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Obscure Enigma of Desire
FIST 232
Spring 2018
Section: 01  
Crosslisting: MDST 232

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.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: None
Course Format: Lecture / DiscussionGrading Mode: Student Option
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: None
Past Enrollment Probability: 90% or above

Last Updated on NOV-22-2017
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