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CLS 200 — The Dawn of the Renaissance Across Europe: An MLA-Style Course

Quarter: Spring
Day(s): Wednesdays
Course Format: On-campus
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Apr 4—Jun 13
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm
Drop Deadline: Apr 24
Units: 2
Tuition: $500
Instructor(s): Edward Steidle
Limit: 18
Status: Pre-approval required
prior to enrollment
Please Note: No class on April 11
7:00—8:50 pm
Apr 4—Jun 13
10 weeks
Drop By
Apr 24
2 Units
Edward Steidle
Pre-approval required
prior to enrollment
Please Note: No class on April 11
Please note: The course is open to students who have not previously enrolled in an MLA-style course through Stanford Continuing Studies. Interested students must add themselves to a wait list (click here), and if eligible for the course, will be emailed instructions to enroll. Disregard the text on the wait list page stating the course is full, there are still spots available.

ABOUT THIS MLA-STYLE COURSE: This course aims to introduce those who are strongly interested in pursuing a degree in the Stanford Master of Liberal Arts Program to the kind of seminar they would likely encounter in the program. Students will face the same kind of intellectual challenges, the same kind of opportunities to engage in weekly discussion, and the same kind of stimulus to write persuasive research essays. Students are required to take this course for credit, submit written work, and contribute to class discussions, as happens in all MLA seminars. However, this course may not be taken for a letter grade, though students’ written work will receive extensive feedback from the instructor. For more information on the MLA Program, please click here.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: The 15th century saw the spread of a truly pan-European Renaissance. What we now call the Renaissance was in full bloom in early 15th-century Italy, but the rest of Europe was slow to catch on. France, England, and the Low Countries were no longer medieval, but neither had they absorbed the ideas in art, literature, philosophy, and politics that were spilling out of Italy. These northern European countries, however, had their own renaissance in style and thought: a unique architectural style that we can see in Bruges and Ghent; painters like Jan van Eyck and Rogier van der Weyden, who developed a unique style that owed little to the Italian schools of thought; and writers like Thomas More and François Villon, who captured an exclusively northern spirit. The aim of this course is to examine that northern spirit and to investigate its relationship to what was happening simultaneously in Italy. We will read works by Chaucer, Boccaccio, Machiavelli, and Brant, among others. We will consider works of literature, art, government, and philosophy from the north and from the south of Europe. We will watch the changing character of northern thought, and the irresistible spread of Italian influence, as all of Europe greets the Renaissance in the 16th century.

Edward Steidle, Lecturer, Master of Liberal Arts Program, Stanford

Edward Steidle has been at Stanford since 1984. His area of specialization is comparative literature. He is working on comparative approaches to the study of ancient European, Asian, and Central American cultures. Steidle also leads travel groups to historic sites in Western Europe and the Mediterranean region. He received a PhD from UC Berkeley.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) (Marie Borroff, trans.), Gawain and the Green Knight, Norton (ISBN 978 0393930252)
(Required) Boccaccio (Musa trans.), Decameron, Norton (ISBN 978 0393091328)
(Required) Chaucer (Wright trans.), Canterbury Tales, Vintage (ISBN 978 0307743534)
(Required) Brant (Zeydel trans.), Ship of Fools, Dover (ISBN 978 0486257914)
(Required) Pico della Mirandolla (Wallis trans.), On the Dignity of Man, Hackett (ISBN 978 0872203969)
(Required) Poliziano (Quint trans.), Stanze, Penn State (ISBN 978 0271028712)
(Required) More (Adams trans.), Utopia, Norton (ISBN 978 0393961454)
(Required) Machiavelli (Adams trans.), Prince, Norton (ISBN 978 0393962208)
(Required) Villon (Georgi), Poems, Northwestern (ISBN 978 0810128781)