CFP: Literary Renovations in Middle English Texts (9/10/05; Kalamazoo, 5/4/06-5/7/06)
41st International Congress on Medieval Studies
May 4-7, 2006
CALL FOR PAPERS
"Literary Renovations in Middle English Texts: The Old Made New?"
James Simpson's new literary history, Reform and Cultural Revolution (Oxford,
2004), redefines the conventional periodic boundaries along the lines of
cultural practice. The 'medieval' period emerges as a culture of 'reform'
against the 'revolutionary' tendencies of the 'Renaissance' or 'early modern'
period. "Each deals differently with artefacts and buildings of the past,"
Simpson explains. "[T]he revolutionary model works by iconoclasm and
demolition, while the reformist model operates by accretive bricolage" (35).
This session aims to investigate Simpson's important claims by soliciting
papers that explore the 'conservative' strategies of literary texts in Middle
English. By what means do texts seek to accomplish the accumulation
of 'artefacts' that Simpson describes? What were the consequences, both the
casualties and the rewards, of these practices of appropriation?
We are particularly interested in papers that pursue questions of translation
and the uses of history. In the late-medieval flurry of vernacular
composition, what accommodations had to be made in adapting Latin or French
models for the English vernacular? What advantages of cultural capital did
these appropriations bring? How do texts stake out a position in relation to
the past that they evoke in recuperating ancient narratives, outdated genres,
and borrowed histories? And in what ways do these texts reveal their
understanding of the influence of the past upon the present moment? In
soliciting papers that seek to trace the processes of cultural conservation in
Middle English texts, this session will provide an opportunity for scholars to
engage with Simpson's provocative thesis of literary continuity in late-
Please send abstracts no later than September 10 to:
Department of English
442 Ballantine Hall
1020 E. Kirkwood Ave.
Bloomington, IN 47405-7103
Department of English
356 O'Shaughnessy Hall
Notre Dame, IN 46556
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or write Jennifer Higginbotham: higginbj_at_english.upenn.edu
Received on Fri Aug 12 2005 - 11:06:41 EDT