MDVL 301 update: some introductory pre-reading…

[Cross-posting this from MDVL 301: EUROPEAN LITERATURE FROM THE 5TH TO THE 14TH C.: “The Liberal Arts.”]

Here is some medievalism in the recent news—including some controversy—to whet the appetite. 



Some context: an earlier version first appeared at In The Middle, a medieval studies group blog:


An excerpt that is of particular relevance to our course, and to the relevance of Medieval Studies and Medievalism:

“Relevance” < from Lat. re- + levare, to lift up again; broader over-arching questions in this course will include the serious consideration of this cardinal word. Old & Middle French (one of the routes of this word into English): relever. Related: lever, to lift; soulever, to lift up; élever, to lift up and out of, elevate. This course aims to bring make “relevance” uplifting again. Yes, that re- prefix still means falling down before getting up again: that’s a crucial part of learning, and was indeed in the Medieval period too; but remember, relever is transitive: it’s about getting yourself back up, helping someone else up, a reciprocal action, or any combination of all three. It’s a word that extends a hand in kind friendship and grasps another hand in mutual trust. So: an unofficial informal prerequisite for the course, presumed of all participants, will be: we will all be relevant.

[Not the next intended post: there are at least two other next posts coming up, the first will be work in progress on the ICLS paper for next Monday (ulp) which will be appearing as the finished version of that talk, with slides & handout integrated into bloggy-posty form. That’s for later.]

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