Power and Doom: Medieval Epics
Medieval vernacular epics are full of transgression, gore and doom and yet (or maybe because of that) they have fascinated audiences into our time, inspiring fantasy stories such as R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones or J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. In this class, we will study the medieval material itself, how story worlds are created, and how gender, court, emotions, and power are constructed in these medieval representatives. Exploring the specifics of medieval literature production, the Old Norse Saga of the Völsungs, the Middle High German Song of the Nibelungen and Klage, and the Old Yiddish Dukus Horant will also further our understanding of medieval (inter)textuality and storytelling. The primary literature readings will be complemented by secondary literature that help us engage with contemporary scholarly research.