Comparative Literature | Medieval Literature
C523 | 14876 | R. McGerr

4 CR
Class meets TR 1:00-2:15pm
Class meets with MEST-M502

The interplay of visual and verbal texts provides an important locus
of signification in medieval European reading experiences.  Verbal
texts in medieval manuscripts often appear with illustrations, while
quotations from verbal texts often appear in medieval visual works
of art, such as paintings, carvings, and sculptures.  Passages of
ekphrasis within verbal texts can create virtual visual texts for
readers.  A special category of hybrid text is the carmen figuratum
or poem that creates meaning through both visual and verbal texts.
In this seminar, we will examine examples from medieval Europe of
these different forms of dialogue between words and images, in order
to gain deeper understanding of the frames of reference involved in
medieval textual experiences.  Our primary readings (all available
in English translation) will include Liber de laudibus sanctae
crucis (selections) by Hrabanus Maurus, Yvain by Chretien de Troyes,
Cantigas de Santa Maria (selections) by Alphonso X of Spain, Le
Roman de la Rose by Guillaume de Lorris and Jean de Meun, the
Commedia by Dante, the _Manesse Codex_ of Middle High German courtly
lyric (selections), and Le Livre de la Cite des Dames by Christine
de Pizan.  Secondary readings will include scholarly commentary by
Jonathan Alexander, Keith Busby, Michael Camille, Mary Carruthers,
Madeline Caviness, Sandra Hindman, Sylvia Huot, Suzanne Lewis,
Margaret Manion, James Rushing, and Elizabeth Sears.

Students will prepare two short class presentations (1-2 pages
each), one on a primary reading and one on a secondary reading.
Students will also choose a comparative topic for a research project
on a topic related to the course readings, submit a project proposal
with preliminary bibliography (2-3 pages), and complete the written
research project (20-22 pages) at the end of the semester.