C. Stephen Jaeger is Gutsgell Professor Emeritus in the Departments of Germanic Languages and Literatures and Comparative Literature at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the author of Enchantment: On Charisma and the Sublime in the Arts of the West, The Envy of Angels: Cathedral Schools and Social Ideals in Medieval Europe, 950-1200, winner of the 1995 Jacques Barzun Prize in Cultural History, and Ennobling Love: In Search of a Lost Sensibility, all of which are available from the University of Pennsylvania Press.
In this engaging lecture, C. Stephen Jaeger tells the story of the twelfth-century rise of the university of Paris and of its new cathedral, Notre Dame, and with these the coming to life of a new intellectual world. Jaeger’s subject is the charismatic and controversial figure of Peter Abelard, whose rise and fall as head of the cathedral school at Notre Dame Jaeger places in the context of the history of Paris, its swelling student population, and the construction of Notre Dame. As Jaeger writes, "It is affirmative and strengthening, if bitter-sweet, to be reminded of the beginnings of the cathedral shortly after its near-destruction.”