MEDV3410 Visions of Ecstasy: Medieval Women Mystics and Their World

Reading List
  • Taught: Semester 1 View timetable
  • Credits: 20
  • Class Size: 14
  • Module Manager: Dr Marta Cobb
  • Email: m.k.d.cobb@leeds.ac.uk
  • Pre-Requisite Qualifications: Open to all level 2 and level 3 students
  • This Module is approved as a Discovery Module

Discovery module overview

Module Summary

Module Summary

The later Middle Ages saw an increase in opportunities for women within the Christian church, the creation of many women saints, and the composition by women of many texts exploring spiritual experiences in their lives. In this module we will examine the content and context of these texts.
Questions about wider attitudes to women's writing in the Middle Ages, the position of mystics in the Christian church and the literary qualities of their writings will be addressed, as well as the ways in which women's mystical writing reflects contemporary expressions of popular piety, such as manuscript art, paintings and sculpture, with particular reference to images of the Crucifixion.
The module will focus on the writings of the English mystics Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe, which will be read in Middle English (alongside a Modern English translation), and on a range of Continental European women's writing, read in translation.
Visions of Ecstasy is open to all level 2 and 3 students in the University. No previous experience of the subject is required.

Objectives

On completion of this module, students will:

  • - have gained an insight into the content and context of mystical writing by women in late Medieval Europe
  • - have considered the opportunities for a religious life available to women at this time, the social, political and religious factors which affected the production of literature by women, and the ways in which women's mystical writing reflects contemporary expressions of popular piety, such as manuscript art, paintings and sculpture, with particular reference to images of the Crucifixion
  • - be able to compare the development of women's mystical writing across Europe in terms of its literary style, public reception and religious status.

Syllabus

  • 1. Introduction: women in the late Medieval Church; women writing in the late Middle Ages.

2-4. Julian of Norwich: Approaches to her work: structure and content; close study: everyday life, family and society, crucifixion visions.

  • 5. Margery Kempe: comparison with Julian of Norwich.
  • 6. Representations of the Crucifixion in late Medieval art.

7-10. Continental European women mystics: texts and excerpts in translation from the writings of Hadewijch of Brabant, Beatrijs of Nazareth, Angela of Foligno and Marie d'Oignies.

  • 11. Review and overview.

Assessment and teaching

Assessment and teaching

Coursework

Assesment type Notes % of formal assesment
Essay 1,500 words to be submitted by 12 noon on Monday of teaching week 8 30
Essay 2,500 words to be submitted by 12 noon on Monday of exam week 1 70
Total percentages (Assessment Coursework) 100

Private Study

Approximately 54 hours reading, 54 hours preparing for seminars, and 70 hours preparing assessed work.

Progress Monitoring

Two assessed essays: one of 1,500 words, one of 2,500 words.

Teaching methods

Delivery type Number Length hours Student hours
Seminar 11 2 22
Private Study Hours 178
Total Contact Hours 22
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits) 200

Reading List


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