Santa Barbara under the co-direction of L. O. Aranye Fradenburg and Carol Braun Pasternack. Before coming to Furman, Dr. Provost taught ecocritical approaches to medieval literature as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Austin College in Sherman, Texas. She joined the Furman English Department and became an affiliate faculty member with the Shi Center for Sustainability in 2011. She is the author of "Sovereign Meat: Reassembling the Hunter King from Medieval Forest Law to The Wedding of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnelle" and an essay in process, "How Do You Care for Your Horse? The Wife of Bath, the Living Land, and the Erotic Undoing of Ownership." Her current book project explores diverse representations of human sovereignty over the land in medieval literature and law.

Name Title Description


Texts and Meaning

An introduction to the study of the structures and methods by which texts create and convey meaning. Texts and approaches will be determined by individual instructors, but all emphasize reflective, critical reading, as well as text-centered discussions and written assignments.


Interpretive Strategies

Addressing issues and questions specific to literary and cultural analysis and in the process exploring various interpretive strategies through which ideas of the literary and of literary study are engaged. The content and perspective of this course will vary according to instructor. Students will read primary theoretical texts, and will write about how theories of literature might inform ways of reading prose, poetry, drama, and/or film. By the end of the term, students should have a sense of how over the years critical debate has shaped the many practices of reading literature.


Writing with Writers

Supervised by a prominent writer, students will work on their own creative projects. The genre (prose fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry) will change from year to year.


Literature and the Environment

Focus on works commonly considered major examples of environmental writing and examine the theoretical/critical considerations involved in reading these works. Writers include: James Fenimore Cooper, Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, Mary Austin, Aldo Leopold, Rachel Carson, and Barry Lopez will be read and discussed. Theoretical problems such as the relation of writing to lived experience and the justice of emphasizing all life over human life will help focus discussions. Class participation demonstrating considered familiarity with assigned reading will be required, as will written work demonstrating thoughtful command of issues raised by the course.


Fantasy & Science Fiction

Exploration of how race, colonialism, gender, science, the sacred, and the human inform our fantasies about other worlds and times. May trace dialogue between contemporary fantasy/science fiction and literature of other periods.


Medieval Arthurian Literature

Study of the earliest tales of King Arthur and his knights. Course focuses on medieval European literature but may include one contemporary version. Authors include Chr�tien de Troyes, the Gawain poet, Malory, and others.


Late 14th Century English Lit

Study of literature by poets and mystics of Ricardian England, with an emphasis on interpreting these texts in light of their medieval social and philosophical context. A substantial part of this course is devoted to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.


Studies in Chaucer

The poetry of Chaucer, in Middle English, including some early poems, Troilus and Criseyde, and substantial selections from The Canterbury Tales. Special attention to the development of Chaucer146s narrative art, his invention of the Chaucerian persona, and his relevance to postmodern thought, conceived as his self-consciousness about the use of language and his ambivalence about the value of literary art.


Animals in the Middle Ages

Explores medieval literature about animals, humans' historical relationships with other animals, philosophical discussions of the idea of the animal


Senior Seminar in English

Course topic changes with each offering.


Medieval Forests

Engage contemporary ecological criticism and animal theory to discover how the history of Western representations of forests can deepen our understanding of today's environmental debates. Develop content for a digital humanities website on medieval forests. Read medieval literary and legal texts, such as Arthurian romances, Christian mythical visions, and Robin Hood tales.

University of California, Santa Barbara
University of Kentucky
Carleton College

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