2020-21 Pomona College Catalog 
    
    Sep 28, 2021  
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ENGL078 PO - Medieval Drugs

When Offered: Last offered spring 2016.
Instructor(s): J. Kirk
Credit: 1

It has been proposed that the basis of prehistoric religion (and indeed the origin of human consciousness itself) is the encounter with other worlds that can be brought on by certain hallucinogenic plants. In this seminar we will examine how archaic “techniques of ecstasy” survived, more or less underground, into the European Middle Ages, as well as inquire more generally into the nature and status of inebriation, poisoning, and visionary trance states. To be considered: love potions in medieval romances; the relations between mystical experiences and plant-derived ecstasies; the use of hallucinogens (mandrake, belladonna, etc.) by “witches”; the history of medicine and alchemy; dream visions and astral travel; the pursuit of stupor. Authors may include: Chretien de Troyes, Hildegard of Bingen, B’roul, Julian of Norwich, Abu Nawas, Marie de France, Fernando de Rojas, Walter Benjamin, and the Popol Vuh.
  
Satisfies the following General Education Requirement(s), subject to conditions explained in the Degree Requirements section of this Catalog:
Area 1



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