Comparative Literature | Medieval Literature
C523 | 1292 | Prof. Rosemarie McGerr

Topic:  The Mirror Image: Reading, Writing, and Speculation in
Medieval European Texts
TR   1:00-2:15  WH 118
Jointly offered with MEST M502.

One of the most frequent and most intriguing images in medieval
European literature is the mirror or speculum: oftentimes, literal
mirrors refract through a text in the form of metaphoric mirrors or
instances of narrative mirroring.  In this course, we will explore the
significance of the mirror as an image in medieval literature,
especially as the image relates to the depiction of texts as mirrors
and the reading process as an act of philosophical speculation or

Our primary readings will include Dhuoda's Manual for William, Wolfram
von Eschenbach's Parzival, Guillaume de Lorris and Jean de Meun's
Romance of the Rose, Dante's Divine Comedy, Marguerite de Porete's
Mirror for Simple Souls, the anonymous Mirror of the Life of Christ,
Chaucer's House of Fame, and selected lyric poems.  The primary
readings will be supplemented with readings in secondary sources such
as Theodore Ziolkowski, The Mirror of Justice: Literary Reflections of
Legal Crises (1997),