Class schedule


Aug. 24: We meet online: D2L: chatroom. 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.

Please read all assignments before class, as outlined below. So, for Aug. 26, have read the article by Amt and come to class prepared to answer questions or to raise questions yourself.

Aug. 26: Historical and social-literary survey of the Middle Ages, read the article by Emily Amt/Classen (online), first 5 pages or so

We went over the PPP Middle Ages 1st part

and: What is love (under W)

Aug. 31: Meeting on 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. We will use Top Hat from now on to test your homework, your understanding of the material, and there will be numerous discussions online possible on Top Hat. 

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. 03: 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. 07: Labor Day, no class

Sept. 09: 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.

Alert: Let's meet on zoom first so we can talk to each other better. Only later will I then turn to tophat to give you all the quiz questions. 

Sept. 14: Apollonius of Tyre

Sept. 16: 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).

21: Marie de France, her prologue, and Guigemar.

22: 1st paper due today, 5 p.m., upload to D2L, Assignments: Possible topics:

A. Destiny and Love in Apollonius of Tyre

B. The Power of Human Language to Experience Love

C. Virtues and Honor as the Basis for True Love

D. Joy and Pain as the Extremes of Love as Illustrated in Tristan

E. The Nobility of the Heart as the Foundation of True Love

Remember: you need a title, a thesis, a body of arguments, a conclusion, and 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.

Sept. 23:  Le Fresne, Eliduc, and Lanval. 

Sept. 28: 1st Exam, on Top Hat

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.

Sept. 30: Erotic Tales: Anonymous: The Little Bunny Rabbit

Oct. 05: Erotic TalesThe Monk with the Little Goose

Oct. 07: Back to our big textbook: Walther von der Vogelweide (pp. 172-76), esp. "Under the Linden"

Oct. 12: Walther von der Vogelweide, cont.

Oct. 14: 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. 19: Mauritius von Craun 

Oct. 21: Mauritius

Oct. 26: Anonymous: "The Nightingale" (in: Erotic Tales). We also read: Floris and Blaunchflour

Oct. 27: we continue with F and B.

Oct. 29: 2nd paper is due, 5 p.m., submit to D2L, Assignments

Possible topics:

1. Male versus female perspectives toward love as projected in two of the maeren.

2. Secrecy and Privacy as the Condition of True Love in Walther's Poems

3. Deception, Illusion, and Truth of Love in Mauricius and Floris

4. Deconstruction of Masculinity in a. and b.

5. To Find True Love You Must Travel: Mauritius, Floris, and The Geese.

6. Animals and Birds as Symbols of Love and Sexuality in a., b., and c.


Nov. 02: We finish with Floris, then turn to the Fabliaux :

Nov. 04: The Wife of Orleans, The Partridges, and The Priest who was crucified 

Nov. 09: Erotic TalesErotic Tales: Dietrich of the Gletze, The Belt

Nov. 11: Veteran's Day, no class

Nov. 16: We continue with "The Belt," then turn to the Carmina Burana (in the large textbook): "Omittamus Studia" (43-44), "Exiit Diluculo" (48), "Eia Dolor!" (58-62); "Tempus transit gelidum" (63-64), "Virgo Quedam Nobilis" (64-65), "Ich Was Ein Chint so wolgetan" (65-67).

See, e.g.: rap performance of a song in the Carmina Burana by one of my former students, "Harley" (Dec. 2014)

Nov. 18: We continue with the Carmina Burana


Please do the Teaching Evaluation!

extra: Nov. 21 and 22: you can attend a conference that I have organized online dealing with liberty, imprisonment, and slavery in the pre-modern era. This is open to the public. If you attend one or two sessions and provide a critical summary of ca. 600 words, you can earn up to 30 points extra. The link for that conference is:…

Nov. 23: Ruprecht von Würzburg: Two Merchants and the Loyal Wife (in Erotic Tales)

Nov. 23, extra credit is due at 2 p.m. Upload to D2L. Make sure to identify the speaker and the topic, and give a clear summary and critical evaluation.

Please do the Teaching Evaluation!

Nov. 25: (We continue with:Two Merchants; then we discuss: The Knight with the Hazelnuts, and Warm Donation. Today we also return to the overview of the Middle Ages, focusing on the late Middle Ages and the transition to the Renaissance). Change: We'll focus only on Ruprecht von Wurzburg toda, if anyone will show up. No attendance required. But I could give you extra credit if you do.

3rd and last paper will be due on Nov. 30, 5 p.m.


Possible topics:

1. Utopian concepts of love and their downfall: Walther von der Vogelweide versus "Ich was ain chint" in the CB.

2. Conflict in marriage versus pursuit of love in two of the fabliaux or verse narratives.

3. Social and economic pressures versus marital love and loyalty.

4. Sexual identity and love in "The Belt."

5. The role of the classics in the discourse of love as illustrated in the CB

6. Passionate love, suicide, and dare-devil pursuit of the beloved in Floris. Global perspectives of the impact of love.

Remember, you need to include a bibliography of pertinent studies regarding your primary texts. If you see an occasion to bring in any of the readings prior to this paper, you are welcome to do so, but still focus on one or two of the texts since the 2nd paper. 

Nov. 30: Erotic Tales: Ruprecht: The Two Merchants. Then, if time permitting: The Hazelnut Mountain; Woman's Constancy; Aristotle and Phyllis

Dec. 02: Heinrich Kaufringer: "The Search."  

Dec. 07: Kaufringer, "The Innocent Murderess."

Please do the Teaching Evaluation!

Dec. 09: 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, including Gottfried's Tristan

Subsequently, final discussion, the meaning of courtly love, of eroticism and sexuality in human life. 


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 relationship 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.


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.