Fall 2019 - HUM 305 D100

Medieval Studies (4)

Class Number: 1361

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo, We 12:30 PM – 2:20 PM
    RCB 6101, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units.



A detailed interdisciplinary analysis of a selected topic, issue, or personality in the Middle Ages. Breadth-Humanities.


Abelard, Heloise, and the Twelfth-Century Problem of Being Human

All of us live with the freedoms and constraints of our time, our society, our families, and our gender. Abelard and Heloise, famous and troubled lovers, struggled within the rule-bound society of the early twelfth century. Abelard seemed at odds with his world and Heloise railed against monastic rules that didn’t work for women. They were not alone. Hugh of Lusignan complained of his unfair treatment as a vassal. William of Conches was sick of back-biting bishops and lazy students. Guibert of Nogent had trouble fitting in at home or with his fellow monks; his mother abandoned him and he fled a monastery that had had enough of him. Townsmen and women rioted against domineering nobles and oppressive bishops, and peasants resented their local lords. TThe problems of fitting in, getting along, and simply being human ran through the exciting and pioneering twelfth century. Together we shall examine the issues of identity, person, position, and community in crisis and complaint through the lives, experiences, and reflections of various twelfth-century men and women, but especially through the controversial lives of Heloise and Abelard.


  • First Short Paper 15%
  • Second Short Paper 15%
  • Third Short Paper 15%
  • Final Essay 35%
  • Attendance & Participation 20%



The Letters of Abelard and Heloise, trans. Radice, rev. Clanchy (Penguin)

The Lost Love Letters of Heloise and Abelard, trans. C. Mews (St Martin’s Press)

Guibert of Nogent, Monodies and On the Relics of the Saints, trans. McAlhany and Rubenstein (Penguin)

La Tapisserie de Bayeux Reproduction Integrale Au 1/7 (ed. Artaud Freres), if available [a picture scroll of the Bayeux Tapestry]

plus other small texts provided to students

*all paperbacks, all also on reserve or available in electronic versions

Registrar Notes:

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