THE LAIS OF MARIE DE FRANCE: WEREWOVLES, HOT TUBS AND COURTLY LOVE IN TWELFTH CENTURY ENGLAND
BCC South County Center
1/14, 1/21, 1/28, 2/4, 2/11, 2/18
The lais of Marie de France stand in the vanguard of 12th-century Europe’s literary shift from heroic epics to courtly romance. Her short verse narratives, set in the mists of Britain’s Celtic past, are peopled with shape-shifting lovers, fairy mistresses and werewolves--as well as more prosaic jealous husbands and unhappy wives. In a striking departure from gender roles typical in medieval tales, Marie assigns to her women the task of resolving the dilemmas inherent in courtly love triangles. Masterful storytelling infused with perceptive insights into human nature make Marie’s lais as relevant today as they were eight hundred years ago. And yes, there are hot tubs.
TheLais of Marie de France: Text and Translation by Claire M Waters [Broadview Press, 2018]. This recent facing-page edition will be used in class.
Two reliable translations without facing-page French text are:
Mary Rogers received an Honours A.B. in English & Philosophy from the University of Toronto, an M.A. in English from Seton Hall University, and an M.A. and A.B.D. in Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto. After a decade of teaching at Seton Hall University, she moved to the Berkshires and taught for a number of years at Monument Mountain Regional High School. She has received an NEH summer fellowship to study Arthurian literature at the University of Puget Sound.
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