Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2020

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department

Comparative Literature

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



My dissertation examines the changes in love literature and notions of lovesickness in Iberia between the thirteenth and early sixteenth centuries in order to demonstrate how alterations in medieval portrayals of lovesickness reflect larger transformations in medicine, politics, and the medieval worldview. Early didactic literature treats love as a hygienic habit that must be learned through guides illustrating proper and improper love, while fifteenth- and sixteenth-century texts often depict love as an illness to be cured and avoided. During the High and Late Middle Ages, plagues and illnesses, medical translations into Latin and Romance languages, and the rise of university-educated doctors contributed to an increased awareness of medicine in Latin Christendom. Comparisons between early thirteenth-century didactic texts in both Arabic and Castilian and the love literature written at the turn of the sixteenth century reveal the way late medieval Iberian representations of lovesickness encapsulate the fears and fantasies of the era in order to control gender dynamics, politics, sexuality, and emotions.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Elo̟sa Palafox

Committee Members

Robert Henke, Martin Jacobs, Christian Schneider, Lynne Tatlock,