In this special issue of Pedagogy, "Teaching Medieval Literature off the Grid," we welcome guest editors Nathanial B. Smith and Gina Brandolino to explore the distinctive pedagogical challenges and payoffs of teaching a traditional literary period using noncanonical texts. This issue, which grew out of three sessions of the International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo, Michigan, brings together scholars and teachers of medieval literature who provide a richly theorized and enacted pedagogy using texts and teaching approaches that push the medieval literature classroom and the British literature survey itself to exhilarating new places. As the editors explain in their introduction, "To put it simply, and most generally, to teach off the grid is to teach outside the comfort zone of the canon, without the built-in validations and pedagogies that literary tradition provides. The challenges of teaching off the grid are many, but this issue of Pedagogy argues that the rewards are great." In particular, the essays in this issue "not only query the nature and limits of canonicity but also offer models, strategies, and lesson plans that teachers can use to incorporate lesser-known medieval texts into a range of literature courses—from courses focused exclusively on medieval literature, to the early British literature survey, to a wide range of special topics courses." We think you will appreciate the innovative scholarship featured in this issue.
The idea of a collective of medieval scholars coming together to participate deeply in an exploration of teaching approaches is exciting, and we are very pleased to be able to publish the fruits of those discussions. We also [End Page 203] encourage similar forums for other literary periods, genres, or even particular authors. Like the Modern Language Association's Approaches series, special issues like this one serve as foundational pedagogical guides for teachers who probably have never taken a course in "How to Teach Medieval Lit." The richly theorized arguments also provide a model of pedagogical literary scholarship, and we think teachers across disciplines can apply practices described here. We encourage scholars in other subfields of English to consider how to create such a collective discussion around issues of pedagogy (at professional conferences or on listservs, for instance) and to collect the results for possible publication here. [End Page 204]