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Arts & Culture

Sacred Secular: Religion and Secularity in French and German Literature of the 12th Century

Stained glass windows in a church

It is conventional to speak and write about ‘secular’ and ‘religious’ medieval European literature, yet the boundary between these categories is never straightforward in the context of the medieval West: secular literature is grounded firmly within a Christian worldview in the context of both production and reception, and stands in dialogue with more explicitly religious material. This project interrogates the categories of ‘religious’ and ‘secular’ and investigates literary production in a time of religious and social change. At its heart is a comparative investigation of how twelfth-century narrative works tackle religious content, practices and meta-narratives, which will allow us to open up new perspectives on the techniques, functions and challenges of emergent ‘secular’ literary cultures. 

Project status: Ongoing

Principal Investigators



Funding Body: Thyssen Foundation

Amount: €220,000

Period: January 2023 - September 2025