Obscure Enigma of Desire|
Modern readers of medieval texts often find them obscure. Some of this obscurity is accidental, inevitable and due to the historical and cultural distance that separates them from medieval authors. Obscurity, however, had a distinct and established role in the rhetorical and poetic traditions the Middle Ages inherited from Antiquity, and the Bible reaffirmed the place and importance of obscurity in human and divine communication. Many medieval texts that seem quite obscure to modern audiences were thus fully integrated into mainstream medieval culture and their obscurity was not considered striking or unusual. Medieval audiences were simply more ready to tolerate obscurity because it formed an integral part of their world and they did not believe that it could ever be eradicated. They were not scared of the indescribable, undividable, and ungraspable; they accepted reality as complex and ultimately unintelligible. Obscurity was not simply a riddle to be solved. It was a source of wonder, questioning, and a search for meaning.
This course will be co-taught in parallel with a course (in English) on the same subject offered at the Charles University in Prague by Professor Lucie Dolezalova. We plan to conduct about half of the classes together with the class in Prague through teleconferencing and Professor Dolezalova will teach one week of the course at Wesleyan and meet with students while she is here.
||Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Lecture / Discussion||Grading Mode: Student Option|
||Fulfills a Major Requirement for: None
||Past Enrollment Probability: 90% or above
|Major Readings: Wesleyan RJ Julia Bookstore
Hugh of Saint-Victor, ON THE THREE DAYS
Richar of Saint-Victor, THE GRACE OF CONTEMPLATION
Selections from Quintillian, Cicero, Donatus, Saint Augustine, William of Conches, Abelard, Thomas Aquinas
Chrétien de Troyes, THE KNIGHT OF THE CART AND THE STORY OF THE GRAIL
Marie de France, LAIS
THE QUEST OF THE HOLY GRAIL
Paul Ricoeur, HERMENEUTICS AND THE HUMAN SCIENCES
Jan Ziolkowski, "THEORIES OF OBSCURITY IN THE LATIN TRADITION"
Robert Guiette, "FORMAL POETRY IN FRANCE IN THE MIDDLE AGES," and "THE ADVENTURE OF FORMAL POETRY"
L. Dole¸alová, Jeff Rider, and Alessandro Zironi, OBSCURITY IN MEDIEVAL TEXTS
Karl F. Morrison, "HERMENEUTICS AND ENIGMA: BERNARD OF CLAIRVAUX¿S DE CONSIDERATIONE"
|Examination and Assignments: |
Frequent short essays.
|Instructor(s): Rider,Jeff Times: .M.W... 10:50AM-12:10PM; Location: TBA|
|Total Enrollment Limit: 18||SR major: 6||JR major: 6|| || |
|Seats Available: 16||GRAD: X||SR non-major: 3||JR non-major: 3||SO: 0||FR: 0|