Aug. 23: We meet in person, hopefully. Introduction; what is love, what is eroticism, why would we want to study this, why would this be an academic subject: syllabus, library resources, research methods, study ethics, time management. Homework assignment; chatroom on D2L, zoom,, etc. It is critically important that you will be signed up to Tophat so that you can participate on We. answering the questions online.

Please read all assignments before class, as outlined below. So, for Aug. 25, have read the article by Amt and come to class prepared to answer questions or to raise questions yourself.

Aug. 25: To mix up our class from the start: please watch this movie: Middle Ages.  Here is a checklist of the key terms for the video. My GAT Sebastian Brink will run the class today so you can get to know him better.

And then later answer questions on Tophat in class. Historical and social-literary survey of the Middle Ages, read the article by Emily Amt/Classen (online), first 5 pages or so

and: What is love (under W)

Aug. 30: We will work also with Tophat. Please be subscribed. All testing and attendance will take place there. Continue with Amt/Classen. You need to know the major stages in the history of the Middle Ages, the social structure, the major external threats, the history of the crusades (in very general terms), the concept of the court). Focus will be on the high and late Middle Ages in historical, political, and literary terms. We will use Top Hat from now on to test your homework, your understanding of the material, and there will be numerous discussions online on Top Hat while we meet in class. 

I will first present a PPP (Middle Ages. Intro., then Middle Ages.High.Late, both also on D2L and in Tophat), then test your knowledge, which will go a little beyond the PPP itself. This is all history, but only in very rough terms. 

Time table

We also discuss the literary history of the Middle Ages, pp. 11-14 (Amt/Classen). I will ask you questions on Top Hat about this section.

Sept. 01 and Sept. 06: Finishing with the last questions about the late Middle Ages. Then we begin with Gottfried von Strassburg, Tristan:  For a quick introduction, see this link. I do not require you to read this romance all the way, though I strongly recommend it to do so. The online link will give you a quick synopsis. You must familiarize yourself with the content of this romance at least through this source. Please read the prologue, a requirement! (for a summary of the actual text, see here).

Sept. 06: Labor Day, no class

Sept. 08: Tristan, see special assignments. Read the summary, link above. Come prepared with a solid understanding of the text. You need to know at least the main figures, such as Riwalin, Blancheflor, Mark, Morgan, Tristan, Isolde (mother and daughter), Morold, the Irish seneschal, Gandin, Marjodoc, Melot, and the dog Petitcreiu, and understand how they shape the development of the plot.

Sept. 13: Apollonius of Tyre. Trigger warning: both here and in other texts there will be some scenes that, certainly troubling, amount to sexual violence. We will have to deal with them critically since they are part of some of the narratives covered in this class. If you have problems with that, please let me know and I will help you to the best of my abilities offering accommodations.

Sept. 15: We conclude with Apollonius (I will present you today with a bunch of questions on Tophat, which will be timed, so you can work through those yourself within the regular class time. I myself will not be available today).

Sept. 20: Marie de France, her prologue, and Guigemar.

Sept. 22: Marie de France: Le Fresne; Bisclavret

27: 1st paper due today, 5 p.m., upload to D2L. Develop a thesis regarding Apollonius or any of the lais by Marie de France, then defend it in your argument, and conclude.

Remember: you need also a bibliography of secondary sources pertaining to the primary text you have analyzed. 3 monographs and 3 articles. For samples of both categories, see the full syllabus. For now: a monograph is a book written by a single author. An article is a shorter study about a topic published in a journal (always: vol. [year]: pp.) or in an edited vol (always, give the book title as well, the editor (city: publisher), pp. You can lose points if this bibliography is not included or is incomplete.

Sept. 27:  The Two Lovers and Lanval. 

Sept. 29: Lanval and Eliduc

Oct. 4: 1st Exam, on Top Hat: History of the Middle Ages; and all texts we have covered up to this point.

Ca. Sept. 30 or Oct. 3, return of paper one. Rewrite option a week later, see the instructions in the full syllabus. Due 7 days after the return. I’ll specify once the grading is done.

Oct. 6: Erotic Tales: Anonymous: The Little Bunny Rabbit. Rewrite of paper 1 due at 5 p.m. (precisely, not 5:01 p.m.!)

Oct. 11: Erotic TalesThe Monk with the Little Goose

Oct. 13: Back to our big textbook: Walther von der Vogelweide (pp. 172-76), esp. “Under the Linden”

Oct. 18: Walther von der Vogelweide, cont.

Oct. 20: Walther von der Vogelweide; we begin also with Mauritius von Craun  (Section 10); please have read the entire introduction, involving Emperor Nero and then the transition to the history of Mauritius and his love pangs

Oct. 25: Mauritius von Craun 

Oct. 27: Mauritius

Nov. 1: We’ll finish with Mauritius. Anonymous: “The Nightingale” (in: Erotic Tales).

Nov. 3: We read: Floris and Blaunchflour (assignment: at least half of the story)

Nov. 8: We are a bit late, so we finish with “The Nightingale,” then we deal with Floris, 2nd paper is due, 5 p.m., submit to D2L, Assignments. Topics: many different choices, any text or group of texts since the first paper, but stay away from Floris. You ought to decide on your thesis and text selection according to where you find the best option to write a good thesis and to find relevant research literature. Due date is firm, and due time is really 5 p.m. The computer will not allow any late submissions.

Nov. 10: Please finish reading Floris

Nov. 15:  Final reflections on Floris. Then: Fabliaux: The Wife of Orleans, The Partridges, and The Priest who was crucified 

Nov. 17: The Wife of Orleans, The Partridges, and The Priest who was crucified. And: Erotic TalesErotic Tales: Dietrich of the Gletze, The Belt

Nov. 22: We finish with The Wife of Orleans, then also consider briefly “The Partridges.” But then we concentrate on “The Belt.”  

Nov. 24: Today we work with the Carmina Burana. Since this is the day before Thanksgiving, and most of you might be traveling, I will replace this class with homework assignments, due on Su, Nov. 30, 5 p.m. on Tophat.

Please do the Teaching Evaluation!

Nov. 29: Final reflections on the Carmina Burana: A. what seasons of the year are mentioned? B. What Roman/Greek gods/goddesses are referred to? C. Religious devotion and erotic feelings? D. What is a pastourelle, and do you find an example of it in the Carmina Burana? (hint: Exiit”). E. What elements in nature are included in these songs? F. In “Fervet” and “Eia Dolor” there are explicit references to the Iliad. Explain. G. Identify some onomatopoetic expressions in certain refrains (at the end of our selection) and try to determine what they might mean. H. What is the relationship between game, love, and hunt in “Ich was”?

Then: Ruprecht von Würzburg: Two Merchants and the Loyal Wife (in Erotic Tales)

Dec. 1: We continue with:Two Merchants; then we discuss: The Knight with the Hazelnuts, and Warm Donation

3rd and last paper will be due on Dec. 3, 5 p.m. Any topic since the 2nd paper, beginning with Floris.

Remember, you need to include a bibliography of pertinent studies regarding your primary texts. 

Dec. 6: 2nd exam (comprehensive): Top Hat. NOTE: each question will be open only for 1:30 min. You are not allowed to consult your notes, the internet outside of Top Hat, and the primary materials. You are required to study all the material we have covered since the last exam.

Dec. 7, 4 p.m.: Extra credit opportunity (up to 40 points): go to the Museum of Art, visit the Retablo Room, and write a response paper of ca. 300 words. Or come to Sebastian’s office hour and engage him in a good discussion, with you having several meaningful questions. You need to have done that extra work, but the paper will be due at 4 p.m.

Dec. 8: Last day of class. Please do the Teaching Evaluation!

Subsequently, final discussion, the meaning of courtly love, of eroticism, and sexuality in human life. You can earn a considerable amount of points for your responses on tophat.


Final reflections:

1. How does honor interact with love as reflected by our medieval poets?

2. What do our poets say about human vices and virtues in relation to love?

3. What does love have to do with utopia?

4. Love and marriage are not automatically synonymous. What problems and conflicts surface throughout the entire Middle Ages.


Again: TEACHING EVALUATION: Please go online and provide an objective evaluation of this course

TCE (Evaluation):  Please go to our D2L page and start this evaluation.

Dec. 14: Last chance to have your grade reviewed in a possible case of discrepancy or disagreement.