Department of English

Melissa Heide

M.A., University of Texas at Austin

PhD Student



Medieval literature and culture; social class; social inequity in the European Middle Ages; critical theory; progressive and feminist pedagogies.


B.A., University of Virginia (2014)

M.A., University of Texas at Austin (2017)



E 326K • Lit Of Middle Ages In Transltn

35630 • Spring 2022
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM PAR 204

E 326K  l  Literature of the Middle Ages in Translation

Instructor:  Heide, M

Unique #:  35630

Semester:  Spring 2022

Cross-lists:  n/a


Prerequisites:  Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing.

Description:  This course will focus on perceptions of the medieval through the hermeneutics of translation and adaptation.  We will examine how textual traditions are enriched by medieval practices of exegesis, amplification, and re-interpretation across time, focusing on how race, class, gender, sexuality, religion intersect and expand to form unique textual subjectivities.  Students will be asked to interrogate their understanding of the medieval deep past and its depiction of intersectional identities across and beyond western Europe.  Through engagement with diverse premodern texts, we will also discuss the continued resonance of medieval literatures in light of contemporary events.  Did medieval people experience climate change?  How do queer, BIPOC identities manifest in premodern texts?  Where and how do we encounter medieval laborers?  How do those texts translate into other languages and cultures?  Finally, we will focus on the interpretation of the medieval past in popular media, as well as medievalizing rhetoric in contemporary politics, civil disobedience, and race relations.

Texts:  Ibn Fadlān and the Land of Darkness: Arab Travellers in the Far North [ISBN: 9780140455076]; The Vinland Sagas, trans. Kunz [ISBN: 978-0140447767]; Le Roman de Silence, trans. Roche-Mahdi [ISBN: 978-0870135439]; Telling Tales, Patience Agbabi [ISBN: 978-1782111573]; Refugee Tales, Herd and Pincus (eds.) [ISBN: 978-1910974230].

Requirements & Grading (subject to change):  Short Essay: 20%; Discussion Lead 25%; Final Essay 30%; Attendance, Participation, Annotations 25%.

E 363 • Milton

36560 • Fall 2021
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM PAR 103

E 363  |  Milton

Instructor:  Heide, M

Unique #:  36560

Semester:  Fall 2021

Cross-lists:  n/a


Prerequisites:  Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing.

Description:  This course will focus on seventeenth-century poet, essayist, and radical John Milton.  We will examine his life and his place in the Western canon via selections of his poetry, prose, and correspondence. Students will follow the poet’s life chronologically, beginning with his lyrical works and ending with his masterpiece Paradise Lost—emphasizing Milton’s facility with genre and form.  We will examine the political and theological landscape of his life and times, and how those come to inform his writing.  How did Milton depart from the orthodoxy of his day?  How can we think about Milton as a political and religious radical?  Finally, students will study Milton’s reception in the two centuries following his life—how did he influence younger poets and artists?  How have his texts been variously interpreted since they were written?  Facilities permitting, we will take advantage of the Early Modern collections at the Harry Ransom Center to study book history, publication, and censorship as they relate to Milton and his contemporaries.

Texts:  The Complete Poetry and Essential Prose of John Milton (Random House, 2007).

Requirements & Grading (subject to change):  Short Essay: 20%; Presentation 30%; Final Essay 30%; Attendance/Participation 20%.

E 314L • Banned Books And Novel Ideas

34305 • Spring 2018
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM PAR 302

E 314L  l  3-Banned Books and Novel Ideas


Instructor:  Heide, M

Unique #:  34305

Semester:  Spring 2018

Cross-lists:  n/a

Restrictions:  n/a

Computer Instruction:  No


Prerequisites:  One of the following: E 303C (or 603A), RHE 306, 306Q, or T C 303C (or 603A).


Description:  This course endeavors to examine what it means to be “banned.”  What does it mean when people are banned from certain cultural spaces or designations?  How are races, genders, sexualities, and ability levels prohibited from taking part in some of the most intrinsic cultural practices?


The primary aim of this course is to help students develop and improve the critical reading, writing, and thinking skills needed for success in upper-division courses in English and other disciplines.  They will also gain practice in using the Oxford English Dictionary and other online research tools and print resources that support studies in the humanities.  Students will learn basic information literacy skills and models for approaching literature with various historical, generic, and cultural contexts in mind.


This course contains a writing flag.  The writing assignments in this course are arranged procedurally with a focus on invention, development through instructor and peer feedback, and revision; they will comprise a major part of the final grade.


Tentative Texts:  Sherman Alexie: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian; Edwidge Danticat: Brother, I’m Dying; Alison Bechdel, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic; Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale.


Requirements & Grading:  There will be a series of 3 short essays, the first of which must be revised and resubmitted. Subsequent essays may also be revised and resubmitted by arrangement with the Instructor (70% of the final grade).  There will also be reaction/response papers (10% of the final grade). Participation is vital and constitutes 20% of your grade.


Essay 1: 20%; Essay 2: 25%; Essay 3: 25%; Reading responses: 10%; Participation: 20%.

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