Denis de Rougemont once said it, and George Duby repeated it: “Europe discovered Love in the 13th century”. Such a statement might be daring to anyone not familiar with medieval literature, but here you will be able to check that it isn’t completely false. However, there is a long way (made by a lot of questions) before arriving to that point. First of all, we should begin asking to ourselves what we are talking about when we say “Love”. A psychological phenomenon? A transcendental feeling? A cultural manifestation? A literary motif?
We will focus above everything on the literary concept. But even after this choice, there are still too many questions to be answered. Can we say that the cultural notion of Love was actually born in the medieval period? What about Catullus or Ovid? What about Platon and Sappho? And besides, do you believe, like Rougemont, that “happy love has no history in Western Literature”? Do you think that the myth of Love in Europe is that of an unfulfilled and adulterous Passion? Do we only have stories of fatal Love? Can we find the seed of the current love stories in the so-called “birth of Love” of the 11th century?
The Courtly love of the Troubadours, the erotic Celtic tales such as Tristan and Iseult, the Courtly Mysticism that made God a Lover, etc. represent the “revolution of Love” that broke out in this period. In our course we will not only study some medieval texts in its historical and philosophical context, but also will compare them to other Literatures, Cinema, Essays, Music, etc. To do so, we will combine critical texts and literary works about the following topics:
The fatal passion vs the joyful Love, a matter of a philosophical standpoint. Denis de Rougemont’s Love in the Western World: his followers and his detractors.
Love in Antiquity. Philosophical and Literary manifestations of Love in antique Greece and Rome: Sappho, Plato, Ovid, and Catullus.
The Courtly Love: the troubadours’ Fin’Amors (Girault de Bornelh, Bernat de Ventradorn, Arnaut Daniel).
The “Courltly Mystique”: Saint Bernard, Richard of St. Victor, Mechtild of Magdeburg, Marguerite Porete, and Hadewijch of Antwerp.
The “other way”: archaic, erotic and polemic ways of Love. The “actual” (celtic) Tristan and Iseult.
Love through a Christian filter: amor de lonh -“love from afar”- in Chrétien de Troyes’ works (Lancelot and Cligès).
Reception: Romantic perspectives on medieval Love, Freudian points of view, etc.
Current discourses about Love and its relationship with medieval perceptions. Cinema, Sociology (for instance, Zygmunt Bauman’s concept of “Liquid Love”), Music (Wagner), etc.
You may also contact Sergi Sancho and ask about the details: sergi.sancho(at)upf.edu
This course takes 8 weeks to complete.
We start on 18 February.
To enroll visit the course´s homepage: http://www.coursesites.com/s/_lovemedliterature We use CourseSites as our virtual classroom.
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