Monday, November 27, 2006

Well done, HIST 4505 Chivalry seminar

Tooay the History 4505 seminar on Chivalry discussed a classic and difficult problem -- "courtly love." It was a student-led discussion and students did almost all the talking. They did very well, all of them, and I thought I should thank them publicly and in a semi-permanent fashion.

Towards the end of the class I remarked on how the lone questing knight became the symbol for "love," a subject that clearly fascinated monks, intellectual clerics, and lots of others during the 12th century.

I made on comparison in class -- of how a marginal group could create a popular "Gangsta rap" where the marginal gangsta is the hero to gangstas and non-gangstas alike, but here's another one that may be more on the mark:

Cowboys, who were in fact one step up from being bums, became symbols of all that was great in America -- without writing much cowboy fiction or fact themselves. I bet most cowboy fiction was written in New York City.

How's that for an off-the-cuff thought?

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