Subjects Of Desire In Medieval Religious Writings
King's College London
Area of Study
Taught In English
Course Level Recommendations
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Recommended U.S. Semester Credits4
Recommended U.S. Quarter Units6
Hours & Credits
Overview?Subjectivity? and ?desire? have become important analytical categories for a generation of medievalists. Influenced by the converging discourses of feminism, queer theory, psychoanalysis and postcolonial studies, scholars now commonly pose questions about what constitutes the ?subject? in medieval literature, how medieval subjectivity might fruitfully be placed in a cultural, historical and political context, and the extent to which medieval identity construction intersects with literary production.This module will address these themes in the context of religious writings in Latin, Anglo-Norman and Middle English (The Latin and Anglo-Norman texts will be read in modern English translation, and the early Middle English texts will be read with the aid of translations.) Initial classes will be devoted to uncovering the significance of religion in medieval culture. Subsequently, students will be introduced to the range of contexts in which medieval Christian piety might be situated, for instance monasticism, virginity, sanctity, the eucharist, pilgrimage and mysticism. The module will focus on the implications of such practices and beliefs for medieval constructions of identity and selfhood, drawing on the growing body of research being conducted on this topic.Texts studiedSelections from a variety of medieval religious writings including: St Augustine, Confessions; Rule of St Benedict; Ancrene Wisse; the Katherine Group Life of St Margaret; Hali Meiðhad; Anglo-Norman Life of St Lawrence; Life of Christina of Markyate; Book of Margery Kempe.You will need to obtain your own copies of three books for this module: St Augustine, Confessions, trans. Henry Chadwick (OUP, 1998; a better translation than Penguin Classics); Life of Christina of Markyate, ed. Fanous & Leyser, trans. C. H. Talbot, (OUP, 2008), Book of Margery Kempe: Annotated Edition, ed. Barry Windeatt (D. S. Brewer, 2004; please make sure it?s this edition of the original Middle English text, i.e. not the Penguin translation).There will also be a course reader (for which there will be a small charge). As well as including selected early Middle English texts, this will incorporate additional materials including Rule of St Benedict, Life of St Lawrence and the Schewings of Julian of Norwich.
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