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This CTP course is comprised of three study days on TUESDAY open to both men and women.  However only female students taking the CTP course will have an opportunity to attend a reading group on the final Tuesday afternoon that will explore three short key texts relating to each of the topics.

Course Leader: Dr Louise Nelstrop

Dates: Tuesday 31 May,  7 June and 14 June 2022, 10:30am to 4:00pm plus a half-day workshop on Tuesday 21 June 2022, 2:00pm to 4:00pm.

Day 1:  31 May 2022  Study Day: Love and Desire in English Mysticism 10:30am to 4:00pm (with time for lunch and breaks)

The first day will introduce students to the way in which English Mystics deal with love and desire.  It will focus mostly on medieval writers who are now household names, like Julian of Norwich and the Cloud-Author, but also bring in other writers who are less well-known in the English tradition.  The day will focus particularly on imagination, poetry and the arts, bringing in these writers and their thoughts on love and desire into conversation with the wider fields of art and poetry.

Course Leaders:  Dr Louise Nelstrop and Dr Elizabeth Powell

Day 2:  7 June 2022  Study Day: Love and Desire from Bernard of Clairvaux to Hadewijch 10:30am to 4:00pm (with time for lunch and breaks)

The second day will explore the importance of love and desire and understood in key twelfth century monastic and beguine spirituality. The course will focus particularly on Bernard of Clairvaux’s Sermons on the Song of Songs, Hadewijch’s Visions and poems and Richard of St Victor’s short treatise, The Four Degrees of Vehement Love. It will introduce students to the value placed on desire, even erotic desire, within medieval Christian thought and tease out what is meant by these writers is the same as agapeic love.

Course Leaders: Dr Edward Howells and Dr Louise Nelstrop

Day 3:  14 June 2022  Study Day: Love and Spirituality in the Cistercian Tradition 10:30am to 4:00pm (with time for lunch and breaks)

The third day will focus on spirituality in the Cistercian tradition. It will examine important spiritual and mystical motifs, including friendship, love and union, and think about how these have been developed. Key writers to be discussed include William of St. Thierry, whose writings influenced a number of female authors in the medieval period, including Beatrice of Nazareth. We will consider Beatrice’s Seven Manners of Love and also explore Aelred of Riveaulx’s claim that God is friendship.

Course Leaders: Dr Edward Howells and Dr Louise Nelstrop

Day 4:  21 June 2022 Study Half Day: Texts on Love – Ancient Thoughts, Contemporary Relevance 2:00pm to 4:00pm

This workshop will be a chance for students to reflect on the materials covered in the course.  We will examine key texts, discuss their attitude to love and whether these ancient understandings of love have something to teach us today and watch an award- winning short film, co-directed by Louise Nelstrop, about contemporary artists engaging with this material.

Course Leader: Dr Louise Nelstrop