Bachelorettes and Wives: Medieval Women in Love and Marriage

Would you want to compete in the television reality show Married at First Sight and meet your mate at the altar? Or appear in Arranged and let your parents pick your spouse? Or would you prefer to star in The Bachelorette and pick your own spouse? Imagine for a minute what it must have been like for medieval women as they negotiated love and marriage. Most would have had little choice over what we consider the most personal of decisions. Over the course of this semester we will examine medieval attitudes toward love, sex, and marriage and how those attitudes affected gender roles. We will also look at how one’s marital status affected the amount of autonomy a woman had during the Middle Ages. Attitudes toward these subjects will be gleaned from an examination of various works of art, literature, and historical documents. This course will include regular meetings with Professor Pleiss Morris’ course “Saints, Witches, and Queens: Depictions of Medieval Women in Historical Drama.”