7AAEM657 The Visual and the Verbal in the Middle Ages
Convenor: Dr Bob Mills
Credit value: 20 credits
Teaching: One 2-hour seminar weekly
Assessment: 1 x 4,000 word essay
This module focuses on the relationship between text and image in the Middle Ages. There will be opportunities to consider the role played by illuminated manuscripts in medieval culture; the interaction between visuality, material objects and texts in the context of the saint’s cult; the impact of philosophy and optical theory on visual and verbal depiction; the similarities and differences between medieval and modern discourses of the visual; and debates about iconoclasm and the construction of hierarchies between texts and images.
The module crosses periods and media as well as genres: it begins with medieval discourses on the role of the visual in religious learning, draws on examples from both the Anglo-Saxon period and the later Middle Ages, and concludes with an exploration of the role played by modern museums and exhibition spaces in constructing medieval representation. Students will be expected to make full use of the opportunities London provides for engaging with medieval visual culture, such as the British Library, the British Museum, the Museum of London, the National Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum; class preparation will include museum visits.
Key literary texts studied alongside visual material include the Dream of the Rood, Pearl, and Lydgate’s Life of St Edmund. Where relevant, translations or glossed versions of texts in Latin, Old and Middle English will be made available. These will be supplemented by manuscript facsimiles and web based resources in particular weeks; relevant visual material will be made available online via Blackboard.
Teaching plan and key reading