Rebellious Readers in the Middle Ages

Programs for Teachers
Chicago Teachers as Scholars
Thursday, March 12, 2009 to Friday, March 13, 2009

Fifteenth-century heretics whose secret reading communities appropriated “authoritative” texts, fourteenth-century peasants who both attacked and manipulated official textual culture, unruly women who challenged the idea of the authorized textual apparatus by creating glosses of their own, and subversive poets who circulated illicit texts- these are some of the figures whose textual enterprises shaped the landscape of late medieval heresy and rebellion. Over the course of the seminar, we will be exploring the roles that these rebellious readers and their texts played in the major social, political, and religious upheavals in late medieval England. As we explore medieval manuscript culture, investigating the ways in which these unruly texts were produced, circulated and read, we will consider not only the texts produced by these heretical and rebellious communities, but also those orthodox and conservative texts that attempted to silence them.

Seminar led by Susan Phillips, Northwestern University

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