Schedule: 17 July

Thursday, 17 July

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

Group 3: 9:00-10:30

3A Paper Panel: (Absent) Jews in the Middle (1) (HT103)

While scholars have cited multiple shifts marking the movement from the medieval to early modern periods in England, one aspect of English history proved continuous.  From the time of their forced expulsion in 1290 to the fraught period of their tacit readmission during the seventeenth century, Jews were officially absent from England.  This session invites proposals for papers on the image of the Jew in both Chaucer’s poetry and other works produced during the some 350 years when England was imagined as a place devoid of Jews.  Especially welcome are papers on how English writers proved particularly invested in the relationship between Jews and history (e.g., the Prioress’s odd sense that Jews martyred Hugh of Lincoln “but a litel while ago”), as well as papers on how the perceived absence of Jews served to define England as a nation during the late middle ages and renaissance.

Thread: In Search of Things Past
Organizer: Kathy Lavezzo, University of Iowa
Chair: Kathy Lavezzo, University of Iowa

  1. Miriamne Ara Krummel, University of Dayton, “Hugh of Lincoln, In and Out of History”
  2. Thomas Blake, University of Iowa, “The Displacement of the Abject Womb in ‘The Miracle of the Boy Singer’”
  3. Steven F. Kruger, Queens College, CUNY, “England without Jews, Christian History without Judaism”
  4. Alfred Thomas, University of Illinois at Chicago, "'O Cursed folk of Herodes al newe:' The Prioress's Tale and the Jews of Prague"

3B Roundtable: This World is But a Thurghfare: Transit, Transport, Scapes, and Flows (1) (HT104)

In Chaucer’s Knight’s Tale the aged Egeus, learned in “this worldes transmutacioun,” offers stoic council to his son Theseus upon the death of Arcite: “This world nis but a thurghfare ful of wo,” the old man advises, “and we ben pilgrimes, passinge to and fro.” In the manner of the elderly adviser, Egeus reminds us that our lives are ephemeral pilgrimages, and he also points to the idea of the world as a sort of transit system. In our contemporary world, it would not be unusual to read Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales on a Kindle, iPad, or smart-phone while waiting for a plane, a train, a bus, a tram -- our world is striated by the transit systems and “hubs” in which many of us spend a good deal of our lives (freeways and toll roads, subways and trains, stations and terminals and depots, bus and tram stops, runways and airplanes) and our modes of reading have also become more “transitory” and mobile as a result.

In this roundtable session, we want to consider literary texts themselves, such as Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, as transit systems in which we can glimpse the manifold mobilities of objects, figures, mentalities, tropes and other “matter” in vibrant intermediate networks where different trajectories of “transit” and modes of “transport” (cultural, historical, social, linguistic, political, and so on) are connected. What can we learn by tarrying at the nexus points and hubs through which things move in and out of texts, attempting to trace not the things themselves or their supposedly stable significations, but rather their forms of emergence and retreat, of disorder and disequilibrium, as we ourselves are emerging and retreating within our own systems of transit and experiencing our own disequilibrium? Following John Urry’s “mobile sociology,” this session takes as an initial starting point the idea that we can no longer view either social worlds or textual worlds as uniform surfaces upon which one can trace or write a history of the horizontal movements of humans and human mentalities; rather, everything is in constant motion: objects, images, information/ideas, and mobility is thus also “vertical,” involving human and non-human actants. How do medieval literary texts in Chaucer’s period “rewarp time and space” (creating “flows” and “scapes”) by the means of sophisticated transit and transport structures? Other issues to be considered might also include: reading itself as a mode of transit (both within texts and in our own practices) and the consideration of tropes of post/medieval transit and transportation in medieval literary texts (intersections, networks, routes, flight patterns, traffic jams, terminals, ticketing, global positioning systems, security checkpoints, thoroughfares, hubs, switching stations, depots, subways, and so on). 

Thread: Movement, Networks, Economies
Organizers: Eileen Joy, Southern Illinois University and James L. Smith, University of Western Australia
Chairs: Eileen Joy, Southern Illinois University and James L. Smith, University of Western Australia

  1. Jennie Friedrich, University of California-Riverside, “Foreign Objects: Adapting Greenblatt’s Theory of Travel’s Estrangement-Effect to Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde”
  2. Gaelan Gilbert, University of Victoria, “Semiotic Flows”
  3. Sealy Gilles, Long Island University-Brooklyn, “LeperNets”
  4. Carolynn Van Dyke, Lafayette College, “Animal Transport”
  5. Sarah Breckenridge Wright, Duquesne University, "Building Bridges to Canterbury"
  6. Christopher M. Roman, Kent State University Tuscarawas, “Bios in The Prick of Conscience: The Apophatic Body and the Sensuous Soul”
  7. Sarah Elliott Novacich, Rutgers University, “Poetic Footprints”

3C Paper Panel: The Teller and the Tale: Life Writing and the Canterbury Tales (HT101)

This session seeks papers that draw on the sophistication in the study of life writing realized over the last couple of decades to revisit the longstanding critical question of the relationship between teller and tale in The Canterbury Tales.   Without relapsing into the indulgences of the ‘roadside drama’ argument, we may simply observe that, in several instances, Chaucer appears to model some sort of relation between the life of a ‘writer’ and the prologues and tales that he or she ‘writes.’  The nature of these relations themselves continues to be of critical interest, but so is the nature of the relation they may in turn refract between the life of the author and the fictional tellers and tales he puts into text (the painter of the lion is, after all, Chaucer).  Proposals for papers that make innovative use of Chaucer’s biography and/or theories of life writing to address any aspect of the question of the relation of teller and tale (in any specific instance, or generally) are welcome.

Thread: Chaucerian Biographies
Organizer: Robert Meyer-Lee, Indiana University-South Bend
Chair: Robert Meyer-Lee, Indiana University-South Bend

  1. Nancy Bradley Warren, Texas A&M University, “The (Unwritten) Life of Chaucer's Second Nun: Hagiography, Monastic Culture, and the Question of Chaucer's Religious Commitments”
  2. Pamela Troyer, Metropolitan State University of Denver, “Tabloid Tales: Chaucer Exploits Pious Princesses"

3D Paper Panel: Catechism, Confession, and Codicology (L102)

This session invites papers that engage with the manuscript contexts of confessional and catechetical texts, including but not limited to various confessional formulas, summae, manuals, the Decalogue, and the Seven Deadly Sins. Panelists are invited to address the variety of forms in which confessional literature could appear, as well as the variety of audiences such literature addressed.

In investigating the contexts of confessional literature, papers might examine how (or whether) the works compiled alongside texts about sin and penance illuminate our understanding of the reception, use, and adaptation of confessional literature. Panelists might also take up generic boundaries, asking how we draw the line between catechetical material in general and confessional literature in particular. Papers investigating the circulation and copying of confessional and catechetical works, particularly between lay and clerical readers, would be welcome, as would papers addressing what the reception contexts of confessional literature tell us about the range of cultural meanings such texts could take on in the later Middle Ages.

Thread: Handling Sins
Organizer: Michael Johnston, Purdue University
Chair: Michael Johnston, Purdue University

  1. Claire M. Waters, University of California-Davis, “Piercing the Gospel with a Paternoster: A Fragment of La Somme le roi in British Library Additional 54325”
  2. Anna Siebach Larsen, University of Notre Dame, “The Science of Confession in the Manuscripts of the Mirour de Seinte Egylse
  3. Robyn Malo, Purdue University, “Confession and Piers Plowman in British Library MS Harley 6041”
  4. Kathleen Tonry, University of Connecticut, “The Later Book History of Dives and Pauper

3E Paper Panel: Circulating Latinities between the North and Britain (L103)

This panel will consider papers interested in Northern European (including the Baltic region and Iceland) and British cultural encounters that have produced hybrid Latin cultural productions. These products could demonstrate Northern influence (vernacular, Latin, and visual) on British Latin texts or British influence (vernacular, Latin, and visual) on Northern Latin texts. This could involve actual British figures traveling and returning from the North—like Matthew Paris in the thirteenth century. Or a paper could demonstrate how Northern and/or British manuscript culture transformed and shaped cultural production in the other region—by imitation, influence, and/or adaptation. We are interested in discussing how the cultural conduit of Latin textual production helped facilitate these exchanges, hybrid productions, and regional cultural circulations. And how a wider view of circulating latinities can help us reimagine the transnational perspective of learned culture in the North and in Britain.

Thread: Scandinavia and Europe
Organizer: Dorothy Kim, Vassar College
Chair: Carissa Harris, Temple University

  1. Dale Kedwards, University of York, “Circulating Latinities: Thule and Iceland”
  2. Margaret Cormack, College of Charleston, “Networks of Ecclesiastical Influence”
  3. Ryder Patzuk-Russell, University of Birmingham, “The Legend of Pallas’ Tomb in Medieval Scandinavia

Respondent: Sarah Baechle, University of Notre Dame

3F Roundtable: Cambridge, Trinity College, MS R.3.20: Cultures of the Miscellany in Trilingual England (L204)

This roundtable seeks to explore late medieval England’s multilingual manuscript culture through a collaborative discussion of Cambridge, Trinity College, MS R.3.20, a large anthology copied in the 1430s by the scribe and bibliophile John Shirley. Generically, as well as linguistically, TCC, MS R.3.20 is a diverse collection, encompassing both courtly and religious works and containing examples of lyric, prose, and drama. The volume preserves important copies of works by Chaucer, Lydgate, and Hoccleve, as well as longer Latin texts and multiple anonymous French lyrics, including some by Alain Chartier that are ascribed in the manuscript to prominent contemporary English political figure William de la Pole. The anthology further bears the annotations of sixteenth century antiquarian John Stow, who drew heavily from this volume when preparing his 1561 edition of Chaucer’s Works. The diversity of its contents, coupled with what is known about its production and early circulation, makes MS R.3.20 an ideal site in which to explore the intersections of several vibrant areas of scholarship in late medieval studies, including book history, scribal cultures, patronage and coterie lyric production, medieval England’s multilingualism, and pre-modern periodization practices. Our aim is that this roundtable will provide a focused opportunity for scholars working in these subfields to interact with and learn from one another. Possible paper topics may include but are not limited to:

  • the interplay of its multiple genres
  • the manuscript as, in part, a retrospective of fourteenth-century literary culture compiled within the fifteenth century
  • Shirley’s role as scribe, compiler, and commentator
  • the anthology’s readership and transmission, as well as its position within the larger context of late medieval anthologistic practice

Thread: The Book in Practice
Organizers: Megan Cook, Colby College and Elizaveta Strakhov, University of Pennsylvania
Chairs: Megan Cook, Colby College and Elizaveta Strakhov, University of Pennsylvania

  1. Julia Boffey, Queen Mary College, London, “Shirley and Lydgate: The Temple of Glass
  2. A.S.G. Edwards, University of Kent, "John Shirley and the Motives of Compilation"
  3. Stephanie Downes, University of Melbourne, “John Shirley and Christine de Pizan”
  4. Kara Doyle, Union College, “John Shirley, Geoffrey Chaucer, and Women in Love”
  5. R.D. Perry, University of California-Berkeley, “The Earl of Suffolk’s French Poems and Lydgatian Coteries”
  6. Kathryn Veeman, Independent Scholar, “TCC R.3.20, the Exchequer and Shirleian Literary Circles”

3G Paper Panel: Medieval Soundscapes (1) (L205)

From the riot of bells in a city’s churches, to the cries of street vendors so memorably ventriloquized in Piers Plowman, from the twittering of birds in Chaucer’s oeuvre to the voiced sounds of prayer and poetry, this session asks how the medieval soundscape was imagined, experienced, and put to work across the aesthetic and cultural landscape. Sound was often likened to broken air, rippling water, and lighted smoke: the material emphasis on sound gives light, weight, movement, and feeling to sound, attributing to it a span of stimuli that extends far beyond its own sensory borders. This range highlights the capacity of sound for “traversal and transference,” in the words of the Sound Studies pioneer, Steven Connor: the ability of aural experience to include the perception of other senses—especially touch—along with it.  In recent years, scholars have begun to open important conversations around the subject of sound in Chaucer’s work, yet much in the aural realm remains to be explored both within and beyond Chaucer’s literary canon. What are the problematics of sound versus hearing in the Middle Ages? How can we reconstruct Chaucer’s acoustic environment? Are certain sounds given affective priority, perhaps in ways that are taken for granted? Are there new ways to think about how sound organizes experience at the collective or individual levels? How is sound given form in the visual arts, and how are these forms perceived? We hope to open a discussion about the lived experience of sound in the Middle Ages, its representation in various media, and the challenges of attending to and reconstructing this aspect of the medieval sensorium in our scholarship. We invite papers theorizing or historicizing sound in any of its myriad manifestations (noise, song, voice, etc.) in relation to texts, songs, or other materials in Chaucer’s age.  New approaches and the consideration of diverse historical materials are welcome.

Thread: The Medieval Sensorium
Organizers: Hannah Johnson, University of Pittsburgh and Adin Lears, Cornell University
Chairs: Hannah Johnson, University of Pittsburgh and Adin Lears, Cornell University

  1. Susan Crane, Columbia University, “The Bark of the Dog”
  2. Emily Rebekah Huber, Franklin and Marshall College, “‘Oyez à Beaumont!’ Sounding the Hounds”
  3. Megan Palmer-Browne, University of California-Santa Barbara, “‘As Craft Contrefeteth Kynde’: Geffrey’s Eagle and the Poetics of Word Preservation”
  4. Alexandra Gillespie, University of Toronto, “What is ‘clothed red or blak’ in The House of Fame?”

3H Paper Panel: Skin Matters (L201)

Decades after the ‘somatic turn’ and following scholarly explorations of the performing, gendered, disabled body, medievalists have recently focused in (again) on individual parts of the body, their roles and functions in literature. Recent and upcoming publications investigate, e.g., flesh, hair or the organs, yet skin seems to be particularly multifaceted. Apart from the disconcerting –and particularly medieval- connections between human skin and animal skin as the primary writing material of the Middle Ages, the human skin is both boundary and container, screen and stage; a place where self and other are negotiated.

This panel invites speakers to think about why exactly skin matters as much as it does –to us as literary scholars as to Chaucer and his contemporaries. Topics may include but are not restricted to: the role of skin in the performance of self and in the construction of gender, aspect and beauty, skin as place of communication, the readability of skin (scars, skin color), touch and sensation, nakedness.

Organizer: Nicole Nyffenegger, University of Bern
Chair: Nicole Nyffenegger, University of Bern

  1. Catherine S. Cox, University of Pittsburgh, “Chaucer’s Ethical Palimpsest: Dermal Reflexivity in the General Prologue
  2. Erin E. Sweany, Indiana University, “The Cook’s Ulcer: Corrupted Flesh/Corrupting Flesh”
  3. Roberta Magnani, Swansea University, “Porous Surfaces and Queer Skin: Textual and Gender Boundaries in the Manuscript Glosses to the Wife of Bath’s Prologue
  4. Mary Dzon, University of Tennessee, “White, Brown, and Beautiful: The Color(s) of Christ’s Skin”

3I Paper Panel: Northern Arthurs (G102)

This panel will explore the literary treatment of Arthur and his knights in the cultures of the North, a subject that Geraldine Barnes has identified as “ripe for further investigation within the fields of medieval translation, cross-cultural relations, and the reception of Arthurian narratives.” Following the work of Marianne E. Kalinke’s edited book The Arthur of the North, the panel seeks to inspire additional research in this area by addressing questions like the following: how does a study of the riddarasögur — Scandinavian versions of Arthurian narratives — offer up new perspectives on both the literary culture of the North and on the pervasiveness of Arthurian materials? How do such narratives reflect and adapt to their cultural surroundings? What does the transmission of such texts — indelibly tied as they are to the traditions of continental and Insular Europe — reveal about the intersections of Scandinavian, Continental European, and Insular traditions in the late Middle Ages?

Thread: North 1: Texts
Organizer: Leila K. Norako, Notre Dame de Namur University
Chair: Leila K. Norako, Notre Dame de Namur University

  1. Leah Haught, Georgia Institute of Technology, “Scottish Vikings and Norse Knights: The Orkneys as Palimpsest in Arthuriana”
  2. Ann Higgins, Westfield State University, “‘Ther com a schip of Norway’: England, Norway, and the case of Sir Tristrem

Respondent: Leila K. Norako, Notre Dame de Namur University

10:30-11:00 Coffee break

11:00-12:30 Presidential Address: Alastair Minnis, Yale University, “Fragmentations of Medieval Religion: Thomas More, Chaucer, and the Volcano Lover” (HB Auditorium 1)

12:30-2:00 Lunch (HT upper level)

Group 4: 2:00-3:30

4A Roundtable: Global Chaucers (HT103)

To date, Chaucer’s global reception has received only slight attention. Although extensive scholarship has examined and analyzed Chaucer’s reception in Britain, Australia, and the United States, little work has been done with his reception outside this inner circle of English-speaking countries, and even less in non-Anglophone cultures. To correct this oversight, we invite each speaker give a 10-12 minute introductory presentation on any work of Chaucerian adaptation created in a language other than English.

For the purposes of this roundtable discussion, we would like to focus on non-Anglophone, post-1945 translations, adaptations, and appropriations of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales. How might different types of Chaucer adaptation help us more effectively examine the worldwide pathways through which cultural traditions travel, encounter, and shape one another? To what extent do modern Chaucerian adaptations adapt the poet's own interests in polyvocality, multiple perspectives, diversity of genre? How might the appropriation of Chaucerian material in postcolonial contexts – areas of the world where “new” nations are articulating a sense of identity that is both informed by and resisting more powerful cultural models – provide a potential point of contact between Chaucer’s own period and post-1945 settings? This roundtable welcomes discussion of Chaucerian adaptation of any kind: children's books, films, dramatic works, comic books, or other media. Participants are encouraged to explore the developing collection of texts and translations at http://globalchaucers.wordpress.com.

Organizer: Candace Barrington, Central Connecticut State University
Chair: Candace Barrington, Central Connecticut State University

  1. Nazmi Ağıl, Koç University, Translating Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales into Turkish”
  2. Ebbe Klitgård, Roskilde University, “Chaucer in Denmark since 1945: A Discussion of Some Adaptations and Translations, with a Focus on Illustrations”
  3. Alberto Lázaro, Universidad de Alcalá, “Reading Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales in Spain”
  4. Koichi Kano, Tohoku University of Community Service and Science (Tohoku Koeki Bunka Daigaku), “Tradition and Transition in the Translations of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales in Japan”
  5. Louise D’Arcens, University of Wollongong, “Pasolini, Chaucerian Irony, and the (Im) possibility of Revolutionary Politics in Italy’s ‘Years of Lead’”
  6. Joseph Stadolnik, Yale University, “Jorge Luis Borges and Chaucerian Novelty”
  7. Professor Dongill Lee, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, "Korean Translation of The Canterbury Tales: Variety and Limitation of Korean Equivalents"

4B Roundtable: The Sense of Emotion (1) (HT104)

How does emotion make sense, and how does sense make emotion? This roundtable will consider somatic-affective links and the logics that inform them. We invite proposals for very short (five-minute) papers on any aspect of the embodiment of emotion. Specific topics might include: heightened emotions (joy, fear, anger) and the ways they are embodied (swooning, shaking, weeping, warmth and its lack); synaesthetic experiences and their emotional valences; feigned emotions, or the psychodramatic conflicts between reason and emotion. Contributors might also consider which physical spaces or textual places serve as loci for medieval somatic-affective experiences. Papers that continue the many conversations on Affect begun at the 2012 NCS meeting are welcome, as are position statements that might take the study of the medieval sensorium and affect in new directions.

Thread: The Medieval Sensorium
Organizers: Sarah Kelen, Nebraska Wesleyan University, Rebecca F. McNamara, University of Sydney and Sarah McNamer, Georgetown University
Chair: Rebecca F. McNamara, University of Sydney

  1. Stephanie Trigg, University of Melbourne, “‘As she that…’: Displaced Affect in Troilus and Criseyde
  2. Nicole Nyffenegger, University of Bern, “Making Sense of Red, Green, and Pale: Hue and its Metapoetic Function in Troilus and Criseyde
  3. Elizabeth Allen, University of California-Irvine, “Heurodis ‘crached hir visage’”
  4. Sarah McNamer, Georgetown University, "Pearl's Sensuous Surfaces"
  5. Emily Steiner, University of Pennsylvania, “Lyrical Encyclopedias”
  6. Jessica Lockhart, University of Toronto, “‘So ynly swete / So wonderful’: Puzzling Sweetness in Chaucer’s Book of the Duchess

4C Paper Panel: (Absent) Jews in the Middle (2) (HT101)

While scholars have cited multiple shifts marking the movement from the medieval to early modern periods in England, one aspect of English history proved continuous.  From the time of their forced expulsion in 1290 to the fraught period of their tacit readmission during the seventeenth century, Jews were officially absent from England.  This session invites proposals for papers on the image of the Jew in both Chaucer’s poetry and other works produced during the some 350 years when England was imagined as a place devoid of Jews.  Especially welcome are papers on how English writers proved particularly invested in the relationship between Jews and history (e.g., the Prioress’s odd sense that Jews martyred Hugh of Lincoln “but a litel while ago”), as well as papers on how the perceived absence of Jews served to define England as a nation during the late middle ages and renaissance.

Thread: In Search of Things Past
Organizer: Kathy Lavezzo, University of Iowa
Chair: Anthony Bale, University of London

  1. Daniel Birkholz, University of Texas-Austin, “Coincident Departures: Mapping the Expulsion in the Hereford Mappamundi and Harley MS 2253”
  2. Hannah Johnson, University of Pittsburgh and Heather Blurton, University of California-Santa Barbara, “The Prioress’s Tale at the Intersection of Antisemitism and Misogyny”
  3. Timothy L. Stinson, North Carolina State University, “Avenging Christ: The Absent Jew and the Siege of Jerusalem

4D Paper Panel: The Ways We Read Now (L102)

Thread: The Ways We Read Now
Organizer: Thomas Prendergast, College of Wooster
Chair: Thomas Prendergast, College of Wooster

“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.

  1. Lynn Arner, Brock University, "Chaucer and the Moving Image in pre-WW II America"
  2. Disa Gambera, University of Utah, "Assembling the Pilgrims: Rereading the Ellesmere Illustrations"
  3. John Ganim, University of California-Riverside, "Alfred David and the Way We Read Now"

4E Paper Panel: Recovering the Middle Ages (1) (L103)

In eighteenth-century England, two antiquarian impulses coalesced. One, witnessed in the editions of Ritson or the criticism of Warton, was the championing of pre-Reformation English literature for the recovery of meaningful native traditions. The other, catalyzed by Percy’s Northern Antiquities and the work it inspired in poets like Gray, traced English cultural practices and temperament to specifically Scandinavian beginnings. Both impulses strengthened in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, producing an English medievalism that, as in the work of William Morris or J. R. R. Tolkien, owed equally to Middle English and Old Norse. This session invites papers on this Scandinavian-English nexus and the way it recovered a usable Middle Ages that could further the production of literature but also art, architecture, ethnicity, and history.

Organizer: Tim W. Machan, University of Notre Dame
Chair: Tim W. Machan, University of Notre Dame

  1. Simon Horobin, Magdalen College, Oxford, “John Urry and the ‘Worst’ Edition of Chaucer”
  2. Laurel Ryan, University of Toronto, “Medieval Scandinavia in Early Canadian Literature”
  3. Chris Abram, University of Notre Dame, “Rasmus B. Andersson, the ‘Anglo-Saxon Classics’ and the Fashion for Vikings in Nineteenth-Century America”
  4. Jón Karl Helgason, University of Iceland, “Romantic Past and Barbarian Frenzy: Allen French, J.R.R. Tolkien, Henry Treece, and Old Norse Literature”

4F Paper Panel: Viking Elements in the Romances (L204)

The porous border between Norse saga and francophone romance is well attested, most famously in the case of the Norse version of the Anglo-Norman Tristan of Thomas of Britain. The relationship of Middle English romances to Viking culture may be less immediately striking, only one (Bevis of Hamtoun) being known to have been translated from Middle English, but there are plenty of others that show points of contact. Havelok and Guy of Warwick, for instance, focus on the Danish invasions or Danish rule; others, such as King Horn, offer more complex connections in terms of context or narrative. This session will invite papers on all such intersections of Scandinavian history and literature with medieval English romance, whether in English or Anglo-Norman. Topics might include saga influences on English narratives; the Danish postcolonial; narratology; narrative elements; ideologies of gender or warfare; readership and expectations; vocabulary; the presentation of pagans; or anything else of relevance and interest.

Thread: North 1: Texts
Organizer: Helen Cooper, University of Cambridge
Chair: Helen Cooper, University of Cambridge

  1. Eleanor Parker, University of Oxford, “Fenland Romance and ‘Fabula Danorum’: Scandinavian elements in Le Roman de Waldef and the Gesta Herewardi
  2. Ian Felce, University of Cambridge, “Sots, _kol-bitar and gadelings: the Idiot Persona in the Havelok, Hamlet and Grettir narratives”
  3. Will Biel, University of Iceland, “Bleak Barrows and Haunted Howes: Imagining the Heathen Other through Burial Mounds in Literature”
  4. Marisa Libbon, Bard College, “The Middle English Richard Coeur de Lion and Old Norse Textual Networks”

4G Roundtable: How to Do Things with Form (2) (L205)

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. Aditi Nafde, Keble College, Oxford, “Presenting Chaucer’s Rhyme”
  2. Nicholas Myklebust, University of Texas-Austin, “Chaucer’s Meter: Iambic Pentameter or Decasyllable?”
  3. Ad Putter, University of Bristol, “Problems of Scansion in Chaucerian Pentameter”
  4. Kim Zarins, California State University, Sacramento, “Rime Riche and Gender in Chaucer”
  5. Thomas Bourguignon, University of Montana, “Chaucer's Bad Ear: A Study of Chaucer's More Questionable Lines of Poetry."

3:30-4:00 Coffee break

Group 5: 4:00-5:30

5A Roundtable: The Sense of Emotion (2) (HT103)

How does emotion make sense, and how does sense make emotion? This roundtable will consider somatic-affective links and the logics that inform them. We invite proposals for very short (five-minute) papers on any aspect of the embodiment of emotion. Specific topics might include: heightened emotions (joy, fear, anger) and the ways they are embodied (swooning, shaking, weeping, warmth and its lack); synaesthetic experiences and their emotional valences; feigned emotions, or the psychodramatic conflicts between reason and emotion. Contributors might also consider which physical spaces or textual places serve as loci for medieval somatic-affective experiences. Papers that continue the many conversations on Affect begun at the 2012 NCS meeting are welcome, as are position statements that might take the study of the medieval sensorium and affect in new directions.

Thread: The Medieval Sensorium
Organizers: Sarah Kelen, Nebraska Wesleyan University, Rebecca F. McNamara, University of Sydney and Sarah McNamer, Georgetown University
Chair: Sarah McNamer, Georgetown University

  1. Glenn Burger, Queens College, CUNY, “Two Bodies, One Flesh: The Skin of Marital Affection in The Wife of Bath's Tale
  2. Mary Flannery, University of Lausanne, “Multi-Sensory Allegory and the Embodiment of Medieval Emotion”
  3. Lynn Shutters, Colorado State University, “The Thought and Feel of Virtuous Wifehood”
  4. Patricia DeMarco, Ohio Wesleyan University, "Imagining Jewish Affect"
  5. Mary Agnes Edsall, Independent Scholar, “The Neuro-Biology of Compunction”

5B Roundtable: This World is But a Thurghfare: Transit, Transport, Scapes, and Flows (2) (HT104)

In Chaucer’s Knight’s Tale the aged Egeus, learned in “this worldes transmutacioun,” offers stoic council to his son Theseus upon the death of Arcite: “This world nis but a thurghfare ful of wo,” the old man advises, “and we ben pilgrimes, passinge to and fro.” In the manner of the elderly adviser, Egeus reminds us that our lives are ephemeral pilgrimages, and he also points to the idea of the world as a sort of transit system. In our contemporary world, it would not be unusual to read Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales on a Kindle, iPad, or smart-phone while waiting for a plane, a train, a bus, a tram -- our world is striated by the transit systems and “hubs” in which many of us spend a good deal of our lives (freeways and toll roads, subways and trains, stations and terminals and depots, bus and tram stops, runways and airplanes) and our modes of reading have also become more “transitory” and mobile as a result.

In this roundtable session, we want to consider literary texts themselves, such as Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, as transit systems in which we can glimpse the manifold mobilities of objects, figures, mentalities, tropes and other “matter” in vibrant intermediate networks where different trajectories of “transit” and modes of “transport” (cultural, historical, social, linguistic, political, and so on) are connected. What can we learn by tarrying at the nexus points and hubs through which things move in and out of texts, attempting to trace not the things themselves or their supposedly stable significations, but rather their forms of emergence and retreat, of disorder and disequilibrium, as we ourselves are emerging and retreating within our own systems of transit and experiencing our own disequilibrium? Following John Urry’s “mobile sociology,” this session takes as an initial starting point the idea that we can no longer view either social worlds or textual worlds as uniform surfaces upon which one can trace or write a history of the horizontal movements of humans and human mentalities; rather, everything is in constant motion: objects, images, information/ideas, and mobility is thus also “vertical,” involving human and non-human actants. How do medieval literary texts in Chaucer’s period “rewarp time and space” (creating “flows” and “scapes”) by the means of sophisticated transit and transport structures? Other issues to be considered might also include: reading itself as a mode of transit (both within texts and in our own practices) and the consideration of tropes of post/medieval transit and transportation in medieval literary texts (intersections, networks, routes, flight patterns, traffic jams, terminals, ticketing, global positioning systems, security checkpoints, thoroughfares, hubs, switching stations, depots, subways, and so on).

Thread: Movement, Networks, Economies
Organizers: Eileen Joy, Southern Illinois University and James L. Smith, University of Western Australia
Chairs: Eileen Joy, Southern Illinois University and James L. Smith, University of Western Australia

  1. Robert Stanton, Boston College, "Moving With/in The Book of Margery Kempe"
  2. Katherine Koppelman, Seattle University, “Wormholes in Chaucer's Dreamscapes”
  3. Thomas Schneider, University of California-Riverside, “‘And in his swifte comynge brende’: Chaucer’s Aesthetics of Movement in The House of Fame
  4. Louise Bishop, University of Oregon,”"Sic transit gloria: The Knight’s Tale and The Two Noble Kinsmen
  5. Steele Nowlin, Hampden-Sydney College, “Inventional Movement”
  6. Nicholas Perkins, St. Hugh’s College, Oxford, “‘That swerde shall be youre destruccion’: Objects and Trajectories in Malory”

5C Paper Panel: Inordinate Love (2) (HT101)

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
Chairs: Robyn Malo, Purdue University and Nicole Smith, University of North Texas

  1. Megan Murton, St. John's College, Cambridge, “From the God of Love to the Love of God: ‘Inordinate’ Love in Troilus and Criseyde
  2. Ed Craun, Washington and Lee University, “The Rhetoric of Inordinate Loves: Sinners' Voices in Pastoral Catechesis”
  3. Valerie Allen, John Jay College, CUNY, “Calculating Sins”

5D Paper Panel: Chaucer and the Autobiographical Fallacy (L102)

This session begins where George Kane’s “The Autobiographical Fallacy in Chaucer and Langland Studies,” The Chambers Memorial Lecture, 1965 (London: H.K. Lewis & Co. Ltd for University College, London, 1965)  ends.  In that essay Kane remarks about the need for external evidence to support biographical suppositions, stating that such evidence can be found in literary history. Beginning with Kane’s observations, what suppositions about Chaucer’s life that are frequently adduced from Chaucer’s writing are supported, extended, or destroyed by new investigations in the fields of history or literary history?

Thread: Chaucerian Biographies
Organizer: Lynn Staley, Colgate University
Chair: Lynn Staley, Colgate University

  1. Glending Olson, Cleveland State University, “Symkyn's Snub, Chaucer's Learning”
  2. Marion Turner, Jesus College, Oxford, “Consuming Chaucer”
  3. Philip Knox, New College, Oxford, “Nom and Renom: Conflicted Self-naming in Machaut and Chaucer”

5E Paper Panel: Committing Poetry (2) (L103)

The return to form in literary studies in the past decade has sought to bring the insights of New Historicism and cultural studies to bear on the study of literary forms and poetics. This panel solicits papers that consider how medieval poetry, especially in the later Middle Ages, constitutes an intersection between form and action informed by social, historical, or cultural contexts. What kinds of action does poetry commit and permit? What happens to medieval poetry when it is ‘committed’ to writing (i.e. in manuscripts), or to memory?  How do poetic commissions (e.g., by patrons) influence poetic form, content, and use-contexts? Do poetics and form constitute a kind of action? This panel especially welcomes papers that put formalist concerns in dialogue with social and material contexts. Papers might address the ritual or performative contexts of poetry; how poetry constitutes a social act; or how the copying of poems in manuscript negotiates the spatial representation of performance contexts or poetic form.

Thread: How To Do Things With Texts
Organizer: Ingrid Nelson, Amherst College
Chair: Seeta Chaganti, University of California-Davis

  1. Peggy Knapp, Carnegie Mellon, “The Commitments of the Roman de Mélusine
  2. Spencer Strub, University of California-Berkeley, “The Dietary and Lydgate’s Didactic Style”
  3. Dr Jenni Nuttall, Wolfson College and St. Edmund College, Oxford, “Thomas Hoccleve’s Sovereign Commissions”
  4. Brian W Gastle, Western Carolina University, “Som newe thing I scholde booke”: Chaucer and Gower Doing Business(,) Doing Poetry

5F Paper Panel: Chaucerian Parchment (L204)

Scraping away the imagined errors of his scribe, absorbing an array of texts preserved on animal skin, directing his own works' inscription on membrane folios, signing his name to vellum deeds and depositions: Chaucer's relation to parchment was a complex if nearly always implicit dimension of his life and literary career. If Ralph Hanna could rightly contend fifteen years ago that "membrane is difficult to interrogate," advances in the study of the technology, biology, and zooarchaeology of parchment over the last decade suggest it may be time to encourage broader and deeper thinking about the historical, cultural, and economic implications of medieval literature's primary medium. While the allegorical register of parchment has been much studied (the body as book, writing on human heart and skin, etc.), this session will err on the side of the descriptive and the literal. The parchment inheritance presents a spectrum of topics that merit our scrutiny, from Chaucer's relation to animal husbandry and butchery to issues of human-animal relations to the micro-economies of urban and rural England. The Icelandic setting of the conference will provide an apt point of entry into such subjects and a helpful point of contrast, as the character of membrane making up most medieval Icelandic manuscripts varies significantly from its insular counterpart, and Icelandic scribes were quite self-conscious about the often stubborn materiality of the medium. Papers on Chaucerian and non-Chaucerian parchment welcome.

Thread: How To Do Things With Books
Organizer: Bruce Holsinger, University of Virginia
Chair: Myra Seaman, College of Charleston

  1. Angela Bennett Segler, New York University, “Coactus Tangere: The Intra-Active Touch of Parchment”
  2. Christine Schott, Erskine College, “Accursed Parchment: Opinions of Icelandic Scribes”

Respondent: Orietta da Rold, University of Leicester

5G Paper Panel: Anterior Motives: Chaucer and the Place of Early English Literature (L205)

Early English literature can seem as much darkened by Chaucer’s shadow as later literature is illuminated by his example. Whether cast as precocious or pedantic, pre-Ricardian texts have long borne the burdens of nascency—pointing in the direction of aesthetic accomplishments thought to lie just beyond their own horizons. This panel invites papers that reconsider the categories of “early” and “late” as means of schematizing medieval English literature, with a particular focus on methodologies that might keep Chaucer and his antecedents in productive conversation. How do considerations of language, manuscript setting, and readership impact the division between early and late medieval? In what ways do French and Latin complicate the periodization of Middle English works? How has Chaucer criticism shaped the trajectory of early English literary history, and what alternative patterns emerge outside a framework of linguistic rise and demise? Papers that offer specific readings of texts are welcomed alongside papers that consider issues of critical historiography, codicology, and philology.

Thread: In Search of Things Past
Organizer: Jennifer Jahner, California Institute of Technology
Chair: Jennifer Jahner, California Institute of Technology

  1. Venetia Bridges, University of York, “Back to the Future: The Importance of the Twelfth Century in the ‘Golden Age of Chaucer’”
  2. Marie Turner, University of Pennsylvania, “The Thirteenth Century and Romance at the Borders of History”
  3. Matthew Fisher, University of California-Los Angeles, “Romancing Becket”
  4. Anna Wilson, University of Toronto, “After Petrarch?: Periodization and Travel in Petrarch and Chaucer”

5H Paper Panel: The Ways We Might Read in the Future (L201)

“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 Four we are seeking inclusive and meta-critical accounts not only of how we are presently reading Chaucer (productively and counter-productively), but also of how a new Chaucerian hermeneutics might shift our readerly practices in liberation directions—and perhaps towards renewed public intellectualism.  Will Chaucer remain, as the late, lamented Lee Patterson once called him, “”The horse medieval studies has to ride”?

Thread: The Ways We Read Now
Organizer: Jessica Rosenfeld, Washington University in St Louis
Chair: Jessica Rosenfeld, Washington University in St Louis

  1. Ingrid Nelson Amherst College, “Media Hermeneutics”
  2. Betsy McCormick, Mount San Antonio College, “Reading Chaucer's Game: Ludic Theory and the Medieval Text”
  3. Wan-Chuan Kao,Washington and Lee University, “Cute Chaucer”
  4. Eleanor Johnson, Columbia University, “What Is the Canterbury Tales?: a Meditation on Form and Medieval Literary Theory”

5I Paper Panel: Norse by Way of Normandy (G102)

When the Normans conquered England, they were only a few generations separated from their Norse forebears. Only a few centuries earlier, Northern France, too, was subject to similar Norse invasions. This panel invites papers that might address, inter alia, the following questions: How are these Norse legacies manifested in Anglo-Norman and Middle English literature? How was Norse culture imagined when mediated through Normandy? And from a different angle, in what ways is late Norse literature influenced by French and Anglo-Norman literary genres? In short, what can be gained in our understanding of the North by looking South and of the South by looking North? And how is England in the time of Chaucer and the surrounding periods shaped by the activities of and interactions between these two regions?

Thread: North 1: Texts
Organizers: Jeremy DeAngelo, University of Connecticut and Benjamin A. Saltzman, University of California-Berkeley
Chairs: Jeremy DeAngelo, University of Connecticut and Benjamin A. Saltzman, University of California-Berkeley

  1. Emily Butler, John Carroll University, “Hic fides habetur regni sotiis: Scandinavian Power in the Encomium Emmae
  2. Peter W. Travis, Dartmouth College, “The Late Fourteenth-Century Literary Trickster in Iceland and England: Króka-Ref (Ref the Sly) and Chaucer’s Pardoner”
  3. Juliette Dor, University of Liege, “The Man in the Moon: A Survival of Germanic Mythology?”

2:00-5:00 Manuscript Exhibit (Þjóðarbókhlaðan, National Library/ University Library, lower level)

5:30-7:00 Reception at the University of Iceland (HT upper level)

7:30 Polyglot Reading of Chaucer (open event) (Stúdentakjallarinn)