CFP: [Medieval] Kalamazoo––Letters of Love and Treachery in Late Medieval and Renaissance French Literature

full name / name of organization: 
Phillip John Usher
contact email: 

CFP for panel at Kalamazoo Conference, May 7â€"10, 2009,

Letters of Love and Treachery in Late Medieval and Renaissance French
Organized by Phillip John Usher (Barnard College) and Eve-Alice
Roustang-Stoller (Barnard College).

The present panel will focus attention on the inclusion of fictional
letters, epistles, and billets in late medieval and Early Modern French
epics and prose fictions. While much critical writing has been dedicated to
the epistolary genre, less attention is generally given to the inclusion of
a single or a small number of letters within other genres of writing. It is
hoped that the papers in this panel will work together to address the
practice of what Claude La Charité, in his La rhétorique épistolaire à la
Renaissance, calls ‘epistolography’, a practice which, as La Charité points
out, was a keystone of humanist pedagogy. By situating the panel at the
intersection of the late medieval and Early Modern periods, the panel will
naturally lend itself to a study of this rise to prominence. Within this
general context of the evolution of a practice, the panel hopes more
specifically to focus on two themes: love and treachery, and to analyze
whether letters on each subject favor dissimulation or communication as
rhetorical devices. For example, is it always true that love letters aim to
communicate whereas letters of political intrigue seek merely to hide
intentions? Or is the opposite just as (or even more) true? And does the
rhetoric of the letter work in the same way to affect the intradiegetic
audience on the one hand and the reader of the book on the other? More
generally, why a letter when characters could often just as well speak to
each other? Is it that the reception of the letter by the fictional
character as well as by the reader is more important than its content?
Potential panelists might like to situate their presentations within the
critical contexts of studies by Marc Fumaroli, James J. Murphy, Judith Rice
Henderson, Henry Guy, and others).

The two organizers aim to select papers that closely relate both to the
announced subject and to each other, in order to ensure that a well defined
discussion can follow the presentation of the papers.

Please send paper proposals to and
before August 15th.

(Conference details here : )

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Received on Fri Jul 25 2008 - 09:08:28 EDT