Whenever I teach the medieval lit survey, I always have a theme. The problem with any medieval lit survey is that there's no way you can do everything important. Even if you do fifteen major works in a class (a prodigious number for a 15-week semester) ... well, there are far more than fifteen major works of medieval literature, aren't there? Having a theme keeps the class from feeling scattershot, and keeps me from feeling guilty about cutting so many important texts.
The last two times I taught the class, the theme was "Sex, Love, and Marriage in Medieval Literature," but frankly, I'm getting really sick of talking about sex in class.* I wanted to do either "Faith and Belief in Medieval Literature" or "War and Violence in Medieval Literature," but my students requested monsters, so monsters it will be.
The working theme, then, will be "Freaks and Monsters in Medieval Literature,"** which will give me a lot of choices of texts. One thing I worry about, though, is small texts -- the short stories, short poems, etc. For example, I can't very well teach the class without including "Bisclavret," but making them buy an entire volume of Marie de France for just one story doesn't seem cost-effective on an undergrad budget. I'm hoping to fulfill all the short texts in just 1-2 volumes.
So, does anyone out there know of any anthologies of medieval monster literature appropriate for undergrads (i.e., in translation)? I know JJ Cohen has a couple of volumes of medieval monster theory (which I'm obviously going to have to re-read), but I'm thinking of primary texts.
Surely with In the Middle and the Mearcstapa crowd, if there are any good anthologies out there, you folks would know about them.
*If you could send that sentence back in time for me to read when I was sixteen, I'd not have even been able to recognize that words could be put together to form such a thought.
** The running gag among the medieval-oriented students is that with that theme, I'll just point to myself and the lecture will be over. I told them I'll just bring a big mirror to class and let them gaze into it for their research.