WORLD LITERATURE I (ENG 251)
Unit 4: Two Medieval Concerns -- Love and the Afterworld
Dr. Diane Thompson, NVCC, ELI
SUMMARY OF TASKS FOR UNIT 4:
In this Unit you will read some brief, charming stories of love and lust in the Middle Ages, some of it courtly, and some not. Love became a major topic of secular and religious poetry as well as philosophy in twelfth century Europe. Of course love of one sort or another has always interested people, so for contrast you will also read a rather sour, but interesting little story of love and loss from China.
Love can also take a person to hell and back. Through the intervention of a dead, now divine lady named Beatrice, Dante is led away from his futile wandering path into a purposive journey through hell, purgatory and finally to heaven, which teaches him God's just plan for the world. However, you will only read the Inferno, the definitive medieval vision of hell. For a contrast, you will read an excerpt from the Popul Vuh, a Mayan narrative, describing a very different sort of underworld, ruled by the Lords of Death.
At the end of this Unit, you will take your final exam, asking you to compare/contrast an interesting theme or group of characters from at least three texts and periods, including at least one choice from Unit 4.
TASK 1. Read the Courtly Love Study Guide, which will give you background information on Medieval ideas about love, courtly and otherwise.
Option: You may choose to watch the Courtly Love Video instead. It contains the same information. See instructions for accessing it on the Course Materials Table on the 251 Home Page.
Option: Use the links to the etexts of "Lanval" and "Eliduc" by Marie de France, The Decameron, Day 1, and "The Story of Ying Ying" on the Course Materials Table on the 251 Home Page. If you are using the etexts, pay extra close attention to the Courtly Love Study Guide. Note that some of the readings are different (e.g. no "Eliduc" in the texbook), but don't worry. Either way you will have plenty to read and write about.
TASK 3. Read through all the Courtly Love Activities.
Then, select one of these questions to answer for Activity 8, and post it to the
TASK 4. Read through the Dante's Inferno Study Guide. This will give you background information on Dante and his poetry.
Option: You may choose to watch the Dante's Inferno Video instead. It contains the same information. See instructions for accessing it on the Course Materials Table on the 251 Home Page.
Option: Use the links to the etexts of Dante's Inferno, and Popul Vuh on the Course Materials Table on the 251 Home Page. If you are using the etexts, pay extra close attention to the Dante's Inferno Study Guide. Note that some of the selections are different (the textbook has only selections from Popul Vuh, while the etext is complete), but don't worry. Either way you will have plenty to read and write about.
TASK 7. A free choice Activity. Either
select an Activity that you have not yet done from any group in the course and post it to the forum for
that Activity, or select a reading of your own choice,
make up an interesting question, and answer it. If you do select your own
reading and question, let me know in advance what you intend to do. Once I
approve your choice and topic, write the essay and post it
TASK 8. Prepare and take Exam 3. Worth up to 200 points.
Congratulations! You have completed the course. I hope you found it interesting and enjoyable.
(c) Diane Thompson: 11/14/1998; updated: 01/29/2011