Read centuries-old stories that offer modern insights.

Explore the timeless wisdom of old stories.

When people think of Literature – in all its important weightiness – they often think of the Renaissance stories by Shakespeare and Milton or older Classical tales like the Odyssey or the Aeneid. The Classical, Medieval & Renaissance concentration at Signum University gives students an opportunity to examine these popular tales from long ago and decipher why they stand the test of time.

Why Study Classical, Medieval & Renaissance Literature?

More than perhaps any other activity, the telling of stories are what make humans unique from other forms of life. Language allows communication, but stories give us the ability to ruminate on why we’re here, what our purpose is, and how we can improve not only our own lives, but the lives of those around us as well.

Studying stories from long ago gives us the opportunity to see how our forebears lived, thought, and approached the problems in their day. Although we have made many technological changes – some call them advances – since their time, the basic questions of life, relationship, and society have not changed all that much. The answers available to us to meet those questions are, in many cases, the same answers that the storytellers of old had available to them.

At Signum, we do not believe that the stories of one era are inherently better than the stories of another; that said, the passage of time tends to work as a filter by allowing the finest stories to sift down to us. Focusing on the Classical works of Homer or Virgil, the Medieval works of Chaucer or Malory, and the Renaissance works of Shakespeare, among others, allows us to engage with some of the best and brightest minds and consider the ideas those minds produced.

Bringing Classic Literature to Online Education

Signum University provides a fresh way of reading and studying the old stories that have become a staple of literature programs the world around. As part of our premier degree program, the M.A. in Language & Literature, this concentration in Classical, Medieval & Renaissance Literature breathes new life into a centuries-old discipline.

  M.A. program details  

For those who are not ready to commit to a full M.A. program, you can also enroll in our Certificate Program or sit in on literature courses as an auditor.

Meet the Classical, Medieval & Renassaince Literature Lecturers

Signum is blessed to be able to feature courses designed by professors who are world-renowned in their Tolkien scholarship. Read about these professors below, and click on their portraits to see more!

Dr. Corey Olsen – suit and tie

Dr. Corey Olsen’s two-course series on the works of Chaucer, read in the original Middle English, explore how the writings of the great Medieval English poet were influenced by the age and society in which they were written and have gone on to influence the language, literature, and culture of England for many centuries.

Dr. Tom Shippey

Former Chair of English Language and Medieval English Literature at the University of Leeds (a professorship Tolkien also held), Dr. Tom Shippey combines his love of Old English with a love of Tolkien’s works. His Beowulf Through Tolkien class capitalizes on both of these disciplines.

Dr. Verlyn Flieger
Dr. Verlyn Flieger

Dr. Verlyn Flieger has taught courses in Celtic, Arthurian, Hindu, Native American, and Norse myth. For Signum, she has put together an excellent survey on the legends of King Arthur, which developed over more than a thousand-year period.

Dr. Dimtra Fimi

Dr. Dimtra Fimi lectures in in 19th and 20th century literature, but her interests go back much further, having taught courses in mythology, folklore, and fantasy literature.

Liam Daley

A long-time preceptor at Signum, Liam Daley holds a Master of Letters in Shakespeare Studies and specializes in medieval and renaissance literature. Together with Faith Acker, Daley brings Signum’s first course focused on the works of Shakespeare.

Faith Acker

One of the first preceptors at Signum, Dr. Faith Acker holds a Ph.D. in Renaissance Literature and focuses on classical literature and medieval literature. Together with Liam Daley, Dr. Acker brings Signum’s first course focused on the works of Shakespeare.

Classical, Medieval & Renaissance Literature Courses

Currently, Signum University offers six courses on classic literature. Students seeking a M.A. or Certificate with a concentration in Classical, Medieval & Renaissance Literature must take at least five of these courses.

IDCourse NameDurationStart Date
LITD 5306The Life and Times of the English Epic12 WeeksJanuary 14, 2019
LITD 5307The Inklings and King Arthur12 WeeksMay 6, 2019
LITD 5303The Arthur Story12 WeeksMay 21, 2012
LITD 5305Shakespeare and the Middle Ages12 WeeksJanuary 16, 2017
LITC 5304Norse Myths and Sagas12 weeksJanuary 14, 2019
LNGC 5311Eddic Poetry in Old Norse12 weeksAugust 27, 2018
LITD 5302Chaucer II: The Canterbury Tales12 WeeksJanuary 15, 2018
LITD 5301Chaucer I: Visions of Love12 WeeksAugust 28, 2017
LITA 5308Celtic Myth in Children’s Fantasy12 WeeksMay 8, 2017
LITD 5304Beowulf Through Tolkien12 WeeksJanuary 15, 2018
LNGC 5302Beowulf in Old English12 weeksMay 6, 2019

At least one Classical, Medieval & Renaissance Literature course will be offered each semester. Courses will be offered on a rotating basis every 2 – 3 years. Course order, frequency, and availability may change without notice. Links to course descriptions above may go to an older version of the course. For current course offerings, visit the Signum course catalog.

Contact Us!

If you have any questions about a concentration in Classical, Medieval & Renaissance Literature or becoming a student, contact us.