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Fiche de cours

Encounter : The Lady, the Saint, and the Hermit: Romance and Hagiography in Late Medieval Literature

Faculté de gestion: Faculté des lettres

Responsable(s): Denis Renevey
Intervenant(s): -

Période de validité: 2018 -> 2018

Pas d'horaire défini.


Semestre d'automne
2 heures par semaine
28 heures par semestre

Langue(s) d'enseignement: anglais
Public: Oui
Crédits: 0


Would a reader of the Auchinlek manuscript, produced in the 1330s in London, find equal interest in reading Amys and Amylion (a romance) and The Life of St Mary Magdalene (a narrative about a saint's life - a 'hagiography'), which follow one another in the manuscript? Does the romance compete with the hagiography, or do they rather complement one another? Was one text considered more 'devotional', or more 'secular', than the other?

This seminar considers the crossover between romance and hagiography through an investigation of several Middle English texts from the late medieval period that display features of both genres. Looking at the hybridity of genre in certain texts, we will consider, for example, the manuscript tradition and textual transformation of Amys and Amylion from saint's life into romance, with a focus on the significance of friendship in all of its versions. We will also investigate how the hagiography The Life of St Mary Magdalene makes use of verse romance conventions in order to appeal to a lay romance readership. We will discuss similar themes in The Stanzaic Life of St Katherine, which presents one of the most popular late medieval female saints, who became patron saint of aristocratic ladies, nuns, students, and clerics. And, finally, Sir Gowther is another fascinating hybrid text, about a murderous child thought to be the son of the Devil, who later reforms and is venerated as a saint. It is considered to be either a hagiographic romance or a secular hagiography, and its classification is a subject of much debate, which we will unpick and discuss in class.

These are some of the texts and questions we shall be exploring, alongside questions of genre, manuscript context, identity, gender, and heroism (spiritual and secular). All the primary materials are available online and can be printed free of charge. Further information about secondary literature and requirements will be provided during our first session.


BA 2013 : Group-discussion in class (collective & groups) and writing an essay (individual); possibility of writing an extended essay (plan d'études 2013)

Informations supplémentaires


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