Medieval Literature and Culture in a European Context


Course Objective

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

Course Content

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 legends around Charlemagne, Arthurian heroes
and the Holy Grail, and controversial books like the Roman de la Rose,
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.

Teaching Methods

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

Method of 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.


To be announced on Canvas.

Target Audience

Third year BA students from the Faculty of Humanities interested in the
Middle Ages.

Additional Information

This course is part of the minor ‘European History and Culture
1200-1800'. Attendance is mandatory (at least 80% of the classes).

General Information

Course Code L_AABAALG054
Credits 6 EC
Period P1
Course Level 200
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Humanities
Course Coordinator dr. J.F. van der Meulen
Examiner dr. J.F. van der Meulen
Teaching Staff dr. J.F. van der Meulen
dr. A.L. Tervoort

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Seminar, Lecture
Target audiences

This course is also available as: