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Chaucer and His Contemporaries (EAS2071)

30 credits

This module introduces you to late medieval English literature. You will have the chance to explore some exceptionally inclusive poetic imaginations and a world of devotion, brutality, exclusion, chivalry, urbanity, misogyny, piety, courtly sophistication, sharp minds and some very bodily bodies.

We will look at religious and secular, and courtly and popular traditions, and themes such as 'courtly love', that adores women and puts them on a pedestal, arguably the better to ignore them; the constructions of femininity and masculinity in a Christian chivalric culture; the ways in which a tension-riven society went about presenting a harmonious vision of itself; and a Christianity that approached its God with a mixture of familiarity and awe. The module is split more or less equally between the works of Chaucer and the anonymous literature of the late Middle Ages.