FREN 5510/8510 Medieval Saints' Lives
African saints. Trans saints. Saints’ Lives as media. Saints in material culture and literature and history. Recent academic enthusiasm for medieval saints’ Lives has begun to uncover the usefulness of this genre for gaining deeper understanding of both medieval and modern attitudes toward a variety of topics, from sexuality and sentiments to materiality and foreign cultures. Reading Lives written between 880 and the late thirteenth century, together with the work of some of the most engaging scholars in the field of hagiography studies, we will investigate a variety of issues that resonate with current interests in the broader fields of medieval and French studies. Readings include the Lives of St. Mary the Egyptian (a courtesan turned hermit), St. Catherine of Alexandria (known for her wisdom), St. Alexis (who abandoned his family), St. Louis IX (king of France), St. Euphrosyne (a woman who became a male monk), and St. Moses the Ethiopian (a brigand turned abbot). Note: there are significant DH projects relating to hagiography in various fields (see, for example, http://www.tasc.mpg.de/iceland/), and I would be more than happy to discuss course project options for studying these efforts and designing projects relating to French saints' Lives, etc.