Historicism, Medievalism, and Modernity

Winter 2016-2017


Julie Orlemanski

This course investigates historicist theory and practice, with a focus on the relationship between the Middle Ages and modernity. From nineteenth-century Romantic philology to recent practices of anachronism and amateurism, the medieval period has been integral both to defining modernity and to conceiving historical alterity. The course focuses on historicizations of the Middle Ages written in the last two hundred years but includes case studies as well: we will read medieval texts together with varying historicist accounts of them. Topics include philosophy of history, securalization, rationality, validity in historical interpretion, the historicity of the aesthetic, institutionalization of literary study, and the relation of language and literature. Readings are likely to include texts by Augustine, Hegel, Marx, Burkhardt, Huizinga, Blumenberg, Hayden White, Stephen Greenblatt, and Carolyn Dinshaw, among others. (Med/Ren)