The Poetics of Emotion in Medieval Literature and Culture: A Global Perspective

In this capstone seminar for senior English majors, students moved beyond the borders of England and English literature in order to investigate a broad question: How does literature shape and express emotion in diverse cultural contexts? Class participants put this question into global as well as historical perspective by investigating how one of the most complex and fundamental of human emotions—romantic love—is constructed in the courtly literatures of medieval Europe (twelfth and thirteenth centuries), Persia during the later Abbasid Caliphate (ca. 970-1258 CE), and Heian Japan (794-1185 CE). This course (ENGL 461) was taught by Sarah McNamer, Department of English, as a Doyle Seminar (small upper-level classes that foster deepened student learning about diversity and difference through research and dialogue).

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