French and Italian | FRENCH LIT OF THE MIDDLE AGES
F410 | 27464 | Mickel, Emanuel J


F410 will introduce students to the literature of the French Middle
Ages. I have selected four different kinds of literature from short
romance (Marie de France), chanson de geste (Chanson de
Roland), the Arthurian romance of Chrétién de Troyes, and an
intellectual form of romance, Roman de la Rose. At the dawn
of French vernacular writing, these works introduce students to
medieval intellectual thought, society and social structure,
questions of honor, duty, faith and the struggle between reason and
the senses in man’s conduct.

Marie de France explores the nature of love in her lais, stories
from the European fold and classic tradition. Chrétién’s romances
reveal the superficialities and civilized traditions of the
legendary Arthurian court as seen in the eyes of a twelfth-century
writer. The Chanson de Roland expresses the heroic tradition
of the chivalric age at a time when Europe was in the engaging in
the great expedition known as the First Crusade. Finally the
Roman de la Rose is the French counterpart to Dante’s
Divina Commedia, a penetrating, intellectual romance that
probes man’s hypocrisy and his struggle to persuade himself of his
own destiny.