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Holidaying in the Middle Ages

#Holidaying in the Middle Ages

Holidaying in the Middle Ages

Lecture by Marion Turner

Given at the University of Oxford on June 6, 2023

Summary: The lecture examines the desire to escape contemporary problems by immersing oneself in the medieval past. The speaker discusses literal medieval holidays and holy days, as well as the idea of pilgrimage as a journey into the past. She also explores how 20th and 21st-century poets and filmmakers have engaged with the pilgrimage from The Canterbury Tales, using it as a lens to explore their own historical and artistic contexts.

The lecture is divided into six parts, each focusing on a different aspect of medieval holidays and Chaucer’s imaginary pilgrimage. The speaker also discusses the challenges and opportunities of teaching medieval literature in the 21st century, and the importance of understanding form as well as content in order to truly appreciate the beauty and complexity of medieval poetic forms.

Marion Turner is the J R R Tolkien Professor of English Literature and Language at the University of Oxford and an academic authority on Geoffrey Chaucer.

Top Image: From Chaucer for Children, made in 1877, drawn by Mary Eliza Haweis (1848-1898).

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