Week 1: Courtly Love in Medieval Europe

We will begin with an overview of the concept of love in medieval Europe and begin crafting a working definition of courtly love. This will provide a frame for how we understand the medieval genre broadly speaking and specifically to the stories we discuss. The first stories will be drawn from Marie de France’s, LaisLanval and Laustic and Boccaccio’s The Decameron, one about love and one about lust.

Week 2: The Romance of the Rose

We will explore 13th century dream vision tale of love and romance, The Romance of the Rose. [two successive authors: Guillaume de Lorris and Jean de Meun]. We are exploring Selections I, II, and III

Week 3: Tristan and Isolde

We explore this week, a 12th century tragic love story, Tristan and Isolde. Here love is set up as a supreme value and the appearance of a magic potion tests our understanding of the meaning of love in ancient Celtic times as well as in our own time.

Week 4: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

We explore the medieval poem, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. This poem is one of the most important 14th century chivalric poems ever written.  We see tempting and temptation at its very best in the story that underpins the poem. Get a glimpse into the court of King Arthur and his knights as our hero embarks on an adventure to keep a promise in the name of his king.

Weeks 5 & 6:  Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales

We explore several stories of love and lust, the art of tempting and all things bawdy in selections from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Selections include, The Wife of Bath, The Franklin’s Tale, The Merchant’s Tale,  and The Miller’s Tale.