Imagining Love: Tales from Medieval Worlds (and Otherworlds)

  • Schumacher College
  • January 8
Event Website

Monday 8 – Friday 19 January 2024

Join our tutors Valentin Gerlier, Alice Oswald, Emma Bush, Bram Arnold, and Tracey Warr for this in depth literary course exploring the role of love in some of the most influential stories of all time. Taking its cue from Gaston Bachelard’s notion of the imagination as an affective distortion of reality, the course considers historical shifts in understanding of the self and relationships ranging from ancient cultures to medieval romances and poetry and compare these to contemporary understandings of the self. While in a hunter-gatherer culture we dwelt within psyche, by the 12th century, psyche was understood to dwell within us. Focusing on the twin themes of love and the notion of the ‘otherworld’ (whether sacred or secular, Christian or Pagan), the literature studied will include Anglo-Saxon riddle poetry, the Irish Fenian Cycle, Dante’s Divine Comedy, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Winter’s Tale.

Creative practice workshops will develop notions and we will also consider the medieval book and its evolution into an object in the context of more contemporary artistries. We will also explore the influence of cross-cultural currents such as the influence of troubadours and trobiariz, Celtic tropes and motifs Persian thought (through the examples of Hafez and Rumi).

This short course offers the opportunity to join the third Higher Education module of our MA course programme ‘Poetics of Imagination’ as an unaccredited student.

On this course you will:

· Identify the move from the mythological to the psychological in the arc of the stories examined, through comparing and contrasting narrative motives.

· Consider the diffusion of both Celtic and Persian influences within the study materials.

· Articulate the heretical tensions between societal conduct and the romantic urgings of the troubadours.

· Develop field research, creative practice and documenting skills