CFP: [Medieval] Kzoo 09: Historical Writing as Literary Writing

full name / name of organization: 
Hannah Johnson
contact email: 

44th International Congress on Medieval Studies
Call for Papers: Historical Writing as Literary Writing: Reconsidering the
Relationship Between Form, Truth Claims, and Convention in Medieval _Historia_

Modern scholars once criticized medieval authors of histories and saints’
lives for their naiveté, poor historical understanding, and anecdotal
style. But with the advent of studies by scholars as diverse as Gabrielle
Spiegel, Monika Otter, and Jeffrey Cohen, we are increasingly more
attentive to the benefits of taking these medieval authors seriously as
literary creators who exploited conventions and traditional forms in order
to advance their own culturally-conditioned truth claims. Neither the
definition of such truths, nor the precise parameters of the category of
_historia_ itself have ever been simple matters, yet the recognition of
such complexities has unquestionably enriched our understanding of medieval
literary production and cultural attitudes. This panel builds on recent
insights, showcasing new voices and methods in examining the literary
values of medieval historical writing. From saints’ lives to chronicles,
local history to universal history, we will ask what difference literary
voice and form make to our historical understanding, and re-examine the
possibilities for interpreting an imaginative literature committed to
telling the truth.

Please send abstracts of 250 words or less, along with a completed
Participant Information Form (available online at by September
1, 2008, to:

Hannah Johnson, University of Pittsburgh

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Received on Sun Aug 03 2008 - 14:58:17 EDT