Questing After Quests :
Their Meaning in Medieval and Modern Times

Group Report

To Be Posted on Shorter College's online SCHOLAR

by

[Please list your names here.]

Our group's thoughtful answers to the questions raised in the Questing After Quests exercise are included in this report delivered on [give the date].


1. Where online would you find information on the etymologies for quest and question? Is this information also available in a print version? Can you access both of these online sources on-campus? Can you consult each of them off-campus? Also, which of these two sources is more reliable and why? What is the etymological background for these words? (1 page)

[Your intelligent and well-written answers go here.]

2. Explore the Latin root of quest. (1/2 a page)

[Your intelligent and well-written answers go here.]

3. When was the word, quest, first used in an English text? What are some of the other early definitions of this word? Look at the early definitions and answer these questions: Would Ælfric, the tenth-century Benedictine monk and prolific, brilliant writer, have used the phrase, "spiritual quest," to define his life's work? Would King Alfred, the ninth-century Wessex king, have described his educational initiatives as "learning quests"? (1 page)

[Your intelligent and well-written answers go here.]

4. When was quest first used to mean "an expedition or adventure undertaken by a knight"? Look closely at this entry. Go to the original source, and read Chaucer's vivid, memorable House of Fame (1379/80). See "As they that have done noble gests [feats]. And have achieved all their quests [enterprises, desires]" (line 648). The context here is very The-Simpsons-like (and, indeed House of Fame has a rank and wonderful sarcasm that makes it a foreshadower of Homer Simpson). Fame is being held up to high scrutiny in Chaucer's House of Fame. How trustworthy is fame, and why do humans so crave it? Read the original context, and then answer that question. (1 page)

[Your intelligent and well-written answers go here.]

5. Take a closer look at the quest entry from book three, canto eight of the Faerie Queene, by Spenser, written in six books in the late 1590's. If in graduate school you had the singular pleasure of endless nights spent reading THIS ENTIRE MASSIVE EPIC ALLEGORICAL POEM IN PRAISE OF QUEEN ELISABETH I written in stanzas that are eight lines of iambic pentameter followed by an alexandrine (a line of iambic hexameter), then you will certainly know the context of quest in the Faerie Queene speaks volumes about the word, quest, in general. Here are "bare-bones" plot outlines of the different books, as well as a good overview of the Faerie Queene characters. What does quest mean in this Spenserian context? (1/2 a page)

[Your intelligent and well-written answers go here.]

6. Looking back in time, what does quest mean in classical literature? (1/2 page)

[Your intelligent and well-written answers go here.]

7. Why is it important to define quest and to seek a greater understanding of its etymology and its historical uses/contexts? (1/2 page)

[Your intelligent and well-written answers go here.]

8. What do the earliest uses of quest in Chaucer's House of Fame and in Spenser's later Faerie Queene have in common with the use of quest and the notion of questing in medieval Arthurian romances? What are the common medieval concerns evidenced in these two later works? Also, do you see any similarities between Chaucer's House of Fame and Twain's Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court?(1-2 pages)

[Your intelligent and well-written answers go here.]

9. How many different quest themes can you find in literature from the nineteenth century on? (For clues to answers, click on graphics and other links within this webquest.) (1 page)

[Your intelligent and well-written answers go here.]

10. Having vetted a fair number of websites pertaining to questing, which ones can you now recommend, and why? These sites will be incorporated into this Webquest, IF you make a good argument for them and if they pass Dr. Butcher's rigorous reading. (1 page)

[Your intelligent and well-written answers go here.]

11. Pick one classic work of fiction or one well-known modern-day film, and explain how the notion of questing informs this work. (1 page)

[Your intelligent and well-written answers go here.]

12. Now let's look at a twelfth-century female hero. Who is the questing woman in Hildegard of Bingen's Ordo virtutum? Where online might you look to find information about Ordo virtutum? Where else might you look? How well-vetted is each of these sites? When and how often has Ordo virtutum been performed? Can you listen to or watch Ordo virtutum online? Where can you find a reliable recent translation? What is Psychomachia, and can it help us better appreciate Ordo virtutum? Also, compare the female characters in Hildegard's Ordo virtutum with those in Spenser's Faerie Queene; specifically, who are Palladine and Styrone? (2 pages)

[Your intelligent and well-written answers go here.]