English 110

Upper Division Coursework: Medieval Literature: Love in the Middle Ages

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Fall 2006 Nolan, Maura
Nolan, Maura
TTh 11-12:30 30 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

A. Dante: Vita Nuova; Marie de France: Lais; Chretien de Troyes: Arthurian Romances; A. Capellanus: Art of Courtly Love; G. Chaucer: Troilus and Criseyde; G. Boccaccio: Filostrato


This course will focus on the literature of love in the medieval period, beginning with St. Paul �s Letters to the Corinthians and culminating in Chaucer�s Troilus and Criseyde. In between, we will address a wide variety of questions about love and sexuality, including the role of marriage, the status of women, and the nature of femininity and masculinity, ideas about spiritual love and love of God, the legitimacy (or illegitimacy) of sexual desire, the relationship of love to violence, and others. Students will be encouraged to think critically about their own ideas about love in light of medieval concepts, and vice versa. We will discuss the relationship of self to community, of self to the divine, of individuals to others, of men to men, women to women, and women to men. We will seek to define the central cultural and ideological difficulties experienced by medieval people when they wrote about and talked about love, and we will also explore the relationship of the medieval literary tradition to love poetry and to the emergence of the vernacular as a privileged mode of written expression.

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