Course Descriptions, 2018-19

MST 1002H Advanced Latin: Prudentius and his Influence/C. O’Hogan (PR: Level Two Latin pass or MST 1001Y or permission of the instructor)

Aurelius Prudentius Clemens was one of the most widely-read and influential poets in the Middle Ages. The Psychomachia, a short epic about the battle between Virtues and Vices, inaugurates the tradition of medieval allegory, while the hymns of the Liber Peristephanon and Liber Cathemerinon were used extensively as models for medieval Latin lyric. In this course, we will read (in Latin) all of the Psychomachia as well as substantial extracts from Prudentius’ other works. We will then turn our attention to Prudentius’ influence on a range of later Latin authors, such as Venantius Fortunatus, Aldhelm, Milo of Saint-Amand, Hrotsvita of Gandersheim, and Alan of Lille. Throughout we will pay particular attention to the topics of allegory, ekphrasis,and poetic inspiration. Assessment will consist of a translation exam, in-class presentation, and research paper.

MST 1104H   Palaeography I/A. Andree (PR: Level One Latin pass)

An introduction to early medieval scripts. The course is designed as a practicum in the transcription of scripts from the late Roman empire to the twelfth century.

MST 1105H   Latin Palaeography II/A. Andrée (PR: M.A. Latin)

Study of Latin Scripts from 1200 to 1600 A.D., with attention to the cultural-historical background of Gothic writing, the physical characteristics of manuscripts, library practices and bibliographical resources. Training in reading scripts is provided through weekly exercises.

MST 1398H Alfredian Prose/A. Walton (PR: ENG 1001F or equivalent; MA Latin)

King Alfred is often credited with effectively inventing Old English prose, by sponsoring the production of an ambitious educational programme of translation from Latin into the vernacular; still at issue is the extent to which the king was directly involved in several of the translations himself. Among the Alfredian texts to be considered are the prose renderings of the first fifty Psalms, as well as the versions of Orosius’ Historiae contra paganos, Gregory’s Cura pastoralis and Dialogi, Augustine’s Soliloquia, Bede’s Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum, and Boethius’ De consolatione philosophiae.

MST 1422H   Introduction to the Study of Magic in the Middle Ages/J. Haines

In the last few decades, the field of medieval magic has developed into an important interdisciplinary area of scholarship. This seminar will serve as a broad introduction to magic in the Middle Ages for students working in disciplines ranging from literature to the history of science; to my knowledge, this is the first such course offered at the CMS. Following an introduction to the different types of magic – from healing and astrology to exorcism and necromancy – the seminar will briefly survey the historiography of medieval magic from the 1500s onwards. The bulk of the seminar will concern the vast range of mostly Latin literature related to medieval magic. While genres such as dream-books have been relatively well studied, others, such as chiromancy manuals, have received less attention. Significant time will be devoted to well-known works such as the Secret of Secrets and the Notory Art.

MST 2007H Old High German/V. Pakis

This course provides an introduction to the Old High German language and to the earliest stage of German literary history. Readings will be selected to underscore the dialectal diversity of the language and to offer an overview of all the extent genres of Old High German literature (glosses, religious prose, heroic and religious poetry, charms, etc.).

MST 2051H Introduction to Middle Welsh/B. Miles

The course is an introduction to Middle Welsh language, the native language of medieval Wales. Middle Welsh is the language of one of the most vibrant literatures from medieval Europe, comprising writings in both poetry and prose from ca. 1100 to 1500.  Students will work from a course book which introduces the grammar and structures required to read the medieval language, and which includes an edition of a complete Middle Welsh prose text. Class-time will be devoted to translation and reading from the original Welsh text under the supervision of the instructor. The course will also teach the linguistic vocabulary for describing a Celtic language. No prior knowledge of Welsh is assumed.

MST 2052H Medieval Welsh Texts/B. Miles

This course is designed to be offered in the second academic term as a continuation of the instructor’s Introduction to Middle Welsh, which is to be offered in the first term. In this course students will engage in close reading and translating of a text or series of texts, and in so doing will consolidate and develop the language skills they have acquired in the preceding term; the course is also open to students who have had a prior introduction to the language. In addition to language study and translation the course will include introduction to the primary philological issues that accompany reading medieval Welsh literature, for example, reading medieval Welsh manuscripts. Class discussion will include as well an introduction to key historical critical themes of the secondary critical literature, for example the place of medieval Welsh literature in its contemporary Insular and European context, and the interplay between vernacular and Latin tradition in medieval Wales. Students will be asked to present one seminar and then write a term paper based on that seminar.

MST 3015H Introduction to Ge’ez/R. Holmsted

This course covers the essentials of Ge’ez (Classical Ethiopic) grammar, and introduces students to Ge’ez texts of elementary to intermediate difficulty. Designed for students with no previous knowledge of Ge’ez.

MST 3016H Intermediate Ge‘ez (Classical Ethiopic)/R.Holmsted (PR: MST 3015H)

This course continues the study of Ge’ez (Classical Ethiopic) grammar and progresses to a survey of classical Ge’ez literature. Linguistic connections to Amharic and Tigrinye will also be introduced.

MST 3035H   Medieval Representation of Death, Sickness and Crime (1100-1500)/Y. Iglesias

This course will address the variety of representations of death, sickness and crime (including representations of burials, tombs, last judgment, tortures, mortal illnesses, suicide, medical care, and plagues). Iconography will be used together with legal, historical and literary sources. The goal of the course will be to understand better how these different sources interact, complement and sometimes even contradict each other. The course will be mainly centred on Medieval Spain. We will examine representations and texts from England and Italy as well. Nevertheless, students will be free to do their research on any European country.

MST 3124H Medieval Studies in the Digital Age/A. Bolintineanu

From digitized corpora of texts and manuscripts to virtual and augmented-reality reconstructions of objects, buildings, and archaeological sites, the materials of medieval history, literature, and cultural heritage archives are increasingly entering the digital realm. The aims of this course are twofold.  The first aim is to familiarize students with the intellectual landscape of digital medieval studies—from editions, archives, and tools, to communities of practice and theoretical approaches.  The second aim is to invite students to critically engage with debates in the field of digital humanities from a medievalist’s point of view, examining the fault lines in digital tools and approaches that are revealed through their contact with fragile, fragmentary medieval data.

MST 3155H Middle French Literature/D. Kullmann

Through the reading and interpretation of a central literary text of Middle French literature, students will discover the linguistic, intellectual, and societal changes of the late Middle Ages. Each participant will study and present an additional text, or group of texts, thus further exploring specific aspects of the literature of this period.

MST 3163H Medieval French Historiography/D. Kullmann (PR:Basic reading knowledge of Old French and Latin, or permission by instructor)

Introduction to medieval French historiography, centering around individual texts and specific themes. An introduction in lecture form will be followed by a first sequence of close reading of the selected text or texts. In the second half of term, students will present papers on specific aspects, taking into account parallel texts, including Latin ones.

MST 3205H Violence in Medieval Society/M. Meyerson

This course explores the social function and meaning of violence in medieval society, and the development of rituals and institutions to control violence.  Among the topics treated are the feud in Germanic and Icelandic society, aristocratic violence, the peace and truce of God, chivalry, the development of criminal justice systems, violence against minorities, and violence and gender.  Students will read secondary literature in anthropology, social history, and legal history, and will examine selected primary texts (in translation).

MST 3301H Themes in Medieval Philosophy/P. King

This course will be a graduate-level survey of medieval philosophy designed to acquaint newcomers with the field.  To that end, we’ll look at several issues that cover several different periods of medieval philosophy, with some attention given to the institutional and social role played by philosophy at different times.  Some of the issues may include: epistemology (scepticism and the limits of what can be known); philosophy of mind (faculty psychology, the nature of the mind, relation of the soul to the body); metaphysics (identity,individuation, the problem of universals); natural philosophy (the eternity of the world, causation, determinism, the existence of a first cause); ethics (virtue and vice, free will).  The exact topics will be chosen depending on what students are interested in.

Knowledge of Latin (or Greek / Arabic / Hebrew) is *not* necessary but of course will be helpful.  Students can write either one long research paper at the end of the term or two/three shorter papers in the course of the term.

MST 3346H   Medieval Islamic Philosophy/D. Black

An introduction to the major figures and themes in Islamic philosophy from the 9th to the 12th centuries, emphasizing issues in epistemology, metaphysics, and philosophy of mind.  The course will focus on the major thinkers from the Aristotelian and Neoplatonic traditions, especially Al-Fārabi, Avicenna, and Averroes.  Consideration will also be given to the impact of Islamic philosophy on the Christian West.  A major theme of the course will be developing an understanding of the differences between Islamic philosophy as studied in its own context, and Islamic philosophy as studied from the perspective of its influence on Christian authors such as Thomas Aquinas.

MST 3501H   Introduction to the Medieval Western Christian Liturgy/J. Haines

This introductory course is designed to supply participants with essential tools for further research in medieval liturgy, regardless of their field of expertise. The first four weeks cover basic aspects of private and public Western Latin worship in the Middle Ages. This is followed by an in-depth study of extant liturgical books, especially those from the thirteenth through the fifteenth centuries. The latter will include hands-on work with liturgical books housed in University of Toronto library collections

MST 3603H Society and Literary Texts in Medieval Spain/Y. Iglesias

The course presents a historical overview of fundamental aspects of Spanish society in the Middle Ages and provides a look at social issues through the analysis of representative literary texts of this period. The course begins by reading articles that provide the historical background on how medieval society viewed and dealt with death, love, faith, crime, marriage, prostitution, treason, and honour. Secondly, the course develops into the analysis of the main corpus of literary works written in medieval Spain between the beginning of the 13th and the end of the 15th century as documents for the study of the Middle Ages. We will read literature in translation, such as The poem of Mio Cid (c.1200), The Miracles of our Lady (c. 1250), The Book of Good Love (c. 1330), Tales of Count Lucanor (c. 1335), Stanzas about the Death of his Father (c. 1476), and La Celestina (1499).