Medieval Literature and Culture in a European Context

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Medieval Literature and Culture in a European Context

  • Host University

    Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

  • Location

    Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  • Area of Study

    European Studies, Literature

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Students acquire knowledge about: (1) masterpieces of the European Middle Ages in the field of literature and culture; (2) their relation to and lasting impact on (changing) structures and ideas in (medieval society). Students learn how to: (1) consider and compare literary, historical, visual, and architectural sources from an interdisciplinary perspective; (2) critically reflect on the assigned texts and critical literature.

    In this interdisciplinary course, we study a selection of famous medieval narratives – stories told by jewels of architecture, provocative satires and tales of epic heroes, lovers and saints. We will focus on best sellers in French, English, Dutch, Italian and Latin (in translation), such as the controversial Roman de la Rose, Dante´s Commedia and Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Throughout the course, we will relate these artistic creations to the cultural and political European contexts in which they were produced and debated. We will also devote attention to material aspects, such as the transmission in manuscripts, early printed books, visual arts and architecture. The course includes an excursion to the manuscript department of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek in the Hague. Lectures will be alternated with seminars in which we will discuss issues introduced in the lectures and the literature to be examined for the assignments and final exam.

    Students and instructor meet two times a week.
    First session: introductory lecture.
    Second session: seminar in which students and instructor discuss and close-read.

    Assessment: Three assignments: 3 x 10%
    Written final exam: 70%
    It is not possible to compensate an exam grade that is below 5.0 with other partial grades.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Some courses may require additional fees.


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