CFP: Special Sessions on Chaucer (Dec. 15, 2009; International Courtly Literature Society Congress, Montreal, July 25-31, 2010)

full name / name of organization: 
Jamie Fumo (McGill University)
contact email:

Special Sessions on Chaucer (2)
To be held at 13th Congress of the International Courtly Literature Society, Montreal, July 25-31, 2010 (congress theme: “Courtly Cultures on the Move”)

Papers are invited for the following TWO special sessions (abstract deadline Dec. 15, 2009):

1. ‘[T]o countrefete cheere / Of court”: Chaucer as a Courtly(?) Poet

How, and to what extent, can Chaucer be regarded as a “courtly” poet? This session interrogates Chaucer’s status as a contributor to/collaborator in discourses of late-fourteenth century courtly culture. Of particular concern is the marginality of Chaucer’s courtly status and persona, of which his Prioress’s “couterfeited” courtliness may be taken as a point of reference. How do un-courtly or anti-courtly elements of style, subject matter, or language intersect with courtly ones in Chaucer’s poetry? How do changes in what it means to be a courtly poet in England during Chaucer’s lifetime shape the “courtliness” of his poetic contributions? Papers may approach these questions from angles such as (but not restricted to) the following:
-the disciplinary history of Chaucer as a “courtly” poet
(or not)
-Chaucer’s poetic representations of the courts and
aristocratic culture
-courtliness and geographic or historical difference
(e.g., the Mongol court of the Squire’s Tale, the
ancient Trojan court of Troilus and Criseyde, etc.)
-courtliness and Chaucerian reception: Lancastrian
appropriations of Chaucer as a Ricardian poet
-perversions, subversions, and inversions of courtliness
in Chaucer’s poetry
-Chaucer as court poet in relation to his courtly
contemporaries (Gower, Usk, Hoccleve, the “Chaucer
circle,” etc.)
-gentilesse and upward mobility

2. Chaucer and Courtly Love: Crosscurrents and Interstices

The most sublime renditions of the “grete worthynesse” (Tr 3.1316) of love in medieval English literature are found in Chaucer’s poetry, alongside frequently incisive critiques of the culture of eros. Similarly, the European literary convention of fin’amors from an early stage juxtaposed a register of self-critique and irony with its rhetoric of idealization. This session explores this conjunction (and others) by placing Chaucer’s representations of “courtly love” in a European framework. Papers are invited that take a comparative approach to Chaucer’s representations of refined, noble love—and its discontents—by exploring their dialogue with medieval French, Italian, Provençal, Spanish, or other continental traditions of fin’amors. Papers can either be source-based (working with actual European source texts Chaucer is known to have appropriated) or broadly comparative (dealing with analogues instead of sources).

Submit 250-word abstracts, indicating session 1 or 2, by
DEC. 15, 2009 to:

Prof. Jamie Fumo ( – email preferred
Department of English
853 Sherbrooke St. West
McGill University
Montreal, QC H3A 2T6

IMPORTANT NOTE: To present a paper at the ICLS Congress, you must be an ICLS member. If you are already a member, please specify to which branch of the Society you belong when you submit your abstract. If you are not yet a member, you may contact the secretary of your national branch, who will gladly accept your registration (for information, see Abstracts for the Chaucer sessions can be submitted by individuals who are not yet members of the Society, with the understanding that, if accepted, membership dues must be paid before the date of the conference.

cfp categories: