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C LIT 251 A: Introduction to Comparative Literature: Themes

Medieval Literature and Culture: The Age of Cathedrals

Summer Term: 
A-term
Meeting Time: 
MWF 12:30pm - 2:20pm
Location: 
CMU 226
SLN: 
14244
Joint Sections: 
ENGL 210 B, GERMAN 298 A, CHID 270 B
Instructor: 
Britta Simon

Syllabus Description:

GERMAN 298 / CHID 270 B / C LIT 251 A / ENGL 210

Medieval Literature and Culture: The Age of Cathedrals

Dr. Britta Simon

 

Summer Quarter 2015, A-term

M, W, F 12:30-2:20

CMU 226

***syllabus subject to minor changes until beginning of class***

Course Description:

What are the origins of King Arthur and the Holy Grail and why are modern audiences still fascinated by stories about guilt, love, and redemption? Why did medieval audiences consider plagiarism a sign of erudition? How does a blueprint of a church represent the earth? Why do we blush in the presence of the person we fall in love with? This course will examine medieval sources to help answer these and other interesting questions. It provides an introduction to the European Middle Ages, focusing on the time from 500 to 1300 CE. We will listen to medieval music, examine Romanesque and Gothic architecture, and explore how the Middle Ages created new forms of literature, music, and the arts.  And we will read Parzival, the famous medieval courtly epic featuring knights from King Arthur’s court and the quest for the Holy Grail.  The course will help you understand the relationship between medieval and modern concepts and ideas and modern popular culture’s take on the Middle Ages as depicted in Monty Python’s “Holy Grail” and Terry Gilliam’s movie “The Fisher King”.

All readings are in English. No prior knowledge of modern German or medieval European history and literature is required.

Course Learning Objectives:

  • Identify and describe concepts pertaining to societies and sciences in the Middle Ages (typology, cosmology, courtly society, chivalry, courtliness, courtly love, King Arthur, Holy Grail, monasticism, scholasticism, seven liberal arts)
  • Describe the connections among medieval literature, architecture, and music (typology, monastery to cathedral, urbanization, perspective, light and dimensions)
  • Discuss the relationship between modern and medieval traditions (ontogeny and phylogeny, civilizing process, directionality in history)
  • Discuss and critique modern adaptations of medieval topics (Monty Python’s Holy Grail, Terry Gilliam’s Fisher King)
  • Identify and define medieval art forms (courtly epic, Arthurian epic, mappa mundi, legend, bestiarium, encyclopedic writings, scholastic writings, plainchant, Aquitanian polyphony, Notre Dame polyphony, Romanesque and Gothic architecture)

Readings:

  1. Course Reader (available in UW Bookstore in early June):
  • Bible (King James edition)

    • List of books p. 1
    • Genesis p. 1-53
    • Matthew p. 1-34
    • Revelation p. 247-263
  • Dies Irae – text & translations
  • Norbert Elias, Civilizing Process, “On Changes in Aggressiveness” p. 190-205, and 2.10, “Scenes from the Life of a Knight” p. 205-217
  • Augustin, City of God
    • book I, 1-35
    • book IX, 377-389
    • book XX, 965-1005
  • David Woodward: Reality, Symbolism, Time, and Space in Medieval World Maps (Annals of the Association of American Geographers, vol. 75/4)
  • Isidor of Seville, Etymologies,
    • book I, 1-5, (grammar) p. 39 - 42
    • book XIII, 1-22, (cosmos) p. 271-283
    • book XIV, 1-9, (earth), p. 285-300
  • Rule of St. Benedict
  • Ohly, On the Spiritual Sense of the Word in the Middle Ages, p. 1-30
  • Bestiary (T. H. White transl.)
    • Lion, p. 7-10
    • Panther, p. 14-17
    • Elephant, p. 24-28
    • Beaver, p. 28-29
    • Phoenix, p. 125-129
    • Bees 153-159
  • Legenda Aurea,
    • St. Nicholas
    • St. Agnes
  • Simson, Gothic Cathedral, “Measure and Light”, p. 21-58
  • Thomas Aquinas, Summa, Part II, Sacraments and Eucharist
    • Part III, Question 73, Sacramentality of the Eucharist, p. 2-25
    • Part III, Question 79, Effects of the Eucharist, p. 3-30
  • Arthurian sources
    • Gildas, Bede, Nennius, 1-12
    • Geoffrey of Monmouth, History of the Kings of Britain, p. 227-232
    • Ralph Higden, Polychronicon, p. 11-12
  • Andreas Capellanus
    • book 1, p. 1-53
    • book 2, Rules of Love, p. 177-186
  • Groos, Romancing the Grail, p. 144-169
  1. Wolfram von Eschenbach, Parzival. In: Parzival and Titurel, transl. by Cyril Edwards, Oxford World’s Classics (available in UW bookstore)

 

Homework:

For each text in the reader, students will briefly answer the following questions in writing:

  1. What are the author’s main ideas?
  2. Which societal groups are portrayed in the text, what are their main characteristics?
  3. Which societal group benefits from the text?
  4. How is the text still relevant today?

For Parzival, students will receive individual questions for each book

For Monty Python Holy Grail and Fisher King, students will receive individual questions

Course Topics and Assignments by Date:

 

Date

Topic

Reading and writing due

June 22, 2015

Why medieval studies matter, Roman Empire, pre-Christian religions, Christianization, Bible, early Christian authors.

n/a

June 24, 2015

Mythology, typology, exegesis, historiography

Genesis, Matthew, Revelation, Dies Irae

June 26, 2015

Civilizing process, historiography, the religious year, translatio imperii, structure and meaning of mass, monastic culture, Romanesque architecture

Gregorian plainchant

Elias: Civilizing Process, Augustine:  City of God, book 1

June 29, 2015

City of God and Earthly City (origin, history, destiny), historiography, typology, mappa mundi cosmology,

Augustine: City of God,  Book 9 and 20 excerpts, Woodward: Medieval World Maps

July 1, 2015

Cosmology, geography, monasticism, interpreting rules, Early Polyphony (tropes, parallel organum, Aquitaine polyphony)

Isidor: Etymologies,  Benedictine rule

July 3, 2015

Sensus spiritualis, typology, beasts, legends,  typology, cathedrals, Gothic Architecture, laudes, Notre Dame polyphony

Ohly: Spiritual Sense of the World, Bestiary, Legenda Aurea, Simpson: Gothic Cathedral

 

Reading journal part 1 due

July 6, 2015

Seven Liberal Arts, urbanization, cathedrals, early scholasticism, sacraments, Eucharist,

Guillaume de Machaut’s Messe de Nostre Dame

Aquinas: Summa

July 8, 2015

Courtly Love, role of woman, reproductive theories, Arthurian source materials, courtliness, King Arthur, Holy Grail

Andreas Capellanus, excerpts from Courtly Love, Arthurian sources and Geoffrey of Monmouth

July 10, 2015

Chivalry, feudal society, courtly love, genealogy, education

Parzival, book 1-4

July 13, 2015

 Fisher king, grail castle, ritual, courtliness, Arthurian society, Arthurian knighthood and ideals

Parzival, book 5-8

July 15, 2015

 Religious education, redemption, courtly love

Parzival, book 9-12

July 17, 2015

Schastelmarveil, Grail castle, models of courtly love, Arthurian and Grail societies, typology, historiography

Parzival, book 13-16, Arthur Groos: Romancing the Grail p. 144-169

July 20, 2015

 Modern adaptations of Grail material

Monty Python’s Holy Grail. Terry Gilliam's Fisher King

 

Readings journal part 2 due

July 22, 2015

Review and final exam

Final exam

 

Student Assessment:

Students will be assessed based on assignments (12 writing assignments at 5 points, 60%), and final exam (40%).

Policies and Values:

This syllabus contains the policies and expectations for this course. Please read the entire syllabus carefully before continuing in this course. These policies and expectations are intended to create a productive learning atmosphere for all students.

I will conduct this class in an atmosphere of scholarly investigation and mutual respect. Active participation in class discussions is expected. Each of us may have differing opinions on the various topics we will discuss, and respectful questioning of each other’s assumptions and ideas is welcome. The instructor will manage the discussions so that ideas and arguments can proceed in a timely and respectful manner.

Students are expected to attend at least 80% of the class sessions.

Students in this course seeking accommodations to disabilities should consult with the UW Disability Resources for Students team, http://depts.washington.edu/uwdrs/ .

Additional Details:

w/ GERMAN 298 A/CHID 270 B//ENGL 210 B

Summer Quarter 2015 A-term

MWF 12:30-2:20

Dr. Britta Simon

 

Course Description:

What are the origins of King Arthur and the Holy Grail and why are modern audiences still fascinated by stories about guilt, love, and redemption? Why did medieval audiences consider plagiarism a sign of erudition? How does a blueprint of a church represent the earth? Why do we blush in the presence of the person we fall in love with? This course will examine medieval sources to help answer these and other interesting questions. It provides an introduction to the European Middle Ages, focusing on the time from 500 to 1300 CE. We will listen to medieval music, examine Romanesque and Gothic architecture, and explore how the Middle Ages created new forms of literature, music, and the arts.  And we will read Wolfram of Eschenbach’s Parzival, the famous medieval courtly epic featuring knights from King Arthur’s court and the quest for the Holy Grail.  The course will help you understand the relationship between medieval and modern concepts and ideas and modern popular culture’s take on the Middle Ages as depicted in Monty Python’s “Holy Grail” and Terry Gilliam’s movie “The Fisher King”.

Catalog Description: 
Reading and analyzing literature based upon rotating themes such as love, sex, and murder, haunted houses, and dreams and memory. Selections drawn from European, English, and American literature, not limited to period and genre.
Department Requirements Met: 
Pre-req to Declare Literature Major
GE Requirements Met: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Credits: 
5.0
Status: 
Active
Last updated: 
August 2, 2019 - 9:12pm
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