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HISTORY 217D: Love, Death and the Afterlife in the Medieval West (FRENCH 217, FRENCH 317, HISTORY 317D, ITALIAN 217, ITALIAN 317)

Romantic love, it is often claimed, is an invention of the High Middle Ages. The vocabulary of sexual desire that is still current in the twenty-first century was authored in the twelfth and thirteenth, by troubadours, court poets, writers like Dante; even by crusaders returning from the eastern Mediterranean. How did this devout society come to elevate the experience of sensual love? This course draws on primary sources such as medieval songs, folktales, the "epic rap battles" of the thirteenth century, along with the writings of Boccaccio, Saint Augustine and others, to understand the unexpected connections between love, death, and the afterlife from late antiquity to the fourteenth century. Each week, we will use a literary or artistic work as an interpretive window into cultural attitudes towards love, death or the afterlife. These readings are analyzed in tandem with major historical developments, including the rise of Christianity, the emergence of feudal society and chivalric culture, the crusading movement, and the social breakdown of the fourteenth century. This course is pending review for WAY-SI and WAY-A-II.
Terms: Aut | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II, WAY-SI
Instructors: Phillips, J. (PI)
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