GERMAN 411: The Art of Love in Medieval German Literature
A damsel in distress, saved by an adoring knight - this common image of medieval literature only offers a very small insight into the rich literature of the Middle Ages and its concepts of love. This class introduces students to central medieval concepts with a specific focus on love in courtly and religious literature. The course explores concepts of love in the medieval literary tradition by examining Gottfried von Staßburg's Tristan, Medieval Courtly Love Poems, Mechthild von Magdeburg's Das Fließende Licht der Gottheit and Martin Luther's Von der Freiheit eines Christenmenschen. The readings in this class serve as case studies to discuss the human need to bond with others and God, physically and spiritually, by the means of love. Students will have direct access to medieval material and, in the process, both learn how to access pre-modern narratives and understand the importance of materiality and performance for medieval literature. Over the course of the quarter, students work in teams on three major creative projects: writing a modern love poem, drafting a continuation of Tristan, and creating a conversation between Mechthild von Magdeburg and Martin Luther within a social media platform. Students taking the course for ad hoc honors credits are invited to design posters on different aspects of Luther's concept of love. At the end of the quarter, students will present these projects to the public and all of the projects will be displayed on our departmental website and social media.
All readings in German.