An introduction to medieval literature and the question of performative language in literature, linguistics, philosophy and theology. Works to be read include romance and lyric poetry from the French, German and English traditions, as well as selections from Scholastic philosophy, grammar and theology.
We will also study some twentieth-century philosophical and linguistic accounts of speech acts. Topics to be discussed include lies, promises, oaths, baptisms, ritual speech and the structure of sacraments. All texts will be read in translation, though study of the originals will be encouraged whenever possible.