In medieval Europe, saints were the popstars of the time: their names and body relics were venerated; their images, illuminated in church windows and immortalized on paintings. But a closer look will complicate the image of sainthood in MA German material. In addition to encountering texts that propose that Muslims and Christians basically believe in the same God, we will meet an incestuous pope (and Thomas Mann’s portrayal of this pope), a Jewish pope, and a transgender saint, among many other holy and utterly unholy people. Likewise, we will explore the fascination with saints and sinners within art as well as everyday life.
This class is structured around a diverse collection of material that ties into discourse on gender, race, and religion. The primary literature readings will be complemented by secondary literature that help us engage with contemporary scholarly research on the accompanying theoretical discourses. All readings available in English and/or modern German translation.