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Encountering the Other in Medieval Literature (EAS3182)

30 credits

The Middle Ages have long been (sometimes unfairly) associated with religious intolerance, racism, and misogyny; nationalist and populist movements now look back to the medieval period as lost age of cultural purity. In fact, medieval people responded to diversity in diverse ways. This module explores encounters between different cultural and social groups in medieval literature, including texts both by and about medieval Jews, Muslims, and women. We will read stories of travel, love, and warfare which demonstrate the range of ways in which medieval people encountered the other. Whilst centrally focused on the literature of the twelfth through fifteenth centuries, the texts on the syllabus include both classical models (Virgil’s Aeneid) and relevant early modern works by Marlowe and Shakespeare.