skip to main content
H 113
The Troubadours
9 units (3-0-6)  | first term
Our literary tradition in the West goes back to the troubadours, who were the first poets writing in a spoken language (i.e. not Latin) who have had a continuous influence ever since. Who were these poets, and why did what they created have such a decisive impact? Some have claimed that the troubadours invented our basic assumptions about the relations between the self and the world. Certainly they affected ideas about the status of women, since they sang of poets in service to their unattainable ladies. We shall examine the troubadours' interactions with their religious culture, showing how they were affected by Islam and Christianity, and how in turn they helped prepare the early thirteenth century explosion of religious mysticism. Our aim is to assess their contribution to building the basis for modern culture. We shall analyze how these poets developed a unique concept of subjectivity that made it possible for the self to acquire emotional knowledge about the world. In turn, that emotional basis became a foundation for the self that acquires scientific knowledge.
Instructor: Motzkin