IMC 2008: Sessions

Session 313: Natural Born Gentlemen?: Education and Inborn Qualities in Later Medieval Texts

Monday 7 July 2008, 16.30-18.00

Sponsor:Fontys Hogescholen, Tilburg
Organiser:Geert van Iersel, Bartholomew's Society / Fontys Hogescholen, Tilburg
Moderator/Chair:Ben Parsons, School of English, University of Leicester
Paper 313-aThe Humours and Social Categorisation
(Language: English)
Karine van 't Land, Afdeling Geschiedenis, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen / Bartholomeus Society
Index terms: Language and Literature - Middle English, Medicine, Mentalities, Social History
Paper 313-bThe Educated Nobleman Breaks Free: Sir Degaré and the Northern Octavian
(Language: English)
Geert van Iersel, Bartholomew's Society / Fontys Hogescholen, Tilburg
Index terms: Education, Language and Literature - Middle English, Mentalities, Social History
Paper 313-cEducating the Burghers of Antwerp: The Virtuous Life in Der Leken Spieghel (The Layman's Mirror)
(Language: English)
Bas Jongenelen, Fontys Hogescholen, Tilburg
Index terms: Education, Language and Literature - Dutch, Mentalities, Rhetoric
Abstract

Is behaviour a reflection of natural, inborn qualities, or the result of education? The ruling classes benefited from the view that behaviour patterns were innate, as romance literature reflects. Attitudes towards the social order were also coloured by humoral theory, which imputed a social dimension to human nature. Towards the end of the Middle Ages the rise of the cities generated a desire among the middle classes to acquire ‘noble’ virtues. Education and upbringing were increasingly accepted as means of social improvement. This presented a direct challenge to the notion of society as a given, natural structure.