Schedule: 16 July

Wednesday, 16 July

8:00-4:30 Registration (HT upper level)

Group 1: 9:00-10:30

1A Roundtable: Ice (1) Theory (HT103)

Ice is a precarious substance: the congealing of a liquid into impermanent solid form; asglacier, a living ecology imperiled by global warming; brittle fragility mixed with inhuman power; in the Middle Ages, a step along a geologic process of becoming rock ("crystal" comes from the Greek word for ice); a substance symbolic of a hardened human state, as in Dante's cold hell; an insecure, melting foundation (Chaucer's House of Fame atop its glacial mount); and a wellspring of vital resources. Examining ice as actor, symbol, geography and thing, this roundtable explores ice as a living element in medieval and later textual and material ecologies.

Thread: North: Texts
Organizer: Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, George Washington University
Chair: Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, George Washington University

  1. Timothy S. Miller, University of Notre Dame, “Like Ice / Ice Like: Fluidity, Solidity, and Reading Metaphor Backwards”
  2. Lowell Duckert, West Virginia University, “Icespeak”
  3. Ethan Knapp, Ohio State University, “Frost”
  4. Steve Mentz, St. John’s University, “Hugh Willougby Talks to the Seafarer about Ice”

1B Roundtable: Not Your Doktorvater's General Prologue (HT104)

“Reading” is the complex critical term we use for a panoply of cognitive, interpretative, and evaluative acts, including divagations into the ways in which narratives interpret and critique themselves.  This thread explores a number of past protocols of reading Chaucer, and asks how we might now read Chaucer otherwise.  Sessions I and II are designed as close-reading, self-reflexive seminars, each comprising five short papers theorizing two Chaucer texts; namely, The General Prologue and The House of Fame.  Sessions III and IV are designed as a critical continuum—six standard-length papers that examine, at a rather abstract level, how we have read Chaucer in the past, and how and why we might read Chaucer differently.  Here we imagine not exclusive readings of individual texts, but rather more generalized interventions about “reading Chaucer”—intercessions that are both ludic and lucid—that serve as symptomatic experiments in the craft of reading Chaucer in the twenty-first century. 

For Session Three we are seeking interrogative accounts of still-productive ways we have read Chaucer in the past—such as ethicism, feminism, historicism, materialism and object studies, Marxism, medievalism, neo-patristic, neo-philology, psychoanalysis, queer studies, reader-response, the religious turn, etc. These papers might focus on one major critical work that remains resonant—if perhaps under-appreciated, or over-appreciated, as the case may be.

Thread: The Ways We Read Now
Organizer: Peter Travis, Dartmouth College
Chair: Peter Travis, Dartmouth College

  1. Monika Otter, Dartmouth College, “Reverse Prosopography”
  2. Warren Ginsberg, University of Oregon, “Transition, Repetition, Substitution, Assimilation and Subversion in the General Prologue
  3. Robert Epstein, Fairfield University, “The Plowman's Creed: Commercial Ideology and Its Discontents in The General Prologue
  4. Samantha Seal, Weber State University, “Whan that they were seeke": Reading The General Prologue and Chaucer's Pilgrims Through the Lens of Disability Studies”
  5. Tim Asay, University of Oregon, “Framing Time in the General Prologue”

1C Roundtable: How to Do Things with Form (1) (HT101)

This panel invites papers that consider Chaucer’s formal innovations and achievements such as his introduction of rhyme royal and iambic pentameter into English. Panelists might consider one or two of the following formal elements: line length, enjambment, syntactic variation, punctuation, stanza form and stanza shape, rhyme, white space (is this an issue only for scribes or do poets have a say in it? Is this only a concern of contemporary poets?); the representation of poetic form on the manuscript page (e.g. tail rhyme and brackets), the choice to write in poetry or prose, the presence of forms within forms (e.g. forms such as lyrics, songs, letters, prayers, sonnets that appear within the rhyme royal pattern but indicate their nature as different forms; or alternatively forms such as the roundel that breaks the rhyme royal pattern); punctuation. The panel might also consider formal innovations introduced by scribes (i.e. we could look at the formal consequences of various scribal choices). We would like panelists to choose only one formal element as it appears in only one or two short examples that would be distributed to the audience for group discussion. Rather than present a paper, the panelists would act as a discussion leader for the group as a whole.  The organizers envision a panel of five or six speakers who would speak for no more than five minutes and then conduct a seven to ten minute discussion in the group. Then at the end we would have fifteen minutes for general discussion.

Thread: How To Do Things With Texts
Organizers: Elizabeth Robertson, University of Glasgow and Ad Putter, University of Bristol
Chairs: Elizabeth Robertson, University of Glasgow and Ad Putter, University of Bristol

  1. Kara Gaston, University of Toronto, “Literary Catalogues and Verse Units”
  2. Elizabeth Robertson, University of Glasgow, “Rhyme Royal: Embodiment and Rhyme Royal in the Prologues to the Prioress’s Tale and the Second Nun’s Tale
  3. Ad Putter, University of Bristol, title TBA

Discussants: Jeffrey C. Robinson, University of Glasgow and Sarah Stanbury, College of the Holy Cross

1D Paper Panel: Chaucer's Life, Chaucer's Libraries (L102)

It is a truism of any critical literary enquiry that authors’ works reflect their libraries, and that these libraries are intrinsically determined by their biography. Conceptually, an author’s library represents the ‘mental space’ which encapsulates his/her experience and authorities. Centuries of scholarship about Chaucer’s sources and analogues have demonstrated how Chaucer’s library developed and augmented over time through readings, conversations, travel and exposure to literary and non-literary milieux. But how real were the books that he consulted? Books in Chaucer’s works are real physical objects. The Clerk owns ‘Twenty bookes, clad in blak or reed‘ (The General Prologue, CT , l. 294), and the Wyfe of Bath tears pages from Jenkin’s book (The Wyfe of Bath’s Prologue, CT, l. 636). Which libraries did Chaucer have access to when he was traveling in Italy, Spain, or staying in and out of London? Although it may be argued that libraries in a modern sense with books on shelves are a fifteenth century invention, recent advances in understanding the circulation of books in the medieval period may help us to identify more precisely what Chaucer had available. But how much do we know about those books that he may have looked at? It was thought that Chaucer may have looked at the Auchinleck Manuscript (NLS Adv MS 19.2.1), are there any other extant manuscripts in Britain or abroad which could have been consulted by him? This session seeks papers which will explore the intersection of biography and book history to explore how Chaucer’s library was shaped overtime. Proposals can consider the state of the field, relevant methodologies, or offer detail studies of research completed or in progress.

Organizer: Orietta Da Rold, University of Cambridge
Chair: Orietta Da Rold, University of Cambridge

  1. Elaine Treharne, Stanford University, “Books of Lives, Lives of Books in the Canterbury Tales
  2. Michael Hanly, Washington State University, “A Reconsideration of Chaucer’s Italian Books.”
  3. William Robins, University of Toronto, “Chaucer and the Private Libraries of Tuscany”

1E Paper Panel: Edification of the Senses (1) (L103)

Medieval institutions stressed the importance of edifying the senses: not just guarding the external senses from intrusions of proscribed sensations, but a careful development in learning how to interpret sensory data. Physicians were instructed in how to see, touch, and taste the signs of disease; confessors learned how to query (and instruct further) a penitent’s use of the senses; craftsmen learned their trade through a refinement of their senses; etc. Professionalization – including literary professionalization – as well as moral education was marked by one’s sensory abilities, acquired through training. This session will explore this broad, complex, and often contradictory cultural conjunction between the physiology of sensation on the one hand and modes of education, training, and discipline on the other, along with the concomitant encounters between religiosity and epistemology. We are particularly interested in the way this problem gets worked out in literary texts, but we invite participation from Chaucerians with an interest in all facets of sensory history, whether that be in relation to the presentation of the senses in Middle English literature, the history of medicine, religious history, or any other field.

Thread: The Medieval Sensorium
Organizers: Richard G. Newhauser, Arizona State University and Larry Scanlon, Rutgers University
Chair: Richard G. Newhauser, Arizona State University

  1. Nicholas Watson, Harvard University, “The Innovation of the Senses: Restored Receptivity in John of Morigny’s Book of the Flowers of Heavenly Teaching (1301-1315)”
  2. Katie L. Walter, University of Sussex, “Sensory Perception and the Labour of Imagination in Fifteenth-Century Vernacular Theology”
  3. Mary Rambaran-Olm, University of Glasgow, “Water Gazing and Piss Prophets: An Analysis of the Senses and Uroscopy in the Canterbury Tales and other 14th-century Middle English Texts”
  4. James Staples, University of Pittsburgh, “Erotic Edification: Henry Suso’s Life of the Servant and its Seduction of the Spirit”

1F Paper Panel: From Ash Clouds to Grisly Rokkes: Travel Disruptions in Medieval Literature (L204)

Among many whose international travel was disrupted by the eruption of the volcano Eyjafjallajökull in May 2008 were hundreds of medievalists heading to and from conferences, particularly to the International Congress of Medieval Studies at Kalamazoo, Michigan. Those who managed to attend that year will remember the frustration, confusion and disappointment for missed colleagues, but also the surprising productivity that sprang up. This emerged not only from the necessity of improvisation from respondents asked to step in at the last moment or speakers facing a change in schedule or topic, but also from the unexpected extra time and intimacy in the depleted panels. These often evolved into conversations, carnivalesque spaces where the formal structures of the conference were transformed.

As we travel to Iceland in 2014, we invite panellists to think about movement through space in the middle ages through its interruption – to explore networks at the places where they break down. Travel was a dangerous business in the Middle Ages - its vicissitudes could cause family tragedy, economic ruin, and even regime change, as did the White Ship disaster of 1120, and they shape the narratives of medieval texts in numerous genres, from The Book of Margery Kempe to crusader narratives. However, travel disruption can also result in a space of creativity and flux, that disturbs social hierarchy, that suspends rules, and imagines new beginnings and unlikely fellowships. The loss of belongings or even of memories as the result of shipwrecks or robbery was used in romance to investigate questions of identity and birth, from Apollonius of Tyre to the Man of Law's Tale.

For this panel we invite proposals dealing with the complicating or creative effects of travel disruptions in medieval thought and writing. How do travel interruptions - shipwreck, roadside accident, robbery, weather or war - figure in medieval writings to develop or complicate ideas of identity, fate, or purpose? How do forced redirections and improvisations reveal, challenge, or rewrite networks of community, economy, space or temporality? How do lost or failed connections (broken bridges, missed boats, lost luggage, lost heirs) lead to the discovery of new connections and creative opportunities?

Thread: Movement, Networks, Economies
Organizers: Jessica Lockhart, University of Toronto and Anna Wilson, University of Toronto
Chairs: Jessica Lockhart, University of Toronto and Anna Wilson, University of Toronto

  1. Elliot Kendall, University of Exeter, “Travel Disruption and Social Reorientation in Medieval Narratives”
  2. Andrew Richmond, Ohio State University, “Bounty, Interrupted: Seashores, Shipwrecks, and the Costs of Investment Capital in Middle English Romance”
  3. Kaitlin Heller, University of Toronto, “The Man Out of Time: King Herla’s Journey and Walter Map’s De Nugis Curialium
  4. John F. Plummer, Vanderbilt University, “Figures of Geo-political Spaces in the Man of Law’s Tale”

1G Paper Panel: Inordinate Love (1) (L205)

This panel invites a consideration of inordinate, or “wrongly-ordered,” love as imagined by medieval writers, artists, and thinkers.  Churchmen from Augustine to Aquinas find amor inordinatus at the root of vice: sin occurs when love is either misdirected towards evil or miscalculated towards good objects in excessively small or great ways.  Inordinate love, however, preoccupied not only theologians such as Franciscan Jean de la Rochelle (c. 1200-1245) and Dominican William Peraldus (c. 1200-c. 1271), who both position it as the governing principle of their respective Summa on the Vices, but also poets like Dante and Chaucer who conceive of love as a moral structure to organize transgression and repentance.

Papers may address cardinal sins, their myriad subcategories, or vice in general, and they may conceive broadly of the category “inordinate love,” to include courtly love, emotion, and desire.  Panelists may also choose to explore whether form or genre—from confessional narratives and penitential guides to romances and exempla—provokes alternative considerations of inordinate love; and what social, legal, or political ramifications may ensue for loving inappropriately.   Please send abstracts to both coordinators.

Thread: Handling Sins
Organizers: Robyn Malo, Purdue University and Nicole Smith, University of North Texas
Chair: Sylvia Tomasch, Hunter College, CUNY

  1. Meg Cotter-Lynch, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, “Ordering Maternal Love in the Legenda Aurea
  2. Erin Mann, Lindenwood University–Belleville, “Radical Compassion: Restoring Love in Cleanness’s Flood”
  3. Nicola McDonald, University of York, “Pleyndamour: The Poetics of Middle English Romance”

1H Paper Panel: Erotic Flesh in Late Medieval Discourse (1) (L201)

Chaucer’s interest in erotics has long been noted regarding the fabliaux and romances, and it is perhaps germane, if unexpected, that the NCS will convene in Reykjavík, which has recently attracted attention as the new site of the Phallological Museum. This panel is interested in less-straightforward, less-conventional attention to late-medieval erotics by interrogating the ways in which medieval anxieties about sex, sexuality, and eroticism are a (hidden, submerged, covered) feature of late medieval discursive space. We seek papers that address these anxieties in texts where we might not expect to encounter them (e.g., sermons that titillate even as they denigrate sexual behavior, or theological treatises that engage the senses even as they denounce the sensory.

Organizers: Virginia Blanton, University of Missouri and Mary Beth Long, Ouachita Baptist University
Chair: Mary Beth Long, Ouachita Baptist University

  1. Shari Horner, Shippensburg University, “Tonguing the Text: Lingual Erotics in Late Medieval Discourse”
  2. Lara Farina, West Virginia University, “Enjoy Your Handlyng!”
  3. Sara Petrosillo, University of California-Davis, “The Erotic Falconry Treatise: Training Wives and Training Readers”

1I Paper Panel: Mathias of Linköping: Poetics and Learned Translatio in Scandinavia (G102)

Mathias of Linköping (b. 1300), author of theological works and confessor of Bridget of Sweden, studied in Paris in the 1320’s.  It was probably during his Parisian studies that he wrote his Poetria, a work that enlarged the scope of the earlier continental artes poetriae by making extensive use of Aristotle’s Poetics in the version known through Herman the German’s Latin translation (1256).  Mathias dedicated the Poetria to the archbishop of Uppsala, and likely intended it for use at the cathedral school there.

The importance of Mathias’ work has been recognized in modern scholarship.  This session seeks to add to that recognition by placing Mathias’ accomplishment in the context of learned translatio in the intellectual milieus of medieval Scandinavia. Mathias’ Poetria is powerful but by no means singular evidence of the movement of learned Latinities between the Continent and Scandinavia.  The innovative dimensions of Mathias’ Poetria can best be understood by considering the larger textual environment of translatio and learning in Scandinavia.

Thread: Scandinavia and Europe
Organizers: Karl-Gunnar Johansson, University of Oslo and Rita Copeland, University of Pennsylvania
Chairs: Karl-Gunnar Johansson, University of Oslo and Rita Copeland, University of Pennsylvania

  1. Roger Andersson, Stockholm University, “Mathias Lincopensis and the Vadstena Sermon”
  2. Martin Camargo, University of Illinois, “Geoffrey of Vinsauf Reads Matthias of Linköping”
  3. Unn Falkeid, University of Oslo, “An Unsuccessful Ascent: Birgitta’s Liber questionum and the Critique of Matthias and Bonaventure”

10:30-11:00 Coffee break

11:00-12:30 Plenary Session: Guðrún Nordal, University of Iceland, “Manuscripts in Iceland in the Age of Chaucer: Production, Texts and Literary Culture” (HB Auditorium 1)

12:30-1:30 Lunch (HT upper level)

1:30-2:30 Business Meeting (HT105)

Group 2: 2:30-4:00

2A Paper Panel: Writing Biography (HT103)

In this panel, Ardis Butterfield, Yale University, and Paul Strohm, Columbia University, will discuss their work on forthcoming biographies of Chaucer.

Thread: Chaucerian Biographies
Organizer: Alastair Minnis, Yale University
Chair: Alastair Minnis, Yale University

  1. Ardis Butterfield, Yale University and Paul Strohm, Columbia University, “Writing Chaucer Biography: A conversation”

2B Roundtable: Ice (2) Writing (HT104)

Ice is a precarious substance: the congealing of a liquid into impermanent solid form; asglacier, a living ecology imperiled by global warming; brittle fragility mixed with inhuman power; in the Middle Ages, a step along a geologic process of becoming rock ("crystal" comes from the Greek word for ice); a substance symbolic of a hardened human state, as in Dante's cold hell; an insecure, melting foundation (Chaucer's House of Fame atop its glacial mount); and a wellspring of vital resources. Examining ice as actor, symbol, geography and thing, this roundtable explores ice as a living element in medieval and later textual and material ecologies.

Thread: North: Texts
Organizer: Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, George Washington University
Chair: Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, George Washington University

  1. Dan Remein, New York University, “Icerune”
  2. Leila K. Norako, Notre Dame de Namur University, “Vanishing Ice and The House of Fame: An Ecocritical Interrogation”
  3. David Coley, Simon Fraser University, “Ice as Parchment, Ice as Pen”
  4. Jeremy DeAngelo, University of Connecticut, “Ice as Social Signifier”
  5. James L. Smith, University of Western Australia, “Touch of Frost”

Respondent: Oddur Sigurðsson, Icelandic Meteorological Office

2C Paper Panel: Adaptation and The Gesta Romanorum (HT 101)

Organizers: Glenn Burger, Graduate Center, CUNY and Holly Crocker, University of South Carolina
Chair: Glenn Burger, Graduate Center, CUNY

  1. Hjalti Snær Ægisson, University of Iceland, “The Old-Norse translation of the Gesta Romanorum”
  2. Julie Orlemanski, University of Chicago, “Justice by Natural Causes: Etiological Imagination in the Gesta Romanorum
  3. Matthew W. Irvin, Sewanee: The University of the South, “The Tale of Beryn: Rome and the Mercers of London”
  4. Olivia Holmes, SUNY-Binghamton, “Boccaccio’s Book of Wikkid Wives”

2D Roundtable: The Prick of Conscience (L102)

This roundtable explores the Prick of Conscience, a medieval bestseller that circulated in over one hundred manuscripts, appearing alongside such texts as Piers Plowman, the South English Legendary, and Chaucer’s Parliament of Fowls. Despite its popularity and longevity, the Prick of Conscience has often been overlooked. But recent years have witnessed a resurgence of interest in the poem, including the first new edition since 1863, and this roundtable session aims to keep the momentum going. Participants are invited to give short presentations (7-10 minutes) on any aspect of the Prick of Conscience including, but not limited to: its experiential and topographical exploration of Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven; representations of community; penitential economies; sin, penance, and self-knowledge; the fifteen signs of the end; sources and analogues; language, vernacularity, and translation; medieval manuscripts and early printed editions; the problem of medieval popularity and modern neglect.

Organizers: Rosemary O'Neill, Kenyon College and Ellen K. Rentz, Claremont McKenna College
Chairs: Rosemary O’Neill, Kenyon College and Ellen K. Rentz, Claremont McKenna College

  1. Theresa Coletti, University of Maryland, “The Prick of Conscience: Neighbors and Associates”
  2. Moira Fitzgibbons, Marist College, “The Prick of Conscience and the Poetics of Inertia”
  3. Jean E. Jost, Bradley University, “That Disgusting Creature Called Man: Blood and Gore in HM. 128: The Southern Recension of the Pricke of Conscience
  4. Helen Marshall, University of Toronto, “Multiplying the Prick of Conscience: Scribes, Scribal Networks and the Rise of a Medieval Bestseller”
  5. Ann Killian, Yale University, “The Legacy of the Prick of Conscience: Re-evaluating the ‘Lollard Sub-group’”
  6. Daniel Sawyer, University of Oxford, “Manuscript Presentation and the Success of the Prick of Conscience"

2E Paper Panel: Mapping Narrative(s) in Medieval Literature (1) (L103)

The investigation of spatial aspects of medieval literature is a rapidly growing area of research. In this session, speakers will present on topics that explore what and how new perspectives are revealed when medieval literature is approached with the aim of ‘mapping‘ various aspects of it, both conceptually, and/or technically by utilising digital mapping techniques, for example. Identifying and plotting the places where the production and consumption of manuscripts containing certain works occurred, for example, might bring forth new insights into the socio-historical contexts in which these works were composed and transmitted. Or, the mapping of a world or worlds within a one specific literary work might enhance the logistical understanding of the narrative mechanics of that work, or enhance its drama. Finally, medieval maps themselves might be examined as artefacts that encode certain kinds of text and communicate a narrative or narratives.

Thread: Movement, Networks, Economies
Organizer: Emily Lethbridge, University of Iceland and Stofnun Árna Magnússonar
Chair: Emily Lethbridge, University of Iceland and Stofnun Árna Magnússonar

  1. Kristi J. Castleberry, University of Rochester, “By Sun and by Shadow: Narrative Mapping in the Canterbury Tales
  2. Karen Elizabeth Gross, Lewis & Clark College, “The Pilgrim’s Path in the Gesta Francorum
  3. Michael W. Twomey, Ithaca College and Scott D. Stull, SUNY-Cortland, “Space and Movement in the Houses of the Miller’s and Reeve’s Tales”

2F Paper Panel: Handling Secular Sins (L204)

What is secular sin? What discourses and practices existed in the Middle Ages for handling it? Recalling recent debates on religion’s role, or lack of a role, in the practice of criticism (e.g. Asad et al., Is Critique Secular?), this session invites papers querying the late medieval structures and mechanisms of social critique, and the ways in which religion enables, informs, or hinders their formation. Papers might investigate analogies between the discourses and practices that constitute religion’s recourse against “sin” and moments in secular texts—satires, conduct books, verse and prose narratives, etc.—that address failures of civility, decorum, grace, judgment, office, or justice. Alternatively, papers might explore historical evidence of the ways in which emergent forms of late medieval secular critique interact with various resources in Christianity (e.g. canon law, ecclesiastical courts, preaching, devotional reading, and confession in its various senses) or with other religions. Papers might productively attend to the non-religious sources (classical or nonclassical) of late medieval critique as well, provided such papers engage questions of the religious and the secular.

Thread: Handling Sins
Organizer: Matthew McCabe, University of Calgary
Chair: Laura Ashe, University of Oxford

  1. Mike Leahy, Birkbeck College, London, “The ‘Way of Curacion’: Penitential Discourse in the Writings of John of Arderne”
  2. Stephanie L. Batkie, The University of Montevallo, “Counseling Confession: Sinful Pagans and Christian Causality in Gower’s Traitié and Mirour de l’Omme”
  3. Jennifer L. Sisk, University of Vermont, “The Hagiographic Construction of Secular Sin in Chaucer’s Physician’s Tale”

2G Paper Panel: The Social Lives of Books (L205)

When the Wife of Bath takes up a book of wicked wives with which to beat her husband Jankyn over the head, her use of the manuscript illustrates a moment of what Leah Price, author of How to Do Things With Books in Victorian Britain, calls “nonreading”: instead of turning to the book for its designed role, the Wife repurposes it into a weapon, one that not only manifests her resistance to the misogynistic literature it contains, but also indicates her resistance to the husband who has read it to her nightly.  In the Wife’s moment of nonreading, the book has become “more valuable for some other purpose,” and that new value places it into a fresh network of social relations.

Whether as weapons in marital disputes or myths to “rede and drive the night away,” how do books themselves act in Chaucerian and other medieval narratives? What do particular surviving codices suggest about how books played a part in relationships or events, for example through dedication, theft, presentation, compilation or customizing? When manuscripts gain value not for their textual contents, but as personal memorials, status symbols, surrogates for prayer, or even weapons, how can we trace the implications of these social lives of books? And how expansive can we be about the vocabulary of (speech) act, play and performative in analyzing medieval books?

Thread: The Book in Practice
Organizers: Heather Blatt, Florida International University, Janice McCoy, University of Virginia, and Nicholas Perkins, University of Oxford
Chairs: Heather Blatt, Florida Inernational University, Janice McCoy, University of Virginia, and Nicholas Perkins, University of Oxford

  1. Devani Singh, Emmanuel College, Cambridge, “Chaucer’s book in Antiquarian hands: Re-making the Medieval Past”
  2. Kathryn Vulić, Western Washington University, “Catechetical Devotions in the Vernon Manuscript”
  3. Stephanie Morley, St. Mary’s University, “Addressing and Assessing the Reader in London, British Library MS Additional 7970”

2H Paper Panel: Institutional Histories of Medieval English Literary Studies (L201)

This roundtable examines recent institutional histories of medieval English literary studies. This session explores topics in the histories of scholarly organizations, journals, long-standing conferences, publication venues, funding agencies, and academic programs in medieval English literary studies during the past forty years. Regarding scholarly organizations, sample topics might include different political moments in the history of the Society for Medieval Feminist Scholarship, the role of the (International) John Gower Society in shaping Gower studies over the past thirty years, or the reasons why the Babel Working Group emerged when it did and assumed some of the forms and politics that it has. In addition, speakers could discuss the funding of, or the divestment from, medieval English literary studies by major grant-giving agencies, specific universities or groups of universities, or various academic presses.

Thread: In Search of Things Past
Organizer: Lynn Arner, Brock University
Chair: Lynn Arner, Brock University

  1. Sylvia Tomasch, Hunter College, CUNY, “The Two Chaucer Societies”
  2. Mary Kate Hurley, Ohio University, “Creating Alternative Communities: The Babel Working Group as a Response to the Adjunctification of the University”
  3. Justin Sevenker, University of Pittsburgh, “The Society of Antiquaries and the Origin of Old English Literacy in Eighteenth-Century Britain”

2I Paper Panel: Erotic Flesh in Late Medieval Discourse (2) (G102)

Chaucer’s interest in erotics has long been noted regarding the fabliaux and romances, and it is perhaps germane, if unexpected, that the NCS will convene in Reykjavík, which has recently attracted attention as the new site of the Phallological Museum. This panel is interested in less-straightforward, less-conventional attention to late-medieval erotics by interrogating the ways in which medieval anxieties about sex, sexuality, and eroticism are a (hidden, submerged, covered) feature of late medieval discursive space. We seek papers that address these anxieties in texts where we might not expect to encounter them (e.g., sermons that titillate even as they denigrate sexual behavior, or theological treatises that engage the senses even as they denounce the sensory).

Organizers: Virginia Blanton, University of Missouri and Mary Beth Long, Ouachita Baptist University
Chair: Mary Beth Long, Ouachita Baptist University

  1. Wendy Matlock, Kansas State University, “The Virgin Mary as Sanctified Transgressor in Ashmole MS 61”
  2. Elspeth Whitney, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, “Masculinity, the Complexions and (Male) Sexual Anxieties”
  3. Tison Pugh, University of Central Florida, “Chaucer’s Queerly Erotic God”
  4. James F. Knapp, University of Pittsburgh, “Desire Across Worlds in Melusine”

2:00-4:00 Manuscript Exhibit (Þjóðarbókhlaðan, National Library/ University Library, lower level)

4:30-6:00 Reception (City Hall)