The Middle Ages
Although the Middle Ages is often characterized as a period of darkness, the literature and art of the time typically suggest a more complex picture. Through a combination of close reading and exposure to an array of texts, students observe how satire reveals some of the contradictions and divergences within medieval literature and draw connections between literary form and philosophy. In addition, they consider how certain traits of medieval literature can be found in the art of the period: for instance, how characters have symbolic meaning both in literature and in iconography. Students write essays in which they analyze a work closely, compare two works, or trace an idea or theme throughout the works they have read.