CFP: Kalamazoo '13, "The Trans-Reformational Imitatio Christi"

full name / name of organization: 
Barbara Zimbalist, University of California, Davis
contact email: 

This special session highlights Thomas van Kempen/ à Kempis' "Imitatio Christi," one of the most popular devotional texts in late medieval and early modern Europe. The text and its afterlives provide multiple points of entry to central discourses of medieval and early modern studies: devotional reading habits, the history of the vernacular, manuscript and print history, translation practices, Reformation history, and questions of periodization. The recent (2011) publication of Maximilian von Habsburg's "Catholic and Protestant Translations of the Imitatio Christi, 1425-1650," offers new approaches to this seminal text, and suggests exciting new avenues for future work on the "Imitatio Christi" and its textual legacies. In response to this provocative new study, we invite proposals for papers on any aspect of the "Imitatio Christi": the devotional and literary contexts of its production and reception, its manuscript, print, and transmission history, its multiple vernacular translations, and its diverse textual traditions across European vernaculars. We hope to put new voices, united by a central text, into productive dialogue across boundaries of discipline, language, and period.

Please submit abstracts of 250-300 words with a completed participant information form ( to Barbara Zimbalist ( by September 10, 2012. Please contact Barbara with any questions.

Further information about the 2013 Medieval Congress can be found at:

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48th International Congress on Medieval Studies, Western Michigan
University, Kalamazoo, Michigan, May 9-12, 2013