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Medieval culture is a fascinating paradox. Some aspects are compelling because they seem so alien, yet you will find notions of individualism, spirituality, emotional intensity, and even romantic love that you'll recognise as being strikingly modern. Join us on a journey through the medieval cultural landscape.

Course outline

  • Topic 1 - Latin and vernacular literature: the Middle Ages and the western literary canon
  • Topic 2 - The vernacular epics: The Song of Roland
  • Topic 3 - From epic to romance: Arthurian romances and the quest for the Holy Grail
  • Topic 4 - Salvation and emotion: St Anselm and the worship of the Virgin Mary
  • Topic 5 - Theology and romance: Peter Abelard and his love letters to Heloise
  • Topic 6 - Medieval literature and the afterlife: Dante’s Divine Comedy
  • Topic 7 - Medieval literature and this life: Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales
  • Topic 8 - Medieval thought in modern literature: Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose.

Learning outcomes

At the end of this course, you should have:

  • a greater awareness of historical and cultural differences
  • an increased understanding of the relationship between the past and the present
  • an increased appreciation of western literature.

Who should enrol

Anyone with an interest in history.

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