April 10

EN200 Medieval Literature

Despite being overwhelmed by Victorian literature the semester before this, I ploughed on with English courses as they came up in external studies at UQ.  My recollection is that I watched a program called Six Centuries of Verse in the early 80s (I found it on DVD quite recently) that got me interested in literature and I enjoyed the program on Chaucer particularly.

The course was taken in 1989 by Tony Glad, who impressed me as being the best teacher I had in external studies.  That may have been just my enthusiasm for the subject, or that I actually found the time to attend the weekend seminar and so actually met him, but he certainly conveyed his enthusiasm for the subject and pointed me towards ideas and works that were very new to me at the time.

I’ve looked for traces of him on the net and found all of three. He was one of many consulted in 1973 for an enquiry into academic salaries. He was consulted about the symbolism in the stone work in the Great Court of the University of Queensland in this publication. Part of a review he wrote is published here, where he is described in 2002 as a former lecturer in English. I recall that he only had a BA and I can’t imagine anyone without a PhD getting a course like this nowadays. If that means teachers of his quality are not employed at universities it is a major loss.


I was still working in general practice and thinking about whether I would join that practice or look further.

My wife did the same course in 1993 and my notes have somewhat got jumbled with hers, but the course didn’t seem to have changed much in structure.

We did some Chaucer, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, Piers Plowman, Mystery Plays and some poetry. We were also encouraged to look further afield and I chose the Fourteenth Century Mystics – Cloud, Julian of Norwich, Hilton and Rolle. I don’t think I had come across “The Cloud of Unknowing” before this, so that was a major discovery.

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Posted April 10, 2016 by Geoffrey Madden in category "Uncategorized

About the Author

Dr Geoffrey Madden MBBS BA PGDipArts MA (Theol) GCTS(Liturgy)