3. Portfolio: 25%: Focus on one of the texts we discussed in class and explore its cultural-historical context.

A. Identify one text that you want to work on for this portfolio, determine its rough date, and list at least 5 major historical events as they occurred ca. 50 year before and after the time when the work was written (10 pts)

B. Find a relevant image (painting), must be at least 800 dpi (scan, photograph, etc.). First step: identify your text, determine the time period. Go to the library, find a book dealing with the history of art of that period. Search for the image there. Only then: search in ARTstore, on the library webpage, search for a relevant book on art history, identify a contemporary image, scan it in, take a photo, etc. Provide information on the artist, title, date and where you got the image from. (10 pts). Image must have been created around the time when you text was written (plus/minus 50 years). It can also be any other artwork.

C. Image of a relevant building reflecting the specific time period, language, and culture of your work. The image can be scanned from a book using the UA Libraries book scanner, copy and pasted from ARTstor or other library source or from the Web.  Provide information on the artist, title, date and where you got the image from. (10 pts). Image must be of a high quality resolution and give a good view of the building.

D. Identify where the medieval manuscript of your text is currently housed, in what library, and under what call number. We hardly have the medieval writers' autographs, but you can always identify one of the early manuscripts of their text. Do not confuse this with the modern call numbers used in the modern libraries. An edition or translation of the works by Marie de France might have a call number such as PQ 480. etc., since that's what we might have in the library. The call number for the medieval manuscript would be something very different, identifying the original Old Anglo-Norman text. Each critical edition of the original text, and often also the English translations, contain, in the introduction, a clear reference to the original manuscript, with the exact call number. A useful search tool online might be: go to Dictionary of Literary Biographies, online, or consult the Dictionary of the Middle Ages, or the Lexikon des Mittelalters (all in the Reference Area; now on the third floor behind the elevators) (10 pts). Otherwise, search for the critical edition of the text and identify at least one major manuscript listed there. If confused, check out the critical edition and bring it to me, so that I can help you with that. 

E. Create a bibliography using, as your starting point, a relevant monograph held in the library (nothing earlier than 1980). Put the bibliographical information on top of the page. Identify the major references in the book, that is, in the foot- or endnotes, or then in the bibliography. That means: Identify which sources your author uses most commonly. Once you have realized that, put together this list of 5 major titles to which the author has regularly referred to (not prior to 1960). I do not expect you to engage much with them, since this is only a bibliographical exercise, but feel free to read deeper. Simply put, just a bibliography of the 5 most commonly cited secondary sources. Use the MLA style, as outlined above (10 pts)

F. Create a bibliography using, as your starting point, an online bibliographical database (MLA, Iter, IMB, etc.), consisting  of at least 5 major studies pertaining to your primary author/poet. (10 pts) (nothing prior to 2000, please)

For E and F you are only required to identify those titles and to list them alphabetically. But still, provide the full bibliographical information according to the MLA model.

G. Identify one modern study on your text, not older than ca. 1980 (if you have a question, please ask me), provide the bibliographical information, and write a critical summary: What does the author say or argue about. Ca. 500 words. This pertains to a short article, perhaps also to an independent chapter in a book (but it must be a brief and concise study standing on its own. Include a copy of that article or chapter into your portfolio (hence a short study, please, but it must consist of at least 10 pp.), along with the critical summary. (30 pts) Do not use a monograph since this is far beyond the scope of this assignment, unless you use a chapter from it. This mean, you detail what the author has argued, and you try to evaluate its relevance or whether it convinces you or not. This must be a different article from the one you might engage with in your papers.

Submit the portfolio any time throughout the semester, but not later than April 30, 1 p.m. on D2L. Put all your material in an electronic document (MS Word, PDF), identify it by your name, Student ID, class, email, and date. Appearance, format, style: 10 pts

H. For expedient library research, see this tutorial.

I. Before you submit the portfolio, you are invited to consult with the grader or the instructor. We can help you verify whether you got a good image of a painting, or a building, check on the bibliography, and review perhaps whether your critical summary is good enough. 

J. Put the entire portfolio into an electronic folder, create subcategories, provide a table of contents, and submit the critical summary. 10 pts for mechanics, organization, stylistics, etc. Now all digitally

K. For specific grading rubrics, click here


L. Submit the portfolio to D2L, not in class, please. Although this will be in electronic form, we still expect you to do a good job in presentation and organization. This is a preparation for your professional career. Put everything together as an MS file, including the embedded images, or as a PDF.


M. Please note, the entire portfolio is an excercise in how to do basic research, how to connect with the cutting edge research, how to trace the original source, and also how to make an impressive case with your portfolio. Form and content must correlate! This is a crucial step toward professionalization.

Sample of a portfolio