The Cathedral Complex

Course Outline

 Session 1 – April 6 

Session 2 – April 13 

  • Vaulting Systems (video lecture 4)
  • Romanesque Architecture in France:  Autun Cathedral (video lecture 5)
  • The Beginning of Early French Gothic
  • Suger and the Abbey of St. Denis (video lecture 6)

Session 4 – April 20

  • Early French Gothic
  • The Rise of the City and the Commune
  • Cathedrals of Sens, Senlis, and Noyon (video lecture 7)
  • Cathedrals in the French Revolution and the Gothic Revival
  • Notre Dame of Paris (video lecture 8)

Session 4 – April 27   

  • The Cathedral of Laon and Conflicts between bishop and city (video lecture 9)
  • High French Gothic
  • The Cathedral of Chartres (video lectures 10-12)

Session 5 – May 4        

  • High French Gothic continued
  • The Cathedral of Amiens (video lectures 13-14)
  • The Cathedral of Reims and the Coronation of French Kings (video lecture 15)

Session 6 – May 11       

  • Video lectures 17-18
  • Another tradition of High French Gothic:  the Cathedral of Bourges (video lecture 17)
  • Late Gothic Architecture:  Rayonnant and Flamboyant Styles
  • The Cathedrals of Troyes, Beauvais, and Rouen (video lecture 18)

Session 7 – May 18         

  • The Norman Conquest and the English Cathedral Close
  • The English Cathedral at the Reformation and in the Civil War and Later
  • The Gothic Revival and the English Cathedral Today
  • Norman and Early English Gothic
  • The Cathedrals of Durham, Canterbury, Salisbury, Wells, Bath Abbey, and Westminster Abbey (video lecture 19)

No class on May 25, Memorial Day

Session 8 – June 1         



Jean Bony. French Gothic Architecture of the 12th and 13th Centuries.  Berkeley, CA:  University of California Press, 1983.

Alain Erlande Brandenburg. The Cathedral: The Social and Architectural Dynamics of Construction.  Translated by Martin Thom.  Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

Whitney S. Stoddard.  Art and Architecture in Medieval France: Medieval Architecture, Sculpture, Stained Glass, Manuscripts, the Art of the Church Treasuries.  New York: Harper and Row, 1972.

John Harvey.  Gothic England –– A Survey of National Culture 1300-1550.  Naismith Press, 2012 (first edition 1947).

Useful Websites

 Wikipedia has useful websites for the cathedrals covered in this course.  Search by the name of the city + cathedral + wikipedia.  See also and

The website has useful information about many of the cathedrals.

An interesting study, based on archeology, of the history of the cathedral in Geneva from the fourth century on is found at

Great Courses

 The DVD or online access to William Cook, The Cathedral, may be purchased from Great Courses:

Powerpoint Material

The powerpoint slides are available on the classroom page by clicking on the appropriate link.


 Readings marked with an asterisk (*) are background material and should be considered supplementary rather than essential reading.  They are available on the classroom page.  The first 14 pages of the material on French Cathedrals and the first 9 pages of the material on English Cathedrals as well as the glossary will be distributed in class.

 Session 1


The Cathedral of St. Peter, Geneva

Session 2

French Cathedrals, pages 2-14 (Architecture of French Cathedrals and the Gothic Revival in France)

*French Cathedrals, pages 14-16 (Autun Cathedral)

*French Cathedrals, pages 16-23 (The Royal Abbey of St. Denis)

Session 3

*French Cathedrals, pages 22-25 (Sens, Senlis and Noyon Cathedrals)

French Cathedrals, pages 7-13 (The Gothic Revival in France)

*French Cathedrals, pages 26-30 (Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris)

Session 4

*French Cathedrals, pages 31-43 (Laon and Chartres Cathedrals)

Session 5

*French Cathedrals, pages 43-48 (Amien and Reims Cathedrals)

Session 6

*French Cathedrals, pages 48-55 (Bourges Troyes, Beauvais, and Rouen Cathedrals)

Session 7

English Cathedrals, pages 2-9 (General Information on English Cathedrals and following sections)

*English Cathedrals, pages 10-30 (Durham, Canterbury, Salisbury, and Wells Cathedrals)

Session 8

*English Cathedrals, pages 30-42 (Lincoln, Gloucester Cathedrals, York Minster, Ely Cathedral, Bath Abbey, Westminster Abbey, Winchester Cathedral)