Fall 2009

HUMS 644
Chivalry, Courtliness, and Courtly Love in the Middle Ages


09/14/2009 - 12/18/2009
Tuesday 06:00 PM - 08:30 PM

Romance Languages 106

The roots of most modern Western ideas about courtesy, politeness, love, and good behavior are to be found in the Middle Ages and more specifically in French-speaking northern Europe in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. Social life, social models, and social ideals underwent a profound transformation during that period in the courts of Flanders, France, and England. New codes of conduct were elaborated for warriors (chivalry), for behavior in public settings (courtliness), and for relations between men and women (courtly love).

We will follow and study these changes and the elaboration of these new codes of conduct through medieval writings like St. Bernard's In Praise of the New Chivalry (written for the Knights Templar), Marie de France's Lais (a series of twelve short stories about love and marriage in the twelfth century), Chretien de Troyes' The Knight of the Cart (the first story of Lancelot and Guinevere) and The Story of the Grail (the story that created the Grail legend), and parts of the Lancelot-Grail cycle (the definitive multi-volume French story of the Arthurian world that formed the basis for Malory's Morte d'Arthur and all subsequent retellings of the legend), as well as scholarly works like Sidney Painter's William Marshal, Knight-Errant, Baron, and Regent of England, C. Stephen Jaeger's The Origins of Courtliness: Civilizing Trends and the Formation of Courtly Ideals, 939-1210, Maurice Keen's Chivalry, Georges Duby's The Chivalrous Society and The Knight, the Lady, and the Priest: The Making of Modern Marriage in Medieval France, John Baldwin's The Language of Sex: Five Voices from Northern France around 1200, Luce Irigary's An Ethics of Sexual Difference, and Judith Martin's Common Courtesy: In which Miss Manners Solves the Problem that Baffled Mr. Jefferson and Miss Manners' Guide to Domestic Tranquility: The Authoritative Manual for Every Civilized Household, However Harried.

Course tuition: $2022.

Jeff Rider (B.A. Yale University; Diplome d'Etudes Medievales, Universite Catholique de Louvain, Belgium; M.A., Ph.D. University of Chicago) is professor of romance languages and literatures and chair of the Medieval Studies Program. He is a specialist in the history and literature of northern Europe from the 11th through the 13th centuries. His work has focused on the Arthurian legend and the history of northern France in the twelfth century. He has received grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Fulbright Commission, the American Philosophical Society, and the Rotary Foundation. He is currently at work on a variety of projects including a book on Chretien de Troyes, an edition of a thirteenth-century French narrative poem, and a translation of a twelfth-century journal describing the assassination of the count of Flanders in 1127. Click here for more information about Jeff Rider and here for more information about his work.


Consent of Instructor Required: No

Format: Seminar

Level: GLSP Credits: 3 Enrollment Limit: 18

Texts to purchase for this course:
Andreas Capellanus, THE ART OF COURTLY LOVE (Columbia University Press), Paperback

Georges Duby, THE KNIGHT, THE LADY AND THE PRIEST (University of Chicago Press), Paperback

Marie de France, THE LAIS OF MARIE DE FRANCE (Penguin), Paperback

Luce Irigaray, AN ETHICS OF SEXUAL DIFFERENCE (Cornell University Press), Paperback

Stephen Jaeger, THE ORIGINS OF COURTLINESS (University of Pennsylvania Press), Paperback

Judith Martin, COMMON COURTESY (Scribner), Paperback

Sydney Painter, WILLIAM MARSHAL (University of Toronto Press), Paperback

J.R.R. Tolkien, SIR GAWAIN AND THE GREEN KNIGHT (Del Rey), Paperback

Chretien de Troyes, THE COMPLETE ROMANCES OF CHRETIEN DE TROYES (Indiana University Press), Paperback


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