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Encounter : From King's Lynn to India via the Holy Land: John Mandeville and Margery Kempe as Travel Writers

Faculté de gestion: Faculté des lettres

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

Période de validité: 2018 -> 2018

Pas d'horaire défini.


Semestre de printemps
2 heures par semaine
28 heures par semestre

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


This seminar investigates how medieval people discovered and learnt about the wider world. Textual knowledge would be supplemented by reports from travellers who travelled to some of the very well textualized locations, such as Rome or Jerusalem. This seminar considers travel writing in the broad sense of the term, including for instance an account to the far North of Scandinavia by two Anglo-Saxon travellers, Othhere and Wuflstan. It also considers one of the jewels of Old English poetry, The Seafarer, a poem that blends literal and allegorical accounts of the solitary sea journey.

The cult of saints and the veneration for the life of Christ led people to travel long distances, as pilgrims, to the Holy Land, Santiago, Rome and other local destinations where a saint was culted. The account of Felix Fabri's pilgrimage to Jerusalem is a good case in point, not to mention of course Margery Kempe who endlessly travelled all over Europe and the Holy Land to satisfy her need to venerate the saints and the holy family.

But one other traveller went (or did he?) even beyond the Holy Land to visit Egypt, India and China. Sir Mandeville wrote an account of his travels which became very popular, despite or because of its intriguing blending of facts, exaggeration and absurdity.

This seminar will allow us to have a better understanding of medieval conceptions of the world.


An essay of 3000 words (8-9 pages), together with a short input presentation in class. Presentations may consist in the exposition and analysis of a text or an essay/article (see the seminar programme for possible topics). Details to be discussed at the first meeting of the seminar.

Informations supplémentaires


Canton de Vaud
Swiss University
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