Class schedule


Please do all your assigned readings before we meet in class so we can assure a dedicated and engaged conversation together to achieve the highest learning effect.

Jan. 11: 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 in all classes actively, answering the questions online, providing critical statements or responses. Tophat is now available through D2L and free of charge.

Jan. 16: Amt and Classen (enough to study Amt for this class)

and come to class prepared to answer questions or to raise questions yourself.

Jan. 18: keep reading, focus on the section by Classen

Jan. 23: 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. So, let’s also look at this: TIME TABLE FOR THE MIDDLE AGES. This is also your homework for Thu. Fill in at least 4 rows.

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

Jan. 25: 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).

Jan. 30: We continue with Tristan. 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.

I have prepared a worksheet for you all, let’s use this text to gain immediate understanding of Tristan.Tristan.Wikipedia.divided

Feb. 1: We continue with the prologue to Tristan. Then we turn to 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, and they are unfortunately part of life. If you have troubles with that, please let me know, I’ll help you as much as I can.

Feb. 6: We continue with Apollonius

Feb. 8: Finishing with Apollonius; we then turn to Marie de France: read my intro.

Feb. 13: Marie de France’s prologue, and Guigemar

Feb. 15: continue with Guigemar. And: The Two Lovers

Feb. 20: Marie de France: The Two Lovers, and Lanval

Feb. 22: 1st Exam, on Top Hat: History of the Middle Ages; and all texts we have covered up to this point. Subsequently, we’ll continue with our discussion of Lanval

Feb. 27: Le Fresne

Feb. 29: Eliduc: Today, I can’t be in class because I am traveling to a conference to deliver a talk. I have assigned a number of questions about Eliduc on Top Hat, open only during our class time.

Feb. 29: 1st Paper is due at 8 p.m.: on D2L: only MS Word files, please

Spring break: March 2-10

March 12: Fabliaux, read the intro., and: “The Wife of Orleans” 

March 14:The Priest who was Crucified” and “The Partridges”

March 19: Walther von der Vogelweide: read the intro. 151-152, then turn to Walther himself (pp. 172-76), esp. “Under the Linden,” “Now Has the Winter Brought Harm to us All” (p. 170), and “Who made you, love, so fierce and bold” (p. 175)

March 21: continuation with Walther (no. 42, pp. 168-69; and no. 43, pp. 169-70)

March 26: We continue with Walther: so: “How Beautiful her Form and Face,” “Who made you Love, so fierce and bold,” and no. 42, pp. 168-70. Then we turn to Macabrue (2nd troubadour poet). Again, read the introduction to this section, pp. 151-152, and p. 69-70, 79-80, then turn to Macabrue’s poems, pp. 80-83.

March 28: 2nd exam, on Top Hat.

April 2: We continue with Macabru (listen also to this version or this female performance and this version) and then turn to the women’s love poetry, troubairitz, pp. 117-118 (intro.) and pp. 119-121

April 4: I will be out of town, traveling to a conference. Please go to Top Hat and answer the questions assigned. Thanks.Troubairitz: p. 121-128

April 9: We continue with the poems by the troubairitz, esp. Comtessa de Diaz. For an introduction to Wolfram von Eschenbach, see this article, and to Titurel, see this short article online. We read: Titurel, part I

April 11: Wolfram von Eschenbach, Titurel, part II

April 16: (Erotic Tales) Dietrich of the Glezze, “The Belt”

April 18: Cont., “The Belt”

April 18: 2nd paper is due, 8 p.m., on D2L, only MS Word file

April 23: “The Little Bunny Rabbit”

April 25: 3rd exam, on top hat, time permitting, we’ll discuss also: The Knight with the Hazelnuts” (Erotic Tales)

April 30: “The Monk with the Little Goose.”. Last day of class

Please do the Teaching Evaluation!


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.

May 8: Last chance to have your grade reviewed in a possible case of discrepancy or disagreement.