LAST-MINUTE CFP: "Once Upon a Time:" Romance Temporalities at Kalamazoo 2010

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Amy Burge, University of York on behalf of the Medieval Romance Society
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In recent years, medievalists have increasingly considered the medium of time as a dynamic position from which to analyze the medieval as we explore and question our own temporally determined relationships to the period we study. As evidenced by the publication of criticism such as Robert Rouse's "The Idea of Anglo-Saxon England in Middle English Romance", this heightened awareness of our temporal distance from our scholarly subjects has also encouraged us to explore the conflations, confusions, uses, and abuses of time and periodization at work in medieval literature itself.

We are no longer satisfied with the idea of histories and chronologies—whether purportedly factual or openly fictional—as linear, progressive, or innocent. Medieval romance, in particular, offers today's readers a rich array of timely challenges, from temporal discontinuities and ahistorical moments to shifting verb tenses.

The proposed session '"Once Upon a Time:" Romance Temporalities' acknowledges the "once upon a time" trope at work in medieval romance, but notes that we, as scholars, are increasingly uneasy with the innocence and "merely" fantastic or escapist motivations assumed in its deployment. This session invites reconsiderations of what kinds of temporal systems are at work in medieval romance (and why), how romance makes use of revisionary chronologies, how it imagines its pasts and futures.

The Medieval Romance Society values interdisciplinarity and welcome proposals from graduate students as well as established scholars. Though papers should be presented in English, we hope to include papers on romances of multiple medieval languages. One-page abstracts should be submitted by September 15 to Amy Burge at