HUM 302

Mystics, Knights, and Pilgrims: The Medieval Quest

This course offers students an introduction to high medieval culture through verbal and visual experience of the quest. Medieval romances and spiritual quest literature are informed by the neoplatonic idea of a transcendent reality, a divinely ordered world beyond us that yields an ultimate truth. At the same time, all such journeys begin in the post-Edenic world where the fallen senses can deceive the knight, the pilgrim, and the visionary navigating the dark forest, the garden of erotic pleasure, or the castle, where seemingly noble conduct masks sin. When the knight or pilgrim sets forth, he or she experiences not only the soul's journey to God but also the construction of identity. The course asks students to draw informed connections between the disciplines of history, art history, literary history, the history of gender, and the history of religion.