Medieval Literature OpenCourseWare: A Free Bachelor Level Medieval European Literature Course by MIT

Published Feb 07, 2009

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Learn about the role of women in Medieval literature in this free online OpenCourseWare from MIT. 'Medieval Literature: Medieval Women Writers' introduces students to the writings of female authors from late antiquity to the fifteenth century, such as Hildegard of Bingen, Joan of Arc and Margery Kempe. This undergraduate-level course is recommended for students seeking a Bachelor of Arts degree in Literature, English, History or Women's Studies.

Medieval Literature: Medieval Women Writers: Course Specifics

Degree Level Free Audio Video Downloads
Undergraduate Yes No No Yes

Lectures/Notes Study Materials Tests/Quizzes
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Medieval Literature: Medieval Women Writers: Course Description

The study of early female authors offers a unique perspective on historical events and literary traditions. In MIT's 'Medieval Literature: Medieval Women Writers,' students read texts by women from a variety of cultural and social backgrounds and different specific historical movements during the European Medieval period. Through the framework of this emerging feminine literary tradition, the course introduces students to major movements and events during the Medieval period, such as the fall of the Roman Empire, the spread of Christianity, the shift from oral traditions to literary works, the culture of chivalry and courtly love, the emergence of academic society and the rise of nationalism and class consciousness. Writings by many famous women of the period are covered during the course, including Hildegard of Bingen, Heloise of Paris, Marie de France, Christine de Pizan, Joan of Arc and Margery Kempe. The enduring legacies of works by these authors offers insight into Medieval feminism and the growth of a literary female voice. The course is taught by Professor James Cain.

Writing assignments and a study guide for essay writing are offered in the course website, in addition to a list of suggested readings that includes PDF downloads of select texts. If you're intrigued by this free online course, visit the Medieval women's literature course page.

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