Schedule: 19 July

Saturday, 19 July

Group 8: 9:00-10:30

8A Paper Panel: Should We Believe in the Agential Object? (HT103)

In medieval cultures, certain things are said to have both material and inspirited components. Among these, the Eucharist has exceptional status, but relics, breastplate books, saints’ vitae, and talismans also commingle physical and spiritual properties, as do things inspirited by magic and other arcane practices. Medieval instances of inspirited materiality resonate fascinatingly with contemporary object oriented materialisms that accord agential and psychic properties to all things. Contemporary theory asks whether each and every thing (or object, unit, entity) may be inspirited or act agentially, providing us with revised environments in which humans are no longer dichotomous with and superior to everything else.  Medieval arts and philosophies offer similar propositions although they do not tend to be “flat” (they do not accord the same ontological status to every object) nor “pan-psychic” (they do not assign psychic properties to every object). The goals of this session are double: to explore specific instances of medieval thought about the properties of things, and to inquire how contemporary object-oriented ontologies both coordinate with and differ from medieval thought. Focusing on books and representations of books but encompassing other things as well, this session’s topics could include oath-swearing on holy books and relics, the talking book of Piers Plowman, the talking birds of the Parliament of Foules, lapidaries, book curses and their histories, the responsive temple statues of the Knight’s Tale, the brass horse of the Squire’s Tale, Robert Mannyng’s cow-sucking bag, and books of “natural magic” such as those used by the Clerk of Orleans in the Franklin’s Tale.

Thread: How To Do Things With Books
Organizer: Susan Crane, Columbia University
Chair: Susan Crane, Columbia University

  1. Andrew Cole, Princeton University, “The Object of Failure”
  2. Shannon Gayk, Indiana University, “Agency and Instrumentality”
  3. Karma Lochrie, Indiana University, “But Can It Act?: Medieval Objects and Modern Desires”
  4. Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, George Washington University, “Magic Rocks”

8B Paper Panel: Cinematic Adaptations of Medieval Scandinavian Narratives and History (HT104)

This session about Scandinavian cinematic medievalism invites papers that interrogate how filmmakers construct the literature and history of the Scandinavian Middle Ages in the many film adaptations of literary narratives created in or about medieval Scandinavia or the general history of medieval Scandinavia and/or Viking culture. Possible literary texts being adapted include Icelandic sagas or heroic poetry (The Viking Trilogy of Icelandic film director Hrafn Gunnlaugsson; The Viking Sagas), medieval narratives set in Scandinavia (various film adaptations of Beowulf), post-medieval narratives or films representing medieval Scandinavia (Bergman’s The Virgin Spring, The Seventh Seal; Sigrid Undset’s Nobel prize-winning novel trilogy, Kristin Lavransdatter). Adaptations of Viking history include The Long Ships; The Vikings; Alfred the Great, and even the parodic Erik the Viking. Assessment of the adaptation process may consider differences between traditional Hollywood sound stage/star system productions (The Vikings; The Long Ships), productions striving for authentic mise-en-scene (Beowulf & Grendel; Gunnlaugsson’s Viking Trilogy; The Viking Sagas), and the fantasy imaging of animation or CGI (Grendel, Grendel, Grendel; Zemekis’s Beowulf; The Secret of Kells). Titles included are suggestive, not prescriptive.

Organizer: Lorraine K. Stock, University of Houston
Chair: Martha Driver, Pace University

  1. James W. Earl, University of Oregon, “Outlaw: the Icelandic Film of Gisli's Saga
  2. Larissa Tracy, Longwood University, “Brutality and Bloodshed: Othering the Viking Age on Screen”

8C Paper Panel: Wycliffite Bible Networks: Makers, Patrons, and Users (HT101)

The first complete translation of the Bible into English, the Wycliffite Bible remains today in over 250 medieval copies: thus, copies of English scripture far outnumber copies of the Canterbury Tales. This fact is remarkable given both the popularity of the Tales, and the outlawing of the Wycliffite Bible in 1409. Such numbers argue that Chaucer and his audiences would have been familiar at least in passing with English scripture. Indeed, it appears that some Chaucerian volumes and Wycliffite Bibles were made and disseminated within the same networks, and this panel may explore such interconnections. We seek papers which develop arguments about the manufacturing patterns, patronage networks, and original users, as well as subsequent collectors, of Wycliffite Bibles in order to develop a more complete picture of late medieval book culture. Above all, “Wycliffite Bible Networks” seeks to nuance our traditional association of the Wycliffite Bible with heresy through close examination of physical copies.

Organizer: Kathleen E. Kennedy, Pennsylvania State University-Brandywine
Chair: Kathleen E. Kennedy, Pennsylvania State University-Brandywine

  1. Matti Peikola, University of Helsinki, “Liturgical paratexts: Old Testament lectionaries in Middle English New Testaments”
  2. Elizabeth Solopova, Brasenose College, Oxford, “The Prioress's Bible? Evidence for Monastic Patronage and Ownership of the Manuscripts of the Wycliffite Bible”
  3. Kathleen E. Kennedy, Pennsylvania State University-Brandywine, “The Chaucerian Wycliffite Bible”

8D Paper Panel: Edification of the Senses (1) (L102)

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. Ryan McDermott, University of Pittsburgh, “Learning to See by Being Seen: Optics and Counter-experience in Eschatological Drama”
  2. Adin Lears, Cornell University, “‘[S]o mery a belle’: Wyclif, Chaucer, and the ‘Voices of Words.’”
  3. J. Allan Mitchell, University of Victoria, “A Taste for Poetry”
  4. Arthur J. Russell, Arizona State University, “Investing the Senses in Late-Medieval England”

8E Paper Panel: Reassembling the Material Turn: Manuscript Texts as Vehicles in Network Formation (2) (L103)

What are the consequences of “localizing” a text in a manuscript culture? What happens when we resist the temptation to fix a manuscript text in space and time, refusing to treat it as a rarefied, static, or completed object? What new concepts emerge when we choose instead to deploy a manuscript as a mediator in the dynamics of group formation? Where do we draw the boundaries between manuscripts as material goods and cultural capital? And is studying the manuscript text as a vehicle compatible with studying its literary qualities? This session invites panelists to do something that we seldom see in manuscript studies: to regard the manuscript (not necessarily the codex) as a mediator, not the product of a completed process. We invite presenters to explore how manuscript circulation affects/effects group formation; how manuscripts are in turn shaped through space and time through this process; and how examining manuscript culture in this way might lead us to challenge current notions of textual or social fixity. Possible topics might also include analysis of the economic value of book contents and think about the role of books (as well as their contents) in European trade networks. Papers can investigate the role of texts or their MS instances in economic networks of exchange. Presenters are encouraged to discuss manuscripts, networks, and social groups that connect England with parts of the European continent that extend beyond France and Italy (including English links with the Low Countries, the Empire, the Hanseatic League, and Central Europe).

Thread: Movement, Networks, Economies
Organizers: Michael Van Dussen, McGill University and Sebastian Sobecki, University of Gronigen
Chairs: Michael Van Dussen, McGill University and Sebastian Sobecki, University of Gronigen

  1. Noelle Phillips, University of Toronto, “A Token of Nobility: the Percys, the Tudors, and BL MS Royal 18 D II”
  2. Dirk Schoenaers, University College, London, “English Presences in Manuscript Collections from the Medieval Low Countries”
  3. Megan Cook, Colby College, “Medieval Texts and Post-Medieval Materialities”

8F Paper Panel: Poetics beyond Aureation (1) (L204)

This session will consider questions raised by  fifteenth-century vernacular poetry about the nature and process of poetic composition, drawing on medieval literary theory as well as engaging with recent developments in theoretical fields such as visual studies, aesthetics and poetics. The following questions might be considered: What kinds of meanings did poetic form have? How did poets draw on the techniques of other artistic fields in order to develop and comment on their own productions? What kinds of imaginative articulations of the writing process engage with and move beyond the theories provided by philosophy and faculty psychology?

Thread: How To Do Things With Texts
Organizers: Anke Bernau, University of Manchester and Sarah Salih, King's College, London
Chair: Anke Bernau, University of Manchester

  1. Gania Barlow, Columbia University, “Laurence, Bochas, and the Metapoetics of Lydgate’s Fall of Princes
  2. Andrea Denny-Brown, University of California-Riverside, “Aureation, Doggie-style: the Dissociative Poetics of Fifteenth-century Doggerel Verse”
  3. Catherine Sanok, University of Michigan, “The Poetics of Scale”
  4. Christopher Taylor, University of Texas-Austin, “Pearl and the Arithmepoetics of Unknowing”

8G Roundtable: Thinking Chaucer (2): Complaint, Memory, Gender (L205)

Our minds are not independent of our bodies: our mental health is displayed somatically, as medieval writers knew well – love sickness and dying for love are only the best-known examples. And neuroscience is extending our understanding of the relationship between the senses, the mind, and the experience of reading in exciting new ways: one recent study demonstrates that our sensory cortex responds differently when we read of a ‘velvet’ voice as opposed to a ‘pleasing’ voice. For our brains, there is a blurred boundary between touching, reading about touching, and reading about metaphorical touching. This session invites contributors to think about thinking: about metaphor, the imagination, the memory, the landscape of the mind, mental health, cognition. Presentations might address Chaucer’s portrayal of mental change or breakdown, the kinds of imagery he uses, his engagement with contemporary theories of thought. They might also, of course, address Chaucer’s contemporaries’ engagement with these issues. Papers might also or alternatively focus on how neuroscience can be usefully deployed in medieval literary studies, on intersections between literary and scientific texts and theories, or on the interplay between medieval and current ideas about how we think, how we respond to reading, how we change our minds.

Thread: The Medieval Sensorium
Organizer: Marion Turner, University of Oxford
Chair: Carolyn Dinshaw, New York University

  1. Darragh Greene, University College Dublin, “‘To clerkes lete I al disputisoun’: Patterns of Perception, Affect, Desire and Cognition in the Franklin’s Tale
  2. Elizabeth Edwards, University of King’s College, “The Fall of Sleep, or, Indifference: The Book of the Duchess
  3. Sarah W. Townsend, University of Pennsylvania, “‘And every word [she] gan up and down to wynde”: Cognition and the Female Reader in Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde
  4. Reid Hardaway, Ohio State University, “Chaucer's Fallen Language, the Grammar of Memory, and the Psychoanalytic Method”
  5. Christopher J. Pugh, University of Toronto, “Forgetting Hoccleve: Memory and the Lost Self”

8H Paper Panel: Recovering the Middle Ages (2) (L201)

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. Ian Cornelius, Yale University, "How Alliterative Verse Got Its Name (And Why It Matters)"
  2. Betsy Bowden, Rutgers University, “‘What Hath Speght Wrought?’: Etymologies and Other Northernisms in the Three Eighteenth-Century Editions, Especially Morell's (1737)”
  3. Melinda Nielsen, Baylor University, “Hilaire Belloc, Ancient Roads, and Mutual Culture”
  4. Paul Acker, Saint Louis University, “Chaucer among the Pre-Raphaelites”

8I Paper Panel: Linguistic Ideologies, Literary Form and Poetics in Britain and the North (G102)

The Icelandic grammatical literature and the Prose-Edda provide an insight into traditional Nordic and Germanic poetics vis-à-vis southern European trends, which reached England and parts of the North in the Middle Ages. The First Grammarian (12th century) mentions the English and the Irish as forerunners in writing the vernacular, but basically Icelandic poetics stayed conservative, cultivating traditional Germanic tools such as alliteration and kennings. In Italy new vernacular literary forms and poetics developed, as witnessed by Dante, and Chaucer is the first English poet to use five beat rhythm, while in Iceland the rímur with their non-traditional quatrain form, but still adhering to alliteration and "Eddic learning," took over as the most popular genre. However, the "alliterative revival" shows that traditional forms were also appreciated in parts of Britain at least. In all of these cases measures were taken in elaborating, revitalizing or adapting vernacular norms replacing the older global classical culture. Contributions are invited on any aspect of this history of literary form, including work on metrics, poetics, the Icelandic grammatical treatises and comparable work in Chaucerian Britain and other parts of Europe. Contributions on cultural-linguistic ideologies and language planning in the period are also welcome.

Thread: North 2: Contexts
Organizer: Kristján Árnason, University of Iceland
Chair: Haraldur Bernharðsson, University of Iceland

  1. Kristján Árnason, University of Iceland, “North Meets South: Vernacular versus Classical Poetics in Medieval Iceland”
  2. Kristin Lynn Cole, Pennsylvania State University, “The Alliterating Harley Lyrics and Poetic Norms in Fourteenth-Century English Poetry”
  3. Heidi Kurtz, University of Oxford, “Germans to the left, French to the right: Mapping the Etymological Landscape of the Canterbury Tales

10:30-11:00 Coffee break

Group 9: 11:00-12:30

9A Paper Panel: Poetics beyond Aureation (2) (HT103)

This session will consider questions raised by  fifteenth-century vernacular poetry about the nature and process of poetic composition, drawing on medieval literary theory as well as engaging with recent developments in theoretical fields such as visual studies, aesthetics and poetics. The following questions might be considered: What kinds of meanings did poetic form have? How did poets draw on the techniques of other artistic fields in order to develop and comment on their own productions? What kinds of imaginative articulations of the writing process engage with and move beyond the theories provided by philosophy and faculty psychology?

Thread: How To Do Things With Texts
Organizers: Anke Bernau, University of Manchester and Sarah Salih, King's College, London
Chair: Sarah Salih, King's College, London

  1. Anke Bernau, University of Manchester, “Imagining Poetics”
  2. Seeta Chaganti, University of California-Davis, “The Wild Surmise of Medieval Poetic Form”
  3. Taylor Cowdery, Harvard University, “Historical Fiction: Exemplum, Integumentum, and Fact in Lydgate’s Fall of Princes
  4. Sarah Salih, King's College, London, “Ekphrasis as Poetics”

9B Paper Panel: Manuscripts, Texts and Traces of the Poet's Work (HT104)

What evidence do the earliest copies of Chaucer’s work offer for his writing processes or for the very fact of his authorship in some cases? Will they allow us to trace the genesis of his text over the poet’s lifetime through his decisions and revisions? How secure is our evidence of the poet’s corpus and shaping of it? Some manuscripts suggest that we might get closer to the poet himself, by revealing drafts of various works; but such evidence is of disputable significance. Other elements of manuscripts have been argued to be the ‘creation’ of ingenious scribes rather than the poet. Other evidence raises doubts about which works, or components of works such as ‘glosses’, are by Chaucer or by others. Papers are invited which address any of these questions.

Thread: Chaucerian Biographies
Organizer: Linne Mooney, University of York
Chair: Daniel Mosser, Virginia Tech

  1. Martha Carlin, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, “Chaucer's Southwark Connections”
  2. Caroline Barron, Emeritus, Royal Holloway College, London, “Chaucer's London Networks”
  3. Jane Griffiths, Wadham College, Oxford, “Alleging Authors: The Glossing of Chaucer's House of Fame

9C Roundtable: Teaching Things with Books (HT101)

Even the scientists now agree: we learn by doing. Seeking short presentations and provocations for a roundtable discussion about learner-centered innovations in objectives, methods, resources, courses, or specific assignments for teaching book history and for teaching (other things) with book history.  Can we teach book history better? Can we teach other things (like literature) better by using book history? Can we teach better—promote active learning, authentic assignments, and so on—by asking students to do things with books?

Thread: How To Do Things With Books
Organizer: Erick Keleman, Fordham University
Chair: Candace Barrington, Central Connecticut State University

  1. David Watt, University of Manitoba, “Teaching Things With—and Without—Books”
  2. Krista Sue-Lo Twu, University of Minnesota-Duluth, “Publishing the Middle Ages”
  3. Christina Fitzgerald, University of Toledo, “Book History and ‘User-Created Content’: Commonplace Books in the Medieval Literature Classroom”
  4. Lawrence Warner, King's College, London, “Teaching Textual Historicism; or, Getting Students to Care that the New Hoccleve Holograph Isn't”
  5. Karla Nielsen, Columbia University, “Teaching Frametale Collections and Codicologically-organized Narratives”

9D Paper Panel: Mapping Narrative(s) in Medieval Literature (2) (L102)

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. Elizabeth Dearnley, University College, London, “Manuscripts, Metadata and (Tube) Maps: Mapping the European Breton Lai”
  2. Gina Hurley, Yale University, “Ambiguous Geographies and Kingship in the Alliterative Morte Arthure
  3. T.S. Mendola, New York University, “Falling Off the Map: Towards a Medieval Digital Hermeneutics”

9E Paper Panel: Epochs and the Medieval Ecological Imagination (L103)

This session asks for papers that establish or critique epochs or epochal models of medieval ecological thought. If one considers the ecological imagination to be the way the environment and/or human interactions with it are constructed conceptually or metaphorically, then how, for example, might one position such constructions in the age of Chaucer vis-à-vis ones in earlier or later historical periods, contiguous or not? Papers might take up the question of whether it is possible to distinguish such individual periods and, if so, if it is also possible to identify transition points between them. They might consider how an individual author constructs the "ages" of the natural world or examine the rhetorical dimensions of such formulations. Alternately, papers might explore how a national literary tradition might be connected to particular ecological constructions, such as human/environment or human/animal distinctions.

Papers could also examine how modern ecological views condition investigations of medieval ecologies, or panelists might critique the teleologies implicit in periodization(s). Does, for instance, a notion of “Progress” underlie (some) modern interpretations of medieval ecology? How might medieval and modern ecological ideas be brought together productively in ways that are sensitive both to this problem of teleology and to historical difference? Papers might also situate Chaucer's works within a historical ecological period, such as the late 14th-century climate or the ecological ramifications of the Black Death. Submissions might also consider some combination of the above.

Thread: In Search of Things Past
Organizers: Mary Kate Hurley, Ohio University and Ryan R. Judkins, University of Massachusetts
Chair: Mary Kate Hurley, Ohio University

  1. Alexis Kellner Becker, Harvard University, “Hunger and Crisis on Either Side of the Fourteenth Century”
  2. J. Justin Brent, Presbyterian College, “Bring out your Dead: An Ecological Approach to Medieval Death and Dying”
  3. David Hadbawnik, SUNY-Buffalo, “Ecological Shift: The Rhetorical Object in Anglo-Saxon, Chaucerian, and Early Modern Poems”
  4. Jessica Rezunyk, Washington University in St Louis, "Mediation and Translation of Medieval Ecological Imaginations in The House of Fame and Piers Plowman

9F Paper Panel: The Work of Scribes (L204)

Scholars working in several areas offer observations about scribal practice: palaeography; textual editing; linguistic analysis; and “manuscript studies” and book history, where arguments are often influenced by literary approaches, including formalist ones. How do the interests, assumptions, and arguments of these approaches overlap, and how do they differ? Is it possible for these approaches to inform each other, and if so, how? For example, how might the methods of textual criticism, such as collation, inform book-historical approaches that often focus on paratextual features of Middle English manuscripts? On the other hand, can the accommodation of literary issues and approaches help strengthen textual criticism and palaeography, as traditionally conceived – or does it dilute such scholarship? How does the analysis of scribal reproduction of texts and paratexts relate to studies of scribal response, editing, and compilation? How might the growth in our knowledge about scribes’ identities and their canons influence the models we assume for scribal practice? How might research on scribal practices intersect with other conversations in medieval literary studies? Statements based on particular manuscripts are welcome, but should engage with issues of method.

Thread: The Book in Practice
Organizer: Stephen Partridge, University of British Columbia
Chair: Daniel Wakelin, University of Oxford

  1. Martha Driver, Pace University, “Looking Again at Ricardus Franciscus: A Case Study in the History of the Book”
  2. Susanna Fein, Kent State University, “The Harley 2253 Scribe's Datable Literate Activities and Library of Booklets”
  3. Sarah Noonan, Lindenwood University, “Manuscript Study and the Scale of Historical Inquiry: A Case Study of Handlyng Synne

9G Roundtable: Medieval Governmentalities (L201)

How does an intention to govern become realized within different scales and contexts of community? In the name of what, and by what technical means, did medieval people in various circumstances attempt to govern their possessions, themselves, and their subordinates? How did practices of government serve to define and locate individuals within class or status groups? And what links grew up between the “government of self” and the "government of others" -- the latter perhaps instanced within different fields as direction, visitation, and administration, military leadership, and sovereign rule? This roundtable invites discussion of medieval practices of governynge, understood in the wide range of meanings possible for that word during the age of Chaucer.

Possible materials for discussion include manuals and records of estates management, treatises of advice to princes, chronicle histories, fiscal and administrative records of royal government, legal theory and practice, conduct manuals, sermons, and manuals of pastoral care. Proposals that link theoretical thinking to empirical research are especially encouraged.

Organizer: Ian Cornelius, Yale University
Chair: Ian Cornelius, Yale University

  1. Amy Appleford, Boston University, “Mortification and Secular Governance”
  2. Lee Manion, University of Missouri, “Governing without Reign: Medieval Governmentalities in the Anglo-French Conflict”
  3. Suzanne Verderber, Pratt Institute, “The Gregorian Reform and the Integration of Sovereign and Pastoral Power”
  4. Rebecca F. McNamara, University of Sydney, “Governing and Emotions in Late Medieval Law”

9H Paper Panel: "Of Yseland to wryte is lytill nede ...": Cultural and Literary Relations Between England and Iceland in the 14th and 15th Centuries (G102)

The year 1396 marked the beginning of the so-called “English Age” in the history of Icelandic-English relations, while the 15th century was characterised by English dominance in trade relations (due to better ships and more competitive prices), as well as skirmishes and real battles, but also cultural and literary influences. Is it possible to evaluate what influence the so-called “English Age” had on Icelandic culture and society in general as well as on the Icelandic worldview and conception of national identity? Do we have any good information as to the English view of the Icelanders and of their Norwegian and Danish officials? Can such items as English alabaster altarpieces, and a collection of medieval tales translated from English into Icelandic, as well as the election of English bishops to the Icelandic bishoprics, inform us in any depth of the nature and extent of English influence? This session is intended to bring together scholars interested in discussing these various aspects of the “English Age.”

Thread: North 2: Contexts
Organizer: Gunnar Harðarson, University of Iceland
Chair: Gunnar Harðarson, University of Iceland

  1. Martin Chase, Fordham University, “Enska Vísan: Literary Contact in the ‘English Age’ of Iceland”
  2. Daniel Najork, Arizona State University, “The Icelandic Translations from Robert Mannyng’s Handlyng Synne
  3. Shaun F. D. Hughes, Purdue University, “English Exempla in Iceland in the Fifteenth Century”
  4. Rory McTurk, University of Leeds, “Chaucer, Langland, and Norse-Celtic Poetics”

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

Group 10: 1:30-3:00

10A Roundtable: Things Books Do (HT103)

If we can agree that medieval texts are never just textual compositions, what then are the events, places, occasions, networks, and ecologies of practice that they compose? And what does this have to do with books? We seek panelists willing to offer short (5-8 minute) presentations and then join in a roundtable discussion that addresses such questions with renewed theoretical vigour. What is the location of the book? Where are readers when they read? What is a book among an array of other things and activities in the world? We are interested in hearing from those who could address any of the following topics we have imagined, but also related topics that we have not imagined: medieval (or modern) theories of cognition and books; phenomenology of the book or of reading; the thick materiality of the book as object; Speculative Realism/OOO and the book; Michel Serres and book as quasi-object; Bruno Latour and book as assemblage or actant; the extra-textual vitality of textual inscriptions; the temporality of reading; Maurice Blanchot and absence of the book; Edmond Jabès or Jaques Derrida  and The Book; the book as prosthesis, machine, or automaton. We hope that this session can be held towards the end of the congress to allow participants to reflect on other sessions in this thread; we may invite participants to exchange reading material or discuss aspects of the session before the congress begins.

Thread: The Book in Practice
Organizers: Allan Mitchell, University of Victoria and Alexandra Gillespie, University of Toronto
Chair: Allan Mitchell, University of Victoria

  1. Jonathan Hsy, George Washington University “Bound Codex as Prosthesis: Bookbinding as Site of Theory”
  2. Kellie Robertson, University of Maryland, “Philobiblia, Then and Now”
  3. Marilynn Desmond, SUNY-Binghamton, “The Book as Eyewitness: Dares the Phrygian and the Trojan Network of the Latin West”
  4. Myra Seaman, College of Charleston, “The Book Abides”
  5. Michael Johnston, Purdue University, “Ink Recipes and ‘Adhocism’”
  6. Heather Blatt, Florida International University, “Nonreading Books”
  7. Frank Grady, University of Missouri-St. Louis, “How to Do Wills with Things”

10B Paper Panel: Between the Birgittines: Syon Abbey and Vadstena's Textual Exchanges (HT104)

What began as a political relationship between England and Sweden – the 1406 wedding of King Erik of Pomerania to Philippa, daughter of King Henry IV – soon blossomed into a religious one, when the English were inspired to found a Birgittine monastery like the one they encountered in Vadstena. Syon Abbey, founded in 1415, maintained a close bond with Vadstena, the first house of St. Birgitta’s Order of St. Saviour. Over the next hundred years the two houses enjoyed a frequent exchange of people, letters, and books. Some of these texts were legislative in nature, such as the extensive Responsiones detailing Vadstena’s answers to the Syon brethren’s many logistical and ceremonial questions. They also exchanged works of devotional, catechetical, and visionary literature. For instance, Syon retained one of the earliest versions of St. Birgitta’s Revelations, apparently copied at Vadstena by a visiting English scribe. A more unexpected example: Thomas Fishlake’s Latin translation of Hilton’s Scale of Perfection appears in multiple Vadstena manuscripts, apparently an import from Syon.

The textual transmissions between Syon and Vadstena offer a productive view into the ways monastic allegiances enabled the trans-national dissemination of religious writing in the late medieval period. This session would solicit papers that pursue new avenues of research revealing the exchange of texts between two houses equally renown for their learned members and huge libraries. A myriad of questions regarding translation, adaptation, transmission, and production might drive panelists’ explorations. What can paleographical or codicological approaches reveal about the ways in which texts were exchanged between the Birgittines? A 1453 letter from Vadstena requests that Syon send a scribe to Sweden to copy texts to bring back to England; this appears to have happened in the case of BL Harley 612. What stories do this and other similar manuscripts have to tell? Latin, of course, allowed the Birgittines on both sides of the North Sea to transcend the language barrier of Swedish and English. Did the desire to share texts with international brethren initiate translation? Moreover, how might texts have been adapted for their new cultural milieux? This panel would develop conversation around these questions not only to illuminate the complex relationship between these two prominent houses, but also to advance more generally applicable ways of understanding late medieval monastic culture, its textual communities, and the paradoxically international nature of manuscripts written for enclosed readers.

Thread: Scandinavia and Europe
Organizer: Laura Saetveit Miles, University of Bergen
Chair: Laura Saetveit Miles, University of Bergen

  1. Elin Andersson, Stockholm University, “Understanding the Birgittine Idea: Exchange and Use of Birgittine Texts in Vadstena and Syon Abbey”
  2. Michael G. Sargent, Queens College, CUNY, “Walter Hilton in Vadstena: Two Trails of Transmission”
  3. Susan Powell, University of Salford, “The Fifteen Oes at Syon and Vadstena”
  4. Vincent Gillespie, University of Oxford, “Life and Liturgy at Syon and Vadstena: The Evidence for the Brethren”

10C Paper Panel: Translation, Mise-en-Page, and Form (HT101)

As works were translated in medieval Europe between Latin and vernaculars and back again, these translations often altered more than just the language of a text.  The mise-en-page and/or the material form of the translation were also, at times, adapted to suit its new linguistic context, intended audience, or expected use.  In this session, we will query what can be gained by tracing a work’s form within its manuscript versions not only within a single language but also across languages.  By examining the formal and material adaptations that could occur alongside the linguistic translations of texts, this session welcomes paper proposals that seek to consider the translator’s influence over a work’s mise-en-page, scribal habits of reconciling the form of a text across multiple linguistic traditions, the implied uses of such translations by readers, and other discussions pertaining to the relationship between translation and material form in medieval works.

Thread: How To Do Things With Texts
Organizer: Sarah Noonan, Lindenwood University
Chair: Sarah Noonan, Lindenwood University

  1. Siobhain Bly Calkin, Carleton University, “Giving Form to Antagonisms?: The Various Translations in Sir Ferumbras
  2. Madeleine Elson, University of Toronto, “The Complaint of the Translator in the Complaint of Venus: Chaucer, Graunson, and French Vernacular Lyric Collections”
  3. Joyce Coleman, University of Oklahoma, “Nativizing Iconography: Translation and the Material Illumination”

10D Paper Panel: Monument, Edifice, Container: The Medieval Manuscript (L102)

Wordsworth’s Preface to the 1814 Edition of The Recluse likens the production of the literary work to the building of an edifice, while for Proust, in his A la recherché du temps perdu (II, 1112), he compares the thinness of parts of large works to the ‘great cathedrals [that] remain unfinished’. How useful, then, might it be to conceive of the medieval manuscript as architextual, analogous to the masterpieces of architecture that often formed the institutional ecclesiastical or collegiate home of the early book?

This session encourages submissions from those working on the manuscript as whole, in the form in which it comes to us, but constituted from multiple parts. From books as reliquaries to books as monumental acts of display, understanding the holistic nature of the medieval manuscript has become increasingly important in recent years, particularly as, simultaneously, the codex is fragmented and dismembered by its digitization.

Papers might focus on how the textual relics attached to, yet distinct from, the main book block influence the reception and interpretation of the book-as-text or ‘real’ text. Such relics may include flyleaves, endleaves, pastedowns, fragments, temporary bindings, or other kinds of textual ephemera. Or, in what ways might conceiving of the books and its component parts (its folio, mise-en-page, bifolia, quires, flyleaves and boards) as interrelated elements in a single construction help or hinder our understanding of medieval book production, materiality, transmission and reception? Contrasts between medieval and modern treatments of the different physical parts of a book or codex may also be a fruitful line of inquiry.

Thread: How To Do Things With Books
Organizer: Elaine Treharne, Florida State University and Noelle Phillips, University of Toronto
Chairs: Elaine Treharne, Florida State University and Noelle Phillips, University of Toronto

  1. Georgiana Donavin, Westminster College and Eve Salisbury, Western Michigan University, “Treasure Trove to Drawer in Disarray: Newberry Library MS 33.5”
  2. Daniel Wakelin, University of Oxford, “Expandable Containers: Extra Bits of Book”
  3. Siân Echard, University of British Columbia, “The Book as Container, and Containing the Book; or...When is a book not a book? When it’s a poppadum”
  4. Zachary Hines, University of Texas, “In Britain’s lyric coronet: The Poems of MS Cotton Nero A.x. and the (Re)construction of the Manuscript”

10E Paper Panel: Literature at Sea: Hanseatic Textual Networks (L103)

In Holbein’s portrait, the Steelyard merchant George Gisze is pictured in an office cluttered with books, letters, and artifacts, all of which, like Gisze’s merchandise, are likely to have arrived in London from other Hanseatic cities. This panel explores the network of Hanseatic communities as a theme in and context for the production and dissemination of Middle English textual culture. How do the itineraries of the Shipman, Margery Kempe, and William Caxton, among others, trace the outline of a specifically Hanseatic form of cultural mobility? How were English textual traditions shaped by contact mediated by Hanseatic trade routes, and how were they shaped by the cultural contact zones of England’s own Hanseatic cities?  To what extent did Hanseatic routes serve, in turn, as vectors for the dissemination of English texts and traditions?

Thread: North 2: Contexts
Organizers: Amy Appleford, Boston University and Catherine Sanok, University of Michigan
Chairs: Amy Appleford, Boston University and Catherine Sanok, University of Michigan

  1. Liz Herbert McAvoy, Swansea University, “‘I xal go wyth þe in euery contre & ordeyn for þe’: Women’s Travelling Visions and the Transgressing of Boundaries”
  2. Andrew James Johnston, Free University, Berlin, “Hanseatic Networks: Trade, Imperialism and Piracy in The Canterbury Tales
  3. Sebastian Sobecki, University of Groningen, “A New Document on Margery Kempe: Gdańsk, Lynn, and the Summer of 1431”

Respondent: David Wallace, University of Pennsylvania

10F Paper Panel: The Learning Space: How's it Done There (L204)

This session invites abstracts that consider the diverse means of giving expression to the process of making something or instruction on how to make or do something. Focus may be on the representations of process, or methodologies, that are embedded in the texts as actions or on the place where they are exercised. Papers are invited on the epistemology of the artisan or the pedagogue, as figured in how-to manuals or any other genre. They may focus more broadly on traditional and untraditional sites of learning in relation to genre and its imperatives. Or attention may be on sites of learning in relation to audience and reception: those outside or inside the home (e.g., Second Nun’s Tale or Treatise of the Astrolabe); places of presumed study or knowledge acquisition (university, court, or church); or places in the field, workshop, or inn. How is Auctorite or the cited, various teachers, their methods and sources, reconfigured in relation to the varied directions of instruction that emerge in any number of medieval texts.

Organizer: Sandy Feinstein, Pennsylvania State University
Chair: Sandy Feinstein, Pennsylvania State University

  1. Lisa H. Cooper, University of Wisconsin-Madison, “‘Good Lond Wol Signifie’: Poetry and Practice in Palladius on Husbondrie
  2. Maud McInerney, Haverford College, “Making a Good Horse and a Parfit Knight: Giordano Ruffo's De Medicina Equorum
  3. Cara Hersh, University of Portland, “Lab Space in the Canon's Yeoman's Tale: Public and Private Epistemologies”
  4. Jenny Boyar, University of Rochester, “Exploring the ‘Paleys Desolat’: Translating the Limitations of Mnemonic in Troilus and Criseyde

10G Paper Panel: Late Medieval Speech Communities (2): Writing Speech (L205)

This session seeks to explore the evidence, in late medieval text and manuscripts, for “speech communities,” that is, social networks created in and understood through spoken interaction. Proposals are invited for papers which explore ways into late medieval attitudes to speaking and dialogue, even through textual and material sources of evidence. Papers might consider any of the following questions: how far can we consider the heard and said, as well as the seen and written, when we approach Middle English text and manuscript? How are relationships based upon dialogue and speech represented in writing and so converted into the very different transactions between reader and text? Why do so many medieval texts fictionalise the face-to-face, voiced encounter as a way to efface their own textuality? Are there medieval communities or social relationships which we necessarily observe today only through text and image but which medieval people understood to be more especially established and conducted through sound and speech

Organizer: Isabel Davis, University of London, Birbeck
Chair: Katie Walter, University of Sussex

  1. Kara L. McShane, University of Rochester, “Fantasies of Dialogue in Alexander and Dindimus
  2. Colette Moore, University of Washington, “Capturing Speech in Writing: Social Networks and Communities of Practice in Late Medieval Manuscripts”
  3. Susie Phillips, Northwestern University, “Translating the Talk of the (Late Medieval) Town”

10H Paper Panel: The Book in Pieces (L 201)

Organizers: Glenn Burger, Graduate Center, CUNY and Holly Crocker, University of South Carolina
Chair: Seeta Chaganti, University of California-Davis

  1. William A. Quinn, University of Arkansas, “Parting Words: The Holes in Chaucer’s Wholes”
  2. Thomas Prendergast, College of Wooster, “Spectral Chaucer”
  3. Thomas J. Farrell, Stetson University, “Genetic Evidence in Piers A and the Canterbury Tales Gamma Clade”

10I Paper Panel: Medieval Soundscapes (2) (G102)

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
Chair: Adin Lears, Cornell University

  1. George Edmondson, Dartmouth College, “The Noise of Neighbors”
  2. Katharine Jager, University of Houston-Downtown, “‘An ydel man thou semest’: Representation, Aesthetics, and Authorial Identity in Piers Plowman
  3. Ashley Nolan, St. Louis University, “Letters that Fly: Bird Sound in Chaucer”
  4. Michael Raby, University of Toronto, “Soundscapes in Medieval Dream Poetry”

3:00-3:30 Coffee break

3:30-5:00 Biennial Lecture: James Simpson, Harvard University, “‘Not Yet’: Chaucer and Anagogy” (HB Auditorium 1)

7:00 Congress Dinner (Harpa, Norðurljós, Northern Lights)